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Should I be hungry when transitioning to Primal?

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  • Should I be hungry when transitioning to Primal?

    Maybe someone can share some experiences with switching to a primal diet.

    Here's the beef: I am 6'5", 200 lbs. I usually eat about 4000 calories a day (give or take). I get a fair amount of light cardio from bike commuting and relatively light bike riding (not primal, but it is too much fun to consider giving up).

    Starting tomorrow I plan to get back to the gym, which will only bump up my caloric needs even more.

    Anyway- I can't seem to eat enough! Anyone else have this problem? I am going to have to cook another hamburger after finishing this email. Do you know what it feels like to get tired of eating? It's annoying!!

  • #2
    You're a pretty big dude that gets a fair amount of exercise, how long have you been primal? The transition period can take some people a month or more while your body gets used to running off a different kind of fuel. How many grams of protein are you getting a day?
    My Paleo Project:

    www.nutritionator.com

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    • #3
      Nutritionator- thanks for the response. I always get too hungry after maybe a day (max!) to REALLY cut out the carbs (not just hungry, but shakey, sweaty, and light headed- the signs of hypoglycemia).
      Today I had two eggs, two pieces of bacon, a few potatoes, a hot dog, a half pound of hamburger, a salad, and now another half pound of hamburger, a fried egg and a plate of steamed green beans with lots of butter. Also had an orange.
      I drink too much coffee (you don't want to know how much which, come to think of it, costs a lot of money, so after tomorrow I will cut down (and save the $$ in a jar).

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      • #4
        That's interesting, I'm 6'3'' and 230 lbs. and I seem to have the exact opposite problem. I almost have to force myself to meet my caloric needs. But, perhaps its the types of calories you are consuming. What do you usually eat in a day?

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        • #5
          You know what I did during that hungry first week? Avocado! Buy about fifteen avocados and anytime you start craving, give your stomach a dose of awesome plant fats to remind it what it needs to do! Alternatively, you can use meat fats, but my stomach didn't know what to do with them at first. I was coming off of a chronically low-fat way of eating and it took about a month before my body could truly metabolize the animal fats. You're probably also experiencing carb withdrawal, your body wants that quick rush of elevated blood sugar! But green beans and zucchini have great carbs! Don't try too hard to restrict carbs yet, just replace grain carbs with plant carbs. At least, that got me through the early days.
          Crohn's, doing SCD

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          • #6
            Just wanted to say that bike riding may not technically be primal, but it's still a good thing. If it makes you happy, keeps you moving out in the sun and doesn't push you to the absolute limit of your heart and lungs for a long time, it's fine.

            How long have you been eating primal? I felt like crap for a couple of weeks (I get a lot of exercise with my job) but then I felt fine. It wasn't so much hunger as food lust. My stomach wasn't growling or anything, I just felt like I had to eat, and I generally wanted something with a lot of sugar. I didn't cave (got close a lot though) and those feelings went away when the carb flu left. Now I have to remind myself to eat.
            Last edited by RitaRose; 06-21-2011, 05:57 PM.
            Durp.

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            • #7
              I don't do the ultra-low carb thing, myself. I found it good for weight loss, but then for maintenance I've upped a bit, and function much better. Having slogged through some research, I'm reasonably convinced that allowing a moderate intake of glucose is fine; I try to minimse the fructose but do enjoy a bit of fruit. Bear in mind that Primal does allow up to 100g of carbs, and for your size probably more, which is actually quite a lot. (I know I'll probably get flamed by the low-carbers for this... but each to their own. Read what Mark says about carb intake. Read the studies about gut flora, glucose and mucosa. If you're getting dry eyes, dry mouth and constipation, that's a sign you've gone too low.)

              My impression is that a lot of the transition issues come from changing gut flora. This doesn't happen overnight, and you need to help it with some probiotics. I found going 'cold turkey' an absolute nightmare and have had far better results with a gradual transition. Give your body time to adjust.

              Also, primal foods are more nutrient dense, and I think we therefore need to eat a lot less volume than when bulking up with loads of antinutrient-laden grain. So your tummy needs to get used to not being so full, and that will take a while. Also, being hungry sometimes (the empty tummy feeling, not the lightheaded low blood sugar type) is GOOD - it makes you a lean mean hunter! It's NORMAL! Grok wouldn't be going around with a full stomach all day like we do. So learn to put up with a little hunger from time to time.
              If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat? Tom Snyder

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              • #8
                You made a good point about noting the distinctions between different types of hunger! It will pay well to get a tight handle on identifying any hunger you feel and deciding whether it's a useful nutrient craving, an empty stomach, or an addiction. The sugar/starch/grain addiction will cloud your judgement, so step lightly if you start dreaming about twinkies or fresh homemade bread. But after a week or two, you'll look and cake and just feel yucky. Especially if you crack and suddenly eat a lot of something like cake! You'll be amazed at how bad it will make you feel. After that, it just gets easier.
                Crohn's, doing SCD

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mrsean1999 View Post
                  Nutritionator- thanks for the response. I always get too hungry after maybe a day (max!) to REALLY cut out the carbs (not just hungry, but shakey, sweaty, and light headed- the signs of hypoglycemia).
                  Today I had two eggs, two pieces of bacon, a few potatoes, a hot dog, a half pound of hamburger, a salad, and now another half pound of hamburger, a fried egg and a plate of steamed green beans with lots of butter. Also had an orange.
                  I drink too much coffee (you don't want to know how much which, come to think of it, costs a lot of money, so after tomorrow I will cut down (and save the $$ in a jar).
                  Hi mrsean1999 (and everyone here),

                  I did some red highlighting within your post (above) and wondered why that non-Primal food is there.

                  Is it:
                  1. because you're transitioning and haven't gone fully Primal, or
                  2. specially Primalized (like no breadcrumbs in the mix and no buns)?

                  Also, if I'm way off the mark or simply haven't understood something please let me know as I'm a newb here (this is my first post).

                  Peace,
                  Cal

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cal. View Post
                    Hi mrsean1999 (and everyone here),

                    I did some red highlighting within your post (above) and wondered why that non-Primal food is there.

                    Is it:
                    1. because you're transitioning and haven't gone fully Primal, or
                    2. specially Primalized (like no breadcrumbs in the mix and no buns)?

                    Also, if I'm way off the mark or simply haven't understood something please let me know as I'm a newb here (this is my first post).

                    Peace,
                    Cal
                    How is hamburger (grnd beef--YUM) not primal? I also love the applegate farms grass fed hot dogs--quite primal IMO...

                    Originally posted by geekgrrl View Post
                    Bear in mind that Primal does allow up to 100g of carbs, and for your size probably more, which is actually quite a lot.
                    Just wanted to add, primal allows up to 150g carbs for those not trying to lose weight (although I personally was able to lose lots of weight while staying in the maintenance 100-150 g carb range...we are all unique and different things will work for each of us...) How to Succeed with the Primal Blueprint | Mark's Daily Apple
                    My Before/After Pics
                    Are you new here? Be sure to check these links FIRST, before reading anything on the forum! Succeed & PB 101

                    "I am a work in progress." -Ani DiFranco

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                    • #11
                      In the states they call ground beef 'hamburger'
                      In British English countries hamburger is well...an actual hamburger
                      I'm a paleo foodie, come check out my recipes: http://strangekitty.ca/

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                      • #12
                        I completely agree with the avocado idea! Also, if your hamburger meat is pretty lean, you're not exactly eating a ton of fat. Low fat always = hungry for most people. Adding an avocado or something with coconut should help your fat intake, and maybe some nuts, as long as you make sure you don't go overboard and/or balance out all the omega 6 with some fish or an omega 3 supplement. Macadamia nuts are a good one as far as omega 6-3 ratio. Make sure you put plenty of olive oil on your salad, stuff like that.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nion View Post
                          In the states they call ground beef 'hamburger'
                          In British English countries hamburger is well...an actual hamburger
                          Aha! Thanks for the translation Nion, appreciated.

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                          • #14
                            if you are hungry, EAT!

                            stop counting calories, its pointless. just follow the rules for what you can eat and if you are hungry EAT
                            Primal Chaos
                            37yo 6'5"
                            6-19-2011 393lbs 60" waist
                            current 338lbs 49" waist
                            goal 240lbs 35" waist

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                            • #15
                              You need more starchy carbs.

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