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having problems going primal.. advice please!!!

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  • having problems going primal.. advice please!!!

    This will be long.. so bear with me. I've tried to read other posts to find my answers but I'm still coming up short. I'm a 24 year old female. 5'2" and just barely overweight at about 140 lbs (which is good for me, 2 years ago I was fluctuating between 150 and 155.. then it slowly came down without me realizing it.. until I went to the doc and was at 144.. that's when I decided to actually try and got to 140 before going primal). I'm somewhat active (my job is ATV tour guide so I'm not stuck in an office all day) and I also try to add in some Primal fitness and hiking. I started going primal on September 1st. Since it was new to me, I used cronometer for the first 15 days in order to monitor my carbs, fat, protein, and vitamins and minerals. My goals were about 1600 calories with about 70 grams of protein and carbs and the rest fat. I tried to eat when I was hungry and stop when I was full.. although I can't say I really felt satisfied in that time. I actually got anywhere from 1100-2400 calories a day with a changing makeup as well... but never over 120 grams of carbs and always adding fat when I was still hungry. In those 15 days I lost 1 pound (and the last 2 days I was ridiculously hungry all the time.. those were my days of eating 2400 calories). Then I decided to stop counting carbs and calories and just follow a primal plan, but I did allow myself some more carbs than before (I still wasn't feeling really good on low-carb--low energy, low sex-drive, still hungry kind of a lot). I added those carbs in things like more tomatoes, more fruit, and sweet potatoes. I also probably ate more calories just because I wasn't documenting everything.. but did stick with primal. In 1 week I gained 1-2 lbs eating this way and still didn't feel any better, so I quit. I decided just to eat more fat and protein than I would have normally eaten, eat lots of whole foods and fruits and veggies, and eat a small about of bread and such. I've been doing that for the past few weeks now, while still continuing to exercise mostly primally. I realized that my biggest problem is binge-eating and/or losing control and this has always been the reason I don't stick with things. So I'm studying more about binge eating, overeating, and emotional eating and trying to work through some of that.. while also trying to make healthy habits such as having some plain herbal tea after dinner instead of reaching for sweet or crunchy foods. I still have an uncontrollable urge to eat crappy food (by the way, I never lost my sweet tooth, never felt better eating lower carbs, never felt really satiated, was always hungry especially when I tried IF, and I even tried making low-carb, wheat and sugar-free foods to still allow myself the occasional treat without messing with my body too much... but even that led to binges).

    Now I just don't know what to do. No matter how much I eat (including lots of protein, fat, and whole foods with fiber) I'm still hungry most of the time. I'm afraid to eat as much as my stomach tells me to eat because I think I'll gain weight (I know a pound doesn't sound like a lot, but when you have my history of trying to lose weight only to lose control and gain it all back it IS a lot.. oh, ya, and that pound did translate into inches).

    So I guess.. what do you think I should do? I'm willing to try primal again... but I don't want to count anything. I don't want to be hungry. I also don't want to gain weight. How do I get over that hump and get to the point of feeling great like you all do.. and losing weight like everyone seems to do so effortlessly??? From everything I've read I should be able to just add more fat and feel satiated. Or maybe fat and protein. I just ate an omelet with 2 eggs, onions, garlic, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, and spinach plus a side of avocado and a small piece of chicken. I probably used 1T or 2t of butter to prepare it (by the way, when I started primal, I added a lot more fat than that and still had the same problem). It seems to me like a good mix of protein, fat, and fiber.. and it was a big breakfast. I had that less than 2 hours ago and I'm starting to get hungry. I thought that I was addicted to sugar and wheat flour and so I made a lower carb banana bread muffin with almond flour and a tiny bit of honey. It was so good I couldn't stop eating it.

    What's the best way to get over that primal cold... no carb, low carb, primal with moderate carb, more calories...? How do I get over being hungry all the time? Why did I gain weight eating primally when supposedly all the fat would make me satisfied and I wouldn't eat too much? How do I control my binges that aren't even brought on by what everyone says start binges, ie sugar and wheat? Can anyone help me?? Thanks for your time!

  • #2
    Took six months before I actually put the fork down during a meal. 3000 calories that evening and the last bit was most of a pound of beef. So I know how it feels to always be hungry. Some people will start barking about leptin any second. They might be right. All I know is that when I skip breakfast and eat mountains of primal fare for dinner, I'm good to go. That means two or three courses including (but not limited to) a pile of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots with frozen spinach cooked in tallow, then a steak salmon or two cooked in coconut oil, then more if I think my stomach can hold it. But then I'm not remotely hungry in the morning, and easily can skip lunch if I want. Perhaps I reset my leptin without knowing it. But skipping breakfast, or having a fat-only breakfast (coconut milk in black coffee) is working for me. The hunger monster is gone, I've had to start adding seasoning to my food to make it yummier instead of just shoveling it down like a barbarian. But give it time.
    Crohn's, doing SCD


    • #3
      You need to give your body a chance. Slow down. Make one plan and stick with it for a little while to see how it affects you rather than jumping back and forth.

      Put your scale AWAY, in the back of your closet or something, for a month.

      Eliminate grains and legumes, minimize dairy (partly because it might trigger cravings for you; dairy foods can be highly addictive), and get your carbs mostly from Primal tubers like sweet potatoes.

      Eat mostly meat, fish, fowl, vegetables, and tubers. Grass-fed/wild-caught is best. Don't go wild on nuts; use them as condiments, because they hinder weight loss for a lot of people.

      Fat is a great long-lasting fuel source, but it is NOT as satiating as protein. Protein will keep you feeling full and satisfied the longest of any nutrient. Aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day if you are really trying to keep yourself satisfied and feeling full all the time. That is way more than the 70g a day you are eating now.

      If you really want something sweet, eat some berries. Don't go wild. Do not add sugar or sweeteners to anything.

      Try not to eat in between meals. If your meals are big and satisfying and full of protein, you shouldn't need snacks. Keep yourself occupied with tasks that need to get done instead of worrying about eating.

      DO NOT GIVE UP if you gain a pound. Give it some time to work. But you should not even KNOW if you gained a pound or not, because you should have put your scale AWAY.

      Keep track of how you feel, how you perform when you exercise, and how you look. If these things are improving by the end of the month, then what you are doing is working. If you really must measure something, measure your hip and waist every week.

      You do not need to go very low-carb if it doesn't work well for you. You can eat plenty of sweet potatoes, banana, plantain, etc. Again, don't go nuts, use your judgment. But don't feel like Primal has to = low-carb.

      The cravings take a long time to beat. They are not going to magically disappear right away for everyone. I've been doing this over a year and I still fall prey to them from time to time. But they are less frequent now and much more manageable, and I tend to be able to satisfy them with some berries or very dark chocolate instead of beer and pizza. It takes time.

      Nailing down stress and sleep issues can also be a big factor in getting your hunger and cravings in line. So if you live a high-stress life and/or don't sleep well, you're going to have real trouble making progress.

      Basically follow all the Primal Laws, not just the food ones, ignore your scale for a while, and GIVE IT TIME. Not everyone takes the magic Primal pill and immediately gets shredded. It still takes dedication and work.
      Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

      My Primal Journal


      • #4
        This ^

        It's not a straight line process and your body is doing some healing along with the weight loss.


        • #5
          Thanks so far guys! I did put away my scale a few days ago because I realized how much it changed my mood to see the numbers. I've been weighing and measuring (and photographing) on the 1st of every month so I guess I can start implementing and wait until the 1st to check things out. It just sucks knowing how hard I'm going to work to give up sweet foods and bread for a month and knowing that I could GAIN weight is just insane. I don't have a stressful life so that shouldn't be an issue.. my sleep schedule sucks and likely won't change (out of my control) but I could try to nap more maybe. I am aiming to have more fat and protein in every meal and see how that makes me feel...... I guess we'll see. Uncephalized-you said to not snack.. what if I'm really hungry?? With the research I'm doing on binge-eating and such it says to eat if you have to so you don't get overly hungry... should I just ignore that and try to stick with the plan and see what happens?


          • #6
            When you eat, you should eat until you have to stop. If that means eating 2500 calories for dinner and 800 calories for lunch, it should also keep you full between meals. If you are getting hungry between meals, then the meals might not be calorically dense enough. It takes the stomach about six hours to digest a good quantity of fat. If and when I do snack, I make it high-fat. Usually an avocado. Just remember to balance out the omegas (if you do have avocado) with some O3 later in another meal. Mackerel and salmon do that for me. And I eat a whole can of mackerel for lunch every day, oil off the top and all the bones.
            Crohn's, doing SCD


            • #7
              knifegill-That sounds fantastic but that's roughly what I tried to do that 3rd week when I gained weight. Do you think that if I do that for a while (and gain weight) I'll eventually get to a point where I don't eat as much so I can lose again? Is being full (or not hungry) between meals really worth gaining weight?


              • #8
                I think one of the main points is to stop weighing so maniacally. I know it's hard and I fall prey to it too (and after reading this I'm putting my scales away!!) but just remember, your weight changes dramatically throughout the day, depending on when & how much you've eaten, drank, and whether you've passed your bowels recently!! Your bladder alone can hold nearly 2lbs of urine when completely full! So be patient with and easier on your body as it's just chugging away, doing what it does best, and like someone said earlier, it's healing and changing too :-)

                I've only been primal for about 3 weeks and it's a HUGE learning curve for your brain and your body. Sometimes I don't feel hungry AT ALL and other times I'm binging on "primal treats" because they're made with almond flour, they must be ok, right? I'd say just get your lean protein up...grilled chicken breast, pork chops, make a hearty beef stew (I have some amazing recipes I can send ya!) eggs for breakfast. I make lots and lots AND lots of stuff out of cauliflower, add butter, cream etc (don't be too afraid of the dairy fat, it's yummy!!) and keep reading & posting for support. People out on these forums love to show the amazing transformations they've made, and frankly they're great to see...but I think it's safe to say that for every quick transformation, theres someone struggling. Remember to be the tortoise and not the hare in this race of life :-)


                • #9
                  Does anyone know more about leptin... maybe in terms of personal experience or you've read all the science? I just stumbled across it today and I seem to have a lot of the symptoms.... one of the other interesting things I saw was about the mice that didn't have their leptin levels correct... fed a high-fat diet they gained weight (just like I did). Am I jumping to conclusions or could I be on to something??


                  • #10
                    Oh ya, London Gal, send over the recipes!!! You can never have too many recipes. We're making beef stew tomorrow actually (it will be my first time really eating beef in like 7 years.. but it's the only local meat available to me.. and it's purely grass-fed!). I use cauliflower for lots of stuff too.. anything I should know about? I already do cauliflower rice and mashed "potatoes". What else?


                    • #11
                      Mash, puree, rice, soup, more mash, in stir fries, on the side, curried, fritters. I saw a great recipe for coconut-cauliflower that looks yummy but yet to try! I get some recipes together and I'm well jealous of your local supply of grass-fed beef! I love lamb shanks slow roasted/braised too... And a whole chicken goes a LONG way!!!


                      • #12
                        I would start by eating closer to 90g of protein, splitting it among the 3 meals, since you are trying to lose weight, you should try to keep your carbs under 100g, again evenly split among your 3 meals. Then decide how many calories you want to consume in a day and fill the rest in with fat. In the beginning you will likely go over your intended calories.

                        I did the leptin reset for 4 weeks, gained a pound, might have helped leptin who knows. Started doing what I just suggested to you, figured out how many grams of protein I needed, how many carbs I needed, then filled in with fat to get to my target calorie count and I have lost 4 pounds in 3 days. (not water weight as I have been very low carb since April, and am on a diuretic for high BP for at least 6 months). To get my target calories I went to a bmi calculator, then to a bmr calculator, subtracted 500 a day, and voila target. No it is not all about calories (before I get attacked), it definitely depends on what kind of calories they are, but FOR ME, to lose weight I needed the extra boost from adding counting the calories.

                        Good Luck
                        "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain."

                        My journal:

                        My "Program": doing my version of a 4:3 - 3 day fast diet with real food every day, with a little twist of anti-inflammatory mixed in.


                        • #13
                          We sound so much alike! I am the same size as you too! My cravings never stopped until I did the Primal/Leptin diet like Jack Kruse states on his website. Killed my cravings and hunger! I never thought this would happen without pills. I lost a bunch of weight last year on hCG and then I regained some of it because I can't control the hunger/carb cravings. I ate all day long and was still hungry. Then I tried this! The breakfast part sucks because you have to eat a ton of protein but it works like a charm even on day one. Gets easier and less cravings with time too. Here it is MY LEPTIN PRESCRIPTION | Jack Kruse Read the FAQ too!

                          There is an 800+ post about this too in the nutrition section. Very informative!


                          • #14
                            Whoa nellie!!! You tried primal for a month and jumped into IF! Slow down!!

                            The first step in primal is allowing your body to heal from all the dietary/lifestyle crap that has occurred in your whole LIFETIME. This will not be fixed in a month, and your body is going to fluctuate until you find equilibrium. The manic energy and stress comes pouring through on your posts.

                            I would start by eliminating wheat and dairy, and do not count calories/ratios! Allow your body to go through low carb flu, and detox from those. EAt ample veggies, and allow plenty of time for adequate rest. Observe your changes in hunger/satiety neutrally, not "OMG I am STARVING I must eat something NOW!" As you said, start cueing into the emotional drive behind your hunger. Perhaps journalling a bit may be helpful. For others it just makes them more obsessive about their hunger states.

                            I have drunk the Leptin Reset Koolaid, and it was amazing how it broke through my sugar/sweets addictions. For that program it is imperative that you give it the full 8-10 weeks of healing, and do not carry the expectation that weight will just melt off at the beginning. Your body is 'sick' and in order to get rid of the excess weight you need to get 'well' first, and then the weight will come off. This takes time, patience, and confidence that results will come when your body is ready for them.


                            • #15
                              Thanks again for everyone's input. A lot of this stuff I probably knew (or should have known) but I guess it helps to hear it. I won't be starting a leptin restart soon (I have 3 friends coming to visit in the next month.. and I live in a studio apartment.. the sleep part alone would be very hard) but I guess I'll just work on primal for the month and see how I feel. I did weigh/measure myself TODAY in order to have another "starting point" that I can watch... and on the positive side, in the past 2 weeks while I've been trying to just eat in moderation (but sort of failing that with a few mini-binges every week) I have lost some inches (but no pounds). So at least I am still going in the right direction and feel like I can relax a bit and let nature take it's course. So today I'll start with eating more protein and fat in every meal.. and no more bread/chips/beans. No eating in between meals. Soon I'll try to stop (or slow) the dairy. I have been somewhat journaling and I'll keep that up. In a month if I still don't feel good eating primally then I might try the leptin reset (or at least I'll read more about it this month). Tonight for dinner I'm having beef stew (grass-fed local beef) which is really big for me because while I've tasted beef a few times in the past few years, I haven't had a meal with beef in.... something like 5 years (maybe 4.. maybe 8). So I'm hoping that I and my body like it and I can start rotating beef with the fish and chicken I eat now. Thanks again guys... I'll try to remember to write here occasionally to let you know how I'm doing