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Best source of entry-level info for the very overweight?

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  • Best source of entry-level info for the very overweight?

    Hi all. Sorry for the newbie question - I have searched the site but cannot find what I am looking for.

    I was wondering if there are any links/advice/suggestions for how to approach primal eating primarily for weight loss. I have over 100 lbs to lose. I have read the book, which was fantastic, but frankly seemed to be aimed at someone with a much higher level of mobility than I have and perhaps much less weight to lose.

    For example with respect to fruits, dairy - the message seems a little muzzy. I read about the fat loss carb "sweet spot" of 100-150 per day, but I have no idea how to "get there."

    I would love to see some meal plans in the lower-carb range or get some advice from folks who have lost significant weight (especially women over 40 like myself).

    It would also be great to see a plan or suggestions for transitioning into primal fitness. At the moment, it's quite an effort to even walk, but I would like to challenge myself with some entry-level primal fitness.

    I guess what I am looking for is "entry level" both on the fitness and nutrition side. Anyone else BTDT and have any suggestions for further reading? I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

    P.S. I realize there is a new book out - for those of you who have read it, do you think the exercise portion is do-able for a total newbie?

    Thanks, everyone. Love this site!


  • #2
    First off, welcome and big congrats on making the decision to do this - and do it right. When I started going Primal/Low-carb last spring, I had about 55lb to lose (still have 10-12 to go, I've been treading water lately). I too was inspired by the Carb Curve and resolved to get below 100g per day. To do that, I tracked my food intake at sparkpeople for a couple of weeks while eating normally, no Primal meals yet. I wanted to see the carb/fat/protein balance of my regular diet. After 14 days or so, I had enough information to know what to cut out and what to boost. I immediately dropped all wheat, added sugar and all fruits.

    For the fitness part, I did no exercise the first month except for some walking at a normal pace for 20 mins a day. IMO, people who try to fix their diet AND start a new workout plan at the same time are setting themselves up to fail. Get the food part sorted out first (follow the 80/20 rule - weight loss is 80% diet, 20% exercise). Once you've lost 10-15lb from eating right, you can work in some exercise. I do HIIT, a little lifting, and walking. There are low impact HIIT routines that aren't very hard on joints, if that's an issue for you.

    Good luck in your Primal quest! You're in the right place.
    2011 - The year I went Primal
    Start weight: 198 / Waist: 32"
    CW: 158.5 / Waist: 28"
    GW: 145-ish
    Supplements: Calcium and O-3 in AM. Natural Calm, Valerian Root Extract and sublingual Melatonin in PM (for lifelong chronic insomnia).


    • #3
      I haven't been in your situation, but I agree that diet should come first. Once you get that in order, you're bound to lose a little weight and have more energy to up your activity level a little. One step at a time. Tracking is also a good tool to get a feel for carbs and how they effect your weight loss and how you feel. As for meal plans, I think Mark did a post about what he eats in a typical day. You could use that as a starting point and tweak it to your tastes. Best of luck! You're making the right decision!


      • #4
        I have about 30 pounds left to lose and wanted to start the fitness part, and was afraid of the whole weight lifting aspect at first! What helped me was watching Mark do the bodyweight exercises on youtube. Once I saw that I didn't have to start with full pushups/pullups, etc, I was relieved, I mean, I can do a few pushups upright against the wall! I'm now on to the next levels, and I am not moving forward until I am ready.


        • #5
          If you havent already, download the primal fitness ebook, and start physical activity from there. Mark goes into the very smallest ways to start, which is where I started. Squats weren't even as much as getting up and down from a chair. Pushups begin by using a wall. It has links to YouTube videos that I found really helpful.

          There is a link on the homepage that says start here, believe it. Even if the only thing you do is cut out grains and sugars, and start eating whole, natural foods, you are more than well on your way. I've lost about 80lbs so far and am starting to finally believe I can lose the 100 or so more I need to, and fixing my diet and sleep have been the bulk of the changes.

          It's not easy. Not at first, but it gets easier. Start a journal and keep track of where you are, before long it will be where you've come from. If its a whole, natural food, don't be afraid to eat it. I found the best way to squash sugar cravings was to eat something fatty, like bacon. I used to eat crazy amounts of the stuff, but after 8 months I only rarely eat it. You might start thinking of this as a diet, but it doesn't take long, a couple of months, before this is all you want to eat, real food!
          Fighting fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain since 2002.

          Big Fat Fiasco

          Our bodies crave real food. We remain hungry as long as we refuse to eat real food, no matter how much junk we stuff into our stomachs. ~J. Stanton


          • #6
            Thanks for the great advice, everyone. There is so much information on the site, it's almost *too* much!


            • #7
              Originally posted by Daisynyc View Post
              Thanks for the great advice, everyone. There is so much information on the site, it's almost *too* much!
              I can guarantee that it IS too much - lots of people have different tweaks that work for some, not for others, and people share all kinds of great information. It can be difficult to wade through, and easy to get lost. As long as you stick to the basic principles to start with, you'll be well on your way
              Fighting fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain since 2002.

              Big Fat Fiasco

              Our bodies crave real food. We remain hungry as long as we refuse to eat real food, no matter how much junk we stuff into our stomachs. ~J. Stanton


              • #8
                I'm creeping up on 100 down (I've lost 85 so far, and counting). I'm 42, female.

                If there is one good thing about needing to lose a whole lot of weight, it's that it's easy to lose that first "chunk" and it happens quickly. I could pretty much just look at the cover of The Primal Blueprint and lose weight (in the beginning, at least--things are different now for me). You will get to the point where things will slow down and what you are doing will have to change, but you need not worry about that at this point.

                FOR NOW:

                Here's a basic food plan to get you going:
                B: 4-egg omelet with a ton of veggies; coffee, tea, or chai (pick your poison) with heavy cream
                L: Bigass salad with a whole can of tuna or salmon or sardines piled on top (see Mark's BAS vid on YouTube--mine are twice that size!); make your own salad dressing and load it on there
                S: Berries or apple or apricots with a piece of cheese and/or a handful of nuts or a hard-boiled egg
                D: Ground beef curry cooked up in coconut oil, made with a whole can of coconut milk, and LOTS of the following vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions ... and one smallish carrot (if you really like them)

                Exercise: As much of a hardass as I am around here about exercise, I personally would give you a pass for the first month. You are going to be feeling run-down as your body converts from using carbs as its fuel source to your stored fat instead. But after a month, you've got to get up and get going, girl. To start out with, you can do things like:
                - water exercise classes or just even walking laps in the pool (and being big is no excuse; everyone in that water fitness class is either in the same boat themselves, too old to even see anymore, or are rehabbing a severe injury and have much bigger fish to fry than ogling you)
                - intentionally make your housework more physical, such as squatting when you usually just bend at the waist, really reeeaaching for shelves and when dusting, really plow through on that vacuum
                - getting in and out of chairs using just your leg and butt muscles and abs to push you off (don't use hands to assist); repeat this several times, up-down, when you're at home
                - any time you are watching TV, during the commercials, you have GOT to be up and moving somehow -- either quickie housework or dancing, something. anything; then, when your show comes back on, you can plop back down on the couch again
                - wall pushups, as someone mentioned above
                - dance to one song every day, with arms up over head (my recent faves: My Sharona by the Knack and Heart of Glass by Blondie)

                Once you can get that first good chunk off (so you know, a "chunk" is defined as ~30-40 pounds ) and your body is no longer inflamed and hurty all the time, you'll be able to do more ... you'll WANT to do more.

                Check back in with us once that first big chunk is gone. The game plan might need to be changed then.
                "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates


                • #9
                  Hey Jes,

                  I'm a member of the 100lb club. Totally understand where you are coming from. I was probably a bit more comfortable with exercise than you at this point.

                  I will second that in the early stages, all of this is WAY overwhelming. Don't be bothered by that. I'll go a little farther than some and tell you what I think is the important first steps. That isn't to disagree with anyone above...I do not disagree...but the last thing I want is for you to be intimidated by the deluge of input. Even just the content of MDA or the book is quite a bit to digest initially.

                  So, I think two things are worth doing right away. They have both been mentioned.

                  Diet is #1. So I definitely agree that you should just cut out grain, sugar and fruit. Just do it now...its not going to get any easier and the need is not going away. And from a weight loss perspective, that is going to be far and away the most beneficial changes. Just eat what you want till you get over that change.

                  Second, I would immediately start some form of exercise. I'll just call it movement, because I realize that you may not be up to much. Pick some level you feel you can do. It might be as small as getting up a few times and walking around the house. I'm not suggesting you do anything intially that puts you at risk, but rather to do SOMETHING. There are two aspects to this. First, the actual movement will be of benefit. But in the very early stages, I think the mental attitude and habit are most important. Just commit to do something, and commit to doing more next week.

                  There is a lot better help around here than me. I'm just trying to answer your plea of making it simple.

                  Best wishes. It is a great decision to have made. And I can personally attest, once you get over the first few weeks, you are going to be shocked at the pay off.
                  Last edited by tplank; 10-27-2011, 12:00 PM.


                  • #10
                    I was in your position at one point. I started off at 6'4" 350 lbs, and am on the tail end now at around 255, with maybe another 15-20 to go. I definitely know how you feel. I didn't move around very well, and couldn't just go out and start running or lifting heavy weights or anything. I got so many injuries it was very depressing. What I have to recommend is start off slow! Don't try to go out and run a marathon. I had to start off with walking, elliptical machines (which are a Godsend!), and swimming. I didn't even really start running until around 285 or so. Merely changing your diet to the primal way of thinking even 50% will make all the world of difference and that's what you should concentrate on. Don't worry so much about specifics, just the big picture (which Mark spells out very well in the book). You will fail all the time, the important part is to not let it get you down. There were so many weekends where I'd say, screw it I'm having a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos (my personal nemesis), then feel horrible later. Just don't let those episodes talk you into quitting! Good luck!


                    • #11
                      I don't necessarily fully agree when it comes to the sugar, grain elimination. I think in the early going, it is important to go all in on that one. I agree it is important to not let small failures disrupt progress...but, those are the keys to getting on with significant weight loss for most people.

                      And certainly, +1 on the elliptical if you have one available. Very easy to get started on those.


                      • #12
                        I am 70 years old (both post-menopausal and hypothyroid, so a very slow metabolism) and began seriously losing at about age 64. I've lost almost 200 lbs after a lifetime of morbid obesity. If I can lose, you can too.

                        I didn't discover Primal until near the end of my weight loss, and in terms of food, I was already doing everything Mark advises, except that I must (even now) keep my carb level much lower because of sensitivity to carbs. I average no more than 20g a day, eating a generic low carb diet, mainly fish, meat, eggs, and some veggies. Way back in the 1970s when I first read Dr. Atkins, he advised everyone to find their 'critical carbohydrate level,' the amount you can eat and lose. Unfortunately, my level is very low, but it seems 'normal' to me, as I thrive on low carb and have never felt better in my life.

                        I'd advise you to try to discover your own carb level rather than go by what anyone else says. It varies with individuals; we're all unique.

                        I'd second what everyone else has said about waiting on exercise. Dr. Michael Eades (an obesity, low carb guy) actually advises people to wait because he says that as the pounds disappear, the person feels impelled to exercise, and I've found that to be true.

                        Try to find out what works best for you. For example, although I don't IF, I cycle calories, eating very low one day and higher the next. I had to do that because after I lost the first 80 lbs, I found that I had to seriously restrict calories, and cycling helps me do that. You may not have that problem because you're so much younger, but keep in mind that as your body gets smaller, you will need to eat less because you require less food. I've seen so many people 'stall' half way to their goal because they don't understand this.

                        Personally, what has helped me the most is to focus on getting my protein requirments met, and I eat a high protein breakfast (usually my biggest meal of the day). As I low carbed, I gradually eliminated all grains, sugar, dairy, and, finally, artificial sweeteners (because I discovered that anything with a sweet taste is a trigger for me). When I discovered Primal, the only change I made was to substitute almond butter (which I love) for peanut butter. That's my major 'treat.'

                        You can do this!


                        • #13
                          I am 60, and I too, have found the hardest part the exercise portion. I do LHT two times (most weeks) and I have figured out how to do very modified versions of the five main exercises.

                          I started with wall pushups and am working down in levels -- I am now doing them on my kitchen counter (36 inches.) Squats I have always been able to do -- but I find that my pulse rate really skyrockets, so I'm only doing between 20 and 30, and doing them slowly. Planks, I found that Mark's "easy" plank work-up-to full planks were harder on me (and my wrists) than regular planks -- so I do regular planks and now do them for about 35 seconds.

                          The tough ones are chin-ups and overhead presses. I am using my Total Gym for these, but you probably don't have one at home. I have looked at Mark's videos for these, and I don't find that they work very well for me, but the Total Gym (with the workouts done on a slanted board) do work. My gym, which I don't go to often, had a pull-up/chin-up machine that I enjoyed using. That, plus a sitting overhead press machine could work for those two basic exercises.

                          I'm slowly working up to sprints -- I'm going to be doing one or two 30 sec. sprints with at least 90 sec. recovery times to start. I have found that I feel it in my chest/lungs for several weeks, so I'm taking that really slow.

                          Moving slow is great -- I love wandering around (the shopping center, or walking the dogs.)

                          Overall, modify, modify, modify. Don't feel bad if you really have to modify to get it done. If needs be, get a trainer to help you modify. Above all, don't overdo and injure yourself.

                          Good luck! It is a lifetime journey and you are just starting.
                          Life is an ongoing Experiment of One, so here's to science!

                          My Primal Journal:


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ElaineC View Post
                            I can guarantee that it IS too much - lots of people have different tweaks that work for some, not for others, and people share all kinds of great information. It can be difficult to wade through, and easy to get lost. As long as you stick to the basic principles to start with, you'll be well on your way
                            This is very good advice...Good luck to you, and Rock Out with your Grok Out!
                            Free your mind, and your Grok will follow!


                            • #15
                              I've lost a little over 50 lbs with no more exercise than walking. Someone told me you eat to look good in clothes and you exercise to look good naked I was happy to just get to where I looked good in clothes and only recently added in more exercise. So if walking is what works, then just walk.

                              I second the suggestions to just start with the basics. See what works and then tweak only IF you need to.

                              I really like this blog and a basic entry (although I prefer to be grain-free and he allows small amounts of non-gluten grains). I can't imagine anyone incorporating these changes and not seeing results:
                              Archevore - Archevore Diet
                              Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )