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Getting more primal - but I think I'm putting ON weight!

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  • Getting more primal - but I think I'm putting ON weight!

    I've been trying to get more primal lately. I'd like to find out if anyone else tried to go primal ended up putting on weight (at first). A few years ago when my health was particularly bad, I was doing some experiments on myself and found that a way of eating similar to primal was how I felt best. I didn't totally stick with it and am trying to get back on the wagon.

    Why I'm going primal: I'm trying to improve my health and get rid of those last 5 pounds that stand between me looking good and looking great. (I'm a normal weight but carry a bit of fat around the middle which I'd rather not have.)

    Primal isn't a huge dietary change as I've been totally gluten-free for several years, and have never drank sodas, etc. I've been trying to reduce my potato/rice/sugar intake and eat more meat, veggies and fat.

    It's been about a month since I started making a big effort. I'm definitely not 100% compliant but definitely eating fewer carbs and less sugar than I was before.

    I don't feel like my jeans fit any better, and today when I went to weigh myself, I saw that I've put on around 4 or 5 pounds since I started a month ago. Woah!

    Did anyone else experience this?

    I'm wondering if I might be:
    1. Indulging in too many cheats (the daily bit of dark chocolate, bit of rice at an indian restaurant, occasionally some potatoes next to a steak)

    2. Just plain eating too much (trying to eat fewer meals may mean I'm subconsciously trying to eat more healthy food so that I'm not hungry later)

    3. Something else is going on

    I don't think I'm doing particularly a lot of exercise so it can't be muscle gain.

    Any advice? Thanks.

  • #2
    How do you feel? Any different since lowering carbs? It could just be "water weight", in which case you might look into your mineral intake (electrolytes).

    If you're concerned about eating too much, you might find it beneficial to enter your food into a tracking site like or to see how much you're getting in calories. What does your average day look like in terms of food intake?
    Depression Lies


    • #3
      I found when I started eating primal, I didn't loose as much (hardly at all) when I was not 100%. I went to 100% and weight is falling off. I think I was consuming too much with the non primal. It's easy to forget just how much "bad" stuff you ate unless you log it. So I say log your intake or go 100% a few weeks and see if that changes.


      • #4
        You are eating too much primal food. Eat less and the weight will come off. And if you are eating fewer carbs you have probably lost water weight, so its possible your weight gain is even more substantial than the scale says.


        • #5
          I had the same experience and it was definitely from eating too many calories. The food you're eating is also very nutritious so your body wants to use every bit of it. Remember that you're eating higher quality foods, so you don't have to eat as much as you used to.

          An avocado a day keeps the doctor away!


          • #6
            Wow, you all are great. Thanks for the responses.

            You're probably right that I'm eating more than I need to. I'm probably over-compensating to avoid hunger or a sense of deprivation. Good point that the food is more nutritious and my body is trying to "hold on" to more of it. I'm going to try to work on portion sizes -- I generally haven't been limiting how much I consume of meats or vegetables or the fats that go with them.

            Any other ideas?

            Here is what a typical day looks like for me:

            Morning: I tend to wake up pretty late (between 8 and 10 AM). Sometimes I have nothing, a piece of fruit, or if I get up early enough then something like eggs.

            Lunch: Large portion of what's now almost completely veggies and meats and fats like olive oil or occasionally cheese (I kicked the rice and potatoes out)

            Afternoon: Primal or not, I run out of energy around 2-3 PM. I've changed my sweet snack(s) or potato chips into my big indulgence of the day, a small (1-1.5 oz) bar of 70% dark chocolate. Occasionally I will also have a piece of fruit or nuts. Even on weekends I have trouble going without some sort of afternoon snack, primal or not.

            Dinner: This varies a lot. I try to go for some meats and veg, but there's sometimes also wine. If I go out to a restaurant, there is occasionally other stuff (hummus, rice) but I'm trying to reduce those. I've tried to get rid of the desserts after dinner.

            Weekends are more flexible. Mostly getting rid of these desserts, social pressures aside.

            All is gluten-free.

            Thanks. You are all really great.


            • #7
              If nothing else had changed except your diet, you could be consuming too much. I often think that I would be making more headway if I ate a little less, but damn, I love food! So that's one thing I'm still working on.

              Some thoughts...don't fear hunger. Use it to your advantage. Learn to let your body tell you when it needs to refuel. Let yourself get hungry and really get to know what true hunger feels like. I know that in the past (and even now sometimes) I will think "oh good, there's a hunger twinge, I get to eat now!" ...when a glass of water or a cup of tea would do the trick. Often those pangs pass quickly and aren't true hunger.

              Plan your meals, but don't feel the need to eat them at "meal" times if you're not hungry. Skip a meal, or delay a meal if you want to and your schedule allows it. There is no "deprivation" to fear if you know that when you're good and ready, there's a fantastic pile of food waiting for you. Food should never be an afterthought.

              The only way I know to avoid straying when you eat away from home, is to do it less often. If you're in a social situation, make the best choices from what's available, but don't sweat the sub-primal choices. Life happens, and good food should be a positive part of it.
              *My obligatory intro

              There are no cheat days. There are days when you eat primal and days you don't. As soon as you label a day a cheat day, you're on a diet. Don't be on a diet. ~~ Fernaldo

              DAINTY CAN KISS MY PRIMAL BACKSIDE. ~~ Crabcakes


              • #8
                I found when I started eating primal


                • #9
                  The energy crash in the afternoon indicates cortisol imbalance. If your hormones are out of whack, you may have a while before you lose any weight. Your metabolic health needs to heal first.