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New to Primal - tough time ditching the carbs/sugars

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  • New to Primal - tough time ditching the carbs/sugars

    Hi there,

    I'm new to Primal living - I have read Mark's book (the first one) and also purchased the 21 day transformation and am reading that right now. I have read/started to read some other primal/paleo books. I totally identify with the theme behind Primal living. Even though I don't think I am severely gluten intolerant, I know that I feel better on days I avoid grains ...

    However, it is proving VERY difficult for me to give up grains and sweets. I do not have the worst diet out there, but I definitely don't have the best. My diet consists of what America "thinks" is healthy, mixed in w/ a weakness for Cherry Coke. I started working out at the end of last year and I have really come to love my nightly workouts. I don't want to give them up and they are definitely intense. Do I have to give them up in order to truly follow a Primal lifestyle?

    My main question is this though: when you first started, how did you overcome the cravings/socialization to eat the grains/carbs/sugars? I truly want to make the transition but it's like, internally, my brain and body are not communicating! I have read so much about primal lifestyles and paleo dieting and the concepts behind it and in my deepest depths of my soul I truly feel that it is what my body needs. I just can't seem to overcome the cravings and desire to eat the grains/sugars. Any advice?

    PS: A few additional pieces of info: I am 24 y/o female - 5'5 and 165 lbs. The workouts I do are DVDs, a mix of step aerobics, body weight exercises, free weight exercises, and I have also started incorporating walking my dog on the weekends for 1+ hr and have requested a standing desk at work so now I can stand all day long instead of sitting.

  • #2
    It seems your "why" isn't strong enough...

    You have to be prepared to go through the carb flu, it get a bit uncomfortable, and to take a different path/choice when out with friends.

    Sort out why you are doing this - and then be prepared for it to take a while to realise its easy cutting out cardboard from your diet (because thats what grains taste like when you cut them out for a while)

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    • #3
      You don't have to go through the carb flu. You don't have to go cold turkey. I took it slower. And I still eat white rice, potatoes and corn tortillas when I want. (all organic) And at 70 I am in great shape. Far better than when I started 3 years ago.

      But, yeah, you do pretty much have to give up refined sugar and wheat. The fewer grains you eat, generally the better. But doing intense workouts, you can afford to eat fairly clean carbs like white rice and potatoes.

      Heavy workouts are fine as long as you are having fun. Chronic cardio is mostly about your mental state.

      Experiment. Find what works for you.

      The coke has to go. I put (organic) vanilla extract in seltzer water, with a few drops of stevia. (That's the best sweetener for primal, although a little bit of honey is ok.) Believe me, I love coke. But it just isn't good for you.
      Ancestral Health Info - My blog about Primal and the general ancestral health movement. Site just remodeled using HTML5/CSS3 instead of Wordpress.

      My MDA Friday success story - Stubborn Senior's Testimonial

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      • #4
        For me I told myself I would go completely grain/sugar free for one month. It wasn't easy to do, but I got through the carb flu and will now never look back. I feel 10x better than I ever have.

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        • #5
          I was a bit of a sugar monster too (gluten wasn't that much of a big deal for me as I gave it up years ago anyway - still have white rice every now and then though). I could happily eat all the chocolate in the world!

          The best thing that helped me give up sugar was fat and going cold turkey. I completely cut out sugar for as long as possible (well a week) including sweeteners, fruit etc. and any time I felt that I "had" to have something sweet I had something fatty instead (usually double cream / heavy cream). I now only have sugar once a week when a friend brings a gluten free cake for us to share after dinner and I have really noticed the difference (belly is shrinking much quicker than it was when I was primal but still a sugar burner). No longer crave sweet things which may be down to much more stable blood sugars.

          However, I think the best way is to tackle one thing at a time but thats just my opinion. As Smartuko says, cutting it out completely works too - just depends on the person you are. I'm one of those people that, if I think I am depriving myself of something will go and eat it just to prove I can (I'm weird like that!) so the stealth method worked for me. Maybe start with grains and get that dialled in then tackle the sugar (or visa versa).
          "Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow."
          Doug Firebaugh

          "What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself."
          Hecato, Greek philosopher


          Take the first step.
          Even if you cannot see the whole staircase,
          Just take the first step.
          ~MLK, Jr

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          • #6
            You definitely do not give up the intense workouts if you don't want to. I love mine and I still do them.

            As for the sugar and carbs, stop buying processed foods and trash or donate all the remaining crap in your house if you can. Carb flu is only terrible if you go really low carb within your first few weeks or months and you don't have to do that either. I'm a high vegetable carb eater myself and I'm quite slim, so that's fair interpretation that it works.
            F 28/5'4/100 lbs

            "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."

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            • #7
              Originally posted by candiceena View Post
              I know that I feel better on days I avoid grains ...

              My diet consists of what America "thinks" is healthy, mixed in w/ a weakness for Cherry Coke.

              How did you overcome the cravings/socialization to eat the grains/carbs/sugars? I truly want to make the transition
              Hi Candiceena and welcome to the primal lifestyle. It sounds to me like you have your bases pretty much covered when it comes to exercise but are not really onboard with the eating side, which is really where you will find the most benefits to your health.

              If you truly intend to change the way you eat, then I think the key is in the planning. Make a meal plan, get the supplies, carve out some time to prepare and eat your food.

              When it comes to social pressure, it would help if you can arrange your life so that primal options are always readily available to you. eg carry a snack such as nuts or salami with you, keep your fridge stocked with items that are ready to eat like a boiled egg, some precooked chicken, prepared veges ready to assemble into a salad, and some olive oil to dress it with.

              Personally I found that ditching the grains cold turkey ie literally overnight was the best way for me to kick the addiction. I did it first as a trial, then was so completely astounded by how much better I felt that it was not real hard for me to overcome temptation. Learn to consider things like Coke as completely undesirable because of how bad they are for you.

              The longer you resist these things, the less tempting they become. At first you kind of have to outwit yourself, but it gets a lot easier as you go on because you will actually find that primal food truly does taste better as well as being better for you.

              All the best
              Last edited by Annieh; 03-27-2013, 03:06 AM.
              Annie Ups the Ante
              http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread117711.html

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              • #8
                I am on my 4th week- and it does get easier. We went cold turkey on the grains, and eased into the sweets. Now, even a sweet apple tastes very sweet to me. I have avoided sugar for the most part except a few pieces of dark chocolate and have found the cravings mostly gone. I still do miss coke, I'll be honest. It seems easier to walk away from it, though, as the days go by. I am eating 1-2 servings of fruit per day, and include starchy veggies most days at dinner such as squash or sweet potatoes.

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                • #9
                  Oh hell yeah, keep working out. IMO, if you enjoy it, it is not chronic cardio.

                  It takes time to ditch sweets and grains and you will slip up. A few thoughts:
                  Don't have it at home. Period.
                  Find primal foods you love- bacon, steak, pineapple, lamb, avocados, sweet potatoes, deviled eggs are a few of mine. I LOVE THEM. When I want something, my deviled egg is as much of a treat as a piece of toast ever was.
                  Sugar and grains can actually be a physical addiction. It may suck getting off of them. I cut out grains cold turkey and have slowly eased off sugar.
                  Make sure you are eating enough. Good old healthy eating includes a lot of grain as fill. You probably need more meat on your plate. When I started, I ate 8-10 ounce meat portions. Now I eat closer to 6 ounce portions and more good carbs. But a "deck of cards" piece of meat would not do the trick.

                  Good luck!

                  http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
                  Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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                  • #10
                    Good old healthy eating includes a lot of grain as fill.
                    Magnolia, have you gone to the dark side?
                    "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                    B*tch-lite

                    Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                    • #11
                      Good old healthy eating includes a lot of grain as fill.
                      Magnolia, have you gone to the dark side?
                      I should have said CW (eating grains as fill). Primal healthy replaces that filler with fruits, veggies and meats...nutritious fill.

                      http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
                      Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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                      • #12
                        Hi Candiceena! It will be difficult at first, so you're not alone! I went cold turkey and I think that's the best way to do it, just because you're cutting it off right away. I found it hard to "wean" myself off of it. When my boyfriend went Primal he tried to do it slowly but just decided to go cold turkey, because he found that he kept wanting MORE. IME, it's easier to just get rid of it entirely from your diet rather than having small amounts here and there and wanting more. It was hard at first, especially because I live with people who eat typical SAD fare (and have no intention of changing that) so it's not like I could throw/donate all the crap food. I don't remember if Mark talks about this in the PB since it's been a while since I've read it, but have a look at this article: Is Wheat Addictive? | Mark's Daily Apple. It talks about how wheat can have addictive properties. I've also read about that topic in Wheat Belly and it makes a lot of sense.

                        I think that as long as you keep eating better foods and seeing how good your body feels as a result, you'll be less likely to have cravings or be tempted by bad foods. I live in a house where there's always toast/baguettes/pasta/cakes and I could care less because I know if I eat those foods, I'll feel like total crap. It WILL get easier! If you enjoy those workouts, I don't see any reason for you to stop them either.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by magnolia1973 View Post
                          I should have said CW (eating grains as fill). Primal healthy replaces that filler with fruits, veggies and meats...nutritious fill.
                          Oh, thank goodness! I thought we'd lost you.
                          "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                          B*tch-lite

                          Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Get rid of all sugar, grains, cherry coke, and anything you might find you enjoy eating at all. If you replace all of these with copious amounts of rabbit food and slabs of meat, and force yourself to eat them every meal, eventually your cravings will subside. For a while though, you will struggle. You will avoid social gatherings, contemplate not going to Disney World because of a lack of primal food, etc; Food will become your #1 concern. You will be miserable, but that's okay, your health is more important than your happiness.

                            Good luck friend. Don't worry about the carb flu. That's just your body detoxing all the horrible icky nastiness of the carbs as you adjust to becoming a Fat Burning Beast

                            Oh, btw, everything will be okay because you can eat BACON!!

                            Last edited by Derpamix; 03-27-2013, 06:53 AM.
                            Make America Great Again

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Derpamix View Post
                              Get rid of all sugar, grains, cherry coke, and anything you might find you enjoy eating at all. If you replace all of these with copious amounts of rabbit food and slabs of meat, and force yourself to eat them every meal, eventually your cravings will subside. For a while though, you will struggle. You will avoid social gatherings, contemplate not going to Disney World because of a lack of primal food, etc; Food will become your #1 concern. You will be miserable, but that's okay, your health is more important than your happiness.

                              Good luck friend. Don't worry about the carb flu. That's just your body detoxing all the horrible icky nastiness of the carbs as you adjust to becoming a Fat Burning Beast

                              Oh, btw, everything will be okay because you can eat BACON!!
                              Gosh, I had no idea Cherry Coke was a food. In fact, I just recently learned that I no longer had to fear finding a rat in the bottom of a can of Mountain Dew, because the company claims the rat would be dissolved by the product by the time it got consumed.

                              I very much don't feel deprived. But I'm not of the fast food generation. This is more like my childhood. A protein, some veggie, and a starch. You know, back in the days when obesity in this country was about 10% and your beloved Coke came in 7 oz bottles?

                              I lived in FL for about seven years. Never went to Disney World. Had been to Disney Land in CA and saw no reason to repeat the experience. It had nothing to do with Primal/Paleo, and everything to do with mind numbing entertainment. Let's see, tickets for a Stevie Wonder concert (with money left over for a really nice dinner) or a day in the hot son with a big stuffed rodent? Tough choice.

                              And much like the butter exaggerations made by some, I don't know if most people here are eating big slabs of meat and copious amounts of rabbit food. But then again I'm not living the Cherry Coke dream.
                              "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                              B*tch-lite

                              Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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