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Going Primal w/ highly skeptical wife

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  • Going Primal w/ highly skeptical wife

    Hey all,

    I've just recently taken to trying all of this, and I really believe it can help. Mostly because no matter where I see it brought up, the only people who call it a fad are people who haven't tried it! Everyone who's tried it says it works. I've got a lot of things I'm working through and I wanted to throw it out to the experts (anyone who's seen results counts in my book!)

    Couple things.. first, one of the main draws is that I'm trying to help my wife lose 30+ pounds for our vow renewal ceremony in the end of June, and going primal seems like a good way to do it.

    The problem is she has a weak ankle (something she's had forever), which she injured recently doing jump squats. I'm trying to think of different things we can do to keep cardio going, and help burn fat. We're going on walks around the neighborhood to keep moving, but it's not exactly heart rate elevating work. She's going to start doing water aerobics soon, and biking once the weather warms up. Are there any other low impact things we can do?

    Second part is actually part of the "Don't let perfect get in the way of good" idea.. converting my wife from a pasta lover into a meat and vegetable lover has been a tricky process, especially because she's really picky and doesn't like things like tomatoes and squash, and other things I find delicious =)

    We also (unfortunately) went on a big shopping trip before I heard about the Blueprint, so we have a house loaded with the usual American diet foods (whole wheat of course, because that's the healthy option! =/ ) In an effort to both get rid of that stuff and as a transition method, we're trying a "One carb-based meal per day" mantra to try to lower our intake while still consuming the food we paid for, as well as not overloading her with a complete cold turkey of foods she enjoys.

    However, we've been doing this for about two weeks now (one carb meal per day is putting us around 100-120 I'd estimate) and she's actually gained 1/2 a pound. I'm not giving up because I know we're doing it all wrong, but I was hoping maybe carb reduction would show at least some results. There are probably any number of things getting in the way though, from lack of exercise to poor sleep (I just read the article today, very relevant) to eating on weird schedules (she can't fall asleep before 12-2 a lot of nights, so gets up at like 10-12 the next day and doesn't have much for lunch, then whatever we do for dinner.. maybe screwing up her metabolism?) to perhaps just not cutting out enough carbs from our diet.

    Anyway I know I could probably publish my own competing novel to Mark with all the questions I have, but thanks to anyone that made it this far and maybe has some insight on what the most important things are to change first! It's a slow transition process, but I'm firmly convinced it's worth it having read the scientific studies behind it. Thanks!

    Josh, a Half-Grok

  • #2

    The carbs are causing the weight gain. She MUST stop eating them or she will continue to gain. Exercise is not as important as eating the right foods.

    Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

    Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is:

    Ditch the scale!:

    My Success Story:


    • #3

      Griff, how can you definitely say that? We didn't really see what else they eat during the day. If an individual was a heavy carb-loader before and now dropped the carbs from say 300 a day to 120 a day, why would that cause a weight gain?

      We don't see how much protein and fat they consume with those carbs so it's very hard to tell what exactly causing the weight gain.

      I would say, as soon as all grains are gone from he house (Either you eat them or give them away), start by eliminating all grains. You can still consume certain starchy vegetables and fruits to maintain your carb at 100 or so to avoid going cold turkey, but elimination of the grains should be a priority. Also make sure your next big shopping trip consists of some staple things that we here all love so much like good fats and proteins (avocados, coconut oil, pastured butter, first-press olive oil, beef tallow, grass-fed meats and wild-caught fish).

      Also, don't stress your wife by having her to do too much cardio. Walking with her will be just plenty to start seeing some great results if you correct the diet. As a matter of fact, the more intensive cardio she tries to do, the more it will start getting counterproductive to the efforts of loosing the weight.

      How much does your wife weight right now? It might not be very realistic hoping for her to loose 30 in 2-3 months.


      • #4

        1-How about swimming for exercise? That doesn't seem like it would stress an ankle.

        2-I know it's tough when you've paid for stuff, but if I were in your shoes, I'd just throw out the grains, and such. Just toss them. It took me a long time to get to that point, but even if I bought something in a fit of weakness, when I come to my senses I toss it. Before Primal I'd buy a can of soda because I craved it, take two sips, and go "WTF am I drinking thins shit for?" and toss the rest, and not feel bad about "waste". Although I have to say that at least for me, one of the main benefits of eating this way is having virtually no cravings as I increased the fat intake. YMMV.

        3-As far as your wife's skepticism goes, good luck. Short of the Luddivigo Treatment I don't know of much that can shift hearts and minds.


        • #5

          The idea that 80% of your health is diet based is not in any way a fabrication. I changed to the PB eating style about a month ago, but haven't really tried my hardest to adhere to an exercise regimen, but am still down 16 pounds. My success in the first few weeks was enough to inspire my wife to get on board. Maybe your success will inspire your wife as well?

          Your goals, minus your doubts, equals your reality.
          - Ralph Marston


          • #6

            I agree with Griff. I experienced the most striking fat loss when I was super-vigilant about carbs and never cheated. I was under 50 everyday and under 20 most weekdays. Doing a lot of exercise can actually cause hunger, so I focused on the food first and the workouts second. In full disclosure I did not have a lot to lose, but rather was interested in changing my body composition, but I think the same principles apply.

            It's HARD at first. Anyone who tells you it isn't is lucky or has forgotten. But it becomes easy because it is pretty immediately rewarding.

            Also, I tell everyone this, but I had really awful insomnia before I changed my eating. It was cured in the first week. I'm so grateful for this that it makes me tear up a little bit.


            • #7

              Keep on trucking with the Primal, Irish! Don't fret the injury forcing less "cardio" that's good! Get on the weights, compound motions, body weight exercises. ZERO cardio is about right, maybe less if you can pull that off. Get naps and sleep, kill you TV and internet connections after dark!

              And the food matters, throw away (donate to a food pantry) all those devilish CW foods. You know what to eliminate! Make cooking a family gig, get her in the kitchen and figure out some dishes she likes, don't focus so much on what is IN the meals as what you are leaving OUT (sugar, grains/legumes, veggie/seed oils, starches), it'll fall into place. She may be "meat resistant" if she thinks all she gets is meat!

              Weight is not as important as body comp. Losing fat, gaining muscle can end up at similar weights but with dramatic toning and slimming.

              Sleep/relaxation, water, proper food, some weight/body weight work, Sisson lays it down so well in the 101! And you sound like you *know* all this anyway. Good luck and persevere to endeavor!


              • #8

                I agree with Griff, however if weight loss is your(her) goal, you NEED to exercise. Also, I highly recommend obtaining Mark's book, "The Primal Blueprint." You will find all of the info you need in there, as well as great explanations of how/when/frequent you should exercise. IF (intermittent fasting) will also help greatly! Keep a positive attitude and you can do this!


                • #9


                  Just wondering about this but I don't think 1/2 pound is really a weight gain, that's definitely just fluctuation. I think your wife is probably holding at a steady weight.

                  Also this deadline that you both have to lose weight is counter productive and very stressful. I know that I never lose weight when I have to do it by a certain date/ fit into a certain dress. Also if your wife is reluctant right now I wouldn't push her and men generally respond faster to food changes than women which can be discouraging of you are a woman!

                  I think you should just relax about the whole thing and just enjoy eating healthy for now. If she doesn't lose the weight by then it's going to put a cloud over the day. Forget about the weight loss deadline as that really doesn't have anything to do with the vows does it??


                  • #10

                    I'm the biggest skeptic there is, thanks to having access to a good education in statistical science. My one piece of advice for convincing skeptics is to use the science. There is a plethora of scientific studies cited here at MDA which support its claims. From there...I'd appeal to common sense. Say something like...

                    "this isn't some weird gimmick diet. The idea that we should eat the same diet and do the same exercise as humans did for the first 99.9% of their history just makes sense!"

                    have her read the primal newsletter series. You can subscribe to it in the stickied thread.


                    • #11

                      Lots of good points in this thread.

                      When trying to get over my addiction to refined carbs like pasta and cookies, I thought of it in terms of a recovering alcoholic. Can you slowly wean an alcoholic off of the sauce with one drink a day? Everything I've heard and read about it says you have to go cold turkey. You don't reward an alcoholic with a drink after a week of sobriety either, do you?

                      The analogy works for me because I view sugar as a drug, plain and simple. I think sometimes you have to take that kind of extreme view to get any results.

                      You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!


                      • #12

                        Thanks all, good advice here as expected. I guess I was a bit misled after reading the carbohydrate curve and seeing that 50-100g was the way to go for weight loss, so I figured a 50g meal and whatever fruits and "passive" carbs would keep us in that range, but it seems the insulin and whatever else is in play here is working against us faster than the lowering of carbs is working for us.

                        I'm getting out an Excel spreadsheet and planning out all our meals for the next week to remove the temptation, because we have really bad habits when it comes to pulling something out of the cupboard and microwaving it, or just cooking up some spaghetti. I'm going to pick out a bunch of recipes from the site and try some different things. The bad thing is that there's no Trader Joe's around here (eastern Nebraska), so almond meal and such are really expensive. But even in the wonderful world of meat/veggies/fruits there's enough variety to make things work.

                        To answer the other questions she's in the high 170's last I checked, 177 or so, she's 5'3. Not horrific, but we both know the health benefits of being closer to a better weight for her height. I've stopped talking about it in terms of weight though because that's a motivation killer, instead I'm just saying we're going to eat healthy, here are the benefits, etc etc.

                        Mia made some good points on that as did the rest of you. Primalchild makes a lot of sense with the viewing sugar/carbs as a drug.. I'm more or less there, but it's really hard to defeat 20+ years of brainwashing and bad habits. It's worth it though, and I'm committed to Grok out. Starting today, no more grains on our plates and bowls! I can't tell you how motivating it is to have such a huge community behind this, it's the whole reason it's successful. Let's keep being loud and proving the science to anyone who will listen, because people deserve better than ignorance-induced obesity.


                        • #13

                          Best thing for both of you is to take the focus off the scale and concentrate on implementing the program. Think of it as a long-term investment instead of a get-rich-quick scheme. You are building a Primal life, which will pay dividends in the end! Patience is rewarded...

                          Don't forget, in terms of exercise, that weightlifting/strength training is really good for fat loss! Do a google search for body weight exercises, "the jailhouse workout" or something like that and there's lots your wife can do without putting strain on her ankle. Even just some dumbbells and an upper body routine can make a difference!

                          Also, tell her to come here and say hi. Lots of us grokettes around.