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Thread: New to Primal - tough time ditching the carbs/sugars

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    United States

    New to Primal - tough time ditching the carbs/sugars

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    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. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    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)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    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.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    United States
    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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    London, UK
    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."
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Southern California
    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

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    New Zealand
    Quote 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 at 03:06 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    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.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    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!
    Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Birkenstocks & hairy arm pits.
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    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


    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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