Hi! My name is Colin, and I've been reading MDA and the forums on the sidelines for about a year now. Finding the primal lifestyle has been a privilege. As a relatively overweight teenager, I've struggled with my weight my entire life. Currently, I'm 210 pounds at 5'11. I used to be a lot thinner, around 160-170, but the stress of high school has made me sedentary. I've always fallen back on SAD food; grains, sugar, GMOs, and industrial oils. However, my perspective on nutrition and wellness has really evolved with Mark Sisson's PB. In my freshman nutrition class, they taught us a calorie is a calorie, and I never thought hormones would play a role in stored body fat. One day, I watched Fathead on Netflix. That documentary may as well have saved my life. They introduced Gary Taubes's perspective, and exposed the nutritional horseshit that "Super Size Me" had taught me a year prior in health class. I'm not a genius in terns of biology, but I understand to some extent the effects of insulin and carbohydrates, as well as the glorious wonders of saturated fat and cholesterol. So thats my basic background, and I was wondering what kind of support system I could find on here. My goal is to lose body fat and replace it with lean, sexy muscle. ;D Any tips, emotional support, and nutritional advice are welcome.
My main question: Does the primal blueprint have a different approach for younger people? I can imagine how it might be different. I wouldn't want to stunt my growth, or play with my hormones. What might a sixteen year old do differently than an adult? I don't have much access to organic meats and veggies, but always access to conventionally raised meats, limited veggies, and fruit on occasion. I try to avoid all sugary drinks and sip on only water, I ditched grains for the most part, (its hard to avoid them completely though), and I still drink a bit of full-fat white milk at school.
Hi Colin, and welcome to the tribe.
It sounds to me like you have a good grasp of the fundamentals. I think your primary approach should be to stick just stick with the plan, don't worry about the full fat milk, and eat when you're hungry. Since you are about to enjoy a nice bout of hormone driven growth don't try to restrict calories. Eat healthily, and train.
I don't see there should be any difference in PB way of eating for a teenager, IMHO it will help you get the best nutition, especailly vitamins and minerals, comapred to a SAD consiting of fake food made in a factory.
The only problem I see is convincing your parents to feed you this way as they hold the purse strings and go to the store.
I really feel that you need to bring them on-board with how you want to eat, show them the basics - preferably printed off and have some of the reseach to back it up, show them sucess stories, not just the beached whale to fighting fit ones, but ones like this fridays, healthy normal athletic people choosing to follow this way of eating for their health even though they did not need to drop a lot of weight.
You sound like an intellegent and articulate person, so let them know, it's respectful to them, and hopefully they will support you. Even if they don't understand, it will help when you don't want to eat grains and sugar.
Organic veggies and grass fed meat and dairy, pastured eggs are a bonus, but they are exspensive, not knowing your family situation, I can't comment, but we eat to a budget, no orgainc veggies unless we grow our own and out meat is sometimes free-range, or outdoor bred, dairy is standard UK (which is 90% grass fed - yay for us, but it's not raw) we do find and spend less on food than pre-primal. Point I'm making is eating real whole foods is the biggy, the organic/grassfed/local is just gravy IMHO and should't make or break you from being 'Primal'
As long as you are not hungry and eating plenty of veggies, meat, eggs and healthy fat, along with fruit, full fat dairly etc, I doubt you will be malnourised and you should be full most of the time and the fat should start to go. The only thing I would avoid at this stage is IF, keep fueling yourself while you are growing and studying.
All the best
I wish I'd found this way of eating at 16. A whole life of asthma drugs (think steroids...) would have been avoided, all those antibiotics which have done me no favours - I don't think I would have grown less tall than I am, and I am sure I'd have been fitter. I'm nearly 60 now and fitter than I have ever been since my teens - just think how lucky you are !!!
I was an underweight teenager - my nickname was Oxfam , and it hurt! I didn't reach 8 stone until I was 30. And now, I am happy at 6 foot tall and 10.25 stone.
It doesn't matter if your coming to your ideal weight from above or below, it is feeling great that counts.
Go for it! But don't stint the veggies (IMHO!)
As a mom, here are some ideas food wise that I think your mom should be comfortable with. Eggs bacon and fruit for breakfast, who could complain? It looks super conventional. Adding some onions and mushrooms to your eggs makes you look like you have sophisticated taste, not like you are following some fad diet or joining a cult. Salads for lunch with left over meat. Again, not too cultish. I have three kids ages 18, 16 and 11. The 18 year old is a type one diabetic so she gets no rice. But, the 16 and 11 year old, I feed them rice with dinner. If you decide to eat rice, which is an option, you won't be jacking your parents food bill up at all. Also, though I don't buy it for my own kids, if you decide to eat rice and your mom wants you to eat pasta from time to time,vthe rice pastas are tasty. Another safe starch which won't break the bank for mom and dad is sweet potatoes. Also, learn to make ghee yourself, it's awesome on everything.
More mom talk here! If you are not already super helpful in the housework department, get cracking! Do more dishes, sweep the floor, act like an adult. It goes a long way with parents. Good luck! You seem really nice and balanced, stay that way!
Oh yeah, I would be happy to be a resource for your parents. My kids have been off gluten for years, and on some form of grain restriction since early childhood. They are super healthy, my son is very athletic, etc.
I have a 2 and 4yo, so quite a bit younger than you. But they are 90/10 with this lifestyle. We still enjoy full fat dairy and they eat quite a bit of fruit. The only real difference in a growing child/teen is that you don't want to restrict carbs too much. You do have some weight to lose, but you also might continue to grow upwards. So fill your plate and eat until full, but choose vegetables and meatts mostly, with some potatoes to round it out. If you're counting, shoot for the 100-150 maintenance level of carbs or higher to be sure you're getting enough to continue growing. Start establishing good habits now and get moving too!
Disclaimer: holy crap this ended up being long. Sorry.
Hey Colin. I'm also a teenager subscribing to the PB lifestyle. 17 years old, turning 18 in a couple of months. Our goals are a bit different: you're trying to lose weight while I'm trying to gain weight. But we're also looking at curbing overall inflammation and getting healthier, which is something that I've definitely experienced in the 10 months that I've been doing this.
Gaining the muscle shouldn't be a problem; just keep up your overall activity levels and do PB style exercises. I'm not sure if it'll stunt your growth in terms of height, as I've been around the same height since I was 16 (maybe grown a cm or two since then). In my personal experience, losing weight shouldn't be a problem. The reason why I say this is I'm 5'9, and I was 139 lbs when I started. 10 months later and I've dropped to 131 lbs, which is actually a big concern according to my family doctor, and something that I never wanted and I'm trying to change. So I'm actually trying to up my carb counts a lot. Unfortunately I can't really give you too much sound advice in terms of losing weight, as it was never my goal to lose weight.
[B]In terms of school:[/B]
I definitely sympathize with the high school pains of living the PB lifestyle. I always pushed myself to succeed in school at the expense of my stress level and sleep amount. I can personally attest to the huge amount of inflammation it causes to your body, as I probably slept around 4-5 hours a night most days during the school year, while stressing over a shit ton of schoolwork and extracurriculars. Just try to catch up on sleep any chance you get, and aim for 7-8 hours a night, at least. If you've got a lighter workload one night, it's easy to find yourself rewarding yourself with a 'brief' run on 9gag or your favourite forum, which turns into a 'holy crap, it's already 1AM!' situation. Try your best to milk as much sleep out of your day as possible. It pays off.
I'm not sure what your situation is like in terms of eating at school, but I started making and bringing my own lunch to school during the school year. Past years would find me at the school caf, buying their spicy fries, a couple slices of pizza, and a Nestea for lunch. And to think I couldn't figure out why I was so inflamed! As mentioned, I slept minimal during the school year, so I had to find ways to give myself a quick breakfast before I headed to school. Every Sunday night, or whichever weekend had a lighter workload, I'd chop up a crap ton of mushrooms and sweet bell peppers, and sautee them in some olive oil/coconut oil, and then I'd put them in the fridge. In the morning, it's a simple case of whisking up two eggs, adding some salt and pepper, chopping up a bit of tomato, throwing in the refrigerated mushrooms and peppers, and then cooking an omelette in olive oil. If you've got leftover meat of any kind, you can also add that to your omelette for some added flavour and protein.
For lunch, I adhere to roughly the same method of food prep. I always leave some time at night to cook up one kind of fish or meat for lunch the next day. It normally takes about 15 minutes, max. I usually go for wild atlantic salmon, but you may want something a little less... fragrant if you're embarrassed about having a fishy smelling lunch. In the morning, while the omelette's cooking, or immediately afterwards, you can cook your lunch. Just fry up some rice, your choice of veggies (if you'd like), add in the samon (or steak, or chicken, or whatever), crack an egg into it, and season it with some salt and pepper. This takes about 5-7 minutes. You may want a different kind of lunch if you're trying to keep your carbs down, and ditch the rice. Personally, I tried to keep up my carbs, so I included white rice in my lunch. And I'm asian, so genetically I think my body can handle the rice pretty well.
If I'm feeling some snacks, I cut up some cucumbers, maybe some cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, and put em in a ziplock bag. Homemade dip (primal) if you'd like. Get a little container, throw a couple spoonfuls of full-fat greek yogurt at the bottom, a handful of blueberries, a handful of raw almonds, and you've got yourself another snack. Snacks of course will depend on your own version of the PB eating plan. Do you eat nuts? Dairy? Sensitive to nightshades? Anti-candida diet? You'll of course need to factor that all in. That's just what I normally eat.
[B]In terms of friends/classmates...[/B]
This might sound lame, but you've just gotta trust in what you're doing and be confident in yourself. When they all go out to eat at the local pizzaria or Subway, go with them and either straight up don't eat, or if the establishment's okay with it, bring your own snack or lunch. Or, hell, indulge once in a while. I never would because my body's extremely sensitive and I'd break out into acne immediately and I'd get hot and inflamed all over, but if your immediate side effects from eating SAD stuff aren't so visible or serious, go for it. Just make sure you know when to stop.
Also, defend your eating habits and food. I got a ton of flack for cutting out grains and being so strict with my food, and at first I would try to convince them by telling them the science behind it, etc. But that didn't work. So these days my regular response is to just say a 'nah, don't worry about it', 'I'm sensitive to gluten', a smile and a 'really, I'm sure I don't want any ice cream', or if they're close friends I'll just tell them to screw off with a wisecrack. If they ask or are curious about it, I give them my reasoning, explain the health benefits, and redirect them to MDA. At this point though all my friends are used to my 'weird, gluten-free thing', and aren't too surprised when I pass up a type of food.
Family... I'm still working on. That's a long battle that I haven't won yet. I'm working on it. I don't know if you're like me, but when your parents just firmly refuse to believe in any part of your eating habits and think you're crazy... it's frustrating. One positive is that I finally learned to cook for myself because they refused to cook with coconut oil or cook any frequent steaks, so I took it upon myself to learn. Just trust in the PB and enjoy the health benefits.
Don't forget to indulge yourself though and enjoy your teenage years. Go to parties once in a while, get wasted. Just make sure it's not more than once a month/two months. Do you have a girlfriend? Enjoy yourself on that front too. I don't mean that in a misogynistic manner, but when you're planning dates or whatever, don't shy away from a nice ice cream parlor or a spaghetti place. What I'm really trying to say is that you're a teenager in high-school; don't let your diet get in the way too much of fun.
Sorry for the long post, but I was happy to see another teenager doing the PB. It [I]is[/I] a little different for us teenagers in terms of everyday life, but there's also a lot of overlaps with everyone else doing the PB. If you've got any more questions just message me I'll try to share any more personal experiences of mine. You've said that you've know about the Primal Blueprint for over a year now so you've actually known about it longer than me, and hell, I've still got a ton of things to figure out, but if I can help in any way I'll try to.
Thanks for the support! I've been doing great. I noticed a bit of weight loss this week, as well as some weightlifting gains. My favorite part of my day is my hour walk in the morning. I haven't tried sprints though.
I'm really sated, however. I eat well. Carbs hover around 100g some days, but I don't stress that since I exercise and it's from fruit and vegetables.
I eat fruit when I feel like it. Some days, ill eat very few carbs. Its mainly about how I feel, and with my current activity level I think I can handle some good carbs well.
I eat Bacon, eggs, beef, vegetables, fruit, pork, and almonds. (My grandfather harvests them, so he always gives us 10 lb bags near harvest season.)
Thanks, I've been doing well! Hope to be under 200 in a week or two, and progress with weights.