The "Why" of why we're harshing on you
Romana, the reason we're being harsh is that we've seen a lot of threads like this before: [i]beginner Primal isn't strict enough and slips up with nuts/dairy and it's not working what gives? [/i] We get kinda impatient... here we go again, another newbie. :rolleyes: We don't mean to hurt you. At least know you're in good company -- you're not alone in this!
The best book is Primal Blueprint, but you can get away with Primal Blueprint 21-day Total Body Transformation, or you can just read the Primal 101 section of this website. I've given you the short version below (hope I got it right):
[b]Here is WHY your diet is tripping you up:[/b]
Unlike other diets, you're actually changing the way your body does business. Primal works by converting your metabolic hormone system from sugar-burner to fat-burner. We have the DNA to make hormones which either burn fat or burn sugar. When your diet is based on carbs or sugar, your body is accustomed to calling on the piece of DNA which makes sugar-burner (or sugar-storage!!) hormones, like insulin. When you eliminate sugar and start filling with fat, suddenly you have a bunch of sugar-burner hormones with nothing to do, and a bunch of fat that you don't know what to do [i]with[/i]. Your body goes into shock for a little while. [b]This is carb flu.[/b] Then your body says, "Oh we're eating fat now, are we?" and begins to dust off that piece of DNA which makes the fat-burning hormones. This is what Mark Sisson calls "reprogramming your genes." It takes your body about a month (IMO Mark's 21 days is the minimum) to properly ramp up that hormone process. Once your body starts burning the fat you eat, it now knows how to burn the fat you have sticking around. YAY! But in order to force the body to make the hormone switch, [b]it is imperative that you are VERY strict during the first months of Primal.[/b] You have to really DEPRIVE your body of sugar/carb in order to FORCE it to get used to making the fat-burner hormones.
Thinking about it that way, it's easy to see WHY all those nuts and dairy trip people up. Dairy has a lot of sugar, the timing of between-meal snacking clashes with the timing of fat-burning, and nuts don't seem to be as effective as animal or coconut fat. You're not forcing your body into fat-burner mode, so your body hangs onto sugar-burner as long as it can and you're back at Square 1. Most people have to do this cold turkey. If you go through carb flu, that's actually a VERY good sign.
[b]Look at sbhikes's meal plan and follow it to the letter. If you're still snacking, eat more fat during the meal until you're stuffed. That will really shock your body into fat-burner mode.[/b] Even if you gain a couple pounds, the important thing is to force your body [i]switch those hormones[/i] at all costs. You can work on the fat later.
Calories do matter, especially for women. This is kind of a new concept for Primal. While Mark talks about calories in his books, he gave off the impression that we could just eat all we wanted. Petite women were all confused that they're weren't losing. This forum had a bunch of arguments on counting calories... isn't that conventional wisdom, isn't it obsessive? I thought our bodies gave us a stop signal?... After some discussion, the general consensus is that yes, [i]in theory[/i], your stomach know what "all it wants" is, but your emotions can override and it's easy to overeat. Your body will burn fat calories, but it can only burn through so much in a day. If you want to burn the fat you already have, you have to bring less into your mouth. Not counting may work for men, or those who work out a lot, but women have to at least estimate.
[b]However, don't cut down on calories until you're sure you've switched to fat burner. [/b] Heal your metabolism first.