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  1. #1
    nicjara's Avatar
    nicjara is offline Junior Member
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    ED & primal

    Primal Fuel
    Hey guys, I've been reading here for quite some time and I'd really like to get some people's take on my situation. I apologize in advance for this being long-winded!

    I struggle with an eating disorder (bulimia) and have recently been experimenting with my diet to see if I can figure out a WOE that doesn't make me crazy.. and doesn't make me binge. I'm not a "binger" in the sense of bulimics who gorge on gallons of ice cream on top of dozens of cookies... but I restrict/binge/purge/overexercise/ etc. etc.

    Yes, I have gotten "help" for this. But I know there are physiological reasons behind overeating/binging and I know that I have attempted lower-carb eating in the past and felt the nagging compulsion to eat all the time disappear. I have been vegetarian for 5ish years but have just recently been adding in more meat to my diet: turkey, chicken, and lots of fish. My main problem these days is that I feel like I constantly think about food and I can't be freed of my "food addiction" with the insatiable hunger that comes with the carb-dominant eating prescribed by most RDs. Sometimes when I eat carbs my stomach is full but I still feel like eating more.

    Idk if it's relevant but I am at a healthy (albeit low-normal) weight for my height, so I am not trying to lose or gain.

    Can anyone tell me if & HOW eating primal has helped with any similar food issues? I know I have seen a few members that talk about EDs-- but I need a little guidance as to whether you all think I should do primal with lower carbs, or if that could be damaging? The lower-carb thing appeals to me not because of weight loss but because it seems to free people from the addictive nature of grains/sugar.
    Thanks in advance for any advice... really, anything would help

  2. #2
    TigerLily's Avatar
    TigerLily is offline Senior Member
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    Primal has definitely helped me, but I am hitting it from all sides. There are other things I do as well, all complementary. (It takes a village!) EDs (in all their various permutations) are not just a physical disease, and they're not just an emotional disease. They are both ... plus even more. Primal can (and does) help with the physical element in a big way, but it's not enough alone as it doesn't address the emotional part. I'm not kidding myself here. One thing I know for sure: It never gets better on its own without help, only worse. But, yeah, the primal WOE does take away the food obsession, at least, and you can make it through the day without harming yourself with food (or the absence of food) or exercising as punishment. But the beast still lurks just there in the shadows and needs to be faced head-on.

  3. #3
    emmie's Avatar
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    I would suggest Primal with lower carbs (perhaps about 50g day?) only because I am on a low carb board, and many ED folks there write that low carb eating helps them cope. This is especially true of bulimics who write that they've been able to limit their purging if they stick to low carb.

    However, I don't know how long this lasts because I don't regularly read that section of the board.

    Personally, I eat low carb because bread, pasta, etc. stimulates me to insatiable eating, so it makes sense to me that low carb would help control eating in general.

  4. #4
    syzchan's Avatar
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    I've had food issues as well, with previous meticulously measuring out exact F/C/P ratios for each of my mini-6 meals to try to lean out and get ab definition - I was miserable, tired, irritable, and binging was compensated with overexercise of chronic cardio. I found that switching to primal, my mood has been so much more stable and upbeat. I'm focusing on being healthy instead of thin, so even though I've gained about 5 pounds and that bothers me at times, I just have to look the mirror to see how nicer my skin is and that my belly is flatter instead of that sickly, bloated look. I'll still compensate if I feel like I ate too much. But instead, it'll be a fast or a extended low-level cardio like walking or seated-rower.

    Few suggestions:
    1) Try hard to keep carbs at around 50-75g. Too little, and you may start to get obsessive about them. Plus, for me, I stayed low for a while and it caused me to get a rash. Too much and that may trigger binges. What has helped is limiting the sources and when you can eat them. Like no roasted nuts - too easy to overeat them! Even raw macademias, I can eat a whole cup if I'm in a munchie mood (I've just discovered raw hazelnuts and they are much "drier" so I can't eat that much in one sitting). I've tried to make some of the coconut pancakes, but found that seems to trigger this ferocious hunger, so will be avoiding trying my hand at some of the yummy primal-ish baked goods till I feel I'm ready for them. I've been upping my carbs recently to include more starchy veggies/tubers after my workout, and eating them first before I dig into my steak. That has not triggered binging, result in residual hunger, etc.
    2) Don't attempt fasting until you have been doing primal for a while and feel comfortable with WOE. And when you do, start slow and work your way up. I tried for too long too quickly and led to binging the next day due to feeling of insatiable hunger.
    3) It's not the end of the world if you slip up and binge, or eat non-primal foods. Don't get obsessived about it, just pick yourself up and start over at the next meal. Don't get into the thinking, well the day's ruined anyways and then eat as much crap as you can. Big mistake for me.

    I believe that being Primal will help tremendously as you start thinking of nurturing your body rather than stressing it trying to strive for some unrelenting (and unrealistic) vision of perfection. Do it slowly and steady. You'll get there, and you'll have people here on this forum to help/guide you wen you need it.

  5. #5
    ommmmaggie's Avatar
    ommmmaggie is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicjara View Post
    But I know there are physiological reasons behind overeating/binging and I know that I have attempted lower-carb eating in the past and felt the nagging compulsion to eat all the time disappear. I have been vegetarian for 5ish years but have just recently been adding in more meat to my diet: turkey, chicken, and lots of fish. My main problem these days is that I feel like I constantly think about food and I can't be freed of my "food addiction" with the insatiable hunger that comes with the carb-dominant eating prescribed by most RDs. Sometimes when I eat carbs my stomach is full but I still feel like eating more.
    I have also found that when I go low-carb and follow the PB, I don't obsessively think about the next meal and I don't feel the urge to eat unless my body needs food. But when I first started, I was thinking about food itself quite a lot because I was trying to remember new rules, adjust my buying and ordering habits, and basically think differently about food. So it was on my mind more regularly in the beginning, but that has pretty much died away now.

    So when you say that you're constantly thinking about food these days, is it because you're eating a CW/SAD diet? Or because you're incorporating new PB habits and having to remember new rules? Or are you eating grains/starches/dairy/soy/other commonly allergenic foods? I found that when I eat foods I'm allergic or sensitive to, I activate an addictive state of mind - all part of the allergy/addiction cycle that you may or may not know about. (If you don't, it is worth learning about.) And then I can still be eating breakfast, but I'm already thinking about what I want for lunch, or even a snack in between! Last night, in contrast, I had planned out a "dessert" for myself, but couldn't even bring myself to eat it because I just wasn't hungry. That's unheard of for me, and I take it as a really good sign.

    Stats as of 3/1/12:
    5'10" female, 38 y/o
    Currently 140 lbs., approx 25% body fat
    WEIGHT GOAL: lose a bit more body fat and tighten up the rear end...basically, I want to look great naked. Everywhere else is looking great, but my ass/hips/thighs are being a bit stubborn. TMI?
    DAILY MACRO TARGETS: Cal: 1,857. Protein: 100g (400cal). Carb: 75g (300cal). Fat: 128g (1156cal).
    EXERCISE GOAL: incorporate 2-3 strength training sessions and 1 sprint session per week.

  6. #6
    MamaGrok's Avatar
    MamaGrok is offline Senior Member
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    Great to read this discussion. I don't have anything that would ever have been categorized as a clinical bulimia, but about ten years ago, I became constantly obsessed with eating more and more grains & sugars. Unfortunately I was convinced the whole grains were great for me, but couldn't figure out why I could never stop thinking about, say, granola or boxed cereal, or why I would do what I absolutely knew would kill me and binge on ice cream or cake or ...

    3 years ago I switched to whole milk with my dried cereal and what a difference the fat in the morning made! My mornings stopped being a constant battle to keep from snacking (where I'd end up eating half or whole box of "whole grain, low sugar" cereal). A year or so later, I went grain free and upped my fats all around, bigger victory. When a long vacation led me downhill again, I fought the battle some more (skipping meals so I wouldn't gain weight like I always had, but failing against the weight battle, anyway - I always thought "if only I had enough courage" I'd purge, but never went that route), finally learning to add protein with all my meals - a full serving 3x/day. THAT was the magic key. No more thinking about food all day; in fct, I often forgot about food altogether between meals, for the first time I could ever remember! I also made my sweets consistent, a little after lunch & dinner, to steady my blood sugar more, cut out snacks,and gradually the drive for sweets & grains went away.

    Once I was able to cut out the sweets & grains (instead of just *wanting* to), I finally stopped the bingeing except for rare, rare occasions when it would inevitably be brought on by half a roll one day, one piece of cake the next, etc. I really feel like this WOE is preventive and curative of the constant talking that grains/carbs used to do to me, and the bingeing. I've long wondered if it carbs might be the driving force behind bulimia in general. So this is very interesting.

    Yes, it has eliminated my bingeing and eliminated the "voices" telling me to eat more of them. I used to think I was just obsessive or something, b/c I had constant urges to eat. Chucked the grains/carbs and the urges went with him. Bring 'em back and the urges come back. Like a switch I can turn on and off. Simply amazing.

    FTR, I'm eating <50g/day and it feels great. I have to or I get bloated again. No side effects that I can tell of - I eat plenty of veggies, too.

    One thing I'm curious about is that the only food I ever binged on that is not "carbs" is nuts. I always wondered if there's some type of sugar in there (like lactose in milk & some yogurts, which I do go crazy on, & fructose in really sweet fruits which can always drive me to too much).
    5'4" 36yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
    Starting: 185 lbs (March '10)
    Current: 132.5 lbs
    Goal: 135 lbs (Hit Jan '13)
    Beating bingeing since 10/31/11 on my Leptin Reset journey

  7. #7
    ommmmaggie's Avatar
    ommmmaggie is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MamaGrok View Post
    One thing I'm curious about is that the only food I ever binged on that is not "carbs" is nuts. I always wondered if there's some type of sugar in there (like lactose in milk & some yogurts, which I do go crazy on, & fructose in really sweet fruits which can always drive me to too much).
    MamaGrok, there's definitely something about nuts. I don't know if it's sugar or just the (relatively) high carb content. Maybe it's an allergic thing? Nuts are so commonly allergenic, maybe there's something in their make-up that causes a bit of a sensitivity which triggers an addictive overeating urge? I notice that I'm less prone to overeat nuts when they've been properly soaked, so maybe there's something there too?

    Stats as of 3/1/12:
    5'10" female, 38 y/o
    Currently 140 lbs., approx 25% body fat
    WEIGHT GOAL: lose a bit more body fat and tighten up the rear end...basically, I want to look great naked. Everywhere else is looking great, but my ass/hips/thighs are being a bit stubborn. TMI?
    DAILY MACRO TARGETS: Cal: 1,857. Protein: 100g (400cal). Carb: 75g (300cal). Fat: 128g (1156cal).
    EXERCISE GOAL: incorporate 2-3 strength training sessions and 1 sprint session per week.

  8. #8
    MamaGrok's Avatar
    MamaGrok is offline Senior Member
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    Hmmm...I think I eat even *more* pecans when they're soaked, b/c they get crispy! I can't soak almonds b/c afaik, I don't have access to truly raw ones. The organic ones at TJ's will not soak properly, so I know they've been irradiated or pasteurized or whatever the law is making them to do nuke the life out of them. Maybe I should try soaking cashews?

    I think the ones I eat most compulsively are almonds & cashews. I remember looking up the carb content and not thinking it was high, but there must be *something* to it. Maybe I'm eating them until I get up to 30-50gm carbs without realizing it - maybe the sugar beast within recognizes that this is a food I *can* get up to a high carb count with, whereas spinach, say, will never do it?
    5'4" 36yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
    Starting: 185 lbs (March '10)
    Current: 132.5 lbs
    Goal: 135 lbs (Hit Jan '13)
    Beating bingeing since 10/31/11 on my Leptin Reset journey

  9. #9
    nicjara's Avatar
    nicjara is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ommmmaggie View Post
    So when you say that you're constantly thinking about food these days, is it because you're eating a CW/SAD diet? Or because you're incorporating new PB habits and having to remember new rules? Or are you eating grains/starches/dairy/soy/other commonly allergenic foods? I found that when I eat foods I'm allergic or sensitive to, I activate an addictive state of mind - all part of the allergy/addiction cycle that you may or may not know about. (If you don't, it is worth learning about.) And then I can still be eating breakfast, but I'm already thinking about what I want for lunch, or even a snack in between! Last night, in contrast, I had planned out a "dessert" for myself, but couldn't even bring myself to eat it because I just wasn't hungry. That's unheard of for me, and I take it as a really good sign.
    I have been doing more CW/SAD but in the past I've not eaten very much bread/grains other than oatmeal for breakfast. My carbs were usually junky carbs, though I eat pretty healthily/whole foods, because I'd restrict during the day & eat whatever at night. However I agree with you about the nuts--I can easily overeat them. I have stopped buying them altogether because at first they helped me get enough calories in when I needed to gain weight, but nowadays they just trigger me... as well as nut butters. I think I will do what you said about the primal "baked goods" and just wait until I am ready.

    I'm going to start today, but I'm going to really try to incorporate that 80/20 rule Mark talks about and that some here practice. I tend to ruin things like this with an all-or-nothing attitude, but I think this WOE will help me so much that I just need to focus not on the restrictions but on what freedom it will give me. Thanks everyone for the advice!

    If I don't really "count" carbs per-se do you think I would be under the 50-75 mark if I focused my diet on eggs, meat, veggies, some berries (raspberries, strawberries), coconut milk/oil, and greek yogurt occasionally? I don't mind counting carbs but I could see myself getting overly concerned with it. It seems like it would be hard to get more than 100g with just the foods I mentioned, no?

  10. #10
    MamaGrok's Avatar
    MamaGrok is offline Senior Member
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    I eat meat, eggs, non-starchy veggies, and berries and can't get over 50gm that way. One med potato or good sized apple is about 30g carb, for comparison. One serving of greek yogurt won't throw you over, either. Make sure you get enough fat, and that diet should hit your goal of <50g/day - it was ADDING in the good protein & fats, steady through the day, that made the carb urges go away for me. I couldn't just willpower it through and make myself take out the carbs w/o adding in the good.

    I personally found that I need to stabilize my blood sugar before I entertain any thoughts of fasting. Otherwise, I just end up crashing and getting desperate for carbs again. Once I find myself stable and not succombing to grains/sugars for at least a month, and not wanting them, I'll think about starting to IF, but not till then. I gotta heal the grain/sugar-induced b. s. roller coaster first.
    5'4" 36yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
    Starting: 185 lbs (March '10)
    Current: 132.5 lbs
    Goal: 135 lbs (Hit Jan '13)
    Beating bingeing since 10/31/11 on my Leptin Reset journey

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