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  1. #1
    Tawny's Avatar
    Tawny is offline Senior Member
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    Hello

    Primal Fuel
    Hi,
    I've been reading MDA for over a year now, and dabbling with primal eating, but decided to take the plunge with this most recent challenge. I just discovered this forum when I decided to start a journal. There is so much wisdom and fellowship here - fantastic!

    About 4 years ago, I was 100 pounds overweight and very unhappy. I'd tried everything it seemed, but could never stick to a "diet". I believed all the CW, thought that big business was really nice to put out low-calorie/low-fat cookies, and figured I was too old to do any real exercise (I was 36 at the time).

    My moment of truth came at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania-I was almost too fat to ride one of the rollercoasters. I cut out all "sweets" (sugar-free cookies are not sweets!), ate more fruits and veggies (I remember subsisting on frozen grapes for a while), and treated myself with frozen yogurt (yuck!!!!).
    I lost 100 pounds in 10 months.

    My eating evolved over that 10 months, though. I met someone who was really into eating clean, so I began to move farther and farther away from processed foods and actually began to eat regular ice cream on occasion. Once my weight stabilized, I was in a place diet-wise where it was nearly effortless, because I was eating real food. That is, until I would indulge in something sweet-I would have an all-out carb-binge for days, but would get myself back on track after a few days. Plus, I had a really hard time eating just 1/2 cup of pasta or 1 cup of cereal. My weight actually crept up very slowly over 6 months...

    I also started walking when I first changed my diet, then running, and got to the point where I ran a 1/2 marathon in a respectable time. But because I was only running and I'm a female with big hips, I developed an overuse injury (my orthopod said I had the largest Q angle-angle of the quads, that he had seen), ended up doing physical therapy, etc. Would quickly return to running (because dammit it had helped me lose weight!!) and battled the same injury on- and off- for 2 years.

    With the slow weight creep and the on-going injury, I decided I needed a new exercise plan. Body-building went hand-in-hand with the clean eating lifestyle, so I began to lift heavy weights 4+ times a week. I gained a lot of muscle, and looked decent, but still had a layer of fat I didn't like. No matter how much more protein I ate, I could gain weight but not lose fat, which was quite discouraging. I was also still running a good number of miles a week. It was a LOT of work, for little return. I am a great example of "body recomposition happens in the kitchen, not the gym". I ended up hurting my knee again last October to the point that I had to go back to the doc, then therapy. The therapist said no more squats, no more running...

    I decided that I needed to learn to swim. I continued to eat the way I had been (6 small meals, lots of carbs and protein, low-fat) but was not weight-training or running. I quickly gained 20 pounds. I was becoming more and more discouraged, eating more and more high-carb foods, including lots of processed foods. My 80/20 was more like 50/50. I didn't want to deal with the diet, but I realized that part of my problem was that I was spending most of my swim sessions hanging on the wall trying to catch my breath...so I decided to train for a triathlon. I did that, completed it this past June.

    Despite the ability to re-invent my exercise regime, I have not been able to lose the 30 pounds that has accumulated over the last 18 months. I still deal with knee and more recently, hip pain, which-don't laugh-my doctor says is arthritis. I know through limited experiments with first low-carb diets and more recently primal eating, that my body does not tolerate non-fruit/vegetable carbohydrates well. The very fact that I cannot eat one serving of brown rice, or even quinoa, let alone a cookie or brownie, without feeling the need to eat every piece of bread, bagel, cracker, granola bar that I can find tells me this. I also know this because of the way my body retains water after even a "normal" day (ie. no sweets, about 200-300g carbs). Plus, the stomach and bowel problems, energy and mood fluctuations, etc., I experience tell my that sugar and wheat are poison to my system.

    Over the last year I have discovered that I feel better almost instantly when I go primal. My problem has been that I have not sustained it for more than 2 weeks. Even during this challenge, at the 2 week mark, I went on a carb binge. The big difference this time though, was that I got back on the wagon much quicker than in the past. I usually have this, "Oh well, I'm doomed" mentality. But I decided that that binge was going to be my 20% for the first 2 weeks, then go from there.

    I know this is a much better woe for me. I know that the workouts are better for me, too. Honestly, it has been a relief to walk more and run less, though I'm still working on the mental hurdles. I think "no chronic cardio" is harder for me to deal with than "eat more fat"! I love to be outside, love to sprint, love to lift heavy things, play, do mental challenges - this lifestyle fits perfectly with my personality and with what my body needs. It's just that CW and carb "addiction" (I hate using that word though - it's not like I'm cowering in a closet dealing with DTs or robbing some poor old lady
    in order to get money for my next fix) keep throwing down roadblocks.

    It's a process, I'm getting there. Just today I discovered the freedom of the weekend - for 4 years I have dreaded eating on days off because it screws up my nice schedule (eat every 4 hours...). But I had a brainstorm - I don't have to eat according to a schedule - I can just eat when I'm hungry! And I can eat yummy food! And it doesn't matter how many calories I eat! All that matters is that's it's real food and it tastes good (which of course means that it has fat)! There is still a little niggling thought in the back of my head that I must be careful not to get too carried away, because I might feel the need to hit that loaf of bread that's in the freezer...but, like I said, it's a process, a journey. And taking a journey seems to be a very primal idea.

  2. #2
    lizch's Avatar
    lizch is offline Senior Member
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    Welcome, Tawny! I'm a fellow carb addict. Been primal for 10 weeks now, and I've had almost no cravings since the initial couple of weeks, and even the cravings I've had have been amazingly brief and easy to not cave into. If that frozen loaf of bread is calling to you, though, maybe throw it away?
    Liz.

    Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
    Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

  3. #3
    Tawny's Avatar
    Tawny is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks, Liz! I agree, most of the time the cravings have been easy to not cave into. The bread isn't really a bother to me, as long as I'm staying on the right path - it's in the freezer for my husband and kids. Congrats on the 10 weeks - I'm sure you feel wonderful! And I love that you say you are now the least stressed about food.

  4. #4
    ORBren's Avatar
    ORBren is offline Senior Member
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    Wow, what great strides you have already made! How many carbs are you eating now? Any supplements? I don't have many carb cravings anymore (Primal for 5 months now) but when I did I would eat olives - took care of it every time!

  5. #5
    Tawny's Avatar
    Tawny is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks, ORBren! I'm staying under 100 most days, but I have had a few days up over 100, and one bad binge day, where I didn't even bother to count, but I imagine that 500 would not be an overestimate. No supplements as I believe more in getting all I need from my food, but I understand the argument about the decrease in micronutrients in our soils due to over-farming...plus I have not yet fully researched the impact of not eating whole grains and limiting dairy on my nutrient balance, so I am not completely opposed to supplements. Just would rather go without.

    That's awesome that you've been primal 5 months. And I love the idea about olives-that's right up my alley, I can imagine that would work as a go-to for me, too.

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