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Thread: Primal for 1 1/2 years. No weight loss. Not sure what to try next. page

  1. #1
    primalpanda's Avatar
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    Primal for 1 1/2 years. No weight loss. Not sure what to try next.

    Primal Fuel
    Hey all! I've hesitated posting this for several weeks, because I'm not really sure what my question is, or if I really need to ask as there are so many posts about not losing weight...but I've been feeling quite frustrated lately and I think I need a push of some kind. I've recently started to obsess about weight loss because after so long there hasn't been any, and I don't know what to do - and I know obsessing over it won't help. Thanks in advance for reading, I know this is long. And I'm not sure what information is useful so I'll just include a bunch!

    Stats: 5'4, 32 yr old female. 160-165 lbs depending on the day. This is up from 130 3 years ago, and I've maintained this 5lb range for over a year regardless of diet. Out of shape. No health problems that I know of. Body composition hasn't changed noticeably, I haven't measured anything but my clothes fit the same as always.

    I found Mark's site over two years ago, and gradually moved to primal over several months. Minus a couple months in there where I sorta gave up, I've been primal (or at least primalish) for about a year and a half...maybe longer. I'm about 90% compliant these days. My "20%" (or really, 10%) is generally a cocktail here or there, or a glass of wine or two. Chinese takeout (no rice, no battered/deep fried stuff) once every couple months. Fries or a few breakfast potatoes at the occasional brunch outing. I don't go crazy, I don't have "cheat days" or "cheat weekends". Over the past year I've learned to cook almost all our meals (my boyfriend and I), going from eating out most days to once a week at most - and when eating out I try to stay as primal as possible (barring those occasional fries). So that's a positive change. Staying primal during the week is a breeze now, and lately I've been working on limiting nuts and dairy to 1-2 servings a week. Since January I've really focused on the basics. Meat, eggs, tons of veggies.

    As far as the other primal guidelines, I get plenty of sleep. I don't get much exercise, something I've been slowly working on in 2012. Started yoga 3x a week and am trying to make a bodyweight exercise habit as well as walking. It's hard to fit in an hour of that a day, though. I don't know how to gauge my stress level - I've always been one to get a bit overwhelmed, and the past year I've been starting a business so there is some stress. But I don't tend to have the obvious signs of serious stress like insomnia...I took an adrenal fatigue quiz (from Julia Ross' Mood Cure) and had few of the symptoms. I definitely don't move enough, though I now spend much more of my workday on my feet since I raised my work table to standing height. I'm in bad shape, so even barring the weight loss angle I need to get more exercise.

    It's that "regardless of diet" in the beginning of this post that has really been bugging me. I have had strict primal times, and not so strict (multiple months in a row of each) over the past couple years, and except for water weight I've not lost a thing. But I haven't gained, either. So it's tough to look at options like "Whole30 all the time" or "cut calories way back" and be motivated to power through. As an example, after 6 weeks on Whole30 I lost 4lbs...then gained it back in a day after about a couple Belgian beers (which tells me it wasn't fat loss). I've lost those 4lbs before, like after returning from an "off the wagon" vacation...those 4lbs just tease me now. All I'm left with is....why not have the beer? Why not have the pie? I won't lose without it, and I won't gain as long as the indulgence is moderate.

    I was vegan for 7 years and since I woke up from that I'm really against that level of restriction. And it's not like I'm balking at not eating donuts everyday. I eat primal 100% Monday-Friday (with an occasional glass of wine during the week), and about 80% on the weekend if not 90-100%. I'm just NOT a "food is fuel" kind of person. I'm a gourmet, and I love the social aspect of food. I'm never going to forever abstain from the amazing cocktails my amateur bartending boyfriend makes. I'm never going to forever give up an occasional French macaron with my espresso at my favorite coffee shop. I'm never going to be hardcore "Whole9 lifestyle 4Ever" (been there, done that).

    I AM willing to push and work for it, but so many of the recommendations for females I've read digging through "no weight loss" posts are so depressing. No dairy. No nuts. No alcohol. Calories under 1400. Pre-primal, I had lost 35 lbs through CW - tons of gym time and calories restriction. Yeah, it sucked. But it worked (temporarily). Then of course I met my bf, started eating more than canned soup, and gained it back +more. When I found Mark's site I was hopeful....I could lose the weight by eating real food without being constantly hungry? Working out was great but I could lose without being a gym rat? Wow. I know nothing is magic, but seriously. After 1 1/2 years I'd hoped to have seen SOMETHING.

    Haha, I told you this would be long! I guess the only thing left is to give an idea of what I eat. Here's a typical day:
    B: 2 pastured eggs, 2 strips pastured bacon, 2 shots espresso w/ about 1Tbsp cream
    L: BAS w/ 3 hb eggs, or a can of tuna, or grassfed steak. Plus 1/2 avocado, other salad veggies, and homemade xvoo dressing.
    S: (if there is one, not daily) raw cheese, or hb eggs, or nuts (mac or almonds, generally), or kombucha, or occasionally full fat yogurt or cottage cheese
    D: grassfed steak, cooked veggies w/ grassfed butter, big salad. Or beef stir-fry over cauliflower rice. Homemade dinners are always 100% primal and I try to get lots of fat in there or my bf especially gets hungry.

    Macros are generally around 60%F, 25%P, 15%C. Calories generally under 1700. I have been adding more carbs (sweet potato, mostly) in the past several weeks, so those have gone from under 50 to under 70ish.

    SO. I guess my question is...what the hell is going on? Where am I really screwing up? Where should I put my energy? Should I stop stressing over my food, let is ride as is, and sweat it out at the gym? Should I go super strict on the diet and just suffer until something budges? Should I eat more? Eat less? Go back to veganism? (Just kidding)

    I am in this for the long haul. I believe in eating this way and I feel good eating this way. So I understand and buy into "it's not a diet it's a lifestyle". But dammit, I still want to lose weight, too. I'm just sort of exhausted with the "okay now I'll try this for the next few weeks" approach. I have a life, I have a relationship, I have a business. I don't want to obsess over what I'm putting in my mouth anymore.

    Thanks a million for any advice, and just for plowing through this

  2. #2
    StackingPlates's Avatar
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    Have you gone to the doctor recently and got your blood and hormone levels measured to ensure you aren't up against an actual issue? Judging by the fact that you previously achieved weight loss through calorie restriction and exercise I'm going to assume that is a low probability.

    The fact of the matter is that you are likely consuming more than you are expending. The "Primal" diet isn't providing any sort of tangible metabolic advantage, the bottom line is that energy in must not be greater than energy out.

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    My First thought is to try IF (see todays blog post and the pervious 4 on fasting) It will restict your calories without giving up yummyness. I started by skipping breakfast, I can now skip breakfast and lunch fine, not managed to go a full 24 hours yet but made over 20, my aim is to miss a whole day, but that means sleeping on an empty stomach and that will be hard for me. Obviously up the excersise as well, but you know that, find something that works for you - ie something you enjoy, I like walking and can fit it arround the kids so that works for me, i'd prefer to go swimming sometimes but that dosn't work at the moment, I'd really like to go surfng but I live in the middle of yorkshire If you like yoga then do that, if you don't find something else
    You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

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    Quote Originally Posted by StackingPlates View Post
    Have you gone to the doctor recently and got your blood and hormone levels measured to ensure you aren't up against an actual issue? Judging by the fact that you previously achieved weight loss through calorie restriction and exercise I'm going to assume that is a low probability.
    I haven't. I've thought about it, since I've seen that suggestion on the board before, but I agree probability is low both for the reason you mentioned and I have few symptoms of any thyroid issues. But it's probably worth doing anyhow!

    Quote Originally Posted by StackingPlates View Post
    The fact of the matter is that you are likely consuming more than you are expending. The "Primal" diet isn't providing any sort of tangible metabolic advantage, the bottom line is that energy in must not be greater than energy out.
    Noted. My caloric intake is generally not much higher (but also not lower) than what I need for my activity, and certainly not low enough for CW-style weight loss without much exercise (which I see as under 1300). During Whole30 I was around 1400. I had hoped going in that I wouldn't have to obsess about calories anymore, but, well, it is what it is.

    Thanks for your advice!

  5. #5
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    No problem, unfortunately I do see this on the boards frequently where "Primal" is supposed to produce some magical metabolic advantage. It doesn't, and the rules of thermogenesis still apply

    Looking forward to hearing about your upcoming weight loss story!

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    ^^^^^You say you are around 1700 calories, do you track EVERY single food or drink that crosses your lips?
    I started off two years ago with just tracking every bite, it really helped me learn healthier options and finding "bad" foods. When I heard about Primal and the main idea of "eat as close to natural as possible" it helped even more. I have been primal-ish like you for about 1.5-2 years, last year when I got really serious and cut grains, fruit, and added healthy fats it helped a lot....it sort of reset my brain, caused less cravings, and changed my body to prefer fats and protein for fuel rather than fast glucose found in grains/carbs. I slowly added them back in and stayed at an even weight for 6 months while training for a triathlon. Once that was done I started doing crossfit, but I also had my body fat and measurements taken, 3 months later I had only "lost" 2 lbs, but my body fat was down 3%.
    I think you need to add in some exercise and some weights--your diet aspect looks GREAT! Exercise doesn't have to take forever. I either hit crossfit or do a weight circuit 2x per week, my circuit takes about 30 min: 2 sets of each, Squats, walking lunges, Lat pull, Bench Press, military press...sometimes sprints (5 sprints in a 1 mile distance). 1-2 days a week of a 2-3 mile run (30 min max)and walking the dogs at night. As long as you are doing some compound movements and working your biggest muscle sections, plus a little cardio you should see results............take measurements though because the scale lies!
    I'm 34, 5'6" and 155, I wear a size 8 pant and med top.
    Heidi

    33yo, 5'6", 158lbs, size 10 jeans

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    primalpanda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tribal Rob View Post
    My First thought is to try IF (see todays blog post and the pervious 4 on fasting) It will restict your calories without giving up yummyness. I started by skipping breakfast, I can now skip breakfast and lunch fine, not managed to go a full 24 hours yet but made over 20, my aim is to miss a whole day, but that means sleeping on an empty stomach and that will be hard for me. Obviously up the excersise as well, but you know that, find something that works for you - ie something you enjoy, I like walking and can fit it arround the kids so that works for me, i'd prefer to go swimming sometimes but that dosn't work at the moment, I'd really like to go surfng but I live in the middle of yorkshire If you like yoga then do that, if you don't find something else
    I have dabbled in IF, but only using Bulletproof Coffee (so no calorie restriction). It's tough because skipping bf makes the most sense, but I make it for my boyfriend every morning. Making bacon and eggs without getting distractedly hungry is tough! I may request he fend himself for an experimentation period so I can give it a go, however. I also hate to go to sleep on an empty stomach, but I may try skipping dinner and see if that's easier. I hate being hungry but I think it's a mental hurdle, really...

    Yes, I do loooove yoga so that's something, but it's definitely just a starting point. I'm slow to form new habits so the rest of the exercise is lagging behind, but I am working on finding things that I enjoy so I don't have trouble fitting them in. Surfing sounds good pretty good to me, too! But only rocky coastlines and frigid waters here, haha.

    Thanks so much for your advice, Rob!

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    IF, go 100%, and if its not working see the doc ... doesnt hurt to check

    as a ps are you avoiding dairy/nuts/fruits? these things are known to slow weight loss
    started at 310 July 23rd 2011 ... workin and workin!

    my journal - http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread34980.html




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    Quote Originally Posted by StackingPlates View Post
    No problem, unfortunately I do see this on the boards frequently where "Primal" is supposed to produce some magical metabolic advantage. It doesn't, and the rules of thermogenesis still apply
    Which annoys me, because I read Taubes early on and his arguments (and others') about why "calories in/calories out" is a fallacy makes so much sense to me! So it's been tough to go back to relying on something that doesn't feel "true"...but anecdotally, it seems calories DO matter (for a lot of people, anyhow).

    Quote Originally Posted by StackingPlates View Post
    Looking forward to hearing about your upcoming weight loss story!
    Me too

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