Kotato's Primal Journal - Getting back on track!
Hi all! This is my first post, but I decided to introduce myself by way of a journal, as one of the main reasons I finally decided to make an account was to get myself thinking about what I'm doing daily and why.
To make a long story short, I'm a female in my early 20s, and I found the PB almost two years ago. I lost ~20lbs relatively quickly (with occasional cheating and relatively light exercise), but then some things in my personal life came up, and I went on some vacations, and I lost focus. I still tried to claim I was basically on the PB, but I was cheating way too often--nachos, rice, candy, even bread! I also let my gym membership expire, thinking I could save money by exercising outdoors.
Well, it turns out I'm the type who needs a gym to have any chance of working out (especially once it gets cold), and my eating habits weren't doing me any favors. My trusty metabolism did me the favor of not letting me put any significant weight back on--but that just ended up giving me an excuse not to get back on track sooner.
Over the last year or so, I've tried a few times to get my motivation back again, with varying success. I signed back up at the gym, and I did a Whole 30 over the summer, with moderate results. I lost another 10 - 12 pounds, but my weight stabilized again once the summer was over.
Lately, I've been a little overwhelmed by the stress of applying to graduate school while working full time, and I've been using it as an excuse to eat lots of my favorite how-bad-can-it-be-if-it's-not-wheat comfort foods: Thai take-out curry with rice, french fries, tortilla chips, Reese's peanut butter cups... Alright, I have a lot of terrible comfort foods.
I'm still in the thick of applications, but I'm realizing that I don't want to wait any longer to get focused again. I've already accepted that the PB is the right way to live--meaning that I'm never going back to a carb-based diet. So if I'm giving up pasta and donuts on a daily basis, I might as well have something to show for it, right?
I'm thinking of trying some Very Low Carb eating to force myself back into a fat-burning state, as one of the things I really miss from my early days on the PB is the lack of hunger. Even though I'm eating at least 70% primal these days, hunger is a huge problem for me, which makes me think that I might still be having blood sugar issues.
Anyhow, I'll finish this long post with some baseline stats:
Current weight: ~142 lbs
Lowest weight ever: ~140.5 lbs (a few weeks ago... before Thanksgiving!)
Weight before PB: ~170 lbs
Highest weight ever: 250 lbs (this was about 6 years ago--I lost a lot of it just by eating fewer calories and walking more)
Goal weight: I'm honestly not sure, but let me just say that being extremely bottom-heavy makes 5'5" and 142 lbs look a lot worse than I had hoped. On the bright side, I sometimes wear size XS tops.
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to sharing my progress!
Last edited by Kotato; 11-30-2012 at 02:50 PM.
Alright, a quick update: I checked my weight this morning to make sure my baseline number was accurate, and it turns out I'm actually at 144.0. Which is weird, considering that I was around 142 a few days ago, but whatever--it might be a hormonal thing, or it might just be dinner-weight from my huge (primal) meal last night: 1/2 pound hamburger with aged cheddar cheese, 2 eggs fried in butter, half an avocado, and red wine. In any case, it should just be that much easier to lose a few pounds quickly for motivation.
That gets me to my plan for the next few days (weeks?): I'm going to try something along the lines of VLC or a sugar detox. Basically, no fruit, no chocolate, no sugar, no honey, and nothing obviously out of line (rice, potatoes, corn chips, sugar). I'm not usually too reliant on fake sugars (mostly just gum and the occasional stevia passion tea lemonade), but I'm going to steer clear of those, too. I'll see how I feel after a week or so--depending on how things go, I may try a carb re-feed day with sweet potatoes and fruit at some point.
I've been meaning to try the "nothing sweet" thing for a while--even during my Whole 30, fruit was something I could cling to. And the one thing I have noticed since going Primal in the first place is that I do tend to get headaches when I eat even a small amount of sugar. I'll be curious to see if this improves how I feel.
And just for the record... Christmas with my parents is going to be exempt from all this. I'll see how well I can do with various office holiday parties and other events. Being on a sugar detox might be a good excuse not to be tempted by my office's cookie exchange, though!
So here's my recap of what I think might be Day 1 of some type of 21-day sugar detox... by which I mean I haven't bought the official instructions, but I think I know what I need to try giving up.
Breakfast: Pack of almonds from Starbucks (my default food-on-the-go, since I never seem to be more than a few blocks from a Starbucks) and black coffee
Lunch: Bit of leftover steak (maybe 3 - 4 oz) cooked in butter, two eggs scrambled with some aged cheddar, half an avocado
Dinner: Shrimp curry with onion and 1/3 cup frozen peas
Pre- and post-dinner snack: Red wine and more aged cheddar
I don't think this was incredibly low-carb, but it wasn't bad. My plan is to just get into the swing of things at first (e.g., not sweating the red wine and cheese--I have to get through this essay-writing somehow), and then try reducing portions and/or fasting once my hormones are back in whack. We'll see how it goes.
Day 2 food recap:
Brunch: Salad from Whole Foods salad bar (greens, 1/2 boiled egg, bit of parmesan, walnuts, lime juice, olive oil) and 5 hot wings (the plain roasted white chicken breast at the salad bar was just too sad...) + iced americano
Late lunch/snack: 1/2 avocado, as much of a sardines tin as I could eat (WAY too salty, even for me--and I adore salt), small slice of cheddar
Early dinner: Beef tenderloin with chimichurri sauce, left over from a volunteer thing I was doing (maybe 7 - 8 oz)
Late dinner: Carving scraps from roasted leg of lamb (maybe ~3 oz)
(I have to say, the leg of lamb was pretty freaking brilliant. Left it in the oven on super low heat while I was out, then took it out, let it rest, and put it in a hot oven to finish it off. Perfect medium-rare with a great crust! Technique learned from my favorite food semi-celebrity, J. Kenji López-Alt from Serious Eats.)
What's bugging me is that I ate my brunch around 11 AM and the snack around 3 PM, but I was painfully hungry by 6:30 PM, right before I ate dinner. I don't have the patience to food-log it right now, but it seems like I must have been fine on calories, almost all of them from fat and protein. I know it's not necessarily terrible to crave regular meals, but I've noticed that I sometimes get a certain type of acute and unreasonable stomach-pain hunger that actually goes away (to be replaced by mild, normal hunger) if I exercise instead of eating when it hits... which I rarely do. Not sure what this means. Still suspect it means that my body needs to be encouraged to remember how to burn body fat for fuel. Regretting all my Halloween candy now. Anyhow, onwards!
Last edited by Kotato; 12-02-2012 at 08:15 PM.
Fun story, my weight yesterday morning was 141.4. Oh body, you're so weird.
I'm thinking 144 must have been a fluke... and I don't really think it's a lady-hormone thing, so possible culprits are down to the sheer volume of food I'd eaten the night before, the wine I'd been drinking, or some bloating from the ample serving of rice I'd eaten Thursday night. I'll pay attention to the first two (especially the wine) to see if there might be a pattern there.
Captain's food log, Day 3:
Breakfast: ~3 oz lamb leg, coffee
Lunch: ~7 oz lamb leg, mixed greens with olive oil, 1/2 avocado
Dinner: ~8 oz lamb leg, 1 bunch asparagus fried in olive oil
Lamb-fatigue: still low. It's delicious.
Today I'm trying a little IF by skipping breakfast, mostly because I'm trying to learn how to listen to my body (a little bit). So far there's been an embarrassing amount of stomach growling and tightening, but not too much actual discomfort. I used to skip breakfast pretty frequently without issues, so I'm thinking it's something I should be able to adapt to again.
Food log, Day 4:
Lunch: Lamb (~7 oz), salad greens with olive oil
Dinner 1: Lamb (~6 oz), almonds from starbucks
Dinner 2: 2 slices roast beef, 3 small lamb chops, 3 cocktail shrimp, some prosciutto, salami, and hard cheese. Plus a glass of white wine and a martini.
Yeah, so last night was my fancy office holiday party, and there was more meat-based food there than I had been expecting. Apart from a bit of cocktail sauce with the shrimp, I think I did well on avoiding sugar. I did eat a lot... but I also skipped breakfast, so hopefully my caloric intake for the day wasn't completely ridiculous. Just a little ridiculous. It was a fancy holiday party, after all!
I think I'm going to have to update my signature--my weight this morning was 138.8!
Yeah, I know, water weight, etc. But this is only the second time ever I've weighed less than 140 lbs, and the first was right after my Whole30 and right before starting hormonal birth control, which threw everything off for a while. I know it's just a number, and not really the most meaningful one--but it still makes me feel like I'm doing something right. I'll embrace whatever motivating signs I can get.
Food log, Day 5:
Lunch: ~6 - 7 oz lamb, mixed greens, olive oil (~1.5 tbsp), two small hardboiled eggs
Dinner: 8 oz hamburger topped with cheddar cheese and 2 strips thin bacon, next to about a cup of brussel sprouts cooked with bacon grease, butter, and garlic (inspired by Mark's brussel sprouts recipe, but simplified)
Purely out of interest (yes, I'm aware of all the caveats), I tried a ketosis uranalysis test strip and got somewhere in the medium range. I'll be more interested to see if that changes over time. My boyfriend is noticing (and worrying about) my acetone breath, though, so that's probably just as good an indication that I'm producing ketones. I'll try drinking more water to see if that helps with the breath.
Skipping breakfast didn't feel too bad yesterday, and I feel fine without breakfast so far at 10 AM today. I went through a period where I did it all the time, and I actually think the biggest reason I got back into breakfast was that I began treating it as a psychological reward. I want to see if I can get back into the habit again.
Small victory today: No crazy-hunger. Seriously, none. It was great. I forgot how great that feels.
Food log, day 6:
Breakfast: Coffee, green tea
Lunch: From the cafeteria: Chicken tortilla soup without the tortilla strips (nice rich broth, chicken, melty cheese, onion, avocado) and a small salad (greens, tiny bit of radish and carrot, cucumber, hard-boiled egg slices, olive oil, a few sunflower seeds)
Snack: One tiny slice of nice cheese around 3 PM
Dinner: Brussels sprouts with bacon (3 thin strips), butter, and garlic, topped with parmesan cheese
I wasn't even really hungry when I ate the cheese, but I was at an event and I wanted to try something. Mindless eating, really. Oh well--it was harmless. I didn't get home until after 7 PM, and I wasn't hungry. I sort of wanted dinner, because I felt like I might get hungry, but I didn't feel awful, or weak, or in need of immediate food. It's a little sad how excited I am by this, but man, I've really missed it.
Also, pan fried brussels sprouts with bacon are the best. The greasy little crispy leaves that fall off are my favorite part--like kale chips, but without the work. Also, weird confession, I put them on a plate and try to use a fork to eat them, but I mostly end up eating them with my hands like popcorn. Mmm.
Wow, I sure fell behind on my food log. Let's see if I can do a condensed version.
Friday: Was at a campus visit all day. Lunch was grilled chicken sandwiches--just ate some chicken, lettuce, etc. Whole avocado as an afternoon snack. Dinner at a local diner--4-egg gyro/feta omelette with steamed veggies instead of fries.
Saturday: Small chicken tortilla soup without the tortilla chips (but with cheese and sour cream) from Qdoba. Chicken kebab from a Mediterranean place. Bratwurst and sauerkraut, no bun, from a German market. Starbucks almonds. Late second dinner of Thai coconut milk soup with chicken, cabbage, and mushrooms--so warming, so good.
Sunday: Starbucks sausage/egg/cheese sandwich without the english muffin (didn't know they'd do that), almonds. Salami with goat cheese as a snack. Big grass-fed steak with cauliflower mashed potatoes and red wine--only a little, but I think it gave me a headache. Sigh.
Monday: A few pistachios, stir-fried andouille sausage with onions/peppers and a small salad from the cafeteria. Boston Market chicken leg/thigh and wing, steamed veggies, and a tiny dab of mashed potatoes for dinner (Boston Market chicken is kind of gross, but it was a catered dinner...)
Tuesday: Salami and goat cheese for breakfast and lunch. Some pistachios as a snack. Another large grass-fed steak, steamed broccoli with butter, and a fried egg for dinner.
Apart from what I figured out was an ever-so-slightly sugary seasoning on the Boston Market chicken (it gave me a headache, blech), I've been good on avoiding sugar and fruit. I think my calorie intake might be too high, though, especially considering that at the moment I'm getting basically no exercise. I think my hunger issues (although not my gluttony issues) are improving, so I might try dialing portions back over the next week or so.
BTW, the office holiday cookie exchange? Way more tortuous than I'd though it would be. I baked cookies to bring and didn't touch them... but I sure could smell them. I wasn't even at the office for the main event, but I swear, I fantasized about sugar all day long--and I've never even been that into sugary foods compared to salty ones! At one point I started thinking about ice cream wrapped in fried dough, which I have never even eaten. Then it turned into thinking about tortilla chips dipped in mashed potatoes and topped with corn kernels. My imagination is disgusting.
Last note, funny weight things: I weighed 140 on Tuesday morning and 138.4 this morning. No idea why, since I ate a ton last night. I guess Monday might have been a little carb-ier than usual? Kind of weird if I'm really that sensitive, though. Weight is silly.
Just a quick note... Today I've eaten maybe 20 pistachios and a small bowl of chicken broth with a little cheese and maybe a third of an avocado in it (I ordered chicken, but that got left out). I've probably eaten 300 calories, and I am weirdly not hungry. Hope this means I'm burning fat.
Sometimes I think back to how I ate back in college when I was losing weight very rapidly and steadily. I was all about the math back then and paid no attention to CW regarding eating most of your calories in the morning--it didn't bother me to eat minimally at breakfast and lunch, so I always saved up my calories for a satisfying dinner. I lost weight eating a lot of pad thai, believe it or not. The basic math does work, especially when you're as obese as I was--but I wonder if the timing might have had something to do with it. I often ate 200 - 300 calories for breakfast and lunch combined, and it didn't bother me, as long as I got my dinner. Almost sounds like a warrior diet fast... Something to think about. Definitely going to experiment with minimal day-eating, or at least more breakfast-skipping, in the future.
I've already decided that I'm eating sweet potato fries at the bar I'm going to tonight, because man, I've eaten basically no carbs/food today, and I freaking love sweet potato fries. Vegetable oil be damned. Plus, I'm honestly curious to see what effect it'll have on my weight, as it's the sort of indulgence I'd like to be able to have now and then. Telling myself this doesn't count as breaking my sugar restriction. We'll see what happens.