Need some direction please!
I have struggled with food in many different ways for quite some time. I am going to give you some background and let you know where I stand. As I stated in my title of this post, I really think I need some guidance.
About 5 years ago, I was very much eating a large SAD diet. I had a miscarriage and decided that I needed to really get healthy. I read a book called the raw food detox diet and began eating a diet of tons of fruits, tons of vegetables, small amounts of dairy, and a cooked meal at night that included good meat, still some grains like Cous Cous and quinoa. I ate tons of good fats like avocado and olive oils. I had dark chocolate and natural sugars like honey and agave. I felt amazing, truly amazing and satisfied. I was lean and felt very healthy.
I got pregnant and my hormones went insane....literally. I could no longer stomachs fruits and veggies. All I could eat and all I wanted was the bad carbs...bread,bagels,soda, cookies. I gained 60 lbs and felt awful!! This happened and then happened again with my second child. 18 months ago I had my second baby and ever since, my hormones are so messed up. Not to mention all of the body fat that has accumulated.
6 months ago, I had it! I had read the primal blueprint but couldn't stop the sugar....I was so very addicted to sugar. I was a huge night eater, even in the middle of the night. So I read the book " it starts with food" and decided to do a whole30. 30 days of very strict paleo/primal eating, to re-set my body, hormones etc. after the whole30, I continued to eat primarily. I had dropped about 15 lbs and felt pretty good. Over the holidays, I had a few sweets, some non primal meals but nothing crazy.
On the first of the year, I began a whole100 ( very strict paleo) with a group of women. I wanted to cut out the every night dark chocolate and really try to trim the body fat and get strong. I also stopped smoking which for me was a big step. This was 40 days ago. I felt like I have been going crazy over the past 2 weeks. Thinking about food constantly, my hormones feel completely out of whack and I feel like my body is missing something. Needless to say...I indulged in some chocolate and pizza after obsessing for like 2 weeks. I have gained weight over the past 40 days, not lost any of the body fat and feel very discouraged. I know that primal living is a life change, and that's what I am looking for. I would be lying though if I said that loosing the body fat and gaining strength weren't real important to me.
I am all in to living this way. I want to be healthy, happy and in great shape. I am very confused on where I am going wrong. I have been the same weight with the same amount of body fat since November. I just started going to the gym 3 weeks ago. I am very confused on what's should be doing there. I have been on the elliptical for 30 min and lifting weights for 30 min 3X a week.
I did cut out nut butters 2 weeks ago when all of these crazy cravings began. I just know that this is the first time that since I began living this way back in sept,I have felt this overwhelming urge to eat sugar and just eat food in general. All I want to do is eat. I stopped the whole100 this weekend and have given my mind and body a break. I have every intention on eating Contunuing to eat primal. I just really need some help as to why this is happening to me.
If anyone can help me on where I'm going wrong or what I need to change...I would greatly appreciate it. I am so used to loving living this way of life And feeling good. Something is wrong or missing and I can't figure it out.
Thank you and I look forward to being a part of this community!
I am definitely not an expert, but it sounds like you are being too strict on yourself, honestly! I am just starting out with this diet, and from what I have been reading it is NOT supposed to cause you stress. You are worrying and obsessing over food, which are disordered eating habits. Trust me, I should know plenty about that... Primal and paleo way of life is to put order back into your food habits and relieve stress!
I don't know what you're eating on a day to day basis, or if you're counting calories, but maybe you should just try to relax and remember that the PB says we're allowed 20% leeway. Perhaps you're not eating enough calories now that you're exercising, too.
Relax, life is supposed to be fun! Focus on stress relief and making yourself happy. Recovery, rest, and play are all par of the plan too!
I think Cierra got it in one, and the tone of your post makes it clear you are very, very stressed out about your situation. Which is totally understandable, but personally I think is the root cause of what's going wrong for you right now, stress and guilt. Apart from the fact that they make you feel terrible, chronic stress is also responsible for triggering cortisol spikes, increasing your insulin resistance and at the same it will make you crave stuff that is bad for you and actually make you feel like acting sedentary. If you notice that you're not gaining much in the way of strength and cardio is actually getting harder and hader rather than easier then I can pretty much guarantee that stress is the major cause of what's going wrong for you right now. If you're not sleeping especially well, that may be a symptom or potentially a contributing factor.
The best piece of advice I have for you is something that Mark wrote a while back that I'm not ashamed to say actually had me in tears when I read it.
Stop beating yourself up.
You're doing the absolute best you can with the information available to you. You shouldn't feel guilty about not living up to some primal ideal or feel you have to be a "perfect paleo" or any crap like that. My experience with different programs and eating plans has been thus - if I didn't do what was recommended to the tee, I felt like I was "cheating." I'd feel guilty and stressed about the process, and then I'd make myself feel like crap about the whole thing. Eventually training and eating right became unpleasurable and filled with stress, so I wouldn't do it.
Congratulations on giving up smoking. That is an extremely difficult life change that requires an immense amount of willpower and dedication and shows you have no shortage of either.
I don't have very good willpower. I'm not saying this to blow smoke up your arse, but because it's simply true. I have had no issues working with primal eating and I'm loving it for the very simple reason that I'm not pressuring myself. If I want bread or pizza, I can have it. I don't want it. If my body just doesn't want to train on a certain day (different to general stiffness or lethargy, if I feel totally exhausted), I won't send it to the gym. If I'm not feeling it in cardio, I'll cut my session short and go home for a lazy swim and a long sleep.
I think this is why - when I'm not happy, I don't lose fat. In training regimes of the past, when I've been pleased with myself in the initial period, high on endoprhins and happy to go to the gym, the fat just fell off me. I absolutely shocked two trainers with how I began transforming myself. When I got self conscious about plateaus, guilty about an abundance of "cheat meals" and overtrained myself to exhaustion, everything fell apart.
My results sucked and the end result was I became a stressed out, sedentary mess. There were other issues from work and relationships that compounded this, but at the end of the day I stopped enjoying my food and I stopped enjoying exercise. Mineral rich, protein laden food that used to make my mouth water tasted like cardboard and I had constant carb and salt cravings.
Since going Primal, I'm putting on muscle and strength faster as a result this time, eating as I like, losing more fat, feeling better and not struggling with myself. I'm generally sleeping better too, though as a former insomniac with a messed up love life there are some nights that just doesn't happen. I accept that, and don't blame my body or brain for not giving me a metronomic 8 hours. They're doing the best they can for me in this situation too.
My advice is thus. If some rich, dark chocolate destresses you, make an experience of it. Give yourself some pure "me" time, relax, get a good book or a movie, eat it slowly and savor it. Have a glass of wine if that helps. Do more fun things or partake in more relaxation periods in general, with or without food. Move slowly...hike, walk, swim. Don't do it to a pace, just meander, wander or play. If it helps, meditate and use some breathing exercises. Try and get as much quality sleep as you can.
If you crave something, analyse your cravings. Mark has a couple of great blogs on how cravings can be misleading, how the body signals for one physical need that the brain confuses for another (e.g. saturated fat cravings being interpreted as a sugar craving). Try and satisfy your craving for a pizza with a steak or some fish...protein tends to sate the body quickly and a good cut of meat will be far better for you than a pizza. If substitution doesn't work, you will at least know what your body is actually craving and be able to isolate a root cause you can try looking at from a different angle.
And for dog's sake, don't feel like you're letting anyone down if you treat yourself. The odd bit of ice cream or chocolate will not hurt your overall results and if it motivates you, enjoy. Don't feel guilty for it, just revel in the momentary indulgence.
If the gym isn't fun right now, take three days, maybe a week off. Rest. Recuperate. Recharge. Stop picking stuff apart and wondering what's going wrong and where. Thank your body for doing the great job it has up until now. Shorten your cardio to ten, maybe fifteen minutes of pure intensity.
Concentrate on the positive things you've achieved and on the foods you want to eat that will nourish your body. And find ways to stop feeling like crap. Not only is it unpleasant, it will actually undo all of your gains.
That was very verbose. Sorry if I blathered way too much. In summary:
Don't worry. Be happy
I cannot begin to tell you how very much your response meant to me! This might sound a little crazy to you...but your post was a god sent message. I am struggling with so many things right now and everything you said just hit right on.
I know it's stress, I need to relax and take it easy. I seriously cannot tell you how much it meant to me that you took the time to respond.
What Mark once said that youbreferred to "stop beating yourself up " brought tears to my eyes too because that's all I have been doing. This week has been so bad with stress. My stomache is in so much pain, I can't sleep, I gained 4 lbs, I am an emotional wreck, my hormones are out of whack!! I know it sounds like a little much...but it's just what has happened as a result of trying to be some superhuman. Plus I have some major work issues going on too.
I am going to take your advice, and I mean all of it.
I'm going to take it easy and just live primally...not just eat primal.
Thank you so much again!!