Giving it a Go! (Primal Journal)
So I've been lurking in the forums and reading others' journals for a few weeks now. I have never really participated in forum discussions like this or started an online journal before. I tend to be pretty timid on things like this (I know, its a weird thing, I get anxious like I'm posting things wrong, or I'm not being interesting ect). But for some reason, after reading some other journals I just felt like I needed to do this. I want to put myself out there. Even if no one else reads it, I'm sure the writing process will help me to trouble shoot what is working and what I need to improve. This is a big step for me. I tend to be an "observer"--I don't often throw myself in and participate too regularly (just in general in life). I would like to start making an effort to participate more...starting with this journal I guess.
A little about myself--I am a college student, Biology major with 3 more semesters to go (the end is in sight!). For the past couple months I have really been interested in and actively researching ways of eating more unprocessed and whole foods and living more simply and more naturally. I have gone through phases (short phases) of being vegetarian and at times vegan. I was never too successful for too long at these attempts. In my mind I had always considered veganism, or even raw food to be the "ideal" way to eat, but I have never had the self discipline to actually eat that way. I always just felt so deprived.
SO all my recent research on healthier eating, something that seemed to keep popping up here and there were the benefits of fat. Of course when I tried looking into that more, primal and paleo websites kept popping up. I had heard about primal/paleo before and thought (based on my "vegan is better" mentality) that that much fat and protein was just completely unnecessary and absurd. But through reading all the science behind it and how the body processes and uses fats vs carbs I decided it sounded interesting and that I would give it a try.
Part of my motivation in improving my diet is to become more balanced or stable. I know that is really vague. The past few months I have had troubles with unstable moods, mood swings, energy ups and down, low moods (not full on depression, but I have had rough points). This is not something that has had a huge impact on my day to day life. Its more of just and inconvenience, or a frustration. When I have mood swings or I'm at a low for no apparent reason it is frustrating to me to seemingly not have control over my emotions at times. I just thought that eating certain foods (processed foods, sugar ect) could be related some of these issues. I am truly convinced that so many health and mental issues can be helped (or even fixed completely) with the right dietary changes.
That being said, only part of my motivation to find a better way to eat was motivated by my emotional issues. The other part of course is becoming physically more healthy, stronger, more in shape...and if I loose a little bit of excess fat in the process I won't complain!
I have never considered myself seriously overweight. More often, just on the heavier side. At my heaviest I was about 20-30 lbs over what would be healthy. I am 5' 2, I think I currently weigh around 150. At my heaviest I was 165ish (that was about 2 years ago). My goal I guess would be 130 or below (if possible). I know its not all about the actual number on the scale. When I say I want to get down to 130, its more like I have a picture in my head of what "130" would look like, and I want to get there.
Okay, now that we've got the introduction business out of the way I can move on to where I am at now. I have been eating more primal for almost 2 weeks now. Before that I had already been making efforts to eat more whole foods and less processed foods. So the big changes and adjustments for me was to cut out grains and increase fat. Starting out it felt so unnatural to try to consume so much fat! Its all the years and years being told limit the fat intake. I'm getting more used to it by now.
The first few days I was a little worried because I got bloated and for the first week or so I was extremely low energy. The bloating went away with in a few days, and just now in the past day or two I have been not feeling as drained and lifeless energy wise. I've already notice that I am loosing some weight. I have not officially weighed myself yet since starting, I just feel a bit slimmer in my mid region (Yay!).
I am liking how things are going so far. Eating this way has really not been that difficult for me. The first day or two I had cravings for baked goods (breads, rolls ect), but since then the thought has not been too tempting to me. Other times I have tried diets, or just improving my eating, I have looked at it as temporary which led to me watching the calendar seeing how long I could last that time. I would usually only make it 3 or 4 days before the cravings were too much and I would give in with a binge session. I have not had that urge this time, and its come as a surprise to me that its already been two weeks, it has not seemed that long to me.
I have been reading a lot (articles and forums on the website, and the PB) and trying to keep straight all the information I have been taking in, but I am still very new to this. I would love any feedback, advice, and tips you all have to share!
Alright, I think that it a sufficiently long first entry.
I'm hoping I will have many more entries to come as I continue down this path to a healthier life style.
Thanks for reading!
Welcome F2x3. It sounds like you're off to a great start. You seem to have your head in the right place, which is a big help. I've only been primal for a little over two months, but I love the food and love the way I feel. I really identified with the statement you made:
Before that I had already been making efforts to eat more whole foods and less processed foods. So the big changes and adjustments for me was to cut out grains and increase fat. Starting out it felt so unnatural to try to consume so much fat! Its all the years and years being told limit the fat intake. I'm getting more used to it by now.
If you're like me, it will seem natural after awhile to increase fat.
Welcome to PB!
(Thanks Huarache Gal!)
I've been kind of leery about telling people outright that I am "eating a paleo diet" or "eating primal". I'm a little self conscious about it because I know what will be going through their heads. They will automatically classify what I'm doing with other gimiks or "loose weight fast" diets. I've already gotten the comment "isn't that just like the Atkins diet?". I know I shouldn't care so much about what other people think. I think (or hoping) that once I have had a few weeks of eating primal under my belt I will feel more confident in my eating habits and a passing phrase of criticism from someone will not phase me as much. Eating primally is just so drastically different from any resemblance of "health" according to CW. For that reason I know it can be difficult for people who have not been exposed to paleo or primal ideas to wrap their heads around why I am eating what I am eating. For example--You should have seen my boyfriend's face when I told I was putting butter in my coffee in the morning! The expression was disgust and I know he did not want to say it, but I could see it on his face: "WHY would you ever do that??"
I am actually lucky that my boyfriend is really trying to be accommodating of my new dietary needs. It helps that he also wants to eat better (more vegetables, more whole foods) and he is trying to loose weight, lift more ect. However we do differ on some key items. He says that his body responds more to increase of exercise over any major dietary changes. He is also not on board with the whole fat thing. He is a bit older than I am so he insists that that much butter and animal fat would not be good for a guy his age. I have had discussion (not arguments) with him bringing up very lightly some of the theories behind primal eating. But he is still not convinced. He said he would wait a month or two and see (if)/how *I* have benefited from it and then maybe he will give it a try. That puts the pressure on *me* then to make sure I have physical and/or visual results in the next month! But really, I don't want to be that kind of person that continually pushes my way of thinking on other people. Don't primal/paleo eaters get annoyed at people offering CW advise for the exact same reason? So I will let him do his thing and I will do my thing. Then if I really do have noticeable health improvements (increased energy, weight loss, more muscle tone) after a month or so, maybe then he will be more willing to learn more about it. We'll see though. For right now I just have to focus on me, and what I need to do in order to feel good about what I'm eating.
keep it on a 'need to know' basis
if they don't need to know the details, keep schtum
good luck and keep going
Went into Annapolis yesterday. It was a beautiful day just to walk around the harbor in the sunshine. We stopped into a restaurant for lunch and I had my first experience looking for appropriate food items on a menu. I ended up ordering a salmon dish that had a side of mashed yams and steamed vegetables. This seemed like a pretty safe choice. Unfortunately the salmon came drenched in some kind of fruity glaze sauce type thing. It was sickeningly sweet tasting. I was annoyed that I ended up having to eat such a sweet dish (all that sugar) and I wasn't even enjoying it. It was too overpowering. Oh well, lesson learned for next time: always ask what is put into/on the dishes and ask for it without sauce if it sounds like it will be sweet. I hate being high maintenance when ordering food (asking for substitution ect) but I will have to get over that if I want to be able to eat healthy when I go out.
I am going home to my parents' house for the first time since starting primal. My Mom has been a pretty strict vegetarian for the past couple years. I wonder if she will notice, or if/when I tell her what I'm doing how she will react. She is pretty open minded to this kind of stuff for the most part though, so I am not too worried.
Also, I don't have a scale at my apartment (probably a good thing so I am not tempted to weigh myself every morning). So when I go home today I can use my Mom's scale and see if I've gone anywhere weight wise since starting primal. I am interested to know.
learn to ask if things come in a sauce and tell them to hold it if it does - don't worry about being high maintenance one jot, you are a paying customer and it's their job to meet your needs. I ask what they use, where it comes from, what fats they cook with and if they don't give the answers I want to hear I explain what I would like and ask can they do it. Most times they are more than happy to help
don't weigh yourself too often, once a month is enough, otherwise you are just detecting fluctuation, using tape measurements, photographs, clothes as your guide day to day
scales can mislead you
Thanks for the advice Katsuhiko. I do need to get over my qualms about making special orders at restaurants at some point. I'm sure most waiters/waitresses do not mind making a few substitutions on an order as much as I think they do
Soo...my parents' house yesterday was interesting. My new eating habits did end up coming out. Its not like I was trying to keep it from them. But I knew I would get a lot of flack for it. For the most part it was not too bad. My Mom asked a lot of questions and I think she was generally interested in my explanations. A lot of my arguments she flat out said she thought were just wrong. She even said at one point something along the lines of, everything I was saying was just so backwards and goes against what everyone (doctors, media, nutritionist) have been recommending for so long, so she could not really buy into it. On one level, having those discussions with my Mom was a good test for me to find out what concepts of primal nutrition I understood and what parts I should go back and read more about. For most of her inquiries I was able to explain to her based on everything that I have been reading. There were only a few times that I told her I did remember reading something about that topic, but I did not remember the science behind it. I felt kind of good about it because, as my boyfriend pointed out, even if there were somethings I did not know how to explain, I still was more informed on the science behind why I eat the way I do besides just arguing "that's what 'everyone' says is healthy". I do want to make a distinction that I was at no point trying to convince my parents they should be eating this way. I was simply addressed the questions and concerns my Mom brought up and then when she made some comment about not agreeing with what I was saying, I would just shrug my shoulders and drop it.
Another event at my parents' house, I did get to weigh myself. I was around 150 to start with. After a full week of primal I have lost 3 lbs. Not anything super drastic (and its probably mostly water weight). But I haven't been consistently under 150 lbs since like freshman year in high school. So that will be kind of nice if I can keep it here under 150 (and hopefully keep loosing some!) But more importantly (bc I do not want to get caught up in numbers on the scale) I am feeling good with eating this way and I hope I continue to feel my self slim down and feel my clothes get slowly looser
I have been doing some work outs. Just doing push ups (modified on my knees for now), squats, and planks with no added weights or anything. I am super out of shape, the first work out I did I felt so weak! But I can already start feeling the exercises getting a little easier. I guess that means I should increase the number in each rep soon. Along with strength training I have been getting out for a walk a few times a week. I used to really like to go running (I haven't made time for that in the past couple months). It would be nice to maybe add in some short easy runs every now and then. And I like the idea of doing sprint work outs. I have to figure out a reasonable place where I can do them though. I will keep a lookout for a school with a track or some fields that they don't mind people using.
Okay, on a slightly random note, I have a question. So I got some ground beef last week. It was 85% lean so when I cooked it up a good amount of fat dripped off and left about a quarter inch of fat in the pan at the end. That seemed normal to me. So I got some new stuff this week, still 85% lean. And when I cooked it, basically no fat came off. Is is normal for different packages of ground beef to have different amount of fat cooking off? Or is there something wrong with the beef? Anyone have any insight on this? Thanks!