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Thread: Newbie with a few questions! page

  1. #1
    crash's Avatar
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    Red face Newbie with a few questions!

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    Okay so this is my first week trying to follow Paleo, Ive decided to give it a go as I have recently found out that I am glueten sensitive after a good year of trying to figure out/treat my chronic fatigue. I haven't struggled as much as I thought I would have, but I have a few questions:

    1) Is it bad that I have approx. 80mls of coconut milk, with a handful of Mixed berries, half a banana, LSA (ground linseed, sunflower seed and Almond) mix and chia seeds every day for breakfast. Its so delish, I feel that it should be more of a treat rather than something I have for breakfast most days.

    2) This is day 4, Day 2 I felt terrible, headaches, nausea, lethargy you name it. Is it normal to have waves of energy/tiredness? Im used to be tired all the time, but this is a different kind of tired. Almost like I get a burst of energy then it wains. Also, I found I was starving today, more so than the past three days, I went to the supermarket and brought a quarter pre cooked chicken breast and devoured it like there was no tomorrow.

    3) How much water should I actually be drinking? Im currently drinking approx. 3ltrs. I hear that theres a formula for your weight and height of how much you should be drinking. I weigh 95kgs (209 pounds) and im 5'10 (176cm).

    4) Is there really no need to "count calories"? Im conscious of eating a lot, like my coconut milk for breakfast and curries I make.... I know they are full of fat... which as I have read is good for you but the whole "energy in vs energy out" is still stuck in my head and as I am not just trying to improve my fatigue but lsoe weight Im scared I am eating too many calories for my body to handle.

    5) Can I chew sugar free gum? I find it helpful when I just don't feel like water, to freshen my breath and to help with any cravings.

    6) Lastly, I'm a little nervous about the weekend. Its ok when Im at work as I have more structure. Do you recommend a "cheat" meal/day? I'm starting a 60 day weight loss challenge this weekend and have a busy day of exercise most Saturdays so I think ill be ok the Saturdays its just the sundays where it will be my rest days.


    Thanks in advance for your help
    Last edited by crash; 07-17-2013 at 11:02 PM.

  2. #2
    samuelf's Avatar
    samuelf is offline Junior Member
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    For what it's worth on point 1, I have approx 400ml of coconut milk a day with 100g of frozen berries and some dark chocolate. Am interested to hear if this is too much. Hoping not because it's awesome.

  3. #3
    GroketteInND's Avatar
    GroketteInND is offline Junior Member
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    I started my journey with a Whole100 (Whole 30 extended), and I still follow those restrictions probably 98 percent (no grains, no legumes, no sugar, no processed food, no dairy except for a couple of ounces in my cappuccino once in a while), so any insight I have is based on that and not a more relaxed paleo/primal beginning.

    1) No idea if your breakfast is "bad" (I don't do seeds), but why not throw in some bacon and eggs? More protein is always a good thing. I tend to limit my fruit to once a day, but that's me.

    2) "Carb flu" is real for most people, so expect to feel crappy for a few more days before it gets better. And I had moments of "starving" early on as my body flushed out the expectation of sugar rushes and processed flours when it nudged me, very often. Once it got used to using healthy fats and sweet potatoes for fuel it stopped asking for anything between meals. Relief!

    3) Water is a good thing. Hydration helps keep me satiated too. Plus, it's summer, so adjust accordingly.

    4) Some paleo people count calories. I never do, but I follow the meal template from my Whole30: palm-sized protein, fill the rest of the plate with veggies, couple of fat servings the size of your thumb. It works for me, even though my carb level is probably higher than pure paleo/primal. "Energy in/energy out" is pretty much bullshit, in my opinion, especially watching my body get leaner and healthier over the last few months. What matters is what gives you that energy and how your body processes it. Several hundred calories from a box of pasta is crap and I'm hungry two hours later. Several hundred calories from a veggie-filled omelette cooked in olive oil and topped with avocado keeps me going until my next meal five hours later. And funny enough, I keep losing weight!

    5) I have no idea about the gum in paleo, although I doubt Grok could find Dentyne just laying around. I'd wager there are some pretty bad things sitting in that wad of goo. Have you checked the ingredients?

    6) Again, on my Whole30-style eating there's no such thing as a "cheat". I didn't do it while I was following the strict regimen, and now that I'm over reintroduction I make choices about what I eat. It's not a cheat. My husband bought danishes a few days ago as a "treat". Mine is still sitting there and I'll probably end up tossing it. But tomorrow I'll have some Mexican Fried Icecream on our date night because *that* is worth the way my body may react to it. (At least I hope it is, I haven't had any for months.)

    It's not a cheat, it's a choice. But I had to get informed first, and take control away from the empty carbs and give it back to my health.

    Good luck, you can do this! I hope others have more informative answers.

  4. #4
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    First thing you should know is that these questions don't have 1 easy answer. Don't just do what someone tells you; experiment with different stuff and find out what works for you.

    1) That breakfast is fine, although I'd lose the nut/seed mix and just stick with fruit and coconut milk. If you really want the nuts in your diet, buy high quality nuts to have as a small snack once in a while. You could throw some gelatin in that breakfast, too. Some people find having significant protein with their first meal of the day helps--try that if you want.

    2) You're probably not eating enough calories. Going low carb makes it easy to starve yourself accidentally, so you may have to count calories if you want to keep carbs low. You'll have to experiment and optimize your own diet.

    3) In general, drink when you're thirsty or overheated or after exercise. You don't need to drink tons, but don't dehydrate yourself either. Make sure you're getting enough potassium, sodium, and magnesium also (the first two are easy to get from your diet alone; magnesium glycinate in small doses is a good option if you don't get enough of that.

    4) You might need to count calories: it depends on your goals. You seem afraid to eat much fat, so if you're going to stay low-carb, you should consider counting calories just to make sure you don't run yourself down. It can be easy to eat too little or too much when starting a new way of eating (especially, IMO, when low-carbing).

    5) You can do whatever you want. I wouldn't recommend it, but it's not my call. If it was me, I'd eat sugared gum over sugar-free gum, but whatever.

    6) Do you feel the need to cheat? Is eating a certain cheat food worth the risk for you? How strict do you want to be? Is your new way of eating going to be a "diet-plan" or a lifestyle/outlook change? These are things you'll have to answer for yourself.

    I'm not expert, but I hope that helps.
    Last edited by F.Fellini; 07-18-2013 at 12:58 AM.

  5. #5
    Knifegill's Avatar
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    At least track your calories when starting. I was eating too little at first. Didn't know it, either.

    Your breakfast sounds a lot like bird food.


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  6. #6
    Owen's Avatar
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    Hello and welcome. Good questions.

    The breakfast is certainly not unhealthy and if you re getting results then stick with it although you may want to try proteins such as eggs.

    Carb flu can be avoided by eating a natural carb source - a potato, banana or other fruit. I do and still loose weight. This is important when exercising especially.

    If you get hungry for a protein fix then go with it and eat to your heart's content.

    Sugar free products are chemicals and not food. The science is vague but to give you an e.g. - Aspartame has been linked to depression in some studies.

    I personally don t count calories - I just enjoy eating primal food as and when hungry. My intake varies a fair amount.

    Cheat days work for some but not me. I certainly don t plan them- in social settings its a case of follow your gut feelings and Don t worry too much. If I have a 10% wobble here and there I certainly don t feel guilty.

    Best of luck!

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    This isn't criticism but just pointing out how my routine differs:

    • I eat balanced meals and nothing else. A smoothie or a chicken breast by itself would leave me feeling deprived and off center. My plate is about 25% meat/25% starch/50% vegetable. I'm always willing to wait and plan a proper dinner and not just "grab something".

    • Almonds and sunflower are party snacks. Chia and flax are dubious vegan fish substitutes that don't really work--I'd skip it.

    • Water and calories should become instinctive over time. For example when I'm bike commuting in the summer I add a small lunch around 2pm and probably another liter of water but the lean ancestors I admire had no clue about calorie totals so I'm not concerned either. I aim to make eating less "Pavlovian" and more "homeostatic". The one category I carefully measure is non-hydrous foods (dried meats and fruits, chocolate, cheese, nuts, cooking fats).

    • What's a cheat? A good diet should not have any deficiencies or cravings. Toxic elements like oil, sugar, and flour should be reserved for social obligations IMO. If I have a particular flavor or texture itch I'd rather make it at home. I think it's unwise to reinforce gratification from any factory food that has the exact same taste every time.
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    I would worry more about tweaking this than the 60 day thing. In fact, I would drop the 60 day thing entirely.

    Almost everyone who loses weight regains it. Losing weight fast is NOT the goal... making a lifestyle that keeps the weight off is the goal.
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  9. #9
    little12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GroketteInND View Post

    4) Some paleo people count calories. I never do, but I follow the meal template from my Whole30: palm-sized protein, fill the rest of the plate with veggies, couple of fat servings the size of your thumb. It works for me, even though my carb level is probably higher than pure paleo/primal.
    See...this is why i'm confused as a Newbie myself. I posted about how the first few days I was starving...seriously starving...and craving meat. People told me to eat eat eat more protein and fat. So I ate more protein (meat) and tried not to worry about it. I didn't track calories or anything, but I can tell you I am having more than a palm size portion of protein in some of my meals!

    So which one?? Should newbies portion control like that?? Or is the first couple weeks supposed to be more "eat when your body tells you to" and "eat more meat if your body wants more meat".

    On the plus side, I'm glad i'm craving meat and not a donut

  10. #10
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    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    I started the Primal WOE in March of this year, so I understand that it can be confusing/overwhelming at first to try to figure everything out! Here's my two cents, for what it's worth:

    1) I'd say it's not the worst choice you could make, but not the best either. That's quite a bit of sugar - for me, if I eat fruit, I try to make it berries, and probably only a few times a week - usually with some heavy cream or whipped coconut cream (from coconut milk) for dessert. Eggs & bacon will keep you full for longer, without as much potential for a sugar crash - this'll set you up to make good food choices for the rest of the day.

    2) I had the same experiences for the first week or so - headaches, lethargy, fatigue, felt starving some days - just keep at it and your body will adjust. I'd say the breakfast of fruit and seeds is probably not helping you kick the sugar habit though

    3) I don't drink a specified amount - just try to stay hydrated. I'd think this one would sort itself out.

    4) Here's what I did: first 2-3 weeks: ate whatever I wanted, as long as it was Primal (no alcohol, either!). After that, I started tweaking - counted calories sometimes, mostly out of curiosity (My Fitness Pal app is good for this, and keeping up with macros); adjusted macros for ketosis; started intermittent fasting; etc, but I only added one new tweak at a time, after adjusting to the previous tweak(s) for at least a month or two. Don't stress yourself out too much, I'd say the only rule should be to eat Primal foods until you get used to it, then tweak from there if you need to. Baby steps.

    5) I don't, with the exception of twice on an airplane (for my ears). I try to avoid artificial sweeteners, as they can cause the same psychological/physiological triggers as eating real sugar. I've found, however, by excluding all the wheat/sugar from my diet, that my breath doesn't seem to need to be "freshened" multiple times daily, like it used to. Another perk of Primal

    6) I don't have cheat days, nor would I call it a "cheat". If you adhere to 80/20, the 20% is not necessarily a "cheat", if you will. Calling it that only sets you up to feel guilty about it later, IMO. I agree with what everyone else has said, I try to only eat Primal foods, but on occasion, usually in social settings, I'll indulge just a bit - and I don't feel guilty about it at all, which is a nice change from other WOE.

    Hope some of that helps, and good luck to you!

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