Hello from CA and Scared to go Primal!
Hi there everyone!
I've been reading Mark's blog for the last couple of months and just ordered the book last week (still waiting!) and I was just wondering if anyone would mind sharing their beginnings with me. I'm a 26 year old female 5'6 132 lbs. I just finished grad school in the UK and gained about 10 lbs over there. I've cut out the grains for the most part, cut back on the fruit, no dairy, no sugar, but really struggle with the idea of not counting calories and adding so much fat. Saturated fat at that. In the past I've been a vegetarian, then a high raw vegan, then just fish and eggs and yogurt allowed, and now I don't know what to do. I love what I'm reading though and I'm just scared to make the leap.
I've started sprinting and weightlifting too. My hormones are imbalanced (low estrogen but it's not going to change due to it being a problem in my brain) and I must wear a patch to get them balanced. I spent 3 years without a period before we figured out what was going on and this resulted in tremendous bone loss. I've very close to having osteoporosis. I'm working with doctors to rebuild my bones and an endocrinologist to balance my hormones. I deal with bloat almost every day (spasms in my descending colon), I'm tired, and don't maintain muscle mass easily. I need to make this leap and would love to hear from some women in particular who have done this. Do I really have to give up my favorite Sun Warrior Rice Protein powder??
Thanks for listening,
Don't be afraid
Sounds like you're already doing a lot of good things for yourself, what with cutting down the grains, and eliminating sugar. You don't have to jump in all at once. If you start subbing chicken or fish for your protein powder, you might even find that bloat goes away. You could ease into the red meat gradually, as it feels comfortable.
I was kind of a mess when I was first introduced to PB. I was depressed, high trigs, high blood sugar, and borderline high blood pressure. Within a month, my numbers had improved so much my doc was no longer bugging me about meds. I've lost a few pounds, but I am SO much stronger than I was before ("Chronic Cardio Queen" + Weight Watchers = muscle loss). My joints have stopped aching; I'm happy most of the time.
There is no way that you're going to hurt yourself by eating fresh, whole foods, so what's to lose??? It's a great community here, you'll get lots of support, and just post those questions as they come up for you.
I'm not a woman but I can tell you about my experience, which maybe relevant as I was also a vegetarian for ~4 years prior.
Once I mentally prepared myself to eat meat again I spent a couple weeks learning as much as I could. Read as much as you can here but don't forget there are tons of other resources, lots of good blogs and what not... each had its own angle but its all stuff you can use to make educated choices. (Search for both primal and paleo stuff, also there is a thread here at PB that lists tons of links to blogs)
I decided to make a full commitment and jump in, cold turkey... I dont think easing into major changes makes things any easier in the long run. Particularly quiting addictions (smoking, grains, sugar, etc). FYI - I was already eating fish, dairy, and very rarely some eggs. I ate tons of carbs in the form of processed grain.
Anyway, the first meat I ate was the healthiest and most humanely made elk and beef jerky. I wanted to see how my body reacted before I added more. Instantly I loved the taste, just as I used to and a few hours later my stomach was fine and my body was happy. So I began right there, I trashed all of my non-paleo food that I had at home, its best not to have it around if you are serious. Within the first 6-8 hours of not eating ANY grain products and plenty of fat/protein I physically and dramatically felt my blood sugar stabilize and my mood perked up quite a bit. This was and still is the most impressionable moment of my transition... it's hard to explain the feeling... it's like being able to breath after being suffocated for years.
I decided a good way to stat things off would be to reward myself for my efforts with a meal that I would love. I shelled out for the best and healthiest piece of meat I could find - a huge buffalo porterhouse steak and a nice salad to go with it. I think that this also was an important step for me because of the mental aspect of what I was doing... it was nice to make sure my brain knew that this isn't a 'fad diet' that only places restrictions on all the tasty stuff and made me eat bland junk.
I've only been at it about 4 weeks now. After about 5 days I dropped ~4-5 lbs which I thought couldn't be right... but I think it was mostly crap lingering in my gut/intestines because my stomach got much flatter almost instantly. I've lost a lb or two more and have been feeling awesome. Far far more energy and much less hungry. It's hard to eat more than 2 meals a day most of the time. After meals, even if I stuff my self, I don't get bloated... I feel really sated but when I look in the mirror my stomach still looks flat.
FYI I'd guess I'm like 95% compliant... I eaten some dark chocolate and wine but thats about it. I don't count anything daily, I did a few random wag-benchmarks and found I eat 1.5-2.5k a day with about 50-70% fat, 30-45% protein, sub 75g of carbs, mostly from veggies and berries. I'm really strict on myself about grains because I feel like that is the single biggest aspect of this way of eating.
Also, sorry I cannot comment on your hormonal and other specifics as I don't know enough about them but I really feel like eating Primal can only do good things for you. I think if you are willing to give it a chance for 40-60 days you will do yourself a service... you have a lot more support around here than you may think and you'll find you've got a lot of willpower too!
Thanks everyone:-) Well I'm going to try this for a week and see how I feel. I'm sitting here absolutely unhappy with how my body feels so I feel like what have I got to loose?
I even took some before pics. How do i know how many calories I need? Should I worry about that or just listen to my tummy? I have so many old ways of thinking about food and what is "healthy" for living and weight loss that will need to be suspended. TOWANDA!
26yrs old F
Last edited by hermanda; 06-01-2010 at 03:24 AM.
Absolutely don't need to count anything, just listen to yo belly! Stick it out for a couple weeks and you'll be surprised, I'd bet you'll naturally peel away a few pounds right out of the gate without even trying.
I think you'll get to a point where you are not hungry enough to eat as much food as perhaps you should and I think that's pretty normal around here... I experience it myself. I've had to deal a bit with my brain habitually wanting to snack or sit down for meals when I'm physically still full and my stomach isn't signaling for more food, might watch out for that... and make sure you don't let yourself slip, binge, and what not. Things could be worse right? Its one problem I don't mind too much. haha
I don't know what is causing your low estrogen level, but i think primal eating with plenty of saturated animal fats could only help. It is possible that your vegan years did not provide enough building blocks for estrogen production. Sex hormones and steroid hormones are made from cholesterol and they are lipid based. Cholesterol is also the precursor for Vitamin D. If you don't eat enough saturated fats, you can't produce Vitamin D in your skin from sunlight. As you know, Vit D is essential for calcium absorption and building strong bones. You are an animal - all your cell membranes and nerve cell sheaths are made from saturated fats. How could it be unhealthy to eat animal fats (at least ones that aren't storing pesticides and antibiotics in them)? That is what we are made of! You might find a primal carnivorous diet really helps correct your homone levels and your bone density. Cod liver oil helps by adding more omega 3 fats as well as Vit D supplement. Good luck!
my estrogen levels are low because 4 years ago i was in a car accident and my hypothalamus was damaged ("rebooted itself" is how it's been described to me.) It's not likely to change so I've started a low estrogen patch with bio identical progesterone pills. For the bone loss the endo doctor has put me on calcium, magnesium, strontium, 5000 IU vit D, vit K, and fish oils :-) Thank you for the advice. After a couple of years in the raw vegan crowd it's really great to hear from well educated science-minded people.
I didn't have time to thoroughly read all the responses here...but I just wanted to say be sure that you stay far far away from all forms of soy!
Here's my 2 cents:
I'm 50yrs old, 5'4" & maintain an average wght of 120# since goin primal.
for about 15yrs I averaged 130#. 10+yrs I was a vegetarian. Lots of carbs, grain, soy "meats", legumes... Then in 2007 I had some, uh, emotional trauma & the ensuing depression caused me to lose almost 30 pounds! I was waaayyy too skinny - had no ass! Then in 2008 I gained it all back, but way too fast. I felt like I was in the wrong sized skin - very uncomfortable. very bloaty. Some friends went paleo & that picqued my interest. That led me to MDA a little over a year ago. It all just made such Obvious sense! So, I went for it. I was pretty strict for the 1st month or so (sooooo hard to resist popcorn when BF is eating it). I starting reintroducing animal into my diet. I started with tuna steaks & salmon (I missed them most!). Then I started adding the rest. My boss celebrated me eating meat again by cooking me some of his elk he got the previous fall. I had my daughter & son-in-law over for breakfast to celebrate my 1st bacon (in way too long!). In the 1st week or so of going primal, I lost about 7 pounds. I started going to yoga & pilates to get my body in some sort of shape. I felt AWESOME. No more bloaty feelings. No more afternoon "office bonk". I had way more energy than I used to. After 20+ yrs of insomnia, I was sleeping way way better. I decided that I would NEVER go back to the SAD way of eating, ever.
Today - I don't get the exercise that I should, but I do get some. I think I stick with the diet pretty well, but I slide every so often. If I slide too far, I feel it. I'm still battling my sweet tooth; slowly winning. I usually only eat once or twice a day - that's all I need. I still have good energy All Day Long. My weight has been holding 118-122.
So, in other words, leap in a way where you feel some comfort. I think lecZor had the right idea by treating himself to a bison steak. Find something that would seem like a splurgy treat or pick a favourite "comfort" item from your meat-eating past (just make it primal). Savor every bite & know that each one is a step towards a heathlier, happier, fabulous, gorgeous YOU!