Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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April 17 2013

10 Psychological Hurdles Keeping You From Losing Weight (and How to Overcome Them)

By Mark Sisson
193 Comments

Overcoming Hurdles

A few weeks back, I discussed nine (more) reasons you might not be losing the weight you want, and I got a lot of responses. Those were mostly “physical” reasons grounded in physiological terms we usually use to describe weight loss or gain. In other words, they were the ones you expect, things like eating too little and tanking the metabolism, suffering from “hidden stress,” disordered eating, or training too hard with inadequate nutrition. Today, I’m doing something a bit different. Instead of couching everything in the body, I’m focusing more on the ways in which our minds (which, of course, are part of the body, but we typically separate the two in common parlance) trip us up and prevent us from losing weight.

Let’s jump into it.

You’ve Developed Poor Habits

Habits become ingrained in our days and in our brains to the point where it just doesn’t feel right without them. Now, if your habits take the form of regular exercise, eating plants and animals, and getting good sleep, you’re in good shape. If your habits look a little different, you might not be:

The coffee and crueller (stat!) on the way to work. The handful of candy beans every time you pass the candy-loving receptionist’s desk. The nightly six pack. The propensity to plop down on the couch and stay there for hours after work. We’ve all got some bad habits, and depending on their composition, they can disrupt our ability to lose weight.

It’s easy to recognize our bad habits, but it’s tough to break the cycle using sheer willpower. Instead, try to understand the underlying contexts that give rise to the habits. That way, you can target the contexts – the situations, the emotions, the cues – that trigger the habit.

It could be as simple as taking a different route to the bathroom to avoid the receptionist’s candy-laden desk, or it could be as hard as examining why you feel the need to drink six beers at night.

You can also replace the bad habit with a good one. If you’re craving that morning pastry, eating a piece of sweet fruit instead might be easier than just going without altogether.

I recommend The Power of Habit for those looking to learn more about habits, how to break bad ones and create new ones.

You’re Afraid of Being a Social Pariah

We are social animals. In fact, acknowledgement and indulgence of that fact is crucial for maintaining and supporting personal health. It’s the rare person who can live without social contact with other humans and remain happy and healthy. That innate drive to be accepted by and avoid offending those around us, however, can also keep us from making the right dietary choices when those around us are constantly bringing cookies into the office, going out to eat at the Chinese buffet, ordering wings and fries at happy hour, and so on.

There’s no easy way to relish social pariahism, although I think a healthy dose of it leads to superior health (more for being independent/your own man/woman than for any dietary advantages it confers). You can’t just decide to be happy about being the weird person who turns down the birthday cake. You can, however, decide to be the weird person who turns it down. Sometimes there’s no easy way around the hurdle, no strategic path. Sometimes you just have to bull your way through it and bear the consequences. Like running hurdles on the track, scaling this particular psychological hurdle gets easier the more you do it. Turn down the cake a few times and you’ll realize that it’s not so bad after all and people really don’t care.

Just don’t make a big deal out of it when you say no. Don’t get indignant or lecture-y.

You Still Fear Fat

Years of indoctrination from mass media, your family, doctors, “experts,” and pretty much everyone can have you convinced that fat is a scary, inherently dangerous macronutrient – even if you can intellectually accept its place in the human diet. No matter how many studies you read exonerating dietary fat as the cause of heart disease and obesity and diabetes and how many success stories you hear from people who ate fat to lose fat, there may always be a voice deep down inside saying “you know that stuff will kill you, right?” Even though you know it’s not anything to worry about and a high-fat diet actually can be incredibly healthy, the animal instinct is strong and stubborn. And yet if you don’t shake that fear of fat even as you reduce your carbohydrates, you’ll end up on a low-carb, low-fat, overall low energy diet that won’t get you anywhere but stuck and stalled.

It’s tough to shake indoctrination, but it can be done. Read GCBC, at least the first half that deals with the diet-heart hypothesis to have your fear ripped asunder to be replaced with a strong yearning for butter. Read the success stories on this very site from people who ate lots of fat and lost weight, improved their blood markers, and lowered their risk of developing heart disease. Taken together, clinical research and personal anecdote combine to form a powerful de-conditioning agent.

You Eat for Comfort

Comfort eating has an initial utility, I’ll admit. If you’re stressed out and can’t handle the situation, eating something that comforts you and lowers stress can be helpful, regardless of the nutritional composition of the food in question. However, if that becomes a habit, if you find yourself eating fried chicken and waffles four nights a week in order to make yourself feel better, your weight loss will almost assuredly halt – or reverse itself altogether, leading to an entirely different kind of “feeling bad.”

The problem is the stress, not the food. If you just keep switching up the food without addressing the root cause, you’ll never truly break through. You need to figure out what’s stressing you out and then take steps to reduce or mitigate it. If that means taking specific steps, like avoiding a particularly caustic personality in your life or switching jobs at the first available opportunity, so be it. It might also require taking a more general approach to stress reduction, like daily meditation, a morning walk, or some time in nature. Better yet, take both specific and general steps.

You’re Stuck on What Worked at First Even Though It’s Not Working Anymore

The initial weight loss is a rush. It comes so quickly and so effortlessly (for many people) that people often assume that doing whatever caused that first big burst of change will work in perpetuity. They become wedded to the initial method, even as it stops working. People tend to do that – to identify strongly with a belief or a group, especially if it’s generally worked very well for them. This identification often persists even when it stops working, or stops working quite so smoothly. It’s “normal” human behavior, but it can still be counterproductive or even destructive.

Maybe early on you didn’t have to think about caloric content, but now you should consider it.

Maybe early on you didn’t have to exercise much beyond walking, but now you could really benefit from more.

Maybe early on you didn’t have to worry about anything but diet, but now you should explore the other important aspects of Primal life.

You Think “Why Even Bother?”

Stalling is hard, especially if it persists for months on end. But stalling is completely normal. Weight loss (as mentioned above) is easiest when you have the most to lose. Dropping 100 pounds off of 300 in a year isn’t too tough and happens all the time, while dropping the last twenty when you’re sitting at 200 is considerably tougher and often takes a lot longer. This can be incredibly discouraging, especially if you’re “used” to losing weight faster.

The solution? Don’t give up. Don’t throw in the towel. Focus on all the other benefits you’ve accrued. Enjoy the improved and steadier energy throughout the day. Cherish the newfound appreciation and capacity for outdoor activities. Rub your skeptical friends’ faces in your blood test results (not the actual blood, but rather the numbers). If you do these things and keep on keepin’ on, the weight loss will come. But it will never come if you give up.

You’re Embarrassed to Go to the Gym

Ah, the gym: hall of mirrors, impossibly ripped testosterbros, models, and high standards, all of whom are prepared to gaze disapprovingly in your specific direction. Or so some people assume. In reality, the gym is full of people trying to lose some weight, build some muscle, and gnash their teeth in pleasurewrath at the latest episode of Hannity on Fox as they walk the treadmill. And most of them are just as self-conscious as you.

Embarrassment is another hurdle that can’t be surmounted by tricks. You just gotta go for it. Before you know it, you’ll either be too fit and strong to worry, or you’ll have stopped caring. That said, there are a few strategies to ease your embarrassment:

Consider a trainer. A trainer will help you perform the lifts with confidence and grace so that you don’t think you look funny (even though you don’t and no one cares anyway).

Get a plan. Don’t just go in and start doing strange things with the dumbbells. Follow a legitimate program like Starting Strength (barbells), Convict Conditioning (bodyweight), Overcoming Gravity (gymnastics), or Raising the Bar (bar calisthenics). Primal Blueprint Fitness is another (free) option.

Go during off hours. You can get your workouts in relative solitude.

Work out elsewhere. Who needs the gym? Not everyone. Go for hikes, lift your own bodyweight, build a home gym, buy a few kettlebells and a sandbag and make a slosh tube or two, play sports. You don’t need the gym to work out and lose weight.

Besides, those big guys with tank tops that show ample man nipple? They’re more concerned with staring at themselves than anyone else – as should you.

You Think in Black and White/All or Nothing

A while ago, I warned you guys against making the perfect the enemy of the good: bailing out because you can’t get grass-fed/organic/pastured/wild/perfect everything. That advice still stands, especially the more wrapped up you get in all this Primal stuff, and yet I hear about it a lot.

You’ve read all about the benefits of grass-fed beef, so you won’t touch anything that ate a grain and end up unable to afford this diet.

You can’t find a farmers market near you and have no room to grow your own veggies, so rather than buy conventional produce from the supermarket, you avoid plants altogether.

You eat a bite or two of nigiri (with the rice) along with some shrimp tempura and freak out on yourself, going on a three day water fast to cleanse the impurities and end up derailing the entire ship, tanking your metabolism, and triggering a weeklong binge.

The vast majority of the millions of unique visitors Mark’s Daily Apple gets every month aren’t buying exclusively grass-fed beef and pastured chicken, shunning every green vegetable if it isn’t organic and hand delivered by the farmer, and making zero mistakes or concessions. And yet somehow they keep coming back. Somehow we keep getting success stories. Somehow people are getting massive benefits from adopting a less than perfect Primal lifestyle. Realize this, and the black and white thinking should dissipate.

You’re Depressed

Depression is often linked to weight gain, and the two appear to be mutually reinforcing. Whether you overeat because you’re depressed and want to cope with the depression or are depressed because you’re overeating, the connection between the two is undeniable.

It could be a very mechanistic thing, too. Although depression is typically imagined and conceived of as purely a psychological matter (“of the mind”), it’s also of the body. In a post from last year, Dr. Emily Deans explained how depression can lead to increased cortisol, circulating levels of inflammatory cytokines (throughout the body and the brain), impaired glucose tolerance, and accumulation of visceral fat. Resistin, a hormone that increases insulin resistance and diabetes, also increases during depression. Depression has long been linked to type 2 diabetes, too.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix for depression. Antidepressants may help in some situations, but even the relationships between antidepressants themselves and weight gain/loss are unclear (and vary depending on which medication you’re using and how long you’re using it). A generally healthy Primal lifestyle full of good food, smart activity, social contact, nature exposure, and all the other trappings I discuss can’t hurt, of course. Don’t let it fester or “tough it out,” whatever you do. Get help from someone who knows what they’re doing, whether they’ve got an MD after their name or not. You may not know exactly how to scale this particular hurdle yet, but at least you can identify and begin to assay it.

You’re Constantly Comparing Yourself to Others

As animals subject to competitive pressures, we have the tendency to constantly compare ourselves to other members of the species. We’re sizing each other up, trying to see what’s working and what isn’t for the other guy, either to gauge our ability to beat them in a had to head match up or to learn from their successes and failures. An animal that wonders about its own existence also has the ability to wonder about how they stack up against other animals. It’s a feature and a shortcoming all at once.

As for how this can become a psychological hurdle impeding weight loss, there can be a couple reasons. I’ve seen people rushing from dietary change to dietary change based on other people’s experiences without pausing to consider whether those modifications make sense for their situation. There’s nothing wrong with drawing on another person’s experience or advice to apply it to your own, but you have to stay abreast of the results. You have to give it a chance to work – or to not work.

There’s also the fact that when you look at someone else who’s seemingly got it all together, you’re only looking at their outward projections. If you could gain access to their inner workings, you’d likely find yourself tramping around in puddles of self doubt, self consciousness, and self criticism, just like we all deal with from day to day.

That’s what I’ve got, folks: 10 solid, but not insurmountable, hurdles. Let me know what you think in the comment section, and be sure to include any psychological hurdles I might have missed. Thanks for reading!

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193 thoughts on “10 Psychological Hurdles Keeping You From Losing Weight (and How to Overcome Them)”

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    1. You said it!!! What a load of total self-serving conflicting craptasticness.

  1. No matter how many times you read this type of encouragement, it is still up to you. I’m finding it hard to do any of this, but want to most desperately. I think I am going to pick one thing at a time and make a change for the better; smaller steps maybe? Thanks Mark, brilliant post.

    1. I’m a big fan of baby steps, progress not perfection, and looking back to see how far we’ve come rather than looking ahead to see how far we have to go as a way to motivate oneself. Small steps taken many times accumulate to great distances.

    2. I started with small steps. I used to drink 3-4 cans of soda a day. So, to start I cut back to 1 can a day, then started to have one every other day. I haven’t had a soda in 4 months. I don’t even miss having one anymore.

  2. In a stall after a successful year of Primal, the Whole 30 I’m on has made me recognize those habits you talk about…it wasn’t a 6-pack every night, but it was a couple glasses of wine (OK, up to a third the bottle), and that friendly dark chocolate was just about after each lunch and dinner…the habits crept in! In a couple weeks I’ll see how hard the plateau was broken.

    Just about every day the weight-loss-stall question comes up on the forum–gotta send them here!

    1. Sounds familiar – I sure do enjoy the red wine and dark chocolate – knew it was getting out of hand… I too will see how well it works to correct this. Thanks Mark!

    2. Too much daily wine and dark chocolate get me too!! I do melt the chocolate (85% cacao) with coconut oil and shredded coconut and then freeze it into a bark, but I also add almonds and raisins (I know!) and then eat way too much of it. Things that are so easy to just “grab” in passing (including another handful of nuts or more slices of Dubliner cheese) rather than stopping and thinking about making a proper meal are a tough habit to break.

      1. Yes! It’s the grab-n-go that’s a killer for me. It’s easy, thoughtless/mindless, and I don’t have any idea how much I’m eating.

      2. your bark sounds pretty good. it’s a small improvement, but instead of raisins, maybe you could use dried cranberries.

      3. Ha! I don’t think posting that recipe wll help those with dark choc issues control their urges. I shall be trying it very soon.

  3. The admin Assistant with the candy basket is so difficult to pass up – dove dark chocolate- and i walk by her desk when ever i leave my office

    1. The girl who used to stock our office snacks recently left, much to my dismay. She was so healthy and awesome and stocked us with nuts with no seed oils, unsweetened applesauce, snap peas and carrots in the fridge, and a giant fruit bowl with tons of variety. The best part was people totally ate them! She would buy soda for the people who requested it, but it was mostly water, green drinks, unsweetened ice tea, etc. Now that she’s gone, the person who now stocks it buys all sorts of granola bars, 100 calorie packs, sugar and crap-filled nuts, and applesauce with HFCS. 🙁 I am very sad and back to packing my own snacks. Basically, work food temptations suck.

  4. The black/white, all or nothing thing really applies to me, but not in the way of “if I have a bite of something I freak out and go on a water fast”. No no, it’s the

    “If I’m going to have a bite of something I might as well eat the whole damn cake”.

    Ugh. When I get derailed I go so hard. For some reason, even after years of practicing and educating myself, I still get into this mentality of “if I’m going to eat ice cream I better eat a LOT of it because I never eat it so I need to go all out eating it!” Then I do that again a week later.

    1. I think that’s a fairly common response. I find if you commit to indulging its easier to do it in “moderation” rather than if you just casually have it.

      For me casual having “just a bite” in passing is more likely to lead to not stopping.

      Versus the real thought out decision to have something usually means I can limit how much. Rather than a mistake it was a decision.

      I don’t know maybe that wont make sense to you.

      1. Makes total sense to me. If I find myself trapped in a meeting with danishes and sweets freely available and I cave to pressure (peer-pressure, not just for schoolkids ;P) with “just a bite”, well, I’m going to end up eating a whole danish, and a doughnut, and sugar my coffee, etc.

        Meanwhile, if I say “Today I’m going to have a slice of my favourite pie and enjoy it” I find it easy to stop when I’ve had that first couple bites and gotten my fill of it.

    2. Wow your comment describes me exactly! Good to know I am not the only one who goes through these issues.

    3. You sound just like me…total derailment when it happens. Go big or go home and that goes for the binges. Really having the battle of my life right now to get a pound off, getting really frustrated and wondering about depression. Turning forty has been really rough. If anyone has any suggestions PLEASE bring them on!

  5. This is a great article! I do have several excuses why I could not maintain my weight loss program. First of all, I got lazy to do the workouts. Secondly, I am losing the motivation to lose weight. Lastly, I could not control my cravings for unhealthy food. These are my obstacles that hinder me to attain my objectives. I am still struggling to overcome all these obstacles. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

  6. The thing that saps my motivation to lose another 20 pounds is that I’m kind of ok with where I am now. My clothes all fit quite well (except for the stuff from 35 pounds ago), my movements feel free, I don’t feel fat anymore, and my bloodwork is fine. I’m 5 10 with genetically muscular legs and I went from 226 to 190 in about 7 months and have kept it off for the last 8 months with no trouble. I am strong enough to do what I need to do and with 3 wonderful small children who want to play with me, I am not going to go off on solitary adventures that the kids can’t yet do. So without being aware of any explicit need healthwise, I am ok with carrying an extra 10% body fat compared to what it would take to lose it. Any reason my ranking of priorities should change?

    1. I think this is a good point. I feel much the same way, after losing about 40 pounds I felt GREAT, looked great, clothes fit much better and I even bought some smaller sized jeans (a size I haven’t bought since high school). I’m extremely active but also work two jobs and go to school full time for my masters, so weight loss has fell on the back burner during the fall and spring semesters.

      I could definitely lose more since I’m 5’7 and teetering around 200 lbs, but for a long time I felt happy with my body and where I was, and I was okay with putting some other things first for a while. What happened to me, though, was that I got a little too comfortable; that comfort soon turned to “well, I like where I am so I can have pizza, and I can go out and have a couple margaritas, and I can veg out and have icecream” all because I was happy with where I was (this happened 8 months after I lost the 40 pounds).

      That, however, very quickly turned into me feeling bloated, sleeping terribly, unable to focus on school or anything else, and generally feeling terrible about myself. My weight was up only 5 pounds, but WOW…what a difference.

      I think as long as you are able to stay on track with your lifestyle, then losing weight doesn’t have to be priority #1. But for me, once I got too “comfortable,” other things started to slip. Maybe making other goals beside weight loss goals will help keep us on track without worrying so much about weight loss; goals like upping push ups in a single set or pull ups, or running a mile faster. Whatever you’re into.

      Anyway, that’s my story, and I love this post. Always great reminders to what I need to be doing to stay happy and healthy.

    2. I think you make an excellent point Joshua, and while a lot of people starting or continuing this journey do and should focus on weight, when you get closer to the ‘mark’ as it were, you find your own equilibrium if you listen to your body.

      I myself am at that point, I could lose up to 10lb if I really worked at it, but for me right now the important markers are what my body CAN do – pull ups, sprint for the train, stand up all day, walk heaps – not what it weighs or even what it looks like.

      For everyone who is concerned they’ve “stalled” with only 5, 10 or even 20lb to go – why not see what your body is capable of, and maybe that weight is just what you are (especially if you like to lift heavy as much as I do!)

  7. I still fear fat. It’s hard not to, especially when you are calorie counting.

    1. I feel bad for you. I actually fear the carrots I’m about to eat more than the 3 tablespoons of butter in which they will be bathing. I don’t fear the carrots very much, but looking forward to the butter.

      1. Paradoxically, eating large quantities of carrots was long thought to give the power of night vision, hence allowing children to overcome their fears of the dark.

  8. Yoyo loser because “my husband made me do it!” I lose some and then he says, “Let’s go out to eat to celebrate!”

  9. The only six-pack I wanna see at night is when I take off my shirt and look down at my stomach, LOL!

    1. I don’t think I I’ve seen a real six pack since i was 24.

      1. sometimes they stack them next to the water in the gas station coolers 🙂

  10. While I hate to admit it, my main issue is that I’m terrified of success. I’ve had this body composition for decades now. Losing this belly, ditching these moobs…it just seems like a betrayal or something.

    Odd, I know, but there it is. I had dropped fifty pounds and now forty of it is back and not in the good body composition way.

    1. Snap out of it! You’ll be so much happier once you get over your fear of change. 🙂

      1. I totally jive with that.. I was always afraid I wouldn’t have “real” friends if I lost weight or that I would be more susceptible to guys just trying to get into my knickers… I think that’s why now that I’m married I feel much more comfortable about getting fit.

    2. It’s not really all that odd. People tend create an id around their general body weight. As in – well, “I’m not part of that freakish, obsessive group over there” defined as both people who are at a normal, healthy weight and spend a few hours at the gym and those who spend 20 hours a week exercising. It’s also “I’m not part of that lazy group over there that’s 20, 50, 100 pounds more overweight then me.”

      At that point lose weight becomes changing a social group and maybe to “promote” yourself out of your current group.

      Body fat is also literally physical armor against life’s social problems. You didn’t get the promotion/girlfriend/boyfriend not because you didn’t put enough effort into or were maybe just plain unlucky; it was because you are overweight and people who get prompted/girlfriend/boyfriend are thin ( and have lots of hair.)

      My Dad has both of the same problems after spending his life significantly overweight. All I can say is that if you change your mind, you can change the your world. There’s no easy fix other than to start reverse brain washing yourself. It is worth it, but it’s uphill.

      1. Amy, that comment so resonates with me. I have come to identify myself as a fat person for 4 years now, and before that I was still a little chunky. I have never in my life been thin and I am terrified of the type of attention I might receive. I am also afraid of maintaining the lifestyle. It’s easy to be motivated when there are visible changes, but how do I stay motivated when I am staying the same? I’m probably over-thinking all of this, but it looks like I’m not the only one!

    3. It’s not really all that odd. People tend create an id around their general body weight. As in – well, “I’m not part of that freakish, obsessive group over there” defined as both people who are at a normal, healthy weight and spend a few hours at the gym and those who spend 20 hours a week exercising. It’s also “I’m not part of that lazy group over there that’s 20, 50, 100 pounds more overweight then me.”

      At that point lose weight becomes changing a social group and maybe to “promote” yourself out of your current group.

      Body fat is also literally physical armor against life’s social problems. You didn’t get the promotion/girlfriend/boyfriend not because you didn’t put enough effort into or were maybe just plain unlucky; it was because you are overweight and people who get prompted/girlfriend/boyfriend are thin ( and have lots of hair.)

      My Dad has both of the same problems after spending his life significantly overweight. All I can say is that if you change your mind, you can change your world. There’s no easy fix other than to start reverse brain washing yourself. It is worth it, but it’s uphill.

    4. Not strange at all. I had a similar experience once I lost 40 pounds and felt “normal” even though I could probably lose another 40 pounds. I’ve never been that small before, and there was a definite fear going on with what was next to come. I’m still trying to overcome it and lose those 40 pounds. You’re not alone!

    5. Does anyone think they stay fat in order to rebel? I think this may be my issue. For so many years I have thought that I would be the perfect person if I lost the weight. Or I would use the excuse that people didn’t like me because I wasn’t thin. Fat was my shield and all I have known. Although at my highest I was 260 and I’m now down to 190 but I am only 5’5 so I’m still a little overweight. It is late so I may not be explaining myself clearly, but I think my motivesstem from bad habits as well.

  11. Really fantastic post, thanks for this!!!!! A few of these really ring true for me.

  12. I had amazing results for the first two months but then started to suffer from increased cortisol and poor sleep. It’s been a long hard struggle now for nine months but I’ve finally realized that a bit of safe starch in the evening seems to make me sleep like a baby and decrease my cortisol dramatically. I’ve gained a bit of weight (mostly bellyfat) but am starting to feel better and getting better sleep.

    1. Is there a link between high cortisol and low carb eating? I developed an autoimmune disease short after starting low carb. Thanks for any insights.

    2. Anders, I am glad you shared this! I have had the same problem not sleeping well since lowering the carbs. If I have a little more carbs with dinner or early evening, I definitely sleep better. I had begun to feel I could not do the Primal lifestyle because I couldn’t keep my carbs low enough and also started having some mild heartburn that went away if I ate some carbs. Not a lot, but it felt like a betrayal or something of what I was trying to achieve. I finally realized what Mark said about all or nothing thinking and loosened up a bit. After all, a good night’s sleep is critical and that seemed a higher priority than lower grams of carbs. It’s a process and I’m just trying to be satisfied with where I’m at for now and work on tweaking my food without sacrificing sleep or grabbing a Zantac!

      1. I gave up all wheat and after about 5 weeks started to get heartburn. I had never had it before so I was researching “esophogeal burning” instead of heart burn (silly). Finally had some bread at Easter and it went away. Ok, now what? I am still staying away from the bread but allowing a potato with dinner or a handful of corn chips. Rice isn’t part of my life anyway. What a strange thing and I haven’t heard too much about it although there is some reference to it on the forums.

  13. Very helpful! I fall in the category of getting stuck on what worked initially. I lost 110 pounds in less than a year and for the last year I’ve been stuck and I can’t seem to lose the last 25. It was encouraging to hear you say that it is not uncommon but also a good reminder that I may need to change things up. Thanks!

  14. The black/white/all/nothing thing is SO me. It’s what trips me up in all aspects of my life. If I eat a donut in the morning I think “well, might as well blow the rest of the day, I’ve already screwed it up” even though that is completely illogical. I’m slowly working on it.

    1. Carly if you find a way to overcome that let us know! Need to try and get out of that mindset when I think ‘This is a failed day, another cupcake won’t change anything as it will still be a failed day..’ wrong I know but hard to control!

    2. One thing that helped me get out of this mindset was to literally stop what I was doing and reflect on WHY I just ate that donut/cupcake/candy/whatever. Self reflection can go a long, long, long way. And I don’t mean just do it in passing. Seriously consider what made you make that choice. Talk it out, or write it down. Really think about why you made that choice, and then talk about what you’re going to do next. Think about your long term and short term goals that you’ve also written down, and how those goals far outweigh the pleasure of whatever is tempting you.

      Then, the very next meal, get back on track. Self reflection has helped me a TON with this problem; it’s helped me recognize self-destructive behaviors and combat those. It’s also helped me recognize when I’m heading into something where I’ll need to say no, and I can better mentally prepare for those moments.

      It sounds silly/juvenile/crazy…but it works. And I’m all for things that work.

    3. I was the same on other diets, before I went fully Primal I gave up sugar; this is my key trigger for binging, if I’m going to ‘cheat’ or if I don’t have any good choices in front of me I’ll choose the option with least sugar (and avoid desert at all costs). This is my first consideration and it has helped me stay on track, it also helps that so much Primal fare feels indugent and delicious.

      I think that in some ways the fact that Primal seems couter-intuitive (for anyone brought up in the generation taught to fear fat) is a good thing. It doesn’t fit into the mental image of a ‘diet’ (with all the denial and privation that entails) and so doesn’t trigger the need to ‘break out’ in the same way. Well, for me at least.

    4. What if you program yourself to work only slightly differently… For example, try to not allow yourself to make the conscious choice to blow the whole day WHILE you are still eating the donut, but require yourself to wait until 2-3 hours after your slip (your own little N=1 “cheats-periments).

      I’d imagine this would work two-fold:
      First, it would give you the time for your body to digest the donut (or other slip food), which will probably be unpleasant… Maybe not at the digestive level if your system is OK with grains/processed garbage, but definitely at the energy/well-being level once you ride the sugar roller coaster into a crash!

      Secondly, by not allowing yourself to make the decision while in the act of slipping, you are no longer directly in the mindset associated with the slip (that allowed it in the first place) and will likely be able to make a sound logical choice.

  15. Fantastic. I just this morning emailed the experts on this exact question. I’m trying to loose and hit myself for falling off the proverbial wagon (I’m the nigiri guy). But if it happens I get back on. Each fall is shorter than the previous. But it’s feels good to keep going. It’s not a diet but a lifestyle change I keep saying. Forward on…..

  16. Hmmm…. are my reasons 1 and 2, 3 or 5, or all of the above? Yes and yes. I am 60 yrs old, retired from a mostly sedentary office (read: chained to desk) career, thyroid disease sufferer, family history of heart disease, have passed through menopause, and am approx. 50 lbs overweight. In the last two months, I have substantially deleted most wheat-based foods and obvious sugars in my diet, and lost 10 pounds. Two months to lose 10 lbs????? Well, better than nothing. Oh, and I usually average two miles a day of walking. Once warmer weather returns to Michigan, I will be swimming daily, up to one mile a day. Yes, I still have a belly and flabby midriff, but I am rational about it ….. an excess of 50 lbs didn’t happen overnite, so slow and steady wins the race, right? At this point, I’m just happy I can continue to walk and swim ….. 60 yrs on a body isn’t pretty sometimes, LOL. Thanks for the continued insight and inspiration I get from reading the posts and articles on this site. I don’t believe that any one approach is 100% perfect, so I glean the points that work for me and continue to tweek. Godspeed.

  17. Great read and comments from readers. A very wise man once told me an idea on targets and how to achieve anything in life; physically or mentally by writing them down on paper. Most people (ladies especially) like lists, then start crossing them of starting with the easiest ones to achieve, then start knocking off the harder ones, you will always feel you are getting some where and achieving your to do list. Do not number them or colour code them just write them down in any order and then crack on, YOU will feel great. Thanks Gary Turner.

  18. Definitely read the book “Power of Habit” that Mark recommends, fascinating and insightful!

  19. Mark consistently turns out great material, this article is especially outstanding and contains vital guidance and advice that should be absorbed on an intellectual and emotional level.

  20. Great post! Full of insight and definitely resonates with me. Thank you!

  21. The habits are a killer for me, as well as eating to self-soothe. Had a bad day? You deserve some ice cream! (Unfortunately, it’s also “had a great day? Celebrate with ice cream!”)

    My husband and I are currently in the middle of a 30-day reset, trying to be 100% instead of 80/20 to reset our habits that were sliding. Last night, I realized that I’ll actually have to finish this semester of grad school during our 30 days. What, I’m supposed to write a term paper without Oreos? Yowza!

  22. My psychological “problem” is I’m afraid to lose weight. Yes, I want to lose it, have tried various methods for decades and i’m now heavier than ever. If someone notices and comments that I’m losing weight, I sabotage myself and end up gaining back what I lost. I can’t seem to stick any one plan (including this one…) because I’m afraid to see it through. I have family members that say the same thing.

    1. I do the same thing. I used to joke it was my inner teenager rebelling over anyone judging me (for good or bad), and then finally someone asked me what my teenager was protecting me from. Well, didnt that just break the dam, and wow *epiphany*. Sometimes our fears come from something that happened to us, and specifically to our bodies, in the past, and part of our brains are still living in that moment, stuck making decisions like a 16 yr old instead of the adult that we are. We want to hide (fat makes great camouflage to hide from sexual attention) or prove that no one call tell us what to do (even when what we are telling ourselves is destructive). Maybe work on figuring out why are you afraid. What is the worse case scenario if you do lose weight or stick to a plan? What are you telling yourself that would mean? And they compare that to reality.

      Good luck! You are not alone.

      1. Thank you. Working through the issues is scary in itself. It’s easy to say x or y in my life isn’t good because I’m very overweight. What happens if I lose weight and x or y still isn’t good? That’s one fear. Also, I believe I don’t deserve it so I use my weight as a form of punishment. (For what reason, I don’t know.) I’m afraid of the unwanted attention. (You’re right- fat is excellent camo.) Also, living as a fat person is very different from living as a healthy (thinner) person. I’m afraid I won’t know how to function in day-to-day life. I have a lot of issues. Identifying them is a very important step. Dealing with them and moving on is a lot harder.

        1. I am a big fan of meridian tapping (aka EFT) for emotional release. It has been extremely useful in my life to help me recognized and let go of some of my hangups in a gentle, but quickly effective fashion.

        2. I grew up with a lot of betrayal going on around me, and somewhere along the way I decided (subconsciously) that I wasn’t going to be that type of person. But it became a self-fullfilling prophesy, when I associated anything to do with “me” as suspect to unhappiness.

          I thought I knew what made me happy and what didn’t – turned out it was all suspect, every single day, without any real judiciary process based on an equilibrium of good and bad. There was no sliding scale in other words. It was how would you like your “bad” served up today? Is it a little bit bad, or a lot – or are you distracted enough with this new “venture/idea/diet/lifestyle change” to fool yourself into believing something might be good?

          When I took the proverbial can of “whoop-ass” and served it up to myself, I realised the game changer. I had to stop fooling myself that everything to do with life was somehow inherently bad. Secondly though, I had to realise that I wasn’t the undercover cop I thought I was – personally elected to stop bad things from happening in the world, by sabbotaging myself.

          Simple really: and that’s the short version. 😉

          Fat person, skinny person – does it matter on the outside, if you don’t even know what happiness and personal acceptance feels like on the inside? Find out what made you doubt in the first place, and open a can of “whoop ass” on it. You obviously have an inherent desire to do what’s right – so learn what a sliding scale of right can look like. Many shades of wrong, is never going to cut it in the right department.

          Disclaimer: I’m not having a go at you, just being as honest as I was with myself.

    2. Melanie so sorry you are having this issue. I want to encourage you to look around to see if you can find something to help you transform your fear of losing weight to something positive. It’s like taking out the garbage, you are not losing the garbage, you are getting rid of it. Feelings buried alive never die, dig them out and transform them into something that you want to feel instead.

  23. What about when you are over 50, like 58 and it’s very hard to lose weight. I have been struggling since Christmas, when I didn’t want to be a social pariah at a work. Now I’m paying for it. I run 3 times a week and also do weights and watch what I eat. People forget you when you’re over 50.

  24. Started off as a great article – but I stopped after the Hannity comment. Some of your readers are Consevatives and we do watch Fox. Please leave out the political commentary.

    1. Thank you FOXy for saying that. I too am a conservative and didn’t appreciate the comment either. Mark, please be careful what you say. I don’t agree with all your beliefs, but I stay open minded and consider what you are saying. I have lost 10 lbs eating primal and my blood work came out great this last time. I believe it can work but remember you have others out there that don’t agree with your politics so please keep that in mind. Very tacky little dig.

      1. Wow Mark, reduce humans to animals and no one says a peep. But one backhanded comment that it may not be the best way to get along in the world for your screwed up government to tell the rest of the world how to not be screwed up and killing any who disagree and you get multiple rebukes. Tough crowd! But soldier on you pro-war pro-lifers! Mark’s the crazy one.

        1. LOL – Well, humans *are* animals. (Maybe I missed that biology class where we’re all exempt from the rules of biochemistry because we fill out annual tax returns.) I don’t see how it’s offensive to state a fact like that unless you’ve got a notion lose in your head that we are superior to the Earth’s other creatures.

          I re-read the article just to find Hannity comment. It’s just a joke about the idea that type of programming creates pleasure by pointing out how other people think dumb things. Thus, the pleasurable mouth froth. There are also all sorts of media outlets on the other side of the political spectrum that do the same thing (Huffington Post/Salon anyone?) In carefully review your post, I note some of the same tendencies. Lot of frothy goodness there. 😉

          When I turned off all of it and actually started listening to people, none of it sounded quite so dumb anymore, regardless of political orientation. The people who don’t agree with you don’t do so because they are angry, uneducated idiots — they do so because they have different experiences and therefore a different POV.

          *shrug* Accepting that one thought alone has cut off the frothy goodness, but has also given me a lot of peace.

        2. Never heard of Hannity. I assumed it was yet another ‘reality’ show featuring surgically enhanced girls in too little clothing.
          International audience here folks.

        3. Wow Joshua, do you mind translating your statement so that a human being could understand it?

      2. I’m about as conservative as you get, but I really don’t care about his jokes. It’s best to not be easily bothered by stuff. I only start to mind when it gets hateful, especially toward my God. My family’s from South Vietnam where people got shot outside their home for political beliefs. All our pictures in Vietnam have the flag cut out for fear of retribution at the time. When you’ve gone through that, little digs just don’t matter anymore.

  25. Great advice!
    I agree that one of the best benefits of saying no to the cake, or other sweets, is the sense of empowerment – that I don’t have to eat it just because it’s there, and ‘everyone else’ is having a piece.

  26. Another bit of perspective may help. Celebrate your “stall”. If you compare your “plateau” to the “yo-yo” that typically happens to people who lose weight a lot of other ways, it looks great.

    Personally, I lost about 60 pounds over 8 months. Since then I have kept it off for another 8 months. My weight is basically level, but my strength and muscles are still building. I could afford to lose another 15-20, but I feel so much better than I ever previously imagined I could. When I put it into the correct perspective, my “stall” is something to be celebrated. I have lost weight, and I am keeping it off.

    1. Especially when we think of this as a lifestyle, those stalls should be celebrated. In the long run, 8 months maintaining is a sort of success, because you haven’t slipped back into your old habits that made you gain the weight in the first place.

  27. Eating 4-6 oz of red meat daily helped bring my lipid panel numbers into healthy range — even after my cardiologist said it would not be impossible!!

    Do I feel silly at the gym? Sometimes, yes, but do I let that stop me? Absolutely not — and I’m on my third annual gym membership. Who woulda thought?!

  28. This was a great article. I am 4 days away from finishing the 21 day sugar detox. I knew the day I was starting it and I just started slowly cutting out sugars until the day of and then I just did it. I’m 50 years old, 5’4″, 123 now. I was 131 pounds when I started. It was menopause creep and not understanding carbs that put on those pounds. I am relearning 40 years of cooking to now eat healthier, but the funny thing is, I always just liked the taste of my meat and veggies plain. No salad dressing, no sauces nothing but the flavor of the food. I think this has helped me tremendously in this change. I am fearful of being done with the sugar detox, but then I tell myself, I don’t have to be done with it. I can still follow the lists and eat the same things. I do miss sweet potatoes and I will add those back but as for the rest of it…I ate that way anyway and just didn’t realize it.

  29. I enjoyed this post, thanks for all you do! I live in Alaska and recently found out through a blood test that my Vitamin D levels were critically low (11.8 ng/ml). My naturopath suggested 50,000 i.u. twice a week for 4 weeks and then once per week for 3 weeks, to get my levels back up. I am on week 4 and feel much better – a more positive attitude and more energy! Vitamin B12 is helping, too…

  30. A very long comment here – thanks for indulging me, Mark & Aaron. 🙂

    I’m especially interested in the part of this post about habits. The book that’s recommended: The Power of Habit, has some good info, but there’s a big part of that book I question, namely the author’s cookie example, which he uses over and over in the book to make various points.

    The author wrote that he had a daily habit of leaving his desk at mid-afternoon and going to get a chocolate chip cookie in the office cafeteria. He says he broke the habit by examining the cues for the habit and doing some self-sleuthing. Through that, he says, he determined that it really wasn’t the cookie he wanted. It was the socializing with colleagues that happened in the cafeteria while he was eating the cookie. So from there on in, he used his mid-afternoon break for socializing a bit – and he was just as O.K. with no cookie as he was with one.

    Here’s my question: How does this example help people for whom IT IS about the cookie? For many people (just look at the comments), I think it’s unlikely that they’re going to replace problem eating with something as benign as socializing with colleagues. In other words, the author might have found he didn’t really want the cookie, but I think a heck of a lot of people out there have a different experience going on, i.e. they really want the cookie (or whatever they’re eating in the office or wherever they are when they’re eating the food at issue).

    So what are they supposed to do? Among other things, this post suggests looking to the underlying reasons for problem eating. I take this to mean the emotional reasons. As is pointed out, the “why” may be stress or the need for comfort or something else. The thing is, I don’t think we can assume that resolving the underlying reasons for problem eating will – by itself – stop the eating.

    I think it’s more complex than that. Because of addiction, which plays a big role in the picture of problem eating. Highly palatable foods (like sweets and sweets combined with fat and/or salt) are addictive in the true sense. The literature and research make this clear. These foods impact the same reward center in the brain as heroin, cocaine, alcohol, nicotine, etc. – and they hit it it hard enough to cause very real addiction.

    The problems are many, including that: 1) the foods themselves are pretty unavoidable outside our own homes; 2) so are the cues for these foods; and 3) willpower is an exhaustible resource.

    Looking at the problem in the context of addiction can change things. When we see that certain foods actually cause a neurological malfunction in our brains, the problem starts to seem fixable.

    Fixing addiction is a process we have to know about and do. No one thing will work for everyone. It involves changing our perceptions and test driving strategies until we find what works – for us. It’s what I’m writing about now, in a series of posts. Anyone who’d like to have a look is welcome: http://bit.ly/YjY0E9

  31. I can resonate with Mark’s post, and am intrigued to read The Power of Habit book. I figured most of your readers don’t struggle with this stuff, as I see these incredibly healthy Primal folks out and about and read their posts on this site weekly…..and just figured it was my own struggle. So, you guys out there….do you have any of this ‘mind over matter’ stuff actually going on? Mark, surely you don’t. (Bust my bubble….I think so highly of you!)
    Thank you!

  32. Thank you, this is exactly what I needed to read. Just today I was frustrated with the fact that I can’t lose the 5-10 pounds that I want to shed, even though I’ve been eating Primal for 2 months and working out (not too much, not too little) consistently. So many of these points apply to me.

  33. These are awesome!

    All too often people think that if they can’t be PERFECT with a diet or lifestyle than they should just give up or not even try in the first place.

    They let one little “slip up” cause them to completely backslide instead of just appreciating the fact that overall the were healthier and better than they used to be.

    Weight loss and better health are most definitely a journey. You have to appreciate the ups and downs and commit to something without becoming so indoctrinated that you can’t learn new things.

  34. I’m have the same issue Susie and some of the other folks making comment have – if I have one of bite of cake, or donut or whatever I’ll finish the whole thing off

  35. Great post. I think I’m in the “why even bother” category. I’m on my last 5 or 10 lbs and have been trying to get it off for practically 6 months. I’m super close to just saying, “eh…I look good enough.” and giving up but I think I’ll give it another couple months.

  36. I like this definition: “Discipline is remembering what you want.”

  37. Thanks for the encouragement in this article. I do tend to compare myself to others, and I hold on to some resentment over this. I switched to primal eating 9 weeks ago and have not lost any weight. And that is the reason I did this, to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way. I am 53 years old, 5’9″, 173 lbs. The change I do notice is less hunger. I just don’t feel I want to eat as much as I used to and it
    just makes me much more comfortable in my body. The only thing I can think to do is to start counting calories (which I abhor). I would like to get down to155 lbs.

    1. Marc, please don’t get down to 155 unless you plan on going out as Skeletor next October. Really, you folks who don’t have an obesity problem need to focus on the strength and immune benefits of this lifestyle rather than on the weight loss side effects. If you haven’t lost any fat in 9 weeks, that might be an indication you’re at your correct weight.

      1. +1

        There is a point where it *is* good enough. I could lose 10-20 pounds, too. But I’m a size 10 and can do what I want to do. My body fat, alas, has not read any of the BMI charts.

        I’m much more concerned with stamping out the brush fires of creeping bad habits and several more foods that I need to wean myself away from. That’s much more on the horizon then those last few pounds.

  38. I’ve had wonderful health results, not eating glutin. I have hashimotos, my goiter was so large my endo said the only treatment is surgical removal. I quit glutin, and my goiter shunk and my many other Heath problems have gone away. I’ve been thinking of going primal, but after a decade of severe health problems, I’m very poor. Thank you Mark for this article I’m doing something right. And I will go primal, I’m on food stamps so I will have to compromise on quality of meat and vegetables, but my quality of life is so improved. I no longer crave the peace of death. Also I’m so happy and healthy exept when accidentally glutin poisoned my thyroid swells and my brain fogs and I get severely depressed. And all my joints hurt, and my skin erupts in pimples and rashes. Ect. But at least now I have hope. Thank you sincerely . Glutin free for life Kim.

    1. I’m surfing the information super highway. I’m learning so much excellent health knowledge, I’m loving the palio diet, and lifestyle. It’s common sense. Eat well, laugh often, and get outside and play in the sunshine. It’s a beautiful philosophy and one I tell my children often. And I’ve learned a few new things from your website. You do have a way with words. Keep up the good work. We are on the crest of a new wave of human advancement, thanks to good people like you and the freedom of knowledge on the Internet. To your health and freedom. Honestly Kind One.

  39. The more I think the more I stink. The more I do the more I get done. It’s not always easy but I try to keep it that simple. Even if I’ve had a bad day/night of eating the wrong thing I try to move on quickly from it and get on with my regular PB program. I accept that I am incapable of working a perfect anything let alone PB.

    So I just plod along and manage to keep my weight around 145-150. Yeah I may gain a few pounds after a day or two of non PB but I get back on and it comes back off. Not the end of the world for me. I just try to have mostly good days while accepting the not so good ones (which make me more grateful for the good ones).

  40. The social pariah thing is not as big of an issue as I thought it would be but, like other things, it’s not all or nothing anyway. I don’t go out for pizza, but we have a family tradition of Dim Sum when we see my in-laws. I like Dim Sum a lot so, I still do it when I see my in-laws. Is it primal? A lot of it isn’t. But that’s why we’re 80/20, right? It’s also a regular intro to talk about being primal, which I enjoy doing.

    I’ve dropped 30ish lbs. since I started. The first 20 came off really fast (like two months with nothing but walking, which I was doing before going primal anyway) and I’ve stalled since. I want to see another 10 go (I think that’ll be the end of what belly fat I have left) but now I’m focusing on building muscle and refining what I eat a little bit better.

    “Besides, those big guys with tank tops that show ample man nipple? They’re more concerned with staring at themselves than anyone else – as should you.”

    This is the best line of this post. Not only is it really funny, it’s true. I started doing some workouts with a bodybuilder buddy of mine and I can tell you this from what I know of him and his friends: big guys at the gym respect you if you’re working out for the most part. They weren’t born big. You’re far more likely to be the topic of mockery if you’re slugging around weights that are too big for you than being the “new guy.”

    1. “They weren’t born big. You’re far more likely to be the topic of mockery if you’re slugging around weights that are too big for you than being the “new guy.””

      This is very seriously true. I never worry about the young guys I see at the gym who have built muscle. Most of them are polite and disciplined.

      It’s the idiots throwing around crazy weights and/or clearly there to socialize and/or listen to their MP3 players that are problematic.

      I respect (and appreciate how hard must be) to be 60, flabby, and show up at the gym anyway. To be 16, reasonably athletic but spend your time at the gym “looking good” and hanging out with your buddies — not so much. I’ve had people comment positively just by doing a few burpees in my workout. Being serious about the workout itself, not how you look, is what seems to garner real respect, especially of those who have shaped their bodies already.

  41. ouch. It feels like I have all of these reasons to deal with. I’ve been primal for two years and it feels like im getting further away from my goal everyday. I really need to watch my calories, I love food so much and I eat more than my boyfriend, I feel deprived if I cant eat that much, probably since I’ve been borderline anorectic years ago. I’ve lost a total of 10 pounds since I started. Gained back some(most) lost it again and so on. I hate the gym, I love hiking and regular walks and I’m out as much as I can. I really don’t like hard workouts, I’ve tried much, I know myself, I start and I know I will fail in the end so I just give up. And I never really cheated the first year but still all this happened. Now I DO freak out if I eat sushi. I’m perfectly healthy according to the test results but I don’t really feel healthy anymore, or at least not what I’m used to. Gosh, I’m so tired of thinking! I dont want to measure and watching the scale, I dont want to weigh the freaking food I eat again, I don’t want to go to the gym but just keep doing what I’m doing which is so much more than most are doing! I want to have fun and enjoy life but not hide in full clothes while at beach and just being ashamed of my body. I cant talk about what I eat anymore because I’m afraid people will say “of course eat much fat, look at you”. I love this lifestyle in so many ways and I will never give up on it. but I don’t want to spend my life worrying about my weight and do so many things I despise again. I guess I have no choice. This is a bad day.

    1. Here’s some encouragement for you!! I don’t know how many times I wished I could just never eat again since food caused me so much misery. I have had success and felt like my fat-storage cells were OFF, then either slacking off on carb-restriction, or stress or stress leading to carb indulgence or injury or sickness will sideline me for a while and it will come back on.

      I HATE rules, but when it comes down to it, my body has certain guidelines within which it will function. When I step outside the recommended factory settings, I pay the price with a downward spiral of carb-feeding, increased stress and depression, decreased energy, low self-esteem and more until I think, “Why do I bother? I have been fat for the past 39 years. What on earth makes me think I’ll ever be able to defeat this?”

      BUT — and this is a BIG BUT — when I go back to my body’s default settings (low carb, HIGH fat, active working instead of sitting, conscious destressing, and here lately avoidance of food additives, esp. Splenda and MSG), my whole psyche turns around, not just my weight. The overwhelming becomes achievable, bit by bit. Until your bad day can turn around, please have a piece of my good day.

  42. It is interesting to see the looks on peoples faces when I respond to their question of how I got into shape. Their faces goes from excitement to sadness when they realize their isn’t a magic pill. It all boils down to how badly you want to succeed at getting fit and healthy. For me, it was a gluten allergy and a refusal to gravitate towards prescription drugs.

  43. How about Reason #11 – There’s no escaping the junk food?

    I’ve been trying to go primal for a while now, but my wife and kids think it’s crazy and insist on keeping the pizza, chicken nuggets, Easter candy, ice cream, whipped cream, graham crackers, peanuts, Oreos – I’ll stop here because it can go on a lot longer – in the house all the time.

    Resistance works great for a month or two, but eventually it just wears down.

    Anyone in New England need a primal buddy? A little camaraderie could go a long way.

    1. If your wife has to have a “secret stash” then do something like that. Or ask to remove 1 junk food at a time. (“Honey, I’d like to stop keeping Oreos in the house”. 2 months later: “Can we please stop buying graham crackers and buy the kids fruit instead.”

      We do have many of those foods in the house during holidays, but the we’re all pretty clear that it’s temporary. I’ve used the slowly pare back with some success – the kids have tortillas and sandwich thins in the house instead of bread. Our ravioli supply will not be re-stocked when it runs out. (Also kid only food)

      I also have mentally drawn a line around many foods in our house as “not mine”. They’re not edible to me personally so that helps, too.

  44. Don’t feel bad about getting old, in March I turned 75, having lost close to over 45 lbs, in the last 5 years, I feel great. I hope by the end of summer I will see the “six pack” again.
    I do my best to do 80/20, the other night at a church affair, they had “refreshments’
    I saw something with coconut that looked good, bit into it and almost gagged, it was so sweet. When you do away with sugar, you never want to go back.

  45. Since having my second child and continuing to work a demanding job from home, I have no time to myself and I’ve noticed I’ve been soothing myself with food quite a bit. Can’t seem to lose the last 15 pounds from a very difficult pregnancy. I am often doing mindless “stress eating” – gobbling food on the run, even from my kids’ plates, not tasting or chewing, just ingesting. Somehow I have to find the time to slow down and relax (meditation! Walks! Runs! Trips to the gym!) but it never seems to happen. It has led to the low-key depression Mark mentions, I believe, that only fuels the carb eating. It’s all about STRESS REDUCTION, relieving the high-stress symptoms in your body, but I have to carve out time to actually do it.

  46. Great post and every point is valid.

    I think most of us have experienced at least 2 or 3 of these issues when trying to lose weight and adopt a new lifestyle.

    From my experience working with personal training clients the 2 most common hurdles I see is the second and last points.

    Many people I know really struggle to break away from their social groups and say no to occasions that they know they should not be attending.

    For me this is was a big problem and one that I have had to overcome at the cost of a few so called friendships but it had to be done because I know I couldn´t continue as I was.

    Ultimately once the urge to change becomes strong enough all these obstacles can be overcome.

    For me if you are struggling then you have not reached the point where enough is enough even though you think you are.

    Don´t give up though because that day will come and when it does you will realize nothing is going to stop you.

    H

  47. I really appreciated this post as I am now at a point where I need to figure out how to stay more “on” than “off” with my paleo lifestyle and tackling my sugar addictions.

    Alison Golden’s new book has some good tips for all kinds of things.

    Regarding depression…I suffered from depression for about 8 years and was using Welbutrin to cope. Once I had been more or less Paleo for about a year, I realized that my mood had evened out and cloudy days weren’t affecting me so much. My family physician who was treating my depression AND who believes no one needs grains, set up a program for me to follow to reduce and eliminate the medication. I have been off the stuff for more than a year and have not once had a relapse of my symptoms. I credit my Paleo diet with the “cure”.

  48. It’s heartening to read everyone’s comments about their problems, because it means I’m not alone. When I read the success stories every week, I feel like the only person who hasn’t lost weight, leaned out, and discovered amazing benefits from being paleo/primal. There’s a lot of advice in this post that will help me, but I will also benefit from the knowledge that this lifestyle isn’t a direct path to amazing fitness for everyone. Other people struggle–they keep going–I can, too. Thanks.

  49. Dear Mark,

    Please write a post on the dangers of eating disorders, warning your followers of the signs and symptoms, and telling them that if they experience ANY of these things, to see a therapist and medical professional immediately, and stop using your site forever. You have no idea how harmful diet gurus can be to young teenagers who buy into the hype (perfect body = perfect life omg), and end up in a deadly cycle of caloric restriction and malnutrition.

    Maybe you think you’re above that, because you promote “wholesome foods.” Well guess what buddy, you’re also into hardcore carbohydrate restriction, which will automatically lead to caloric restriction in the life of a young person–potentially cutting their intake to well below the amount necessary for their proper growth. I beg you to watch out for these youngsters. We don’t need anymore of their lives being permanently damaged by hormonal problems, osteoporosis, and so forth.

    Thanks.

    Someone Who Was Severely Harmed by Well Meaning Diet Gurus as a Teenager

    1. Iala –

      Thanks for deciding your experience is everyone’s experience. 🙁

      -Carbohydrate restriction in an abundance of animal fat is not calorie restriction. That’s why getting over fat phobia is so critical to returning to wholesome foods. If you insist on cutting fat and carbs, yes, you will create nutrition problems in people of any age. That’s not what Mark or anyone serious about Paleo/Primal promotes.

      -It’s not all about the children. I’m sincerely sorry (more than you may know) that people have dumb parents. However, it’s not fair to ask anyone to ask them to stop speaking out because extreme people take ideas to extremes and involve their children too. (And to be clear, I’m including vegan and low fat diet advocates in that statement — I cannot commit to the right to free speech and then say only the people who agree with me can speak.)

      -Therapists and medical professionals can be extremists and quacks, too. My family is pretty well convinced that my Mother divorced my Father by a well meaning therapist who forgot “first, do no harm”. My Mother has never been “fixed” by decades of therapy nor by listening to mainstream medical advise. I have been actively harmed by listening to “approved” medical advise. There are many here with same experience.

      If you’ve had better luck with the medical profession, then I’m happy for you, especially in the light of your other bad experiences. My family has not been quite so lucky and I’m profoundly grateful that Mark and others like him have the courage to speak and trust me to make up my own mind.

    2. I’ve never read Mark’s recommendation for people to stop eating altogether. In fact, he tries to educate people about nutrient dense food and the benefits to their health in consuming it.

  50. What’s wrong with wings at happy hour? Fatty chicken, skin, hot sauce.. mmm.

  51. Has anyone seen the connection with happy gut bacteria? Another consideration when feeding yur gut. Fermenting is fun! Exercise is the key, though. And in my case, it has to be hard exercise, at the gym, in a class, sweaty. Like HIIT and weights, box jumping and burpees til I gasp like a bass on the boat deck. Blood sugars? No problem.

  52. Fat Bastard: I can’t stop eating. I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat. It’s a vicious cycle.

  53. Thanks so much for this series of articles. It has been helping keep my focus even if it is only on how far I have come. I know I have a long ways to go but I feel better. On my bad days, I remind myself that I have successfully lost and kept off 70lbs. I am overall feeling better and have a brain again. Gluten and Dairy are such toxins to me that accidentally ingesting either will make me sick for over a week(flu-like symptoms, GI distress, skin eruptions the works). Finding out that I have autoimmune issues also allowed me to forgive myself for my failures easier.

    Right now I am recovering from my second injury in the last year. Last summer I fell and damaged my ribs, it took over 6 months for them to heal and I gained back 15 lbs of weight since I had trouble doing anything for very long. Just a few weeks ago I sprained/strained the muscles in my hip. I think this is more painful than the rib injury. I spent most of the last 2 weeks on involuntary bedrest as I could hardly move my leg or put any weight on it. Now that I am moving again I have spent time outside every single day and it is remarkable how that one thing even if all I do is hobble outside and stand in the sunshine for a few minutes is helping my recovery. I didn’t realize how much I NEED to get outside every day until I couldn’t.

    Thanks again for MDA, it has been such a source of encouragement and inspiration for me. I need the daily reminders to focus on my health and make myself a little better every day.

  54. Absolutely ALL of the above 10 reasons Mark wrote about resemble me in some form or fashion!

    I thought of #11 for me – NOT having enough good snacks or food around – being out of groceries!

    I must be one walking mess!

    I totally “get” the Primal Paleo thing – I even worked it hard for 2 months and felt on top of the world – but it seems I get sabotaged by me myself and I, and my man who is determined to eat what tastes good in life and to heck with my latest cure all “Primal”

    Still I am a strong woman and none of this should stop or sabotage me! NO!

    I have had 5 brain operations – 4 stomach operations and probably about 6 other kinds all in the last 4 years and I think I fall back on feeling sorry for myself and then let ANY reason get it my way. Lost my dear father too.

    I just think I must actively look for excuses to get in my own way of not only weight loss – but great health!

    I have just a miserable 50 lbs to lose and an awesome strong body dying to break out behind the flab!

    Thanks Mark – your article was SO timely and I am tired of my own excuses and I own every single one you posted (except the alcohol) so being aware is maybe all I need!

    That – and I need get an attitude and take no prisoners! 🙂

    I’m on it!

  55. Change is scary. While I am thrilled with my weight loss and can’t believe the way I look, I still struggle with appearance issues. Being the chubby invisible middle-aged frump was easy. Being a hot, shapely babe-of-a-certain-age is a whole different situation. Seeing men half my age checking me out…and liking what they see…is terrifying sometimes. When I started out on this journey, I never thought about dealing with things like that!

  56. “You’re Embarrassed to Go to the Gym”

    Here’s some irony for you: I judge people who use this as an excuse to not work out way more harshly than I judge fat people at the gym.

    Which is pretty easy, since I don’t judge the latter group at all. I don’t even really notice anyone else at the gym, and if I do it’s because they’re hogging equipment or screaming into their cell phone, not because they’re fat.

  57. I got stuck at a certain weight and still could not lose my tummy, even though my husband continued to lose his (to the point I had to buy size 32 pants for him and now those are falling off!) I blamed middle-age, menopause and other things out of my control. Then – I happened to get a middle-ear issue that would not go away, so my Naturopath told me to try to ditch the dairy for a week. Well, heck! My tummy got flatter! Doh! Do I feel stupid…

    The bad habits do tend to creep up because us humans are wired that way – we want routines – even my dog gets cranky when his routine is disrupted. For example, I had to stop with the dark chocolate because it became an every-day habit instead of a once-in-a-while habit. And eating after dinner was a long-time habit of ours. So I ditched that habit, and if we really want to eat something before bed we’ll slice an apple or grab a couple of tangerines and a handful of Macadamias, always mindful not to do it two nights in a row, because that’s the road to hell – I mean habits.

    The other thing I did to help myself was to stop reading the forums. Too many whiners, nervous-Nellies, drama queens/kings and other negative types of folks looking for you to hold their hands and give them positive feedback for being negative. I used to try to help them but too many folks just come back with more reasons they can’t do this or that. Screw ’em, I’m out on my patio doing kettlebell swings instead. See ya!

  58. Great post! And thank you, I love your blog and all the good it has done for me. 🙂

  59. I’ve can relate to a few of these even from a non-weight-loss viewpoint. When I was at Ohio State and there were throngs of students hitting the gym daily, meatheads hitting the enormous free weights and grunting, cardio bunnies bouncing away on the elliptical for hours on end, it took a lot of nerve to cross over to the “dark side” and pick up my measly 5# dumbbells and start lifting. I saw results almost immediately. When I did my masters at a smaller university and the gym wasn’t overwhelmed by the athletically gifted, going to the gym was a lot less intimidating, and now I have a trainer who subscribes to the Primal Blueprint method of fitness and I’m in the best shape ever. Like, exponentially better in the course of half a year.

    I’m also an all-or-nothing person in the “Well, if I’m gonna have a bite, I might as well eat the whole cake” kind of way. Any more, I just plan for it. I’m not going to eat one piece of dark chocolate, and I don’t like dealing with the stress of trying to eat only one piece. So I never keep it in the house. I only eat it if I’m going to go to the store myself and pick out a properly-sized bar so that I CAN eat the whole thing. Then it’s done. It’s such a CW way of dealing with a craving, but it works for me. Same goes for any kind of nut butter. I can keep peanut butter around the house because “it’s my husband’s,” but if I buy “my” sunflower seed butter, the whole jar is gone in two days. Just not worth keeping around or indulging in regularly.

    Now, I am the total opposite of #5: I try EVERYTHING and if it doesn’t work immediately, I start analyzing why, hit up Google, and try to find the next thing that does work. Breaking out? Cut out all dairy! Three days later and I have a new zit? Must not be dairy, must be nuts! Cut out all nuts and gorge on cheese! And so on and so forth. I think anyone who is stuck could use to be more methodical about the changes they do make: make a change, give it TIME, and observe any changes.

  60. Agree with Alison above. It’s all about baby steps. When you try and take to many big steps, the disappointment leads to failure. When you take baby steps and celebrate each baby step, you mind becomes trained for success. The mind doesn’t know the difference between a small success or a big success, so make steps that you will be successful at and make sure to celebrate them no matter how small.

  61. Great article! The downside to starting antidepressants is that certain ones have a greater propensity to cause weight gain, particularly mirtazapine and paroxetine. This may be due to either a decrease in metabolic rate and/or an increase in appetite. But this weight gain can still be offset by controlling your caloric intake! Of all the antidepressants, bupropion is least likely to cause weight gain and is great for patients who also feel lethargic. But if you are actually depressed, then obviously see your physician since the benefits of treating depression outweigh the risk of adverse effects of antidepressants in certain cases.

    Source: I’m a pharmacist 🙂

  62. This is a good list. I’d like to share my experience of getting healthy/losing weight with severe biological depression in the bipolar spectrum. First, I’d like to state that I’m healthy now, I have my ups and downs, but I’m OK. I’ve been working solidly on that for a couple of years now. A couple of years ago I finally got help & started seeing a clinical psychologist. After a few weeks something snapped in me & I quit sugar (huge for me at that time) & joined a gym which I would attend daily. Over a few months I lost a lot of weight which attracted a lot of attention from folk around me. I looked the way I wanted to look – but I was still so miserable that I couldn’t function in other areas of my life to the extent that cleaning my teeth or having a shower were at times insurmountable efforts. It’s hard for most to imagine that deep depth of depression. I became frustrated because I knew I was eating right, I knew I was raising my endorphins with vigorous exercise – but I didn’t feel any better INSIDE. I remember crying words along those lines to my psychologist who recommended anti-depressants. By this time of my life (I was 33) I’d variously been on Prozac, St John’s Wort, SAMe, and many others. Nothing had helped much (some had made me manic) and so was scared and skeptical about going on meds again. But I’m SO glad I did. This time I went on Zoloft, supervised by a psychiatrist who was recommended by my psychologist. After a while I began to think logically, I quit the destructive, hopeless, self-hating ruminating thought patterns that had been holding my success & happiness back. The key this time was to stay ON it for more than 6 months. It takes time to fix a brain. Having said that I’m not sure my brain is fixed (approx 2 years later), but I know now that I’m in a much better place to identify when I’m not functioning properly. The other key with meds is taper off VERY slowly. I was on 100mg & I’m now down to 25mg – but that’s taken months. Rushing that process can really screw you up – trust me, I’ve done it before. You need at least 8 weeks on each 25mg drop. In a few weeks I hope to be meds free, but if I try that & discover that I can’t be, I will not be ashamed. I know now that I go above & beyond the self-care (in eating well, exercising etc) that most give themselves – my brain just isn’t wired well for happiness, and that’s the way I was born. My mother & her mother are/were the same. See Pottenger’s Cat’s! Aside from the meds, which gave me the clarity to begin thinking normally (trust me, my mouth & body are now immaculate – immaculate I tell you – I’m swishing coconut oil as I write) here is one really important lesson I’ve learned – “It’s what you do most days that counts.” Most days I eat tonnes of veggies, quality protein & natural fats and zero sugar. But occasionally I lose it and give into a sugar urge. A year ago that would have turned into a sugar binge that might have lasted a week before I got back on track. Now I say, “OK,” and move on. That’s because I now eat so clean that experience with these occasional sugar splurges has taught me how sugar screws me up. This is how it goes – eat sugar – feel giggly & awesome – feel tired & irritable – feel angry – feel sad. That process takes at least 3 days – sometimes it’s a week. Over time I’ve figured out that it’s rarely worth it. However, if I do really, really want that gluten-free caramel slice that the awesome bakery next to work makes – I get it, and I DON’T beat myself up about it. It’s what I do most days that counts. I hope this helps someone else beating themselves up for feeling miserable – or worse, someone who hasn’t even realised they’re depressed yet – I tell ya, I denied it for years, had a good excuse for every way I was failing to thrive. When you’re depressed you can’t think clearly, and that’s why you need outside help.

    1. I have found that since switching to the Primal way of eating 6 months ago, and eating lots of good fats, I have not felt even the slightest bit blue, and I was on antidepressants for 5 of the last 7 years. I feel so happy and positive now. Don’t be afraid of the healthy fats.

  63. WOW! Thank you for this amazing post. I don’t normally reply but this is certainly a time to break the “habit”!

    I have been dabbling with Primal Paleo for the last 4 months and granted, I haven’t seen much improvement – all because of my reasoning why to not do it: My husband won’t participate. My children are over the use of coconut. I end up cooking two meals – blah, blah, blah!

    I love the concept. I love everything about what Primal is all about. I love reading all the cookbooks, and joining all the other Primal Paleo websites/blogs out there in cyberspace – and that’s my problem. I am starting to realise that I am a reader, not a doer. Well, not a 100% committed to trying doer anyway.

    It’s not so much the habit – I think I can recognise the signs now – but it’s about the procrastination on when, and how, to break it. If I can work on this, then I am already half way there.

    This probably doesn’t make any sense except to me, but this is where I see myself and it’s because of posts (and replies) such as this that confirms that I can do this – and so can everyone.

  64. I find the BIGGEST mistakes people make from this list is comparing themselves to OTHERS and shunning fat! A friend of mine constantly compares herself to others and I swear by the time she is thirty she is going to have some much plastic surgery done, and then still not be happy with herself. It’s unfortunate and heart breaking because she is a stunning girl… Clearly this issue can be a sickness that truly needs to be dealt with.

  65. I can relate to some of these points, especially in terms of habits and being embarrassed to go to the gym, but I think there are some points that have been missed.

    I think my main problem is that I know what I want to look like, but I have such a deeply ingrained perspective of myself that I’ve convinced myself that I won’t get there. For example, I’d love to have a six pack, but I often say things like “I’m built for comfort” or “I’ve never been an athletic person” and deep down I keep telling myself it’s never going to happen. It’s like I’ve convinced myself that it’s just not “me” or that I can’t do it and so I end up sabotaging myself or I won’t try.

  66. Speaking of habits, has anyone had a look at the stuff put out by James Clear?
    What a gold mine of habit making/breaking information!

    1. Thanks for the James Clear tip! I was not so excited about the Duhigg recomendation from Mark and was looking for alternative sources of information about forming good habits – think i found one 🙂

  67. Thanks Mark! Enjoyed reading as always! So glad you touched a bit on depression, I’m suffering from major depression ( which was a shocker to me really, but I was in denial) as soon as I went to my doctor, figured out a plan of attack( meds, therapy, pamper time to de-stress(dr ordered lol) and exercise/diet) I’ve started to lose weight again, but it is a long hard road… I think diet is important of course! But really seeking help is key and also being willing to take medication in this instance… I had tried to not take meds but honestly I needed them. That was so hard for me to admit that I needed help, especially in pill form… but now my chronic fatigue has lifted and I actually eat more than I was & sleep way better than I have in years! Depression was/is my biggest hurdle to jump over… but so far I’m kicking depressions rump!

  68. This was just what I needed to read at the right time. There are a handful of things I need to consider right now and this has given me some great starting point.\s.

  69. Superb article…but given that it is about psychological factors I have to point out that the whole thing is built on the single most fundamental mental mistake. You should choose to GET RID OF UNWANTED BODY FAT…not try to lose weight. Positive choice, positive action, and you will not ‘find’ that ‘lost’ weight again.

  70. It’s all about mindset, WOW!
    Take control of your morning and go from there.
    Well that’s what i am trying to do.

  71. This post really spoke to me. I’ve read the others about what I might not be doing but my hurdles (and deep down I have know it for months) are definitely mental. I find I use the idea of entitlement to “justify” why one more piece of chocolate (even if it is 86% high quality!) is deserved. The part particularly about that rush of weight loss was also really well said! It’s such a high seeing the weight effortlessly fall off DAILY while no longer counting calories and eating all you want of delicious real food. The plateau can really kinda deflate the excitement in one quick punch. I’ve been primal 8 months now and I have only just now started to need to incorporate primal fitness to continue getting results.

  72. I think that one element which is often misunderstood, or not seen, in this are aspects of our views of ourselves which hinder progress. Hinder progress not only in losing weight/gaining muscle/health, but in everything we do. We can develop endless knowledge and inspiration for things, but if there is something stopping us, it is all for nothing.

    My example is the subconscious story that I’d been telling myself: that I’m a ‘failure’, which affected and sabotaged every effort I made to achieve anything. Identifying the intrinsic characteristics which hold us back will make the most significant changes in our success in all fields, in all fields.

  73. Leading off hurdle # 1 with a Wayne’s World reference…just awesome!

    (The coffee and crueller (stat!) on the way to work.)

    Now, let’s all get out of the GarthMobile and go move like cavemen.

    Oh, and an offbeat suggestion that might help get us out of our heads and having more fun in life—read up, and do, improv comedy. Start with a good book on the subject, like “The Improv Handbook” and seek out a single class or a series of classes. You might be amazed at how much this stuff parallels psychology in its ways to overcome being stuck.

  74. I have lost 20lbs in under 3 months…never felt better…still have the red wine..and every friday is my cheat night… 2 slices of coal fired pizza…. I am still losing weight so don’t sweat it ..life is to short…enjoy yourself…

    C.

  75. Great post and comments, a little something to add/think about. I have become somewhat of a “gym rat”. I am 44 years old, and gravity has done some work on me. I try to make a point of not comparing “my insides to the other people’s outsides” In other words, how I am FEELING to how they are LOOKING. Also, I have come to accept that many of them look the way they do because of age, and unhealthy supplements of various kinds, in addition to the hard work we both do. Living primally 80% of the time has had incredible results for me, I am in the best shape of my entire life, and feel like a healthy, contributing member of the planet.

  76. Was that an Arrested Development reference? If so, you should know that it’s impossible to eat just a handful of candy beans, you have to eat the whole thing of them.

  77. I’ve dealt everyone of these hurdles at some point in my life. Glad to say that I’m past my mental walls and have managed to lose 35 in the last 14 weeks.

    Great post! It all starts with the mindset.

  78. Sometimes the option to “be”, without the need for improvement, should be exclusive. Even for just one day.

    Older civilisations used to practice this sentiment with seasonal rituals. Everyone go involved. I think we’ve lost touch with celebration as a way to recognise deep inner happiness though, because society doesn’t always approve.

    We now tend to associate celebration with a lack of control, where individuals have total permission to be irresponsible and make no apologies about it. How do we recognise anything deep and meaniful from that? Yet if we don’t learn how to celebrate the little things (in company) then how are we going to learn to respect the bigger things – like ourselves?

    Celebration has many incarnations, but our society seems to feel very insecure about it in general.

  79. On the links mark provided under too embarrassed to go to the gym I’ve used convict conditioning and currently use overcoming gravity. . Both books are excellent. Invest in a pull up bar, I recommend this the ‘everlast chin up and sit up bar’ as it come with 2 sets of brackets, which is very handy. It’s easy to turn your house into a gym. People don’t understand how to use bodyweight to build strength and muscle, all of the books will help but overcoming gravity is the most detailed.
    Another good book, for beginners, is you are your own gym.

  80. Another reason for keeping oneself from losing weight… I know what I’m about to write may seem controversial and I may well get shot down for it, but I am not writing it to blame anybody for anything. I find it to be a truth for some, however painful.

    Western women live in a climate that is often sexually aggressive. Female sexuality and boundaries are not always respected, and a frightening percentage of us have been exposed to sexual abuse.
    Having more body fat than is considered attractive saves you a lot of male attention. Especially the kind that might be experienced as threatening or even invoe flashbacks of abuse, no matter how it was intended.

  81. Giving yourself permission
    I think a lot of people find ways to give themselves permission to do things they know they shouldn’t, or not do things they know they should. “I’m extra tired today so I’ll take today off” or “I walked a lot so .. CHEESECAKE!” or “I always have chips with hockey …” or what ever the case.
    I often ask a worker to do something and they say “I’ll try.” My response is usually “No, get it done. Coming back here at the end of the day and saying you tried won’t help me.” I see it as them giving themselves an out.
    Another example is when people respond with something that starts with “I’m …”. It usually goes something like this: “I’m bad when it comes to paper work ..” or “I’m not very strong in the arms …” you get the idea.
    These are examples of people putting a catch-all clause in their promise, or a ceiling on their commitment to a goal or task. Essentially they are giving themselves permission to fail.

  82. Anders & Laurie, I wasn’t sleeping very well either. My naturopath (who, thankfully is also Primal), said it is often due to magnesium deficiency. She gave me a good magnesium supplement, and now my sleep is much more complete and restful.

  83. The Primal Blueprint has helped turn around my health. At one time I had high blood pressure, bad blood results, overweight, skin problems, couldn’t concentrate to focus on anything and always had to reread things 4-5 times and remembered only a little of what I read.

    After starting the Primal Blue Print my blood results were the following from November 2012 Triglyceride 26 mg/dl, HDL-C 63 mg/dl, LDL-L 138 mg/dl, total cholerestrol 225, blood pressure 110/70. So very healthy. My fasting insulin level is a little high at 102 and I have heard that low carb dieting makes you insulin sensitive and I have recently added healthy carbs back into my diet. My weight went from 240 and 42% bodyfat at 5 ft 6in to 200 lbs and 33% bodyfat.

    Mark Sisson also recommended the Perfect Health Diet which focuses on the science aspect of nutrition and gives extra details to which Mark doesn’t cover on nutrition. Now I have added the healthy carbs back in and noticed that my skin problems cleared up, Now adding in the extra carbs and intermittent fasting has started my weight loss again and I am down to 190lbs and 29% bodyfat and loosing a constant 2 lbs a week after an initial water weight gain from adding back in the carbs which took two weeks for my body to adjust.

    One Positive benefit I forgot to mention is that I can concentrate better now and have done fairly well in my graduate classes in engineering. It seems like providing proper nutrition to my body has allowed my mind to work better. Amazingly enough it was easy for me to write over 35 pages of technical papers this semester which I couldn’t have completed before the Primal Blueprint diet.

    Some of the psychological hurdles that I have overcome with the Primal Blueprint have been the poor eating habits, I don’t fear fat anymore, used to eat for comfort, overcome the all or nothing attitude, and some of the depression.

    Also I do need to be more consistent with the exercise and getting 8 hours of sleep a night. The little day by day wins help creating positive motivation.

    The most challenging thing is I don’t get touched. Mark had mentioned that there is health benefits to having sex, cuddling, touching. I think this might be part of my depression issue is that I haven’t had a girlfriend in over 15 years because I took care of everyone else’s need first, and developed a good career. Now at 38 years old and still have 25 lbs of weight to lose there seems to be no one available for me in Alaska.

    Women always tell me that I am a great friend and can’t understand how I am not married. Maybe I need to get to 10% bodyfat and become an alpha male instead of being a nice guy. I wonder if exercising more and dropping more bodyfat would increase my confidence to a point where women will start noticing and wanting to date me instead of being just a friend. I don’t know of any other guy that go that long without a long term relationship but my strength has finally given up and I don’t have anymore execuses left.

    I keep trying to improve myself little bit by little. A new exercise plus social habit I started is Salsa dancing to meet women, and gain more confidence. Like Mark said in one of his articles celebrate your little day by day gains and eventually they make huge changes.

    One final word. The Primal BluePrint is so much more than a diet it is a lifestyle. Such as the exercise, playing, and relationships. No diet out there that I know of consider anything other than food.

    Wel that is my rant for the month. Appreciate any suggestions from people.

    Thank you,
    Steve

  84. Here’s a good reason you haven’t addressed: You’re broke! I don’t mean “cut back on Starbucks” broke, I mean you’re struggling to feed your kids on rice and beans and WIC food. (And most people scrambling through unemployment need the free supplement food, even though it’s low-fat milk and dry cereal and bread and beans. Give up the WIC food and tell me how well you can feed a family of 5 on $50 a week.)

    Poor people aren’t obese because they don’t have the information. Poor people are obese because the cheapest source of calories at the grocery store are agriculture-and-government-subsidized carbs. The reality of switching to a primal diet is completely outside the ability of the destitute.

  85. Great post and discussion! I want to put a plug in for Jason Sieb’s book, “The Paleo Coach”. Jason addresses an issue that is unique- he calls it the Asthetic Goal Connundrum. Basically, it hits on motivation for sticking to the ‘plan’, and if it is for asthetic reasons, we may be missing the mark- however if our goals are around health, it is a different standard we are reaching for- he helped me get my head right and just that perspective change has helped me a ton…

  86. I drive truck and do my work at nights, sixty to seventy hours a week. I’d love to hear some things tuned to my night-time world. I really feel like I’m pushing against the world because of my shift work. My blood work is all good, the sedentary is killing me and I’m working on that; I’d like to know what specifically I’m up against because of the flipped world I live in.

  87. Great post! I bookmarked your site so I can look around when I have more time. I’m looking forward to it 🙂

  88. I’ve lost 30lbs 3 months… it was hard I was on my own strict diet and some excerise…
    I used to weight like 217 but now I weight 187
    I wanna get down to 150… its real hard work..not to mention Iam on dialysis and have kidney failure
    But anyway just wanted to share that with yall.. just hope everybody reaches their goals including me hahah…

  89. Thanks so much for this article. You hit the nail on the head for me with several of them. I shared the article with my friends on Low Carb Forums. Many struggle with the same issues. Thanks again.

  90. Its not weight your are losing its FAT, are people afraid to say the word, you take the fat away and you are at the weight you want to be, thats the hard part. Need help let me know.

  91. Everyone is referring to weight loss, it should be FAT loss. When you have the right exercise plan and eat properly you are going to loss fat. World don;t be afraid to say the word FAT. You can have no fat and still be over weight, Exercise properly and you can loss it FAT!!! need help let me know

  92. My main question to you: Have you ever been 310lb?

    I hate this sentence in the why bother: “Dropping 100 pounds off of 300 in a year isn’t too tough and happens all the time, while dropping the last twenty when you’re sitting at 200 is considerably tougher and often takes a lot longer.”
    My trainer posted this to our FB group. I didn’t think about it much until I read it again. It really really breaks my spirit. To make it seem like what I’m trying so hard means this to people, is extremely discouraging.

    Where can I meet these all the timers? I have been looking for real support for a year.

    I understand that it is longer to overcome the last bit over the initial bit. But it is super tough to even start. Anybody who got to this weight, can likely testify that something was wrong in their life. For me, it was a career ending injury, hopelessness and food. To drop 40lbs for 5 months has been just as difficult as deciding I need to do it. I fight most of these mentioned obstacles daily. I don’t believe you that the last bit is the hardest in a 300lb situation. By then, I will continue my healthy habits without hurdles.

  93. I lost 26 pounds last year. I was 255 (at full term pregnancy I don’t have an actual starting weight) and dropped a lot of weight after a run in with kidney stones. I am trying to loose the last 20 to drop under 200 but just before christmas all my clothes started to fit right and I was feeling better and stronger and happier and then I started having panic attacks. Feeling better made me scared I think. I got really sad. I ate a lot of christmas dinner and gained 15 pounds back. Spring has come and I am back counting calories. I’m going to go slow. I’m not giving up. Even if I freak out again…I’m still less than I started. But that was my mind issue. Getting better scared the bejesus out of me. Seriously wish I were kidding.

  94. People are social animals? Speak for yourself. I came to this website in the hope that someone will have finally written something motivational for someone with extreme social anxiety. I’ve tried the gym, walking/running in public, running with a friend, and taking a yoga class… And dropped them all after three days. For people with anxiety and panic disorder, it’s not a question of being shy or afraid- it’s overwhelming stress. Going to work, class, or even just stepping outside of my front door is has the same effect on me as if a serial killer were chasing me down the street. I know that there are others who struggle with this same problem. It’s not embarrassment of what others will think, it’s the threat of other people, passing cars, and just a neighbor wanting to stop and make horrible small talk. And by the way, if you live in a college town, you can bet your ass there are going to be some wolf whistles and jeers coming your way if you wear anything besides a burlap sack out in public.
    I’m not overweight, but I have always wanted to be more a little more fit and no one seems to have any advice as to how to go about it. So screw you and “people are social animals”. More people than you think are happy being quite alone and isolated, it doesn’t mean that you can just assume that we don’t want to be healthy, too. You should have made it clear that this article is for socializing people only, because it’s very misleading.

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  96. Comfort, yeah, that’s for sure. Depressed? I’m afraid so. I’ve been eating for those particular reasons and a few more. No matter the reason, it’s not worth it. I definitely need to focus on feeling good, looking good and eating well, I’m sure my body will thank me.

  97. You made some very valid points. You did miss one huge psychological factor that isn’t discussed frequently at all and horribly enough is a massive issue for a lot of people. Women and men that have a history of abuse(physical,sexual and/or mental) have a much larger chance of not being just overweight but obese. Many studies have been done over this issue. A large amount of people will lose the weight and then gain it back fairly quickly. Because it is “safe” to be overweight.

  98. Great article! I agree, antidepressants do help in some situations, but what I found was that they interfere with the hormonal processes.

    There’s an article I saw published which showed a study that people this day and age find it hard to lose weight than people in the 80 and 90s.

    When you have some time, you could take a look http://reportermag.com/dieting-lose-weight-try-not-feel-disappointed-read/

    But regardless of how many times somebody will tell you this, It’s still difficult to overcome some hurdles.

  99. I think I figured out why I am scared to loose weight, its because men will only want me for my slimmer body

  100. i lost my weight (total of 80 lbs) by cutting calories and replacing them with protein dense, low calorie meals/shakes, working out (weight lifting, walking, running) and comparing myself to others! don’t get down when you see other people who are fit or slim, if you want to look like that, then that should motivate you! i know it did for me, everyone i even glanced at got a full comparison to what i looked like. it helped me realize where i was and where i wanted to be. Life is long, but by the time you reach where you want to be, with consistency and absolute devotion to losing weight, you’ll feel like a new person in what feels like no time.

  101. I literally don’t want male attention. I want to be healthy, but I don’t want to be ‘looked at’ or bothered by men. Ideas?

  102. Don’t think of other as watching you as the embarrassment to your end, you must use it as the motivation to strive hard to exercise and lose weight.