Ken Korg, One Week Into His 30-Day Challenge

One week into his Primal Blueprint challenge, Ken Korg is rolling. Things are falling into place, and he’s happy with the results thus far.

As per Valentina’s guidance, he consulted the carb curve and reduced his carbohydrate intake. Currently, Ken is eating between 50-75 grams of carbohydrate each day and it seems to be working. He hasn’t weighed himself yet, having been warned away from scale obsession, but he has managed to button up a certain pair of jeans. You know what pair I mean – that pair of jeans that everyone has, the waistline barometer. Yeah, well, one week in, Ken’s wearing the waistline barometers to work… and he didn’t even have to lie down on the bed to get them on.

Ken’s once-perpetual hunger is gone. He gets hungry when it matters – before a meal, for example, or after exercising – but he doesn’t constantly think about food like he did before. And now, instead of reaching for processed snack foods (Cheez-Its were an old fave) when he does happen to get a small hunger pang he has a few nuts or a strip of (homemade) jerky and gets on with life. For once, Ken doesn’t have to tap into a steady drip of willpower to keep from stuffing his face. He can go about his day without keeping his appetite on one of those creepy child leashes.

That said, Ken’s journey has hit some snags. Nothing too big or too disheartening, mind you, but snags nonetheless. Any veteran Primal Blueprinter could have told Ken to expect some challenging moments, especially if you’re trying to take your family along for the ride.

Yes, despite Ken’s initial successes, there is discord in the house of Korg.

It all starts at breakfast. Kelly Korg has been eating four slices of whole wheat toast and peanut butter for breakfast every morning for as long as he’s known her. It’s pure habit; at this point, her circadian rhythm is probably entrained to that toast and peanut butter. Their son Kenny usually opts for cereal, something with the words golden, crunch, nutty, and/or harvest in the name. That first Tuesday morning after his revelation at work, Ken bounded out of bed a half hour early and prepared a massive Primal breakfast feast. Huge omelets cooked in butter, twelve ounces of crispy bacon, a big berry fruit salad, pot of coffee. It was great, and everyone loved it. Even vegetarian Kenny enjoyed a couple strips of bacon, the gateway meat. They all agreed they could get used to this.

Fast forward one week and Ken’s little early morning pristine Primal wonderland is marred by burnt toast scrapings and cereal-sweetened milk. Breakfast is a battleground. Kelly’s toasting bread, Kenny’s eating cereal out of the dog’s extra (big) water bowl. And Ken feels like a failure. He went big too early with that first elaborate breakfast, and now he doesn’t know what to do. He can’t spend an hour every morning making breakfast, but how else is he going to convince his family to commit?

At work, a dejected Ken voices his concerns to Valentina. “Man, industrialized food producers really have us beat when it comes to easy breakfasts. Pour a bowl of cereal, pop something in a toaster for two minutes, drink some juice. Heck, they even trick us into eating cupcakes for breakfast simply by calling them ‘muffins.’ For Primal, it seems like you have to cook your breakfasts. And cooking means cleaning. For one guy, it’s doable, but for an entire family rushing around trying to get ready all at once? How do you do it?”

A smirk plays about Valentina’s face. She’s been waiting for this. “Breakfast doesn’t have to be a huge production, Ken. There are plenty of breakfast options for on-the-go eaters. Work some of those into the rotation and always have something on hand. You can’t let up, especially this early on.”

“But what about the bacon?” asks Ken. “It’s the only way I can get Kenny to eat animals, but it takes too dang long to fry up on the stove.”

“Cook it in the oven. 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness and desired doneness. Set it and walk away. BAM.” (Valentina’s fatal flaw is her bizarre Emeril Lagasse fanboyism.)

Ken closes his eyes, sighs, and drops his head. “Of course! That’s genius. You’re a genius. Thanks again for the help.” He turns to go, takes a few steps, thinks hard about something, then wheels back. She’s still there. It’s almost as if Valentina knew he’d be returning. “Just one more thing. I really want this to work for the whole family, but I’m worried Kelly’s about to give up on the whole thing. While I’ve been jumping out of bed each morning ready to tackle another day, she’s been waking up with headaches. In fact she’s been pretty listless the entire week. No energy, always tired, constant headache, always complaining about a fog clouding her brain. I’m actually pretty worried.”

“Is Kelly eating low-carb?” she asks.

“Yep. Between 50-100 grams per day. Other than the morning toast, she’s good.”

“Is this a big change for her?”

Ken answers immediately. “Oh, yeah, most definitely. She used to put down 3, 400 grams a day, easy.”

“Ken, this is totally normal when someone drastically reduces their carbohydrate intake. Kelly is simply going through the low-carb flu. Check out that post; it’s got some great advice and there are tons of comments from readers with similar experiences sharing how they made it through. She’ll be fine.” Valentina is very reassuring.

“Great, so this is just something she has to get used to, right? She just has to push through the initial hardship and maintain?” Ken asks.

“Pretty much. Some people adapt immediately, others take longer. Some take a month or more. You just have to be there to support her.” Valentina winks.

“Awesome! I’ll just tell her to keep at it, to keep up with the running, to-”

“Wait, wait, what was that? The ‘running’?” asks Valentina.

“Oh, yeah. Kelly’s always been a cardio fiend. She absolutely loves to run. I know what Mark thinks about running too much when you’re miserable, but she genuinely enjoys it.”

Valentina frowns. “That’s cool and all, but if she’s going super low-carb and trying to maintain her running habit, she may have to make some concessions. If she’s burning through her glycogen every day, she probably could use a few more carbs than she’s getting. This could be exacerbating her low-carb flu symptoms.”

Ken’s face lights up. “Really? Valentina, you are a life saver. You’ve just made a certain wife of mine extremely happy. I’ll let her know she can eat a few more carbs to support the running, and I’ll be sure to push the yams and sweet potatoes. I don’t want her using this as an excuse to fill up on junk.”

“Happy to help, Ken. Anything else?” Valentina’s got work to do, but she’s pretty obsessed with all this Primal stuff and loves talking about it to anyone who’ll listen (I’m sure you can relate).

Ken wavers. “Actually, yeah, there is. I have a few more questions if you don’t mind.”

“Not at all. Let’s hear it.”

Ken dives right in. “So, Kelly’s work is always throwing parties for something or other. It’s always someone’s birthday, and that means cake or cookies. And if it’s not a birthday, it’s a catered meeting. There’s just a lot of ambient snacking. Treats are everywhere. It’s a funny word – ‘treat.’ It’s supposedly a ‘source of special delight and pleasure,’ but is it really ‘special’ if it’s everywhere you look? Donuts in the break room, candies in jars on desks, leftover cupcakes scattered all over. Those aren’t treats; those are staples.

“Anyway, I’m wondering how Kelly should handle living, working in such an environment. How does she handle the mob mentality without hurting her relationships with the members of the mob, who are perfectly lovely people otherwise?”

Valentina’s ready. “I could give you a long spiel, but I’ll just verbally hyperlink you to this post on dealing with the “treats” mob. It’s very timely and should prove useful to your situation.”

Ken’s eyes roll back into his head as his brain processes the material and scans the comments. “This is great stuff, thanks. One quick question, kinda similar, only regarding Kenny. The kid’s just started high school, which can be a tough time. He’s trying to establish his place on the social totem pole, and he’d rather it not be one of the lower positions. I don’t think being known as the kid who eats “healthy” and turns his nose up at pizza and soda will do him any favors there. Any suggestions on how to make this Primal stuff work as a high-schooler?”

“Absolutely. Show him this post on making Primal work as a high-schooler. I’d go ahead and read it yourself, because there’s some good insight on making things easier at home, too. It’s not just about high school. It’s more about that age of uncertainty, adolescence.” Valentina’s got work to do, so she bids Ken farewell.

“Thanks again, Val. Don’t know what I’d do without you.” They part ways.

On his drive home, there’s roadwork. The street he usually takes is full of burly guys with jackhammers and neon vests. His normal way home is barred, but there’s ample warning before he gets there – detour arrows, orange “Roadwork Ahead” signs – so Ken knows where to go. He has help. He’s not fumbling through the dark, turning small initial mistakes into big blundering ones. The roadwork is a minor inconvenience, a tiny snag, because he knows it’s coming, and he knows what to do and where to go to avoid it.

Yeah, Ken’s going to be all right.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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100 thoughts on “Ken Korg, One Week Into His 30-Day Challenge”

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  1. I think panfrying bacon is a pretty quick process. I like my bacon soft and chewy though. If it’s crispy, it’s ruined.

    1. “3, 400 grams” not 3,400 grams

      As in 300 to 400 grams.

      That little space after the comma makes a world of difference!

      1. I caught the comma Mark, but I have never seen a grown adult woman (or actually anyone, ever, eat four pieces of toast, let alone four with peanut butter on top!
        Thanks for the hyperlinks… fun post today.

        1. I used to eat tons of toast! I could easily put done 4 pcs. Or 4 pcs of english muffin. I used to go to the Orowheat discount store & fill my freezer with bread, bagels, & english muffins. That was mainly what I ate. toast & butter. Thank heavens I saw the light!!!

      2. “Let’s eat Grandma.”
        “Let’s eat, Grandma.”

        Punctuation saves lives. LOL

        1. Lol as an Executive Assistant to multiple general managers, I LOVE THIS!

  2. I don’t think this will win me the prize but I will say it anyways.

    Im an avid crossfitter and Fireman

    Ive been living primal for a little over a year and half and don’t ever foresee myself turning back.It has made my job, raising my son and my daily activities much much easier.

    for the first six months I had plenty of urges that took mind and will power to overcome. slowly, but surely they began to dissipate to the point of where I don’t desire the unmentionables anymore.

    My point is that you will struggle in starting your new lifestyle, but everyone does at first.

    Find the strength to overcome it and your life WILL get easier

  3. Bacon in the pan doesn’t take long. Cooking it beforehand and warming it up is even quicker. Primal muffins can be made the night before and put in the oven in the morning while taking a shower. Berries can be prepared the night before.

    And I’ve learned that getting up a bit earlier and doing a few things in the kitchen, putting on the laundry, etc. is a great way to start the day. I feel like a Grokette when I do that, everyone else still sleeping…

    I am going to read that one about being a Primal highschooler, though.

      1. Oh Francesca, there are many recipes. Google the words, you will find all sorts usually using almond meal and eggs as the base. Today we had carrot and peach. They are outrageous!

  4. I guess I don’t understand what “challenges” and “setbacks” means. Most literature (including Primal Blueprint if I recall correctly) push for an 80-20 adherence with this kind of stuff. I guess I don’t see them as “setbacks” or “challenges”, but rather as part of the continuing 80-20 lifestyle which is endorsed by so many in the paleosphere. Yeah, you can’t be perfect all the time. I think the amazing part about this framework is that you don’t have to be – that some small variation and ‘cheating’ won’t completely destroy or derail.

    Am I missing something here?

    1. Your correct, but most people still have the “strict diet” (where any slip will derail them because they are starving themselves usually) mentality in place when they go primal and it can take a while to readjust because they are not used to a lifestyle diet… at least this is what I went through in the beginning, having switched from a semi-starvation vegan diet

      1. I, for one, can’t do the 80-20 thing. I get carb creep like it’s nobody’s business.

        I’ll eat a snicker-doodle with my primal meal on Wednesday and by Sunday, with all things primal a distant memory, I’ll sit down to a pancake breakfast with hot chocolate at IHOP, then I’ll have a flash of clarity and wonder what the hell happened.

        I have been down that road many times…

        And no, I wasn’t starving myself, my meals were more balanced than they were before. And I was less hungry than I was before. I realize at some point I probably will eat something neolithic in origin, but I am going to hold off on that day as long as I can until I’m sure I have starved the Carb Beast.

        1. I’m with you on this one. It’s almost like an alcoholic or drug addict. If I get the slightest taste, I’m off the Primal wagon. Or maybe it has something to do with trying to be perfect. The “perfect Primal” specimen. If I screw up, I have to start all over to be perfect…but not before I visit my long lost friends, namely sugar and corn!

        2. You brain does release heroin-like endorphins when you eat carbohydrates. Try what Tim Ferris suggests in the Four Hour Body, have a binge day once a week where you eat whatever you want. His explanation is that it helps the weight loss process by keeping your metabolism running. While I haven’t researched the scientific validity of that statement, a binge day can help you control your cravings and apparently doesn’t slow many people’s weight loss plans.

        3. No way Andrew… a binge day easily turns into a binge 3months for me.

        4. I am totally with you on this I cannot do the 80 – 20 thing either. I guess if I did not live alone I would have to but I live alone so that makes it easy.
          I have to go 100% because 1) I am trying to lose weight right now.
          2)having a cheat day with bread,pasta etc would just get me off track and start the cravings again
          3)and finally I don’t have a desire to do the 20% because I am not hungry and I don’t crave 🙂

  5. Ah, carb flu be the worst matey! (national talk like a pirate day today….)

  6. It definitely helps to have an experienced person to consult with when making this lifestyle change… I know that I would have stumbled and bumbled for a lot longer than I did had it not been for the help of all the primal/paleo websites out there!

    1. I microwave the bacon all the time. I sandwich 6 slices laid side by side between two paper towels on a plate. It takes about 5 minutes, give or take, and comes out crispy every time.

    2. One minute per slice in my microwave; sure beats splattering bacon fat all over the kitchen…

  7. 300-400 grams of carbs per day sounds more reasonable, Mark, if she runs regularly and isn’t consuming too much fat; then she’ll keep her overall calorie consumption near her expenditure. It’s all about the calories.

    1. LOL, where did you come from?

      It is not “all about the calories”. That’s pretty much the whole point of the paleo movement: that food quality matters, often moreso than food quantity.

      1. I agree that food quality matters. I’m not suggesting a low calorie twinkie diet. But this post is suggesting that Kelly Korg should reduce 300-400 grams of carbs per day. Why? I’ll quote Mark Sisson in “Primal Blueprint”:

        “Let’s not mince words here. The science of reducing stored body fat requires you to burn more calories than you consume…losing one to two pounds of fat per week…means an average daily deficit of 500 to 1000 calories.”

        As long as Kelly Korg is eating on optimal amount of protein, a minimal amount of fat and exercising to maintain a calorie deficit, then 300-400 grams or carbs (rice, potatotes, fruit, veggies) is fine.

        1. A minimal amount of fat? That’s not really what the Primal Blueprint is about. It’s more about quality fat.

          Also, gram for gram, rice can’t really compare to veggies.

        2. This is funny because I used to eat around 1500 calories a day in the form of breads, marmalades, soy spreads, burritos and hot pot pies and other vegan quick foods.
          On top of it I starved myself to try and get lean around my midsection. Well, that didn’t work at all and many years later I was overweight.

          I went primal, upped my calorie consumption to about 2500-3500 a day including 2-3 gallons of RAW goats milk a week, pork fat, lard, kidney fat and butter. Everything was cooked in that and I fried up extra kidney fat as part of a meal. Yes, a slab of pure fat with salt! 3-5 eggs a day. 1-2 quarts of full fat raw milk, pork, beef, elk, rabbit, organ meats like liver and kidneys and get this ….I LOST 20 LBS.

          It is not about calories but about nutrient density. The balance between energy and nutrients has to be correct, like the right amount of omega 3 vs 6, the right amount of calcium vs. phosphorus, and the right amount of sleep vs. physical labor.

        3. @ Arty,let me get this straight: you gained weight on 1500 calories per day and lost weight on 2500-3500 calories per day?

          It seems that you have proven Mark Sisson wrong based on his statement in “Primal Blueprint” that you have to have an average daily deficit of 500 to 1000 calories to lose one to two pounds of fat per week, unless of course you had almost no physical activity at 1500 calories and are now at elite levels of physical training at 2500-3500 calories?

        4. I’m with Arty. I was a vegetarian eating around 1300 calories and gained weight. (I’m 5’4″) Nothing I did could get those 10 pounds off. I went Primal – started eating plenty of meat and good fats and stopped counting calories. I dropped those 10 pounds in the first 3 weeks and then dropped another 5.
          You have to read Mark’s calorie counting in context. If I recall correctly he is talking about how on a high fat/low carb diet you loose more than the simple calories in, calories out formula would suggest. It is not just about calories.

  8. That’s a lot of carbs. I’ve calculated it on FitDay, and even on my vegetarian diet I didn’t eat 400 grams of carbs per day. How do people eat that much?

    1. Pasta and bread. Now that I live all Primal and whatnot, it amazes me how quickly a bowl of pasta pops me over 100g of carbs.

  9. First of all, child leashes aren’t creepy. I had one as a wee thing, and I loved it. It was rainbow, and had an awesome chest harness with red panels and rainbow straps. I would pretend I was a dog or cat. It rocked.

    I’ve taken to par-cooking a whole bunch of bacon on the stove once a week, then finishing my daily portion in the toaster oven every morning (I like my bacon crispy, so it works very well). I cook an omelet every day, but I’m only cooking for myself. If I was trying to cook for a family, I’d do batches of egg-muffins as well and warm everything up at once.

  10. *claps and squeals with delight* Oh I do love a good episode of “All My Bacon”!!! (lol, Peggy) So addicting….:)

    1. >insert more cheezy organ music here<
      as they run the credits over footage of a happy pastured pig, rootin around in the dirt for goodies…

  11. I sure feel lucky. I was able to simply turn off the grains and any processed foods and switch to primal cold turkey. I’m thankful for that, and the progress I made and continue to make makes it easy to not have temptations when SAD stuff is in front of me.

    Bacon: Microwave! I put it in a pyrex baking dish, cover with one paper towel, and ZAP for 5 minutes. (For THICK bacon) The paper towel keeps the microwave clean, and the bacon cooks wonderfully. Can do more or less depending on how you like it. Never a mess and always ready in five minutes.

  12. Bacon in the oven is The Bomb!! Especially using thick cut bacon, 405 degrees, for 14 minutes, on a rack over a jelly roll pan. The bacon is very floppy, but cooked. A lot of greased drips off, but a lot doesn’t, and it’s luscious!! Even my “crispy bacon only!!” son loves the oven-baked stuff. MMMMmmmmm,FAT!! 😀

  13. Two things have made a world of difference for me:
    1. Cook ahead of time and reheat or eat cold. I make a dozen hard-boiled eggs at a time (takes no longer than making one); I pre-cook burger patties (again, takes no longer to make eight than to make one); and
    2. There’s no rule saying you have to eat “breakfast” food for breakfast. Sometimes I eat a tin of tuna or smoked oysters. Nuts, leftovers, a chicken leg,, etc.

    As far as treats go, I’ve discovered that when I eat enough protein and fat, snacks foods are unappealing and easily resisted. I never thought the day would come that I could pass by a plate of brownies or a bowl of chips, but now I’m not even interested.

    1. YES!!! People are always asking me “What do you eat for breakfast?”
      I tell them there are no “Meal Police” telling you what to have to eat. I eat what ever I feel like eating. Alot of times it’s leftovers with some eggs on top…
      I’m a big fan of cookin a bunch & freeze for later too.

      1. Even before I went primal, I didn’t feel limited to breakfast foods. I’ve eaten soup, I’ve eaten salad – whatever I wanted or needed that morning.

        Not that I’m dissing bacon and eggs!

  14. Here’s my breakfast trick:
    In my electric kettle I add two eggs to the cold water. I cover the eggs with about two inches of water and set the kettle to boil. The electric kettle shuts itself off automatically as soon as it boils. Pour a mug of hot water for tea (making sure the eggs in the kettle stay covered with hot water). In six minutes the tea will be brewed and the eggs will be medium boiled. I top the tea off with a spoonful of coconut oil. It keeps me going until about two pm.

  15. I love how this post integrates valuable links with stories that are easy to relate to. I’ll have to try that jerky recipe.

    I prefer baking bacon in the oven over the pan, because I like it crispy. BUT, frying eggs in the bacon fat while the bacon cools on paper towels only takes 10 minutes total for the entire meal. It is messier than cereal and toast, but it’s worth it!

    1. With you all the way Cassandra. That’s my daily routine right there. Get up, turn the hob on, get in shower. Get dry & half dressed, throw butter & 2 bacon slices in a small frying pan, get dressed while they cook. Put bacon on a plate, crack two eggs into the pan and beat them as they cook. Take omelette off heat, go and put contact lenses in. Come back, throw omelelette on the plate with the bacon and chomp away (a cup of tea is also made in there somewhere). Thirty second wash of pan, plate and fork under hot tap with a squirt of dishwash liquid. From sleep to car in 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile my non-PB wife and kids are arguing over who is having cereal and who is having toast, spilling milk everywhere, getting crumbs all over the floor and are still in their pyjamas. And they get up 1/2hr before me!

      Omlettes are the best and quickest meal in the world, and omlettes cooked in bacon fat and butter are even better.

  16. My biggest struggle last week was overcoming the minor low-carb flu and major carb cravings I experienced. I work in a fast-paced environment so it was difficult to be a bit slower mentally and more fatigued physically than what I’m used to. Just like Kelly Korg, I’m surrounded by “treats” at the office so the initial weaning period was difficult, but I feel SO much better now and really proud of myself for pushing through this common, yet tough, challenge. I am ready to tackle week 2 and I am SO appreciative of the informative and entertaining posts! Grok On!

  17. I’m a microwave bacon fan too. 1 minute for thin bacon (covered with paper towel, as Peter said). 2 minutes for poached eggs. Serve with a chopped tomato, cucumber, rucola lettuce, pepper and salt. Yum!

  18. My biggest challenge so far was a weekend retreat where I paid for the food in advance and was not informed it was vegetarian. I ate a lot of vegetables with olive oil and balsamic, some fruit, cheese and boiled eggs. On Saturday, they served fish in filo pastry to everyone elso while I got broiled fish. It was a huge struggle to stay away from the pastry. I drove home and stopped at the first convenience store for some beef jerky!

  19. Yes the carb curve is a wonderful tool. I also printed off “17 Reasons you are not losing”. Both of these made me realize I was probably eating more than I thought. Sure enough I was.
    Since then I have tracked my calories and and carbs on Which I had also rediscovered from this blog. Since I started tracking on 8/31 I have lost 9 POUNDS!!. This is weight I thought would NEVER come off even though I have been Primal/Paleo since Nov 2010. I would like to lose about 10 more.
    Thanks Mark for the wonderful tools, advice and guidelines!


  20. We bought a Nu Wave oven. It cooks bacon so yummy crispy and then all the bacon grease is at the bottom to use to fry eggs if you want. It also cooks chicken, steak, pork, etc. from frozen leaving it really juicy and tasty. We use it for almost all our meat cooking unless DH has to be really manly and use the grill.

    1. Was flipping thru the channels the other night & happened on the Nu wave infomercial, I realized they use the ‘LOW FAT is healthy’ lie as a major selling point for the oven, which tells me they have fallen for the Low Fat Lie and don’t understand how crucial fats are for proper nutrition.

      Just out of curiosity I Twitter searched #NuWave and found this:

      “damienbsu damien sports
      so. watching an infomercial about the #NuWave. i’m getting swayed people. help me!!!”

      So I just Had to tweet back:

      @damienbsu Avoiding #fat is NOT #healthy & will kill you slowly! Buy a #NuWave but eat the fats WITH the #food!

      I also noticed that the comparison they use to show how the NuWave pulls more fat out of foods than a conventional oven is a little misleading. The NuWave is a closed non-vented system, which means that all the water content of the food is trapped inside the oven along with the fats, whereas in a conventional oven that is vented to the atmosphere some of the water AND fat content is lost to evaporation, which also explains why in the comparison test the juices from the conventional oven look darker and concentrated compared to the drippings from the Nu Wave.

      If the Nu Wave is a superior cooking system in any way it’s because it’s closed design captures ALL of the water and fat content of the foods cooked in it, which could rightly be considered as a nutritional bonus. I have for a long time had the habit of saving & even drinking the nutritionally dense juices and fats that come off of foods so as to not let any of my hard earned food dollars go to waste or down the drain. That stuff is concentrated health and is probably better than many supplements, and I believe it’s one reason I am and always have been healthier than many people in my age group.

  21. Nice post, Mark. I love 30 day challenges for self-chosen change. They’re a great way to try new things, see if they work for us, and practice what we want to eventually become second nature to us.

    As you point out here, snags and challenges are a part of it. The carb curve is super useful, but there’s something I think you should change about it …

    It says, “50-100 grams/day – Primal Sweet Spot for Effortless Weight Loss”

    To me, dropping down to that level is doable but NOT “effortless.” That’s just not the right word. Starting out, to be real and accurate about it, you need to count, weigh, and measure to get it right, (at least until you’re so good at estimating/eyeballing that you don’t have to anymore).

    That means there’s effort, in (1) what you’re physically doing with your food; and (2) what you’re thinking when you’re (a) eating on your own; and (b) eating when other people are around, commenting on and questioning what you’re doing.

    I’ve read that when we embark on something new, we’re less likely to stick with it when we expect it will be easy. We’re more likely to be persistent when we say to ourselves at the outset something like: “This is going to take some doing – I’m going to have to work to get this done.” See, e.g. Heidi Grant Halvorson’s new book entitled “Success.”

    It may seem like a minor point, but words are important. When it comes to carbs, getting to 50 to 100 grams a day just isn’t “effortless” at the outset.

    Great carb curve you’ve done, even better with that word taken out. Methinks.


    1. My copy does not have ‘effortless’ there ate 50-100 carbs it says ‘Weight Loss Sweet Spot’

  22. This time around I did not get the low-carb flu. I have cut all added sugars from my diet–I used honey and maple syrup, not the white stuff, and was afraid that cravings would be hard to tolerate. However, I upped my protein, fat and veggie intake, and have had absolutely no cravings. It is also easier to refuse healthy snacks, because I am full and know that eating more would make me feel uncomfortable. I know that eventually I will lose weight, but I have always been an instant gratification type of person. But, eating this way is definitely sustainable. I just keep reminding myself: There is no lasting glory in rapid weight loss.

  23. So. I wonder if I’ve got carb flu, or if I’m just knackered?! I started the 30 day challenge along with Ken and his family on 12th Sept, so am a week in like lots of people… Haven’t slept well, but today was suuuuuch a struggle!

    My carb count last week was:


    Compared to the week before which was:


    Is that enough of a difference for carb flu? Or am I just not sleeping/moving enough?!

    1. You went from averaging 100 grams/day to 52 grams/day. That is a significant drop.

      What was your intake like for the 3 months (years?) prior to cutting carbs? Seems to me that would more accurately establish what your body is used to.

  24. I commit the greatest evil of all time and microwave my bacon. :0

  25. Thanks for the “dealing with the treats mob” It is like a mob and when you’re surrounded by the cookies and candy, donuts, etc. it is so easy to have “just one” I have to keep reminding myself…I can’t have just one. I’m a total carb addict. seeing a lower number on the scale (I peeked) and feeling more room in my pants does help keep me on track.

    1. My boss brings doughnuts every Friday. I’m able to resist them now but at the beginning it was really tough. The “treats mob” can be brutal.

  26. Super gaily girl- I tried the whole low carb thing and I felt like crap. I love this site, but I do not like the whole low carb theme. I understand that low carb has helped a lot of people, but it’s not necessary and I know people who haven’t felt good and gained weight on it, including myself. Look at cultures like the Japanese who eat rice and the kitavans who eat a lot of potatoes- they are very thin. Carbs are not inherently fattening and you might feel better if you start adding in potatoes and/or yams…I definitely did.

  27. I don’t know why but I think Ken may realize that Valentina is looking more and more like his soul-mate than Kelly … hmmm
    Am I the only one with this idea …

  28. I love the “Ken Korg & The 30-Day Challenge” stories.
    Could this possibly be part of the upcoming “21-Day Primal Blueprint” quick start guide? Am I guessing right or just speculating? AAaaaaaaaargh! Methinks I might be walking the plank Mateys!

  29. Haha – I too like the Ken stories. When I started eating primal, I would eat veggies, leftovers etc for breakfast – now this was during school when my 9 yr old learning healthy eating in health. haha – she came home and told me they were talking about breakfast and her teacher said you don’t eat salad or soup for breakfast do you. All the kids chant ‘no we eat cereal or toast’, my kid peeps out sheepishly ‘my mom does’. Cracks me up – so now we call that teacher the breakfast police.

    1. That’s funny. I am reading “Good calories bad calories.” And my son is learning about “my plate” at school. He talks about how “veggies should be the most things that you eat, then grains”, and I’m trying to correct him. But spouse doesn’t want him to correct the teacher.

      Eh well.

  30. Very timely reading as I’m at a similar stage as Mr. Korg at the moment. I just finished my first week of my ‘low-carb lifestyle’ and after years of using regular exercise as an excuse to eat what ever I want, I’m feeling so much better than I ever have. Being an exercise physiologist I always knew these principles in theory…but knowing and doing are two very different things!

    Even my wife, who like Mrs. Korg loves her carbs and bakes on an almost daily basis, is even becoming converted.

  31. After 1.5 years of me eating primal and my husband NOT, he finally crossed over.
    After his last blood test and being 50 lbs overweight and all his ‘nice’ clothes not fitting anymore he finally realized that a diet high in grains and sugar combined with starvation and no exercise doesn’t work.
    He has officially crossed over about 3 weeks ago and already lost 20 lbs, which is amazing in itself.

    I’m so proud of him.

    Now if I could just once not buy the Hanuta chocolate/nut wafers when going to the Co-op…gah! I have a little over 5 lbs to go to be of ideal weight, that’ll probably never happen until someone bans those wafers.

  32. Great post! Breakfast is seriously a hard one to get a handle on. I think of all my meals as “meals” they aren’t time specific or genre specific. they all are variations of the same one, protein, fat, more veggies than average!

  33. Pre cooked food is the way I go for breakfast, just heat up whats cooked eat game or grass fed meats with small number of vegetables and animal fat. I am in Ken’s boat have my fiancee and her son both non primal. It is amazing how people see you becoming leaner and stronger yet they doubt that its due a primal diet, good quality sleep and reduced stress. Not knowing what to have comes down to limited thinking, there are many great grass fed/wild meats & seafood as well as vegetables and healthy fat options.

    1. My daughter went Primal and I thought this is an unhealthy program. After a few months I noticed a huge change. Not just the weight that she lost but how heathy she looked and the ton of energy she had. I started very slow, but now I’m completely primal. I’m off of my alergy medicine, and my asthma is gone.

  34. What’s the deal with kids and breakfast cereal? Argh! After I eliminated breakfast cereals (and nearly 99% of all grains) from my cupboards, I started to pay more attention to the fact that my kids were being brainwashed by marketing! I quickly made sure that during the short amount of television they were allowed to watch, that they were allowed almost zero commercials. But kids grow up, and my son is in Kindergarten and the cereal question has now been resurrected. “Why don’t we have cereal? There’s Vitamin D, and Fiber!” “Cereal isn’t bad, all my friends eat it!!” I have been very patient while explaining nutrition to my kids, but I would be lying if I said that a part of me didn’t feel guilty for making them feel “different.” It’s not that I have a problem with being different, I just have a hard time forcing it on my kids. Am I the only one?

    1. I started Primal about 2 weeks ago (down 9lbs so far). Right now I’m the only one in the house that is eating this way. I spoke with my wife about the whole family switching over and she agrees (although she said we have to finish up the stuff we have in the house first-no wasting food!) I’ve been thinking about the same thing regarding my kids. My daugter is 6 and she loves her mac and cheese, muffins, cereal etc. (I keep her active so weight isn’t an issue for her right now thankfully)I don’t want her to feel like the odd one out as well, but I think in the end her long term health and scholastic performance is more important than being different. I remember struggling with ‘daydreaming’ and restlessness in elementary school. After all of the reading and research, I’m pretty much convinced it was my awesome sugar cereal breakfasts (anyone remember Crazy Cow cereal that made flavored milk as you ate?) 🙂 that contributed to a lot of that. I don’t want that for her. All we can do as parents is make the best choices we can for the kids, and hope they pan out as we anticipate. I’ve had fantastic results within 24 hours of going Primal. I’m sure it will benefit the kids as well.

      1. As far as finishing up the stuff in the house first, I decided to donate what I could to the local food bank. Doing so not only got things I didn’t want to consume out of the house but made a lot more room in the pantry.

  35. Hi, Mark! I was once a paleo-girl who couldn’t give up her cereal addiction and had to go back to regular “healthy” lifestyle. Recently I’ve been lurking again after reading this amazing book called “Deep Nutrition: Why your genes need traditional Food” by Catherine Shanahan. I was wondering if you’ve read it before, and if you haven’t yet, I just wanted to recommend the book to you! Thanks 🙂

  36. Day 8, week 2. Another good one. Nice salads, walked, got sun, slept well. Tomorrow I sprint, swim and dance. Will give up on the scale for week 2. Still no sweets and proud of that.

  37. I fry up 2 lbs of bacon at the beginning of the week, then add it to eggs every morning. Or eat it cold as a snack:-) Grokaliciuos!

  38. Ok, can someone please help me? I’m giving this challenge a real go this time, not like the half-ass attempts I’ve been doing for the past year. My food intake is where it should be, I’m doing more intense, explosive workouts, walking more often and much slower (my dogs are amazed that they have time to sniff things before I yank them along).

    BUT, like Kelly Korg, I do love to run. But, unlike most runners, I don’t do it every day on concrete. I usually do 2 3-mile trail runs/week, and make a real attempt to sprint the inclines and take my time with the declines. Do I go “all out” up the inclines? No. But I definitely push harder and faster.

    Would my runs be considered Chronic Cardio, given their interval nature, infrequency, and varied terrain?

    1. I think the main concern with chronic cardio is when it feels like a chore. I run or bike on the weekends, too, but only Saturdays and Sundays. I walk almost everywhere, but I enjoy it.

      Pushing your body every now and then is good, as long as you rest adequately ie not going all out on consecutive days.

  39. Although my family has been doing the primal thing for a year, I am still having a hard time keeping food in the house! I just feel like we go through meat and vegetables like crazy, and the fridge/ countertops are always empty.
    For fun, you can check out all of the food we bought while driving through the countryside in England: .
    Believe it or not, three days later, most of it is GONE!

  40. My blood presure is on the the low side of normal and I can often get postural hypotension. This did get worse in the first few weeks because I got rid of so much fluid. A bit of poking about on the interweb and I discovered that with the fluid I was probably losing quite a few electolytes. So when I feel light headed, I dissolve half a teaspoon of Maldon Sea Salt in some boiling water, add some cold water and neck it. Instant relief.

  41. I’m loving this challenge, Mark! My one week results have been insanely good. In addition to that, we started a Facebook group that has fourteen new people going Primal and supporting each other through the 30-day challenge. I started on the start date but the group started a week later. They’re all on day two and very excited about the transition to the new lifestyle! Looks like it’s going to be a 37-day challenge for me. Tomorrow will see me at a 100 pound total loss since going primal and I’ve got another 100+ to lose but I know now that it’s attainable!

  42. “Cereal-sweetened milk”…lol! Ingenious bons mots like this are my favorite element of the Sisson style.

  43. People always ask “don’t you miss bread?” and I ask “would you rather have bread or bacon?”

  44. Day 9. Too many meetings, not enough time to eat well as I took a step backwards today, eating a bunch of mints while waiting. Did some barefoot walking, got sunlight, and worked a lot. Tomorrow will be better!

  45. thanks for the insight Ken. I have been primal friendly for awhile now but I doing the 30 day challenge to try to kick the gluten. I failed already in the first weekend—social reasons. But I have definitely dusted my self off, threw my shoulders back, and smiled. If I do even 21 straight days that will be a record for me.

  46. I think my mind has been warped by TV. I can’t help thinking that this story is due for some scandal, such as an adulterous relationship between Ken and Valentina.

  47. Hello all! I’m on day 6 of my 30-day Challenge and am down 7.5 lbs. My carb intake is between 50-100 each day, and I walk every night with my dogs. I am using to track all food and exercise. Is this weighloss number correct? I’ve stepped on the scale 3 times this morning to double check, same number came up every time. I feel GREAT and will just keep pluggin’ along!

  48. been doing this paleo stuff a couple of months and literally stopped cold turkey …well I eat cold turkey but not carbs or sugar…never had the carb flu and have found that I need less sleep…on the weekend I cycled 100kms at speed on a charity ride, all without eating breakfast or the sugary drinks handed out gator— etc. So the issue for me is why have I not lost a gram in weight…I have minor cheats, a glass of wine daily, and sometimes have a turkish bread egg and bacon roll from the cafe at work. I have lost a heap of fat…as finally I am free of the love handles and double chin…in all I really do not care about the weight as I am looking pretty good…and feel great.

  49. Hi everyone, I am a newbie here too in my first week. I found a great cheat if anyone wants it tastes delicious…Grilled Peaches in butter with Raspberry chipotle sauce, comes out tasting like peach cobler, french toast and butter all in one, just awesome. just dont have too much as it is very rich, you can freezethe rest for another time to have later 🙂 . Have that in the fridge and it helps fight the other ‘SAD’ sweets. Hope I am still doing well next week as I am in my first right now but hanging in there 🙂