How to Guide: Making the Switch to Primal Living in 6 Easy Steps

StairsPerhaps you’ve been reading MDA for some time now, finding yourself intrigued, maybe even testing the waters a bit. The Primal Blueprint sounds good to you. It speaks to you. It makes sense. The mind is clearly motivated, but the heart is, well, a bit trepidatious. Maybe the “Act As If” challenge interested you, inspired you, but you’re not quite there yet:

“Compared to my lifestyle now, I don’t know if I could make this big of a change.”

“Do I trust that I could stick to this kind of life?”

“Maybe this is just for diehards. Do I really have it in me to be part of something like this?”

It’s not uncommon to question our motivation, our ability, even our core confidence at significant turning points. There’s nothing like a big change to make us examine what we’re really made of. But far too many of us derail ourselves before we’re even out of the starting gate. Instead of guessing what we’d do, predicting where we’d stumble, anticipating how we’d eventually fail, how about throwing “foresight” to the wind and taking a bold leap of faith? Eh? Just so you know, we’re with you on this one.

It’s important to keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your Primal lifestyle doesn’t need to be either. Especially if you’re more of a “slowly slip your way into the pool” type of person, perhaps these steps will make your transition a bit more manageable – and more inviting.

1. Accept that your process will be unique

Low carb living, for instance, initially takes a different toll on everyone. You might be starting from a standard American diet of 300-400 grams of carbs a day, or you might be cutting back from a lower carb diet of around 200. Either way, you know the direction you want to go, and that’s the key. You may be a diehard endurance athlete or accomplished weightlifter who feels the need for a new direction, a new focus in his/her health.

2. Allow yourself to ease into it

Not everyone needs or wants to take this approach, but there’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself this option. If you’re up for a “dive in,” particularly if you’re facing major health complication like diabetes or obesity, a fast and furious beginning can reap major health benefits quickly. (And for some, it’s like the band-aid conundrum: they’d rather do the brief, intense rip that gets them where they want to be.) However, there’s plenty of reason to take your time if that’s your way. You’ll allow yourself to gradually but genuinely incorporate the news aspects of diet, exercise, and stress reduction without feeling overwhelmed. And for some aspects of the Primal Blueprint, slow and steady may have definite benefits. Some people respond differently to the reduction in carbohydrates than others (particularly at the ketosis level). Initially, you might feel sluggish or foggy. Take time cutting down. Hold steady at 150 grams a day if needed, and use the time in the holding pattern to ramp up your efforts in other lifestyle changes. When you’re ready, coming down 10 grams at a time may be a better approach for you.

3. Divide and conquer

Sometimes it’s easier to tackle one aspect of a project (or a lifestyle) than to attend to all of them at once. If you’re trying to cut carbs and kick a nasty caffeine habit, it might behoove you to take on one at a time or at least take one slowly and focus on the other. Although all the elements of the Primal Blueprint work together (and actually make other efforts easier), there’s nothing wrong with honing in on a few select areas. Make a commitment to total health, put yourself in the center, but take on only what you feel is manageable for now. If you keep the rest in sight, chances are you’ll begin gravitating toward those other changes anyway. Healthy choices have a way of begetting other healthy choices.

4. Track your day-to-day practices (and progress)

It’s easy to sometimes get wrapped up in the “vastness” of a goal: the long-term nature of your plan. Allow yourself to focus on each day, but give yourself the opportunity to concretely view your ongoing commitment. Keep a kind of food/exercise/stress management journal. In addition to the actual foods and exercises themselves, make some observational notes on how you feel, what you are able to accomplish, where you feel challenged. Looking back on your notes will give you a sense of how far you’ve come. It can also serve as a reminder of how you made it through challenges in the past.

We wholeheartedly recommend using a tool like FitDay or The Daily Plate to this end.

5. Ease up if you hit rough road

Back off a bit on the intensity of exercise, for example, if you find you’re having a hard time adequately recovering from strength training or “sprinting” bouts. If you’re hitting the wall with carb reduction, hold steady or bump up your intake by 10-15 grams to see if it makes a difference over a week or two. Progress is rarely a smooth, uninterrupted trajectory for anyone. The point is to do what’s necessary to keep your general momentum and motivation going.

6. Give it time

The Primal Blueprint isn’t about temporary fixes or fad gimmicks. It’s an overarching design with suggestions to help you live your healthiest, most productive life. This kind of change takes time, care and ever evolving commitment to create a new and genuine lifestyle.

What are your thoughts on making the transition? What was/has been the most challenging aspect that had you perhaps accepting a “two steps forward, one step back” approach? What finally got you over the hump, so to speak? Do you have advice for new “apples” just beginning the transition?

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Further Reading:

30 Day Primal Health Challenge

Health Challenge Update

Have You Decided to Be Healthy?

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62 thoughts on “How to Guide: Making the Switch to Primal Living in 6 Easy Steps”

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  1. Thanks for the suggestions. It’s only been a couple days and I am already having some minor struggles. This list is encouraging and I’m sure will come in handy over the course of this next month.

  2. I’m definitely a “Plunge into the deep end” sort of person. Of course, there are certain problems with this approach. Probably one of the most common problems with the plunge is my tendency to get excited, plunge too hard, and give up early. This might look recognizable to some of you…

    Monday: I’m doing it! I’m going Primal! Here I come, Grok!

    Tuesday: Yeah! Not a single Starbucks, no bread, just chicken and broccoli, I’m amazing! Watch me climb that mountain over there!

    Wednesday: Sore! Yeah, feel the burn it’s great, think I’ll go toss down another salad…!

    Thursday: Whew, four salads in a row now. Really getting tired of oil & vinegar dressing, but look how Primal I am…?! Oh man, I’ve still got to do some wind sprints…

    Friday: Weekend almost here! Time to hit TGIFriday’s with the friends…
    “Hey McFly,” say the friends, “Let’s share one of those huge nacho platter appetizers.”
    “No,” responds me, “I’m totally Primal, I’m ordering the…well…something on this menu…there’s got to be something-”
    “Come on McFly, everyone’s eating nachos. They’re topped with bacon bits.”
    “Okay,” says me, “just one…”

    Two plates of nachos, a dozen mozzarella sticks, a bloomin’ onion, and a slice of chocolate cheesecake later, going Primal becomes something to do next week.

    Or maybe the week after.

    The solution to this problem for me came with step 4, tracking my progress. I logged onto FitDay and recorded everything I ate and all my physical activity. I was still breaking the typical 100-150 carb intake per day when I started out, but I quickly realized how simple it was to bring that number down. Just dropping the daily Starbucks decreased my carb intake by 60g daily and I wasn’t any less hungry for it. By the end of the first week I’d figured out how to sate myself the Primal way, and suddenly it wasn’t quite as hard as when I forced myself to the extreme from the beginning.

  3. Hello everyone,

    This post is a great resource for people who are looking to make changes in their lifestyle. I have been running an experiment of my own for the last month or so. The experiment began with cutting out refined sugars and other simple carbohydrates (grains, etc.) from my diet, along with reducing fruit intake, reducing alcohol, and increasing my intake of meat and vegetables.

    I have learnt a lot from this experiment, and I thought I would share some of my lessons with the rest of you. I would like to think of it as my way of giving back to this great community from which I have learnt so much.

    I have learnt a few things in this month:

    (0) There is a thing like too much detail. Micro-management is generally not sustainable, and as such one should be very careful about what sort of ideas one uses to guide ones actions. For instance, I found it extremely difficult to use the notion of consuming 100-150 grams of carbohydrates a day as guide to my developing new eating habits. If one thinks in terms of such detailed figures, one tends to get lost and very quickly discouraged. I personally felt a sense of paralysis whenever I thought about carb-intake in this way. I did not know what was ‘right’ by this standard.

    My solution was twofold: First, I decided to restrict my carb intake to just vegetables and some berries. Second, I decided to let my stomach tell me how much was too much. I decided to never eat until I was hungry, and to never eat to fullness. There is a middle-point between empty and full where one feels satisfied. By experimenting with the portions and timings of my meals, I was able to approximate this middle ground more often. A little while ago, I tried feeding in a typical days food into, and it showed that I consumed around 90g of carbohydrate for the day. That day was pretty typical, so it seems that I found my way to the prescribed number without having to think in terms of that number. I think it is very important to trust your body and let it be your guide.

    (1) After a while of listening to my body, I realized that a lot of my snacking could only be termed as really compulsive behavior. Granted I only ever snacked on nuts, and that too in very limited quantities, but it was the act of snacking itself (regardless of the quality and quantity of the snack) caused me to raise my eyebrows. I realized I did not need many of my munches (I was not feeling hunger pangs), nor did I really want them. But I went ahead and ate anyway. And then I found my mind trying to justify the snack to itself on the grounds that it wasn’t much, and it wasn’t sugary, etc. This is suggested some sort of malaise in my relationship with food.

    My solution has been to begin a food diary where I mark a big fat yellow or red mark on any day I find that I snacked unnecessarily between meals. A yellow mark would mean it was a minor transgression. A red mark would mean a major trasgression. With online tools, it is very easy to maintain such a log, and it keeps one extremely honest. There is no hiding from your actions once you have recorded them somewhere for all to see. I think that if one is to make fundamental changes to one’s attitude toward food, then one needs to be completely honest with oneself. And a physical journal of some sort is indispensable in this regard.

    (2) The final challenge I faced in making all these changes was the social reaction of my family. In general, people will not understand when a person starts a primal-like lifestyle. It is very tempting to make concessions –especially intially– when you are in the midst of people who continue with habits you yourself have grown up in. In these moments, I have found that a relatively detailed study of all the science underlying the principles of the primal blueprint really helps. Once one understands it, one knows that the popular eating habits of society are the fads, not the primal ones. Then it becomes much easier to hold one’s course. And then a magical thing happens with time: the temptations to eat sugary food, to snack, to drink that extra cup of coffee begin to disappear when you stop acting on them for a while. You begin to slip more into ‘auto-pilot’ where you instincts guide you to healthy actions. And then when you reach that place of constancy it is really hard to get knocked off again.

    * * *

    So to summarize my rather long post, I would simply like to reiterate that it is

    (a) important to listen to your body and let it be your guide.
    (b) important to use tools like diaries and journals to maintain the essential honesty.
    (c) important to study the science to strengthen the quality and sharpness of your focus.

    I hope that this experience of mine will prove helpful to some Apple out there. Thank you very much!


  4. Oh, and I forgot to mention a fourth very important realization I have had during the course of my ongoing experiment:

    It is very important to focus on the process rather than the goal. Patience is a big virtue here. It is important to trust your actions and focus on living cleaner and better everyday. It is important to have faith that the results will come if you give it your time and sincerity. Drive any idea of a particular ‘deadline’ or a quick fix away from your mind like the plague (or a cake 😉 ).

    This is important because it takes a lot of time to get to the place you want to be health-wise. The body has its own way of changing, and it is important to realize that all you can do is change the underlying causes through your actions. The results will take their time to follow.

    For instance, initially I had thoughts like “Maybe in two weeks I will feel less skin when I pinch my belly”, or “Hopefully my belt will have to tightened up a notch by the end of the month”. But now I think in terms of “Hmm, I had an unnecessary snack at work mid-morning yesterday. My goal for today is to guard against a repeat of that”. Or it maybe something like “The last time I went to that restaurant, I couldn’t resist a piece of their hot bread. I am going to be more in control today.”

    We should always set goals, but let the goals be focused on making day-to-day improvements rather than on fixed results. Enjoy the process and the results will come.


    1. Excellent commentary. Thank you, this is very helpful for a PB newbie like me.

    2. Thank You! This is a great post and a fantastic comment.

      I’m having little forays into naughty territory at the moment and assessing my need to do away with the ‘micro-management’ system and instead go for ‘principal lead’ decisions. I think it’s much easier to do than to load every food stop with a whole load of facts and figures, though it is always helpful to read about them.

      We almost need to distinguish the map from the territory more clearly. The blueprint is not the building which we are constructing and I think to generate clear boundaries in our thinking is as important to our success as the actions we make in the physical world.

      I am working with Brendon Burchard’s Achievement Accellerator material at the moment which is helping loads in tackling the psychological state change I need for continued success.

      It’s easy to fail to see our successes in a broad enough light as we often hone in on our ‘fails’. That’s ok if we can, like Apurva apply our will, intelligently and kindly to continuous revisions.

      Patience, Practice, Patience.

      That’s my motto for the month.

      Good luck everybody…though in my experience it has more to do with guts than luck!

  5. Do I trust that I could stick to this kind of life? This is the hardest aspect of doing the primal diet. I have reservations about my own resolve. But I am currently overweight and will implement the divide and conquer strategy. I am looking forward to loosing weight so maybe this will help with motivation. Does anyone know any good paleo recipes?

  6. No plunging in for me. I’m a walk-into-the-pool-one-inch-at-a-time kind of person.

    I’ve had a great deal of success in carb reduction by focusing on one meal at a time.

    First of all, I eliminated the after-dinner-snack carbs.

    Then I eliminated carbs from my dinner, which really took a lot of attitude adjustment. If I was having stir-fried veggies and chicken, I wanted some rice to go with it, dammit! It took me a while to get used to it, but now my stir-fries are about twice as big as they used to be (and with cashews or nuts on top!) and I don’t miss the rice at all.

    Then I worked on breakfast. I used to eat cereal on a regular basis, but I switched to cottage cheese and fruit, which has been my standard wake-up meal for months now.

    Right now I’m at the stage where I no longer eat any bread, pasta, or other refined grains during the week, but I let myself go a little crazy on the week-end, such as having a bun and ketchup with my buffalo-burger, or a big bowl of popcorn on Sunday afternoon.

  7. I was really excited about this challenge. I already eat fairly well and track what I eat, but I was still eating around 175 grams of carbs a day. Today I made a deliberate effort not to have sugar free gum (I usually chew a pack a day) and sugar free cocoa (provided by the office) as well as bring some protein to throw on the salad I normally get at work instead of relying on the highly suspect probably reconstituted cafeteria chicken breast. End result? Just finished dinner and I’m sitting at 75 carbs and feeling GREAT.

    I’m all about little changes. So for example, when I wanted something hot to drink today (my office is freezing) I got chamomile tea instead of the cocoa.

    1. I’m just getting into the primal mode and I really enjoy everyones input. I’m excited about the simple basic steps to get into this. But your post scares me..
      I don’t know if you realize that sugar free gum or anything with sugar substitutes is not only not good for you, it is VERY dangerous. Look up “the dangers of aspartame” online sometime.
      I was a aspartame poison victim and I could tell you horror stories. And it isn’t that some people are sensative to it, it is poison and eventually your body can no longer filter it or protect you. It is a killer!!

  8. Rachel,

    Just remember that if you cut your carb intake by 100 grams (400 calories) you are going to need to replace those calories with, primarily, fat; assuming of course you are already getting adequate protein. This may sound obvious, but many people that cut carbs make the mistake of not eating enough calories. I suspect this is one of the big reasons people feel as if they have lower energy levels when beginning a low carb diet. Good luck on the challenge and keep in touch!

  9. Apurva, thanks for sharing those insights. Very helpful to all.

    McFly, I hear you on the salad repetition deal, but don’t forget, once you stop eating carbs, you can load up on fats. There are some killer creamy dressings out there. Dragonmamma got that when she decided to increase the stir-fry instead of adding the rice. I find when dining out that any restaurant will gladly double your veggies if you decide to can the rice or potatoes.

    Jim, if I could somehow convince you that once you start down this road, it’s no lonmger about sacrifice. You’ll see (as the commenters here do) that you don’t have that craving for bread or sugar or dessert….or if you do, it’s a great once in a while (and you can pretend you and Grok found a stash of honey this one time). It’s upposed to be a way of living that rewards you with great tasting food choices even though you agree to forgo some others.

  10. Hello everyone,
    iam doing good so far the only problem i run into is eating enough carbs.Iam used to the Atkins style of thinking im stuck in induction mode 20 grams of carbs it just kills me to eat berries because of the carbs.But otherwise im primal.

  11. Hi Aaron,
    Thanks for the concern. I had a bunch of hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds for dessert (I usually have fruit mixed with Fage 2% Greek yogurt) with dinner and I used whole coconut milk rather than my usual light stuff in my curry. I ended up at 1500 calories, which is my normal intake, but a much more significant portion of my calories came from fat than is typical for me.

  12. Lately, the biggest obstacle I’ve faced with a primal-style diet is limiting fruit. I recently moved to LA and am surrounded with so much fruit, especially since it’s summer now and my favorites are coming into season (figs, apricots, cherries, berries – yum!). I have successfully eliminated/cut way back on starchy carbs (no more bread, rice, potatoes, corn, etc) and I’ve changed my workout habits (2 days a week of high-intensity cardio intervals + 2 days of weight lifting + a few miles of walking every day) but I still really want to eat fruit! Any tips? Am I sabotaging myself if I enjoy a few servings of fruit per day while it’s in season?

  13. Heres a great website for recipies there all low carb look around on the site and also scroll down and look to the right theres a lot of veggie recipies.I made lasanua last night gluten free the crust was made of cauliflower to take place of noodles.yummy it was full of veggies.

  14. Hi guys! I’m pretty new to this and I was wondering if anyone has tips as to how to stay full. I’m struggling with this and also with the fact that I babysit every day and they always have cookies and carbs and a lot of junk around their house. Any ideas? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jenna! Welcome! The key to staying full is to eat your fats. Try to make more than 50% of your cals come from fat and with adequate protein intake (we aim for 1 gram of protein per lb of body weight around here) you should be satiated. As for having little children and their not so great eating habits around, I try to eat before I meet them or offer a healthy snack like apple slices and nuts. Specially children that are used to having a lot of crap food around them are happy to try my way, easier still if they aren’t older than 5. Grok on!

  15. I am new to the primal lifestyle and I have a question. When I am counting my carb total for the day do I count all carbs or net carbs. If I eat an apple that has 28g of carbs and 5g of fiber do I count the entire 28 against my goals or 23 with this plan?

  16. I’m a certifiable sugar addict and I am very aware of how unhealthy it is for me. This year I gained 20 Lbs and my energy has dropped dramatically. My main problem is that after every meal I have a HUGE craving for sugar! It doesn’t matter what I eat or how full I am I want sugar. In fact I don’t feel right and can’t stop thinking about it if I don’t have it. I am hypoglycemic and totally out of control right now. Any advice you can give me?

  17. For Robin

    In my experience the issue is MORE FAT and even more fat.

    So far I have lost 30 of 70 punds or about 2 inch on the belt, in just over 2 months and have no suger craving any more. 30 down 40 to go.

    I DID however had it, A LOT, but then i found out three things that worked for me.

    First i did nothing different for any meal, no breakfast lunch or dinner, just food.
    ie egg and bacon or salmon with béarnaise or hollandais souse or
    just the straight beef steak or burgers 50/50 pork/beef with double cream based souse mushrooms and some cheese and cauliflower gratine.

    Then i made some healthy snack and i eat until the craving goes a way. And i did literary went form the food to the snacks, straight away. But so be it the one thing “the right stuff”. more fat NO CARBs.

    I always have some “acceptable” snacks around.
    simple ham and/or cheese cubes or
    some small pieces of smoked salmon with fresh cheese in a rol. pref horseradish cream cheese or alike inside.

    Nuts and amandels are also good.
    and favorites my own home made all cheese chips.

    My favorite snack is grained hard cheese (tastier stronger type), make it like a thin small pancake 2-3 inch/each, (can be spiced up with herbs) put in the owen to melt and rost on about 200C/390F for 7-9 minutes. it looks like a jammy almond thin cookie.

    the problem i have now is that friends in the office learned about my little “snack” and they now like it so now i have to make much more as they will come and “have one for the road” .

    Third and most important DRINK LOADS of green tea or water. when i say loads i mean LOADS.
    no suger, on tea light of zero junk, just water and hot water tea bring your own tea bags to work and always always a water bottle next to you where ever you go.

    so how did i do it??
    instead of giving in to sugar I kept eating “the right stuff” (zero carb.)
    I eat as much as I wanted and MORE and I keept 100% away from carbs.

    What happens is that you are finally so full that you do not want anything more, sugar or no sugar.

    Then after a very short while some 2-5 days I started to eat lesser and lesser since my body understood the message. here comes Loads of fats, good times, happy times, the time of plenty.

    But the body still needs sugar so it starting to take it out of “storage” ie fat around the stomach in my case and when that happens now you are on the roll.

    the doctors claim it takes between 100-200% more energy to get the sugers out of storage then to take it out of food so when there is no sugars/carbs in the food what to do?? storage clean out.

    the weight will fall like a stone, at least it does for me.

    go for it the fight is between you and you so you can not lose, can you??

    good luck Robin.


  18. Great ideas and factual statements how to lose weight and control your appetite.
    I’m at the other end of the spectrum, which is a hard gainer but can’t seem to lose the last of the body fat. Have tried paleo and PB for about 3 years with good success to be more healthy. yet, losing the last 5% of BF has been the toughest challenge for me.Follow Mark’s PB to the T, but the last BF is like velcro…just sticks to me. My carb intake is between 35 to 70 grams a day according to Fat intake is between 55 to 65% of my calories and the rest is protein. I do not cheat with my food intake except 3 ounces of sweet potato a day and a couples of tablespoons of almond butter. So, I soldier on with trying to reduce my carbs a little more and see what happens :).

  19. Hey guys, Right now, I’m eating about 60% fats, 14% protein, and 24% carbs at around 1700 cals a day. Is this right? So far today I’ve had about 70 grams carbs. However, I feel like I’m gaining weight. I have been lifting weights a couple times a week but am really busy with school so I’m not working out as much as I probably should. Why am I feeling fat? What’s going on? Any insight? Do I need more protein?

    1. Hey Jenna, how long have you been eating primal? If you’re still in the beginning stages, you could have the “carb flu.” I certainly had it; I felt bloated, achy, and generally pretty crabby to be around. Then one day after about a week it all cleared up suddenly.

      1700 calories for me would be way too little; however, I have a digestive disease and went primal to heal my gut and eventually gain weight. I’m 5’6″ and 105 lbs. Try as I might, it’s hard for me to get about 2400 calories a day on this diet, and I feel like I’m stuffing myself every day! How is your energy level? Perhaps your “feeling fat” is really just bloating from the early stages of the diet.

      If you want to chat or need encouragement, you can email me at [email protected] — I just finished graduate school in urban planning at UCLA last year!

  20. I’m so new to this! I have celiac disease and have already cut out many grains like wheat, rye, barley, and oats. I also have issues with dairy. However I have an addiction to sugar. I am getting the PB on Saturday I ordered it on amazon. I hope this can be the lifestyle for me. I just know there has to be a better way of living for me then what I am doing now. I’m tired of being tired. I want to change my life!
    One small step at a time. Any advice?

  21. Hello everyone. Very new to the concept of going Primal. We eat mostly vegetarian in our home, ethical reasons and earth sustainability.
    Are there any words of wisdom for those of us that are vegetarian???
    Thanks so much.

  22. Thanks Marc,

    I’ve been following you for two years now and got my new cookbook in the mail about a month ago.

    On and off the bandwagon, kicking one habit at a time.

    Thanks for being so encouraging and positive.

    Had a hard time sleeping last night (gave up all social drinking for 40 days, on day 11) and I’m looking for sleep help… maybe I just need more bacon!! lol



  23. Sooo… no answers regarding “net” carbs? Anyone?? Bueller, Bueller…

    1. Anna,

      Did you ever get an answer about your net carb question? That is something that I would really like to know since I am starting the PB in a few days.


    2. I think you could eat all the fiber you could manage to pass and it still wouldn’t upset your blood sugar or require lots of insulin to control.
      I don’t think counting carbs is helpful. You should just not eat BS crap made of grains or laced with high fructose corn syrup (hfcs). Instead, eat all the veggies you want. Steamed, preferably. And steaming your chicken or pork cut in 3/4″ cubes and covered in curry powder for about 7 mins. is convenient and tasty enough. Cover it all with loads of good extra virgin olive oil and lots of salt (makes it all tasty). Then drink lots of water, up to a whole gallon for big people, to pass all the salt, and for general health. Eat eggs. Some fruit. Nuts and seeds. Have some protein three times a day. Eat lots of veggies, LOTS. For omega 3’s have two tablespoons of ground flax seed, mixed in a few ounces of water. It’s cheap. Google it. Add some kombucha tea and kefir, homemade, google it. Do all those things before you even think about how many carbs you’re eating. I’ll eat BS only in social situations and however much grams of carbs it is, it doesn’t seem to make any difference what the number is, it’s not good, but c’est la vie.

    3. Hi Anna,
      I’d say fibre doesn’t count, as your body needs (soluble) fibre (which is a reason I think juicing is silly). So just the net grams of carbohydrate matter regarding going from a sugar-burner to a fat-burner.

  24. So how do you do this when dairy, casein, soy, red dye is not an option????? My son is not a meat eater????

  25. I stumbled upon this Primal website while searching for someting related on the internet. I am very intrigued! And I must say, this website is very comprehensive. My question is: has anyone struggled with, and found solutions for, trying to go Primal when you have a spouse that is not terribly interested in doing it 100% with you?

    1. Yep. My wife was hesitant at first, but after seeing my results, she made the change. I suggest challenging your spouse to try it, at least. What can it hurt?

      1. It kind of stinks to have to prepare two separate meals in the meantime, while I am doing it and he is not….. Did you have to do that too?

        1. My husband will go along with what ever I’m serving. If he wants something else, he feels free to get it himself.

  26. I am really trying to cut back on sugar free gum- I’m addicted! I’m worried about the carbs adding up in them though. I do count them as of now. I count my calories on LIVESTRONG, and it says i need 1326 calories a day to lose 2 pounds per week. I was reading other posts and people are having 1700 calories a day. Am I eating too little?! I feel as if I’m constantly in a battle between how many calories I should eat- too much, too little. I don’t know what i should be doing.

    If anyone has any insight, please help!

  27. I am slowly getting into the groove I am having a really difficult time cutting out the dairy. I have celiac so I really have depended on the gluten free grains and dairy and fruits veggies and I go nuts without meat. Can someone help me?

    Thank you I soon want to be saying Grok On with the rest of you!! 🙂

  28. Im kind of frustrated. Hoping someone can comment:
    I started the PB 1 week ago.
    I’m down to 20 g of carbs per day, cut out all dairy, cut out all artificial sweeteners, and follow a PB fitness program. I HAVE NOT HAD ANY WEIGHT LOSS and although I haven’t measured my body fat, i don’t look like I have made any progress in that arena either.
    I could stand to lose about 20 lbs or more and thought I would have seen some results by now in the weight loss department.
    2 days ago, frustrated, I also cut out all fruit.
    I have read so many success stories where followers claim to see “the weight melt off”.
    I feel like maybe I am doing something wrong?
    Will I ever get back to a body I am proud to be naked in???

    1. Give it time. Everyone is different and I have heard several people say it took a few weeks for their body to get used to the change in diet and lifestyle.

      Personally, I was not seeking to lose weight (I got leaner anyway) but I did notice that many people on this site were talking about the ease of intermittent fasting. I couldn’t understand this, as I was CONSTANTLY hungry for the first 3 weeks, no matter what or how much I ate. Then, at about the 3 week mark, I started getting leaner, putting on muscle mass, and my constant hunger subsided to the point that now I can eat twice a day without problem and fast for 16-18 hours w/out hunger pains. It just took me a few weeks to get used to the change.

      That said, a few suggestions:

      1. Really make sure you’re eating enough fat. Some people are so used to the “fat is evil” conventional widsom that they really don’t eat enough. Add butter or coconut oil to your veggies. Cook your meat in bacon fat. 60-85% of my calories come from fat. This will really curb the appetite and keep insulin production to a minimum.
      2. Maybe eat a little extra carbs on workout days. I can push myself a little harder during workouts if I eat a peice of fruit or a bit of starch a few hours or even the day before a workout. Experiment and see what works best for you.
      3. Don’t skip running sprints once a week. This really burns fat. Try uphill sprints as they are much easier on your joints (and I think, more fun.)
      4. Most important, at least in my mind–make sure you get enough sleep. That’s the one PB rule people seem to take a mulligan on most often. I’m convinced it is the next most vital thing you can do to lose/control weight (even more important than exercise,) second only to what you eat.

      And really; you’re only at week 2. Do you feel better? Are you eating the food your body needs? Are you doing the movements your body evolved to perform? Probably–and that’s benefitting you. Stick with it and give it a little more time.

      Welcome to the community Wendy!! Grok on!!

      1. Thanks, fritzy. That post was a great motivator for me.
        I probably do need to add in some more fats. I have been so used to a low fat, low carb diet for so long (Weight Watchers), I have some mental trouble eating so much fat.
        Even though I don’t think I look any different, I do feel better knowing that I have made a huge, necessary lifestyle change!
        I will definitely keep on it and see what happens in the next couple of weeks.

  29. I’ve given up grains completely and have decided to use dairy only occasionally. I just got a couple of cookbooks and am looking for some helpful tips for weight loss.

    I want to lose about a hundred pounds. I know I can do it and am very inspired by the before and after pics and testimonials. I am looking forward to tell my story someday and also include some pictures. So please wish me luck on my Primal Journey.


    1. Good luck, Hannah–I think you will be surprised by just how much better you look and feel living Primally. I will likely exceed your expectations–it did for me!

  30. When using the tracker tools like Daily Plate, it’s tough for me to watch my calories climb above my “calorie goal” becaue I’m eating higher calorie, higher fat paleo foods. I’m keeping my carbs around 60 grams (approximately 40 grams net). It’s okay for the calorie goal to be surpassed if my carbs are in check? I am leaner since starting my paleo diet about a month ago, but I feel thicker. I’m a 5’5″ female weighing about 122 pounds. I’m just wondering if I’m going to end up with a net weight gain if I stick with lower carbs and higher calories. I’m not trying to lose weight, just maintain and feel strong and healthy. Thanks! I love Mark’s Daily Apple and it has helped me get started. I’m gluten intolerant and this diet is wonderful for me!

  31. I dig this site. Helps to have others with same issues. I do primal with a slight caveat, I juice carrots in the morning, and put off eating(when I’m good) till dinner. Suprisingly, it’s not that hard. I even work out early in the morning, before work. When (and when is the operative word)I do follow this pattern, weight starts to come off and energy goes up. Like everything, it takes willpower, or better stated, discipline. Also, there is something so cool about waiting till dinner. It feels right to eat more in the evening, as long as it’s meats and veggies. Seems to have a natural rhythm for me anyway. I do miss bacon and eggs, but I can eat them for dinner. Thanks again.

  32. You guys are the best! Plenty of support and motivation in this community. Thank you!

  33. I’ve gone Primal and it really works! I got married 30 years ago at 120 lbs (I’m 5’6″). I admit that might have been a little too thin. Over the years while raising two kids I have gained 40 lbs. And, my husband stayed the exact same size while eating a big bowl of ice cream every night! (totally not fair–but he apparently isn’t insulin resistant). After three weeks of counting carbs and keeping them under 20, I can see a measurable difference in the mirror and my clothes and shoes are loosening daily. (I am also walking 3 miles 3 days a week). I am happy to report that I am eating to live–not living to eat; I used to be hungry all the time and now I have to remind myself eat. Pre-Primal, one of my favorite things was a glass of good Cabernet and a big bowl of popcorn. But, after three weeks I miss neither of these. The scale has only dropped 11 pounds, but I was told I would lose inches before the pounds came off and that seems to be the case. I am DONE with all things white. This is not a diet but a lifestyle–one that I plan to maintain forever. For the last 12 years I have been too embarrassed to wear a bathing suit, but feel certain THOSE days are gone for good! Thanks to all of you who have shared your stories and insights–they have been inspiring and motivating for me.

  34. Hi, this is my second week of cutting out sugar,potatoes and all the snacky stuff i was eating.

    Im so happy, i lost half a stone in one week, and the thing it it was just so easy, im not hungry like i was before, my sugar levels are back to normal and i have so much energy. My skin is looking great, i just feel brilliant. although i have had a side effect from i think its called ketosis!!!

    But i have to admit i still enjoy a glass of wine!

    Love from the UK

    Tina xx

  35. I don’t understand why people go on these foolish diets…personally I eat whatever I want (fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, dairy, grains, desserts) and I have always been slender and healthy. No need to go crazy and try to live like cavemen whose diets we know little about (btw, the fruits and veg they ate were very different hundreds of thousands of years ago).

    1. I don’t understand why people feel the need to come onto so called “fad” diet websites and say something negative… And just because someone is slender, doesn’t mean they are healthy.This way of life is not a diet, it’s going back to the lifestyle our bodies are programmed to live. Knowledge is power so learning about the “crazy cavemen” might enlighten you? Just saying..

  36. I was already eating healthy, but was eating pasta, rice, and bread. I have refused junk food for many years, with in the last year decided no more fast food, especially when the Pink Slime report came out.

    I stumbled upon the Paleo Diet last Friday and have read and watched as much as I possibly could. 6 days ago I weighed in at 200lbs, today my morning weight was 190lbs. I now minimize my coffee and whole milk consumption, drink plenty of spring water, and no more beer. I love milk and even though it’s not true Paleo, it’s the one thing I can not give up, maybe in time.

    Dinner a 3 cup salad and 12oz petite sirloin steak. Breakfast is 2 eggs. I like omelets but haven’t been adding cheese. I religiously use habanero hot sauce.

    I haven’t drank a soda in years and refuse to for many ingredient reasons.

    Payday I will be at the co-op to see what they offer. This diet so far has blown my mind. I will stick with it!

  37. I’m gone to convey my little brother, that he should also go to see this website on regular basis to get updated from most up-to-date gossip.

  38. When it comes to going Paleo, many people agree with it in theory, but they have no idea how to actually make it part of their lives. It seems just too difficult.

  39. Hi. This all started for me because of an itchy ass! Varying degrees of annoyance for about 20 years. But a few years ago I was in Vietnam for 6 weeks, no itch, no acid reflux despite eating a huge variety of food. Recently it occurred to me if there was no itch was it to do with not eating something over there? That came down to three things: potatoes, dairy and bread. There was the occasional morning roll, so I thought maybe it was the preservative in supermarket bread or a fungal thing? Well having stopped eating bread and then wheat altogether the itch went away…after 20 years! That’s how I found the way to the idea of cutting out grains altogether. Nobody could like bread more than me but I think if it did that to the outside of my skin what about the inside? Not eating grains isn’t easy but this is the first week. I’ve done 4 Ironman races and this year there’s something worse so I’m hoping my body will adapt to burning the fat I’m eating soon enough. Yesterday I went on a 70 mile bike ride with 6000ft of ascent. I dis start with porridge in the morning. but when that ran out I resorted to cheese, but that didn’t help much! Then I bought a tin of corned beef out of the shop in Glenfarg… that was easy to eat but there was still a distinct lack of energy.. I had to resort to the old standby of Mars bars, all that glucose. Anyway I’m accepting that to change from someone who relied on huge amounts of bread to a lower carb diet isn’t going to happen overnight! I feel different though. and a weird thing is that a nagging pain in my right heel has all but disappeared which points to the inflammatory quality of grains. So it’s an adventure!

  40. I started paleo in March of this year, Once you get the concept down is easy and fun!! I have lost about 30lbs since. It was a little frustrating at first because I didn’t see the weight loss at the scale but my clothes were getting looser so I pressed on. When I got my new job that I have to walk about 2 miles a day it really accelerated the weight loss!! One of my daughters saw the results and she started too!! she is having similar results!! Thanks Mark!!

  41. It’s rare to see comments on posts like this from anyone other than a “new apple”. I fit into the category of someone who has made significant health changes (lost 68 lbs.) and my journey to experience even greater health has led me to this blog and adopting a more primal lifestyle. My “two steps forward one step back” came after being too low on carbohydrates for too long which slowed my metabolism. I learned the value in allowing the natural rhythm of seasons to dictate training and dietary changes including cycling up in starches at times to stimulate the metabolism. My advice to newcomers would be to ease into things as this article suggests and be willing to modify your approach as your results dictate.

  42. Great advice, I’m in a fitness group of over 50,000 on FB. this is so solid that if people could grab on to it so many of their problems would disappear. Your program changed my life from an inflammation standpoint. It really is life changing! thanks for the work you do!

    1. Hello everyone,
      I hope somebody will answer because I can see that there are no posts lately.
      I would like to know where I can find a paleo group so I can ask some advice, since I am pretty new and there are a few things I would like to know more (like how to “count” carbs) and other things.
      Thank you very much!