2

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New to the lifestyle...Ready to scream...

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 23, 2013 at 5:07 AM

Hi there!

To give you some sort of background, I'm a 33yo dude, I am 5'10", and started the switch to this lifestyle at 282lbs. I have pretty severe IBS, and I am an emotional eater, since like everyone else, I have a tremendous amount of stress in my life, and deal with it through my food choices. 12 years ago, I was 180 and working out 5 days a week. What a difference a decade makes, eh? Now I'm pre-diabetic and I look like someone stuck an air pump somewhere in me and keeps a heavy foot on the power button.

I read Wheat Belly and really had a revelation about what I was doing to myself. I also have been steadily reading paleo information, and I am convinced that I need to embrace this lifestyle. One last thing: My wife and I are doing this together, so I am very lucky to have her support, and vice versa.

Today is day 11. I don't eat any wheat/grain, starch of any kind, sugar (sucrose, glucose, dextrose, nothing that doesn't naturally occur in foods). I eat lots of animal protein (including uncured deli meat), no dairy other than cheese (not american), and I only have, at most, two servings of fruit a day. I also eat more vegetables in a day than I did in a typical month. And nuts. Lots of raw nuts. A lot of organic things, and we filled up the pantry with coconut oil, almond/coconut flours, etc... I also have a l'arabar every other day or two.

Here's the problem: I have never been so hungry in my life! I wake up with severe hunger pangs. I eat while I have them, and they go away for a bit, but then come back. All I think about is how hungry I am. I also don't see a lot of weight loss, although my family is convinced I'm deflating. I have lost about 4 lbs in the 11 days. I guess that's better than gaining, but not what I was expecting.

Another problem: As you can guess, the vast majority of my diet was based around high-glycemic index carbs; especially grains. I've never been overly into animal proteins, although I do like my steak or chicken breast. I'm much happier with pasta, etc... While I tend to eat a lot of variety, I really really miss the other stuff, and it's really difficult.

I'm a giant, so I know I'm on the right track, but in all honesty, the hunger is extremely hard to deal with. To the point that I don't know if I can deal with this for another month. For instance, I ate not too long ago, and I already feel hungry. In fact, the only thing that feels somewhat filling for a decent amount of times are the nuts, but I'm starting to get the evil eye from squirrels when I walk my dog.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

Jason

46d2d71df39b4a6336df6d8307b25d87

(278)

on February 24, 2013
at 01:12 AM

Absolutely! I spent a few months battling hunger (and strangely, massive cravings for protein--ground beef and eggs in particular...) when I started. A big factor in this was fat, since I spent the first couple months still attached to the "OMG FAT BAD" mindset, so I was eating lower carb and low fat. When I started adding fat, it did wonders for my satiety. The other thing: this is a hugely stressful thing to do to your body and your mind, between a complete change in what you're eating and the fact that you're not allowing yourself to eat certain foods. Just keep at it--it gets better!

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on February 23, 2013
at 04:08 PM

I was thinking the same thing about the larabars. Honestly one is probably better off replacing a larabar with something starchy like a sweet potato or winter squash.

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9 Answers

best answer

6
06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6

on February 23, 2013
at 05:25 AM

Jason,

Your story reminds me a lot of my own. We are both the same height and I was approaching the weight you are now (around 265ish). I came from an athletic background, but the real world happened and my food choices were horrible. Like yourself, I was addicted to all of the high glycemic, processed foods.

As to your hunger. Hormonally, your body is a mess. Between Ghrelin, Insulin and Leptin, it's an uphill battle. Here is what I would recommend:

A Sugar Detox:

  • Be careful of too many nuts. What nuts are you eating? High intake of PUFAs and the potential high phytic acid intake isn't something you want. If you must eat nuts, Macedamia nuts are your safest bet.
  • I would eliminate the fruit (vegetables are nutritionally superior) and the deli meat (even uncured deli meat is highly processed).
  • Give the cheese a break until you get your body's metabolic machinery back in order.
  • Here's the thing about Larabars. Dates are the first ingredient and also the binder. Dates have an incredibly high fructose content relative to other sugars. Again, too much of a good thing and not something your body needs while trying to repair itself.

The Solution:

  • Grassfed Meat and Organ Meats
  • Fatty Fish (wild caught Salmon, Sardines, Mackeral)
  • Vegetable powerhouses such as kale and spinach.
  • Eggs (if you have a local farmer close by all the better)
  • Water and Green/White Tea (green tea was very helpful in reducing hunger cravings for me).

Keep it very simple and focus on the goal. You can do anything for 20-30 days. Hopefully that will be enough to "detox" from all of the sugar. Good luck, I promise, it gets easier.

-Matt
PhysiqueRescue.com

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on February 23, 2013
at 04:08 PM

I was thinking the same thing about the larabars. Honestly one is probably better off replacing a larabar with something starchy like a sweet potato or winter squash.

best answer

7
Medium avatar

on February 23, 2013
at 05:58 AM

You can try the low-carb thing if you want, but if it doesn't pan out, I'd suggest you try a diet based on red meat, steamed veggies and steamed rice. The meat should be fatty enough to be palatable without being excessive. Drenching everything with refined fat of any type will be counter-productive. Nuts and cheese have a poor energy:satiety ratio, and the refined fats, flour-substitutes, bars etc. aren't any good either. If you do decide to eliminate dairy, make sure you eat a can of sardines every day for calcium etc. Your meals need to satisfy and be bulky enough that you don't aren't snacking at all in between meals. Fruit shouldn't be a problem unless the sugar triggers overeating or it causes digestive issues. I'd say to go red meat/tuber/veggie, but I don't know how the tubers would work with your IBS.

Diets that provide poor satiety always fail, whether they're high-fat/low-carb or the reverse. If your meals aren't satisfying you, you need to tweak the diet. It wasn't carbohydrates that got you to where you are now, it was an excess of eating secondary to an absence of satiety. If that pattern continues with a different macronutrient profile, you will go nowhere and the only weight loss will simply be water weight.

Low carb is of most benefit to the intractably sedentary. If you are willing to work out again, it is not necessary.

Imagine the 4 macronutrients (I include fiber) as a pie chart. Your previous diet had a huge slice for carbs and fat and low fiber and protein. This provides terrible satiety. That protein which you consumed was likely infrequently red meat, which provides the best satiety of any meat. You simply need to adjust the pie chart until you produce meals that keep you sated for many hours without the thought of food. Some can do this with low-carb, while others cannot. Either way, when you eat, it should be a slab or red meat first and everything else as an accoutrement.

Anyway, just an alternate possibility should you not get traction with the typical route.

best answer

0
75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on February 23, 2013
at 12:49 PM

Jason, I think you might be trying to boil the ocean. Being seriously obese, pre-diabetic and eating a junky diet for so long and then flipping a switch and going (near) full Paleo will of course yield a negative reaction; your body is craving the crap it was living on for so long. Here is what I suggest:

1) Read Perfect Health Diet (Jaminet) and follow this diet. No grains whatsoever, no dairy, little fruit and be selective wrt starchy veggies.

2) Start counting your carb intake and protein intake. Make sure you consume roughly what is suggested in the above book. Eat as much good fats/oils you are comfortable with. Your stomach might rumble but such a diet should not leave you hungry.

3) Be patient. It will take months for you to lose all the excess weight.

4) I suspect your IBS will be helped with the above diet, perhaps substantially so. However you might want to further restrict your carb intake (read Breaking The Vicious Cycle by Gottschall) after your body has adapted to the Perfect Health Diet. Going low carb can difficult. Proceed slowly.

Hang in there. Complete overhaul of one's diet is definitely not easy. But like many others on this forum I have survived this transition ... and there is no turning back!

_Lazza

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0
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on February 23, 2013
at 12:50 PM

You are almost zero carb. It's very hard to dive into zero carb, and you can expect to be hungry and weak for a few more weeks while your body eases into it. You may well have "low carb flu", which is aided by say 300mg potassium supplementation for a week or two, and some extra salt too.

An alternative is to up your carb intake slightly. There is nothing wrong with a sweet potato once a day, or some white rice as suggested above. It's subtle: too much may stoke your hunger and will certainly make it harder to go low carb later. But throwing in a little here and there may be very helpful.

In the longer term, you might stick with very low carb if (once you're through this phase) it works for you -- people at your weight often do well with it. But others do better with some carb in the diet, and that's 100% fine. Self experimentation is good, though your first experiment might be whether you can power through this for another week or two, with a bit of (good) carb when things get bad.

best answer

2
32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on February 23, 2013
at 02:16 PM

FAT! Eat more FAT!! Cook all those veggies in coconut oil and bacon grease. And I mean like a Tbsp or 2. Over time, you will probably decrease this fat intake, but at first, your body HAS to have something to eat to take the place of all that starch and sugar.

That's why you are craving nuts. But there are better fats to gorge on than nuts.

Adding in some non-sugary carbs (like rice and potatoes, white and sweet) is also a good idea. You can only eat so many veggies before your jaw gets tired of chewing.

Your hunger WILL diminish over time, but it will take a while. Several months. But it's worth it, hang in there! I am a person who use to eat constantly to keep my blood sugar up, and I'm down to eating only 2-3 times a day (after 2.5 years on paleo). It is very freeing, but it does take a while for your body to rebalance all those signaling systems.

46d2d71df39b4a6336df6d8307b25d87

(278)

on February 24, 2013
at 01:12 AM

Absolutely! I spent a few months battling hunger (and strangely, massive cravings for protein--ground beef and eggs in particular...) when I started. A big factor in this was fat, since I spent the first couple months still attached to the "OMG FAT BAD" mindset, so I was eating lower carb and low fat. When I started adding fat, it did wonders for my satiety. The other thing: this is a hugely stressful thing to do to your body and your mind, between a complete change in what you're eating and the fact that you're not allowing yourself to eat certain foods. Just keep at it--it gets better!

best answer

1
35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on February 23, 2013
at 04:06 PM

You're 11 days in to a HUGE change, and you hit the gas from 0 to 60 really aggressively. It's going to feel uncomfortable. It will feel less uncomfortable over time if you hang in there. Especially if you're pre-diabetic, your insulin system is out of whack and it's going to make you feel more hungry until your body starts to adjust. Adjustment takes some time. Be patient, you won't always feel like this.

That being said, fundamentally I agree with Travis Culp that "Diets that provide poor satiety always fail." You're going to have to find a way to tweak this over the long term so that you're feeling fulfilled (physically and emotionally) by what you eat. This might mean more starchy carbs. This might mean eating your carbs at different times of the day. This might mean that you and your wife need to work on your culinary skills in the kitchen to put together paleo meals that are beautiful & filling. But you're not going to troubleshoot that in the next two weeks, it takes time to work out what makes you feel full.

Incidentally, it's taken me about a year and a half to fully make that transition and tweak things to where I really feel good most of the time and almost never feel like binging or eating junk. But there were several times in that where I fell off the wagon, and took it as a learning experience that I needed to adjust something to get it right.

2
32be195157f00ad15a933b8bb333dcc4

(379)

on February 23, 2013
at 02:04 PM

4 pounds lost in 11 days? Not what you were expecting?? Sounds like you need to check yourself before you rickety wreck yourself. You aren't on the biggest loser you are in real life.

1
6d1d2c385960f3d82d960ae3cffb3193

on February 23, 2013
at 07:56 PM

Thank you, everyone, for your responses. I have lots of new reading material to look into, and the bottom line is that I really need to be more patient. The idea of cooking in fats other than olive oil is still hard to get my head around, only because I've spent so long in "the dark side", but I understand the theory.

I also had no idea just how acidic the nuts were, and the ones I was eating, brazil, almonds, walnets...Those tend to be the most.

I'm certainly going to take all of your suggestions and see what I need to do to make this work for me in the long run, including adding sweet potato, looking at not having any fruit for the next couple of weeks, etc...

Thank you again!

0
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on February 23, 2013
at 05:14 AM

exactly how much are you eating? can you give an example of a typical day for you?

for example, i'm a 91 lb girl and i had 5 sandwich steaks cooked in bacon fat (minute steaks- about half a pound total), 1/2 an avocado, 1 cup veggies cooked in more bacon fat, few spoonfuls of saeurkraut, 1 strawberry banana smoothie, 8 pieces of bacon (i was being a pig), half a block of cheese with some kalamata olives, and a bowl of melons and grapes. i don't count calories, but i'm stuffed.

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