7

votes

Do you have an issue staying paleo?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created October 10, 2012 at 4:40 PM

I'll admit it; I do. I'll be clean for 5 or 6 days, and then I'll succumb to Chick-Fil-A. Then the next week, maybe some rice and beans. The next week, pizza.

Nine months paleo, but I will honestly say I haven't gone 30 days gluten free, at the very least. I have experienced some fat loss (the ultimate goal), but I'm sure I'm holding myself back due to the lack of control. I fear that "-at least I'm mostly paleo for life now," is a slippery slope.

Ideally, I'd like to be 90/100, the 90 being lesser things like paleo desserts (trying to cut those out :x) But I find it so difficult to either be prepared for every meal 7days/week, or to hush the craving.

If you have experienced this issue, how do you handle it? Or how would you handle it? Could it be that the pressure I put on myself to look the way I want is affecting these weak moments?

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on October 11, 2012
at 12:36 PM

You have been an inspiration in the past, Nance and you still are. Welcome back. I hope you can kick the soda to the side of the road and maybe go for cream in your coffee. As I said in another comment, you've been missed!

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on October 11, 2012
at 12:29 PM

Welcome back, Nance, you've been missed. All the best to you. Here's to Health and Happiness. Doris

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 10, 2012
at 11:50 PM

I'm a once a week cheat day sorta fella.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on October 10, 2012
at 11:22 PM

And the idea that if you "cheat" or eat outside of your regular diet- that doesn't undo the fact that you are eating great, nutrient-dense foods for a large part of your food intake. That alone is a fantastic thing, and something to be really proud of.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on October 10, 2012
at 11:19 PM

Love. All of it.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on October 10, 2012
at 10:14 PM

Yup. Had Taco Bell for lunch today. Three beef gordita supremes. And they were delicious. At least I had a good breakfast and dinner, eggs, peaches & cheese, and mesquite chicken and plantains for dinner. Still feel like crap from lunch, though. Ugh.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on October 10, 2012
at 07:55 PM

Ditto .

Aa748fb43334ffd2db3934aa00874bbe

(458)

on October 10, 2012
at 07:30 PM

+ 100 the entire second paragraph of this comment

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 10, 2012
at 06:00 PM

Very well said.

C74581a453f1379b7a617461e2940281

(38)

on October 10, 2012
at 05:17 PM

I find it harder when Im with other people to eat healthy. When Im by myself iI dont ever think of the "bad" food. I take that back, I think about it, Its jusy easier by myself. I also prepare a chicken soup, with everything in it, I freeze portions for my hungry days, and is a quick great fill me up meal. This month makes one year Ive been eating healthy! Yay

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on October 10, 2012
at 05:12 PM

I agree. I definitely think emphasizing health instead of looking like a Cosmo model helps me. Looking better is a side-benefit.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on October 10, 2012
at 05:00 PM

Welcome back Nance. Hang in there.

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13 Answers

10
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 10, 2012
at 04:51 PM

I had a terrific 12 months on primal/ancestral which was amazing after 40 years of binge eating. I then hit several months of severe family-related stress and totally lost it--a 4-month binge during which I regained all the weight I'd lost. I'm just now easing my way back toward healthier eating and I'm not sure when/if I'll make it all the way back to where I was last winter.

So yes, I definitely have "an issue staying paleo" but the good news is that I get 90% of the energy/well-being benefits just by eating a healthy meal each day even though (so far) I'm still using liquid CoffeeMate in my coffee and drinking 2-3 cups of soda per day.

For me, to lose weight and maintain the loss I have to restrict myself to whole foods only; to feel good at whatever weight I happen to be, I can be much less restrictive and there seems to be less risk of falling into binge eating.

It's all about what works for you and what life throws at you.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on October 10, 2012
at 07:55 PM

Ditto .

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on October 10, 2012
at 05:00 PM

Welcome back Nance. Hang in there.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on October 10, 2012
at 11:19 PM

Love. All of it.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on October 10, 2012
at 11:22 PM

And the idea that if you "cheat" or eat outside of your regular diet- that doesn't undo the fact that you are eating great, nutrient-dense foods for a large part of your food intake. That alone is a fantastic thing, and something to be really proud of.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on October 11, 2012
at 12:36 PM

You have been an inspiration in the past, Nance and you still are. Welcome back. I hope you can kick the soda to the side of the road and maybe go for cream in your coffee. As I said in another comment, you've been missed!

6
7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on October 10, 2012
at 04:56 PM

I think that is normal and changes/gets better over time as long as you keep seeking and being forgiving of yourself.

I think being extreme is a killer and makes the pendulum swing too far back and forth.

I would say my "intentions" never really matches reality of the outcome. It's more of a journey/adventure then an achievement of a goal. Once I find something that works I just keep doing it unless it does not work anymore. I used to eat a ton of dark chocolate when I was craving and now I can't remember the last time I ate it. I ate shredded coconut after every meal to quell the intense sugar cravings I had right when I ate. Now I can eat a meal and I'm not some ice cream seeking lunatic.

I've kind of stopped with "intentions" and try to keep it simpler. I just eat food Paleo and WAPF style and that's about it. I try to keep adding and trying new things. I guess my unconcious rules are if 1) something upsets my stomach I don't eat it or 2) if a food doesn't look appealing to me I don't eat it. I only eat stuff I really like.

If I happen to eat some birthday cake I don't freak out and start in on the cheetoes thinking I already "effed" up the whole day.

I asked for advice on this here too. The best advice I had was from Melissa who said,"She eats nice things." I think that is great advice. I keep my fat intake pretty high but mostly because I'm craving it. I eat rice a few times a month because I like it. Stick to quality organs, fat, protein and veggies/starch that are delicious to you until they are not. Then find/cook something else delicious to you and eat it.

After awhile you won't notice you are "paleo for life" but just enjoying life.

5
B3222ea49a60d1d12a9d25f194c0f873

on October 10, 2012
at 05:09 PM

I have to echo what Nance said and let you know you are definitely not alone in this! I was doing great, I've lost 10lbs on the scale and fit into smaller jeans. Lately though, I took on a part-time job for this Halloween season and it requires me to change my sleep schedule. Blam - carb cravings like mad! I thought something must be really wrong until I realized it was probably just stress. I always binged on carbs when stressed!

So I have accepted that this might be the one-and-only year I do this even though I enjoy it and I am maintaining a modified sleep schedule all week so not to upset the apple cart too badly on weekends.

Even when the ultimate goal is 'health' or in my case, feeling like what I think a "normal" person ought to feel like, mentally - it's very very easy to eat something without even thinking about it. I find it's when I start eating the third or fourth thing now I stop and think - hey, why do I want this all-the-sudden?! Considering that was my default way of eating/living for so long, the fact that I can be 'off' for a couple days and recognize that quickly is a testament to all the progess I have made. It's good to reflect on that, too. So often we chastise ourselves for what we don't do or for falling back on bad habits.

You started a good habit, too! And because you recognize the bad parts now for what they are that's still a win in my book!

5
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on October 10, 2012
at 05:00 PM

Personally I have not had the problem. After going three weeks of "detox" everything about my body worked better. That alone has been enough to keep be from straying.

I think your problem is that your "ultimate goal" is fat loss and not health. When you think about it that way it is easy to stray, "Oh I will just have this brownie because a few hundred calories is not going to change my fat loss goals". When your ultimate goal is health, then it's harder to say, "Oh I will just have this brownie because I don't care about my health"

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on October 10, 2012
at 05:12 PM

I agree. I definitely think emphasizing health instead of looking like a Cosmo model helps me. Looking better is a side-benefit.

C74581a453f1379b7a617461e2940281

(38)

on October 10, 2012
at 05:17 PM

I find it harder when Im with other people to eat healthy. When Im by myself iI dont ever think of the "bad" food. I take that back, I think about it, Its jusy easier by myself. I also prepare a chicken soup, with everything in it, I freeze portions for my hungry days, and is a quick great fill me up meal. This month makes one year Ive been eating healthy! Yay

Aa748fb43334ffd2db3934aa00874bbe

(458)

on October 10, 2012
at 07:30 PM

+ 100 the entire second paragraph of this comment

3
F0d897e3d602f2e3b303f21210f34bff

(190)

on October 10, 2012
at 05:55 PM

If I can get into nutritional ketosis, I'm usually good -- no cravings, no self-sabotage. For me ketosis is like Celine Dion hitting that high note and just "hanging" there. Once my body transitions back into a fat-adapted metabolism, then my body just sings that note and maintains that chord. It's a great feeling, but I have to get there.

I had major surgery this past year and came out of doing nutritional ketosis (or low-carb primal) while I was recuperating. Then I hit a point where I knew needed to get back to getting my body to burn fat. I was surprised out how hard it was to get back into nutritional ketosis -- not really from a physical standpoint, but more of a psychological. It was almost like a tug-of-war with a part of me that didn't want to let go of the bread/tortillas/cookies and other items that I had gradually adulterated my diet with.

Now, I'm over that hump, but really it's disturbing that those foods can take on that kind of hold in me. It wasn't like I was eating a huge amount of them either. I'd rationalized it with, 'oh, I'm eating sourdough artisanal bread from my local bakery' or 'I'm eating organic Newman's cookies', or whatever. Grains are no joke. That's all I can say.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on October 11, 2012
at 12:29 PM

Welcome back, Nance, you've been missed. All the best to you. Here's to Health and Happiness. Doris

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 10, 2012
at 06:00 PM

Very well said.

3
83456bd85c99b73a03dc9ccf7eb44255

on October 10, 2012
at 05:39 PM

Your best bet is to read this book; The Body Fat Solution by Tom Venuto (Five Principles for Burning Fat, Building Lean Muscle, Ending Emotional Eating, and Maintaining Your Perfect Weight) Tom does a great job of explaining the emotional and psychological factors that sabotage success. The Paleo lifestyle addresses the food choices but it doesn't speak to the emotional and psychological factors that can derail you.

And, yes, just about everyone on Paleo cheats and gets off track from time to time. Read the book,,,it will definitely help you.

Good luck and stay the course!!

Cheers!

2
D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

on October 11, 2012
at 01:03 AM

I have a history of disordered eating, so any pressure toward perfection in diet is something I have to avoid to keep from losing my mind/health/marriage/social life. This is also why I avoid diet labels. And the term "cheating."

I've always done better by spreading my "20" in the "80/20" rule throughout my days (one big "cheat day" doesn't work for me), allowing for real life to have its place. That being said, over time my tastes changed and I'm less interested in less nutritious food. First of all, my sugar/carb cravings are greatly diminished. Second, I hate that artificial aftertaste in non-real foodstuffs. I actually like real food, so my "non paleo cheats" are more likely to be the gluten free (sometimes grain-free) baked goods I make on occasion (if a piece of dark chocolate won't do) or homemade tamales from the local tamale stand.

The only real hard part for me is when I don't feel like cooking. I don't buy prepared food, and healthy convenience food is impossible to find in this town. Having to be gluten free really makes things difficult, because I can't just go cheat with a Subway sandwich.

From a wellness standpoint, I really think for many people there is a law of diminishing returns. A point where more does not actually equal better. I gained health when I switched to real foods. I gained FAR BETTER health when I switched to gluten-free, switched out my banana and oats breakfasts for eggs and veggies, and ate nuts instead of carby things for snacks. But switching to "low carb paleo" showed diminished returns, and made my health start to slope downward as the idea of being "perfectly paleo" was causing too much stress, mentally, emotionally, and physically (I actually lost my cycle for a while there). My day-to-day goal is simply real food. I have no problem sticking to that 95% of the time. And most my meals would excite a 100% paleo/primal person anyway. However, while I see very minor gains in avoiding certain gluten-free grains and legumes, it's not enough to make a fuss if I'm served them.

Your mileage may vary, of course.

2
00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on October 10, 2012
at 11:05 PM

I think that the answer to your question is as individual as the reasons for going off-plan. You indicated three possible reasons:

  • it so difficult to to hush the craving
  • pressure you put on yourself to look the way you want
  • it so difficult to be prepared for every meal 7days/week

All of these can be dealt with, if they're the real reasons for your struggles. Reason and my intuition says they're not, though.

The first reason is not a root reason, just a symptom of carb withdrawal. As Frost said, the only way out is through. But you need some psychological, emotional, and spiritual reinforcement behind your intention.

The second reason doesn't make sense to me. Wanting to look better than you do should spur you to stick to your plan, not break from it. Could you elaborate on this?

The third reason makes more sense to me than the others. But there are a growing number of options even at fast-food and casual dining restaurants for paleo people (start with the gluten-free items, and ask for it sugar-free, too).

The next time you're tempted to go off-plan, do a little bit of journaling on your physical feelings and your emotional state. See if you can find a deeper reason than the ones you've listed, and address that. Are you starved for time, which can bring up a host of needs, e.g., to be pampered/taken care of, for example?

2
877ded1787562057ee2e1a4548b6050a

on October 10, 2012
at 08:40 PM

I have been doing this for about 2.5 years, and it finally hit me this summer how much I appreciate natural foods. In fact, I have finally given up coconut milk, nut butters, and other processed and packaged stuff that is still considered paleo-friendly. To me, they are very rare treats, and that's it. Now, fresh fruit is my treat, and I look forward to having some every day.

However, I have found it healthy to allow myself to go paleo-free for special occasions, like holidays, birthdays, etc. Maybe just once every few months I will do this. It helps me appreciate the real food even more. We went to the Texas State Fair a few weeks ago, and I went hog wild on everything I wanted. It was a nice treat, and then got right back to my normal way of eating and enjoyed all the more.

2
59366f0a347788212ab8f642f2542acb

on October 10, 2012
at 05:13 PM

I think its important to have a couple "cheats". If you go too strict the change will only last for so long and you may lose your motivation for Paleo all-together. I have Greek Yogurt a few times a week and I also need a touch of sugar in my coffee. I have a couple other cheats that I try to limit. I try to always stay away from grains and legumes (mostly bc I feel bad when I eat them). Following this strategy, I have been going strong for 3+ months and I see no problem staying on it for the long haul.

1
Ce9c7397caaf5ee85835d248f4b4993a

on October 12, 2012
at 12:23 AM

cravings are a mystery to me. i went first week of august to second week of october, two months, of no wheat, sugar, baked goods, bread, just didn't want any of it. i only craved nut butters. then this past week, i've eaten loads of cookies, chips, bread, from sugar cravings. i haven't touched nut butters in a two weeks. i'm currently recovering from a long battle of emotional eating, and each binge doesn't just leave me with shame, but a weird sense of hope and love. like a blessing in disguise.. i've heard a lot these past few weeks that to get to 'success' or a happy path, bumps and bruises are Necessary. there aren't any 'one path to success' and 'one to failure'. no, when i've succeeded in the greatest things, they've come at many shameful struggles. i want to buy a package of tollhouse cookie dough right now, and chicken nuggets and barbeque sauce. what's wrong with me?

this comments a little too sprinkled with non ways to deal with cravings. but since every craving i've ever dealt with was a failure of learning how to stop it, i needed something new: i try to look at each craving, beaten or indulged in, and see it as a road block to my success. then to reach that shiny success sooner, i look at what i am going to give up: feeling energetic, and fulfilling all of my plans tomorrow (farmer's market friday's, radio meeting, flower conservatory oktoberfest at night), and i look at my parents, OA friends, and my own soul that's rooting for me to succeed. and in the most glorious times, the cravings fade without me trying to. like an hour ago, i was about to boot up and buy some cookie dough at the local grocer... but then i started a crossword puzzle, and completely forgot, until, well now. a craving is just a thought. your thoughts are sketchy, wishy washy and able to be swayed. just look at it as an annoying aunt you're trying to learn how to deal with, and sometimes give in ('no i am not dating someone, argh!'), and sometimes you win ('no i am not dating someone, but you look great in that sweater! moving on...'), and well, as long as i feel good about my nutrition overall, i try to soothe those self-hate talking.

1
435e7133a24b3259f2282c134ddbf5a0

on October 10, 2012
at 11:05 PM

I don't stray, except for dark chocolate on occasion.

However that's less to do with being saintly and entirely due to my raging gluten and dairy intolerances. In a way I suppose this so-called disadvantage makes it much easier for me to stay on the Paleo path than for others for whom it's more of a lifestyle choice rather than primarily a health decision (with immediate unpleasant implications if I were to stray).

1
Medium avatar

(3213)

on October 10, 2012
at 06:31 PM

I can relate, I use to be like that in the beginning, now, after 16 months of being Primal, I don't get cravings anymore, I don't cheat, it feels like going backwards if I do. It was somewhat hard for the first 6 months or so, to stay on track, you will reach a threshold, and when you do, it will be easier, I promise.

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