4

votes

Easing into paleo? I can't survive a strict 100% paleo. How to get started?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 12, 2011 at 12:16 PM

I???ve been trying for over a year to switch to paleo diet with very little success. I read an article that for a few genetically unfortunate people, certain food addictions can have equivalent power and hold as heroin addictions. As luck would have it, I happen to be one of those people (fastfood everyday for the last 5 MONTHS.)

I???ve tried to change soo many times and I???ve always failed. Right now I???m on a record breaking day 6 and it???s not getting any easier. I always hear of the ???two week breakthrough??? where everything apparently gets suddenly better and cravings go away, but I???ve never reached it before. I really don???t think I could maintain the paleo diet long term in 100%, so I wonder

A.does the paleo diet have to be cold turkey? Or could you slowly wean off bad foods in a scheduled manner? Or, is every big mac like hitting the reset button? B. what???s the miminum paleo you can have to see a positive effect? I???m especially interested in clearing up the skin.

I think the only way I???ll survive is a very slow and easy introduction, and the loosest possible version , at least initially. Theres just no way ill be able to maintain a strict paleo diet. What are the best options to get started ? 1 day week paleo, then , then 3, so on? A general, unorganized effort to just eat better? Maybe a pre determined 30 minute a day period where I can eat as I like?

Initially, I???m not concerned with the long term health effects, I just need to get over the addictions and cravings. The one immediate concern I have is clearer skin, so what???s the bare minimum I could do to see progress?

Put it to you this way- I first found up about the paleo diet in 2009, and this is the second time ive EVER gone 6 days???. Im eating taco bell everyday, sometimes twice a day.i have a bit of adderal im using to hold off cravings, and it works, but obviously I cant rely on it.

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on August 25, 2011
at 04:31 PM

Feel free to switch the order up on that list. Start with the steps that are easiest for you to stick with. I think I would have given up entirely if I'd tried to eliminate sugar as a first step, but I found that my sugar cravings diminished drastically after I cut grains from my diet. Switching to more appropriate oils and animal products (at least for homecooked meals) seem like an emotionally painless first step, whereas cutting out sugar or grains first would likely be harder.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on August 25, 2011
at 02:09 PM

I agree with wws. Just do 1 thing at a time and practice is just that. Nobody is perfect on this thing and you figure out your own tendencies/craving solutions as you go. Also...don't give up on yourself no matter how many times you start! I was just thinking this morning how helpful the sites/podcasts/books and commentary are to me. I would recommend something paleo content like those to reinforce your learning as you battle the harder cravings side of it.

3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

(1290)

on July 23, 2011
at 05:11 PM

Increase your saturated fat intake (a lot). It's only healthy and that will often reduce sugar cravings...the body makes the saturated fat it needs from carbohydrates so giving saturated fats in the diet will reduce cravings (try lard, tallow, coconut oil, butter cream)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 23, 2011
at 06:26 AM

This is pretty much what I was going to recommend. You have to crowd out the crap, even if that mean stuffing yourself with the really good stuff for a while. I could be wrong here, but I think you are not addicted, so much as you are hungry. Our brains are quite clever at pattern recognition, especially when it comes to quick "pick-me-ups" like fast food. 5 seconds of low blood sugar and your hand has probably already grabbed the car keys. You are going to have to guard yourself against low blood sugar and hunger at all costs, and that means a lot of fat and protein for breakfast.

8274ce9d4bffd8209055e1e34def04d6

(429)

on February 15, 2011
at 09:20 PM

I feel strong enough around fruit. That may be because I have begun to eat a few starches instead. And those taste better!

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on February 15, 2011
at 01:34 AM

Never say never again. The trouble is the human memory is very forgiving. How many hangovers have you said never again. If we remembered the bad times we would die out as a race. In the throws of childbirth many women swear never again but the memory soon blurs and a year or so later they're doing it all again. Thankfully..

5489f67c05ca5fc68f2b984e48b6da5e

on February 13, 2011
at 07:06 PM

of course :]

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on February 13, 2011
at 04:38 AM

Had a similar "run in" with Dates, Figs, and Honey. Holy Hell.. Never again.

0bcefaa82dc94f93ce705f86e235f335

(1591)

on February 13, 2011
at 03:17 AM

Yes, it is an addiction, I agree. That's why I think cold-turkey is the best approach for *most* people (not everyone, obvs). I don't know of many people who have weaned themselves off heroin slowly.

0bcefaa82dc94f93ce705f86e235f335

(1591)

on February 13, 2011
at 03:16 AM

Point taken. ;) But srsly, I think there's a difference between saying "don't bite off more than you can chew" (which is my intent here, perhaps unclear), and "do it my way" which is the sense I got (perhaps mistakenly) from your other post. Peace? :)

5489f67c05ca5fc68f2b984e48b6da5e

on February 13, 2011
at 01:30 AM

The concept of a paleo diet being restrictive is a matter of perspective. I don't see it that way at all. AND it takes time to get there. I'm still wobbling.

5489f67c05ca5fc68f2b984e48b6da5e

on February 13, 2011
at 01:27 AM

You imply that you know what's best for people. But you're not in their shoes, relationships, lifestyles, or heads. Haha, just kidding.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on February 12, 2011
at 08:07 PM

+1 on better eating out choices while in transition. Chipotle bowls loaded with salad, steak, and guacamole are also a good choice.

F9a0b72f38860d7601afd5a45bb53394

(3618)

on February 12, 2011
at 06:58 PM

I was just going to recommend that page by Dr. Harris. If you need to take baby steps, his should help you start seeing benefits even before you've gone all the way.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on February 12, 2011
at 06:03 PM

gradually adopting paleo means you permanently eliminate some addiction (like wheat, sugar, etc) rather than shifting cold turkey to 100 % paleo, but I do not believe you will have success by starting paleo once or twice a week.

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on February 12, 2011
at 05:51 PM

Thanks, Elizabeth. I needed to read that first paragraph.

8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on February 12, 2011
at 03:53 PM

I gotta say i think this is the key. Your eating fast food is like the fat guy saying "I can't stop eating all the cookies in my house!" Solution? DON'T BRING COOKIES INTO THE HOUSE! You must buy food at the store and prepare it yourself. No time? No skillz? No problem! Get rotisserie chickens and hot dogs and lunch meat for starters. Nope these are not 100% Paleo, but it's a start. Once you get your body used to meat, meat, meat and a bit of veg you will 1) have no Big Mac cravings (0r want it without a bun) and 2) be too bloody full and satisfied to want Taco Hell! Best of luck w/ this!

8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on February 12, 2011
at 03:49 PM

Whoa, Dexter, you totally made me hungry with this menu! And i don;t eat some of that stuff (sweet potatoes, avocado, nightshades)! Great advice and sample day's eating!

0bcefaa82dc94f93ce705f86e235f335

(1591)

on February 12, 2011
at 02:06 PM

Yeah, maybe stopping with the fast food and eating what he/she wants, but only if he/she makes it, is a good first step...

0bcefaa82dc94f93ce705f86e235f335

(1591)

on February 12, 2011
at 02:00 PM

Yeah, this confused me too. :/

2c9c0fa91f6be6917e2e32018435d022

on February 12, 2011
at 01:23 PM

Oh and read Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution...it'll help you decide.

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22 Answers

13
0bcefaa82dc94f93ce705f86e235f335

on February 12, 2011
at 02:00 PM

So, I believe firmly in the idea that there's no point in starting something until you're fully psychologically prepared to do it, because all the good intentions in the world only backfire if you half-ass it and slip and then beat yourself up and then slip more. Why make yourself crazy? Stop making half-hearted attempts. Wait until you have a plan for what to eat, and you feel calm and confident about the change. You sound kind of frantic and desperate right now. There's no controlling cravings and behavior if you're emotionally out of control.

I also believe in the cold-turkey approach myself, because if I have even a little carb/sugar, I become a monster. A week of wanting to murder someone for a Diet Coke (my weakness, weird, I know) is better than months of the same.

Read this for help on kicking sugar addiction:

http://zenhabits.net/beat-the-sugar-habit-3-steps-to-cut-sweets-mostly-out-of-your-life/

You can also try using chromium picolinate to help with carb cravings. This study has not been duplicated, but it's worth a try.

http://www.rxpgnews.com/depression-research/Severe_carbohydrate_cravers_experienced_the_most_b_2540_2540.shtml

EDIT: Also, some people have very good luck with Overeaters Anonymous. You need to go in there knowing you want to stick with Paleo, though, because most participants will still be talking about CW and SAD. But the emotional support can be very helpful for some.

http://www.oa.org/

0bcefaa82dc94f93ce705f86e235f335

(1591)

on February 13, 2011
at 03:16 AM

Point taken. ;) But srsly, I think there's a difference between saying "don't bite off more than you can chew" (which is my intent here, perhaps unclear), and "do it my way" which is the sense I got (perhaps mistakenly) from your other post. Peace? :)

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on February 12, 2011
at 05:51 PM

Thanks, Elizabeth. I needed to read that first paragraph.

5489f67c05ca5fc68f2b984e48b6da5e

on February 13, 2011
at 01:27 AM

You imply that you know what's best for people. But you're not in their shoes, relationships, lifestyles, or heads. Haha, just kidding.

5489f67c05ca5fc68f2b984e48b6da5e

on February 13, 2011
at 07:06 PM

of course :]

12
2c9c0fa91f6be6917e2e32018435d022

on February 12, 2011
at 01:22 PM

I would like to be honest without being harsh. Eating fast food everyday, Taco Bell included is NOT eating paleo. It very simply breaks down like this...DON'T GO TO THE FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS. That's it. Period. End of that story. I believe if you want to break the cravings you just need to stop. It took me three years to quit smoking because for the first 2 and q/2 I said I would wean myself off (nope) and I would use alternatives like cigars or chewing tobacco (both equally as bad). Anyway, I finally became honest with myself, decided I REALLY didn't want to smoke anymore and just stopped. So, I ask you to be completely honest with yourself. Do you REALLY want to eat paleo? Feel better everyday, look better everyday and generally be better everyday. Or do you just want your acne to go away?
As far as going paleo, I still am not strict paleo and I may never be, but I've minimalized my neolithic food intake. By avoiding foods like grains and pastas as much as possible. Not getting fast food burgers everyday. Choosing salads over sandwiches...etc. The easiest for me was to eliminate breads pastas and grains. Then minimalize dairy and legumes. I feel much better every day except the days I slip up...then I feel it. But then I get back on the wagon asap.

8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on February 12, 2011
at 03:53 PM

I gotta say i think this is the key. Your eating fast food is like the fat guy saying "I can't stop eating all the cookies in my house!" Solution? DON'T BRING COOKIES INTO THE HOUSE! You must buy food at the store and prepare it yourself. No time? No skillz? No problem! Get rotisserie chickens and hot dogs and lunch meat for starters. Nope these are not 100% Paleo, but it's a start. Once you get your body used to meat, meat, meat and a bit of veg you will 1) have no Big Mac cravings (0r want it without a bun) and 2) be too bloody full and satisfied to want Taco Hell! Best of luck w/ this!

2c9c0fa91f6be6917e2e32018435d022

on February 12, 2011
at 01:23 PM

Oh and read Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution...it'll help you decide.

5
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on February 12, 2011
at 02:23 PM

I think I have a different take on this, I understand the issue with the fast food restaurants. When I first started working on losing weight, it was crazy hard for me to avoid them. I felt like there was a tractor beam pulling my car in from the road. I would start to salivate even driving by the restaurants. When I did order, I would order extra items to gobble up in my car on the way home so my family didn't know how much I was really eating.

My suggestion, is to try to incorporate one fast food meal per day. No Taco Bell, though (we just recently had a post that their meat is only 35% meat!)... I would suggest one of the burger places and just getting a burger (or a double) with no bun. (If you are lucky enough to be in California I hear In n' Out is fab.) Try to stay away from the fries, but if that's a mental issue, get the small one. I eventually started ordering Happy Meals (for the smaller portions) then moved on to salads and yogurt parfait type items. Now, when I go in to order for my family I can't even find an item on the menu that appeals to me! Believe me. I never thought that day would come either.

Try to set small, reachable goals. You will make it one week with just eating meat at the fast food places. Then maybe you will go every other day to the fast food places. Then maybe 2 or 3 days a week. REWARD YOURSELF WITH NON FOOD ITEMS FOR REACHING YOUR GOALS. I can't tell if you are a guy or a girl, but just $5/$10 items like a manicure/pedicure or a new bottle of nail polish or if you're a guy a new album download from iTunes. ANYTHING. They key is not to give in and give yourself the prize unless you actually accomplish the goal. Personally, I didn't get my fancy coffee unless I went to the gym. :) I really love my fancy coffees.

Cold turkey works great for some and is too mentally tough for others. It sounds like you keep trying it and it's not working, so let's try something else. Eating MOSTLY Paleo is still better than giving up and eating SAD/Fast Food every single day.

What does your typical day of food look like including the fast food? Do you currently do anything for exercise?

IT IS POSSIBLE TO DO THIS. I was a binge eater for years, I haven't had a binge now in over a year. You can't beat yourself up for slips, you accept them, forgive yourself, move on and make the next meal a good one.

Good luck!

4
66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on February 12, 2011
at 10:31 PM

My contribution to this topic is not so much to give advise but to share my personal experience. About 10 months ago I was told I was pre-diabetic. That prompted me to start researching diabetes, healthy eating, exercise, etc. I searched the internet for months and read 100s of article and blogs just to educate myself. Finally around Sept of 2010 I said to myself 'This all makes sense, I know what needs to be done'. I went paleo cold-turkey as they say. I cleaned out my fridge and cupboards, gave away a ton of food to friends & neighbors. I then went shopping and bought paleo based foods, etc.

I have not looked back since. I have lost 30lbs over about 5 months, blood sugar is stable (no meds needed), blood pressure is down, I sleep better, way more energy and a myriad of other positive benefits too numerous to list. Over the years I have learned if something is important to oneself it will get done. A very wise person told me something many years ago that I keep in the back of my mind - he said imagine if you had a child who was very sick and would probably die soon, now imagine if a doctor told you there was a treatment that would 100% cure your child, the only thing is it would cost $10,000 cash (no insurance, etc). Now what do you do if you don't have that kind of money? You get it! You would beg, borrow, sell personal possessions, work 3 jobs. You would do whatever it takes to get that money and make your child healthy again. Any parent would do this (Yes I am a single parent).

So this is how I view important things in Life, there is no excuse, just do it. Now this works for me but every human being is unique. If you can glean anything useful from this it's all yours.

4
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on February 12, 2011
at 04:48 PM

Yep, eating out is fun. My advice, find some healthier places to eat out. Like Inn and Out has protein style burgers with no bun and lots of real cheese on it. It's not perfect, but it's better than taco bell. If you must have a taco, go to Del Taco and get their chicken burrito which is real meat with lettuce and tomato. Skip the fries. Eat out only once per day and eat healthier options at healthier places but find stuff you still like. When I eat out, I like to get steak and salad or steak and potato. I switch out the less healthy sides for salad or cut fruit or veggies. Yes you can totally ease into this. Find the paleo foods you like best and target those. Try to screen out the worst of the neolithic foods, like wheat bread. If you must have bread, switch to a high quality sour dough. If you really like noodles, try shirataki noodles or rice noodles instead of wheat noodles. Keep the sugar intake and wheat intake as low as possible. You don't have to be 100% paleo to get a lot of health benefits. Every little bit helps. There are a lot of healthy shifts you can make that are not too painful. For instance, I really enjoy eating tons of steak on a regular basis. Steak is tasty and soooo easy to cook. Just slap it on some foil and jam in the oven for about 18 minutes and dinner is ready!

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on February 12, 2011
at 08:07 PM

+1 on better eating out choices while in transition. Chipotle bowls loaded with salad, steak, and guacamole are also a good choice.

3
2b4f887f5fd32a37c6038eb0aaaf3bf5

on February 12, 2011
at 06:46 PM

As you can see, there are many different answers here, that is because there are many different approaches for different types of people. I, too, have a food addiction problem, and am in the middle of a period not being Paleo and working on getting back in the saddle. For me, trying to do the "strict paleo 30" in January actually backfired, it was too restrictive and I flipped out and began rebelling. Because that is me, I don't do well with too many rules.

So, I agree with SherpaMelissa on this one. Watch the movie Fat Head for some good ideas. Since you seem so addicted to fast food, maybe the best idea is to choose food choices there that will help stabilize your blood sugar, so it is easier to make better choices. For instance, chicken nuggets & a diet soda. No, of course this isn't Paleo, but it could be a bridge for you so you can lessen the intensity of your cravings.

I imagine it must be a bit frustrating/disheartening to hear all the "when you're ready you will quit" and "just stop eating fast food". If only it was that easy. And you DO want to quit, and you'd probably prefer to quit before you hit bottom. The problem is you are in the middle of a conflict, you want both at the same time, and right now, the strong cravings are winning out. My mom told me, in regards to quitting smoking (or any addiction) she doesn't agree with the "you have to want it". She actually DIDN'T want to quit, she loved smoking. But she made a choice that she didn't want to experience the side effects anymore. She wouldn't say she was READY, but that she began, and kept focus on why she was making that choice.

I recently began a book called Sex, Drugs, Gambling, and Chocolate, a Workbook to Overcome Addictions, which I recommend extremely. I appreciate that the book is based on strong research, and has a focus on trying to move to healthier choices, instead of an all or nothing approach. It talks about all variety of addictions, and working on getting to a healthier place on the range of addictions. He also mentions that in order to replace a negative addiction, you have to replace it with a positive addiction. I would guess that for a lot of people here, the positive addiction is Paleo, I know it is for me.

And the biggest thing he stresses at the beginning is to trust your own judgment. Listen to yourself, and what works for you. It sounds like you know that a 100% Paleo won't work for you right now, yet you think that is how you "should" be. Hopefully one day you will get to 100%. But even 50% is better than 10%, isn't it? The one thing you do need to be aware of, if you don't take care of your blood sugar and eat too much grain/sugar, it will kick up that craving cycle again (as mentioned by some of the other posters). That is why, for me, dark chocolate works well instead of the cookies I usually go for. Doesn't hit my blood sugar so bad, and makes it easier for me to make healthier choices. I also find it is critical to eat protein with every meal, otherwise my blood sugar goes wacko and I am more prone to make bad choices.

And, don't be too hard on yourself when you eat poorly. Beating yourself up doesn't make you behave, it makes you more likely to feel badly and continue to eat poorly. It certainly does for me.

Whatever direction you take, I wish you luck. And remember, that no matter how addicted you are, you CAN get there. Just don't give up on yourself.

5489f67c05ca5fc68f2b984e48b6da5e

on February 13, 2011
at 01:30 AM

The concept of a paleo diet being restrictive is a matter of perspective. I don't see it that way at all. AND it takes time to get there. I'm still wobbling.

3
Ab0369a70755bd07f44292b4ca8b2260

on February 12, 2011
at 02:40 PM

I think like most addictions, when you are ready to quit, you will quit. Until then I think you are setting yourself up for failure each day and that's no way to feel better about yourself.

You have to have the self esteem to know you are worth taking care of yourself. Obviously clearing up your skin isn't super important...and you've got to come up with a stronger "why" to pull more on you than your enjoyment of fast food.

I wish you luck...and you may not know you can do it, but I do. Someday you'll figure it out.

2
5489f67c05ca5fc68f2b984e48b6da5e

on February 13, 2011
at 01:33 AM

http://www.paleonu.com/get-started/

Out of any step by step guide, this is definitely my favorite.

Would it help you to know that this is pretty common with anyone making this lifestyle change? A few years ago, I too went to Taco Bell and other fast food places for lunch, while the concepts of primal (at the time) were marinating in my head.

This stuff takes time. Everybody falls. It's painful. It's part of the journey.

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on August 25, 2011
at 04:31 PM

Feel free to switch the order up on that list. Start with the steps that are easiest for you to stick with. I think I would have given up entirely if I'd tried to eliminate sugar as a first step, but I found that my sugar cravings diminished drastically after I cut grains from my diet. Switching to more appropriate oils and animal products (at least for homecooked meals) seem like an emotionally painless first step, whereas cutting out sugar or grains first would likely be harder.

2
Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

on February 12, 2011
at 05:41 PM

My personal advice: you can go gradually, as long as you stick to any progress you make. For instance you may start by eliminating sodas and all beverages that contain sugar in the first week; later you could eliminate bread, pizza, cookies and pasta (gluten addiction) so if you happen to go to a fast food place you have the meat but not the bread!; on a third stage you could eliminate oils coming from seeds (corn, soy) etc. At that stage you will be "50% paleo" but will start to have many of the benefits! then you continue your progress at your own speed. Yes you can do this gradually if you are ready to hold on to your progress!

this is an interesting link by Dr. Harris on this issue: http://www.paleonu.com/get-started/

F9a0b72f38860d7601afd5a45bb53394

(3618)

on February 12, 2011
at 06:58 PM

I was just going to recommend that page by Dr. Harris. If you need to take baby steps, his should help you start seeing benefits even before you've gone all the way.

2
1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 12, 2011
at 03:52 PM

I don't know if this suggestion will help, but what about staying strictly out of all fast food restaurants, eat paleo, but let yourself have all the bacon you want? Eat bacon for breakfast, lunch, supper, snacks, etc. Really let yourself go to town on it, with no guilt and no self-recriminations...as long as you eat paleo in all other ways...until you are so sick of bacon that you could not eat another slice without puking. The reason I am suggesting this is because it seems to me that bacon has that characteristic of umami that makes fast food so "good". If you can get it through to your emotional self that you can have bacon...umami...whenever you want, the compulsiveness might fade to nothing because you will know that umami is within reach at all times.

2
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on February 12, 2011
at 02:19 PM

You have to do whatever works for you. It may take years of constant improvement, failure, regrouping, restarting, resolving, etc. If you keep reading articles an forums, your resolve will continue even when the will is weak. Try eating less bread and sugar, but don't beat yourself up if you fail, just resolve again. It took me a few years to not crave bread and sugar. Once I had conquered those, I moved on to the fine points. Just do your best every day. You'll get there. Remember, if it takes a few years at 50% compliance, that's a lot better than 0%, and it gets you on the path to 90%, where I am, very happily (finally).

2
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on February 12, 2011
at 01:24 PM

The way to break your addictions to fast food is to become hermit like and be responsible for what you put in your body.

Start by eating a huge breakfast consisting of 6 eggs fried in coconut oil with a little bacon and a microwaved yam cooked til soft...sliced and slathered with butter. That should minimize your need to eat because you will be full. For lunch carry a cup of walnuts and almonds to get you over the time between breakfast and dinner. For dinner, a huge steak panfried in coconut oil, steamed veggies slathered in butter, a large green salad (leafy lettuce, avocado, bell pepper...both green and red, crumbled cheese of any kind, cucumber, cut up tomatos) dressing I use Good Seasons dry packet mixed in their hour glass bottle...vinegar and olive oil.

If you eat like this daily, your cravings for fast food and sugar will abate because you will be satiated. The more carbohydrates you eat the hungrier you get and the more frequently you will feel you need to eat.

Cook for yourself so you will know what you are getting.

No wheat products, no corn products, no sugar products ever.

Good luck. Determination and perservance will get you through.

8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on February 12, 2011
at 03:49 PM

Whoa, Dexter, you totally made me hungry with this menu! And i don;t eat some of that stuff (sweet potatoes, avocado, nightshades)! Great advice and sample day's eating!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 23, 2011
at 06:26 AM

This is pretty much what I was going to recommend. You have to crowd out the crap, even if that mean stuffing yourself with the really good stuff for a while. I could be wrong here, but I think you are not addicted, so much as you are hungry. Our brains are quite clever at pattern recognition, especially when it comes to quick "pick-me-ups" like fast food. 5 seconds of low blood sugar and your hand has probably already grabbed the car keys. You are going to have to guard yourself against low blood sugar and hunger at all costs, and that means a lot of fat and protein for breakfast.

2
Ceda025d1f349bc43be115a5f9199fb1

(501)

on February 12, 2011
at 01:16 PM

Probably not a question that can be answered. Maybe try giving up processed foods first. Then, maybe go "No S" - no sweets, snacks or seconds. Cooking for yourself most of the time is important. Once you get there, stop eating vegetable oils, wheat and other gluten grains, and added sugars (fructose). See how that works for you, if you want to get more paleo from there, give Whole30 a try.

0bcefaa82dc94f93ce705f86e235f335

(1591)

on February 12, 2011
at 02:06 PM

Yeah, maybe stopping with the fast food and eating what he/she wants, but only if he/she makes it, is a good first step...

1
C1fb8666b1ae085507a76a4c494e4f0a

on August 25, 2011
at 01:40 PM

What do you eat at Taco Bell, and can you make it at home? I ask because I had similar addictions (pizza, chips etc) that I really had to fight with. I found that recreating some of those foods at home helped a ton, as did getting off all gluten foods - they were literally like heroin to me and caused a real, physical/mental reaction that took some time to deal with and clear up.

I took the tactic that ok... I can have whatever I want. I just have to make it myself. What I found was that my own home versions of old faves ended up tasting a helluva lot better! Part of that, I think, was the satisfaction of having to work for it a little... go out, buy the ingredients, cook it, etc. Worked enough to trick my brain, anyway, and that's really what we have to do with addictions (IMHO)

Maybe at this point, you shouldn't worry about 'paleo' as an end destination. Just deal with one thing at a time. If you decide you want to stop eating at Taco Bell, for example, just focus on that for now. If you tend to go there at lunch during work, bring your own version with you for lunch. Also, it does take practice - saying no (when you're used to saying yes) takes practice, so practice. Say no. And not because what you're doing is "bad", but because you have made a decision that you don't want to do something anymore... so not "I'm not allowed to eat at Taco Bell anymore because it's bad", but "I've decided I don't want to eat at Taco Bell anymore, because I want to see if that will clear up my skin." That way, every time you say no to TB, you're reinforcing your decision... not denying yourself something you like, or white-knuckling it with useless willpower (willpower, bah!).

Honestly, I know your pain. It will get easier, it really, really will. It will. I know I'm rambling on, but I never realized how a diet change could literally change my entire life, my mental state/brain, how I lived my life outside of the kitchen. Makes me kinda passionate. For me, it was gluten - eliminating that literally gave me a whole new brain, and being free of food addictions of any kind (without effort on my part, other than the effort to cut the gluten in the first place) was one of the best things that happened from that. You can have that too!

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on August 25, 2011
at 02:09 PM

I agree with wws. Just do 1 thing at a time and practice is just that. Nobody is perfect on this thing and you figure out your own tendencies/craving solutions as you go. Also...don't give up on yourself no matter how many times you start! I was just thinking this morning how helpful the sites/podcasts/books and commentary are to me. I would recommend something paleo content like those to reinforce your learning as you battle the harder cravings side of it.

1
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 23, 2011
at 07:13 AM

The tone of your question makes me think you are in the bargaining phase of the grieving process. I'm going to recommend doing the emotional work before even thinking about changing something as big as eating habits (it can seem simple enough, but it really goes to the core of who you are, where you've come from, what makes you feel nurtured, etc.).
Being annoyed by acne is too surface of a reason to do this in my opinion, if you want to have lasting success you're going to have to go deeper.

In the meantime take some high quality probiotics and NSOs (natural soil organisms) to start turning off your cravings. You would not believe the how much my brain used to plea with me about needing donuts, but the probiotics seemed to silence those thoughts after a few months.

Something you can do now is not letting yourself use your car as a food aquisition tool anymore, like sherpamelissa said, drive-thrus really do have tractor beams when you are feeling vulnerable. Provided you live/work more than 1/2 mile from a fast food place and are willing to walk to the restaurant, it won't be a mindless decision to eat there anymore. Walking that distance will be just enough time for a healthy dose of self reflection to separate emotional eating from real hunger eating. If you walk there, and you still want to eat it, go ahead. If you are vulnerable to non paleo foods at the grocery store, have your groceries delivered, you can't eat what you don't have.

I also commented above that you will need to maintain very even keel bloodsugar if there is any hope of kicking fast food. When I was first getting started, I had a lot of false starts until I let myself eat a 16oz. steak cooked in butter and coconut oil every morning for breakfast for 2 straight weeks. After that it was easy.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 04:56 PM

Doing a gradual method leading up to the cold turkey method is doable. Depends on if you cook or not. It is harder if you eat out too much. Course if you are planning to commit eventually to Paleo you will have to learn to cook and you won't be able to eat out nearly as much. So ferisong has to decide what he/she is willing to do. The food may not be the biggest problem. The will to learn a new skill set (cooking) may be harder.

Don't call your gradual slow eating plan Paleo. That way you can't fail, as you are just experimenting with healthier eating and not bound to anything. Just know that as you wean yourself off SAD you will be conditioning your mind and body to want Paleo foods. Here are steps that make some logical sense:

  1. Eat up or give away stuff in your cupboards that isn't Paleo. Take a month or so to do it.
  2. Buy good paleo food to stock those same cupboards replacing the old stuff with the new.
  3. Start weaning yourself off fast food by taking your fast food meals apart to leave off the obvious bad for you stuff, like the bun. Also seek out better fast food, better burgers, more traditional Mexican. Get a taste for better meat and real spices etc.
  4. Start making fast food at home, but paleo versions, like a beefy fatty burger sauteed in butter with sauteed mushrooms and cheese but no bun.
  5. Start bringing Paleo snacks with you to help when you are hungry and help you wait until you get home to fix more good Paleo fast food meals.
  6. Educate yourself when you feel bored with your cooking and experiment with new flavors when shopping and cooking.
  7. Make the transition as soon as you feel better eating good food, and have increased your cooking skills, and have educated yourself in Paleo health advantages and SAD disadvantages.
  8. You will be able to succeed having re-educated your palate and learned to cook. Your body will be satiated with your Paleo food and will allow you to exercise your will power in the face of SAD food.

How long does this take: I don't know. But no matter how long you will still be doing yourself a favor, and it will not be a failure cos it was not defined as an all or nothing proposition. I did it this way until one day I just wanted to be 100% Paleo and decided I had learned enough to leave bad habits behind. Maybe you will too.

1
9f8111d9ecaa64ea098a0860b47300e0

on February 13, 2011
at 12:44 AM

One step at a time. Change Breakfast for a few days to start with ............... of eggs bacon or sausage,cheese( not processed.... blech !) and coffee with heavy cream.

Then start changing your other meals as you become comfortable with the new way of eating.

Eventually you should only eat when you are hungry . Counting -weighing-measureing and eating on a schedule spells failure in your quest. ~s in TN

1
Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

on February 12, 2011
at 02:42 PM

I have some questions that may help with the process:

---You dont have to tell me but in your heart, do you really want this? Me two years ago, this may not have appealed to me...however, reading Robb's book and what people say here MAKES SO MUCH SENSE. I do have trouble in trying to tell others, especially the science part, but really, you have to be sure you are as committed as possible to do this..

How did you find out about Paleo?

Do you live in a town with other Paleo-ites? (if not then start asking here, maybe you can get a buddy to advise, give ideas, or cheer you on.

What do you think would be the 3 easiest things to remove from your SAD (standard american diet) Remove those immediately.

I found the easiest starting point for me was finding what I COULD eat on this diet first. This gave me ideas for what I WOULD eat once I switched.

I can tell you some personal positives of being on this diet for 3.5 weeks:

Clearer and Softer Skin - so much so that people notice

Weight loss, although not astounding still better 6.5 lbs, but because I wasnt cutting all the necessary carbs like fruit to get teh ball rolling I wasnt dropping as fast as others.

Knees hurt less

Hemmororroids cleared up (this i just noticed yesterday!)

feet and ankles are thinner (less water weight)

Less problems with stuffy nose in AM

improved sleep (which for someone that works at night is tough to get a full 8+ hours of quality sleep)

Little to Zero Gas (unbelieveable for someone that has IBS)

MOre energy some nights I have troulble making myself get to bed.


Problems I had when I started or am still working on.:

Constipation I was statiated so I would forget to drink water! Yikes... this can cause heart flutters, and a myriad of other problems... Drink your water. this helps with feeling full with your meals too...Keep a cup near that fridge or on your desk, drink a few gulps before everythign else you eat or drink.

Balance of foods: Some times I am still eating too much protien versus fats..

eating the cleanest/wildest version of what ever food. I cant eat red meat due to allergy/immune issue. So I have to work around what i can eat. However It has been worth it so far. I plan on continuing!

I have had several people give wonderful advise. You can start with trying to be Perfect Paleo but it will make you stumble. make all the changes you can immediately and research the changes you can make to continually change your life.

Best of luck, Theresa

0
Af939911afa817f79a4625d4f503c735

on April 24, 2011
at 01:29 PM

Personally, I tend to be an "all or nothing" person, so I'm not much for gradual change or gray areas. That said, I heard some great advice for people who don't do "cold turkey" very well recently at a workshop with Diane Sanfilippo. She suggested focusing less on the bad things in the diet that need to be removed, and more on adding in healthy, nutrient-dense choices at every meal, even if that meal also includes some "bad" choices.

0
C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on February 13, 2011
at 01:21 AM

I only got through the first week by drinking lots of diet cola. Of course, then I had to get off caffeine, but getting off the sugar/gluten/carb addiction was more important.

I remember my breakthrough day, I kept telling myself "no excuses", because every day I had a different excuse for continuing the sugar. Your lower brain is sending messages to your thinking brain about the food it wants and why it's ok to have it. You have to recognise this voice and the way it justifies more bad food. By recognising it, you then have the choice not to give in to it.

This is a drug addiction. Take it seriously as such.

0bcefaa82dc94f93ce705f86e235f335

(1591)

on February 13, 2011
at 03:17 AM

Yes, it is an addiction, I agree. That's why I think cold-turkey is the best approach for *most* people (not everyone, obvs). I don't know of many people who have weaned themselves off heroin slowly.

0
8274ce9d4bffd8209055e1e34def04d6

(429)

on February 12, 2011
at 03:37 PM

It helps to cut out the easy stuff first. For example, it is easy to avoid chocolate if you can not handle it yet. (I know I can not eat less that half a bar of 90% at one time!)

Over the break, I broke down and ate lots and lots of fruit and dried figs over the course of 2 days. I spent an hour on the toilet. I ate so much fruit that I developed acne for the first time in a year. Now that my pride was involved, I had the impetus to stop eating fruit permanently. In the time since, I have had no fruit except maybe a total of 10 raisins.

So sometimes you need to feel the lowest low before you can bounce back.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on February 13, 2011
at 04:38 AM

Had a similar "run in" with Dates, Figs, and Honey. Holy Hell.. Never again.

8274ce9d4bffd8209055e1e34def04d6

(429)

on February 15, 2011
at 09:20 PM

I feel strong enough around fruit. That may be because I have begun to eat a few starches instead. And those taste better!

5de2fffda92c0bf2be7ede10cad55546

(1781)

on February 15, 2011
at 01:34 AM

Never say never again. The trouble is the human memory is very forgiving. How many hangovers have you said never again. If we remembered the bad times we would die out as a race. In the throws of childbirth many women swear never again but the memory soon blurs and a year or so later they're doing it all again. Thankfully..

0
1f24d4895246892ef4ee4d79b7f9eeeb

on February 12, 2011
at 01:05 PM

I'm little confused. Are you on the 6th day of eating "strictly" Paleo yet continuing to eat Taco Bell every day?

0bcefaa82dc94f93ce705f86e235f335

(1591)

on February 12, 2011
at 02:00 PM

Yeah, this confused me too. :/

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