7

votes

Morbidly obese friend not taking Paleo well - what to do?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 05, 2011 at 12:01 AM

Hi,

My best friend weighs 308 lbs. She has been overweight/ obese for almost 20 years and hasn't exercised since she left high school in 2001.

I have introduced her to Paleo and have ordered Robb Wolf's book for her to read. This week, she will have her first appointment with a Crossfit personal trainer.

I know weight loss is 80% - 90% diet, so I'm focusing on her diet at present. As with many obese people, she has poor self-control to the point of addiction when it comes to her choice of food and portions.

I've read Robb Wolf's book and have been advising her based on that.

She has been complaining of headaches, feeling hungry, lousy and tired ever since she's cut out non-Paleo food. She is craving something sweet as well (I've advised against eating fruits for now as well). She is used to eating rice, bread and dairy products on a daily basis. This is a girl who enjoys cheesy, creamy pastas, pizzas, burgers and fried chicken.

What can she do to remedy this?

I want her to feel positive about all these changes she's making but it's hard when she feels like crap physically :(

How much meat, veggie and good fat should a person of her size be eating so she feels full? What am I advising wrong? What should she do? Btw, seafood causes her eczema.

Thanks guys.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on June 08, 2012
at 07:48 PM

She had carb flu longer than I expected, but once it subsided, good things started happening.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 08, 2012
at 07:04 PM

You read my mind, Joshua. This thread reminded me of the one you posted about helping a friend and I was wondering how she's doing. Sounds like a good start! How's she feeling? 16 pounds is a GREAT beginning, even if some of it was water.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 08, 2012
at 06:36 PM

Don't laugh. Eating packets of salt saved my butt. I had the worst carb-flu ever and it lasted 5 weeks. At that point I thought I was going to die. I had severe edema and felt really weak. Didn't feel better until one day I spontaneously poured salt packets into my hand and licked them off.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on June 08, 2012
at 04:40 PM

Haha, or she can just season her food- I would be a bit turned off if someone told my to eat salt off a spoon. Would rather sprinkle it on meat/veg!

396679d1e1357eb7e9397ca34c8773ea

(454)

on September 11, 2011
at 12:51 AM

Sorry about the delay 80/20 means stick to paleo 80% of the time and allow cheat meals 20% of the time. Ideally thats 2-3 cheat meals a week.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:17 AM

I was a binge eater and it took me 3 years to get over those habits. I had a lot of mental work to do to learn better habits. I still occasionally have issues, but usually in times of high stress and it's down to about once a year or less. Don't let perfection be the enemy of good.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:16 AM

Would this be easier if you emailed me? I'm sherpamelissa at gmail dot com Anyway, 80/20 is a reference to Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint and the advice he gives that 80% compliant is good enough to really improve your health. You don't need to be perfect. I have to say, I went mainly on calorie counting for most of my weight loss, so I wanted to eat something not "on my plan" I did. I just made adjustments to the rest of my day's calories. She shouldn't be disappointed in her lack of self control. She's doing awesome. If that's the worst she's done, that's incredible.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 08, 2011
at 01:46 AM

She's amazed at her own lack of self-control especially when there were other alternatives for her to eat. What does 80/20 mean by the way? I know fried rice is not the end of the world. I've told her that I hope she hasn't given up based on one setback. She IS disappointed in herself. I just don't know how to help her work around her poor self-control.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 08, 2011
at 01:46 AM

Okay. The thing that upsets us (she and I) both is that we talked about her going to this restaurant before her 'date'. We talked about her possible food options which were all yummy (Thai coconut curries, etc). But when she got there, it's like she forgot our conversation and what her goals were. She had spent the morning before at Crossfit (just to watch and talk to the trainers) and had gone grocery-shopping to buy lots of healthy food. Before she went for her 'date', she spoke to her parents about getting PT sessions and her parents said they would fund them and do what it takes.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 08, 2011
at 12:30 AM

Shan, give it to her as part of her 80/20. Seriously. Fried rice is not the end of the world. The important part is to forgive herself, move on and make the next choice a good one. Don't allow it to say the day is ruined. I messed up ALOT at first. Give her a break.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 07, 2011
at 11:25 PM

Sigh. She had fried rice today at a restaurant when catching up with a friend. I feel like crying.

D1728f99db66ff91d695a6df5cd38b02

(1368)

on September 06, 2011
at 07:38 PM

I know how hard it can be to do one pushup! I remember boasting to my crossfit trainer when I could do one REAL pushup! I probably can't anymore... So go for it! major respect!

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on September 06, 2011
at 04:48 PM

Shan - I hope going paleo helps with her mood issues, too! Eliminating grains and most processed sugar did incredible things for me in that respect, which in turn makes it easier to avoid the comfort eating.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 06, 2011
at 12:43 PM

Ugh. I can so relate with the food being the comfort/stress reliever. That is great she is feeling upbeat. You are a great friend to her.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 06, 2011
at 12:20 PM

I think that's awesome, Shan. You are a great friend! I don't know if she needs to be counting calories yet, but Livestrong also figures out your fat/protein/carb % too. It's also helpful for when she does hit that first plateau, to see what she's been doing so you can adjust accordingly. Otherwise you are just kind of stabbing in the dark. I love that you said ok and and she was miffed!! That shows that she cares too and wants you to be invested. I hope you told her that you know she will make mistakes, that you don't get mad at her about them, that you need her to be honest with you!

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 06, 2011
at 03:30 AM

i mean...putting some salt on a spoon and eating...Morton's Lite is the best since it's iodine and potassium enhanced. It's kind of gross though to just eat it.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:24 AM

What do you mean by supplementing salt literally by eating it?

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:24 AM

What does 80/20 mean? Also, I told her that once she and her palate is accustomed to paleo, SAD isn't going to be appealing to her anymore. She highly doubts it at this stage, understandably. Haha!

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:22 AM

Well done Cyn! What you've done for yourself is highly commendable!!!

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:09 AM

I've reminded her though that given she is easily depressed, food has been her 1 comfort that has made her feel good when everything else hasn't - which has landed her where she is today. She identifies this and knows losing weight will remove at least half her problems. I'm motivating her everyday, many times everyday. I realise it's such a mental thing!

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:09 AM

Thanks Jess. I'll see how she goes on rather strict Paleo (milk with tea though, it's her one pleasure). Emotionally, I'm there for her. If she feels too run down or feels it's too difficult, I'll suggest the alternatives to her. Right now, she's feeling upbeat about it and proud of herself for walking away from lasagna, burgers, nuggets and fries being eaten around her. I am applauding her efforts all the time, but if she ever tells me she's over it, I'll suggest your alternatives.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:00 AM

And yes, I shouldn't be disappointed in her, argh! Yesterday she admitted that she had some milk in her tea and I said "OK" and she was like... "WHAT?! HOW CAN YOU SAY "OK"? IT'S NOT OKAY!" She's a character. Haha! That made me smile though. She knows she's only doing herself a disservice when she cheats. She's not a child!

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 06, 2011
at 01:59 AM

Hi sherpamelissa, we text each other throughout the day and yes, she lets me know what she's eating and what her achievements have been for the day (resisting temptation of bad food). So, should her diet be caloric-based as well (besides quality of food)? I'm not sure how Livestrong works. I've told her to log everything on an Google Excel spreadsheet even if she doesn't want to start a blog for it (just for us both to view). I'll check out Livestrong. Thank you!!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 06:19 PM

I have to say, I started with cardio and it worked for me for the first 2 years. I started out on the recumbent bike at the gym, because I knew how to work it and I was comfortable for me. From there I watched the people on the treadmills and other equipment until I thought I was comfortable enough to give them a try. THE BEST EXERCISE IS WHAT YOU ARE WILLING TO DO.

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on September 05, 2011
at 06:12 PM

I'm afraid I'm not understanding. This isn't intended to be the One True Complete Solution, simply some approaches that might help if "add potatoes to deal with low carb flu" isn't adequate to overcome ingrained habits, preferences, and addictions, as I've observed this being a stumbling block for several friends of mine trying to make major dietary changes without strong local support.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 05, 2011
at 06:03 PM

Can't verify but I think chicken fat is generally higher than most animal fats in omega six, whether it's pastured or not. Surely a lot of corn and soy will raise it further but I think even pastured ones have a good deal.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:27 PM

It's not offensive, jess, it just really didn't properly answer the OPs question as far as I was concerned. There are so many more issues when you are dealing with helping someone else besides just how to handle the food.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:20 PM

Excellent! I'm a big fan of baby steps too. I think people who accept this as a true journey seem to do very well. Each step reveals more and we can look back and see how the path unfolded for us.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:15 PM

I agree that for some a gradual progression is best. Strict paleo can be completely overwhelming for someone coming right off SAD. I would add though that fruit should pretty much be stricken from the diet in this situation and an attempt to go as low carb as comfortable is probably best to yield weight loss that will continue to motivate.

C1c86f42410cd4788bd9c5cf801dcd8f

(2246)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:15 PM

Cardio sucks for everyone, lifting weights is great!

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:09 PM

Yes, I should have specified that I meant "you" in the general sense, not the OP specifically. Lazy writing. I suppose I can go back and edit if it causes offense.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 04:49 PM

Did you read the question, Jess? The OP isn't obese, it's her friend that lives 3000 miles away from her. These are good suggestions, but don't answer this question properly at all.

6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:26 PM

Oh yes you definitely have to count after you get a certain point but initially you probably don't need to.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 05, 2011
at 02:19 PM

Maybe Travis is talking about exposure to stress in the short term, like hormesis. The long term gain comes with the keto adaptation.

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

(2191)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:02 PM

If ketosis is stressful it means cortisol is high. But cortisol inhibits fat burning, and ketosis is the direct result of burning fat.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:13 PM

... so after breakfast I would tell her she had XXXX left for the day, etc. Then after lunch we would try to plan a dinner for her and a snack before bed that would be enough food, but still within her limits.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:12 PM

Please, please don't get disappointed in her! Deciding to do this and working with you is an AMAZING step! There are going to be set backs. The important thing to tell her is to accept them and move on and make the next food choice a good one! Don't let one bad decision ruin the whole day or weekend or month. Learning to allow myself not to be perfect was really important. How is she communicating her food to you now? Phone or email? I had one friend I helped that texted her food to me throughout the day and I entered it in Livestrong and gave her tallies....

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:09 PM

I agree, I made a lot of substitute foods to start! Then, I just didn't need them as much anymore.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:09 PM

Eazine, you aren't doing it wrong. You found what works for you! If your goal is losing weight and you are still losing while eating potatoes, that's awesome!

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 07:51 AM

I'm sourcing a burkini for her but I wonder if there'll be ones for her size. (And yes, sallycinnamon, I'm pretty involved and I do get a little disappointed when she misses on her walks or cheats a little on a meal. This forum has helped me understand that I need to cut her some slack and appreciate that it's a huge psychological thing for her.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 07:51 AM

I've asked her to keep a food diary, but she just feels too low, depressed and unenergetic to do anything but do what's required of her at home. She went to a friend's place and was offered lasagna for lunch. She actually walked away from it, which I am so proud of her for doing! For someone who has eaten poorly for almost 20 years and been unable to say 'no', this is huge. I let her know that.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on September 05, 2011
at 05:40 AM

I'd like to suggest swimming as it may help with the ankle issue AND many Muslim women (I'm not sure if your friend is Muslim) wear what's called a "burqini" which allows them to keep covered up while swimming. What you are doing for your friend is wonderful, but be mindful not to get TOO involved to the point of getting upset when she has setbacks - your personality may not be like mine, but I get very involved when trying to help people and sometimes it backfires on me.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:23 AM

Okay, Travis, you know I've got to call you on that. There's just not much evidence at all that ketosis is stressful. Especially seeing as how we go ketotic every night, unless we sleepeat. Chronic ketosis might not be necessary for everyone, but it's not especially stressful. See this thread: http://paleohacks.com/questions/25449/why-do-people-consider-ketosis-stressful-to-the-body#axzz1X3KGTgx2

Medium avatar

(3024)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:22 AM

I believe the O6 in fat isn't an issue if you get pastured chickens. Can someone verify?

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:22 AM

Don't carbohydrates come in other forms, such as vegetables (which also offer many nutrients)? So it's not necessarily no-carb diet, but a low-carb one.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:15 AM

On the contrary, you're doing it exactly right. Ketosis is a panic mechanism used during starvation to keep the brain and red blood cells going. Simulating it is highly stressful at best.

396679d1e1357eb7e9397ca34c8773ea

(454)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:30 AM

(continued) and the more paleo most people eat, those cheat meals show them how quickly they develop a distaste for SAD foods. I know I wouldn't be as paleo if I hadn't tried the chocolate cake a few times after going paleo and gotten sick and hated the taste.

396679d1e1357eb7e9397ca34c8773ea

(454)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:29 AM

@Shan, It's good that you care but honestly the portion size is only responsible up to a certain point. As Rob Wolf has said, it's the quaility of what goes in, not the amount. As long as she's eating quality foods she should be eating until she's full. Meat and veggies will satiate you much longer than any carbs ever could. And I also agree with sherpamelissa on the 80/20 it can be hard to give up everything, try taking her out for a cheat meal once a week, let her know it's not about always eating healthy. But improving the quality of life... Best of luck to you and your friend. :)

74d0407ca99061cab2512ed83683b498

(788)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:25 AM

+1 You're right -- cardio sucks if you're bigger. Weight lifting is the key!

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on September 05, 2011
at 02:20 AM

If I had to guess, she's feeling crappy because she's not eating enough carbs and she hasn't adapted to that. I prefer moderate carb to avoid the low-carb flu and to provide more flexibility in the diet. But if she feels LC is the way to go, the feeling crappy part should be over sometime during the second week.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:16 AM

Great idea, Rose! I am not a huge fan of Curves, but for beginners, I do think it can be a great choice. We also have Women's Workout World near me, NO MEN ALLOWED at either.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:14 AM

Interesting puzzle! Years ago I used to go to a segregated gym; men and women worked out in different halves. I really loved it; not because I ever found that men were mean (in fact, I'd say women can be meaner to fatties than men, at least to our faces), but because the women themselves were different, and acted differently, without men around. I wonder if there's a pool or a gym near her that does that?

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:14 AM

Ooh another suggestion, because you are so far apart. Is she up to tracking her food? I know it's not for everyone, but it's worked for a lot of us. Rather than feeling like she has to report to you, using a site like Livestrong, that will allow you both to have accounts where you can "friend" each other would let you see her food and exercise and comment on it.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 05, 2011
at 02:13 AM

+1 and Congratulations! Good for you for putting together what works "for you!*

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:12 AM

Oooh, that's tough! Okay, well here are some ideas for seated exercise, due to her problems with her ankles to start http://www.exercisefortheobese.com/exercises-for-the-obese I would only suggest doing these maybe for the first month 2 days a week, plus at least one or two days of walking. It's really just about building her confidence.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:04 AM

I will help her with goal-setting. I also don't know what exercises to recommend an obese woman (who due to religious beliefs, covers her head and dresses modestly) that is safe and 'easy' to do. Any tried and tested suggestions?

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:04 AM

I live over 3,000 miles away from her! :( I've asked her close friends and sister to be on board with this because I'm not there. Her family (whom she lives with) eat generally healthily. The disaster occurs when she eats out with friends. So, it is these friends that I've spoken with. Therefore, no fast food or buffet restaurants and only restaurants that offer healthy options. I text her everyday asking her what she ate and just general motivation.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:53 AM

It does, but some O6 is necessary; it's not all evil, lol. It's the sheer *amount* in industrial food that's toxic. If she's giving up vegetable oils and other crap, the chicken won't hurt her. At least, IMHO. Others might chime in with more caution. (And I also think reducing her weight is a priority over getting every ratio exactly right, but that's just me...)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:24 AM

Start slow, that's all. Can you walk with her? Or even coming up with a mini 2 round tabata circuit of 3 exercises. 3 easy exercises! To build her confidence. Again, ask what she wants. If you can't exercise with her, can you text her or call her when she has planned the exercise to help hold her accountable? Setting goals can really help. 2 days a week for the first month, then 3, etc. I make deals with myself, I don't get Starbucks unless I exercise. I get a manicure if I get in all my planned workouts for the week. Things like that.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:12 AM

We've been best friends since 1999 but back then, we never took our health seriously. I moved overseas and she's gotten fatter with time. Now I worry about her health; it's no longer just about looking hot! Is crispy chicken skin good for you? I understand it contains Omega 6 fatty acids?

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:10 AM

Hi there! Thanks for the links, it would definitely help motivate her. I always tell her, if hundreds of obese people can make the transformation, why not you too?

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:10 AM

Hi Hurricane, she's been doing it for less than a week! I'm telling her to go on but I need to explain why she's feeling so crappy. I also needed to consider the possibility that my advice was wrong. Maybe she needs a bigger portion to a regular person? I've shown her the Whole9 website.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:08 AM

Noting what you guys have said from experience, I'll tell her to take it easy and focus on her eating more than anything. I do want this to be a lifestyle change for her in the long-term.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:07 AM

Hi guys, thank you. My friend has tried walking but is never disciplined at it. Life gets in the way, she says, so it's never a routine. Her ankles ache because she's that huge. I guess, one of my reasonings for her getting into Crossfit, is to keep her disciplined and to expose her to the passionate and encouraging Crossfit community. She is also easily depressed and very emotional. Exercise for me has always been a positive experience even when I get my ass kicked and handed to me. Doesn't it promote the release of endorphins?

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 12:51 AM

Yeah, the more I think about this, I was so mortified to go into the gym at first. I was sure everyone would be watching the ~fat chick~. I learned better, the more I got involved, but initially, it was really hard. Even once I lost weight, I still hard a hard time dealing with mirrors and group classes. I had to really push myself to do each of these things. Long walks or bike rides or honestly, WHATEVER SHE WANTS TO DO, will most likely be easier to start.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on September 05, 2011
at 12:51 AM

Well maybe for some people, but for other people, keeping track of and limiting calories is something they have to do to reach and maintain a healthy weight, especially if they were previously very obese.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on September 05, 2011
at 12:51 AM

Melissa knows what's the haps on significant long term weight loss and maintenance.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 05, 2011
at 12:50 AM

Good for you for wanting to help your friend. I had a hard time giving up pasta and bread, too; they were my faves. I substituted baked brussels sprouts with cream and bacon (although I no longer eat that since going ZC), and I still eat roast chicken every week -- my husband eats most of the meat, and I eat *all* the crispy skin. My guess is if she eats enough fat -- which she shouldn't be afraid of -- she'll feel better. I'd shoot for between 70-80% of cals from fat; a high number, yes, but it'll promote satiety and general good health.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 05, 2011
at 12:37 AM

I especially agree about the exercise in the beginning. And *Crossfit*, no less. When I was obese, I exercised because I had always exercised, but it felt rotten. When I finally dialed my diet in, I stopped formal exercise completely, and the weight came off just fine. Once she's closer to a more comfortable body size, she can pick whatever exercise she wants to do, whether it be Crossfit, running, or (why not?) ballroom dancing.

396679d1e1357eb7e9397ca34c8773ea

(454)

on September 05, 2011
at 12:14 AM

As another reference heres another post with more detail about keto-adaptation. (the transition of the body to burning fat for fuel) http://paleohacks.com/questions/41994/beginner-zero-carb-no-sugar-feeling-tired#axzz1X23cFEFy

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13 Answers

25
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on September 05, 2011
at 12:30 AM

As a formerly obese person myself, my recommendation is that she needs to take this slower if you want her to stick to it. New food + Crossfit at the same time may really be too much, especially if she has an eating disordered past.

When I made this really work, I got my food portion right for about a month before I jumped into exercise. Also, you may want to go 80/20 Paleo with her and allow some non-Paleo foods. Or maybe make some Paleo friendly things like almond butter brownies and macadamia nut cookies, Paleo pancakes, touches of what she's used to.

The other option is to cut everything completely out for 30 days, like a whole 30.

You really need to have a heart to heart with her regarding what SHE thinks will work for her best. Some people need to ease into a lifestyle change to make it stick and some people will take allowances like 80/20 and stretch them too far and end up not fixing anything at all.

Do not be judgemental. Deciding to make the change is a huge step. It can change your whole life. If you have been making excuses for other parts of your life based on being fat, it is very scary to decide to change that. Once your fat is gone, you have to figure out the other things. Losing weight can be extremely mental. You have to be ready for that. Going slow really helped me mentally keep up with the weight loss.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 12:51 AM

Yeah, the more I think about this, I was so mortified to go into the gym at first. I was sure everyone would be watching the ~fat chick~. I learned better, the more I got involved, but initially, it was really hard. Even once I lost weight, I still hard a hard time dealing with mirrors and group classes. I had to really push myself to do each of these things. Long walks or bike rides or honestly, WHATEVER SHE WANTS TO DO, will most likely be easier to start.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:16 AM

Great idea, Rose! I am not a huge fan of Curves, but for beginners, I do think it can be a great choice. We also have Women's Workout World near me, NO MEN ALLOWED at either.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:00 AM

And yes, I shouldn't be disappointed in her, argh! Yesterday she admitted that she had some milk in her tea and I said "OK" and she was like... "WHAT?! HOW CAN YOU SAY "OK"? IT'S NOT OKAY!" She's a character. Haha! That made me smile though. She knows she's only doing herself a disservice when she cheats. She's not a child!

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:04 AM

I will help her with goal-setting. I also don't know what exercises to recommend an obese woman (who due to religious beliefs, covers her head and dresses modestly) that is safe and 'easy' to do. Any tried and tested suggestions?

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:07 AM

Hi guys, thank you. My friend has tried walking but is never disciplined at it. Life gets in the way, she says, so it's never a routine. Her ankles ache because she's that huge. I guess, one of my reasonings for her getting into Crossfit, is to keep her disciplined and to expose her to the passionate and encouraging Crossfit community. She is also easily depressed and very emotional. Exercise for me has always been a positive experience even when I get my ass kicked and handed to me. Doesn't it promote the release of endorphins?

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 05, 2011
at 12:37 AM

I especially agree about the exercise in the beginning. And *Crossfit*, no less. When I was obese, I exercised because I had always exercised, but it felt rotten. When I finally dialed my diet in, I stopped formal exercise completely, and the weight came off just fine. Once she's closer to a more comfortable body size, she can pick whatever exercise she wants to do, whether it be Crossfit, running, or (why not?) ballroom dancing.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:12 PM

Please, please don't get disappointed in her! Deciding to do this and working with you is an AMAZING step! There are going to be set backs. The important thing to tell her is to accept them and move on and make the next food choice a good one! Don't let one bad decision ruin the whole day or weekend or month. Learning to allow myself not to be perfect was really important. How is she communicating her food to you now? Phone or email? I had one friend I helped that texted her food to me throughout the day and I entered it in Livestrong and gave her tallies....

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:14 AM

Ooh another suggestion, because you are so far apart. Is she up to tracking her food? I know it's not for everyone, but it's worked for a lot of us. Rather than feeling like she has to report to you, using a site like Livestrong, that will allow you both to have accounts where you can "friend" each other would let you see her food and exercise and comment on it.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on September 05, 2011
at 12:51 AM

Melissa knows what's the haps on significant long term weight loss and maintenance.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:14 AM

Interesting puzzle! Years ago I used to go to a segregated gym; men and women worked out in different halves. I really loved it; not because I ever found that men were mean (in fact, I'd say women can be meaner to fatties than men, at least to our faces), but because the women themselves were different, and acted differently, without men around. I wonder if there's a pool or a gym near her that does that?

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 07:51 AM

I'm sourcing a burkini for her but I wonder if there'll be ones for her size. (And yes, sallycinnamon, I'm pretty involved and I do get a little disappointed when she misses on her walks or cheats a little on a meal. This forum has helped me understand that I need to cut her some slack and appreciate that it's a huge psychological thing for her.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:24 AM

Start slow, that's all. Can you walk with her? Or even coming up with a mini 2 round tabata circuit of 3 exercises. 3 easy exercises! To build her confidence. Again, ask what she wants. If you can't exercise with her, can you text her or call her when she has planned the exercise to help hold her accountable? Setting goals can really help. 2 days a week for the first month, then 3, etc. I make deals with myself, I don't get Starbucks unless I exercise. I get a manicure if I get in all my planned workouts for the week. Things like that.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:08 AM

Noting what you guys have said from experience, I'll tell her to take it easy and focus on her eating more than anything. I do want this to be a lifestyle change for her in the long-term.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:13 PM

... so after breakfast I would tell her she had XXXX left for the day, etc. Then after lunch we would try to plan a dinner for her and a snack before bed that would be enough food, but still within her limits.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:12 AM

Oooh, that's tough! Okay, well here are some ideas for seated exercise, due to her problems with her ankles to start http://www.exercisefortheobese.com/exercises-for-the-obese I would only suggest doing these maybe for the first month 2 days a week, plus at least one or two days of walking. It's really just about building her confidence.

957a563c7e4a165663fd3c71207c39da

on September 05, 2011
at 05:40 AM

I'd like to suggest swimming as it may help with the ankle issue AND many Muslim women (I'm not sure if your friend is Muslim) wear what's called a "burqini" which allows them to keep covered up while swimming. What you are doing for your friend is wonderful, but be mindful not to get TOO involved to the point of getting upset when she has setbacks - your personality may not be like mine, but I get very involved when trying to help people and sometimes it backfires on me.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:04 AM

I live over 3,000 miles away from her! :( I've asked her close friends and sister to be on board with this because I'm not there. Her family (whom she lives with) eat generally healthily. The disaster occurs when she eats out with friends. So, it is these friends that I've spoken with. Therefore, no fast food or buffet restaurants and only restaurants that offer healthy options. I text her everyday asking her what she ate and just general motivation.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 07:51 AM

I've asked her to keep a food diary, but she just feels too low, depressed and unenergetic to do anything but do what's required of her at home. She went to a friend's place and was offered lasagna for lunch. She actually walked away from it, which I am so proud of her for doing! For someone who has eaten poorly for almost 20 years and been unable to say 'no', this is huge. I let her know that.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 06, 2011
at 01:59 AM

Hi sherpamelissa, we text each other throughout the day and yes, she lets me know what she's eating and what her achievements have been for the day (resisting temptation of bad food). So, should her diet be caloric-based as well (besides quality of food)? I'm not sure how Livestrong works. I've told her to log everything on an Google Excel spreadsheet even if she doesn't want to start a blog for it (just for us both to view). I'll check out Livestrong. Thank you!!

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 07, 2011
at 11:25 PM

Sigh. She had fried rice today at a restaurant when catching up with a friend. I feel like crying.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 08, 2011
at 01:46 AM

She's amazed at her own lack of self-control especially when there were other alternatives for her to eat. What does 80/20 mean by the way? I know fried rice is not the end of the world. I've told her that I hope she hasn't given up based on one setback. She IS disappointed in herself. I just don't know how to help her work around her poor self-control.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 06, 2011
at 12:20 PM

I think that's awesome, Shan. You are a great friend! I don't know if she needs to be counting calories yet, but Livestrong also figures out your fat/protein/carb % too. It's also helpful for when she does hit that first plateau, to see what she's been doing so you can adjust accordingly. Otherwise you are just kind of stabbing in the dark. I love that you said ok and and she was miffed!! That shows that she cares too and wants you to be invested. I hope you told her that you know she will make mistakes, that you don't get mad at her about them, that you need her to be honest with you!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 08, 2011
at 12:30 AM

Shan, give it to her as part of her 80/20. Seriously. Fried rice is not the end of the world. The important part is to forgive herself, move on and make the next choice a good one. Don't allow it to say the day is ruined. I messed up ALOT at first. Give her a break.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:16 AM

Would this be easier if you emailed me? I'm sherpamelissa at gmail dot com Anyway, 80/20 is a reference to Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint and the advice he gives that 80% compliant is good enough to really improve your health. You don't need to be perfect. I have to say, I went mainly on calorie counting for most of my weight loss, so I wanted to eat something not "on my plan" I did. I just made adjustments to the rest of my day's calories. She shouldn't be disappointed in her lack of self control. She's doing awesome. If that's the worst she's done, that's incredible.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 08, 2011
at 02:17 AM

I was a binge eater and it took me 3 years to get over those habits. I had a lot of mental work to do to learn better habits. I still occasionally have issues, but usually in times of high stress and it's down to about once a year or less. Don't let perfection be the enemy of good.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 08, 2011
at 01:46 AM

Okay. The thing that upsets us (she and I) both is that we talked about her going to this restaurant before her 'date'. We talked about her possible food options which were all yummy (Thai coconut curries, etc). But when she got there, it's like she forgot our conversation and what her goals were. She had spent the morning before at Crossfit (just to watch and talk to the trainers) and had gone grocery-shopping to buy lots of healthy food. Before she went for her 'date', she spoke to her parents about getting PT sessions and her parents said they would fund them and do what it takes.

10
742d03cebff2a6d8aae313e90d5c76b8

(325)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:35 AM

I'm fat too. I've lost 35 pounds though in the last 3 months and feel fantastic. At the beginning of summer I cut out all white food - rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, sugar. The first couple of days were HARD. Then I felt better and realized that carbs are addicting. If I cheated, I'd cheat for a couple of days. I would have to fast to break the carb-cycle. THEN I discovered Paleo. I way upped my meat and fat - WAY. I looked into Cross-Fit, but since I knew I couldn't even do one of the assessment skills, I passed. I found a knock-off of P90X called Supreme 90 Day (something or other) on Amazon. I have done it for 2 months and can do a push up! I have muscles! Doing cardio - the exercise all fat people are told they need to do - is hard on fat people, and we give up. Lifting weights and squatting is easy - we keep it up.

I think the exercise helped me to feel better thus making the "diet" easier. I would suggest that she does do both, but not Cross-Fit right away. My goal is join Cross-Fit by Christmas.

74d0407ca99061cab2512ed83683b498

(788)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:25 AM

+1 You're right -- cardio sucks if you're bigger. Weight lifting is the key!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 06:19 PM

I have to say, I started with cardio and it worked for me for the first 2 years. I started out on the recumbent bike at the gym, because I knew how to work it and I was comfortable for me. From there I watched the people on the treadmills and other equipment until I thought I was comfortable enough to give them a try. THE BEST EXERCISE IS WHAT YOU ARE WILLING TO DO.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 05, 2011
at 02:13 AM

+1 and Congratulations! Good for you for putting together what works "for you!*

C1c86f42410cd4788bd9c5cf801dcd8f

(2246)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:15 PM

Cardio sucks for everyone, lifting weights is great!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:20 PM

Excellent! I'm a big fan of baby steps too. I think people who accept this as a true journey seem to do very well. Each step reveals more and we can look back and see how the path unfolded for us.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:22 AM

Well done Cyn! What you've done for yourself is highly commendable!!!

D1728f99db66ff91d695a6df5cd38b02

(1368)

on September 06, 2011
at 07:38 PM

I know how hard it can be to do one pushup! I remember boasting to my crossfit trainer when I could do one REAL pushup! I probably can't anymore... So go for it! major respect!

9
91fe5b7e10068df9f147ee84320e38f7

on September 05, 2011
at 12:19 AM

I'm new here, but I would say as someone who experienced hellish low-carb flu, explain it to her and why ultimately it's a good thing --even if you have to describe it as a "detox". My N=1 was that I felt so much better after getting off the grains alone after a couple of weeks, I was ready to pay attention to the rest of "it" (primal/paleo/whatever). And perhaps provide her w/ the links to all the discussions here about low-carb flu so she knows she's not alone. That helped me tremendously.

7
D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on September 05, 2011
at 12:29 AM

Have you heard of AndreAnna's Life as a Plate blog? She was once morbidly obese - was once near 300 lb. - and now she is a fit and fierce Crossfitter who is all kinds of toned. Here are a few links from her inspiring story that you may consider sharing with your friend.

Most importantly, since your friend is still in the awful transition off of processed carbs, have her read AndreAnna's post about her own experience (it had me laughing because I could identify!): http://www.lifeasaplate.com/2010/10/13/the-plunge/

Her Crossfit Posts: http://www.lifeasaplate.com/category/healthfitness/crossfit/

Her Weight Loss Posts: http://www.lifeasaplate.com/category/healthfitness/weightloss/

Her before: morbidly-obese-friend-not-taking-paleo-well---what-to-do?

And her recently at a Warrior Dash (she's #56213): morbidly-obese-friend-not-taking-paleo-well---what-to-do?

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:10 AM

Hi there! Thanks for the links, it would definitely help motivate her. I always tell her, if hundreds of obese people can make the transformation, why not you too?

7
396679d1e1357eb7e9397ca34c8773ea

on September 05, 2011
at 12:07 AM

My first question would be how long has she been doing paleo? Even if it isn't a low carb form of Paleo most people switching from sad to paleo get the typical LC response to the transition. The headaches, tiredness, and crappy feeling will last for the first 1-3 weeks before the body really transitions from burning carbohydrates to burning fat. It's two different metabolic processes and takes the body some time to figure out what's going on.

The best thing to do is just stick it out... That's why the Whole9's Whole30 challenge is a good program. It forces people to stick it out past the low carb slump that usually comes with the switch.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on September 05, 2011
at 02:20 AM

If I had to guess, she's feeling crappy because she's not eating enough carbs and she hasn't adapted to that. I prefer moderate carb to avoid the low-carb flu and to provide more flexibility in the diet. But if she feels LC is the way to go, the feeling crappy part should be over sometime during the second week.

396679d1e1357eb7e9397ca34c8773ea

(454)

on September 05, 2011
at 12:14 AM

As another reference heres another post with more detail about keto-adaptation. (the transition of the body to burning fat for fuel) http://paleohacks.com/questions/41994/beginner-zero-carb-no-sugar-feeling-tired#axzz1X23cFEFy

396679d1e1357eb7e9397ca34c8773ea

(454)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:29 AM

@Shan, It's good that you care but honestly the portion size is only responsible up to a certain point. As Rob Wolf has said, it's the quaility of what goes in, not the amount. As long as she's eating quality foods she should be eating until she's full. Meat and veggies will satiate you much longer than any carbs ever could. And I also agree with sherpamelissa on the 80/20 it can be hard to give up everything, try taking her out for a cheat meal once a week, let her know it's not about always eating healthy. But improving the quality of life... Best of luck to you and your friend. :)

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:10 AM

Hi Hurricane, she's been doing it for less than a week! I'm telling her to go on but I need to explain why she's feeling so crappy. I also needed to consider the possibility that my advice was wrong. Maybe she needs a bigger portion to a regular person? I've shown her the Whole9 website.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:24 AM

What does 80/20 mean? Also, I told her that once she and her palate is accustomed to paleo, SAD isn't going to be appealing to her anymore. She highly doubts it at this stage, understandably. Haha!

396679d1e1357eb7e9397ca34c8773ea

(454)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:30 AM

(continued) and the more paleo most people eat, those cheat meals show them how quickly they develop a distaste for SAD foods. I know I wouldn't be as paleo if I hadn't tried the chocolate cake a few times after going paleo and gotten sick and hated the taste.

396679d1e1357eb7e9397ca34c8773ea

(454)

on September 11, 2011
at 12:51 AM

Sorry about the delay 80/20 means stick to paleo 80% of the time and allow cheat meals 20% of the time. Ideally thats 2-3 cheat meals a week.

5
7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 05, 2011
at 02:43 AM

I would say she should just eat as much or as little as she wants as long as it's paleo for now (except for fruit.) Also...for the transition...try some salty broths or just supplementing salt literally by eating it.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:24 AM

What do you mean by supplementing salt literally by eating it?

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 06, 2011
at 03:30 AM

i mean...putting some salt on a spoon and eating...Morton's Lite is the best since it's iodine and potassium enhanced. It's kind of gross though to just eat it.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on June 08, 2012
at 04:40 PM

Haha, or she can just season her food- I would be a bit turned off if someone told my to eat salt off a spoon. Would rather sprinkle it on meat/veg!

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 08, 2012
at 06:36 PM

Don't laugh. Eating packets of salt saved my butt. I had the worst carb-flu ever and it lasted 5 weeks. At that point I thought I was going to die. I had severe edema and felt really weak. Didn't feel better until one day I spontaneously poured salt packets into my hand and licked them off.

4
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on September 05, 2011
at 02:07 AM

I second (or third?) the recommendation to have her avoid Cross-fit for now. Make sure she's getting good sources of healthy fats (pastured butter, pastured eggs, preferably grass-fed liver) ... and not trying to do this low-fat because that's been drummed into her head for years.

And have her check out paleo hacks ... let her know that there are other women who are or have been where she is (I've lost 100 lbs with more to go). It's not just for hard bodies ;).

3
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on September 05, 2011
at 04:16 AM

when i first cut grains i was making almond crackers every day for about 3 weeks. i haven't made them since. change can happen with small steps.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:09 PM

I agree, I made a lot of substitute foods to start! Then, I just didn't need them as much anymore.

3
A6e2259c98cd43aaa1288fd3e64e078e

(160)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:52 AM

If she needs to eat a little fruit to stay motivated, it is better than feeling like she can't stick with Paleo. Eventually she will reduce her carb cravings anyway. Too extreem and she could feel discouraged and never try it again.

3
6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on September 05, 2011
at 12:41 AM

When I am trying to convince obese people to try this diet, I always point out the main selling point that appeals to those who love food: You never have to be hungry or count calories.

6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:26 PM

Oh yes you definitely have to count after you get a certain point but initially you probably don't need to.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on September 05, 2011
at 12:51 AM

Well maybe for some people, but for other people, keeping track of and limiting calories is something they have to do to reach and maintain a healthy weight, especially if they were previously very obese.

2
967229edcc94a66580110324524feb49

(688)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:02 AM

I guess Im probably not doing it right but I didn't feel good on paleo until I started adding potatoes (about 4 small/ med per week) to my diet.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:15 AM

On the contrary, you're doing it exactly right. Ketosis is a panic mechanism used during starvation to keep the brain and red blood cells going. Simulating it is highly stressful at best.

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

(2191)

on September 05, 2011
at 02:02 PM

If ketosis is stressful it means cortisol is high. But cortisol inhibits fat burning, and ketosis is the direct result of burning fat.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 05, 2011
at 02:19 PM

Maybe Travis is talking about exposure to stress in the short term, like hormesis. The long term gain comes with the keto adaptation.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:22 AM

Don't carbohydrates come in other forms, such as vegetables (which also offer many nutrients)? So it's not necessarily no-carb diet, but a low-carb one.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:23 AM

Okay, Travis, you know I've got to call you on that. There's just not much evidence at all that ketosis is stressful. Especially seeing as how we go ketotic every night, unless we sleepeat. Chronic ketosis might not be necessary for everyone, but it's not especially stressful. See this thread: http://paleohacks.com/questions/25449/why-do-people-consider-ketosis-stressful-to-the-body#axzz1X3KGTgx2

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 01:09 PM

Eazine, you aren't doing it wrong. You found what works for you! If your goal is losing weight and you are still losing while eating potatoes, that's awesome!

1
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on June 08, 2012
at 04:00 PM

A very close family member has recently decided to follow this diet as well (and she's in almost the same boat as your friend).

To fight off the carb headaches, she would eat 1/2 an orange. This would help her over that hump without killing her progress.

She's 2 weeks in now, sans 16lbs of water and some fat weight, with no headaches, and surprisingly no severe "bad food" cravings.

I built a very custom template for her, the gist of which was to put her on a diet of whole, non-starchy foods, give her an overhead of about 200-calories over her BMR, and avoid "trigger foods" - foods that potentially motivate binges.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 08, 2012
at 07:04 PM

You read my mind, Joshua. This thread reminded me of the one you posted about helping a friend and I was wondering how she's doing. Sounds like a good start! How's she feeling? 16 pounds is a GREAT beginning, even if some of it was water.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on June 08, 2012
at 07:48 PM

She had carb flu longer than I expected, but once it subsided, good things started happening.

1
306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on September 05, 2011
at 04:07 PM

Going cold turkey isn't the only way. For some people it works best, and most people probably see more results faster (which can be very motivating for some people), but if it's too difficult to stick to it isn't a help, and there's a tendency to throw everything out the window and go back to total SAD.

"You" refers to whoever is making the dietary changes, not the OP specifically, since the OP is not asking for him/herself. These suggestions are based on my own experiences, as well as watching friends try to go paleo and get overwhelmed.

A gradual approach can be a much easier adjustment psychologically.

As more foods are eliminated, be sure adequate fat is included to encourage satiety.

Step 1: If necessary, learn to cook, and prepare more meals at home. Switch to paleo-appropriate oils when cooking at home. Integrate higher quality animal products and produce to the greatest extent that budget allows. Focus on low glycemic index fruits and veggies, but integrating some sort of real produce with each meal is a positive step if it isn't happening already. Use grains and legumes that have been properly prepared (soaking and so forth) WAPF style for all homecooked meals. These steps should be pretty painless emotionally - you're not eliminating anything, just laying a foundation for future changes.

Step 2: Eliminate gluten. Preferably don't use gluten-free replacements (especially processed) unless they're paleo.

Step 3: Eat meals at least several times a week that don't include grains, legumes, and/or dairy. Not all of them, but enough to psychologically adjust to the idea of meals without these things. Use only high-quality, full-fat, preferably fermented dairy products, and experiment with using non-dairy milks for some purposes.

Step 4: Eliminate grains and legumes.

Step 5: Eliminate processed sugar. Don't replace them with large amounts of other sweetener, whether natural or artificial.

Step 6: Go low carb if not seeing adequate results from changes thus far.

Step 7: Experiment with eliminating dairy, going strict Whole30, and so forth.

These steps aren't set in stone - they should be adjusted according to what the individual in question finds easiest to eliminate. If cutting dairy is easy for the person, then that's a good earlier step. If keeping dairy in the diet helps with compliance to the rest of the diet, keep it in until other addictions are dealt with.

Alternatively, do this backwards. Go strict paleo, then add stuff back in as needed until you reach a point where you feel you can handle it rather than going back to complete SAD. Then work towards gradual elimination of those crutches.

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:09 PM

Yes, I should have specified that I meant "you" in the general sense, not the OP specifically. Lazy writing. I suppose I can go back and edit if it causes offense.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:15 PM

I agree that for some a gradual progression is best. Strict paleo can be completely overwhelming for someone coming right off SAD. I would add though that fruit should pretty much be stricken from the diet in this situation and an attempt to go as low carb as comfortable is probably best to yield weight loss that will continue to motivate.

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on September 06, 2011
at 04:48 PM

Shan - I hope going paleo helps with her mood issues, too! Eliminating grains and most processed sugar did incredible things for me in that respect, which in turn makes it easier to avoid the comfort eating.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 04:49 PM

Did you read the question, Jess? The OP isn't obese, it's her friend that lives 3000 miles away from her. These are good suggestions, but don't answer this question properly at all.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:09 AM

I've reminded her though that given she is easily depressed, food has been her 1 comfort that has made her feel good when everything else hasn't - which has landed her where she is today. She identifies this and knows losing weight will remove at least half her problems. I'm motivating her everyday, many times everyday. I realise it's such a mental thing!

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 06, 2011
at 12:43 PM

Ugh. I can so relate with the food being the comfort/stress reliever. That is great she is feeling upbeat. You are a great friend to her.

1b29d868d782cb103e4f6138f779fc7c

(65)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:09 AM

Thanks Jess. I'll see how she goes on rather strict Paleo (milk with tea though, it's her one pleasure). Emotionally, I'm there for her. If she feels too run down or feels it's too difficult, I'll suggest the alternatives to her. Right now, she's feeling upbeat about it and proud of herself for walking away from lasagna, burgers, nuggets and fries being eaten around her. I am applauding her efforts all the time, but if she ever tells me she's over it, I'll suggest your alternatives.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on September 05, 2011
at 05:27 PM

It's not offensive, jess, it just really didn't properly answer the OPs question as far as I was concerned. There are so many more issues when you are dealing with helping someone else besides just how to handle the food.

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on September 05, 2011
at 06:12 PM

I'm afraid I'm not understanding. This isn't intended to be the One True Complete Solution, simply some approaches that might help if "add potatoes to deal with low carb flu" isn't adequate to overcome ingrained habits, preferences, and addictions, as I've observed this being a stumbling block for several friends of mine trying to make major dietary changes without strong local support.

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