On day 3 of Paleo and struggling.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 11, 2012 at 5:28 AM

I've struggling a little bit on what I can eat for strict Paleo. I'm on day 3 and getting a little too obsessive about what I can and cannot have. I'm eating just what is allowed, but sometimes I'll go out and get like steak and broccoli and freak out later after eating most of the broccoli that they probably cooked it in butter. Is that going too far? Does this mean I haven't really started? I also think I'm eating too many nuts because I'm scared of eating other things. How much nuts/seeds is appropriate and can I eat however much fruit I want? Or do I need to have only 1-2 servings a day because of the sugar. I think I'm eating too much fruit because I'm so used to eating dessert after meals, so now I'm substituting a lot of fruit and well nuts/seeds. I also get really stressed at work and find myself grazing on paleo snacks like the above. Also, I've been getting bloated and a bit moody, are these all kind of 'withdrawal' symtoms? Being so moody at times makes me want to give up, but I know it's just the beginning that I have to get through. I guess I need some encouragement. Thanks!

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7 Answers



on October 11, 2012
at 05:53 AM

The clue is in the title. It's day 3, you're supposed to be struggling. It takes (at least) few weeks to get out of the habit of a lifetime of shitty eating. The fact that your hormones are all out of balance is a sign that something is happening, That's good.

Why are you worried that your broccoli might be cooked in butter? If you don't get your head around the "I'm allowed to eat fat and meat thing" then you aren't going to make it.

Eating some fruit is fine. Eating loads of fruit as a substitute for eating sugary desert crap (although better) probably is not. Part of the reason that I got metabolically deranged in the first place was because I bought the whole "lots of fruit is healthy" line and gorged myself on it.

My tip would to be stop worrying the about the things that you can't eat, and start enjoying the things that you can: like eggs, and bacon and steak and cream (not necessarily all at once).



on October 11, 2012
at 03:08 PM

Right now, paleo is your "new thing." It feels very different and a little shocking. That's just fine and maybe you should just relax and enjoy the adventure. Over time, of course, you'll want eating whole foods to become a comfortable habit.

A good goal for you is to explore lots of different vegetables and meats/meat cuts to discover those you particularly like. Just avoid the processed SAD (standard American diet) foods as much as you can and that's a major victory.

At first, your excitement and anxiety may cause you to eat frequently but many people find they naturally eat less often as time goes on--in my case, I do best on one main meal per day.

Pay attention to what happens after you eat--how satisfied do you feel, and how long does it take to get hungry again? I've found that how long I stay satisfied is a good indicator of foods that I thrive on. A nice chunk of beef, such as chuck steak or pot roast, leaves me with high energy and little appetite for about 24 hours. But that can vary over time, such as being hungry for fish or a certain vegetable, and I think that's just a natural response to nutritional needs.


on October 11, 2012
at 01:31 PM

I would view this as day 3 of a lifetime change. You'll be making shifts and adjustments for months, years. Just do your best and enjoy! That's not an excuse to be intentionally non-compliant -- but things will go wrong and you should just treat it as "oh well, now I know for the future".

So, as your journey progresses, you will learn that butter on your broccoli is a good thing, but margarine on your broccoli is a bad thing. Okay, so next time you'll verify that the stuff they put on your broccoli really is butter. Fine. Or you'll realize that those protein bars with sugar-alcohols really aren't a good idea; better to just kill your sweet tooth cold turkey and learn to like 85% chocolate, after which you might discover that 85% chocolate is no good, because you happen to eat an entire bar every day. And so on. You'll see what works for you, which given your individual psychology and physiology will be modestly different from what works for other people.

Look. Remove the sugar (which may be a process for you, or may be easy). Remove the grains (ditto). Remove the seed oils (should be easy). You might want to remove dairy for 30 days at some point (now or later) to see if that matters or not. One you've done that, you'll be way ahead of the game and you may never need to think about food again. If you want to tinker, if you enjoy it, if it's not obsessing but rather just a fun hobby, you can take it farther. Otherwise, just drop the bad stuff, don't worry if there's an unintentional slip-up (or a well-planned, rare-ish cheat), and move on.

But that's in the future. It's day 3. You're bound to obsess for a little while. Do your best to relax and not worry about it, but breaking bad habits requires some short term obsessing for many people, so if that's what you need, then no biggie.



on October 11, 2012
at 12:32 PM

You're doing fine.

As you start out, just focus on your meat, fish, veggies, and eggs. (You definitely don't need grains for variety.) Have a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts as a snack if you're hungry. Since you have a problem with grazing, maybe map out your meals and stick to them -- breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and that planned snack somewhere, if you're hungry).

After you get into the swing of it, you won't feel like you have to think so much about it.

Good luck!


on October 11, 2012
at 01:03 PM

For me, the beginning did involve a fair amount of obsessiveness, but obsessing can serve as a useful tool for motivation. I became an information sponge during the first three months, and this helped reinforce my reasons for making this choice and trying to stick it out.

Of course it also helps if you have a health situation you hope to resolve. In my case, my determination to find a natural solution to GERD, and get off PPI drugs, motivated me more than anything else. I succeeded, losing the drugs and the condition in about 3 months. That provided the tangible evidence I needed to power through my doubts and setbacks. You can probably identify a few of your own issues to use as milestones and motivation.

I suggest setting short, achievable goals, and checking in (at least with yourself) when 3 days has stretched to 3 weeks. You can make it that long, and you might be surprised at the improvements you can feel by then. And don't worry too much about obsessing. In my experience, obsession fades over time, as you become more knowledgeable and things become more familiar. Stay strong!


on October 11, 2012
at 10:05 AM

There are no shoulds. You are doing fine. However lots of nuts and lots of fruit in my view are a lot better than lots of chocolates, sweets and processed foods. However they are not as good as what we eat for 2m years which would rarely have been lots of fruit and nuts all the time - they have seasons so a lot of the time they just would not have been around whereas something like seaweed and fish would always have been on or near the shore. You might need to have a lot of nuts and fruit just to get you over your original diet and then you can gradually adjust and reduce fruit/nuts in due course in a few weeks.

I use fruit, nuts and raisins to get me off sugar /caffeine addictions and it works for me as a transition.


on October 11, 2012
at 07:37 AM

I agree with borofergie about the issue being reflected in the title. If you're wanting to be well it's probably a shift in mentality towards seeking health that's required, not following a regimented program/feeling deprived by counting the days. Take it slowly, trust and hope that there will be improvements and stick with trying to get yourself well. However that happens, I daresay it's worth it :)

By the way, you may want to not worry so much about butter - the world certainly doesn't end by eating butter :) Do some reading (but not too much lol, I can relate about obsessiveness in many ways...

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