6

votes

Am I just not cut out for it?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 18, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Since I gave up eating paleo last week and have re-introduced wheat,sugar,etc. I feel I can go longer without eating than when I was trying paleo. Also, I can eat smaller portions and not feel so bloated. When I was doing paleo, I had to gorge myself to be "satisfied" but then found I couldn't very well do anything with such a FULL feeling in my stomach.

I found myself glued to the computer reading paleohacks, paleoblogs, paleo whatever in order to keep my mind focused on it. But I felt obsessed!

I guess my question is more of a psychological one-- do you put more importance in mental health (eat whatever, just relax) or physical health (better control of blood sugar, etc.). I hate to think I'm sabotaging my health by eating wheat,sugar,etc. but I am afraid of quality of life deterioration.

Is there hope? Can I have my cake and eat it too?

32123f4f25bdf6a7b70c9c2a719386ed

(396)

on May 21, 2011
at 11:32 AM

You might want to look into the Gut and Psychology syndrom diet for healing your gut. Just do a search on GAP's and you will get lots of hits. It is a fairly restricted diet for about 2 months and gradualy adds in foods. It uses a lot of probiotic foods while eliminating things that cause gut issues. The designer of the diet says that after about 2 years on the diet some people can add back foods that caused them problems previously and eat a more varied diet. The author healed her 2 sons of Autism and this is mainly what this diet is for but has successfuly healed a lot of conditions.

669790861549f3c6d54d88a65296ed19

(452)

on May 19, 2011
at 10:28 PM

By genotype,do you mean the bloodtype diet?...or do you have a link to a list where you can check genotypes/which one you are?

A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

(3895)

on May 19, 2011
at 04:03 AM

what tests did your friend do to find out what she metabolizes best?

E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on May 19, 2011
at 03:47 AM

I don't believe that there is any one diet that is right for everyone, and when anyone says "paleo" here, they are often talking about different things. That said, HFCS, plain refined sugar/starches, gluten, etc., are proving to be unhealthy for lot of people. Maybe not everyone, but the research is showing growing numbers. And very good point about perhaps introducing something new that isn't well tolerated.

E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on May 19, 2011
at 03:44 AM

How well the OP is "surviving" eating the junk has a lot to do with their age, which isn't disclosed in this post. Celiac disease and endocrinal problems didn't rear their ugly heads for me until I approached 40. Luck or time? I guess some people always seem to get lucky, but I have friends with gluten sensitivities who cheat way too often and feel horrible and would probably have much better lives if they had to suffer the consequences like I do when I accidentally get glutened, but they still try to pretend the connection isn't there, because it isn't as severe.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on May 18, 2011
at 05:51 PM

great answer! it is very representative of my situation so i feel your frustration. the last paragraph is bang on. why is selling crack against the law while selling twinkies is not?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 18, 2011
at 05:43 PM

of course, in extreme cases like schiz etc what I said would not apply. Thats obvious. Anyone with issues like that should prolly not be looking on here for recommendations. But for the general public who do not have schiz, etc but DO indeed have mood issues, emotional issues, etc I would bet that improvement in diet would go some ways in alleviating some of those issues.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 18, 2011
at 05:27 PM

This is a great answer

91219405abedbfd400ce00dea242a00f

(1044)

on May 18, 2011
at 05:18 PM

While I agree to an extent, I think its more of a chicken vs. egg style argument. Mental health definitely plays a role in physical health, and vice versa. It's hard to ascribe a greater importance to one or the other except in very specific situations such as documented mental disorders and even then it can often go either way. For example, schizophrenia has been linked (although shoddily) to marijuana usage. This could mean either that marijuana usage increases the risk of schizophrenia (physical causing mental) or that people prone to schizophrenia are more likely to smoke marijuana.

D5cde8031564f905260ce9aa7a1f5e2c

(1160)

on May 18, 2011
at 05:16 PM

Nice! Funny how this stuff works sometimes, eh?

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on May 18, 2011
at 04:37 PM

That's interesting! Ha, my wife had the exact opposite problem! She struggled with hunger eating moderate carbs, but once we lowered the carbs and raised the fat/protein she felt much better! Her love for almond butter has me a little worried though ;-)

D5cde8031564f905260ce9aa7a1f5e2c

(1160)

on May 18, 2011
at 04:11 PM

Fair enough. I only asked because my wife had an extremely similar experience with VLC paleo. It made her ravenous and stressed out, and eating SAD junk mitigated these negative effects. Reintroducing safe starches fixed the issue.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:53 PM

What reason did you decide to try Paleo? Weight loss? Auto-immune issues? IBS?

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:52 PM

I absolutely agree, Ben.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:26 PM

Oh, and sorry... -1 for not answering her question.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:26 PM

Idk, Erik. She mentioned that she had to gorge herself, so I doubt she was eating low carb. If she was, she would have been eating VERY little.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:24 PM

YES. I was getting super obsessive and would feel awful about 1 meal every two weeks. Isn't that retarded? Once I stopped feeling that way, I stopped feeling so bad physically after a cheat meal, it reduced my stress, and made me more fun to be around :-) As far as pointers...I'm not sure! For me, it was a matter of finding value in myself outside of physique, diet, or status. I let eating paleo get too big and lost sight of what life is about! Self-reflection does a body good :-)

91219405abedbfd400ce00dea242a00f

(1044)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:16 PM

Did you have to convince yourself to stop worrying about cheat meals? I'd really like any pointers you can give. The last time I had a "cheat" meal (grain-fed steak and vegetables fried in peanut oil at a restaurant), I felt both mentally and physically awful for 2 days. Psychosomatic much?

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:03 PM

For how long did you try paleo?

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12 Answers

best answer

14
776bb678d88f7194b0fa0e5146df14f0

on May 18, 2011
at 04:50 PM

Perhaps the problem here is the paradox of choice. Everyone thinks that they want to have more choices in life (should I wear fur or diamonds?) but in reality, when we are given too many choices we often feel unhappy. I think that going Paleo is actually hardest for people who were doing okay on the SAD. If you were a 300 lb diabetic celiac with Hashimoto's, you would probably find it much easier to stick with Paleo/Primal or whatever would help cure you, and you might see fantastic results immediately that would help you stick with it. If you're like me, and just trying to lose a few vanity pounds or want less digestive discomfort, it's harder to stick with it when everyone else is eating the cakes and cookies and pastas that you were also eating with few ill effects just a short while ago.

To try to answer your question... if you don't have a glaring health problem that is a direct result of the SAD, then worry about your mental health first. You managed to survive this long without a paleo diet and the fact that you think about it at all puts you a huge step ahead.

Going further, I think you need to change your thinking a little bit. Be glad that you're able to survive the current toxic food culture - you're one of the lucky ones. If Paleo is just the last bit of optimization for you, then you can afford to "cheat." However, keep in mind that if you exercise your mental will power and stick with a strict paleo diet for at least a few weeks, then it will become easier (physically) to stick to. That's what I've noticed with myself - but then when I cheat a little my cravings come back. I try not to beat myself up about it, and just go back to eating healthily when I can, even though I know it is far from optimal.

The culture we live in is toxic. There is bad food everywhere, and it requires an enormous amount of will power to resist it, especially if you don't have a huge health incentive not to. I think of it like being a monk in Las Vegas. If we all stick it out together though, I hope that in the future we can change our food culture to not be so tempting, and then it will be easier for all of us.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 18, 2011
at 05:27 PM

This is a great answer

E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on May 19, 2011
at 03:44 AM

How well the OP is "surviving" eating the junk has a lot to do with their age, which isn't disclosed in this post. Celiac disease and endocrinal problems didn't rear their ugly heads for me until I approached 40. Luck or time? I guess some people always seem to get lucky, but I have friends with gluten sensitivities who cheat way too often and feel horrible and would probably have much better lives if they had to suffer the consequences like I do when I accidentally get glutened, but they still try to pretend the connection isn't there, because it isn't as severe.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on May 18, 2011
at 05:51 PM

great answer! it is very representative of my situation so i feel your frustration. the last paragraph is bang on. why is selling crack against the law while selling twinkies is not?

5
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on May 18, 2011
at 03:38 PM

Despite the enthusiasm found here, I don't think that the Paleo diet is necessarily for everyone, for example my wife follows a very non-Paleo diet and is perfectly healthy.

That said, the things that I notice when going strict Paleo are exactly the opposite of what you report. I find that I eat less, feel more full, don't have any bloating or digestive distress, have more energy.

Even if the Paleo diet isn't for everyone, I do think that eating a lot of sugar and refined grains is bad for almost everyone.

You haven't said what your diet was -- within a Paleo diet there is a lot of variety, such as amount of carbs and fat, dairy or no, etc. It could be that by going Paleo you introduced something that you are allergic to or can't tolerate (i.e. eggs, nuts, etc).

E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on May 19, 2011
at 03:47 AM

I don't believe that there is any one diet that is right for everyone, and when anyone says "paleo" here, they are often talking about different things. That said, HFCS, plain refined sugar/starches, gluten, etc., are proving to be unhealthy for lot of people. Maybe not everyone, but the research is showing growing numbers. And very good point about perhaps introducing something new that isn't well tolerated.

3
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:44 PM

To answer directly:

I suppose I'd say that physical health leads to mental health so I would put more value on physical health first and foremost.

I believe if you eat well for long enough it becomes default, intrinsic and at that point you will have your cake and eat it, too, yes.

More over, and i write this only because your question explicitly goes into this territory, I believe the issue you are dealing with is your own; it has nothing to do with "paleo" per se. Paleo in this sentence could be replaced by weight-watchers, jenny craig, VLC, atkins, Warrior, whatever.

All the best no matter what you choose. If you feel happier eating SAD and it is working for you, go for it!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 18, 2011
at 05:43 PM

of course, in extreme cases like schiz etc what I said would not apply. Thats obvious. Anyone with issues like that should prolly not be looking on here for recommendations. But for the general public who do not have schiz, etc but DO indeed have mood issues, emotional issues, etc I would bet that improvement in diet would go some ways in alleviating some of those issues.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:52 PM

I absolutely agree, Ben.

91219405abedbfd400ce00dea242a00f

(1044)

on May 18, 2011
at 05:18 PM

While I agree to an extent, I think its more of a chicken vs. egg style argument. Mental health definitely plays a role in physical health, and vice versa. It's hard to ascribe a greater importance to one or the other except in very specific situations such as documented mental disorders and even then it can often go either way. For example, schizophrenia has been linked (although shoddily) to marijuana usage. This could mean either that marijuana usage increases the risk of schizophrenia (physical causing mental) or that people prone to schizophrenia are more likely to smoke marijuana.

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 19, 2011
at 01:44 AM

Before trying Paleo/primal with a 4 week elimination diet, I was happily eating wheat and sugar with few if any symptoms I could point to. I felt like I could lose a few pounds but didn't want to stress about it. I had some physical problems I thought were just about getting older, nothing I could do. So I understand Meghan's questioning of Paleo. I don't want to be hardcore either. I don't want my friends to avoid me because I don't eat pasta. Your relationships are as important as your diet IMO. I'm also a cook who was dismayed to lose such primary ingredients. Fact is I will never be a hardcore Paleo. I'm already thinking I can't really relate to Paleo and it's restrictions and obsessions. So I just do the best I can living a version of Paleo (ideal) Primal (to keep my friends and my sanity) and WAPF to enjoy cooking again. I will say that strict Paleo probably would agree with me very much if I could follow it strictly. But as they say Life is too short... Luckily Meghan has tried Paleo and if she finds symptoms and problems with her health in the future she will have Paleo principles to fall back on if she needs them. They are now familiar to her.

2
91219405abedbfd400ce00dea242a00f

(1044)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:06 PM

I think it's important not to think in dichotomies. As in reintroducing sugar and wheat does not necessarily have to mean that it is all you eat. Not everyone can go full out paleo cold turkey and a general rule I think that many follow at least at first is to do it 80% of the time. If you feel that you will feel mentally better and healthier incorporating some non-paleo foods into your diet, I'd say go for it, but make at least 80% of your meals paleo for health benefits. If you find that you can go even higher than that, great. We only live once, do what makes you most happy.

Finding a balance between health and happy lifestyle is a great achievement, and I wish I could do the same instead of being borderline orthorexic (like many others on this site) and worrying about fructose, omega-6s, and many other things with every meal I eat. Unfortunately, I feel worse instead of better, both mentally and physically, if I don't pay attention to it.

Edit: I should add that this post was meant for you only if you are already in decent health. If you suffer from metabolic syndrome or obesity, I would stick with low-carb paleo until your issues are resolved.

1
Effc583b3e5663470826644c23425221

on May 18, 2011
at 03:45 PM

I like Alex's answer...this is why I follow the Primal Blueprint. One of Sisson's philosophies is the 80/20 rule. It is about being happy and healthy with a SUSTAINABLE balance, not obsessing and being perfect.

You may also want to look into eating for you genotype... It almost breaks down paleo/primal eating into different groupings for different genotypes. For example, some people do better with more things like sprouted grains (not so paleo) than they do other types of foods. Personally, I have tailored my paleo/primal eating around my genotype and it was like a nitro boost for my body.

669790861549f3c6d54d88a65296ed19

(452)

on May 19, 2011
at 10:28 PM

By genotype,do you mean the bloodtype diet?...or do you have a link to a list where you can check genotypes/which one you are?

1
A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:06 PM

What an interesting question.

My thoughts: If Paleo is causing an unhealthy obsession, or maybe some "orthorexia" tendencies, maybe it is time to stop and reassess.

Of course, I want you to eat paleo, and I want you to be as healthy as you can, but maybe some time away will do some good. It took me a while to not obsess and to not worry about one cheat meal, or the sugar in my bacon.

My point is, I think your diet shouldn't run your life. If it does, stop, give it some time, some thought, then reassess, and maybe come back later.

91219405abedbfd400ce00dea242a00f

(1044)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:16 PM

Did you have to convince yourself to stop worrying about cheat meals? I'd really like any pointers you can give. The last time I had a "cheat" meal (grain-fed steak and vegetables fried in peanut oil at a restaurant), I felt both mentally and physically awful for 2 days. Psychosomatic much?

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:24 PM

YES. I was getting super obsessive and would feel awful about 1 meal every two weeks. Isn't that retarded? Once I stopped feeling that way, I stopped feeling so bad physically after a cheat meal, it reduced my stress, and made me more fun to be around :-) As far as pointers...I'm not sure! For me, it was a matter of finding value in myself outside of physique, diet, or status. I let eating paleo get too big and lost sight of what life is about! Self-reflection does a body good :-)

1
D5cde8031564f905260ce9aa7a1f5e2c

on May 18, 2011
at 03:02 PM

Were you going very low carb?

Perhaps you should give it another shot, this time with a few more paleo carb sources (fruit, roots, tubers).

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on May 18, 2011
at 04:37 PM

That's interesting! Ha, my wife had the exact opposite problem! She struggled with hunger eating moderate carbs, but once we lowered the carbs and raised the fat/protein she felt much better! Her love for almond butter has me a little worried though ;-)

D5cde8031564f905260ce9aa7a1f5e2c

(1160)

on May 18, 2011
at 05:16 PM

Nice! Funny how this stuff works sometimes, eh?

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:26 PM

Idk, Erik. She mentioned that she had to gorge herself, so I doubt she was eating low carb. If she was, she would have been eating VERY little.

D5cde8031564f905260ce9aa7a1f5e2c

(1160)

on May 18, 2011
at 04:11 PM

Fair enough. I only asked because my wife had an extremely similar experience with VLC paleo. It made her ravenous and stressed out, and eating SAD junk mitigated these negative effects. Reintroducing safe starches fixed the issue.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:26 PM

Oh, and sorry... -1 for not answering her question.

0
F7f04fd416016c281efc33018457b1e2

on May 19, 2011
at 08:25 PM

I have also been desperately trying to figure out if paleo is for me. Here are my current reasonings for taking up paleo. It has nothing to do with weight loss. I am a 24 year old woman who has a very fast metabolism. I'm a size zero and can honestly eat the worst foods and not really see a change in weight. However I have had stomach issues from my teens on, primarily mild IBS. I wanted to give paleo a try to avoid digestive issues, I was just getting sick of my stomach not agreeing with what I ate all the time. I always thought I was healthy but my diet before paleo consisted of mostly dairy and whole grains with little protein and fruits/veggies.

I started paleo and have been on it for a few days ( I cheated twice already). However,I have already noticed a difference. The days I eat paleo, I have no stomach issues or complaints whatsoever and everything is digested wonderfully. It would be great to be like this all the time.

However, I find myself obsessing over foods and being upset over what I can't eat. I agree with the primal method of 80% paleo. I'm always going to cheat 3-4 meals a week as I love eating out. I don't want to deprive myself, and let's be honest, we're all busy and there are just days we're rushed and don't have the time to eat perfect paleo. I also find it hard to plan paleo meals as well and the constant trips to the grocery store and organic foods are getting to be expensive.

I guess my questions are, how much paleo do you have to eat to see the benefits? The paleo diet seems to do what it is promising and I learned a lot about how my previous ways weren't healthy. But now I want to know if I keep up a paleo lifestyle but still eat grains and dairy (just a lot less than before) can I still reap the rewards? And here is my other question, research shows that people who follow a Mediterranean diet have no heart disease and other diseases of western civilization yet they eat diary and whole grains! I guess I'm just trying to find the right balance for me to keep healthy and to keep me happy and not feeling deprived. I agree with the paleo methodology, yet I'm not happy eating that way forever :(

32123f4f25bdf6a7b70c9c2a719386ed

(396)

on May 21, 2011
at 11:32 AM

You might want to look into the Gut and Psychology syndrom diet for healing your gut. Just do a search on GAP's and you will get lots of hits. It is a fairly restricted diet for about 2 months and gradualy adds in foods. It uses a lot of probiotic foods while eliminating things that cause gut issues. The designer of the diet says that after about 2 years on the diet some people can add back foods that caused them problems previously and eat a more varied diet. The author healed her 2 sons of Autism and this is mainly what this diet is for but has successfuly healed a lot of conditions.

0
C9b0f49cc58a60afffe5ca15f823efb0

on May 18, 2011
at 08:26 PM

The short of it, not everyone's body is the same, nor do they metabolize at the same rate. My friend who convinced me to go paleo had a test done to determine what she metabolizes best and found out that she has almost zero tolerance for carbs. Therefore paleo is the way to go for her. It all depends on YOUR body. I'm totally new to this scene and am not a health professional in any way. Just throwing my 2 cents in.

A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

(3895)

on May 19, 2011
at 04:03 AM

what tests did your friend do to find out what she metabolizes best?

0
9dbfedbe21eae2a65093f8774ba8ad4d

on May 18, 2011
at 05:09 PM

I think physical health trumps mental health, usually. In cases of eating disorders, mental health issues need to be addressed first. But going forward, I don't think it is logical to eat an unhealthy diet for the sake of "mental health". Mental health is not a word to use lightly. Stress can be self-managed, clinical depression needs outside intervention. Mood swings can be self-managed, cravings for heroin not so. I don't mean to polarize things or act like mood swings and drug addictions are mutually exclusive - I just mean that there are numerous reasons why paleo may not work for you right now, and it is worth it to look at all those possible reasons.

0
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on May 18, 2011
at 03:27 PM

i am new to this and although i am not struggling with hunger at the moment, it was huge during week 6. i sat at my computer one night in tears looking for options because i felt like i had to eat some oatmeal just so i could sleep. luckily i also started my first batch of fish broth that afternoon so i had a bowl of that instead. to my amazement it actually made me "feel" good for the first time in days.
how much planning did you do before you switched? how much sugar and carbs did you have to give up with the change? i know i did little planning and that was a big detriment to my change in diet.
and just for a little perspective; you now know a lot about what does not work for you, so you are closer to finding what does.

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