1

votes

Just starting a Paleoish diet- thoughts?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 28, 2012 at 12:37 AM

Hello! I'm a lifelong fattie- my adult life I have spent between 220 and 230 lbs, at 5'8". I have struggled with depression since I was nine, and my last year in high school I gained 100 lb over nine months- I graduated in 2002 at 295 lbs. I lost 70 lbs on the Atkins diet(staying at Induction) in three months and kept it off for ten years. Atkins made me ridiculously sick, though.

In 2006 I simultaneously came down with fibromyalgia and endometriosis, which spurred my interest in health. I'm pretty perverse- I figured, if I'm going to be in pain anyway, I might as well be running! Since then I've done numerous 5 and 10Ks- I'm not fast, but I'm steady. So I started learning about health and exercise, and I realized how much I love movement. (I did not lose any weight and I was not looking to. My body's setpoint has been pretty solid.)

Unfortunately, the last year has been hellish. My husband and I split in the fall of last year- I started 2012 with a new job in a new city. Due to crippling depression, I did not get out of bed except to go to work. I was eating ONLY McDonald's- it was on the way to work- and literally not moving from the bed when I wasn't at work. I didn't gain any weight, but I did lose a lot of conditioning- and it made my fibromyalgia go nuts. I lost my job in June, and started trying to deal with the depression by moving more and eating better. Unfortunately, my doc put me on a new medication, which really packed on the pounds! I gained 60 pounds in three months! I couldn't figure it out until I complained to my GP and he doped out what was happening.

Now, probably due to the rapid weight gain, I've developed a condition called pseudotumor cerebri, which means that the pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid in my brain has increased and is causing trouble. I have severe headaches, visual troubles and dizziness-especially when I move. My neurologist has me on medication, but he stressed that weight loss would be just as helpful. So I took what has worked in the past(low carbing) and what I know makes my body happy and designed a diet that would hopefully be a cross between losing weight and being healthy.

The mainstays of my diet are meat, all whole vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, dairy(mostly fermented) and beans. No sugars, no grains whatsoever. I'm keeping a rough count of carbs using sparkpeople, although I haven't had a problem keeping it well under 200 carbs/day. I'm focusing on high fiber as a secondary priority, because fiber makes me feel really great- I don't get bloated or gassy or anything, I just feel amazing. I've been doing this for five days and I already feel much better than I did. I have even been able to walk on my treadmill(although I have to hold on because of the dizziness!) and I'm doing about two or three miles a day. I am using Splenda(in iced tea, I am a Southerner!!) and drinking diet sodas, just because I like them, basically- I am also drinking metric tons of pure water, too.

Things I like about this diet: I feel good(which is saying a LOT!). I don't have to count or stress. I am not hungry or cranky. I'm not craving anything, I find it easy to reject what's not on the diet.

The only thing I'm worried about is if I'm not losing weight. I don't have a scale. I know it's early times, but what should I do if I find I'm not losing weight- and how would you recommend I gauge weight loss without a scale? I do have plenty of clothes that used to fit!

I also have been kind of avoiding starchy vegetables, like sweet potatoes. Do I need to avoid them, or could they be okay? I feel like they'd be a nice addition, but I don't know about the weight bit.

Eventually, I'd really like to get back to more movement- running and weightlifting and all the playing outside I used to do. I just have to focus on the diet more right now due to head being broken. (My brother gave his standard medical advice: amputate!)

Thoughts?

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on September 28, 2012
at 04:38 PM

I'm not going to downvote you, Bill, but I honestly think a 5'8" woman sitting around 220-230 really *can* benefit from reducing carbs. She mentions she keeps them below 200g/day. If one of her main goals is fat loss, calorie reduction might work, but lower carb is gonna help more quickly and satisfactorily, in my opinion. She doesn't have to stay <20g/day, but let's call a spade a spade. <100g *at least,* if not more like <75g or 50g.

C4a0c9f9a748f1d3354055bc6d020c7e

(298)

on September 28, 2012
at 01:34 PM

The sweetness of those things tricks your brain and I believe will slow everything down. I think that if you are craving some sweets that you are better off with some berries and dark chocolate. I think you need to "reset" your taste for sweetness. After that Splena a diet soda will just be too sweet for you. Good Luck. We are all rooting for you.

931a99246c4b901c8cabd52da1e9f6d2

(130)

on September 28, 2012
at 10:40 AM

I agree with Marcy. If you have to have sweet tea try honey.little changes are going to matter. Mosty I wanted to say congrats for taking control of your situation, it's an accomplishment!

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 28, 2012
at 04:23 AM

Actually I read a weight loss study comparing low carb with low fat which showed that low carb is superior for sustained weight loss. I understand there are quite a few similar studies with the same result. That may well be because of decrease hunger due to insulin, or increase satiety due to protien, or increase metabolism due to fats, and thus still within calories in and out, but it there regardless.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 03:14 AM

+1 for the outfit idea. This is what I used to do when I was 450lbs. I bought a pair of jeans that I wanted to wear and I tried 'em on. At first I couldn't get 'em on over my legs, then couldn't close around my waist. Then I forgot about 'em and 3 months later I tried 'em and they were too big. :D It's a great, simple way to track progress!!

83456bd85c99b73a03dc9ccf7eb44255

(487)

on September 28, 2012
at 02:35 AM

I'm like you, in order to move the needle and lose weight aka stop the cravings,,,I need to stay at 50 grams or below.

Medium avatar

(10663)

on September 28, 2012
at 01:54 AM

http://paleohacks.com/questions/141594/what-are-the-top-5-things-every-paleo-newbie-should-know-but-probably-doesnt#axzz27hhGoOFR

51c66d8a6f3005628535a50a950b1c61

(1003)

on September 28, 2012
at 01:06 AM

There is definitely more to it. Calories are important, but they are not the whole story by far.

23c8aef5287e3e5d331ea4d1cf3a30f6

on September 28, 2012
at 01:03 AM

I am also roughly gauging calories using the same program, but I do think there is more to it than calories in calories out. I KNOW I was not eating any more or moving any less when I gained this weight.

83456bd85c99b73a03dc9ccf7eb44255

(487)

on September 28, 2012
at 01:00 AM

Nicely put Bill!

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

6 Answers

4
Medium avatar

on September 28, 2012
at 02:22 AM

Congrats on your bravery for facing your problems! Depression can be crippling. I struggle with anxiety/depression/procrastination and I found a book that is unbelievable helpful for all of those things. It's called Feeling Good- The New Mood Therapy by David Burns. It's different than pretty much every other self help depression book because it shows you how to use congnitive therapy (what the pros use) on yourself. If you actually do the exercises it does help tremendously. It helped me so much! You might try it, either on its own or in addition to medication.
I agree with above posters, you need to get down to 50-100 grams of carbs per day to see fat loss. Of course, there is a spectrum and everyone has his or her own set point. For me to loose, I've gotta be at less than 50, you may or may not be that low. When you lower your carbs to a level where you aren't experiencing dramatic blood sugar spikes, and your body starts to burn on fat instead of carbs, you'll notice you don't crave carbs as much as you used to.
I also agree with others who don't worry about the scale. Pay attention to how you feel, how your clothes fit, how you look naked. When you are able to really get active again, you might notice the scale going up sometimes when you're gaining muscle (and loosing fat) because muscle weighs more.
You can use fitday.com (which is free) to track your progress if you want. Fit day will help you notice if you're missing essential nutrients because you can plug in your daily food intake. It's also easier to truly see how many carbs/fat/protein you're eating every day. Plus they have a section for your measurements. You can see your progress on a graph which is fun.
a word about the sodas. I think moderate intake of tea with splenda is fine (I'm a southerner too!) but I think diet soda really contributes to bloating, tooth decay and a host of other issues we don't fully understand yet.

83456bd85c99b73a03dc9ccf7eb44255

(487)

on September 28, 2012
at 02:35 AM

I'm like you, in order to move the needle and lose weight aka stop the cravings,,,I need to stay at 50 grams or below.

3
A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on September 28, 2012
at 02:22 AM

Just keep doing what you're doing minus the diet soda and Splenda. You don't need that shit. As you feel better, physically and mentally, you'll want to get outside and play more which will lead to weight loss and overall awesomeness. Don't over-think this.

C4a0c9f9a748f1d3354055bc6d020c7e

(298)

on September 28, 2012
at 01:34 PM

The sweetness of those things tricks your brain and I believe will slow everything down. I think that if you are craving some sweets that you are better off with some berries and dark chocolate. I think you need to "reset" your taste for sweetness. After that Splena a diet soda will just be too sweet for you. Good Luck. We are all rooting for you.

931a99246c4b901c8cabd52da1e9f6d2

(130)

on September 28, 2012
at 10:40 AM

I agree with Marcy. If you have to have sweet tea try honey.little changes are going to matter. Mosty I wanted to say congrats for taking control of your situation, it's an accomplishment!

2
D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on September 28, 2012
at 01:22 AM

Congrats on making the commitment to turn your eating around to combat your symptoms and get well again! I've gone a few periods of weight loss without the use of a scale in the last year, so I can relate to the wondering exactly what is going on.

Re: determining body recomposition without a scale, here are some suggestions...try all these say, once a week?

  • Get yourself an outfit you like from your closet - one that starts out uncomfortably snug. Try it on. Note how it feels and where it pulls the tightest. After a few weeks of trying on this outfit once/week, when it gets really lose, pick a new, smaller, newly snug outfit that you can barely squeeze into - whether from your closet, or purchased as a little reward. Try it on once/week and let it loosen as you lose body fat.

  • Take pictures of yourself in the same clothing...or as close to naked as you're comfortable doing. Take pictures from the side, the front, and the back, standing in the same place, at the same time of day.

  • Bill's right on about the measuring. But, in the case that you're not on board with tape measuring or don't have a tape measure, use a white piece of string for and each individual body part and mark your body part circumference with a permanent marker. It's like measuring a growing kid on a door frame, only instead of the fun of watching them grow you get the fun of watching your waist circumference (and thigh circumference...etc.) shrink.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 03:14 AM

+1 for the outfit idea. This is what I used to do when I was 450lbs. I bought a pair of jeans that I wanted to wear and I tried 'em on. At first I couldn't get 'em on over my legs, then couldn't close around my waist. Then I forgot about 'em and 3 months later I tried 'em and they were too big. :D It's a great, simple way to track progress!!

2
83456bd85c99b73a03dc9ccf7eb44255

on September 28, 2012
at 01:05 AM

Low carb Paleo diet will help curb cravings which in turn will,in most cases, reduce your calorie intake. I'm not sure 200 grams of carbs will curb the cravings. You may have to go much lower, like 50 grams a day. Best of Luck. Take it one day at a time!

0
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on September 28, 2012
at 06:41 PM

I had to slowly ease myself in to full blown low carb paleo--at first I was unwilling to give up certain things, but the decisions to do so became easier over time as I had results and when I stalled and wanted to try to get things moving again.

You may be like that and just need time to ease into the full program. Nothing wrong with that, what you're eating now is such an improvement over SAD that you'll still get some benefits.

-2
1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

on September 28, 2012
at 12:54 AM

First off, lets get this out of the way, people lose weight(FAT) on paleo, and any other diet, due to calorie restriction and calorie restriction alone. 'Weight Loss' (ie Water, glycogen, muscle) can be had by screwing around with macros but the idea that having to eat less than 200grams of carbs a day or eating no carbs but high fat will cause fat loss has been debunked a million times already. There is not a single scientific study that proves otherwise, instead every study shows that one thing and one thing only causes fat loss, and that is calorie restriction. Look around paleohacks and you will see thousands of people not losing weight on paleo - all for the same reason - too many calories in = stalled weight loss.

You can gauge your weight loss without a scale if you have someone tape you. Arms stomach thighs - add them up, then compare weekly.

51c66d8a6f3005628535a50a950b1c61

(1003)

on September 28, 2012
at 01:06 AM

There is definitely more to it. Calories are important, but they are not the whole story by far.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 28, 2012
at 04:23 AM

Actually I read a weight loss study comparing low carb with low fat which showed that low carb is superior for sustained weight loss. I understand there are quite a few similar studies with the same result. That may well be because of decrease hunger due to insulin, or increase satiety due to protien, or increase metabolism due to fats, and thus still within calories in and out, but it there regardless.

83456bd85c99b73a03dc9ccf7eb44255

(487)

on September 28, 2012
at 01:00 AM

Nicely put Bill!

23c8aef5287e3e5d331ea4d1cf3a30f6

on September 28, 2012
at 01:03 AM

I am also roughly gauging calories using the same program, but I do think there is more to it than calories in calories out. I KNOW I was not eating any more or moving any less when I gained this weight.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on September 28, 2012
at 04:38 PM

I'm not going to downvote you, Bill, but I honestly think a 5'8" woman sitting around 220-230 really *can* benefit from reducing carbs. She mentions she keeps them below 200g/day. If one of her main goals is fat loss, calorie reduction might work, but lower carb is gonna help more quickly and satisfactorily, in my opinion. She doesn't have to stay <20g/day, but let's call a spade a spade. <100g *at least,* if not more like <75g or 50g.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!