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The Benefits of Tracking on a Low-Carb/Primal Eating Plan

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Back in the late 80's early 90's I tried Atkins. Well, I tried to follow something similar to his diet, but I didn't read his book so who knows what I was really doing, I certainly didn't. I have a vague memory of trying to keep my carbs under 30 gm a day. *shudder* It was soooooo hard for me. The carb cravings of the first couple of weeks did me in. I couldn't get past it and that's about how long that diet lasted. I was obsessed with thoughts of sugar and soft white bread...I had a "diet mentality" as in "I can do this to lose 40 pounds then I can eat what I want!!!" (i.e. sugar and soft white bread). Is there any wonder I didn't last long on it?

Now, following Sisson's Primal Blueprint and removing refined carbs from my diet, I am again experiencing some cravings. Not terrible, but noticeable. I've been tracking my food intake for the sole purpose of seeing where my carbs are situated. It's hard to leave the "conventional wisdom" of 26 years of "dieting" (which got me nowhere) when I see the calorie and/or fat totals for the day. I feel sort of panicked.

What if...what if this is all wrong and I'm going to wake up tomorrow 50 pounds heavier????????

But, that's just fear talking. Conditioning that we need those "healthy whole grains".

So I remind myself that conventional wisdom got me where I am, that the info I'm reading about insulin resistance so fully supports this kind of a diet change, and remind myself that when I followed this eating format laid down by the doc - I felt great.

Part of me said, why track then? Why track if you get freaked out by the calories/fat? Well, so I can see the carbs. I went back the last few months and looked at my carbs.

Holy cow. Yep, I averaged 268 carbs a day, sometimes well over 300. With insulin resistance? Sort of a miracle I don't weigh 300+ right now. Since I've started following PB? 153 a day on the nose, every day, which is funny but true.

Sisson says the "sweet spot" for losing weight effortlessly is 50-100 carbs a day. I'm obviously not there. But I'm interested in what will happen as I continue to keep my carbs basically half of what I was eating for awhile.

That's the benefit of tracking, for me. That I can look back and say wow, was I eating a lot of carbs or what? Just like when you start tracking what you eat for calories and you realize you're blasting through 3500 calories a day. It's a wake up call.

So what's going RIGHT on PB? I'm eating more veggies than I ever have, period. I also feel like I'm enjoying my food more, somehow. I don't feel hungry. If I'm hungry, I eat something - meat or veggies or (if I haven't already had fruit) a piece of fruit and almond butter. Before, if I was hungry, I'd have to think...can I afford to eat something? How many calories do I have left today? Oh geez. No I can't eat anything....and that set feelings of deprivation going which are NOT my friend.

So, I see continued tracking as a benefit to primal eating, for me anyway.

Weight: 248
Waist: 47.5 (1/2/2013).

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEMCDOG 1/5/2013 12:32PM

    I found a great calculator for low carbing that has helped me stay on track. To lose 1 lb a week I need to eat 1500 calories or so, 30 g or less carb, 70 or so protein and 120 g of fat. When I do this along with mild exercise mostly in the form of walking, I am never hungry, cravings are nearly non existent and weight loss is steady. I'm down 55 lbs since February and once I got the grains and starches out of my food it was easy. I think the hardest part for most people is making that leap to having most of your calories come from fat. But none of this will work if you continue to consume over 50 g carbs per day. (I'm in my 60s and have hypothyroidism so if I ate 100 g of carb daily I would never see any weight loss.) It feels like an expensive way to eat when you first make the switch away from cheap carb products and start buying foods that are nutritionally dense fats and proteins. But, over time, you realize you're eating so much less in volume that the cost is about the same. I exist on avocados, coconut oil, butter, the best meat I can afford (local, organic, pastured), tons of eggs, bacon, hard cheeses, some nuts and seeds (mostly chia, hemp, flax) 90% Lindt dark chocolate. I round out my fats/proteins with organic greens: spinach, kale, chard, bok choy, gai lan, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, leafy greens of all kinds, herbs. I'm real glad to see you're reading Sisson, he's such a good source of info and has a great attitude as well. I look at the desire to eat things like sugar and breads as exactly like wanting to smoke. Until you reach the stage where you truly want to be healthy and feel better you will struggle. You have to want to quit more than you want to indulge the addiction and then you will do this for yourself. Knowing and understanding all the issues surrounding blood sugar/insulin makes it easier to keep the big picture of lifelong improved health in mind and not focus on the temporary goal of weight loss as your motivation. Have a look at the calculator. I hope you'll have great success this year changing your eating habits to attain what you want for yourself.

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GOPINTOS 1/5/2013 11:56AM

    I know what you mean. I have been following PB since March, and I still track daily. It really helps to see the stalls and when I need to shake it up.

You can do this!

Thanks for sharing!


Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
Melinda (gopintos)
Perfect Health Diet Team
Country Living Team
Dr Oz Show Fans Team
Wheat Belly Team


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LEXIE63 1/4/2013 8:51AM

    It sounds like you are heading in the right direction for you, and that is the main thing. And a good thing by the sounds of it. :-)
Lex xxx

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SHAR140 1/3/2013 11:14AM

    Yay! I'm so happy for you, that you're taking that step to try something different from 'conventional wisdom'! I also had those fears, that when I ate so much more fat than I had been, that I'd end up eating a ton more calories. Guess what, I was eating the same amount of cals, more fat, and less carbs, but still full!!

Have I told you the low-carber's joke? You know you're a low-carber when you eat more veggies than most vegetarians! ;)

I still track more out of curiousity, to see what works for me. Nutrient-dense foods, a good amount of fat and protein, and lowerish carbs - from veggies, limited fruits (mostly berries on a regular basis, other fruits occasionally), sweet potatoes/yams, and rice (though I wish it had more nutrition, it's fairly empty).

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It's not a marathon, it's a lifelong walk

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The first day of the New Year and really focusing on primal was difficult.

My spouse/children are not interested or "on board" for eating primal. Food is a hot button issue for my spouse - She is in denial about her diabetes, her health, and perhaps the root - she grew up desperately poor. They literally would buy the unlabeled cans of food for cheap and whatever was opened was what there was to eat. So, tell her what she can or can't have (from a doctor, dietician etc) and she just loses it.

So yesterday, we went to the grocery store. I said on the way, "I just want to tell you, I do NOT have any expectation that you are going to eat the way I am going to eat Jodie. I am doing this for myself, for my health. No criticism on your diet or insistance you eat "my way"." Apparently, I should have kept my trap shut and just purchased what I wanted for myself without trying to explain. She was like a jumpy cat the entire time we were in the store and it was a less-than stellar shopping experience. She doesn't want to hear about what I'm doing (i suspect it brings up fear of her own health and that triggers the "you won't tell me what to eat!!" and we're off and running), so instead she says "should you be eating that?"


I finally said, "yep, I can eat this. If you're curious about what I am aiming to avoid, the Primal Blueprint is on my nightstand". For the moment, that quieted her, LOL.

Please note, she's not a terrible person or trying to conciously "sabotage" me. She is someone with huge issues around food and her partner changing their food up is enough to trigger that.

I suspect I've also got what's termed by the primal folk as "low-carb flu" - headaches, mental fog, fatigue and a general feeling of blech.

Reminding myself's not a sprint to a quick finish. It's a lifelong walk - removing the grains/garbage that I've eaten for 48 years will take time, dedication, patience and practice. My family will get used to how I eat and they will either join me, or not.

Weight 1/1/13: 248
Waist: 47.5 inches.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1HAPPYSPIRIT 1/2/2013 9:52PM

    Follow your food and fitness plans and ultimately she will see the results-- You will be living a healthier lifestyle and she will notice the benefits. Hopefully, it will open her eyes and mind to follow suit!

Wishing you the best on achieving your 2013 goals!

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GOPINTOS 1/2/2013 9:45PM

    I agree, lead by example. DH supports me but doesnt always eat the same. He does at home pretty much but not so much at lunch time at work, though he is slowly making better choices. Hang in there!

Thanks for sharing!


Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
Melinda (gopintos)
Perfect Health Diet Team
Country Living Team
Dr Oz Show Fans Team
Wheat Belly Team


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MANDAROSE80 1/2/2013 7:57PM

    It's hard when you're family isn't on board but it's great that you recognize the food issues and that everyone has to deal with them in their own way and time. emoticon

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SHAR140 1/2/2013 1:15PM

    You can only hope to lead by example. PS, I can't remember if I linked these for you or not, regarding low-carb flu:


The primal/paleo world doesn't really address how to help with the low-carb flu symptoms like Drs. Eades and Atkins do. Believe me, pork cracklins have saved me more than once - mmm, all the salty, fatty goodness! :) I'm also looking forward to making my own broth from a turkey when I get home tonight, for this pesky cold I've got!!

ETA: to help better explain, when you're detoxing the carbs, your body is using up all the extra stored glucose. Each glucose stores 3 water (I don't recall grams or molecules), so you're flushing out that extra water, too - unfortunately, along with it goes your electrolytes. Hence, needing to replace them. This is why Dr. Atkins advised drinking broth (which most people these days totally skip over, and wonder why they have headaches and muscle cramps!).

Comment edited on: 1/2/2013 1:19:26 PM

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SUSIEQ911 1/2/2013 10:13AM

    Perhaps she will see changes in you and change her thinking.

I hope so anyway. You can do it!

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LADYJ6942 1/2/2013 10:07AM

    It is not easy to get are family on board but as they start seeing the changes, they may slowly come around to trying it. I have a husband who is a die hard farm boy and trying to taper his carb intake with his diabetes and lower is portion sizes is a challenge but we are talking about it and trying to find healthier options for him. He is an OTR so food options are limites and tricky but we keep trying new ideas.

Good luck

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SUSANELAINE1956 1/2/2013 9:24AM

    I've dealt with this too, with my husband insisting he needs his snacks. I've been making SparkPeople recipes that he loves, so that helps. i just had to learn to stay out of his snacks ... but they are tempting. Good luck.

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FCARMICH 1/2/2013 9:14AM

  good luck

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NICHOLE_4 1/2/2013 9:08AM

    It's really hard when your family isn't on board!

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Happy Birthday, Mom

Monday, December 31, 2012

Today would have been my mother's 80th birthday. She died this summer. We had not spoken in over a decade.

(*Note: My mother was severely mentally ill and untreated by her choice her entire adult life.)

As I ponder 2013, and what I want to achieve - I want to take a moment to realize what I have already achieved that my mother never accomplished, due to her illness and refusal (and the refusal of her family) to get help because mental illness was taboo resulting in her illness eventually taking her over completely:

I attended college.
I have held a job, including leadership responsibilities, for well over a decade.
I have raised my children with the understanding it's important to say you're sorry - that you make mistakes - even when you are an adult, if not more importantly when you are an adult.
I never abandoned my children, regardless of how hard it was (or is).
I sought help for my depression.
I put others before myself (tho this is a double edged sword and I need to work on BALANCE in this area).
I made certain that people were more important to me than money, status, or what the neighbor's think.
I have protected my children to the best of my ability.

I have broken the cycle. The cycle of abuse, of abandonment, of mental illness breaking a family.

Happy Birthday Mom. I don't have many good memories of this date in my life...but today, I can see clearly what I have accomplished and I can move on.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUSIEQ911 1/1/2013 11:01AM


You are a strong woman. And just look at that list of reasons to love yourself that you already started!

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MARYBETH4884 12/31/2012 4:55PM

    Good for you! Breaking that cycle and moving on is quite an accomplishment. Hug your kids and tell them you love them as a way to memorialize this day.

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2013 Goals - A Work In Progress

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I'm not a big resolutions fan, mostly because I haven't had incredible success with them.

Goals, however, are more concrete for me and for some reason easier.

In thinking about this, about goal setting for the coming year - these are some of my thoughts:

What are my top priorities this year? Health, financial stability, and learning to love myself.

That last one....boy howdy, that's a doozy. I feel more overwhelmed considering that alone than all three put together!

I'm pretty aware of where it comes from- this lack of love, lack of caring for myself. I can say logically that I'm fully aware that we must care for ourselves before we can care for others - just like on a plane, you put your oxygen on first, then help others put theirs on. I get it. I believe it. Yet, I have a hard time practicing that.

I suspect it impacts my health, and likely the financial stability, in a significant way.

I have the better part of the next week off. I'm going to use it to really think about these things....about my goals, what I really want and prioritizing the things that take my time and attention to reflect that.

How do YOU do at loving yourself? Do you think this has impacted your health/weight? Inquiring minds want to know...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUSIEQ911 1/1/2013 10:46AM

    I was never very good at it. It's not easy. I now know that a large part of my issue was because of a controlling, narcissistic partner. She always told me I should love myself and then would mange to point out everything wrong with me.

It became much easier once we were no longer together, but it still took time.

I think the thing that has helped me the most is that my partner and I wrote lists about what we love about each other. Seeing that list was a huge eyeopener for me. She really helped me to see what she sees and realize there are tons of reasons to love myself.

I will be honest, though, I do have my days. She never lets it last for long though, but realizes that everyone has those days. I also have to be honest that finally being successful losing my weight has been a huge help as well.

There are lots of reasons to love yourself. Look for them, write them down and remind yourself.


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SPIRALDOWN 12/31/2012 12:01AM

    I am not very gd at loving myself. I hate looking in a mirror, do not take complimients well and avoid conversations about me at all costs.
You seem to have a great start on your goals for next year. Gd job

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SPIRALDOWN 12/30/2012 9:18PM

    I am not very gd at loving myself. I hate looking in a mirror, do not take complimients well and avoid conversations about me at all costs.
You seem to have a great start on your goals for next year. Gd job

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"Conventional Wisdom"

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I've been reading Mark Sisson's The Primal Blueprint. Very interesting. One of his catchy phrases is "conventional wisdom" i.e. that nutrition advice we've been raised with, especially "whole grains are the most important thing you can eat!!"

After reading "Wheat Belly", I became firmly convinced that for myself - I won't speak for the rest of you - wheat had to GO. It's been a long road getting it gone, but overall, I'm happy I've done it.

Now other authors, including Sisson, are leading me into a way of eating that goes against all that "conventional wisdom". This lead me to think today about where has conventional wisdom gotten me?

It's gotten me to 258 pounds at my highest weight, insulin resistant, skin problems, depression, and arthritis, that's where it's gotten me.

After ending my love affair with wheat mid November, I can FEEL the difference in my body, in my mood, and in my energy levels.

I keep seeing advertising on "healthy whole grains" and I think about how I felt when I ate them....exhausted, HUNGRY all the time, itchy itchy itchy skin and a poor mood.

I'm still learning, still researching, still seeing what works for me. It's not easy. No one else at home is on board with this idea of eating. I work with medical professionals who, if I shared this with them, would come undone with me about it! So I keep my mouth shut and move on toward what I need to do for myself.

One day at a time, one meal at a time.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHAR140 12/29/2012 8:25PM

    Like!! Also agree with GOPINTOS and HISTORYRUNNER. I'm also reading the new "Protein Power" from Drs. Eades (both MDs). I like The Jaminets (authors of Perfect Health Diet), they are both scientists; Dr. Peter Attia is both an MD and engineer; Gary Taubes was also an engineer. Hey, I'm an engineer, so I'm partial! ;)

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MANDAROSE80 12/29/2012 4:46PM

    I'm going to have to read that book. Thanks! emoticon

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HISTORYRUNNER 12/27/2012 11:50PM

    Personally I feel less and less bound by the dictates of "conventional wisdom" since a lot of it has been based on bad science and been promoted by groups which stand to profit, such as Big Agra and Big Pharma. See Gary Taubes and Peter Attia, especially, on more on the science behind the new nutritional thinking. I like "The Primal Blueprint" a lot - that, plus "Wheatbelly" really got me going on a new way of eating and thinking about food. You probably are aware that there are Spark groups for both Primal and Paleo eating and nutrition, in addition to the Wheatbelly group.

So keep on doing what you're doing! emoticon

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GYMRAT_AT44 12/27/2012 11:20PM

    You need to do,what works for you. Sounds like it is making a difference.

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SPIRALDOWN 12/27/2012 11:06PM

    I have thought of giving up wheat myself... I am definately gonna research more about it.

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HOUNDLOVER1 12/27/2012 10:18PM

    So glad you shared your experience. As you get more into a routine to where all this becomes second nature to you it may get a lot easier to share this info with your doctors and people around you. That's how it was for me anyhow (although I've never worried too much about what people think, LOL).
Once you can show that your weight improves, skin improves, lipids improve and who knows what else then it will be so much easier to tell what you have been doing to get there. emoticon

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BROOKLEE99 12/27/2012 4:35PM

    I gave up wheat for 2 weeks once and felt great! Then I slipped nback into my old ways. Your post has inspired me to go wheat free again and see what happens!

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SUECHRIS50 12/27/2012 3:51PM

    I think that maybe I need to give up wheat!

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GOPINTOS 12/27/2012 3:45PM

    I love Mark and PB. That is pretty much the way I eat. I also follow the Perfect Health Diet. It's not a "diet" like most think of when they hear the word "diet", but diet as in these are the things you should be eating. The 2nd edition just came out and Mark Sisson wrote the Forward in the book for it emoticon

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