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I'm new at this...

by (15)
Updated November 22, 2014 at 3:40 AM
Created January 13, 2012 at 11:56 PM

I, like many of you I assume, feel that a paleo lifestyle just makes sense. But I'm having a hard time. Let me give you the facts first, then the struggles.

I'm a small, lean girl. About 5'4 and 108-110 #, weight loss isn't something I'm remotely interested in. I do want to become more lean and defined. I'm an endurance athlete, I enjoy lonnngggg bike rides and runs & I do a lot of strength training as well. My interest in paleo sparked with my passion for overall well being and healthiness. I mean we are all going to die but I'd like to live my years here well and strong, not sick and sad. I eat (ate) the SAD- healthipy version, but felt crappy after milk consumption and lethargic after eating bread, high carb foods. I KNOW paleo is the right thing for me.

So the hard part... I think I'm truly addicted to sugar and refined carbs. (is that a real addiction). How long until this goes away? Is there anything I can do to help? Should I go cold turkey with everything whole30 style? Or should I just slowly come off of it? I'll go a few days without any grain/gluten then I'll have an intense craving for something I wouldn't eat, even if I weren't eating paleo (I.e. cookies). Also, my fruit consumption is very high now since I started

Is this transition period normal? When I gave up caffeine I had a week long period of headaches and mild agitation, should I expect the same thing? Lastly, HOW DO I CURB THE CRAVINGS?? (I feel so silly, like my willpower is lacking)

D82ebfd88c664a75b7466a5ce12994de
15 · January 17, 2012 at 8:10 PM

I haven't bought any coconut oil yet!! But i love me some bacon :) I'm riding about 30-50 miles on long rides. I probably ride about 50 miles total m-f. I'm primarily a runner though (about 40-50/miles per week. I need to see if there is a thread about fueling during events.

D82ebfd88c664a75b7466a5ce12994de
15 · January 17, 2012 at 8:08 PM

Thanks guys. Had a weird eats weekend. I ran a half on Sunday so I didn't want to change too much and then pay during the race. Since Sunday, I've done pretty well with clean eats. A little bit of grain here and there but the gradual approach has been much more effective. I think i was demonizing food and was wanting what I couldn't have (even though I wouldn't typically eat them before paleo). Just in the learning stages of what works and what doesn't for long mileage days

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288 · January 14, 2012 at 10:00 PM

This is exactly how I transitioned. For me, the "Whole 30" mentality is setting myself up to fail. Instead I just tried on a meal-by-meal basis to eat more veggies/meat and less bread/pasta. Since prior to paleo most of my meals were sandwich or pasta-type dishes, this alone was challenging - yet still improved my health. I also made small incremental improvements like dark chocolate for milk chocolate, or a breve cappuccino for non-fat latte. I'm not going to lie, I still love sugar and maybe always will, but I barely eat it compared to how I used to. And I don't crave pasta or bread at all.

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78422 · January 14, 2012 at 9:10 AM

The painless way is to just cut down gradually. Gradually smaller and smaller portions of the carbs you usually eat until you have eliminated all of the non paleo stuff.

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5904 · January 14, 2012 at 8:12 AM

And bacon!.....

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249 · January 14, 2012 at 7:47 AM

Add some coconut oil to that sweet potato.

Medium avatar
19479 · January 14, 2012 at 12:41 AM

Regarding specific food cravings, I think that it is important to pay attention to when you are over-restricting or demonizing certain foods/food groups simultaneously creating the "forbidden fruit" effect. Nothing makes you want something more than being told you cant have it (even if it is yourself telling yourself). The truth is, you CAN have it. You can eat a whole bag of Oreos if you want. Plenty of people do. The question is, do you want to? Maybe you actually just want one, maybe you want none but just want to feel like you COULD eat one if you did want one (which you can).

Medium avatar
19479 · January 14, 2012 at 12:38 AM

Willpower is overrated. I recommend that you think about things in terms of cause and effect (or at least correlation and effect). For example, eating refined carbs, sugar, etc. begets cravings for refined carbs, sugar, etc. Since you are already active and have good body composition, you could simply focus on eating whole foods (animals and plants) to satiation and, by process of elimination, gradually refine your diet to fit your needs (i.e. more starchy carbs from tubers for long endurance days).

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4 Answers

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5904 · January 14, 2012 at 12:31 AM

You will need carbs if you are doing endurance exercise. Swap grains for potato, sweet potato and starchy vegies. Eat more fat.

How long are your long rides?

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2
5904 · January 14, 2012 at 8:12 AM

And bacon!.....

A942dbc90fe12f7f90744a68f9f223e2
249 · January 14, 2012 at 7:47 AM

Add some coconut oil to that sweet potato.

D82ebfd88c664a75b7466a5ce12994de
15 · January 17, 2012 at 8:10 PM

I haven't bought any coconut oil yet!! But i love me some bacon :) I'm riding about 30-50 miles on long rides. I probably ride about 50 miles total m-f. I'm primarily a runner though (about 40-50/miles per week. I need to see if there is a thread about fueling during events.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f
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20353 · January 14, 2012 at 7:29 AM

Make a list of food you want to eat (The good Paleo stuff) and a list of foods you want to move away from.

Improve the list of Paleo foods including eating a large Paleo Breakfast Lunch and Dinner.

Then on the food you want to move away from pick a few that are the least damaging like Vanilla Ice Cream. Allow your self the ice cream but not the other stuff. Eventually your good food your eating will push out the bad and the ice cream will improve in quality and reduce in qty / frequency overtime.

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288 · January 14, 2012 at 10:00 PM

This is exactly how I transitioned. For me, the "Whole 30" mentality is setting myself up to fail. Instead I just tried on a meal-by-meal basis to eat more veggies/meat and less bread/pasta. Since prior to paleo most of my meals were sandwich or pasta-type dishes, this alone was challenging - yet still improved my health. I also made small incremental improvements like dark chocolate for milk chocolate, or a breve cappuccino for non-fat latte. I'm not going to lie, I still love sugar and maybe always will, but I barely eat it compared to how I used to. And I don't crave pasta or bread at all.

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37187 · January 14, 2012 at 2:02 AM

There's definitely a series of "phases" for acclimating to this lifestyle.

Regardless of the technical standing, the processed/refined/sweetened/grain foods function like an addiction when you're trying not to eat them.

Frankly, all you can do is make sure you feed the nutritional needs of your lean body mass. It won't stop the cravings right away but they may be more resistible if they aren't compounded by true physical hunger.

A good pre-emptive strike is to eat a large "breakfast"--whenever you choose, I just mean your first meal of the day--of protein with animal fat. Add any other healthy foods you wish, but the protein and fat will avoid physical hunger so you know your cravings are for the "bad" foods.

If you like kombucha or know anyone who makes water kefir, those probiotic beverages seem to help some people ease or stop their cravings because they discourage unhealthy gut microflora and encourage the ones that want the healthy foods.

Otherwise, since you're very active all you can do is eat your planned healthy foods and then get away from junk food and do something physically or mentally active to "distract" your cravings.

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360 · January 14, 2012 at 12:04 AM

I am the exact same way as you with the cravings!!! I'm also an endurance athlete. What I would do is trash all the grains in my pantry so I have no way of eating grains. At parties or get togethers, I break some rules with the gluten and sugar, but I don't beat myself up after it. The reason I say I WOULD do this is because I am in high school and I live with an extremely unhealthy mom that buys junk food and bagels. :(

BTW when you can't resist your temptations to eat bad foods, don't go too crazy and binge on the food, like I do. Hope this helps.

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