I'm a 16 year old high school student. I started reading about Paleo a short while ago and have been trying to get on the bandwagon since, but I keep falling off. I'll be fine in the morning, make a few eggs, maybe some bacon, and then not feel hungry until way past lunch. But by the end of the day I'm chugging milk and scarfing down peanut butter. I keep wanting to eat, even though I'm not hungry and know I don't need to.
I think the biggest problem is having all of this terrible food in my house (my family doesn't berate me for my diet, but they sure haven't changed theirs). I don't have the willpower to resist all of it. My family will not buy anything but 1% milk to drink, so that's what I end up drinking. Almond butter is too expensive; I end up bingeing on blended legumes. I've successfully cut out all wheat/grains from my diet, but sugar is another matter. We usually have apples and clementines (delicious little sugar balls) around, and when school lets out…they're just too tempting. I usually go without more than 10g of sugar until about ~4:30 or so, when I get home, and then I binge and eat more than a hundred. I'm sure that I can't cut out snacking as easily as I did grains, but I'd like to eat snack-y things that won't keep me addicted to sugar! I know I won't be successful in staying paleo long-term until I kick this habit. Help me out, PaleoHackers.
This goes against what a lot of paleos will tell you, but you might want to try not going so low-carb, at least for a while. You get so much benefit from cutting the tons of fructose, wheat, and bad oils. There's no need to throw your body into ketosis- even to lose weight (I lost around 40 lbs while still eating quite a bit of fruit, never counting calories and always eating to satiety). Of course, cutting out a lot of the junk on the SAD you will automatically be lower carb.
So, while you may not want to wolf down a whole bag of clementines in one go, don't be too afraid of whole fruit. Don't be afraid of potatoes- just make sure they're peeled.
I realize all this may provoke the ire of some folks here, but I think we can all agree that the first priority is to cut out junk and wheat. If you want to play with low- or very low-carb later, you can always do that. You're 16 (BTW I think it's awesome you're already taking charge of your life like this)- you've got plenty of time to experiment.
You my friend need some quality beef jerky, maybe some mixed nuts, and a source of fresh water. Skip the sugar milk and the candy fruit for a few weeks and your cravings should be gone. Squeeze a lime in a big glass of water for a change. Sounds like you should pack a decent paleo lunch so that by the time you get home, you don't go all faleo. See if you parents will cook a little extra dinner that you can bring with you as left overs for lunch.
As for afterschool snacking, I would see if the parents will get you some family sized packs of chicken thighs and cook them all in one sitting, then freeze them and eat a couple right when you get home. Also snack on beef jerky (watch the ingredient list on these-no soy sauce), nuts, veggies (eh, or not), hmm, you could even have a protein shake or something. i'd cut back on the milk tho.
When I was in highschool I would just go down to my basement and do bicep curls. Of course, bicep curls suck and I was an undiagnosed gluten intolerant track runner with paleo not having been rediscovered yet so my biceps never grew - but you, you can do it!
At 16, you're still physically growing, while paleo diet books have generally been written by middle aged men for middle aged people who live relatively sedentary lifestyles. The sugar in fruits is probably not as unhealthy for you as it might be for some of us older folks who aren't burning it off with physical growth or activity. If you've cut out wheat and grains, you've already done yourself a GIANT favor, and it's a HUGE step. It sounds like you've also cut out processed foods. If you're hungry, eat, and HYDRATE with water as another suggested. I read an article not long ago that suggested that Asians tend to be thinner and more satisfied while consuming less calories because they eat a lot of soups and other water-rich foods, so the food is filling without being packed with calories. Think about broths and how you can incorporate more liquids into your diet. I also think meats as well as vegetables are part of optimum health, but what's important is that you find what makes you feel optimally healthy, so worry less about how strict you are with whatever version of paleo you're trying to follow and do what you can and what works for you.
At least one day a week, bake yourself some chicken legs and keep them in the fridge for snacks. You can do the same with boiled eggs. They make a great portable snack with a little salt and pepper in a sandwich bag. Almonds are a great option since they can usually be bought in bulk in the baking aisle at Sam's or Costco. Cut up some celery sticks and keep them in the fridge in water. If you are trying to lose weight, go easy on starchy carbs, potatoes, carrots, etc. If weight loss is not the goal, enjoy your fruit and high quality carbs in moderation. It will also help if you eat the fruit with some protein and/or fat to slow down the insulin response.
I believe it is very commendable that you are trying to make a positive health change for yourself. It can be very difficult when the rest of your family is still following conventional wisdom. The best thing you can do is plan ahead and ask your family to support you. Don't try to change their way of eating. With a little time, they will see how much better you feel and look and may decide to get on board themselves. You CAN do this!
PS. Pork Rinds can serve as a good snack if you need some crunch. Look for the plain ones without MSG.
Don't forget water too! A lot of times, we easily mistake thirst for being hungry although I have no doubt that at your age and for the amount of time between meals it sounds like you are putting, you probably honestly are hungry too but stay good and hydrated. The recommendations for having things like soy free jerky and pre-cooked chicken are excellent and will take some pressure off you feeling desperate for literally anything when you get home. Left over dinner is an excellent lunch next day and I really applaud you for taking such a solid (and hard) interest in your health. Do the best you can for now and don't sweat the things you can't control at this stage of your life. Soon enough, it will all be up to you which, as anyone here can tell you, is a whole other set of challenges but you are making a healthy start! Kudos!
I think you are doing great just by eating whole foods and not junk foods! Eat lunch sooner, hon, to keep your blood sugar stable. At your age you can go from feeling: not that hungry to ravenous! So be preventative. How creative can you be with getting food you need, such as:
Mom, if I wash the floor, will you pick up some (fill in the blank) next time you go grocery shopping?
Mom, can we go shopping together and can I use my allowance to buy some (fill in the blank)?
Shopping list on the fridge with hearts and flowers drawn all over it and the words "I heart mom & dad!!" on it (lol)
Babysitting to make some extra cash to spend on whatever you need?
Offer to cook dinner once a week if the ingredients can be purchased for you ahead of time?
Eat snacks, you are growing!
If you feel you have a sugar addiction, I so recommend radiantreovery.com and I do believe her program is compatible with no grains, no legumes, and so on.
Best wishes, rock star!
I'm 17 and I eat paleo in a family that doesn't as well. I usually get home from practice after school starving, but I try to eat nuts (which I actually measure out because otherwise I could eat an entire pack) and veggies. On Sundays I usually slice up a bunch of carrots, peppers, cucumbers, etc, and sometimes my mom will cook a bunch of sweet potatoes for snacks for the week. Sweet potatoes make the best after practice paleo snack because they satisfy your sweet tooth and carb cravings while being healthy! I too have a weakness when it comes to fruit because fruit just tastes so good! My family eats pretty healthy, (but not paleo) but they have dessert every night. They pretty much alternate between a piece of fruit and something really junky like ice cream or cookies. In order to avoid eating a crappy dessert, I have begun to buy dark chocolate bars (70% cacao) and I eat about 2 little squares (not like the big Ghiradelli squares, like the ones that are super small like in a Hersheys bar) for dessert. Then I'm finished eating for the night. This works surprisingly well for me. If you eat the chocolate slowly, I find that I don't crave anything else until I wake up in the morning. I also love milk. I used to drink like 3 glasses a day before I really learned about it. I would guess that I'm slightly lactose intolerant because I have constant sinus problems that are probably related to my dairy consumption. Now I pretty much only drink water, but occasionally I cheat and have a small glass of grass-fed unhomogenized milk (cause if you're gonna drink it, drink the good stuff!)
Suck it up! That's all you can do. If you are hungry then eat paleo foods, all you want if need be to sate the hunger, but keep it paleo. I found myself quite hungry on paleo at first. It took a few months of adaptation until I was not hungry often. But now I can go long periods easily without eating and feel no ill effects. You don't need to conquer everything in the first week. Concentrate on eating healthy. If hungry, then eat, but eat healthy. Give yourself some time for the rest to sort out. If it's any consolation, most find that the craving for carbs abates once the addiction is broken. But sadly, I don't yet know anyone who knows how to make that happen for everyone without some suffering early on.
Iso39 - You should be commended for your efforts to get started at such a pivotal age. (I wish I had known this information when I was that age) It is difficult for all of us, no matter what age, when getting started. You've gotten a lot of good advice but I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned to put yourself on a plan. An easy way to do this is look in The Paleo Solution by Rob Wolf, there is a 30 day meal plan already laid out for you. Other Paleo books & blogs have similar meal plans and/or recipes which will help as well. Then pre-prepare your meals for a few days out in advance. This will take out a lot of the guesswork and pressure on you to come up with food on the fly. After some time your body will adjust and the cravings will subside, by then you'll have picked up enough food awareness to make your own adjustments.
PS: make sure you are getting enough PROPER fats (avocado, coconut milk/oil, certain nuts) along with protein + carbs in your diet. This will help immeasurably with cravings.
Best of luck.
There are going to be limits on what you do living with your parents - and I would not expect any parent to just jump on a sudden change in eating habits that their kids make (veganism being the other common one....).
Cut out the sugary foods. Cut down on the wheat. And don't eat refined carbs for the time being. For someone who is 16, not eating fruit and going VLC is not really all that sensible unless you are specifically type 2 diabetic (diagnosed and insulin dependent). If that is the case, go ahead and pull up the literature to show your parents how well that responds to low carb. Otherwise, let it alone.
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