I’ve been trying for over a year to switch to paleo diet with very little success. I read an article that for a few genetically unfortunate people, certain food addictions can have equivalent power and hold as heroin addictions. As luck would have it, I happen to be one of those people (fastfood everyday for the last 5 MONTHS.)
I’ve tried to change soo many times and I’ve always failed. Right now I’m on a record breaking day 6 and it’s not getting any easier. I always hear of the “two week breakthrough” where everything apparently gets suddenly better and cravings go away, but I’ve never reached it before. I really don’t think I could maintain the paleo diet long term in 100%, so I wonder
A.does the paleo diet have to be cold turkey? Or could you slowly wean off bad foods in a scheduled manner? Or, is every big mac like hitting the reset button? B. what’s the miminum paleo you can have to see a positive effect? I’m especially interested in clearing up the skin.
I think the only way I’ll survive is a very slow and easy introduction, and the loosest possible version , at least initially. Theres just no way ill be able to maintain a strict paleo diet. What are the best options to get started ? 1 day week paleo, then , then 3, so on? A general, unorganized effort to just eat better? Maybe a pre determined 30 minute a day period where I can eat as I like?
Initially, I’m not concerned with the long term health effects, I just need to get over the addictions and cravings. The one immediate concern I have is clearer skin, so what’s the bare minimum I could do to see progress?
Put it to you this way- I first found up about the paleo diet in 2009, and this is the second time ive EVER gone 6 days…. Im eating taco bell everyday, sometimes twice a day.i have a bit of adderal im using to hold off cravings, and it works, but obviously I cant rely on it.
So, I believe firmly in the idea that there's no point in starting something until you're fully psychologically prepared to do it, because all the good intentions in the world only backfire if you half-ass it and slip and then beat yourself up and then slip more. Why make yourself crazy? Stop making half-hearted attempts. Wait until you have a plan for what to eat, and you feel calm and confident about the change. You sound kind of frantic and desperate right now. There's no controlling cravings and behavior if you're emotionally out of control.
I also believe in the cold-turkey approach myself, because if I have even a little carb/sugar, I become a monster. A week of wanting to murder someone for a Diet Coke (my weakness, weird, I know) is better than months of the same.
Read this for help on kicking sugar addiction:
You can also try using chromium picolinate to help with carb cravings. This study has not been duplicated, but it's worth a try.
EDIT: Also, some people have very good luck with Overeaters Anonymous. You need to go in there knowing you want to stick with Paleo, though, because most participants will still be talking about CW and SAD. But the emotional support can be very helpful for some.
I would like to be honest without being harsh. Eating fast food everyday, Taco Bell included is NOT eating paleo. It very simply breaks down like this...DON'T GO TO THE FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS. That's it. Period. End of that story.
I believe if you want to break the cravings you just need to stop. It took me three years to quit smoking because for the first 2 and q/2 I said I would wean myself off (nope) and I would use alternatives like cigars or chewing tobacco (both equally as bad). Anyway, I finally became honest with myself, decided I REALLY didn't want to smoke anymore and just stopped.
So, I ask you to be completely honest with yourself. Do you REALLY want to eat paleo? Feel better everyday, look better everyday and generally be better everyday. Or do you just want your acne to go away?
As far as going paleo, I still am not strict paleo and I may never be, but I've minimalized my neolithic food intake. By avoiding foods like grains and pastas as much as possible. Not getting fast food burgers everyday. Choosing salads over sandwiches...etc. The easiest for me was to eliminate breads pastas and grains. Then minimalize dairy and legumes. I feel much better every day except the days I slip up...then I feel it. But then I get back on the wagon asap.
I think I have a different take on this, I understand the issue with the fast food restaurants. When I first started working on losing weight, it was crazy hard for me to avoid them. I felt like there was a tractor beam pulling my car in from the road. I would start to salivate even driving by the restaurants. When I did order, I would order extra items to gobble up in my car on the way home so my family didn't know how much I was really eating.
My suggestion, is to try to incorporate one fast food meal per day. No Taco Bell, though (we just recently had a post that their meat is only 35% meat!)... I would suggest one of the burger places and just getting a burger (or a double) with no bun. (If you are lucky enough to be in California I hear In n' Out is fab.) Try to stay away from the fries, but if that's a mental issue, get the small one. I eventually started ordering Happy Meals (for the smaller portions) then moved on to salads and yogurt parfait type items. Now, when I go in to order for my family I can't even find an item on the menu that appeals to me! Believe me. I never thought that day would come either.
Try to set small, reachable goals. You will make it one week with just eating meat at the fast food places. Then maybe you will go every other day to the fast food places. Then maybe 2 or 3 days a week. REWARD YOURSELF WITH NON FOOD ITEMS FOR REACHING YOUR GOALS. I can't tell if you are a guy or a girl, but just $5/$10 items like a manicure/pedicure or a new bottle of nail polish or if you're a guy a new album download from iTunes. ANYTHING. They key is not to give in and give yourself the prize unless you actually accomplish the goal. Personally, I didn't get my fancy coffee unless I went to the gym. :) I really love my fancy coffees.
Cold turkey works great for some and is too mentally tough for others. It sounds like you keep trying it and it's not working, so let's try something else. Eating MOSTLY Paleo is still better than giving up and eating SAD/Fast Food every single day.
What does your typical day of food look like including the fast food? Do you currently do anything for exercise?
IT IS POSSIBLE TO DO THIS. I was a binge eater for years, I haven't had a binge now in over a year. You can't beat yourself up for slips, you accept them, forgive yourself, move on and make the next meal a good one.
Yep, eating out is fun. My advice, find some healthier places to eat out. Like Inn and Out has protein style burgers with no bun and lots of real cheese on it. It's not perfect, but it's better than taco bell. If you must have a taco, go to Del Taco and get their chicken burrito which is real meat with lettuce and tomato. Skip the fries. Eat out only once per day and eat healthier options at healthier places but find stuff you still like. When I eat out, I like to get steak and salad or steak and potato. I switch out the less healthy sides for salad or cut fruit or veggies. Yes you can totally ease into this. Find the paleo foods you like best and target those. Try to screen out the worst of the neolithic foods, like wheat bread. If you must have bread, switch to a high quality sour dough. If you really like noodles, try shirataki noodles or rice noodles instead of wheat noodles. Keep the sugar intake and wheat intake as low as possible. You don't have to be 100% paleo to get a lot of health benefits. Every little bit helps. There are a lot of healthy shifts you can make that are not too painful. For instance, I really enjoy eating tons of steak on a regular basis. Steak is tasty and soooo easy to cook. Just slap it on some foil and jam in the oven for about 18 minutes and dinner is ready!
My contribution to this topic is not so much to give advise but to share my personal experience. About 10 months ago I was told I was pre-diabetic. That prompted me to start researching diabetes, healthy eating, exercise, etc. I searched the internet for months and read 100s of article and blogs just to educate myself. Finally around Sept of 2010 I said to myself 'This all makes sense, I know what needs to be done'. I went paleo cold-turkey as they say. I cleaned out my fridge and cupboards, gave away a ton of food to friends & neighbors. I then went shopping and bought paleo based foods, etc.
I have not looked back since. I have lost 30lbs over about 5 months, blood sugar is stable (no meds needed), blood pressure is down, I sleep better, way more energy and a myriad of other positive benefits too numerous to list. Over the years I have learned if something is important to oneself it will get done. A very wise person told me something many years ago that I keep in the back of my mind - he said imagine if you had a child who was very sick and would probably die soon, now imagine if a doctor told you there was a treatment that would 100% cure your child, the only thing is it would cost $10,000 cash (no insurance, etc). Now what do you do if you don't have that kind of money? You get it! You would beg, borrow, sell personal possessions, work 3 jobs. You would do whatever it takes to get that money and make your child healthy again. Any parent would do this (Yes I am a single parent).
So this is how I view important things in Life, there is no excuse, just do it. Now this works for me but every human being is unique. If you can glean anything useful from this it's all yours.
I think like most addictions, when you are ready to quit, you will quit. Until then I think you are setting yourself up for failure each day and that's no way to feel better about yourself.
You have to have the self esteem to know you are worth taking care of yourself. Obviously clearing up your skin isn't super important...and you've got to come up with a stronger "why" to pull more on you than your enjoyment of fast food.
I wish you luck...and you may not know you can do it, but I do. Someday you'll figure it out.
As you can see, there are many different answers here, that is because there are many different approaches for different types of people. I, too, have a food addiction problem, and am in the middle of a period not being Paleo and working on getting back in the saddle. For me, trying to do the "strict paleo 30" in January actually backfired, it was too restrictive and I flipped out and began rebelling. Because that is me, I don't do well with too many rules.
So, I agree with SherpaMelissa on this one. Watch the movie Fat Head for some good ideas. Since you seem so addicted to fast food, maybe the best idea is to choose food choices there that will help stabilize your blood sugar, so it is easier to make better choices. For instance, chicken nuggets & a diet soda. No, of course this isn't Paleo, but it could be a bridge for you so you can lessen the intensity of your cravings.
I imagine it must be a bit frustrating/disheartening to hear all the "when you're ready you will quit" and "just stop eating fast food". If only it was that easy. And you DO want to quit, and you'd probably prefer to quit before you hit bottom. The problem is you are in the middle of a conflict, you want both at the same time, and right now, the strong cravings are winning out. My mom told me, in regards to quitting smoking (or any addiction) she doesn't agree with the "you have to want it". She actually DIDN'T want to quit, she loved smoking. But she made a choice that she didn't want to experience the side effects anymore. She wouldn't say she was READY, but that she began, and kept focus on why she was making that choice.
I recently began a book called Sex, Drugs, Gambling, and Chocolate, a Workbook to Overcome Addictions, which I recommend extremely. I appreciate that the book is based on strong research, and has a focus on trying to move to healthier choices, instead of an all or nothing approach. It talks about all variety of addictions, and working on getting to a healthier place on the range of addictions. He also mentions that in order to replace a negative addiction, you have to replace it with a positive addiction. I would guess that for a lot of people here, the positive addiction is Paleo, I know it is for me.
And the biggest thing he stresses at the beginning is to trust your own judgment. Listen to yourself, and what works for you. It sounds like you know that a 100% Paleo won't work for you right now, yet you think that is how you "should" be. Hopefully one day you will get to 100%. But even 50% is better than 10%, isn't it? The one thing you do need to be aware of, if you don't take care of your blood sugar and eat too much grain/sugar, it will kick up that craving cycle again (as mentioned by some of the other posters). That is why, for me, dark chocolate works well instead of the cookies I usually go for. Doesn't hit my blood sugar so bad, and makes it easier for me to make healthier choices. I also find it is critical to eat protein with every meal, otherwise my blood sugar goes wacko and I am more prone to make bad choices.
And, don't be too hard on yourself when you eat poorly. Beating yourself up doesn't make you behave, it makes you more likely to feel badly and continue to eat poorly. It certainly does for me.
Whatever direction you take, I wish you luck. And remember, that no matter how addicted you are, you CAN get there. Just don't give up on yourself.
Probably not a question that can be answered. Maybe try giving up processed foods first. Then, maybe go "No S" - no sweets, snacks or seconds. Cooking for yourself most of the time is important. Once you get there, stop eating vegetable oils, wheat and other gluten grains, and added sugars (fructose). See how that works for you, if you want to get more paleo from there, give Whole30 a try.
The way to break your addictions to fast food is to become hermit like and be responsible for what you put in your body.
Start by eating a huge breakfast consisting of 6 eggs fried in coconut oil with a little bacon and a microwaved yam cooked til soft...sliced and slathered with butter. That should minimize your need to eat because you will be full. For lunch carry a cup of walnuts and almonds to get you over the time between breakfast and dinner. For dinner, a huge steak panfried in coconut oil, steamed veggies slathered in butter, a large green salad (leafy lettuce, avocado, bell pepper...both green and red, crumbled cheese of any kind, cucumber, cut up tomatos) dressing I use Good Seasons dry packet mixed in their hour glass bottle...vinegar and olive oil.
If you eat like this daily, your cravings for fast food and sugar will abate because you will be satiated. The more carbohydrates you eat the hungrier you get and the more frequently you will feel you need to eat.
Cook for yourself so you will know what you are getting.
No wheat products, no corn products, no sugar products ever.
Good luck. Determination and perservance will get you through.
You have to do whatever works for you. It may take years of constant improvement, failure, regrouping, restarting, resolving, etc. If you keep reading articles an forums, your resolve will continue even when the will is weak. Try eating less bread and sugar, but don't beat yourself up if you fail, just resolve again. It took me a few years to not crave bread and sugar. Once I had conquered those, I moved on to the fine points. Just do your best every day. You'll get there. Remember, if it takes a few years at 50% compliance, that's a lot better than 0%, and it gets you on the path to 90%, where I am, very happily (finally).