My best friend weighs 308 lbs. She has been overweight/ obese for almost 20 years and hasn't exercised since she left high school in 2001.
I have introduced her to Paleo and have ordered Robb Wolf's book for her to read. This week, she will have her first appointment with a Crossfit personal trainer.
I know weight loss is 80% - 90% diet, so I'm focusing on her diet at present. As with many obese people, she has poor self-control to the point of addiction when it comes to her choice of food and portions.
I've read Robb Wolf's book and have been advising her based on that.
She has been complaining of headaches, feeling hungry, lousy and tired ever since she's cut out non-Paleo food. She is craving something sweet as well (I've advised against eating fruits for now as well). She is used to eating rice, bread and dairy products on a daily basis. This is a girl who enjoys cheesy, creamy pastas, pizzas, burgers and fried chicken.
What can she do to remedy this?
I want her to feel positive about all these changes she's making but it's hard when she feels like crap physically :(
How much meat, veggie and good fat should a person of her size be eating so she feels full? What am I advising wrong? What should she do? Btw, seafood causes her eczema.
As a formerly obese person myself, my recommendation is that she needs to take this slower if you want her to stick to it. New food + Crossfit at the same time may really be too much, especially if she has an eating disordered past.
When I made this really work, I got my food portion right for about a month before I jumped into exercise. Also, you may want to go 80/20 Paleo with her and allow some non-Paleo foods. Or maybe make some Paleo friendly things like almond butter brownies and macadamia nut cookies, Paleo pancakes, touches of what she's used to.
The other option is to cut everything completely out for 30 days, like a whole 30.
You really need to have a heart to heart with her regarding what SHE thinks will work for her best. Some people need to ease into a lifestyle change to make it stick and some people will take allowances like 80/20 and stretch them too far and end up not fixing anything at all.
Do not be judgemental. Deciding to make the change is a huge step. It can change your whole life. If you have been making excuses for other parts of your life based on being fat, it is very scary to decide to change that. Once your fat is gone, you have to figure out the other things. Losing weight can be extremely mental. You have to be ready for that. Going slow really helped me mentally keep up with the weight loss.
I'm new here, but I would say as someone who experienced hellish low-carb flu, explain it to her and why ultimately it's a good thing --even if you have to describe it as a "detox". My N=1 was that I felt so much better after getting off the grains alone after a couple of weeks, I was ready to pay attention to the rest of "it" (primal/paleo/whatever). And perhaps provide her w/ the links to all the discussions here about low-carb flu so she knows she's not alone. That helped me tremendously.
I'm fat too. I've lost 35 pounds though in the last 3 months and feel fantastic. At the beginning of summer I cut out all white food - rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, sugar. The first couple of days were HARD. Then I felt better and realized that carbs are addicting. If I cheated, I'd cheat for a couple of days. I would have to fast to break the carb-cycle. THEN I discovered Paleo. I way upped my meat and fat - WAY. I looked into Cross-Fit, but since I knew I couldn't even do one of the assessment skills, I passed. I found a knock-off of P90X called Supreme 90 Day (something or other) on Amazon. I have done it for 2 months and can do a push up! I have muscles! Doing cardio - the exercise all fat people are told they need to do - is hard on fat people, and we give up. Lifting weights and squatting is easy - we keep it up.
I think the exercise helped me to feel better thus making the "diet" easier. I would suggest that she does do both, but not Cross-Fit right away. My goal is join Cross-Fit by Christmas.
My first question would be how long has she been doing paleo? Even if it isn't a low carb form of Paleo most people switching from sad to paleo get the typical LC response to the transition. The headaches, tiredness, and crappy feeling will last for the first 1-3 weeks before the body really transitions from burning carbohydrates to burning fat. It's two different metabolic processes and takes the body some time to figure out what's going on.
The best thing to do is just stick it out... That's why the Whole9's Whole30 challenge is a good program. It forces people to stick it out past the low carb slump that usually comes with the switch.
Have you heard of AndreAnna's Life as a Plate blog? She was once morbidly obese - was once near 300 lb. - and now she is a fit and fierce Crossfitter who is all kinds of toned. Here are a few links from her inspiring story that you may consider sharing with your friend.
Most importantly, since your friend is still in the awful transition off of processed carbs, have her read AndreAnna's post about her own experience (it had me laughing because I could identify!): http://www.lifeasaplate.com/2010/10/13/the-plunge/
Her Crossfit Posts: http://www.lifeasaplate.com/category/healthfitness/crossfit/
Her Weight Loss Posts: http://www.lifeasaplate.com/category/healthfitness/weightloss/
And her recently at a Warrior Dash (she's #56213):
I would say she should just eat as much or as little as she wants as long as it's paleo for now (except for fruit.) Also...for the transition...try some salty broths or just supplementing salt literally by eating it.
I second (or third?) the recommendation to have her avoid Cross-fit for now. Make sure she's getting good sources of healthy fats (pastured butter, pastured eggs, preferably grass-fed liver) ... and not trying to do this low-fat because that's been drummed into her head for years.
And have her check out paleo hacks ... let her know that there are other women who are or have been where she is (I've lost 100 lbs with more to go). It's not just for hard bodies ;).
When I am trying to convince obese people to try this diet, I always point out the main selling point that appeals to those who love food: You never have to be hungry or count calories.
If she needs to eat a little fruit to stay motivated, it is better than feeling like she can't stick with Paleo. Eventually she will reduce her carb cravings anyway. Too extreem and she could feel discouraged and never try it again.
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