Hey, everyone. I am really struggling here and I could use a bit of advice or some tea and sympathy, as they say :). I also need to vent. As I have stated on my profile, I have rosacea. I have reactive hypoglycemia. Long story short, it was getting really bad in January, I am a research hound so I hit the bricks and decided to go Paleo/Primal. My skin is better than its been than in all the years I tried so many medications and treatments. But now, after about 4 months, I have found I am in a bad cycle which I will describe further down. Here are some of the factors that are in play:
Referring to 4., I try to avoid going crazy and eating carbs by eating nuts and dried fruits. But one day I thought, goodness, I am gorging some days, so I have currently cut down the consumption of nuts, and I have cut out eating dried fruit in the meantime. But there are times where I give in, and go crazy and eat a big bag of cheetos or some horrible processed thing, and the next morning I am sorry, my face hurts and sometimes is a mess and I also feel horrible (When I eat any refined or processed carbs, I feel the difference in my energy at the gym!) This is the bad cycle I am stuck in now.
I cut back on using heavy cream, cream cheese, creme fraiche, sour cream, plain greek yogurt, and cheese, because I thought maybe I was overdoing it or maybe dairy was slowing my weight loss. I was keeping dairy in my diet since I couldn't have any complex carbs at all and it helped me vary my meals. I only use butter, and olive and coconut oil.
I also have an intuition that fruits, both dried and fresh, the sweet taste may set off cravings and may start that vicious cycle-but I could be wrong. Also, I was only using stevia, but I had a hunch it may set me off into cravings as well, so I stopped using that too-but this is just a hunch. I stopped drinking diet soda, it became too sweet, and I mostly drink water.
So here's what I think I am getting to, and would appreciate everyone's support, ideas and suggestions - is that because maybe the sweetness of fruit sets me off (or the wrong fruit) and since I cannot have any complex carbs at all (lectins), even a sweet potato, that maybe I am driving my insulin too low, or my glycogen stores get used up quicker, I have no way to store up with even good Paleo starches, or refeed, so I am driving my body crazy and thats why I am driven to binge. My only source of carbs is fruit and vegetables. I think my body is getting smart, and even though I exercise and eat paleo, my body is learning to hang onto the fat and and not let it go. I must be insulin resistant. Since this happens about every three weeks, I guess this is also the reason why I am not losing, any gains I have during the three weeks are negated by the binge and then I start again.
I was also taking 200 mcg of Chromium a day, which I am now down to 100, I am guessing that my insulin is so low at some points during the day thats why sometimes I am so ravenous and feel like binging too. But, again, I am not sure.
Would it be bad to have a cup of white rice once a week (since I don't break out from it), but being that my body is possibly insulin resistant, would this inhbit the weight loss? What harm would it to the good processes going on in my body that incur weight loss by eating paleo, then bam, I eat rice? Is this like dropping 10 ton of bricks on my liver? Would I be giving my body sugar shock? (like injecting heroin?) Would doing this harm any other organs or disrupt anything good happening in my body that I am not aware of? Is dairy a bad thing for someone in my circumstances? Would intermittent fasting help me?
I am really at a loss. I do not know what to do. I cannot and will not give up the paleo/primal lifestyle because it has really helped my skin and I feel SO MUCH better overall. But I need to learn how to live and enjoy, not suffer for a certain eating style, and not binge, and not spend my days obsessing over the next meal or focusing how hungry I am or fighting urges to binge, or dreading the next possible binge. I can't do this binge/cycle thing for the next twenty years. Please be kind and take pity on this newbie, don't be rough!
Thanks again for your advice in advance. I am open to all suggestions. Gratefully, Typeogirl
First of all welcome! You've come to the right place for help. You have a lot going on here and I probably have more questions for you than answers at this point.
I think it would be very helpful if you could give us a typical day's menu and any ideas on your macronutrient intake if you track that at all. Also how much more weight do you have to lose? 15 lbs in 4 months is excellent. How long of a "stall" is this? Weight loss is not linear. There will be times where there is no weight loss for weeks on end and that does not necessarily mean you are doing something wrong or you need to change anything.
So skin loves paleo and that's on track. Great. You're on the right track.
Weight loss isn't happening at a speed you like. First I think you need to let go of the idea that you need complex carbs. Is that something you think you need for the hypo? I am so glad you are off the dried fruit. All fruit really. Bad news for reactive hypo and weight loss in general (for most) Is the hypo not controlled by low carbohydrate intake? When is this happening?
White rice sends me into a hypo-coma every times so don't go there unless you know for sure you can keep your BG stable eating it.
Are you in touch with what is setting off the binges? Are you feeling deprived? Just using food to deal with emotions related to the rest of your life? Where are you getting the Cheetos from? (ie can you and do you keep you home free of off plan foods?)
Fill us in a bit more and I'm sure many will have suggestions for you to try.
I'm going to start another answer because I have too much to say that it won't fit in a comment space.
So you agree you don't need complex carbs. Perfect.
As to the two forms of binging try the rice and see how it goes. I agree with Annie that you are not one who needs to worry about glycogen replenishment but if you feel this may be an issue then try it. I would place them PWO if possible. Or use them at an evening meal as a treat which may help both the physical and emotional. In your position I would not do more than 100g as your carb up day. Do this maybe once a week and see how it makes you feel.
On other days I think we all seem to agree that a VLC menu with plenty of fat is the way to go at least from a physical standpoint.
Psychologically you will need to figure out how to head the binges off at the pass but also how to have them in a way that causes the least amount of damage and how to get right back on the wagon (which you don't seem to be having a problem with. Is that correct?) For me I keep stuff on hand (in the freezer) that is decadent and delicious and makes me feel like I'm being "treated" so I always have it on hand if I come home from a particularly heinous day and and struggling. Get familiar with some of the paleo treats available. Because you are going to limit fruit you might try the frozen banana ice cream for instance. Even frozen strawberries (a better choice) blended with some cream makes something quite delicious. I keep buckets of creamed cauliflower (faux mashed potatoes) in my freezer as well. A big bowl of that with a burger makes me feel like a new woman on those days I just want to end. There are a million ideas out there for paleo brownies and cookies, etc but the gist of it is to find paleo substitutes for your comfort foods and have them ready or have the ingredients handy at all times. I agree that you want to watch the sweet taste but to forgo it completely may be a mistake. I think you can use sweet tastes effectively without setting yourself off but obviously you'll need to make that call for yourself. I just can't restrict that much but if you can with no ill effects that may be best.
You may want to start incorporating a "treat meal" once a week where you allow yourself to have some really delicious things that are paleo but not something you would normally be eating on a daily basis. So no more carbs per se but just food that "feels" good to you. Just knowing that Wed night is a meal to look forward to can help when the urge hits. If you know you only have to wait a day or two to indulge it helps. So similar to the carb refeed you are talking about but more of an emotional refeed with your food.
i just wanted to drop a work of support. congratulations on what you've accomplished so far. there are a lot of people in this community who come from different backgrounds and hopefully will have some good advice you can use.
i don't think that everyone who starts paleo should go low carb or very low carb but it seems like it may be the ticket for you. i think it will do two things: i think it will break that sugar addiction and give your brain a chance to heal from all the hyper-stimulation that years or decades of sweet stuff has put on it. i also think it will help with pathologic insulin resistance that is almost certainly a factor. i don't believe you'll always have to stay this way. i went vlc for several months and then slowly ramped myself back up to having as much paleo carbs as i want. however, it does take time and tinkering.
We, and I mean we, have a tough road to follow. With due respect to those who say give up carbs, my personal experience is that I can give up carbs for 1-6 months and then I will go on a humongous binge that lasts a long time.
First, learn the difference between physical and emotional hunger. Physical hunger won't go away until you eat. Emotional hunger is much more intense (I've always called it binge fever) but you can distract yourself if you really want to.
So what has helped me? I make sure I eat carbs, including fruit, on a regular basis so the intense cravings don't build to a crisis. To help limit my urges, I eat meat and fat 'til I feel fairly satisfied then I eat my veggies and fruit. When the urges hit again--and they do--I imagine eating something, visualizing the insane pleasure of eating it it over and over and then I decide "Nope, not gonna do it today, I don't need to." Most days that works for me. Going for a long walk helps too. There have been many times when I said, "If I still want it that bad when I get back from ... I'm going to eat it." Well, when I get back I realize the urge is gone because I've been thinking about other things.
Now, let's assume the worst and say you give in and cheat. Ok, pay attention! What, if anything, actually tasted as good as you thought it would? Do you feel happy after eating it or just miserable? I found soda tasted horrible, ice cream made me sick, even fries were yucky, BUT a soft-serve cone tasted good and didn't make me sick or cause immense guilt. So now, I fight my urges on a daily basis but once every week or 2 I go have a soft-serve cone. I savor every lick, relishing my treat, and then I go on with my new lifestyle. There are no leftovers, it hasn't stopped my gradual weight loss and for the first time in my life I'm learning to have moderate treats rather than 4,000 calorie binges.
Hi typeo -- just wanted quickly to say good job on your efforts! Keep it up -- sounds like you're on the right track. Agree with everything that's been posted here. A thought -- you may want to get your son off the junk, too -- besides just being good for him and helping him develop good nutrition habits, I know for myself, if something is in the house, I will eat it -- I exercise most of my self-discipline in the grocery store by just not buying anything on the "evil list"!
Don't know how much you're exercising -- might help to know what you're doing. Good call on trying to eliminate all the sweet fruits -- even though it's fructose, as a PT friend of mine likes to say, "sugar is sugar is sugar" -- doesn't matter if it's fructose, HFCS, sucrose, dextrose, stevia, agave, etc. -- it's all the same in the end.
As others have also said, you may in fact not be eating enough -- particularly in the fat category -- but you don't want to overdo it. Like you, I can easily go crazy with the nuts and almond butter -- I love it so much! We all know that Paleo isn't about counting calories or watching the scale, but portion control does come into play to an extent, especially if you're trying to drop excess weight. That said, eat quality food high in nutrient value when you're hungry -- that should address the "I'm hungry" binges. For the "comfort binges," just keep at it -- it gets easier. I like to try to translate my intake into "burpee equivalents" -- helps me resist a lot of things! ;)
Here's another recent PH question with a lot of good info, too.
Congratulations on all your success so far, typeogirl! That's huge.
I don't know enough to give good answers to all the things you're wondering about, so I'll just share the one thing that makes a huge difference to me: I make paleo-style high-fat, yummy chocolate bomb things and keep them in the freezer. If I do feel the need to snack, I've got a good option right there.
Would having safe-but-yummy snacks on hand help, do you think?
This is just my personal experience, but if I drop all fruit other than a few raspberries or strawberries, and add fat (a spoonful of coconut oil with meals), I don't get sugar cravings, and have no desire for more food than I need to satisfy hunger.
I "helped" my son with the banana and raisins he was snacking on earlier, and now I keep sticking my head in the fridge to see what else we have to eat. Use me as your cautionary tale, and definitely shelve the dried fruit for now if you are trying to turn off cravings.
I have to avoid some fruits in order to keep the binges at bay. Tart apples seem to be ok for me, but a fresh pear can send me on a downward spiral very quickly. For some odd reason, bananas don't seem to trigger the binges (perhaps because I eat them when they are half-green?).
Every time I have a binge I try to spend more time reading on paloe (on PH, the Whole9 site, and Robb Wolf's site, as well as assorted books I've picked up over the years). It helps to keep the one-day binge from turning into a three-week binge.
Good luck. You're not the only one.
Everyone, I decided to track my food for the next couple days and see the numbers on how i am eating. I am trying not to get so caught up in the numbers since I know my overeater/yoyo dieter mind can get obsesses and that sets me up for failure and i know that's not what paleo/primal is all about, but i see the necessity of trying to polish and hone my eating in order to make it effective. I will keep you all posted on my progress. Thanks for all your advice, keep it coming. It made me feel so much better!
Hey Typogirl, great to see you have had so many great responses and i can tell your pumped to try some new recipies, and your feeling better about your predicament...
Like so many others have said, your not alone and here is my 2cents worth :)
Good idea about tracking just for the short term, this is what i have started to do also....but another suggestion totally not related to food, is have you to gone to see a psychologist and/or hypnotherapist...and im not talking about 1 or two sessions, im talking for a good period on a weekly basis...we create habits over decades and sometimes people say i saw a therapist(for a week or two) and then says oh it didnt work!!!!! ( Well the bingeing cycle didnt just happen over a week or two either)
I have seen a psychologist on a weekly basis for about 8 months then scaled it down to fortnightly for about 4 months and now i still see her every month...probably forever, i dont care, the amount of money i have spent on binges and illegal drugs (to curb my apetite) i can certainly justify spending money on therapy....
So thats my 2 cents and i hope you find inner peace sooner rather than later, be kind to yourself and love yourself...many of us wouldnt even want our enemys to be treated the way we treat ourselves!!! Goodluck :)
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