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thist514

The Paleo Struggle Is Real

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Hi everyone! 

 

I am a new member (this is my first post) but I've been following NF for a few months now.  I was introduced to paleo through the site and have been incorporating it slowly into my life.  Breakfast and some snacks are a still a struggle for me, but for the most part lunch and dinner are paleo. 

 

My biggest struggle committing 100% to this plan is hunger.  In the past I've had the worst eating habbits ever, basically a free for all, and I'm not used to denying my body much (obviously a BIG part of my problem).  Over the past few months I've been monitoring my eating habbits to try and identify my weak spots, and BY GEORGE! I THINK I'VE GOT IT! (hehe).  My meal plans are nice and clean but between lunch and dinner as well as after dinner I get SERIOUS hunger pains and get quite hangry (my support system doesn't care for that too much).  Since these moments of weakness aren't planned for I tend to go to my usual suspects which are ice cream, chips or candy.  I actually go as far as to get into my car and drive to 7-11 and buy them in the moment :(

 

I know that some hunger is to be expected since I'm restricting myself but there has to be a happy medium.  My body is used to eating a pretty carb-centric diet so I tend not to feel full staying Paleo and I think that's a BIG problem I'm having.  So what's worked for you guys?  Are there any foods in particular that really fill you up?

 

Thanks!

Thist

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I'm not the best paleo eater in the world (you can't take my bread!) but if you like carrots they are an awesome, easy snack food. If you get a decent-sized one you can munch for a few minutes then they can work miracles for fighting the hunger.

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If you are struggling with feeling satiated and full on Paleo, consider increasing your protein, fat, and fiber intakes.  All contribute to the overall feeling of 'fullness.'

 

Look into Paleo-ified recipes for versions of your favorite treats.  You mentioned chips and ice cream, so what about kale or sweet potato chips and Greek yogurt or homemade 'ice cream'?  The best option would be to slowly chip away at your dependency on unhealthy snacks by entirely substituting them for veggies and nuts.  I've noticed the cravings start to lose their power after a time.

 

Paleo isn't the easiest but it is definitely rewarding if you can stick it out!

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Pumping up the fat, and to a lesser extent the protein, in the meal before that hunger hits will help satiate you for longer. I have the same deal, and in times where it's really bad (working out a lot for example makes me way hungrier the next day), I actually pretty much pack 2 lunches.

 

If you're driving to the store for snacks anyway, get something like hard boilded eggs. Our convenience store, WaWa, sells them in packs of 2. Or get another fatty/proteiny paleo snack.

 

Also remember, you don't have to be 100% paleo. It didn't work out for me personally, and I'm now 80-90% paleo depending on the day. Snacks and desserts tend to be none-paleo, and dinner usaully has some bread.

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Since you know now when the hunger and cravings hit, make sure you have some healtheir snack options near you at that time. Paleo-friendly versions of foods you love are a fantastic option for when you really really want ice cream or whatever. Experiment with other foods you wouldn't necessarily think of as snack foods, though. If, for example, you made a stir fry for lunch, put a cup or so aside in a tupperware container in the fridge, and then when you get hungry in midafternoon, get that out and microwave it. Using extra of lunch as a sort of "second lunch" is nice because it's easy to just make a small amount more than normal when you're making your lunch.

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Hunger is an interesting subject. The thing about hunger with paleo is that you never have to be hungry. You might have to plan a little more to make sure that compliant foods are always available to you, but you never need to be hungry.

 

When you're eating a standard diet you get hungry. It's not a fault of the diet style. You don't think, "damn this diet style - I hate being hungry", you just grab some food. It's the same with paleo. You never have to be hungry. You just have have to plan a little more, so that you have healthy foods nearby that fit your goals. Being hungry is mostly a mistake of perception - we convince ourselves that we have to be hungry to lose weight and we ALSO use paleo as one of the tools for weight loss. But paleo isn't what's making us hungry - it's the false conclusion that in order to lose weight you have to be hungry. So make some chicken cole slaw, bring it with, and hunger no more.

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Hunger is an interesting subject. The thing about hunger with paleo is that you never have to be hungry. You might have to plan a little more to make sure that compliant foods are always available to you, but you never need to be hungry.

 

When you're eating a standard diet you get hungry. It's not a fault of the diet style. You don't think, "damn this diet style - I hate being hungry", you just grab some food. It's the same with paleo. You never have to be hungry. You just have have to plan a little more, so that you have healthy foods nearby that fit your goals. Being hungry is mostly a mistake of perception - we convince ourselves that we have to be hungry to lose weight and we ALSO use paleo as one of the tools for weight loss. But paleo isn't what's making us hungry - it's the false conclusion that in order to lose weight you have to be hungry. So make some chicken cole slaw, bring it with, and hunger no more.

 

The only time I've ever lost weight is when I've been hungry at times. Even on paleo.

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The only time I've ever lost weight is when I've been hungry at times. Even on paleo.

 

That may be. The key phrase there is at times. We're hungry at times no matter how we eat. But that doesn't mean it's causal for weight loss. We get hungry whether or not we're losing weight. I know I did. When I was 300 pounds I was super hungry waaay more often than I am now. It's part of the reason i gained so much weight. I would put off eating for too long and get stressed out because I was "hangry". Then I would turn to mood-regulating foods (read high-carb snacky and deserty) to feel better. But it just isn't necessary, probably not even helpful, to be hungry in order to lose weight.

 

That said, being hungry actually helps some people. It helps them keep focused on their goals. It reminds them what their priorities are. If that fits you, awesome. But it's not necessary. The fear of being hungry all the time keeps a lot of people from trying to lose weight, and being hungry too much while losing weight makes a lot of people quit. But it's not necessary to be hungry any more often while losing weight than it is while remaining weight-stable. Knowing this helps many people obsess a bit less when they do get hungry. (the rules for hunger do tend to change for losing fat under 8-9% bf)

 

The thing that made the biggest difference for both and my wife and me was eliminating carbs in the morning. Carbs in the a.m. would send me in to a blood-sugar swing that would lead to serious food-moods and regulating them with more carbs. It only took me a few days to get off the a.m. carb train, but it took my wife a few weeks to feel normal in the mornings. But once you're off the morning carb train you can go waaaay longer without eating before you get hungry, and when you do get hungry it's not nearly as annoying. I never eat carbs any more in the morning. Even when I have my carb days (once a week at the moment) I don't eat carb til late afternoon and I'm much better off for it. That doesn't mean it's universally effective, but it works wonders for a lot of people.

 

The scarier it sounds for you, the more likely it is that you may need to try it.

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I guess for me hungry isn't the right word. Rurik used the right word, satiated. It didn't matter how much good food I ate I was still ravenous. After some experimentation and reflection I think I narrowed the issue down to sugar withdraws. It always happened at the same time every day (after dinner) so now I plan on having an after dinner sweet snack. Right now I'm using some of my old favorites (all non paleo) and regulating portions. While not ideal, it's a small step I can handle. After a month of that I'm going to switch to fruits and then hopefully I'll be able to stop my after dinner treat.

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Another aspect of Paleo I've noticed, and experienced personally, from my vast amount of researcherating and informationing across the vast forest of the Internet is that there are multiple perspectives to Paleo.  Some are strict adherents to the fundamental principles of Paleo philosophy, so no Paleo brownies or quasi-cheating of any kind, and others are quite happy to embrace some measure of Paleo-ification of old favorites.

 

It's kind of like following the letter of the law or the spirit of the law.  I've tried both and found that following the spirit, or intention, of Paleo keeps me far more sane than adhering to an ultra restrictive regimen.  I love Paleo treats like frozen bananas covered in peanut butter, protein shakes, and similar not-terribly-Paleo treats.  I don't see the harm in indulging here because I'm so reliable in my nutrition otherwise and these minor cheats still support my macros and nutrition goals.

 

When I get closer to my weight loss goals this summer I intend to slip toward a Primal diet mindset and gradually reintroducing dairy and some performance fuels like sweet potato, rice, and quinoa.  I'll be following an Eat To Perform style diet but not quite so heavy on the carbohydrates they recommend.

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I just started going paleo and --honestly at first I was 'oh hey why not' kind of mindset in getting to it. I knew I'd be prone to make mistakes, so while at it why not record those mistakes? I kept a very detailed food log and I noticed the first week I ate A LOT. I wanted to eat all the time, where's this purported satiety?

Then it subsided. Around 2nd week for me, but it might be different for you. Could be the body getting adjusted, might be the brain/psyche that got used of being hungry all the time under the tyranny of grainy carbs and sugar carrying over that ever-hunger...? Both?

But yes, it gets better.

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