Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day - 5 Losing weight, but miserable

Morning weigh-in: 162.1 lbs

My weight is going in the right direction, but I am not happy. I think of the book that Gary recommended, by Brillat-Savarin, the French gastronome (who struggled with his weight), and feel I am most comfortable in his world. He is describing people like me - who like eating pastries and desserts and potatoes dauphinoise, drinking wine and sitting around at the table for hours. And yet, here I am on a paleo diet. I'm beginning to worry that while cavemen may have been super-healthy and slim, they did not have much fun...

But I won't let negative thoughts like these prevent me soldiering on. I am in week one, which everyone says is hard. Despite not feeling like eating, I forced myself to have eggs, bacon and sausages for breakfast this morning. My husband btw is much happier than he was, but still doesn't find meals very enjoyable. His weight is also moving in the right direction, though I haven't got the exact number with me here in the office. In other news, the lovely woman who babysits my kids, Maria, has now joined the diet. She really struggles with her weight - she is not tall, but weighs 182 lbs. It is actually a pity because she is very, very pretty - I would say beautiful. She is very energetic and doesn't eat much, and yet, her body is very rotund (she won't mind me saying that). She was at her wit's end, because while she ate very little, she didn't lose weight. If nothing comes out of this for Charlie or I, but Maria finds a way of losing weight successfully, it will be a huge achievement.

Both Charlie and Maria were laughing at me at dinner last night, because I looked so miserable. She said that I should consider myself lucky that we were all doing this together, because it's much harder doing it on your own. I will remember to buy portions for three now, so she can eat with us.


  1. I'm really enjoying reading about your journey, even if you're not enjoying it. It's pretty awesome to have such a detailed account of the everything.

    So the pop science version of what is going on (IMHO) is that your body is used to burning sugar for fuel, and it's resisting the change, but it's going to eventually figure out how to use fat again and then everything should be pretty easy.

    I still definitely enjoy eating and it has been 3 years for me. It just takes time to kind-of re-calibrate everything, like going from a dark movie theater to the bright afternoon sun. You can't even see at first, but eventually your eyes adjust and things are even clearer than they were before.

    Also, you might be right about paleo man not having as much fun as neolithic man, food-wise. I don't think it's as extreme as you say. It's really a different kind of satisfaction. Maybe like the difference between how much fun a drunk person has vs. a sober person. :)

  2. Hi Sophie:

    I hear ya! The first week is hard mentally as you have to unlearn so much. :) Also as you change to fat burning - let's be honest here, even tho' it sounds like melodrama - you are truly doing brain surgery without a scalpel.

    As your insulin levels change and your body enzymes switch, your entire body's hormonal status will begin to shift. And this of course has an impact on your mood and brain. It really does.

    These "down thoughts" are a sign that you are shifting and you will soon brighten up and be happy again as the switch gathers pace. :)

    So hang in there. As for Brillat-Savarin's world, I'm sorry, we don't live there. We can't go back there. :) We can only go forward with a a positive mental attitude. That you report weight issues unfortunately shows that you do not have the "eat all you want all day and never show it" body type. Those just aren't your genetics, I'm afraid. :)

    Perhaps you've read the famous serious of books "French women don't get fat." You will see that the price in those books is to live on tiny portions of yogurt, smoke like a chimney, and go on water fasts for 2 weeks a year at the spa.

    Yes, French women eat 1 spoonful of high-fat chocolate mousse once a week without guilt. And they also never touch bread. When they drink - which the books counsel to do only 2 times a week - they add half water.

    What we learn from those books is that being French and female is a miserable round of constant denial and you can't even talk about it, because that's not cool. It's an iron discipline, not the "hours around the table care-free" as the hype would have it. :)

    Compared to the "French women don't get fat" world, Atkins/paleo is much easier and more enjoyable.

    Don't give up! It gets better next week! And of course, you are losing! :) Congrats. All lifestyle changes are extremely difficult. But you are succeeding! :)

  3. Thank you very much for this blog, as you have inspired me to start a Paleo program as well! I have to say though, that I am having a very different experience.

    Not only am I shocked at the rate at which weight is dropping off (and this is in contrast to a lifetime of chronic weight loss efforts, including a "low fat" weight loss facility where every crumb of my food was controlled...), but I also am far less hungry, and enjoying everything I'm eating.

    I am also a life-long lover of cakes, pastries, and to a lesser extent bread, rice, and pasta, although for most of my life I have eaten sweets only when I felt like being "bad". I think what I have found regarding bread and other non-sweet grains is that I mainly like the stuff that goes ON them, and can merrily trade pasta with low-fat sauce for veg with something buttery or fatty on it.

    I am sorry to hear that your experience is not the same, but I do hope you find a way to enjoy your food, as I believe that is essential to the success of any program.

  4. I suggest buying "well fed" a paleo cook book. There's nothing like a good cook book to bust you out of a food rut. I would also suggest increasing your fat intake, that always helps my mood.

  5. I would take a really good look at vegetable oil intake. The mayonnaise you ate with the carrot for instance is probably 70+% vegetable oil. Vegetable oil in my diet makes me feel *terrible*. Keep it up I'm sure you will feel better shortly.

  6. There are so many good recipes out there. There's no reason to be miserable. Experiment a little. ;)

  7. Sophie, after my first 2 weeks on Paleo, it was holiday time and I lost sight of eating healthy. After eating well, the few days of eating all that was brought to our house and leftovers made me feel bloated for the next week. it wasn't until probably the turn of the new year that I felt back to myself.

    After feeling the difference between eating healthy and eating grains/sugar/etc that I knew paleo was the right diet for me.

    Keep on trucking through this first week and as "Fortune" said, once your body stops relying on sugar and instead starts burning fat, you'll feel more energetic and hopefully finish the month strong.

    As others have said, there are tons of recipes out there packed with flavors that are fun to cook, and taste great. Maybe getting away from the foods (eggs bacon and sausage) that you usually associated with non-paleo and instead making all new recipes will keep you from thinking about sweets.

    Anyway, keep up the great work and I'm excited to continue reading about your's, your husband's, and your babysitter's sure success in the coming weeks :)

  8. I am enjoying following along with your blog. I had to laugh at today's post because I am on Day 11 of this diet and still feeling a bit like you are! I have been feeling a little sorry for myself that I had to give up my sweets and breads! :) But it is getting better day by day and I have already lost 5 lbs.

  9. Have dessert! banana splits are a favourite in our house - split fresh bananas, topped with fresh whipped cream (real dairy cream - I think you americans call it 'double whipping cream'?) and a few shaves of grated real, dark, 75% cocoa chocolate.

    Hot chocolate is another winner - just under 1tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, hot water, lots of cream (again, real dairy cream from actual cows) - again with the chocolate shavings on the top, or cinnamon.

    Create decadent settings for your meals - use a tablecloth and candles, pour tasty high-quality olive oil liberally on your salads, have a fancy jug of iced water on the table and use your wine glasses if you want :)

    And you sound a little like the full-on cooked breakfast isn't really doing it for you - try a smoothie (google for 'primal toad smoothies' for a bunch of free recipes from his ebook), or soup. My husband makes a huge pot of traditional bone-broth and vegge soup each week which lives in the fridge for our breakfasts. Or just keep hard boiled eggs in the fridge and grab one or two and a piece of fruit (yeah I know everyone's been saying "no fruit!", but I like the fresh crunch, and haven't noticed any ill effects - but then I only eat a piece every couple of days or so).

  10. You might not feel like eating because your body is burning up all that fat and doesn't need any more food. Especially if you eat alot of vegetables or extremely nourishing food like heart or liver, you might not have to eat. I felt very...unhungry my first few weeks when I lost the most weight.

    If you want to stimulate your appetite, do some resistance training. Bodyweight training is easy to do at home or anywhere in a few minutes and you will be ravenous the next day as your body recovers. Hunger is the best seasoning - your food will be much more appetizing! Mark Sisson has a free workout guide if you sign up for his e-mail list:

  11. It will get easier, I promise! You are probably just adapting to ketosis, but once you're in you'll feel insanely better. Also and include large groups of people who are experiencing the same things as you are.

  12. I found exercise kicked me out of feeling BLAH to feeling fabulous. I was tired, and unmotivated, but I got on the treadmill. The first 20 minutes were absolute agony, the second were wonderful, and three days later I still feel fabulous. Good luck! I hope you start to feel better very quickly.

  13. It may not seem like it, now, but once you get beyond this first week or two you are going to find it a lot easier. In fact, after I dropped 30 pounds or so, I decided to be lazy one night and ordered a thin crust pizza (with lots of meat). That night and for a portion of the next morning I felt terribly bloated from the bread (crust) I had eaten. At that point I knew for certain that not only had I dropped weight, but I had changed what my body considered a normal diet. I haven't gone back. I feel better, have more energy, exercise more regularly, and am in a much better space. Stick with it! You're in the "recalibration" phase. It only gets better.

  14. One thing I discovered is that my tastes quickly changed. When I was used to eating a lot of sweets, fast food, processed foods - basically foods with very LOUD tastes- meat, vegetables, fruits, etc all tasted pretty bland without gobs of salt and sauces added.

    Soon after starting a paleo/low carb diet I began to notice my mouth watering at the thought of tomatoes (I don't even like tomatoes!). My tastes began changing and the subtler foods without all the flavoring additives took on new life. I have lost 16 pounds in under a month, am never hungry, and I eat like a king: eggs and bacon for breakfast with some fruit and heavy whipping cream, a huge salad full of many colorful veggies and steak without homemade olive oil/garlic/parmesan/spices salad dressing, and then a big stir-fry for dinner.

  15. Hi Sophie,

    Thought you might find this very interesting!

    Lots of people on there attempting a paleo-like diet!

  16. I found you via the Five Books article with Gary Taubes. I am Atkins, not Paleo, but will give you the follow advice, which echos about four other comments just today. Find a good recipe site/blog and endeavor to try a recipe or new idea at least every couple of days. Also, try to find a blog or two or three to follow of people eating your diet and watch what they eat for ideas. There are a whole bunch of foods you can eat that you are not trying and not even aware of. The beauty of this way of eating is you can eat when you are hungry! Find something you like to eat and when you are hungry, eat! Focus on that good feeling of never being hungry, finding what you like to eat that you can eat and you will quickly leave behind the sugary, refined crap.