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Carb cravings and a bad habit of constantly snacking



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  • Carb cravings and a bad habit of constantly snacking

    I've been following the paleo diet not-so-successfully for two months or so. Forgive me, but I have not yet read the Primal Blueprint (although I've done hours upon hours of research online). I know the basics of the diet and understand the why of intermittent fasting. I've been doing an okay job of eating paleo at home (albeit with a little too much fruit and probably not enough fat at this point), but when I leave I just seem to have no self-control. It's like my body has been waiting for the opportunity to eat pizza, animal crackers (from the preschool I work at!) and whatever I can find. The problem is that I am out more than I am home. Even if I pack food, which is the obvious answer here, I still find myself wanting to eat carbs when I am done.

    Is the problem just that I am not eating enough fat? I am a 110 pound woman, 25 years old, and am not doing paleo to lose weight, but I don't really want to gain any either, and I feel like I am on the verge of gaining weight on this diet. My goal is simply to be healthier and (hopefully) help my acne prone skin and attention issues. I read about people eating eggs, bacon, sausage, coffee with heavy cream for breakfast … is that really appropriate for me or is that for the ultra low-carb crew?

    Another issue is that I can't seem to get myself to stop the constant snacking. I even tell myself I won't eat after 7pm, but can't help but eat something, and then eat something again a little later. As Mark Sisson would say, I am in a "constant state of feed," and it does leave me feeling bloated and lethargic a lot of the time.

    Other than "just do it," does anybody have any advice on how they broke these bad habits?

    P.S. Please don't yell at me for not reading the book and asking questions, I promise it's on my to do list!!

  • #2
    What's wrong with more carbs from fruit?

    Eat sufficient carbs and you won't be binging. Trust me.

    I'm high carb paleo (not primal) and eat lean red meat, gelatin/bone broth, eggs, fruits (TONS of the stuff), sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, dairy, coconut.
    HCLF: lean red meat, eggs, low-fat dairy, bone broth/gelatin, fruits, seafood, liver, small amount of starch (oatmeal, white rice, potatoes, carrots), small amount of saturated fat (butter/ghee/coconut/dark chocolate/cheese).

    My Journal: gelatin experiments, vanity pictures, law school rants, recipe links

    Food blog: GELATIN and BONE BROTH recipes

    " The best things in life are free and the 2nd best are expensive!" - Coco Chanel


    • #3
      First off, just read the book. It'll really help answer questions you have. Never mind the fasting for now. To start, plan three solid meals a day and eat to satiety each meal. Those foods for breakfast are fine, even for you. Add an apple and sauteed peppers in with the eggs and sausage and it's not 'ultra low carb' anymore.
      Occupy your time in the evenings. Go for a walk, do some yoga, read with a cup of tea. Break the habit of trolling the kitchen all evening. Ultimately, it is mind over matter. Make you and your health a priority and stop the self sabotage.
      Good luck!


      • #4
        Well, pizza dough and animal crackers are not "carbs"--they're factory foods. Do you have the same reaction to clean starches like tubers or squash? It's most important to get some distance from any specific foods that are causing intrusive / preoccupied thoughts. Macro ratio is a secondary detail you can play with later.

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        • #5
          The feeling went away for me when I ate a huge (for me) pretty high fat and protein, low carb breakfast or dinner. All of a sudden I wasn't hungry for 5-6 hours and didn't need to snack. I understand that having free food around you is really hard and it will be hard for awhile, but you also have to train your mind to truly believe that those crackers or snacky foods are NOT GOOD FOR YOU. They are not made with wholesome ingredients. They are not made to nourish your body. They are made with salt and sugar and processed crap to make you want to eat more. The less you eat of them, the less you'll want them (eventually). I still crave carby stuff sometimes, and I attempt to stay the course with gluten free at least and don't beat myself up, just get right back on the bandwagon.

          And as picklepete said, try good starchy veggies and see if you still feel that snacky craving. Bake off a bunch of sweet potatoes to store in the fridge for when you have that craving, add a pat of butter/ghee and savor it.

          Oh! Also, if I don't pack anything to take with me when I'm out, I'm out of luck, I don't allow myself to buy food out of the house. That way I know where it's from, I know what's in it. But since I'm eating more fat and less carbs than I used to, I can make it 4-6 hours without needing to eat, which is convenient on shopping days!!!

          Good luck, hope some of the advice people have given will help!


          • #6
            Originally posted by Kwaggz View Post
            They are made with salt and sugar and processed crap to make you want to eat more.
            More specifically, pizza dough and animal crackers are made with WHEAT. Wheat is addictive beyond carbs, and beyond taste and texture and "mouth feel." Break yourself from wheat first, and then work on the other carbs. This may not work for everyone, but if you need a crunchy snack to help you avoid wheat, here is my secret weapon:

            Since you list yourself as Maryland, you should be able to find these in any store. Yes, they are potatoes (and lard!). But if you divide an 8 oz size into four small baggies, that's 28 grams carbs each. If you watch the rest of your carb intake, you should still be able to stay below 100 g/day and stay mostly Primal.

            It will also help for you to realize that the wheat might be causing your acne and attention issues. MDA has lots of anecdotal evidence for that. It's much easier to avoid wheat if you know it's harming you directly where you can see it, rather than being vaguely "bad for you."

            While the potato chips are great, eventually you'll need to cut down on them and follow Kwaggz's advice. Big meals with lots of fat to make you "forget" about snacking. Yes, it's entirely appropriate to stuff yourself with bacon and eggs and butter. I do that and I'm even smaller than you. For one two-month period, I stuffed myself silly on ground beef, eggs, butter, and kale until I busted open and I still lost a pound. That's the magic of our fat-based metabolism: it's actually pretty hard to overeat fat. We just get too full doing it.
            5'0" female, 45 years old. Started Primal October 31, 2011, at a skinny fat 111.5 lbs. Low weight: 99.5 lb on a fast. Gained back to 115(!) on SAD chocolate, potato chips, and stress. Currently 111.


            • #7
              Thanks for all the suggestions. I promise I am starting the book tonight! I think part of me not wanting to eat fatty foods is that I get scared when I see the calories (just a cup of coconut milk is like 500 calories!). Picklepete, you are right, I think I am just craving those "factory foods" that I am so used to. I was raised on fruit punch, sandwiches, cereal, pasta, packaged snacks, and low-fat everything, so this is a huge change for me. I will try the starchy fruits and veggies and even the potato chips! The one thing I've been enjoying lately are green smoothies, but now I am getting obsessive and am worried about the oxalate content of the veggies. I'll check in when I'm done the book!