Why Primal?

Einstein once defined insanity as “doing the same thing as always and expecting different results.”

I have always dieted by traditional methods. Low-fat (or very low-fat) and high carbohydrate. I eschewed fat of any description and was ruthless at trimming fat off my meat. I wouldn’t even eat dark chicken meat as it was “so fatty.” I went the “healthy” wholegrain route and ate spelt, pearl barley, bulgur wheat and so on.

Last year I realised that I’d been eating low-fat for years and I was still fat. Very, very fat.

I found myself thinking of what Einstein said and promptly cancelled my Weight Watchers Online account. I had nothing to lose, except weight, by trying something different.

First of all I tried a British ‘girlie’ version of Atkins, Neris & India’s Idiot Proof Diet. I found it pretty satisfying but really struggled to keep my carbs to the 20g level that they (and Atkins) advocated. I was also fed up of only eating leafy green vegetables; after two weeks I would have killed for a red (bell) pepper! Then I remembered that a friend of mine had sent me a copy of Gary Taubes’ The Diet Delision (AKA Good Calories, Bad Calories) a few years ago when she was doing Paleo. Back then I found it an interesting read, but just couldn’t reconcile with the idea of giving up such a major food group.  Not to mention legumes!  I mean… what self-respecting chilli doesn’t have beans in it?!

For some reason, re-reading Taubes and checking out various Primal and Paleo resources really resonated with me this time. Maybe it was because I’d managed to survive relatively well without potatoes, pasta, bread, grains, rice etc? Maybe I just needed a few years distance to understand things better? Maybe it was just time.

I’m not fully primal (yet). I am slowly reducing my artificial sweetener consumption—I figured that going cold turkey on everything at once would be painful—and I undoubtedly eat too much dairy to be strictly primal but I have high calcium needs so can’t find it within myself to get concerned about it.  I haven’t started exercising primally yet, but I’m getting there.  I’ve always enjoyed weight lifting, so I don’t see that being a problem.  Lifting heavy things is fun!

I find this way of eating so much more satifying than anything else I’ve tried. So much so, that I stayed Primal over Christmas and New Year without feeling deprived or miserable. Heck, I even had a primal birthday!  I’ve tried “treating” myself with a slice of cake and felt absolutely dreadful for a couple of days; I think it’s fair to say that I am over using forbidden food as a reward. It just doesn’t feel good.

What does feel good is seeing my body change. I still have a lot of fat to lose but seeing my body fat percentage dropping on the scales is tremendously satifying. My waist has made a new and very welcome re-emergence. My skin is glowing and the dermatitis I’d been developing on the top of my hand is disappearing (yay for saturdated fats!) and my energy levels are nothing short of amazing. My days of lying on the sofa all day and all evening like a slug are pretty much over.

It feels like life can only get better and better, and it’s all thanks to Primal.

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