Monday, September 2, 2013

The Primal Blueprint during my transition from weight loss to weight maintenance

Step 1- Was losing the weight and picking a weight transition strategy. I blogged about it here

Step 2- Was transitioning to Paleo & Primal- I blogged about it here
Step 3- Was incorporating the Primal Blue Print

 I'm a scientist so I formed a theory:
 If I use a plan that's been proven by other weight maintainers AND I customize the plan to support my life and health, then I will be successful for a longer time in weight maintenance.

I saved The Primal Blue Print and Mark's Daily Apple for last in my reading cue. I already knew I was mostly lactose and diary intolerant, so I transitioned to weight maintenance very carefully and purposely around dairy.

I read the The Primal Blue Print around March 2012. I had gone for a nice long beach walk, hit a coffee shop on Pacific Coast Highway in Encintias, CA. I found a nice sunny and quiet place to sit and the more I read the more I was captivated.

What really works for me:  (NOTE*  I count myself as someone who follows the Primal Blueprint. I'm currently dairy free due to a casein sensitivity, but I still incorporate many of the Primal Blue Print guidelines daily. During transition, I could eat feta, blue or Parmesan cheese occasionally)

 The Primal Blue Print Diagrams:
 1. The carbohydrate curve
This made total sense to me. I could look back and see how eating a higher carbohydrate (from processed food products) effected my efforts at weight maintenance in the past. In the first 4-6 months, my carb range matched this chart. At 6+ months, I had to move into the 100-50 grams of carbs a day to maintain. Easier to do when you are grain free. Note that I customized it for a previously overweight person.
 Carb Curve color
2. The Primal food pyramid enforced going grain free. By March 20012, I had found that grain = major abdominal pain, a swollen face, and a guaranteed migraine + weight gain. It was clear to me that grains were NOT going to help me get to my long term goal of weight maintenance. The food pyramid helped  me not be so afraid of coconut oil, avocados, and olive oil.

3. The Fitness Pyramid
I've been sold on long slow walks where I grab my camera and stop when ever something catches my eye. The beach, hiking trails, urban walking.

 Ever since my experience in my early 20's with an active hiking/walking club. Those 70 and 80 year old folks  were living well, relatively disease free, and dying in a quick and natural sort of way when it was time to pass away.  All of the older folks were in better health than I was in my 20's .I want good health at every age , so the "Move Frequently at a Slow Pace" made total sense. I'm still working at lifting heavy things and getting the sprinting habit set into my week. 
fitness pyramid flat 2012

4. The Success Stories:

Every Friday, Mark's Daily Apple features a success story. Read past stories here
April 2013, long term maintainer
So inspiring. I could find many people in their 40's and older, people who had Hashimotos' disease, people who had been obese or had yo-yo dieted their whole life. I found my people. I knew no one in real life who was grain free. I knew several in real life who were maintaining large weight losses.  I knew deep down inside I'd be able to match up grain free/processed sugar free living with weight maintenance and be successful.


 What did not work in the past:

1. Not looking at carbohydrates or food quality:  Just because it fit into my WW points plan or was a wrapped bar and convenient didn't mean I should be eating it. Processed bars, low WW point junk foods contained carbs and tons of non-food ingredients that should NEVER have been in my weight maintenance diet.

Case in point: This bar was passed out as a free trial at a popular weight loss program meeting. Okay, so there's soy ( legume), inulin , and dates, brown rice syrup, raisins, sugar.....corn syrup and caramel were also added.

Here comes the rant! Holy Carbohydrates, Batman! Trigger city. There is no way this type of product is going to help me maintain my weight. Just NO. Free is not free, as I would be quickly be paying meeting fees again. Yeah, it's 3 WW points and major carb city.

Yes, I know plenty of people who are long term maintainers who eat these products. It's one way to do it. I'm not one of them and I am no longer a fan. (* Note: this worked okay for me for weight loss in my mid-30's, or so I thought, I could not achieve long term maintenance + my health was not as good as it could have been)

Why not just a hand full of macadamias, almonds, or cashews? Why not real food? Why not some natural protein, carbs, and fat? Food quality counts. The source of carbs really matters in weight maintenance. The older I get, the more important this is in my weight maintenance and health. (stepping off soap box now..)

2. Eating grains, especially wheat and eating "no fat" or "low-fat"processed food products.

I have fond memories of whole wheat cereal, bowls of warm oat meal, and low point bars, Pop Chips, Pirates Booty and Kellogg's cereal bars and Skinny Cow ice cream. I also was 50-70 pounds overweight and yo-yo dieting for many years while trying my very best to be "heart healthy".  No ability to step back and evaluate- is this effective?

3. Chronic Cardio:  I beat myself up for not getting up super early or stopping by the gym to hop on the elliptical or treadmill for hours. Very little or no time spent lifting weights. Sprinting was out of the picture. While the cardio exercises I did may have helped lift my mood, long bouts of cardio machines were not effective in weight loss or maintenance for me.

Jan 2006, yo-yo diet and grain
4. Success Stories: I loved success stories but failed at looking exactly what was working for me. I know lots of real life maintainers and not a single one maintains like I do. Crafting my own success stories and kicking what did not work to the curb, prioritizing, deciding, owning my own stuff, problem solving, and change management.  Continuing education around improving blood work and bio-markers, food quality, exercise and strength were just not in my radar during my other attempts at maintenance.  Making myself a life long priority just wasn't there. I didn't consider what tools and steps I needed for the rest of my life.

Forgive yourself and move on!

Whew! Glad there are some good resources out there. I highly recommend the Primal Blueprint book, Mark's Daily Apple, and fine tuning your weight maintenance to your body.  Don't be afraid to change it up if it's not working. Discuss and onward!


  1. I've been a firm believer in the Paleo diet since I started. It's been about a month now, and I'm already seeing results. At first I didn't know much about Paleo until a friend recommended a cookbook via - a site that focuses on self-improvement. Along with supplemental exercise, eating healthy has never felt this good. Happy bloggin!

  2. I like and employ that theory too - the idea that you can find a healthy plan that works for a lot of other people, and adjust it to fit yours needs/life/etc. I do that with eating mainly paleo but not 100% of the time! It makes it a workable plan for me that keeps the weight off, keeps me healthy, and keeps me HAPPY

    1. It's really meant to be customized. I eat off plan too, but only with foods that do not trigger my emotional/binge eating. That is a place that I worked so hard put into remission.

      I'm just glad to find others that are customizing their template. When I was transitioning, it took awhile to find my peeps.

      Take care Jeannette and best wishes next weekend. :)

  3. So Karen, why aren't YOU a 'success story' at Mark's website! You would be a stellar one! You are certainly an inspiration to me. :)

    Happy Labor Day!

    1. Thinking about it... I've had others (Dean Dwyer) suggest it also... I think we should double dog dare each other, Gwen! :)

  4. I don't feel like a success story because I'd like to weigh a little less. BUT I have maintained my weight within my healthy BMI for over a year so I need to get over it!! I'm hoping that with the summer coming soon (New Zealand) I'll naturally drop another kilo or two due to more salads and steak meals.

    I love that you can show others that maintenance is possible. I watched the BBC documentary the other night "The men who made us thin" and success at maintaining is so minimal - because they are still eating "everything in moderation". Just does not work for me... and you!! Well done Karen.

    1. Lynda- you are a success story!!! Totally. Maintenance is a lot of work. So glad to see people maintaining on wheat free plans.

  5. You have done brilliantly Karen and always shared your story, your points in such a clear, concise way, that have helped many.

    The food pyramid makes good sense, and I love avocados! We should not fear good fats.But we should steer clear of processed foods.

    All the best Jan

    1. Jan, I was so afraid of avocados. And, I live in the middle of the "mother ship" of all avocado growers- California. Notably Fallbrook and Escondio, CA are huge producers. They are every where. I've promised a co-worker that I will attend the Avocado festival in Fallbrook next year. I'm sure there will be some good photo ops there.

      So glad to know the difference (and feel it, too) between avocado fat and fried (canola/corn) oil fat.

  6. I am learning so much from your blog (and from your comments on mine). I hope we will both be featured on Mark's site one of these days!

  7. Karen you are such an inspiration to the Maintenance community---helping us to figure out what works and what does not work for ourselves is a huge key. I love how you just put it out there and tell what works for you. I take this and that from you and continue my own maintenance, thank you so much.

  8. Hi Karen! I think I'm almost paleo--but perhaps I'm eating more fruit than recommended.

    Like you explain--people need to experiment and then customize their eating plan! And no one should settle for an eating plan that only does half of the job (i.e. loses you half the amount of pounds you want to lose). There are always solutions that can be found.

    *Holy Carbohydrates, Batman! Trigger city.* <<Loved this!! lol! :D

    1. Hi Marion, the customization is the best part ( it can be the most tricky, too). With a few months or even half a year, I think that you can customize pretty good.

      Oh,I spent so much time and $$ buying low WW snacks. Sigh... Glad to get that stuff out of house.

  9. It is interesting to me that so many of us WW members start out eating so badly including Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches and candy, frozen entrees with a zillion bad ingredients, all kinds of bars with no better nutrition than candy bars, etc. Then, we either change the way we eat and go more with real food or we probably will gain the weight back. I know my food choices are completely different from ten years ago even though I still have dairy and a few other things like Ezekiel bread and oatmeal. :)

    1. Caron, I know I could eat that stuff when I was young and thought I could get away with it, but now I know I was stuck in a big loop. Just glad to pull away from it. A few years ago, I would have said "everything in moderation", but I'm glad I read the Refuse to Regain book. Reminds me of the connect the dots when I was younger!!!

      If I could have some half and half in my coffee sometimes, I would. It's post thyroid disease/casein sensitivity that messes me up. Sigh. Coconut milk is not the same.

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