Fat is bad. Saturated fat is deadly. Bacon — and most meat in general, except for boneless, skinless chicken breast and lean ground turkey — was off limits to dieters. Until now.
When I made the decision to go primal for 30 days, I asked a close friend if she would go with me. After a few days to read up on the rules, she texted me.
“I’m a little scared.”
“What’s to be scared of?” I texted back. “Two words: MORE BACON.”
Of course, I was kidding. But — at the risk of aging myself here — I learned how to diet in the 90s. Less fat/more exercise is the way to weight loss, at least that’s what I’ve been taught for the last 20 years.
Meat is Now the Backbone of My Diet
I am willing to accept that there’s a better way, but old habits die hard. Turkey sausage for breakfast, chicken for lunch, steak or roast or fish for dinner. I’ve never been a vegetarian, but before trying a primal way of eating, I could go days without eating meat.
Suddenly it is very much the backbone of my diet and I can’t help but feel like I’m breaking the rules as I have come to understand them.
But a low-fat diet has never helped me lose weight in the past, so I’m sticking this one out to see what happens.
Eat Fat to Burn Fat
The theory behind the primal lifestyle is this: Fat is very satiating. Most nutritional experts know this. Carbs give quick energy, proteins provide lasting energy, but nothing fills you up like fat. Fats also don’t affect insulin, which is great for avoiding spikes and crashes in blood sugar.
Primal advocates say that once you start eating low carb/high fat, your body learns to burn fat for energy.
My Paleo Progress
After recovering from last week’s tantrum, the very first thing I noticed is this: I need less to eat. Initially, I was packing a very large primal-style lunch and piling my plate at dinner. But now I’m realizing that I just don’t need the volume I did before to get and stay full. The fat — in addition to the extra protein that I have no doubt added to my diet — is filling me up.
I know. I can feel you all rolling your eyes at this very obvious revelation. But dieting has been a struggle for me for 15 years. Finding myself not struggling to diet is a brand new feeling.
That’s not to say all has gone perfectly. I still turn to sweet, simple carbs for comfort when I’m stressed (though I do not find myself looking for them as much in general and when I do eat them they don’t taste as good). This weekend was particularly stressful and I survived.
I’m still not quick on my feet when it comes to grabbing a primal-friendly meal or snack when my plans get altered. But I am finding my footing in this new way of eating and liking the way it feels.
Weight lost: A somewhat disappointing, but still progress 1.5 pounds for a total of 5 at the end of week two.