How To Deal With the Stumbling Blocks

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Recently by Mark Sisson: Listening to Your Body

     

A 30-day Primal Blueprint Challenge wouldn’t be complete without you facing some actual challenges. Yesterday, because we’re all in this together, I asked you to share your struggles with everyone in the comment board. We all face hurdles everyday, but it’s not often that we get to discuss them with other like-minded individuals, let alone get advice on how to surmount them. Today, I’ll give my two cents. I’ve read through all your comments and collated them to arrive at a couple dozen to briefly discuss. In the future, this post will serve as a resource for solutions to challenges commonly encountered in the Primal lifestyle, an FAQ of sorts. If I’ve missed any major ones, let me know and I’ll see about including them.

Food

“I’m fearing the fat.”

What is it that you fear, exactly? Do you worry that saturated fat is going to induce a heart attack? Cause it won’t. Or maybe you’re worried eating animal fat will turn into fat on your body. Reasonable concern, but it won’t do that, either, assuming you don’t eat way more food than you need. And eating too much rarely happens when you’re focusing on fat, because fat is highly satiating. Fat, you see, is the perfect fuel source for the human body, and once you’ve gotten past the low-carb flu, fat burning mode feels really, really right. To get to know fatty acids more intimately, check out my definitive guide on the subject.

I’m all for fearing trans-fat and processed seed and vegetable oils, but good fats from meat, dairy, olive, coconut, palm, fish, and actual nuts? There’s no reason to fear those.

“I’m having trouble getting enough protein.”

It’s doesn’t have to be that difficult. First, consult this excellent resource containing the protein content of common foods. Then, make sure to include one of the protein sources at every meal. Just eat some meat, a couple eggs, some fish, and call it a day.

“I’m scared of getting too much protein.”

Healthy people can handle plenty of protein. It’s true that some patients with impaired kidney function need to rein in their intake, but protein doesn’t precipitate the problem. In fact, there is far more evidence that animal protein is health-protective.

“I’m fighting a major sweet tooth.”

Ah, the sweet tooth. A common nemesis, judging from the responses in the comment section. I’m sorry to say it, but you’ll just have to bear it out. Stick with the plan, and in time the cravings will vanish and you’ll notice astonishing, subtle sweetness is common foods. I would advise against going nuts with fruit or artificial sweeteners (although if you’re going to use one, go for stevia, which has ulterior health benefits) to satisfy a sugar craving, as they’ll just feed into it and fruit will become like candy (psychologically). Just hold out, let the cravings pass, and then you’ll be able to enjoy fruit and even a bit of honey without going crazy for it.

“I can’t give up grains.”

Sure you can. Like all difficult but necessary things in life, there’s a ten-step process for that.

“Staying Primal on the road.”

You’ve simply got to be prepared. If you’re on the road on a regular basis, and it’s not just a fluke, one-time road trip or vacation, you have to start planning. Fill a cooler with hardboiled eggs, jerky, fruit, veggies, and other snacks. Cook a big batch of steak the day before and pack it in ice; cold steak is delicious. Canned tuna, sardines, salmon, and oysters are fine choices, too. In other words, read my guide to staying Primal on the road.

“I’m running out of ideas for recipes that last the whole week.”

There’s a seemingly endless stream of quality Primal recipes going up around the net (just Google “primal recipes” or “paleo recipes”), but this page and the comments here should get you started for now. And don’t forget about the two cookbooks I’ve put out to address this exact problem: The Primal Blueprint Cookbook and Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals. For weeklong batches of food, stews, soups, roasts, and curries are the ticket. The crockpot is your friend. Keep some homemade broth on hand, plus plenty of fresh herbs. The best part is that the cheaper cuts of meat are best for stewing.

Fitness

“I don’t know where to start.”

I’ve got just the thing: Primal Blueprint Fitness. It’s an extremely solid fitness plan for beginners looking for simple workouts, but it’s also good for more experienced folks who just want to stay in shape without spending a lot of time in the gym. You don’t even need any equipment, besides maybe a pullup bar (though any horizontal structure that can support your weight works). With PBF, you’ll learn how to lift heavy things, move frequently at a slow pace, and run really fast every once in awhile.

“I don’t know anything about…”

“Sprinting.”

Maybe you just don’t like running? Sprinting doesn’t have to be sprinting on a track. It’s just about moving yourself through space (or using a stationary machine to simulate moving yourself through space) at breakneck speed. You want to go all out, whether it’s on a bike, crawling on all fours, running stairs, or swimming laps. Leave nothing on the table. Here are a few more tips.

“Lifting weights.”

Strength training is an essential human activity, and it can be physically difficult, but it shouldn’t be scary. If you need assistance with performing the actual lifts, check out my guides to the five essential movements: the squat, the pullup, the pushup, the overhead press, and the plank.

“Moving frequently at a slow pace.”

Learn how to walk again. Here’s why you should. If you’re going to do so barefoot, learn how to do that, too.

“I’m struggling with my workouts. Like, I’m not completing them and I’m getting weaker.”

Sounds like you’re overtraining. First, establish that you truly are overtraining. Read this post and get back to me. If you are overtraining, read this post to learn a ton of ways to solve the problem. Eat more food, eat better food, reduce volume/load/intensity, get more and better sleep… those are but a few.

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