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My fat argues with stop signs: Amanda's primal journal

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  • My fat argues with stop signs: Amanda's primal journal

    Hi everyone, thanks for visting my primal challenge journal. I'm taking the 30 day challenge in September 2010, and I decided to create a journal so I'd have some accountability on my progress, and so I'd have an historical record of what happened over these 30 days. The title refers to something my dad used to say to me. He would always tell me I'm so stubborn that I'd argue with a stop sign. Well, I'm beginning to think that the fat I'm currently trying to rid myself of is just like me - stubborn. So, one of my hopes for the primal challenge is that I can make some kind of a dent in this lingering weight I want to lose and get myself and my health on the right track.
    Amanda's primal journal

  • #2
    All the background:

    My weight loss journey started in January of 2010. I am 5'8 and was at my heaviest weight, about 210 pounds, after the holidays. I've been pretty chubby most of my adult life, and I was tired of being fat and feeling disgusted with myself every time I went shopping for clothes. I also had some pics from a holiday party I attended at the end of 2009 and realized that I did not look very good. To this point, the past year of my life had some positive changes. I quit smoking in April of 2009, after 15 years of smoking. In 2009, I also started hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains with my fiance, Adam, who is an avid hiker and fly fisherman. We are aiming to be 900 milers, meaning we want to hike all 900 miles of trails in the Smokies. I might have 20% of the trails done at this point, and some of those hikes were pretty difficult. So, these accomplishments gave me the confidence to think I might be able to do even more good things in my life.

    In January, I began a low carb diet. I'd never really dieted before, so this was all pretty new to me. I tracked all my net carbs in a spreadsheet and tried to follow the Atkins approach with no more than 20g net carbs during induction. Since I wanted to lose about 60 pounds, I stayed on the induction plan from January 4 through February 17. Adam was doing low carb with me too, so we planned lots of our meals together, and it was nice to have someone to lean on and commisserate with. We used planned "cheat days" every week or two to "reset" our bodies so that they wouldn't get too used to low carb. I bought some ketostix and managed to get into ketosis during this time. I lost about 15 pounds.

    In mid-February, I joined a new gym that opened in my area. I began going two or three times a week and using the treadmill and elliptical machines because I really didn't know how to use the weight machines or free weights. I was pretty scared and intimidated by the gym, but I went anyway. After a couple of weeks, one of the personal trainers zeroed in on me and gave me the sales pitch for personal training. This was something I'd wanted to do anyway, but hadn't had the courage to ask about yet. He explained the process to me, did an intro workout, and I decided what the hell, I'll do it. The cost was more than I would have liked, but I did manage to work it into my budget. I also justified it as an investment in myself. Yeah, it would cost me a few thousand dollars over the course of a year, but if it resulted in a healthier me, then it would be worth it.

    My trainer talked to me a little about diet, and I told him about low carbing. He said he wasn't a fan since you needed carbs to work out. At this point, I wasn't necessarily "over" low carb, but I was interested in trying something new. I decided to start a low calorie diet, or a CW diet as they are known here. I did this until about June, consuming all kinds of low fat, low calorie, meat replacement type products. It worked, and I lost another 20 pounds or so. I did wonder about all the seemingly unnatural things I was putting into my body, but the diet seemed to going well. People commented on how good I looked and how much weight I lost. I spent a lot of time evangelizing Hungry Girl and sharing my tips and tricks for reducing calories.

    I went on vacation in June, and so did my diet. I ate all kinds of fried seafood, pork BBQ, slaw, deep fried hush puppies, and any dessert I wanted. I loved every minute of it. At that point, I weighed about 174.

    I lost another 4 pounds or so after coming back from vacation, but it seems my weight loss has really stalled since then. I've held steady at right around 170 pounds from July through September. My diet hasn't been as strict as it had been in the spring, and since I'm still doing my personal training, I could very well be adding muscle which is preventing the scale from going down.

    Around this time, Adam told me about something called a caveman diet and I started researching it. It seemed a lot like low carb to me, but infinitely cooler with its organic, natural, the-way-we-are-meant-to-eat slant. In August, I stumbled upon Mark's Daily Apple and I've been fascinated with everything on this site ever since. There are many aspects of the primal lifestyle that just seem to make sense to me. I like how Mark posts articles about the science behind our genetics, how insulin and hormones affect weight, how we can eat to lose weight, and all the fabulous recipes. I've tried several of them already. I've been impressed with the robust community that's developed on MDA and the voluminous discourse that accompanies many of the posts. I've explored many of your journals, especially Diana's on the forum and Michelle's blog. Both have inspired me to start my own journal to coincide with the 30 day challenge beginning tomorrow.

    I've been following a primal diet since August and doing fairly well. As I've done more research, I've learned more about paleo, IF, tabata, Crossfit, Vibrams and all the other cool stuff this community seems to appreciate. I'm really excited about the 30 day challenge and can't wait to see what everyone else is doing and to experiment with more recipes.
    Amanda's primal journal


    • #3
      Welcome and good luck on the thirty days!


      • #4
        Thanks so much! I'm really excited.
        Amanda's primal journal


        • #5
          My 30-day challenge goals

          My 30-day challenge goals

          Goal 1: Lose fat and increase muscle. At last measurement, my body fat was about 27.5%. I'm not sure what a reasonable change in 30 days would be for BF, so I'm going to go with an arbitrary 3% loss. We'll see what happens. I hope to see some weight loss too, but I'm going to try not to get hung up on the scale numbers since I'm doing weight training. I've also taken my current measurements, and I will post them again at the end of the primal challenge to see if there's been any change.

          Weight: 172 pounds
          Body fat: 27.5%
          Waist (at narrowest point): 33.5 inches
          Hips: 40.5 inches
          Belly (at belly button): 38 inches
          Thigh: 24 inches
          Calves: 15.5 inches
          Upper arm: 13 inches
          Neck: 13 inches
          Bust: 38 inches
          Chest: 34.5 inches

          Goal 2: Stop mindless eating. I have a real problem with eating when I'm not hungry. I love to eat. I'm not quite sure why I do this - maybe I'm bored, maybe it's emotional eating, maybe I just have an unhealthy relationship with food. Whatever the reason, it needs to stop. I want to pay more attention to what my body is telling me and listen to it. Eat when hungry. Don't eat when not hungry.

          Goal 3: Maintain average calorie consumption of 1700/day. I track all my food in an online portal that came with my personal training membership. I've been tracking almost every day since March, and it lets me run reports to see averages over 7, 14, 30, 45, and 90 days of calories and macronutrient consumption. For the 30 day challenge, I'll post my daily intake as well as weekly averages on calories and macronutrients.

          Goal 4: Experiment with IF. I've done this a couple of times already by skipping breakfast. I'm usually a loyal breakfast eater, so I was worried initially that I'd be ravenous by mid-morning, but that didn't happen. I'd like to try expanding those IF's into longer stretches to see if this will help spur fat loss. I like the sound of the IF I read about on the Eades website where they IF'd in 24-hour cycles but still ate everyday. Goes like this:

          Day 1: Eat breakfast and lunch. Don't eat dinner.
          Day 2: Skip breakfast and lunch. Eat dinner.
          Day 3: Eat breakfast and lunch. Don't eat dinner.
          Day 4: Skip breakfast and lunch. Eat dinner.
          Day 5: Eat breakfast and lunch. Don't eat dinner.

          I'm going to try this for 5 consecutive days during the challenge, perhaps in week 2. I will also throw in some breakfast skipping here and there along the way.

          Bonus Goal: Less coffee. I've already decided to limit myself to 2 cups a day. Initially I decided this because I felt I was using too much half and half and drinking a lot of hidden calories that I wasn't recording in my food log. (I don't bother recording liquid calories, because I drink mainly water, except for when I drink coffee with cream.) I love coffee with cream. I can drink coffee black, but I just don't enjoy it as much. By limiting to two cups of coffee, that's two servings of half and half at about 80 calories total. Instead of drinking coffee throughout the morning at work, after the cutoff I'm switching to green and herbal teas which I don't feel the need to dress up with cream.
          Amanda's primal journal


          • #6
            9/7 update

            My first day of the primal challenge went well. I went to the gym after work for my bi-weekly personal training. We worked on back exercises tonight, so I did some cable rows, bent over rows, and delt machine. Then we did some ab work - V sit, crunches, leg lifts, flutter kicks, bicycles, and planks. Then did some one-minute sprints on the elliptical, squats + dumbell, more elliptical, mountain climbers + jump squats, more elliptical, and 15 burpees. Then I did 20 minutes of interval training on the elliptical on my own. After the gym I went to the car wash because my car hasn't been washed in a very long time and was starting to grow its own skin. Washed car (the kind where you get out and do it, not the drive thru kind) then came home and made dinner.

            B: one hard boiled egg
            L: big ass salad - mixed greens, cilantro, tomato, onion, green and red pepper, jicama, chayote, 2 strips bacon, 1/2 cup avocado, 2 hard boiled eggs, and 4 chicken tenders that I sauteed in some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing
            D: scallops with bacon and lemon-butter sauce (bonefish grill recipe), steamed broccoli

            Also made some deviled eggs tonight and had one - not very primal with the mayo, and I use sugar free sweet relish to keep from having sugar in them, but they are so good! That deviled egg will be my 20%.

            Total calories: 1585
            Carbs: 46
            Protein: 123
            Fat: 100

            Stayed within my calorie target for the day. Yay! Also got in some lifting of heavy things, moving frequently at a slow pace, and sprinting. Need to work more on getting adequate sleep and sunlight, as well as playing.
            Amanda's primal journal


            • #7
              Day 2

              Things went pretty well today. Stayed under my calorie limit and avoided snacking. I'm drinking a lot of tea during my workday to keep me from eating mindlessly. No gym today, but did go out for dinner with Adam and we also did a little shopping. Picked up some chai tea which I am enjoying now. I've also started parking my car at the far end of the parking lot at work so I have to walk farther, and get a little sun exposure on the way.

              Calories: 1630
              Carbs: 58 (damn bbq sauce)
              Protein: 151
              Fat: 106

              B: 2 deviled eggs
              L: BAS like yesterday's, but without chicken
              D: BBQ chicken and sliced pork with steamed broccoli and a salad

              The bbq is from a place across from my work and they have all their nutritionals on their website. Score! My chicken and pork has about 595 calories, 32 grams of fat, 108 of protein, and 1 carb. The sauce, which is optional, has too much sugar. Maybe I can make my own sauce and sneak it in next time. When I was doing low carb, I snuck low carb tortillas into my favorite Mexican restaurant and ate them with my fajitas.
              Amanda's primal journal


              • #8
                Goals, food, and exercise look great! Best wishes!
                Starting Weight/BMI: 184/29.7
                Current Weight/BMI: 130 /21.0
                Ultimate Goal: 125/18


                • #9
                  Thanks Just4ME! I'm really enjoying the challenge so far, and I like reading everyone's journals to see what kind of stuff they eat.

                  Feeling like I may be coming down with a cold - a little sniffly. Still going to the gym tonight. Maybe that will make me feel better.
                  Amanda's primal journal


                  • #10
                    Day 3

                    Great day! Stayed under my calorie limit, had a good workout, and cooked an amazing dinner!

                    A couple of weeks ago, I asked my trainer if we could do more Crossfit-style workouts. Previously, we'd done mostly isolations, back and biceps one day, chest and triceps another, legs another, repeat. He seemed a little surprised that I wanted to do Crossfit stuff, but I told him I'd been reading about it on here and was trying the paleo diet. He's still skeptical of the diet, but didn't hesitate to kick my ass at the gym ever since. Tonight I did this:

                    5 sets of 5 each with 30 lbs:
                    power cleans
                    squats + overhead press

                    15 burpees, but without the pushups
                    15 kettlebell swings + squat

                    20 jumping jacks
                    More of the 5x5s
                    More burpees
                    More kettlebell swings
                    More 5x5s
                    More burpees

                    3 minute abs:
                    30 seconds of each: crunches, V crunches, bicycles, ankle snatches, leg lifts, and one other one I can't remember the name of.
                    20 additonal crunches

                    I felt really good afterwards, not exhausted like I have with other days on cross training. I came home and had cajun salmon and collard greens with ham hocks (from Paleotron's site) and I made spaghetti squash for the first time. Loved it! Put a little butter, salt and pepper on the squash and it was great. Will be having it again soon.

                    B: IF
                    L: BAS with chicken breast
                    D: salmon, greens, spaghetti squash, one deviled egg
                    S: Apple slices

                    Calories: 1387
                    Carbs: 51
                    Protein: 106
                    Fat: 88

                    Tomorrow is a half day at work so my weekend begins early. Yay! Night all.
                    Amanda's primal journal


                    • #11
                      Day 4

                      In a bit of a fog today. Feeling icky from a cold and had a sinus headache. Went to work this morning, but probably should have called in. I have sick time, but I feel like I'll be judged for calling in on a Friday. Like everyone will automatically assume I am playing hooky.

                      No workout today, and a few more calories than I've had on other days this week. Little high on the dairy too. Adam came over for dinner and we combined our leftovers to make a meal. Pretty good - took a pic with my phone.

                      B: IF
                      L: Oven roasted chicken breast and drumstick from Kroger deli, 1/2 cup avocado, cup of steamed broccoli with lemon butter sauce
                      D: Two beef and feta stuffed mushroom caps, collard greens and ham hocks, and some spaghetti squash alfredo that I whipped up on the fly. Waaay too much garlic in the fredo. Greens were also really salty. For future reference, 3 ham hocks are probably too many for one bag of greens.
                      S: Chai tea with hwc

                      Calories: 1683
                      Carbs: 41
                      Fat: 124

                      I think this is the first day my fat intake has exceeded my protein intake. Still trying to figure out the right ratios for me. I'm wondering if I should keep my fat on the lower side and protein on the higher side to lose weight. I really hope to see some results from the 30 day challenge - definitely ready for my plateau to go away.
                      Amanda's primal journal


                      • #12
                        Day 5

                        Today is Saturday and was a little less structured than my weekdays. I plan my meals really well through the week and eat a lot of salads for lunch and protein/veggie combos for dinner. Today I had my hair cut and was supposed to meet a friend for lunch afterwards. She ended up canceling, so I called up Adam to see if he wanted to have lunch. We'd seen a review of the best Mexican restaurants in the area last night on the local news, and #1 was very near Adam's house. So we went there. I ordered steak and veggie combo fajitas, no rice, beans, or tortillas, and an extra side of lettuce and tomato. Also had guacamole and it turned out like a steak fajita salad - very good. After that we went shopping for dinner and decided we'd make a roast. I did a little research on grass-fed beef sources in the area and actually found one to my surprise. The area I live in doesn't have things like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, so we have to be a little creative. Found a local farm that raises all kinds of grass fed beef, pork, lamb, and pastured chickens and sells their products through a small market in town. So, we've got a grass fed beef shoulder roast in the oven right now, along with some roasted veggies and a pumpkin that I roasted too. Should be a good meal, especially with all the colorful veggies. Never really cooked a roast before, so hoping it turns out well!

                        B: IF
                        L: Steak and veggie fajitas with guacamole, shredded lettuce, and diced tomato
                        D: Beef shoulder roast, roasted veggies (peppers, onions, carrots, yellow squash, tomato tossed in olive oil/salt/pepper), roasted pumpkin

                        Calories: 1213*
                        Carbs: 72
                        Protein: 83
                        Fat: 69

                        *I did the best I could estimating my intake today. Most of it was an educated guess. Looks a little low to me, and awful high on the carbs, but they are all veg carbs. Onion is my carb culprit.
                        Amanda's primal journal


                        • #13
                          So...grass fed beef is awesome! The roast was so good. Gotta do that again. Also forgot we were making creamed spinach for dinner, so that changed my stats a bit.

                          Calories: 1460
                          Carbs: 80
                          Protein: 96
                          Fat: 88
                          Amanda's primal journal


                          • #14
                            Today's lunch and dinner were leftovers of last night's dinner. The beef, creamed spinach, bell peppers, squash and pumpkin made for a very colorful plate. Also did some lifting of heavy things today and moved a lot at a slow pace while cleaning.

                            B: IF
                            L: Roast beef, veggies, pumpkin, small salad
                            D: Roast beef, veggies, pumpkin, creamed spinach
                            S: 2 squares of 85% Lindt

                            Calories: 1476
                            Carb: 61
                            Protein: 133
                            Fat: 79

                            Really wanted to eat more dark chocolate and some of the pecans and almonds sitting on top of the fridge, but I resisted!
                            Amanda's primal journal


                            • #15
                              Day 7

                              Back to the grind today. Got some new software installed on my computer and getting ready for a training class next week for .NET development. Should be interesting. Worked all day and shopped for groceries after work. Picked up a rotisserie chicken and salad fixins' to cover lunches this week. After cooking dinner, I fried some bacon and hard-boiled some eggs to go with my salads too.

                              B: IF
                              L: BAS with chicken (Sometimes if I don't bring my lunch, I will go to Jason's Deli and get a salad bar to go. It's only $6.99 and that's a flat rate - they don't weigh it. I can get a huge salad and then stop by the grocery store and pick up an oven roasted chicken breast to go with it.)
                              D: Rotisserie chicken, steamed broccoli with lemon butter sauce, hashed brussell sprouts and bacon

                              Calories: 1587
                              Carbs: 46
                              Protein: 140
                              Fat: 96
                              Amanda's primal journal