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Primal Journal (Uncephalized)

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  • Primal Journal (Uncephalized)

    My tech specs: Male, caucasian, 23 years, 5'11" (180 cm), ~180 lbs (~80 kg), mechanical engineer working a desk job 40h/week.

    So, I ran across Primal Blueprint last spring or summer, a bit over a year ago. At that time I was around 210 pounds at 5'11".

    I was 22 years old, and I felt fat and tired.

    I went Primal and lost about 35 pounds in 4 months or so, with very little effort. I didn't do a lot of exercising, but I was looking and feeling better. However, ever since then (maybe December '10), I really haven't made any progress. My feeling is that this is because I have never been compliant enough, for long enough, to "finish the job" so to speak and really lose that last ~10-15 pounds of fat that is stubbornly clinging to my midsection. I am definitely not in the camp that seems to get away with 80/20 Primal and everything just falls into place. My metabolism is damaged from being born to an obese mother--and being raised on the same SAD that made her that way--my digestion has always sucked (IBS), and despite actually being fairly coordinated and athletic (for a chubby kid), I was never any good at team sports and never really played outside as a kid, except at school, because my parents were afraid to let me loose in our neighborhood.

    I have never been lean, not since I was old enough to remember anyway (old pictures reveal that I became chubby around the age of 4), so I don't know what it feels like or what I will look like when I am there. I really want to find out. But I seem to have a hard time with compliance. I am totally, irritatingly addicted to sugar. I can't have it in the house or I will eventually eat it. And then I get guilty, derail, and waste several days feeling like crap and getting my diet back in order. Not exactly productive, progressive behavior.

    So, this journal is my latest attempt to help myself continue helping myself. I am a LOT healthier than I was this time last year--I am stronger, fitter, faster, and much less fat. But I have a way to go.

    I don't own a scale, so I will only be sporadically weighing myself, which is fine. I don't like to watch a number not change day by day. I might be able to weigh in every few weeks. But I think what I will do is keep weekly track of my neck, waist, hip, thigh, and biceps measurements. I will also be keeping track of what I eat (not in a weighed/measured way, just descriptive) and what activities I do every day.

    I also have a few guidelines that I hope this journal will help me keep in mind every day. I want to get in the habit of making one entry every morning that will remind of the following:

    1. I will not eat anything today that is not real food that will nourish me, nor drink anything poisonous (grains, processed "treats", desserts, soft drinks, etc.).
    2. I will eat and drink those things that provide real nourishment for my mind and body, and which improve my well-being (plants and animals, tea, water, and a little coffee in the mornings).
    3. I will not sabotage my own success by chemically impairing my willpower (alcohol, marijuana).
    4. I will encourage my success by careful planning and preparedness (make food ahead of time, bring Primal snacks like boiled eggs and jerky when food availability is uncertain).
    5. I will not sacrifice sleep, play, or real social interaction for computer or TV time, which are not fulfilling or healing.
    6. I will make significant time every day for my fiancee, my dog, and myself to interact, relax, laugh, and play.
    7. I will not forgo exercise or activity out of laziness or anything other than genuine illness.
    8. I will make and adhere to an exercise schedule that includes frequent easy movement, weekly sprinting, and twice-weekly heavy resistance training.

    To boil it down: eat food, not poison; plan for success, don't settle for failure; live your real life, don't settle for a virtual one; move and grow, don't sit and atrophy.

    So, today I got up about 7:00 and I had a cup of coffee with some probiotics. I wasn't very hungry because we ate a big dinner last night, so I didn't eat until around 9, at which point I had two boiled eggs. My fiancee left for a trip with her mom about the same time. She'll be gone around a week. For lunch I made a pound of bacon and a huge bowl of mixed greens, and ate everything together. Delicious. Later, I smoked a bowl (Fail #1) and then proceeded to find and destroy a small tin of delicious, deadly cookies in the cupboard (Fail #2). Parents were passing through town so we went out to dinner and I got a delicious steak with vegetables (win).

    On the upside, I went on an "urban territory patrol" for about 40 minutes that basically involved fractally run/walking to the nearby park and around my neighborhood. It was 1PM and hot (~100F) so I made a game out of sprinting for shade, squatting under trees and bushes to cool down, then trotting or walking further, etc. Good workout, felt really good to get home and have a big glass of water though.

    My measurements as of 9/18/11:

    Neck: 15"
    Waist (at navel): 36"
    Hips (widest point): 36"
    Biceps: 14"
    Thigh: 26"

    I did those with a USB cable and a steel tape, so they're definitely approximate. I'll try and get some better numbers when the fiancee returns and she can help me (she carries a cloth tape in her purse too, which would help). This gives an estimated body fat percentage of 20%. So I have some work to do! My goal is to hit 10%, and I'm hoping to do it before the year is out! I want to look damn sharp in my wedding pictures, so I have until April to get ripped.

    I want to work more motion into my day. I have already modified my desk with some concrete blocks so I am standing at work. I have been going to the gym 2x/week already to lift (started 3 weeks ago), so that's good. The two main things I want to change are 1) sprint once a week, and 2) walk for at least an hour total every day. I am going to try to walk the dog 30 minutes before breakfast, and 30 minutes when I get home from work. Tomorrow morning, it begins...
    Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

    My Primal Journal

  • #2
    This morning so far I walked with my dog for 30 minutes. About to make breakfast now...

    Today I will:

    Eat food, not poison.
    Plan for success, not settle for failure.
    Live my real life, not a virtual one.
    Move and grow, not sit and atrophy.
    Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

    My Primal Journal


    • #3
      I think you are quite inspirational and think I will follow you as I often need a kick in the pants with regards to pushing myself to exercise.This is a well thought out plan with loads of determination behind it.Good luck with kicking the smoke.I gave up 3 years ago and it was one of the best thing I have ever done for added so much weight by bingeing and smoking all the time(I was beyond hardcore).Anyway,I look forward to following your progress


      • #4
        I like your 8 habits above and will definitely borrow to print and put on the fridge! Thanks for the inspiration.
        Height - 5'8"
        SW - 191
        CW - 162
        GW - 155

        Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.


        • #5
          Thanks for the support! Today I am going to the gym at lunchtime (I have settled on a Monday & Friday lifting schedule, with Wednesday being my day to work sprints into my morning or evening walk, and walking every day). The workout today is:

          3x5 back squat at 160 lbs
          3x5 bench press at 140 lbs
          3x5 chin-up at body weight + 5 lbs

          Plus appropriate warmup sets for each exercise.

          The squat is a bit of a deload because I jumped the weight up to 180 too fast over the last few weeks (I was in too much of a rush to squat my body weight) and tweaked my back a little bit with bad form on a couple of reps. So I'm dropping it 20 lbs and working my way back up so as to avoid injury. Plus my bar speed was really slow (unsurprisingly since it was too much weight) and I'm hoping I can be a bit more explosive at this weight. My upper body lifts have been progressing nicely though--I'm up 20 lbs so far on my bench press in 3 weeks of lifting. Gotta love that novice-level adaptation curve. We'll see how it goes today. My main goal is to avoid hurting my lower back by maintaining excellent form.

          EDIT: regarding the smoke, I will definitely be cutting back, but I will probably continue occasional use, like a couple of times a month. I really enjoy it and I have never had a problem with willpower in terms of controlling how often I smoke when I make up my mind about it. I just have a problem with how much I eat afterward!
          Last edited by Uncephalized; 09-19-2011, 10:18 AM.
          Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

          My Primal Journal


          • #6
            Just got back from the gym, eating lunch now. My supplements just arrived (I started Mark's PB Platinum Package last month). Yay!

            Breakfast was mixed greens and organic ground beef. Lunch is more of the same plus some chocolate Primal Fuel in water (I love me some beef and salad).

            My lifts felt really good today. Except I forgot I was supposed to do bench press when I wrote down my rep chart, and did overheads instead. D'oh! But that's OK, it's my weakest lift proportionally anyway so it could probably use the extra help. So my workout went:

            (WeightxSetsxReps or WeightxSets: Reps/Reps/Reps. Not bold = warmups, bold = work sets)

            160x3: 5/5/5

            85x3: 5/5/5

            (Body weight + 5): 5/5/5

            The gym I am at doesn't have a dip belt or weight belt of any kind available, so I had to MacGyver something out of some old D-ring nylon webbing I found in a crate in a corner and a carabiner I "borrowed" from a lat pulldown machine. It was too short to get around my waist so I strapped it around my neck instead. I have to say it felt pretty bad-ass chinning up with an iron plate strapped to my chest.

            Looking forward to getting home and walking my dog later. But, must get some work done!

   soon as I'm done with lunch.
            Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

            My Primal Journal


            • #7
              Winding down for the day.

              Walked the dog ~35 minutes, until just after sunset. He's outside munching down some chicken legs at the moment. I have some zucchini and mushrooms sauteing in Kerrygold butter, and some beef to reheat when they're done. The sun is well and truly down, so screens time is ending for the day. I think I'll sit out on my back porch and read for a little bit.

              A walk, some food, some work, a workout, some more food, some more work, another walk, some more food, a book, and then to bed. That makes a pretty good day.
              Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

              My Primal Journal


              • #8
                So far this morning:

                Got up one minute before my alarm was set to go off at 6:49 (of course that may have had less to with my circadian rhythm than with the fact that a snuggly, whiny cat pressed his freezing cold nose into my forehead and meowed loudly in my ear). Got dressed, set the coffee maker to brew, got the cats some food, then out the door by 7:00 for a walk with the pup. Rolled back in the door at 7:30, threw some beef in a skillet and some eggs in a pot to boil (for lunch), sliced up an avocado, used the beef fat to saute some mushrooms, and had myself a morning feast ready by 8. Had a leisurely breakfast of a half pound of beef with mushrooms on the back porch, while the dog sprawled out in the dirt and I read a book. I really like eating outside when the weather is nice. Managed to get to work by 9 with a 20-minute commute. Getting up early is pretty rockin'; you get a lot more done. My goal is to eventually wake up naturally at daybreak or shortly thereafter, but I haven't managed that yet. My sleep still isn't quite as solid as I'd like, although it's a lot better than it used to be when I stayed up until 1:00 every night.

                Today is no formal exercise, just morning and evening walks. Feeling good so far!
                Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

                My Primal Journal


                • #9
                  Lunch today was the remainder of the beef I made at breakfast, with 3 boiled eggs. Filling. Too bad I ate all my vegetables, though. I need to go to Trader Joe's after work.

                  I also took a walk around the industrial strip mall my job resides in, in an attempt to stave off afternoon fuzzy-headedness with some clear blue sky in my retinas and a bit of sun exposure on my skin.
                  Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

                  My Primal Journal


                  • #10
                    Well, either the sun exposure helped keep me alert, or I was just alert anyway. Either way I'll take it.

                    Tonight's dinner was pork sirloin (I think that's what the cut was called anyway) with a coconut oil/pepper/garlic salt rub, and a side of baby broccoli in coconut oil with curry powder. I used refined coconut oil so everything didn't taste all coco-nutty. Also had a spring greens/spinach salad, with coconut oil (unrefined) as a dressing. A very coconut meal! Also delicious.

                    Everything cooked at 350F in the oven while I took the dog for a 25 minute walk around to the park. The oven timer went off about a minute after I got back.

                    Yeah, yeah, "leaving the oven on with no one home is dangerous!" Thanks, mother. My house was still standing when I got back.
                    Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

                    My Primal Journal


                    • #11
                      This morning I discovered that there is a big difference in quality between the locally-sourced grass-fed beef I get from the butcher downtown, and the "product of USA, Australia and Paraguay" organic grass-fed ground beef from Trader Joe's that I had this morning. Bland, bland, bland. The stuff I get from the butcher is wonderful, tastes like game meat with a complex savor. I wonder if it's because the TJ's meat came from cows from multiple different countries and the flavors get all jumbled? I'll have to see if the other two packages I got are the same.
                      Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

                      My Primal Journal


                      • #12
                        My answers to the Primal Advice challenge from today's blog post:

                        1. In as few words as possible, how would you explain the Primal Blueprint to someone new to the concept?

                        The Primal Blueprint is a way to get the best mileage out of your genes (and your jeans), without tossing out 10,000 years of technological advance. It's a way to eat and live that works with your body's evolved expectations and natural strengths instead of fighting them tooth and nail, the way conventional health and fitness wisdom wants you to think you should.

                        2. What is the first thing a person should do to kick start their Primal life?

                        Throw out all your grains, sugar, and processed food (or donate them if you would prefer to poison homeless people instead of yourself). Straight to the curb, no excuses. You wouldn't keep cigarettes in your drawer if you were trying to quit (at least, I hope you wouldn't!). Kicking the industrial food habit is the same thing.

                        3. What do you think is the most important thing one should understand as they attempt to go Primal?

                        You need to really embrace it for it to work its best--the lifestyle, the mindset, the movement, the sleep and play as well as the food. The food is really important, sure, but don't let it become your only preoccupation. Stress, sleep deprivation, ennui--all of these things can cause problems in your life, including with health and weight control. They're all symptoms of a culture that is totally out of touch with the kind of life humans evolved to live, the kind of life that is deeply satisfying. The Primal Blueprint is a pretty good road map to mitigating and reversing all the bad effects modern society has on our well-being.

                        4. What was the biggest hurdle you experienced when going Primal and how did you overcome it?

                        Maintaining diligence and compliance once my progress slowed down. I found myself rationalizing little indulgences more and more frequently, then they stopped being so little, and pretty soon I was back to a lot of the behaviors that got me fat and metabolically damaged in the first place. (Damn you, frosted carrot cake! You are my greatest weakness...) I had to give myself a reality check, realize that I can't expect everything to be easy all the time, and start planning for success instead of just letting failure happen to me over and over. Because that's what happens when you don't take an active hand in reaching your goals: you don't. I don't know that there's any one thing I did to overcome this hurdle--it's involved working on lots of little ingrained behaviors over time--but one thing that definitely is helping is keeping a journal daily on the forums, which I just started recently. That way I feel accountable (even if no one is actually reading it), and it helps me remember how often I am slipping up. So far, it's not often, because I know if I eat something bad I will have to write it down and then everyone will know I couldn't keep my hand out of the cookie jar. How embarrassing! It's also a handy way to keep a workout log as well.

                        I can feel my body beginning to respond in a positive way again, so I'm really excited to see how I do the next few months.

                        5. If there is something you’d go back and do differently as it relates to diet, fitness and lifestyle behaviors, what would it be and why?

                        I would kick myself in the head before I ate all that delicious, poisonous carrot cake (among other such "treats") and derailed my progress for a while. This would involve explaining in small, easy-to-understand words to my past self that when you are trying to lose weight, you do not "deserve a treat" because you've "been really good this week". Rewards are for when you've accomplished something.

                        6. What do you usually eat for breakfast?

                        I treat breakfast like every other meal, and eat whatever I want. So if there are leftovers, I have those, and if not, I make meat and vegetables just like I would at any other meal. The way I cook usually involves: throw meat in skillet, chop vegetables and throw in the other skillet with butter or coconut oil, and voila, done. So it doesn't take long and I usually don't have trouble getting it done and eaten before work, with some leftovers to bring for lunch.

                        7. What is your favorite Primal recipe and how do you make it?

                        Hard to pick a favorite--it's really hard to go wrong with grass-fed meat, organic vegetables, Primal cooking fats, and a dash of spices/herbs. If I had to choose, probably grass-fed steak, marinated for a few hours in red wine, garlic, and shallots, with a side of baby broccoli and asparagus.

                        I never measure anything, but mix up the marinade a few hours ahead of time and put it in a plastic bag or other container with your steak, and leave it in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 400F, then just cut up your vegetables to the desired size and throw them on a sheet or in a baking pan with either butter or coconut oil and whatever spices you feel like (sorry, I do it differently every time so I can't be more specific). I put the steak into a small baking pan with the marinade, so it's sitting in juice, and put both pans in at the same time. Time to cook obviously depends on how well done you like your meat and how crispy you like your vegetables, but 15 minutes is a good time to check on progress. Enjoy!

                        Not really a recipe, I guess... that's how I cook though.

                        8. What is your favorite Primal workout and how do you do it?

                        Barbell lifts! They're hard, they make you strong like Grok! They're over and done with quickly so you can move on with your life! Just get Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe, he'll tell you how it's done.

                        If we're thinking a little more "caveman style" workouts, I like to do "urban territory patrol", especially when it's hot out in the afternoon. Basically I walk, jog, and sprint between shade patches in my neighborhood, pausing long enough to cool off after hard pushes before moving on again. It's fun, it's fractal, and it's totally Primal! I try to go a different route each time so I am always exploring.

                        9. What is your best dining-out tip?

                        If you live in the US, just about every non-ethnic restaurant serves either hamburgers or steak. Just order your burger on greens or with a lettuce wrap instead of a bun. I have not yet found a restaurant that would not sub some kind of vegetable for the fries. And almost everywhere, if you ask for a cup of melted butter with your food, they'll bring one right out to you, hot and delicious. Drizzle it over everything on your plate, and enjoy your sumptuous Primal feast while CWers stare at you for so gleefully tempting the gods Atheros and Clerosis. Oh, and don't forget to order your burger with bacon. You're welcome.

                        10. How do you manage to stay Primal when friends, family, coworkers and the rest of the world aren’t?

                        Sometimes I don't! But my friends aren't blind; they are all aware that I've lost 30 lbs, and most of them at least pretend to be interested when I explain how I did it. My family has heard me explain it enough times that they mostly get it and don't bother me about it anymore. And while my coworkers mostly "just don't know how I do it, not eating bread and all", they're a pretty cool bunch and are content to let me be weird. So maybe I'm lucky that I'm not surrounded by too many crazy people? I think part of it is not being ashamed or reticent to speak up for yourself when people question your choices. But you also have to remember that you really, really aren't obligated to justify yourself to every CWer that tells you that veganism is the light and the truth, if only you can get over the misery, or that all that "arterycloggingsaturatedfat" you're eating will kill you while they scarf down Fig Newtons. Just do what you do, and let them figure their own lives out.
                        Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

                        My Primal Journal


                        • #13
                          Today was OK. I had to go to the DMV (horrors!) to get my license updated--since I recently moved cities, and also sheared my shoulder-length hair down to an inch long--and get a title transferred on a car I bought from my in-laws. So that only took MY ENTIRE MORNING. Seriously, I was waiting 3 hours. WTF?

                          But once that was done I had a nice lunch at home, then headed to work for the afternoon. Once I got home, Dog and I went for an extra-long walk (about 45 minutes) to partially make up for the one we didn't get this morning since I was running around getting Very Official Government Paperwork in order. We also ran a few sprints, which he was entirely unenthusiastic about. Probably something to do with it still being 95 degrees outside and him in a fur coat.

                          I just remembered I have leftover pork from last night. Yay! No need to cook...
                          Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

                          My Primal Journal


                          • #14
                            Ugh, went to sleep too late last night. Then I slept in too late, so now I have to rush breakfast and don't have time for a walk.
                            Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

                            My Primal Journal


                            • #15
                              Today has been a productive work day so far. I got in the zone and worked right through lunchtime without noticing. I didn't have time to prepare lunch at home this morning so I went to In-n-Out and got 2 double-meats, protein style with onion and tomato. Besides not being grass-fed, it's about as Primal as fast food gets. I made sure to take some fish oil along with it which will hopefully mitigate some of the CAFOitude, nutritionally speaking.

                              Looking forward to my evening walk in a couple of hours. I haven't done much moving around yet today since I didn't have time to walk the dog this morning.
                              Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

                              My Primal Journal