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Climb Mountains; Don't Tell Anybody

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  • Climb Mountains; Don't Tell Anybody

    Climb Mountains; Don't Tell Anybody
    Day 1 (officially): 2/17/2012

    Welcome to my (kind of) journal about my brand new primal lifestyle. Ok, so maybe it isn't so brand new, and I've actually been struggling on and off for about a year now, but life's getting better every day and I'm able to stick to it much more easily. I consider this a new beginning, of sorts.

    I know, I know, what's actually changed? Aren't I still likely to fall back into my old ways? Aren't I trapped in an endless cycle of guilt and desperation?

    No, I'm not, and I won't. It's hard to really prove one's dedication to people especially when you've failed in that exact same endeavor before. My failure to stick to a paleo-ish lifestyle for any period of time has alienated close friends and family from ever considering it a workable lifestyle. They've seen me gain weight after junk food binges and they've seen me doing "stupid" and "dangerous" things like fasting (don'tcha know going more than 3 hours without food is unnatural?) and eating saturated fat without concern.

    Obesity doesn't run in my family, and I, myself am not morbidly obese, either. However, we do have health problems galore. Depression, anxiety and body image issues have affected every single member of my family that I know of, and that's just the mental health aspect. Nobody in my family is athletic; we're either pudgy and weak or scrawny, frail and weak.

    My best friend is a pescetarian, who, despite being in great shape and eating clean, whole foods, also buys into a lot of common nutrition and exercise myths like the need for chronic cardio and the avoidance of saturated fats and cholesterol. All my other friends are high schoolers and college kids; a crowd that, by and large, either doesn't care about health ("I can eat a Taco Bell 12 taco pack every Saturday night and not get fat cause of my magical metabolism, so what's the big concern?") or is a self-absorbed, misguided health nut ("I have a soy protein shake every 3 hours, I do Bikram yoga every morning and I'm a Level 5 vegan; I don't eat anything that has a shadow.").

    This journal is titled so because I don't really have a support structure in place in the 'real world.' I have nobody to support me, and, beyond that, I have several people that are downright against my caveman life. Being a black sheep in the real world isn't so bad, because I'm a member of the living world here on MDA. As I get in better health (climbing mountains) I expect to earn at least a bit of grudging respect from a few folks, and I expect to make a lot of new friends as I pursue activities that used to be off-limits due to my poor health / lack of athleticism.

    I want this to be more than just a food or exercise journal. I want to capture some of my thoughts, however scattered or stream-of-consciousness they may be. I want it to not be a boring read, basically, though only time and experimentation will see if that's possible.

    Warning: Pictures of pale, shirtless pudge ahead; rubberneckers only beyond this point
    I'm pretty much done writing this introduction, but I'll include a few 'Before' photos of myself. These were taken today, 2/17/2012, in my dorm room. It's been only a few days into my new primal resolution, which is the best I closest I can get to 'Before.' I don't know what my weight is because I haven't had access to a scale in months. However, based on my average weight and bodyfat percentages, I'd say I'm between 200 and 220 lbs, though it could be more than that. My bodyfat is between 28-31%. Clinically obese. Pretty gnarly, huh?

    The funniest thing is that I don't look extremely fat despite my high numbers. I mean, yeah, I'm definitely heavy, but I must be hiding a lot of it somewhere. Since my webcam doesn't have a 'timed photo' option I had to try and get the best picture I could while standing in front of it. This made taking side and back shots difficult.

    I roughly whited out the backgrounds (because I'm weird and paranoid like that. Maybe if I was back at my own place I'd feel a bit more secure) and blacked out my face but only kind of. They aren't very good photos, but I've saved some unedited ones that I'll use in Before-After comparisons with nothing whited or blacked out.

    For now, though, these will have to suffice:
    Front shot. Despite shadows and a slightly twisted upper body you can still see my man boobs. The chest seems to be where I store the most fat. You can see the folds of fat around my armpits. For years I have had extremely puffy nipples that never seem to go down. I believe this could be hormonal gynecomastia. If it is, I'll get surgery to correct it, but I know they'd want me to lose weight beforehand 'just in case' it's pseudogynecomastia, so at least a year or so (probably less) of primal living should determine which it is.

    A side view of my upper body, but it looks a bit off because I was twisting slightly towards the camera. Oh well. You can see how flabby my upper arms are, as well as a little bit of how wobbly and loose my neck is.

    A sort of face shot, or something like it. You can't see much besides a bit of stubble and a fleshy, no definition upper body. I included it so that in the future I can tell if there's much of a change in the way my face looks after some weight loss.

    Ugh, this is a gross picture. You probably can't tell, but I have no jawline. I mean, my neck fat literally covers up anything up there. My neck looks like a tube. Don't even get me started on the double chin and weak profile. That's caused me more grief over the years than any other body feature (moobs included). You can also see how the fat bulges under my armpits from my sidemoobs look, um, gross. Really disturbing. And possibly suggestive.

    That's all for now. This was kind of a big post. I'll be posting a new entry every day, so check back tomorrow for a bit more introduction as well as a few ideas on stuff I'll be including in this journal.

  • #2
    Learning to Fly

    Learning to Fly
    Day 2 (kind of): 2/20/12

    Well some say life will beat you down;
    Break your heart, steal your crown
    So I started out for God-knows-where
    I guess I'll know when I get there...

    Song of the day is Learning to Fly by Tom Petty:

    Oh man has the last day or two been an interesting learning experience. I've been living primal for under 2 weeks and I've already noticed enough changes to keep me going. Some of these mini-success stories include:

    1. A clean tongue. For months (possibly years) I've had a gross whitish-green coating on my tongue that I'm never able to scrape off entirely. It's usually located towards the back of my tongue, and the thickness of from day to day. This could possibly be due to my oral cleaning habits (I'm a lot lazier about brushing my teeth and keeping my mouth clean than I should; I'm hoping to change this as part of my new primal life) but the fascinating part is that it cleared up in record time without me changing any of my habits outside of what I eat. This leads me to believe that the tongue coating was maintained by a poor, imbalanced diet and not a lack of oral care. It's kinda disgusting, but I wish I had thought to take 'Before' pictures so I have some sort of evidence.

    2. Energy. I've always had issues with fatigue. Not so bad that I'd call it 'chronic fatigue,' but I definitely am a lot more low-energy and easily tired than anyone else I know. And it's not just physical energy; I usually have an incredibly difficult time rallying my mental energy to tackle stuff like writing or schoolwork. Since going primal I've noticed that my energy has increased somewhat - not dramatically, mind you, but it's noticeable - and it's a lot more consistent. My energy levels don't have such peaks and valleys now.

    3. Mental health. Clearer thinking. Less brain fog. More positive thinking which leads to more pleasant interactions with people. There's more to this, but I'm excited at the changes in my thinking I'm seeing already.

    4. Acid. For months I've battled with stomach acid backing up into my throat. It's kept me up countless nights and is both painful and frustrating. I hadn't even noticed, but since going primal the acid's disappeared completely! This is probably the change I'm most excited for.

    I've also lost a few pounds of water weight, but not enough yet for any noticeable difference. I'm patient, so I'm not panicking about weight loss.

    Last night I broke a fast and gorged on some poor food choices - brownies, pudding, pop tarts and some questionable Sobe brand 'fruit punch.' Rather than getting upset over my 'failure,' though, I'm excited. Why? Let me explain:

    So, about last night...
    First off, when I ate these junk foods, I was surprised by how much I didn't like them. Yeah, yeah, I stuffed my face but it wasn't some heavenly foodie experience. It was actually pretty underwhelming. Compared to the varied salads, burgers sans buns and mixed fruits and nuts I've been eating as staples, this crap was pretty bland and tasted like chemicals. I was surprised because I found myself wanting some nice jerky or a piece of fruit rather than what I had. To me, this shows that my cravings for these foods were psychological, which sounds pretty common.

    A while after I finished my splurge I was hit with the consequences: upset stomach (which is still with me today), diarrhea (TMI, I know), a racing pulse and a general 'wired' feeling as the gross amounts of simple sugar got dumped in my blood. I was up all night, tossing and turning, unable to sleep. I was (and still am) obsessively thirsty. All that sugar left me parched, and I have no doubt I added a couple pounds of water weight overnight. The brain fog returned; I was jittery, nervous, I began to feel depressed and anxious. Even the acid in my throat returned!

    It was a terrible night, and not at all worth it for some food I didn't even like.

    Some people might look at this and think: "How can you enjoy this? That sounds awful!" It was awful. That's why I'm excited: because in under 2 weeks of clean eating my body's already revolting against sugar and unnecessary chemicals and all that other processed crap. That's fantastic! I didn't know I could adapt so quickly.

    I've fasted for most of today because I still have a stomach ache and my throat still hurts from the acid. I think I might get a salad for dinner, though. I need something clean burning.


    I went down to the dorm cafeteria and made a Big Ass Salad. I used a foundation of lettuce with plenty of tomato, green pepper, broccoli and water chestnuts, plus a spoonful of sunflower seeds on top. I soaked it down with olive oil and some sort of vinegar (it was dark red, but the bottle was unlabeled so I'm not sure if it was red wine or apple or what). I could've added in some extras like cucumber, carrots and black olives but I decided I was satisfied with the way I had it.

    On top of that, I put two hamburger patties on top of it, covered those with sauteed mushrooms and onions, and then poured a little bit of Tabasco sauce on top of that. The mixture of hamburger juice, Tabasco, vinegar and oil made for a surprisingly delicious salad dressing. Even though I had gone overboard and splashed too much vinegar on the vegetables, I didn't notice in the end result.

    I'm pretty darn glad Tabasco is free of stuff like sugars, syrups, dyes, preservatives, etc...this salad reminded me how long it's been since I've eaten something spicy, even if Tabasco's a tame sauce; more tangy than truly spicy.

    It was so good I might go back and get the same thing for dinner. Definitely feels better on the body than last night's fruit punch and chocolate fest.

    Resuming scheduled news:
    Overall it's been an interesting past few days. Expect more regular updates from now on. Thanks for reading.
    Last edited by Dog; 02-20-2012, 03:02 PM.


    • #3
      welcome to the board, always like seeing new faces as well as old timers.

      it will be a great ride! (journal)


      • #4

        Day 3: 2/21/12

        First off, thanks for the kind words, Insane Grok. Next - it snowed here today. Ergo, I'm titling this entry 'snow' because I'm at a loss for words.

        Slipped up a little today on the dietary front - had some ranch dressing and some crumbled bleu cheese on my lunchtime salad, and some more bleu cheese on my dinner salad. I don't think my stomach appreciated it at all because I've had tons of [too much information, boo] gastrointestinal distress all day. I also had some breaded chicken meat products dipped in ketchup.

        So, overall, a bit of a slip-up today. That's okay. I still ate pretty well; two salads, lots of meat and vegetables, no bread except the stuff on the chicken and no real sugar except some fruit and whatever syrupy crap was in the dressing.

        I took the stairs a few times today but I haven't worked up the nerve to go up them. I live on the 11th floor, so taking the stairs down is easy but going up can get me in a pretty decent sweat. Don't get me wrong; I can take the stairs if I have to and I can make it all the way to the top. It's just that I usually arrive huffing, panting and covered in sweat. So I'm still taking the elevator up for now but one of these days I want to start taking the stairs both up and down.

        Not much else to add. My stomach still hurts and I'm just in a bit of a funk I guess. I'll have something better to post tomorrow.


        • #5
          Hi! Snow is fabulous, you can go out and have a snow ball fight Grok approves!

          I hate stairs, but I try to think of them as mountains to be climbed. That helps
          Maybe it helps you if you'd start the climb by exiting the elevator at 10, climbing the last flight, next day, exit at 9, climb the last two etc?


          • #6
            i used to be the same on stairs, of even walking up the parking lot at work, it would leave me huffing...but after a few months, i had noticed it wasn't anything for me to do them now, and with stairs i almost always take 2 steps at a time, and if no one is around, i'll take 3...4 is my max going up

            i find if you keep yourself honest about the food you are eating and thinking about changes to said food, it starts working itself out naturally and before you know it you are eating much better without the effort.

            keep it up, it does get so much better!


            • #7
              Contains Wheat, Soy, Peanuts...

              Contains Wheat, Soy, Peanuts...
              Day 4: 2/22/2012

              Contains wheat, soy, peanuts, (etc...) is the food allergy warning label of the day, and the title of this entry. Yay! Or boo, I dunno.

              Before we begin, thanks for the ideas about the stairs. I think I'll start taking the elevator to the 7th or 9th floors (in our dorm, even-numbered floors are girls' floors and odd-numbered are guys', so I'd feel less weird getting off the elevator on another guys' floor) and walking from there. Every few weeks or so I'll try to move down a floor or two until I'm more used to it. I think in tomorrow's post I'll talk about my exercise plans and all-around activity levels, but for tonight I'm ready to talk food:

              What's for dinner?
              Not much really happened today until around 7 o'clock (about an hour ago, depending on how long it takes me to write this) when I went to get dinner down at the cafeteria. Now, I live in a dorm, and am on a mandatory freshman meal plan, so 99% of my food intake comes from cafeteria eating. Yikes! We all know college cafeterias aren't exactly fine dining.

              I was getting tired of eating salads so I hit up the "International" food line to see what I could score. The International line is usually pretty good - they usually have at least one sort of mixed vegetable dish and at least one meat based dish that isn't pizza, burgers or corndogs. Sometimes they've gotten really fancy and had stuff like oysters and real crab.

              Of course, sometimes their selection sucks. This usually has to do with the fact that the International food station doubles as the Vegetarian food station, so a lot of the time you find fare like bean and rice burritos, tempeh stir-fries and so on.

              Tonight they had a promising selection: a delicious-looking vegetable soup, some (I'm assuming baked) fish that was served with peppers, onion and lemon juice, a fermented cabbage dish that -wasn't- sauerkraut, some steamed broccoli and I think that's it.

              The vegetable medley soup thing was apparently not going to work. I checked the nutritional info they have available at the beginning of the line for each dish and the soup somehow managed to include soy and wheat in it. Bummer.

              Next, I checked and found out that the fermented cabbage had soy sauce, which means wheat and soy. I probably could've eaten it, but I would've felt I skipped that as well.

              In the end, I went with the fish and peppers dish and the steamed broccoli. I eat a ton of raw broccoli in my salads every day but it tends to make me gassy and occasionally bloated, so having it steamed was pretty nice.

              I then went and got my default meal - two hamburger patties on lettuce instead of a bun. Added some sauteed mushrooms, (again, raw mushrooms upset my stomach sometimes but cooked are fine. I need to work on developing my iron stomach) some Tabasco sauce, some garlic salt and some mayonnaise.

              Topped all that off by getting a pear and half a cup of reduced fat milk (closest I can get to whole milk) for dessert.

              All in all, it really wasn't that much food. It may sound like a lot. One of these days I'll take a picture of one of our carry-out boxes so that you can get an idea of what can fit in there.

              It was delicious, though.

              Sorry, it's a blood sugar thing; I'm pretty sure he didn't mean it...
              Now the above may sound like it has some real no-nos for someone trying to lose weight: fruit and milk obviously, plus some mayonnaise that was obviously made with gross, rancid plant oils and other preservatives.

              The thing is, though, I don't mind being slightly higher carb than is advised mostly because I eat so little. No, I'm not trying to starve myself thin. It just works out like this:

              -I wake up super late in the day, like 11 am to noon, because I have insomnia and can't fall asleep until 3 or 4 in the morning. So, I've already missed the entire breakfast menu and its wonderful bounty of eggs, potatoes, pig, etc...
              -I don't actually get hungry until 4 or 5, so I've missed the lunch menu. Another thing is that I hate eating around other people because of the stares, sneers and mockery my 'weird diet' earns. So I try to avoid eating in the cafeteria and instead opt to eat in my room. I like to wait until 6 or 7, when my roommate's gone (and so are his gaggle of friends who practically live in our room with us) for night class, so I can eat in peace.

              So I'm basically eating one meal every night, and most nights that one meal is a calorie-light (still nutritious and tasty, just not very caloric dense) salad. Sometimes I eat two meals a day. On those two meal days I like to force myself up for breakfast, though this is only once or twice a week.

              What I'm doing sounds like the Warrior diet cycle of eating little during the day and a lot at night, which is all well and good except I'm not overeating at night. I'm eating basically one reasonably sized meal of mostly vegetables and that's it. Factor in that I IF (and I do the rugged form of IFing where you eat on day 1, go to bed, don't eat anything at all day 2, go to bed, and don't resume eating again until breakfast of day 3) a couple times a week and you can see I'm on my way to chronic undereating, which means stalled weight loss and worsening health.

              My meal plan only allows 2 meals a day. I went with this plan thinking it was the cheapest, but for some reason the meal plan allowing unlimited meals a day is cheaper; I have no idea why the school would mindf**k people like that.

              I think I'm gonna dial back my IF for the short term and work on getting up early enough to eat breakfast. The reason I want to eat breakfast and dinner rather than lunch and dinner is because

              A) The eating times aren't so clustered together
              B) the breakfast menu, as mentioned above, has lots of protein-and-fat-loaded animal products. The lunch menu is the same as the dinner menu. Eating breakfast means I'll be able to gorge on eggs, bacon and such and get in more calories than if I were to eat during lunch.

              See how much thinking I've done over a freaking dinner? More tomorrow. See you around.


              • #8
                Newsflash: I hate Bulletproof Coffee

                Quick update between larger posts:

                I will just add, though, before tomorrow's post, that I'm starting to get awfully weary from seeing the phrase "Bulletproof Coffee" find its way into, well, pretty much every conceivable thread here and on other primal/paleo blogs and forums.

                I'd like to point out that 'Bulletproof Coffee' (always capitalized, of course) is...wait for it...buttered coffee. That's it. Coffee, preferably high quality coffee, with butter in it. The butter should be something nice like Kerrygold. The whole 'Bulletproof' thing is schlocky branding done by the guy who 'discovered' it and who, coincidentally, is pushing his special brand of coffee beans for sale.

                The whole thing is just lame advertising. Just call it what it is, people: buttered coffee.

                I know I'm the only person in the world who's bugged by this, so I guess I'll have to just get over it. Oh well.


                • #9
                  Beat Your Cravings! (With a Brick)

                  Beat Your Cravings! (With a Brick)
                  Day 5: 2/23/2012

                  Today's entry title is inspired by a Combo Dog (NSFW) I saw a while ago.

                  The Amazing Fork Swallower
                  Ate breakfast today; heaping portion of scrambled eggs with some breakfast sausage patties. I would've gone back for more but the caf was getting crowded so I decided to leave.

                  For lunch I had a salad (lettuce, baby carrots, jalapenos, green peppers and boiled eggs swimming in olive oil and vinegar), a small amount of boiled egg on the side, and some chicken wrapped in ham. I have a tendency to wolf food down indiscriminately, which is what usually leads to my bouts of indigestion, stomach aches and gas. I slowed down and chewed the food thoroughly this time (I also made a point to eat slowly and chew a lot during breakfast) and noticed the results immediately.

                  This 'eat slowly' thing is probably gonna be a requirement for me for now on. I'd rather eat slowly and chew properly than have to suffer more poor digestion. Gonna start masticating like a beast.

                  Unfortunately, one of my (plastic) fork's tines did break off while I was trying to eat the chicken. The fork had obviously been poured wrong because it had several 'weak' spots in it. I fished half of the tine out of my mouth but ended up swallowing the other half. The break on the fork wasn't very jagged, so I'm hoping the piece is mostly blunt. Here's to hoping it, uh, passes uneventfully.

                  Just Say No
                  The last news on the food front is that I managed to resist some pretty gnarly cravings. I knew by eating lunch instead of dinner I'd be hungry again by the end of the day and here I am, still early in the evening and I'm dying to get my hands on some ice cream and crap from the dorm convenience store.

                  But I've managed to resist so far and I'm not gonna give in. The longer I eat Primal, the easier it gets to resist temptations that spring up like this.

                  Challenging the dominant food paradigm, and other buzzwords
                  Oh, last bit of food news (I lied about the cravings being the last): I'm switching up what I eat, basically. I'm cutting out dairy, fruit and potatoes. That's pretty much all the big sources of carbs in my diet right now. I'm hoping to jumpstart some weight loss.

                  My intake has been minimal (for example, I only had half a glass of milk and one piece of fruit over the past 3 or so days, and potatoes have been even longer than that) so I figured it wouldn't hurt to totally eliminate for the minute.

                  I've been feeling lighter, more energetic, just overall better since starting Primal in earnest. Maybe it's placebo, but I think I've finally stuck with it long enough (it's taken me over a year to be able to stick to it for more than a few days; sad, ain't it?) to start feeling the changes in my body. Honestly, those changes are just motivating me to stick to it.

                  However, fat loss has yet to really show up. I lost a bit of water weight but right now I'm feeling so good I'm perfectly okay with going a bit stricter to see some accelerated results. It's intoxicating, almost, and it certainly doesn't feel like drudgery or asceticism. So, because I don't really have access to nuts and seeds (unless I buy trail mix from the store downstairs) it's now gonna be mostly plants and vegetables. Sounds good to me.

                  I'm still debating whether or not to change up my IF schedule. I feel I might actually be IFing (and therefore, undereating) too much. Since it hasn't been that long, I guess I'll stick with it for a couple more weeks and if I'm still where I am now then I'll drop some of the IFing and up my food intake.

                  Tomorrow I talk about exercise and me: climbing stairs, moving slowly during the day, bodyweight workouts and the importance of standing desks. Ciao, or something.