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Primal Journal (StephenUSA)

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  • Primal Journal (StephenUSA)

    I have been reading these for a couple months and they have been so inspirational to me that I wanted to start one of my own.

    I have wanted something like this - to be part of a community of like minded individuals that can help me expand my knowledge and hopefully at some point perhaps I too can inspire someone starting out.

    I will start at the beginning. Why I started this. I am in my early 30s. I had a general feeling of unwellness. A sense of not living a healthy life. As if my insides were not clean...I do not know if that makes complete sense to all of you, but I do believe some of you will understand my meaning.

    For most of 2012 I gorged on the most horrible things: pizzas, hamburgers, buffets, fried chicken - all tasty stuff in its own right and in moderation, but these were staples of my diet. I felt bad, looked bad, and my weight was going up. I'm about 5'8 so not very tall, and 220 pounds shows on my frame quite easily.

    Some friends of mine were discussing their weight loss/fitness goals and strategies for 2012. I was, of course, a passive listener. One of them mentioned trying intermittent fasting. I thought to myself 'Hey, not eat for a few hours? I can do that.' And somehow while researching it, I came across this forum (which are one thing forums are really good for - drawing people in through different topics of discussion that show up in search engines). I ordered the book, read it, and the science and thought behind it made sense to I went for it. I had tried other diet or fitness plans before, but I never understood them as well as I should have.

    I have no cons to report so far. I started doing this in mid October. I track everything on a spreadsheet. So far I have lost 20 pounds, but there has been so little effort involved it feels almost like cheating.

    I am eating well - delicious foods I am cooking myself. I feel nourished and healthier. I still occasionally eat junk foods, especially if eating out with friends. I don't feel bad about that. But it is maybe 1-2 meals topics and I eat, I do not gorge. I don't have those urges now.

    My ultimate least my first one, is to slim down by about another 38 pounds. I am both excited and anxious because the weight range I'm in now is usually about where it starts to get tough for me. Part of that is that I let my guard down and start telling myself things like 'You've lost 20 pounds! Go ahead and have that cheeseburger. You'll start again on Monday!'

    My approach to this has been to not treat it as a diet or a weight loss plan. I like to view it as a lifestyle aimed at improving my health and fitness levels. To that effect, I only weigh myself once a month - on the last calender day.

    There, I have established some back story and laid the foundation for my future success. I HOPE to be able to report good things here. My first goal time wise is the end of June. Just to see what happens and assess how things have gone and where I need to go from there.

    Thank you all, and I'm both happy and excited to be among you all.

  • #2
    I've discovered I REALLY like chicken - it has a good flavor, is simple to cook, and becomes extremely flavorful with the addition of a small amount of herbs/spices. Heck, just salted and peppered it is pretty dang delicious. I like thigh more than breast - breast seems more dry to me for some reason.

    I want to like steak...but my experiences with steak have been poor. I don't think it is the meat though, I'm pretty sure it is the cook. I need to read up and study more about how to cook a steak really well.

    My staples right now I would say are: beef, chicken, carrots, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans (sometimes), I also really enjoy squash when I can get it. I would like to add fish or seafood to my diet, but I have not because I can't figure out how to cook it and control the smell, and my roommates are quite sensitive.

    Because it is Utah and it has been very cold here, I really enjoy making soup. I have been shopping at a local farmers market, and I can usually afford to buy enough food for a whole week (7 days) for 30-35 dollars. Not bad!

    One question, if anyone will bite - I've often wondered: There are some nights I get home and I'm just not hungry. Not even peckish. I've been forcing myself to eat something, even if its just a bit of chicken or some vegetables or something. But if my body needed nutrients, surely it would tell me, no?


    • #3
      Yep that last sentence of yours is so right.

      I used to binge, and stuff myself to the point of feeling so sick.
      Now if I am not hungry, I will not eat. Your body learns what it needs, and you need to listen
      Forcing yourself to eat would not be a good thing.

      Good luck btw


      • #4
        Welcome, Stephen. You are on the right track. If you are not hungry, don't eat. Our great grandparents had it right. Work up an appetite before you eat.
        Ancestral Health Info - My blog about Primal and the general ancestral health movement. Site just remodeled using HTML5/CSS3 instead of Wordpress.

        My MDA Friday success story - Stubborn Senior's Testimonial


        • #5
          I mentioned before I don't weigh myself except on the last day of each month because I don't want this whole experience to be weight centric. I'm focusing on the lifestyle aspect of it.

          That all said, I can't help but notice that I look slimmer and my clothes are looser. I have this pair of jeans I liked to wear sometimes because they were slightly looser, and those won't even stay on now without a belt. Regular exercise is on my to do list (but isn't it always?). How concerned should I be with muscle loss?

          I do want to lose weight, but I want that loss to be more fat than muscle. It is my understanding right now that with weight loss, some muscle loss is going to happen but that can be mitigated through nutrition and exercise. Is there any part of that where my logic is flawed?


          • #6
            Very excited.

            Today is the last day of January so I did my monthly weighing. I lost about 8 pounds in January.

            That marks about 28 pounds of weight loss since I adopted this lifestyle in mid October. It hasn't been hard at all, I've enjoyed the food, the feeling, and I must say I've never felt as good as I do now.

            My original goal for my first half of this year was to drop from 220 to 160. I'm halfway there. I'm about 189 right now. I'm kind of nervous because:

            1) All the diets and fitness plans I've tried before stalled around this point. Part of that has been my fault - you lose a bit of weight, get cocky, and suddenly loosen your restrictions and end up back at square 1.
            2) I imagine at some point my weight loss will slow. I'm hoping that point is where I'm healthy and more weight loss isn't needed because I've reached some kind of equilibrium. I have to confess I don't know enough about the workings of the human body to say that will actually happen.

            At the same time.. I'm very excited. Even if no one else can really notice (it is winter here and we're all wearing a lot of bulky clothing), I can definitely notice when I look in the mirror. I am excited to see what the next few months hold for me.

            My first goal, when I started at 220, was to hit 200. I hit that at the beginning of the year. My next goal is 180, which is only 9 pounds away. After that, I plan to set 10 pound markers for myself. I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can start exercising and enjoying the outdoors a bit more.

            Hope everyone else is having a good year.


            • #7
              Congratulations and best wishes! I remember the feeling when I took off the first twenty and it seemed too easy...scary actually! I have the 'advantage' of being gluten-intolerant and I get sick if I eat a cheeseburger or a muffin. Hah!

              Even though it is cold, are there any outdoor sports you can enjoy? Short hikes can be a lot of fun even if it cold outside. Things appear so different in the winter, and watching the seasons change along your favorite trail is very rewarding and primal.

              If you're not hungry at night, remember that intermittent fasting doesn't have to mean skipping breakfast - it can mean skipping dinner. I often finish eating in the late afternoon and then don't eat until late the next morning. Go with how you feel.

              If you start to stall, I strongly recommend posting to your journal - the feedback you get here is really helpful and motivating in my experience. Everyone has been there.
              My Primal Journal:

              "Freedom from fear" could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights. - Dag Hammarskjold


              • #8
                This month could be it...but it wouldn't be a mystery. February, despite its brevity, has been my most challenging month so far. I had my birthday at the beginning of the month, which led to a weekend of semi binging. And there was Valentines day. I typically have about two days of the month where anything goes. Usually dinner with friends. This month I must have had at least 4-5. I wouldn't say it was all that horrible, but I'm curious to see how it affected my weight loss. I'm not expecting a grand month, but I'd be surprised if I didn't lose 1-2.

                Time to straighten things out, but it is fun to enjoy some things in moderation.

                We'll find out on Wednesday!!!!


                • #9
                  As expected, my weight stayed the same in February. That hardly comes as a surprise though.

                  I really meandered away from my path last month, and in some ways it is still a victory. I indulged a bit too much, but for my weight to have stayed the same suggests to me that anything I gained I also lost. In March I am working on a cleaner and simpler diet. Why stray from success?

                  Some observations:

                  1) I'm trying to avoid cooking large meals, even if primal. I seem to have a habit of finding it so delicious that I eat it until its gone. I haven't read up on peoples views on this, because many low carb diets allow you to eat as much as you want, but I don't view eating primal as 'low carb'. I suppose it kind of ends up along a similar path, but I would really prefer adequate portions of good healthy food without a need to gorge.

                  2) I may have misread some literature on certain legumes, namely peas and green beans. I thought I read they should be taken in sparingly, and had a "Hmm" moment when I realized they were becoming perhaps a bit too prominent in my dietary rotation, but I reread the page and it seems the verdict on them is thumbs up? Has anyone noticed any kind of dietary issues eating peas or green beans?

                  3) Sweet potato. Never bothered with them before, but my God, what a treasure. It went SO well with my dinner. However, I don't think at this point I can take it in regularly. I haven't seen anything that has said NOT to eat them, but I have read that they're better if exercising or in a maintenance weight range. For weight loss, they're best taken in sparingly, which I will enjoy doing.

                  4) I typically eat out twice a month. I allow myself to just indulge any cravings. February was different -- I think I ate out at least four times. I had many Valentines day pastries and candies. I attended a pizza party.

                  I realize of course, blaming a holiday is a pretty hollow and weak excuse because for most of us there is always something. A birthday, an anniversary, a friends night out, or even just a casual dinner invitation. I don't think it is bad to indulge occasionally, but I do think I need to work more on moderating myself so I don't give in to every whim.

                  Part of my "problem" is when I started this, eating poorly made me feel physically ill. Now 4 months later, my weight is down about 30 pounds and I feel a lot better - which means eating bad food doesn't make me feel sick anymore. Which is GREAT, but also bad at the same time. Nevertheless, I'm getting back on the path and working towards my goals. I hope to have some exciting news for you at the end of this month!


                  • #10
                    I forgot to check in at the end of March. After a rough February, got back on my plan and lost 7 pounds.


                    I'm about 3 pounds above my next goal, and probably 13-23 pounds from my overall goal. SO CLOSE.


                    • #11
                      Things are going pretty well. I had a decent April and a bad May. I have really been misbehaving diet wise this month and I'm paying the price for it. But all in all, maybe it's not the worst thing in the world to stray from time to time.

                      My overall weight was around 177-179 at the end of April. I'll weigh myself next week, but I'm expecting somewhere between 181-184. I'll give myself a fresh start in June (starting today). The end of June marks the end of my "Phase 1" plan. That is just something I came up with myself. I've mostly been dieting, but now I plan to incorporate some exercise too.

                      That will be my phase II which will take me all the way to the end of 2013.

                      Overall, my current loss is about 40 pounds. No matter what happens in June, that is a big step forward for me!


                      • #12
                        I underestimated myself. My tally was 176, so that is minus two pounds. Not great for a month, but for all the gluttony and indulgence last month, I'll take it.

                        I'm hoping to have a nice, clean June and end the first half of 2013 on a health note. I weigh loss right now than I have since I was 21.


                        • #13
                          June is over. So, I did my morning weighing and am also reflecting on my 8 months being primal.

                          Here are some numbers:

                          I started at 218 pounds.

                          I now weigh 170.

                          So here are some thoughts:

                          1) The primal lifestyle works for weight loss. I wasn't 100% militant about it. I did occasionally have other meals with friends, an ice cream, etc from time to time. But I tried to stick to my plan 95% of the time. There were a couple of months I had very small weight loss or no loss at all. However, there were no months where I gained.

                          2) I think I should have exercised more. I think part of embracing the primal lifestyle is more than food, but it is recreating a way of life. Our ancestors assuredly did not eat meat and sit around all day. I'm starting to exercise now, and we'll see how that helps me.

                          3) I didn't find the diet to be very expensive. My usual food stuffs included about a week's worth of vegetables, 5 portions of meat - typically chicken or more rarely a steak of some sort, some nuts. The variety is really in the meat/vegetables. Various oils and butters. I spend 35-50 dollars in a typical week for myself, or overall a 200.00 grocery bill monthly. While this may seem like a lot, it is very little compared to eating out.

                          4) I didn't miss the things I couldn't eat very much. And when I did miss them, I just ate them. But I found myself so satisfied on my diet, I didn't miss them very often.

                          5) My only concern is that my cholesterol numbers are very high. Now, there could be a few things there. It could be related to my weight loss. It could be that eating so much fat and not exercising is a bad idea, even on primal. Or it might be that you have to be comfortable to chuck some conventional wisdom about medicine to be fully comfortable on the primal lifestyle.

                          I really wish I had checked my levels before doing primal. For all I know my levels were 1000 and have drastically come down. Or, it could have been 100 and shot up. With only one reference point, I have absolutely no idea.

                          Other than that, I'm in good health and I have felt great eating primally.

                          So for anyone considering this lifestyle, I would say that it isn't too expensive, you eat some pretty delicious things, and it definitely works if you stick to it.