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Journal of a Weary Dragon

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  • Journal of a Weary Dragon

    Hi All. In October this year I shall be 50. By then I want to look like I have never looked before - fit toned & full of confidence. This is the start of my journey.

    I started Low Carbing last March & have ended up Primal by accident really. From the start I didn't cheat as I felt that so much healthier & thought that if I slipped up once & ate grains it would ruin everything. So I became evangelical about 100% no grains & no sugar & no dairy. Anything with a hint of sugar or starch has been banned from my life. I can honestly say I have not cheated once. If I don't know the origin of something (ie does it contain even a hint of sugar or wheat) I simply won't eat it. It took a while for friends and family to get it but I learnt to keep saying no & finally they have now got it - this is how I choose to eat & nothing they say or do will change that.

    So for 9mths I religiously tracked all my macro-nutrients to ensure I was not eating more than 12g carb per day & lost 30lb but more importantly went from a UK trouser size 18/20 to a 12/14. Everyone has commented on how much weight I have lost even though on the scales the loss has not really been huge. Exercise wise I joined a gym & started the body for life program but disappointingly my LBM has stayed roughly the same.

    Then came the big stall. For 6 weeks nothing moved. Then I had to stop the gym as it cost too much & I stopped tracking my food intake. But I still ate the same. Last week two things happened. Someone mentioned my eating plan sounded primal & to check out Marks Daily Apple (I had heard or paelo but not primal before that) & I discovered that excess protein can be turned to glucose & thus stored as fat.

    So fed up with my body I started to look at MDA and have been eagerly devouring it for the past week. At first I was concerned because the emphasis is on low cardio & my ultimate goal has always been to do an ironman (even though I am hopeless at swimming & have a dodgy knee). So at first I thought that PB would not work for me. Then I read some success stories where some people had managed to be primal & still do endurance events. Finally it began to make sense & so here I am. My aims have now changed - instead of being able to complete a 10k by the end of the yer (I have now moved that goal to next year) I intend first to get the body I want by following the PBF regime. This will make me happiest & by building my core strength & fitness should enable me to up the cardio without getting injured (another secret dream of mine has been to do push-ups dips & pull ups but my upper body strength has always been hopeless - reading the PBF makes it all seem possible).

    In preparation for my new journey I weighed today for the first time in 2 months & found I had put 6lb on even though my measurements haven't changed Had been eating the same apart from the odd orange.

    My overall goals for the next 9mths are:

    1) to drop from 42.4% to 19% BF (never thought this would be possible for me 'til I found MDA)

    2) drop from 182lb to 137lb (this is supposed to be my ideal weight based on BMI but I think I may have to go 132lb to look good naked)

    NB: upon further research it seems my HSIS weight is 130lb (100 + 5lb for every inch over 5') but that seems a little low to me

    My short term goals for the next 12 weeks are:

    1) get my stress levels down - this is going to be my biggest problem as I have lots of emotional stress going on

    2) stick to the PBF program & not miss a workout

    3) lose 6% BF & 21lb

    4) eliminate dairy & chocolate (I only eat 90%) completely (as well as the odd diet coke which has crept in recently)
    Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 01-27-2013, 02:13 AM. Reason: updated HSIS weight

  • #2
    Great journal name.
    I like badgers, books and booze, more or less in that order.


    • #3
      In terms of replacing dairy I've found coconut milk to be ridiculously helpful. For some reason coconut milk can make a meal insanely creamy and bordering on comfort food, but still sticking to the plan. It also has a thick layer of cream that you can scoop out and put on top of berries or just eat by the spoon


      • #4
        And so to my program:

        I know from my weight gain over the last 2 mths that I have to count cals to lose any weight. I also know that I cannot keep treats (90% chocolate & dairy cheese) in the house without eating it all at once & that the idea of my body telling me not to eat doesn't work. Even though I am not hungry I can still eat for England given the chance.

        As no one thing works for everyone I am going to use this journey as a bit of an experiment to see if I can finally work out what works for me. I would love to get to a point where I can buy a bar of chocolate & only eat 1 square a day.

        I have now found The -Eat More (or Moar) Fat- January Challenge

        and spent some time reading about Jimmy Moore & his experiments with Nutritional Ketosis based on the book ‘The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance’ by Jeff S. Volek which is apparently the ultimate state to aim for. From what I’ve researched it all makes perfect sense to me, as I have never been able to record a reading with ketostix even after eating <10g carb for weeks. Can’t wait for my copy of the book to arrive.

        During his 180-day experiment Jimmy Moore he achieved deep Ketosis & lost a considerable weight all the while eating 85% fat.

        So I am going to forget BMR & TDEE & everything else I have learn re weight loss & stick to a very high fat moderate protein low carb plan to see what happens.

        He also shows that after a few months efficient fat burning becomes a steady state & that is when it is possible to do hard exercise in a fasted state without any ill effects. This sounds very exciting given all the benefits of IF. As I have not exercised for a few months I am going to start out with walking & doing light weights while learning good technique
        Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 01-27-2013, 02:35 AM. Reason: joined eat more fat challenge


        • #5
          Hi Neanderthal Betty. Thanks for the info. My interpretation of no dairy is no cow which means keeping away from cream & cheese made from cows milk I have been eating feta & goats cheese but not in huge quantities. Haven't quite worked out if this is strictly PB as I can't find anything in MDA about goats milk. I also have an issue with butter made from cows milk (read Marisa Peers' You Can Be Thin a few times & you wont want to touch anything made from cows milk but goats milk seems to be ok). My main problem is my occasional hot chocolate treat (life has to be worth living). I currently make it with raw coco powder & soya milk as before I read MDA I thought that was a healthy alternative & is very low carb. Just checked coconut milk & its very high is carb by comparison. Also does it taste of coconut as I don't like it (although I can happily eat coconut oil by the spoonful)?


          • #6
            I just looked at my can of full fat coconut milk and per 1/3 of a cup it only has three carbs, the whole can only has 15 carbs so I think that's pretty doable in the general scheme of things.

            I find coconut milk to be very subtle, as it's unsweetened so you really aren't smacked in the face with a ridiculously sticky sweet over powering coconut taste.


            • #7
              I'll certainly give it a try when I get nearer my goal weight & ramp my carbs up a bit. In the mean time, given my protein restriction I'm going to have to manage without my hot chcolate
              Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 01-23-2013, 03:35 AM.


              • #8
                Have just re-worked my food menus.

                My HSIS weight is 130lb (59kg). This means I should eat 50g protein 30g carb & 118g fat based on the Optimal Diet formula. But this will give me a calorie intake of 1416 & ratio of 16.5-8.5-75. Cals are too high & fat % too low so I am going to tweak it slightly. Also I want to stick to 5% carbs as I have been doing.

                I have managed to come up with the following 2 menus:

                Menu A: Spinach Omelette (Goats Butter (5g), Mushrooms, Raw 1 (25g), Spinach Frozen 100g, Egg Yolk 1, Egg Whole 1) / Chicken & Mush Soup (Mushrooms, Raw 400g, Chicken, Dark Meat (175g), Onion ˝, Celery 2 Sticks, Goats Butter (10g), Chicken Stock Homemade 3lt, Coriander, Fresh (60g), Flat Parsley, Fresh (60g) – makes 8 portions) & 1tsp EVOO / Rocket/Watercress/Spinach Salad with 1tsp Walnut Oil & 1tsp Cider vinegar & ˝ Tin Mackerel (44g) in brine/ 50g Macadamia nuts / Spinach & Smoked Mackerel (67g) with HM Horseradish Mayo / 25g Coconut Oil Cals: 1349 Ratio: 17-3-80 grams: 56-7-118

                Menu B: Spinach Omelette / Chicken & Mush Soup made with HM Stock & 1tsp EVOO / Rocket/Watercress/Spinach Salad with Walnut Oil dressing & ˝ Tin Mackerel / 25g Macadamia nuts / Cauli & Ground turkey (Cauliflower (200g), Goats Butter (10g), Mayonnaise, Delouis 2tsp (10g), Turkey Mince (Dark Meat) (75g), ˝tsp paprika) / 40g Coconut Oil cals: 1336 ratio: 18-3-79 grams: 57-8-114

                I know the choice of alternate daily menus is a bit limiting but I’m on a tight budget & I want to use what’s in my freezer (EV coconut oil & macadamia nuts are expense so most of my food budget will be going on them). Given my difficulty up to now of trying to up the fat & lower the protein & cals I think this is the best option for the next 4 weeks. If at the end of the 4 weeks I have not lost any LBM & have lost a reasonable amount of weight (6-8 lb) I will up the calories to reach the 85% fat level.

                I’m going to start with eating 6x3hrs to give my metabolism chance to get use to this WOE & lots of daily walking. Again at the end of the 4 weeks I will aim to cut down to 3x day

                I recognise this is going to be a long journey so am happy to take it 4 weeks at time.

                NB: for first 2 wks read rapeseed oil for olive oil. At this stage I am more interested in upping the fats than anything else & a decent olive oil is out of my price range at the moment. Baby steps & all that.
                Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 01-27-2013, 03:08 AM. Reason: updated menus HFMPLC


                • #9
                  Today I managed to get some high end extra virgin olive oil for a reduced price - tried the taste test & it seems I've got a bargain so will be going back for more. Have also made the switch to cooking with butter but finding it a lot harder to measure out (1tsp oil is so quick & simple) so have been making progress on the nutrition front.

                  Have still got 3 bottles of organic cold pressed UK produced rapeseed oil sitting in the cupboard. I was going to move it to the bike shed ready for lubrication duties but I have to admit I am still not convinced it is bad for me. It also makes a wicked mayo & I can't seem to find a primal replacement which makes the mayo taste as good.

                  I get the problems with Canoil - highly processed GM muck, but the 3 bottles gleaming in front of me are cold pressed from an organic source & the UK is apparently GM free with regards to rapeseed.

                  I also get that all rapeseed used for human consumption has been modified at some point to lower the erudic acid content but then, just about every fruit or vegetable has been modified at some point over the last few hundred years or more (hence orange carrots). Also the ration of omega 6 to 3 is much better in rapeseed oil than EVOL so at the moment I think the bottles are going back in the cupboard. I shall continue to use the bottle that is already opened & hope that before I need to buy some more someone on this forum can convince me not to. In the mean time I remain unconvinced but open to persuasion.


                  • #10
                    Monday 28/1 Started today but have found the change of menu hard. Am working from home this week & the hot coco was too inviting. I altered the menu to fit around it & managed to keep the ratio to 19-3-78 but, partly due to a very late night working, the cals were nearly 400 over at 1765.

                    The good news is I lost a lb last since last week having cut out the diet coke & oranges completely. I definitely feel so much better. SO my starting stats are:

                    Wt 181lb (12st13) Goal wt in 12 wks: 11st7
                    LBM 104.2lb BF 42.4% Goal BF 36.4%
                    Measurements (cm): Bust 95, Under bust 83, R Arm 32.5, L Arm 33, R wrist 17, L wrist 16.5, R thigh 58, L Thigh 58.5, R Calf 39, L Calf 38, Waist 85, Stomach 95, Hips 98

                    Tuesday 29/1 Missed B/fast today so I could fit in a hot coco later. Wasn't really hungry all day. Ratio 19-4-77 cals 1111 which makes up a bit for yesterday.


                    • #11
                      Wednesday 30/1 Finally managed to eat the intended menu today Ratio 17-3-80 cals 1344. Not really hungry all day. Great excitement though - my copies of The Primal Blue Print & The Art & Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance turned up today. Spent most of the day reading the A&S of LCP. Two things have finally clicked:

                      1) Daily fat intake must exceed the high 70%
                      2) I finally get the Omega 6 issue. Having reread Marks def Guide to Oils again I think the real problem with the various oils is the high O6 /Low O3 content of most of them & the refining process they go through. From my perspective this applies to sunflower oil which is contained in the mayo that I use as its the only one I can find without sugar in it. I realize I need to change it but to what? EVOO taste foul in mayo, refined OO is not recommended because it is refined. Macadamia oil is too expensive So I am back to rapeseed oil. I think the main problem Mark has with it is that in the US it is made from a predominant GM crop & it is refined to death. Here in the UK it is not GM & the one I use is organic cold pressed. It's O6:O3 ratio is better than EVOO as well. So I am going to finish the couple of jars of mayo that I currently have (but use sparingly), then switch to making my own from cold pressed organic rapeseed pil. (If there is anyone out there who can refute my logic re rapeseed oil or suggest a different oil to use in my mayo then I still have an open mind).

                      The other big surprise was the very, very high amount of O6 in walnuts. I love walnuts & have eaten a lot in the last few months but will now stay away completely. I will also switch to using EVOO on my daily lunchtime greens & reserve the walnut oil for when I have endive (occasional treat when I can get it reduced).


                      • #12
                        Thur 31/1 Found the makings of my favorite meal all at reduced priced so decided to splash out - Endive, rotisserie chicken & port salut. Also picked up some berries & thick cream to round it off. However instead of eating the lot I portioned it out to keep to my macro nutrient ratio & daily cals (The best thing about doing this is that I really enjoyed what I had & can go through the same pleasurable experience again tomorrow instead of feeling guilty at all the protein & cals I just consumed). Because I was out & about all day I wasn't really hungry & had to force the coconut oil down to get the numbers right ratio 13-6-81 cals 1319

                        The other break I got today was macadamia nuts at half price in a Tesco that I don't usually shop in (the offer wasn't on the web or in my usual Tesco so I will go back there next week just in case) so I bought the lot (6 packs) Having worked my shopping list out for intended menus I am surprised at how expensive it is too eat this way. Good quality fat is far more expensive than meat. Luckily coconut oil is on offer at H&B right now so have stocked up with that too.

                        I have a freezer full of chicken, turkey & HM stock as well as salmon so will eat all of those then switch to buying free range chicken which I have found at a reasonable price in ALDI. I suspect free range may not mean grass fed but it will be a step in the right direction until I can afford to buy from my local farm.

                        As I have numerous tins of sardines & tuna in the cupboard I have adapted the menus to include these in order to eat them up, modifying the fats as necessary to keep the 17-3-80 ration & cals approx 1350. Spinach & mackerel I will swap every other time for spinach & salmon to eat that up too. I realise this will alter the EPA & DHA numbers I have calculated but taking a supplement will help.


                        • #13
                          Fri 1/2 Having finally realised hot chocolate made with soya milk has got to go, I have decided to get creative. I tried making it with hot water & 2 tbsp of double cream(I think that’s half & half in the US). It was actually very nice & more importantly the numbers are P1, F16 instead of P15, F8 as in soya. The Cals are very similar so that has solved that problem. Am going to try it later with single cream, as that will drop the cals to half. I have also bought kerrygold butter instead of my normal goats butter as its the same price & according to the raw milk website better for you so I can now say re dairy I am truly primal.

                          As I have not really been following my intended menus this week (but still getting the ratios right) & have not been exercising I have decided to use this as a test week & start my proper 12 week plan from Monday. Hopefully I'll lose a lb this week & can really get going next week.

                          Have started reading the Primal blueprint today. Bit disappointed so far - it is just a consolidation of what I learnt from the forum but will be a good reference point in the future.

                          Numbers for today: cals 1517 ratio 15-6-78
                          Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 02-03-2013, 02:52 AM. Reason: input correct days numbers


                          • #14
                            Sat 2/2 - Oh my God!!! feeling thin this am & have 'been' so decide to weigh. 7lb!!!!!! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT. I have never lost that much in a month before on any diet. Have now lost the few lb that have crept back on whilst not tracking + some.

                            Checked the numbers & have lost 1.1% BF. Whilst 2lb was LBM I would expect that (have read in The A&S of LCP this week that a) fat cells include LBM & b) that fat cells do die off - I have always been told they are with you for life - my goal now is never to introduce some more as the old ones die off) with such a big loss, especially as I haven't been exercising this week (too much primal reading & EMF research). The water % stayed the same so the rest should be a real BF loss.

                            Went off menu a bit today (Port Salut is still 1/2 price - must stay out of Tesco's) & really fancied a cheese omelette for tea. Since I still have some goats cheese in the fridge this was what I had and ended up with 1239 cals ratio 19-7-74. This begs the question - keep the cal right or get the macros right? I have posted this question on the EMF thread. In the mean time I have decided to go with the ratios & will lose the extra cals tomorrow. A normal portion of coconut oil (25g) took me to cal 1439 ratio 16-6-78. Not being able face more oil I then had 25g nuts which took me to a final 1626 15-6-79. At this stage I would consider 79% fat the very lowest I should go.

                            NB: Just checked back over the weeks ratios & have a number of 77-78% fat so could have saved myself 180 cals, but like the mentality I have gotten into which is that least 80% is a must for great wt loss - 79% is the absolute minimum. So the extra cals is probably worth it at this stage if it reinforces that approach.

                            PS: Update from the 'cals or ratio' question posted on EMF: 1 reply said all her research suggested stick with the ratio (as I thought), the other (from the highly esteemed thread owner) said stick with the cals & 'start again tomorrow'. No help there then. My gut instinct is to stick with the ratio because I know 70% fat/right cals doesn't work for me BUT I also think it's important to be sure to drop the cals (but keep the ratio) over the next few days to balance things out.
                            Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 02-03-2013, 02:49 AM. Reason: update to cals or ratio question


                            • #15
                              Exercise Plan Have finally got the exercise plan sorted. One of the most exciting things about MDA is the thought of getting a ripped body (I really want this) & be able to do endurance events (NB: I am currently 49, 42lb overweight with a bad knee & 41% BF so don't laugh too much) With a doggy knee & lbs overweight the cardio has been intermittent & the weight plan I tried last year (Body-for-Life which I followed religiously for 4 mths) did nothing to increase my LBM, so I had finally let these dreams go. MDA & The A&S of LCP have changed all of that. To be able to reach my body's potential (OK I agree ripped may be a bit much) & get fit without the chronic cardio & putting in 3hrs a day is a revelation to me.

                              Have spent all week dithering between Marks fitness plan (PBF), NerdFitness BW program StrongLifts 5x5 & SimplyFit. they all have their merits, give consistent messages & consist of similar exercises:

                              LHT - I have always wanted to be able to do proper squats (currently have no balance & can't get my ankles flexing so I sit on my heels), push-ups & pull-ups (now realise its probably not my lack of upper body strength although that doesn't help - it is that I am too heavy) & love the thought of doing planks for abs but no crunches (these always hurt my neck & lower back). So I have decided to start with Marks LHT from PBF, especially as he has broken each move down into small steps.

                              When I can do the required no of reps across all 4 exercises at level 4 'the essential movement' (hopefully in 12 wks) I will switch to SimplyFit for at least 12 wks to see what that does. I love the simple program & this thread has inspired me so much:


                              Will then start adding the wt progrsm from strongLifts for 12 wks but stating at a very low wt a) to get thf rom right b) my heavyest wt plates aqre 10kg c) I will need a squat rack & olympic barbell to get heavcy. After thast I hope to have saved enough to update my home gym & have cleared out he garge so I can move it all in there.

                              Of course all thios may change as I progress - no sense changhiong something thst works.

                              Cardio - the primal blueprint has finally become worth the expense - I now realise the importance of only doing sprints once a week. This has the added advantage of letting me start my running program with out getting into Chronic Cardio or overdoing things (PB has finally made me realise that overdoing things is detrimental).

                              So my endurance goals for thsi year are to complete 12x5k. I will use the Firman FAST training plans


                              starting with the Novice plan which is similar to C25K but longer & increments in smaller steps. The FAST philosophy is based on 3 only 3 runs a wk - 1 interval workout (track repeats) , 1 tempo run & 1 long run & covers novice to marathon with an extra program to qualify for Boston (another dream but now only if I can do it without chronic cardio) so has everything I need in a running program. For now I will simply swap the track repeats day for Marks sprint program but may eventually move the sprint to the bike & stick with the full run program.

                              So to recap:

                              1) the exercise plan will run in 12 wk cycles aligned with the eating plan (this will enable me to give any change time to provide real results rather than change things for the sake of change)

                              Cycle 1 13 wks 4/2 - 28/4:
                              Nutrition - 1350 cals (just bellow BMR using LBM calc) ratio 17-3-80 with 10% decrease in cals if wt loss stalls, 10% increase if wt loss > 2lb after initial 3wks & 10% increase in protein if LBM decrease after initial 3wks.

                              LHT - PBF 4 essential movements (Mon/Wed/Fri) Cardio - PBF Sprint x1, FIRST Novice 5k Plan tweaked to 2xwk over 12wks keeping HR between 60-75% (Tue/Thu/Sun - Sat Rest)

                              Goals: 1) Wt Lost 17lb - this will get me within touching distance of normal BMI
                              2) BF% down 6%
                              3) no decrease in LBM
                              4) be able to run 5k without chronic cardio & without stopping - will enter a local one on or around 6/5
                              5) be able to do proper push-ups, Squat to at least parallel with feet on floor, grok hang for 30sec

                              Cycle 2 12 wks 6/5 - 28/7 (29/4-5/5 1wk rest - recovery & less stringent on cals):
                              Nutrition - EMF reviewed

                              LHT - SimplyFit Cardio - FIRST Intermediate 5k Plan substituting PBF Sprint for track interval session

                              Cycle 3 12 wks 5/8 - 27/10 (29/7-4/8 1wk rest - recovery & less stringent on cals):
                              Nutrition - EMF reviewed

                              LHT - SimplyFit + Wts Cardio - FIRST 5k Plan substituting PBF Sprint for track interval session

                              I will be 50 in Oct & I want to celebrate my birthday with no one recognizing me

                              NB: this may seem all rather complicated based on LHT, sprint once a week & go for a walk, but I am a numbers person & my main focus here is to get me to look really good for my birthday so I need to know where I am going Also the 'exercise when you feel good' philosophy doesn't work with me. I need to be ticking boxes to make sure I actually do something & have written it up her to try and make me accountable I am very good at setting goals but hopeless at achieving them. However, I do think this is doable this time so here goes
                              Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 02-03-2013, 09:55 AM. Reason: spelling