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Of joy and pain (Hilton's journal)

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  • Of joy and pain (Hilton's journal)

    Hello everybody!

    My name is Hilton, brazilian, born in 1976 to a family of heavy drinkers, heavy smokers, heavy carb (and meat too, can't deny the point :-) eaters, many of them obese and loaded with diabetes and hypertension.

    As a kid, one could say I had the same body type a frog does: skinny arms and legs, big belly - and my diet was probably the source of the problem: brazilians' main meal is lunch, and classic brazilian lunch is rice, beans, meat, french fries and tomatoes, always sided by soft drinks or very sweetened juices.

    At 15, noticing how little success I had with the girls (oh, I stutter a little too, and use glasses), I decided to gain some muscle - bodyweight exercises (pullups, pushups and abs, mainly). Although the diet was the same, it worked - still the skinny arms and legs, but damn they were strong. As for the belly, it vanished - hello, six pack!

    I only learned to eat veggies in my late teens, for a matter of money: as a college student, short of cash, I had to stick to the meals offered by the university restaurant (much cheaper than regular restaurants, much easier than cook at home - which I didn't knew at the time, anyway). And it was really good for me, no hard feelings :-)

    But besides the new feeding habits, there came beer, parties and junk food. Loads of each. So I said buh-bye to the six pack, and put on 27 lb in a single year (1995).

    '96 came, and I decided to drop that load again. Became a vegetarian and joined a capoeira (brazilian martial art) school. Worked like a charm: by the end of that year, I had my six pack back. Reintroduced meat to my diet in the beginning of 97, and kept training capoeira (6 times a week), running (3 times) and swimming (3 times).

    By the mid of 99, I got a knee pain. After some x-rays and MRIs, no lesions were detected - so I was sent to physiotherapy. Dozens of sessions, and the pain was still there. I quit capoeira and running, and stuck to swimming (most of the time, using only my arms to avoid hurting my knee). Then the pain "spreaded" to the other knee, and then to upper back - the dark times had arrived.

    Hundreds of physiotherapy, accupunture and reiki sessions (money was not an issue after I graduated and had no kids :-), and a truckload of homeopathy later, I had pain on shoulders, elbows, upper and lower back, and knees. On average it was not incapacitating, but prevented me to exercise hard (under the price of having some 3 or 4 days of excruciating pain after). Sleeping became somewhat an issue too. I kept swimming VERY slowly, just to maintain my stress under control. Weight started to build up again...

    In 2001, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The rheumatologist told me I had a mild case (and given the amount of pain I had at the time, I can only gape at how people with severe cases live on day after the other) and prescribed cyclobenzaprine (which made my thirsty and somewhat groggy). But more important, he suggested that "since I had a mild case, I should accept pain as a constant in my life, and focus on being fit". According to some studies, fibromyalgia pain seems to decrease when you are strong and stretched.

    So I came back to my beloved capoeira, stuck to medication, avoided too much sugar or fat, ate lots of veggies. It hurt as hell in the beginning, but it paid. By mid 2002, I was back to exercising and had a strong body again - still skinny, but strong, six pack again. Everything was fine...

    ... until december 31st, 2007. While bodyboarding, a wave threw me on the shallows, and I hurt my right shoulder badly. Had 2 surgeries to fix it, but I had lost some cartilage and part of the joint movement was lost (although people who don't know me hardly can't tell how much of amplitude I have lost. Since I had above-the-average stretching thanks to capoeira, even limited as I am, my right arm looks normal - but I can't do a handstand or a cartwheel anymore, or keep heavy weights with arms fully extended...).

    Since the accident, I have been gaining 5.5 lb per year, steadily - I still practice capoeira, but without using the arms (and always afraid of being taken down and hurting the shoulder again), I keep it to a minimum (15 minutes each 15 days). Lots of ice cream, pizza, snacks and chocolate have found their way to my cabinets and fridge and I ate them all, for the last 5 years. My six pack ran away again, and left constant heartburns in it's place...

    A friend mentioned paleo diet a few months ago, and I thought it was worth a reading - but only adopted it last week. In exact 4 days, I've dropped 3.3 lb. My meals are more expensive (and now money is an issue - one daughter and a bigger house to keep), healthier, slower and tastier. I have craved for bread from time to time, but no cheating up to now.

    No heartburns since then - and believe me, in the last 4 or 5 months, I had one everytime I ate carbs at night (don't ask me why - carbs in the morning or evening were "fine"). My fibromyalgia pain has lessened a little bit, but I don't want to believe it's a direct result of the diet for now.

    Still have some 22 lb to loose, muscle to gain (six pack included!) and a lifetime eating habit to change, but the first steps were taken!


  • #2
    Welcome Hilton. I hope primal goes great for you! Food can get cheaper as you become a fat burner. Also, search the forum for "budget".
    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


    • #3
      Originally posted by Hedonist2 View Post
      Welcome Hilton. I hope primal goes great for you! Food can get cheaper as you become a fat burner. Also, search the forum for "budget".
      Up to now, it's been quite easy - but I'm only 6 days on the path :-)

      Played capoeira last saturday, after almost 3 months without exercising - got some muscular ache, but it's already over. My shoulder is complaining a lil bit, but I bet it only needs strengthening. I'm planning to start sprinting next sunday (will keep sprints to sundays), and just dug out my weights from the garage.

      About becoming a fat burner, is there a rule of thumb on how long does it take to ?

      Best regards,


      • #4
        Some quick recipes from the weekend (I started cooking some 10 years or so ago, and was always the kitchen master of the house. But since my daughter was born, my wife took the place and I moved to cleaning and washing. Going primal is a great excuse to take the place over again :-)

        Saturday dinner

        2 lb chuck steak, cut into large pieces
        4 large onions, sliced
        2 large tomatoes, sliced
        2 large beets, sliced
        Homemade salt-and-garlic seasoning (made it my self with a mortar and a lot of sweat :-)

        Seasoned the meat with the s-n-g, let it rest for 10 minutes. Put the onions and tomatoes on the bottom of a pressure cooker. Put the meat over them. Put the beets over the meat. Seal the cooker, put on the stove (high fire until it starts steaming, low fire then, to save gas - yeah, brazilians use butane to cook). Left it there for 30 minutes after steaming starts. No need to add water: the juices from meat (chuck steak has a lot of collagen) and vegetables will render a nice broth. Chop and nom nom.

        Sunday lunch

        2 lb pollock steak
        4 garlic cloves, sliced
        1 small bottle coconut milk (17 oz)
        1 oz garlic sauce

        Mix coconut milk, garlic sauce, sliced garlic and salt. Lay the steaks on a baking pan, cover with the sauce, and let it bake for 30-40 minutes.

        Sunday dinner

        1 lb ground beef
        3 small chopped onions
        Chopped spinach (20-30 leaves)
        2 eggs
        Thin sliced pumpkin

        Mix the beef, onions, spinach, eggs and salt (used hands to mash them together) and put on a baking pan (I used a circular pan, so the result looke like a giant burger pattie). Cover with pumpkin slices and bake for 60 minutes (I baked for 40, took a slice and noticed it was a bit undercooked in the middle - fine for me, but not for my wife :-)

        The rest of the pumpking was cooked until soft, then processed with a bit of water, garlic sauce, cumin, salt and vinegar. Best pumpkin cream/soup I have ever made (and I have made many, over the years)


        • #5
          About becoming a fat burner, is there a rule of thumb on how long does it take to ?
          It varies a lot from person to person. I wasn't even sure when it happened. I just realized after a while that I could go for quite a while without food and didn't crave carbs.
          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


          • #6
            Had a little slip on the weekend: since sweet potatoes are "safe" to eat, I baked a huge one with gammon, bacon and onions - saturday and sunday meals...

            Also had a lot of sweet fruit (strawberries, mangos, kiwis, grapes) topped with ground coconut and honey.

            Got 1.1 lb since last friday :-(

            And yeah, I'm checking the scales on a daily basis, and taking notes...