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Taking Control

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  • Taking Control

    I want to begin the 30 day challenge.

    I've kept a private food journal on and off since I lost about 10kg when I was 15. That 10-15 kilos has since plagued me (I'm 21 now)... I've been up and down the bloody spectrum, and though I don't think I've ever been in the overweight range, I've definitely felt very fat at times and it has lowered my confidence and has sent me into dark depressions that the memory of is difficult to erase.

    I KNOW how to eat well. I've done my research (tons of it!) and I won't tell you what I know, because it's all laid out here, on this website, a lot better than I'd be able to do it.

    The BIG problem for me is my past depressions and anxiety issues, brought on by majorly stressful situations. During these periods I developed VERY bad habits and a very bad relationship with food. I've been through it all- every "eating disorder" (what a label - i swear it's too commonplace these days to warrant it...) anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge eating, over exercising etc. etc. (how boring I know.)

    Anywho... I'll stop with my tale of woe there, because in general I'm a really happy, healthy person and I never dwell on this stuff, nor talk about it with anyone (other than with my amazing mum when it used to get bad, but that's what she's there for right?)

    I thought if I posted in this forum it would sort of be a next step up from my food journal. Perhaps if I make this a bit more public I'll get some encouragement It's difficult when I live with two overweight vegetarian housemates (carb - loving) and none of my friends here are on board with the paleo bandwagon. I'm not one to push my ideas on others (though I'm more than happy to encourage and educate).

    Unfortunately although I'm only 21 and normal weight (according to my BMI I'm mid range normal) I think I've done quite a bit of damage with my eating habits in the past, and there might already be a bit of insulin resistance (I get a massive blood sugar serve after eating even an apple and I CRAVE and crave and crave!) This just means to lose weight and maintain it I have to be super strict, which is why I really want to get back on board with the 30 day challenge. Lately I've been doing OK, but I really want to step it up a notch! I'm starting to slip back into old habits on occasion and there's nothing I want LESS than to go down that ugly spiral again.

    My Goals

    - Feel IN CONTROL again
    - Feel fitter
    - Speak out about what I'm doing.
    - TONE
    - Hopefully fit into my size 10 jeans (australian) without a muffin top!

    SO - MONDAY 25th MARCH 2013 = DAY 1 of 30 DAY CHALLENGE

    Breakfast - 2 eggs fried in butter
    Lunch - grilled chicken with half an avocado
    Dinner - 2 lamb chops (fat ON) with 1/2 onion, 1/2 tomato (fried in butter) and steamed broccoli.


    11am - gym. sprints, cross trainer (HIIT) + ARMS (pull ups, push ups, weights etc.).
    Afternoon - walk the dog around the park (~3k)

    - A



    I've very successfully completed day one. I had a bit of a chocolate hangover after consuming a few too many of those little cadbury easter eggs (so addictive and I can't feel virtuous because they were not dark ), but after a heavy session at the gym - back and abs (though my arms feel like jelly too... what's going on there?!) at around 11:30ish (I like this time because there is barely anyone else in the gym) I felt heaps better and have maintained a steady energy throughout the day. My mind has been very clear and I have been really productive with my studies (I'm a uni student).

    Diet- wise I think I was very good. I only needed the one chop for dinner. According to my myfitnesspal ap (my new favourite thing) i consumed 776 calories, netting at around 597 (with my cardio exercise taken into consideration). Now although this is a much lower number than I would normally be aiming at during the day (around 1200), due to my over- consuming yesterday I have had much lower hunger levels today, and I don't like to eat if I'm not hungry.

    I'm not super concerned about calorie counting (i think judging your hunger is a lot more effective), but it is interesting to break it down and see how much energy you're actually consuming. Given, one of my secret agenda's in this is to lose 5-7 kilos in 5 weeks, I think creating that calorie deficit is appropriate.

    In terms of carbs- 19. Atkins would be proud! I hope to aim around this mark for most days of the week during this challenge, although I'll add in one or two days when I lift the carb consumption to around 50. These days I'll determine based on how I am feeling, i.e. when I feel my energy levels are starting to drop, or I'm getting bored with very low carb options. (but who could ever get bored of steak and mushrooms, yumm!)

    I feel fantastic now. Happily fatigued, with achy muscles especially around my lower back area (I think they've just had a massive wake up call!) I'm just about to fall asleep, but I might browse some more gym motivation images on tumblr as they're very amusing and inspiring.

    That's another thing; I love everything about the primal attitude to living, but I can't tear myself away from my love of the gym. I like that everything is just there, to work every muscle in your body without you having to think too much about it. I can switch off. I like the smell, i love to sweat, and i love the odd sort of comraderie you have with the strangers working out alongside you (although I think I had one laughing at my scissor kicks today).

    I got a bit of Vit D, but it's futile for me trying to study in the sun, I just end up tanning and falling asleep. Slightly counterproductive with exams looming. Hopefully it'll be a nice day tomorrow and I'll schedule in a walk around the park (my housemate walked the dog without me today )

    - A


    DAY TWO 26/3

    Hello! Hi there! How do you do, my fair countrymen?

    I'm actually lying when I say it's day two. I'm on to day 3 now, but I didn't want to miss an entry so here goes...

    This day was tougher than yesterday. Although my hunger levels were constant, and my meals were perfect and to the plan, I felt a little bit less energy - especially towards the end of the day.

    I had a pretty tough shoulders and triceps workout (and am feeling it like hell now!) not to mention my abs and back are aching from the previous days workout. I've been looking at "fitspo" blogs, which really do help to inspire.

    My mood has not been low, but not exactly high either... neutral you would say.

    One of the things I've struggled with badly in the past is not being patient, and not sticking to a routine (i.e. getting fed- up and eating self- destructively in times of stress). For the last three or four years I haven't been able to consistently maintain a pattern of "healthy eating" (not PERFECT eating, but sort of 80/20 I mean. Primal of course.) It's always been in the lead up to exam periods, or in other times of stress that I revert to bad habits. I don't think about my weight, I pretend I don't care (when I do more than ever) and I feed myself toxic foods with no respect for my poor stomach and thighs (not to mention upper arms!) that cop the brunt.

    I found this quote on one of the fitness sites I mentioned: "A year from now you will have wished you'd started today..." SO TRUE! And it scares me. I find myself picturing me a year from now, still feeling mediocre about my body, sort of OK fitness levels, not overweight but flabby, not confident and just MEH.

    Instead, a try to envision me, as I have been in the past, (but not for long periods); fit, toned, fitting into all my clothes properly, feeling really great about myself and having a totally clear and focussed mind. That's what I want forever!

    Anyway I've got a lot of work to do tomorrow (today. i'm confusing myself) so I better get to it!

    Oh and calories and carbs today:

    calories= food: 770, exercise: 140, net: 624

    carbs= 18 (keto zone!)

    - A
    Last edited by eggsforalice; 03-27-2013, 02:38 AM.

  • #2


    One of the things I LOVE about eating primally and eating low-carb primal is the loss of hunger. Even with my workouts, so far I have had no vicious waves of hunger and though I go to sleep feeling a sort of emptiness (no no I don't mean emotionally...) I'm not desperately craving food despite the relatively low amount of calories I'm consuming.

    Today, for instance, I consumed 893 calories, and netted at 747 taking into account the small amount of cardio I did today.

    I've not been a big calorie counter in the past, but for me to lose weight I really do need to cut back. Of course I will up the amount if I'm hungry (and I'm sure it will kick in soon!) When i'm not feeling like eating, however, I just won't eat.

    It's a fantastic effect, that's why low -carb works I suppose. When you don't need to ignore and deny your body what it's asking for you're much more likely to stick to eating this way and lose weight!

    Towards the afternoon I did feel a lower swing in my mood, my thoughts went something like this:

    - "I'm going to fail at this. It's going to take so long to get to my goals. Why did I let myself go?"

    So, there was a bit of self-loathing, QUICKLY negated with a bit of stern self- talk and some more fitspo blogging! I'm a bit addicted.

    Total Carbs today: 26. A bit higher than yesterday, but still very good I think

    With my workouts I'm probably going to have to up my carb intake a little bit in the future. I think I'll start alternating between higher calorie intake and lower calorie intake days, to speed up my metabolism. I wonder if it would be a good idea to have a higher carb day (up to 100) once a week too (but keeping the calories around the 1200 mark). I kind of agree with the idea that you need to sort of trick your body to wake it up and into action.

    The thing I'm worried about with the higher carb intake, is it's affect on cravings for me. I have to be VERY careful what higher carb foods I am consuming- greek full fat yoghurt, berries, sweet potatoes, oats, carrots, beetroot etc. are the type of foods I'd be thinking of adding. BUT NOT yet.

    And now it's time for a bit of PLAY



    • #3
      Go ahead and experiment when you are ready. You're in this for the long-term, not for the quick fix and jump ship.


      • #4
        That's very true. I was just thinking I want to have a week or so to get my head back into primal, low carb mode without the sweet potatoes and carrots. I have to keep reminding myself this is a lifelong thing. I do get cravings if I eat higher carb foods and I guess I'm just afraid they'll trigger consuming more. I'll wait for my body and mindset to tell me when I might start experimenting. Also- I want to correct myself: I won't be eating oats anytime soon. I'm not sure why I was thinking they were paleo... I never really eat them anyway


        • #5
          I used to love oats. I ate them plain, with butter; with butter and cheese; with heavy cream; with eggs beaten into them; or a poached egg on top; mixed with sausage meat and cheese. Never sweet. Whole oats, rolled, or steel-cut.

          Had to give them up. I react even to gluten-free oats.


          • #6
            I think I just love the idea of warm porridge in winter, though the actual thing is never quite as satisfying from memory.


            DAY FOUR


            B - 2 eggs fried in butter
            L - mince (tomato and kidney beans) and guacamole + a little tomato and lettuce
            D - scotch fillet steak 275g and 1/2 cup mushrooms fried in butter.


            warm up- 10 mins bike (resistance 8)
            Leg press, barbell lunges, one legged squats, glute press (?)
            cool down - 10 mins elliptical (resistance 10)

            I'm incredibly sore after my workouts this week, which have really been pretty intense for my starting level of strength. I've always been a cardio girl, and have religiously run 3-5k each day in the past. I plan on introducing some HIIT on the days I'm not doing strength training (i plan on reducing to three times a week next week. i think 6 days is going to be too much for me in the long run). So i'll be doing strength monday and tuesday, HIIT wednesday and thursday and strength friday. With the HIIT next week I plan on doing only 20 mins or so on treadmill, 10 on elliptical and 10 on rowing machine.

            carb count today: 24
            net cal: 803
            hunger levels: low
            mood: happy
            energy levels: pretty low I must admit. i think my recovering muscles might have something to do with that.

            - A


            • #7

              DAY 5

              Yeahha 1/6 of the way! I drove home this morning (after slowly and painstakingly packing with my very stiff legs and arms) and got home around lunchtime. I dropped off an easter egg for my boyfriend, only to find him in bed with another man. I’m not kidding. Apparently they had all got very drunk last night and somehow one of his mates had fallen asleep on his bed. Anyway it was a very interesting sight for me to behold, I didn’t know what to make of it!

              It’s my dad’s birthday today, so I didn’t hang around, I wanted to make it back as early as I could. I’ve officially begun my week holiday.

              I did a lot of cooking this afternoon (following a lot of cleaning the house). It was up to me to bake a cake for dad ☺. We also had our cousins arrive with their three young kids, so I was in charge of cooking dinner for a crew of 10 as mum was otherwise occupied.

              I know what you’re thinking… cake?! That’s totally non- primal right. Well yes, it was a chocolate mud ganache cake, so not exactly primal at all (but it does have loads and loads of dark chocolate- 1000g to be precise!) and a hell of a lot of butter (400g). Anyway I didn’t try to convince myself it was OK to eat it, so I didn’t, and felt totally fine about it. I didn’t crave a slice at all, though everyone seemed to love it!!

              For dinner, it being good Friday and all, I marinated some pre cooked prawns in a garlic, pepper marinade and baked some white fish with, lemon slices, lemon pepper and thyme. I also made a sweet potato bake (which was a favourite!) with sweet potato, potato, onion, cheese (parmesan and chedder) and cream. It was delish. I tried to pick out the potato in mine, it was mainly sweet potato anyway. Mum contributed with a nice simple salad of lettuce, cucumber, avocado and capsicum. Overall it was a very nice balanced meal.

              Meals today for me:

              B- 2 fried eggs
              S- 25g beef jerky (got pekish on the road – this was all the servo could offer)
              L- tuna, 12 almonds, avocado, 5 slices tomato.
              S- protein shake
              D- (as described above)

              The internet here at home is working incredibly slow, so I won’t actually be able to post this online until Monday, but I thought I’d write it now so that I keep up the routine.

              I think carbs-wise I would have been under the 50 mark, maybe around 40 (I had a pretty small helping of the potato bake). I can’t get onto myfitnesspal because of the stupid internet. Calories, I’m estimating net around 1000.
              I had a day off the weights today, which I think was much needed! I was so stiff and sore yesterday. I did burn 110 cals on the bike with some HIIT, but I got very bored, and the bike at home is not great. I’m looking forward to just cutting weight training down to 2-3 times a week and upping the HIIT training more. Hockey season is about to begin, and I’m going to need that cardio fitness!!

              All in all a great day thanks to the company of exceptional people.

              - A


              • #8

                DAY 6

                I've had another good day, but have hit a bit of a grumpy high tonight.

                We've still got all the cousins here, it's been constant demand from the two younger girls for me all day, I've had precious little time to myself.


                I had to stall my journalling there for a sec because mum came in and disrupted me. She was up for a very deep conversation about life, goals, experience etc. I told her I was doing this 30 day challenge and why. She's a much bigger advocate of the diet than I am so she's all on board and extremely supportive.

                I've had quite a calorie dense day, perhaps up to 1500-2000. Although I've been on my feet most of the day doing this and that, I only briefly exerted myself with a set of tennis this arvo (girls vs boys, we lost 6-4... it was tight!)


                B- 2 fried eggs + 1 lamb chop
                L- Scotch fillet (175g) + 1 thin beef sausage and salad (inc. 1/2 avocado)
                D- Roast lamb, with 3 pieces of sweet potato, 1/4 onion and broccoli. (YUM)

                I must admit although looking at this I did eat a lot, I was refusing twice as much as I ate. We baked choc chip cookies which were almost all gone by the afternoon. There were also lemon friands (baked by mum), leftover chocolate mud cake, home made vanilla ice cream (with 6 eggs!) and LOTS of alcohol in the way of white wine, beer, brandy etc going around.

                So, considering that list you might see how I could easily have been tempted!!! I'm quite proud of my willpower after only 6 days into the challenge. Again, it's so much easier to deny those kind of things when you eliminate the hunger factor.

                For me, also the stress factor is a big one that I often struggle with, but in this sort of holiday cheer environment there's none of that either.

                I stayed relatively low carb at around 40-50 (sweet potato added a bit).



                • #9
                  Originally posted by eggsforalice

                  I fear I'm starting to take for granted how great I feel living on this sort of a diet. Weight-loss aside (though weight loss is a goal of mine) some of the major benefits of primal are the constant energy, the mental clarity and ability to focus along with the stable mood (a big deal for me).

                  - A
                  These are great benefits, indeed. Congratulations, Alice.
                  Annie Ups the Ante


                  • #10
                    Thanks Annie, they definitely are, and I'm noticing them more and more each day. Congratulations to you too, your successes are inspiring


                    DAY 12

                    I started this challenge with one of my main purpose's being to test myself. To see if i could do this consistently day in day out. I'm a great one for the 80/20, stretching the 20 bit a little too far sometimes, but I really wanted to go at this diet, this lifestyle 95-100%.

                    There was also a little bit of fear mixed in there with the motivation of a challenge. I was seeing myself give in more and more to 'treats' and pretending not to notice that my shorts weren't fitting that well.

                    The last 12 days (it seems like longer) I've payed so much more attention to my diet, critiquing each day, looking at nutrition (carbs and to a lesser extent calories). I've focused on increasing my strength and adding in some HIIT training. I've been taking my fish oil and vitamins, and getting outside whenever I can. I sit down to study and actually DO study.

                    I have to admit, the changes already are fantastic. I feel so overwhelmed with energy- a constant, steady, applied energy, very unlike a sugar high surge of energy induced by fast carbs. We all know how that ends.

                    Weirdly enough I feel smarter. I'm more in tune with what' s going on around me. I'm switched on and I love it!

                    I ate a fair bit today. I got really hungry around mid morning.

                    B- 3 fried eggs, 1/4 tomato
                    S- 10 pecans
                    L- 1 lamb chop, 1 beef sausage, 5 garlic prawns, 1/2 avocado
                    D- 1 scallop, a tiny portion of pork belly, 220g porterhouse steak with garlic butter.

                    mmmm so much garlic today! Lucky my boyfriend is not here. I miss him though, it will be good to head back to uni and see him on monday

                    On the exercise front, my brother and I hit the gym. He found it laughable that I was lifting 30kg (bench press 3x12), but it's a starting point.

                    Activity: I was on my feet constantly all day, but at the gym:
                    10 mins HIIT treadie
                    15 mins HIIT elliptical (got a weird foot cramp and had to stop this one early)
                    10 mins HIIT bike
                    bench press
                    lat pull down
                    push ups
                    shoulder press

                    I had a period of energy-less-ness (yes its a word) after the gym for about an hour. I didn't want to eat anything though, because we went out to dinner tonight to this amazing restaurant for my brothers birthday. I was working up an appetite! I'm very well satisfied now.

                    calories today would probably net around the 1200 mark. carbs about 20. I'm very happy with that.

                    oh and as for those shorts that weren't fitting too well. Hanging on around my hips now

                    - A


                    • #11

                      DAY 13

                      Unlucky 13.

                      Just kidding. I actually have a bit of a soft spot for number 13, it has such a bad rep it doesn't deserve.

                      I've continued my 30 day primal journey today, with a much larger calorie intake - but still sticking well and truly to my principles.

                      B- 2 fried eggs and 1 slice middle bacon
                      S- handful pecans
                      L- 2 lamb chops, 1/2 avocado, a few mushies
                      S- protein shake made with 1 scoop whey protein isolate, 1/2 cup mixed berries, water and ice.
                      S- around 4ish i started munching on pistachios, and was not able to stop! successfully devoured at least 1/2 a large family packet before dinner :{( (that's a moustache.) oh well. it could be worse.
                      D- roast pork with apple sauce (no sugar added), sweet potatoes, onion, pumpkin and broccoli.

                      I let myself go today with the calories, but I kind of feel I needed it. I was very low in energy this arvo and really craving food. I'll be back to the 1200 mark tomorrow. As I've mentioned before, I think it's good for your metabolism and body to mix up the intake each day, and not be too strict on yourself 24/7. This is a lifestyle, it's not meant to feel like your denying yourself anything your mind and body is crying out for.

                      Otherwise I've been in a happy mood all day Only one day of holiday left!

                      - A


                      • #12
                        I tried to write this last night, but my internet disconnected before I could post it:

                        I started thinking tonight, how I would have acted, had I consumed this amount of calories say five years ago. I probably wouldn't have let myself do it, to begin with. I was one for the starvation method to maintain a very low body weight for my mesomorphic body type. I spent about 2 years with anorexia nervosa. I lost my period, had abnormal hair growth in some areas, while was shedding hair from my head. I had very low energy levels constantly, and actually invited the light-headed, dizzy feeling that came with very low blood sugar levels. I was in my last two years of high school at the time, and so would sit in class, unable to focus, and drinking copious amounts of water. This meant i visited to the bathroom very often during class (i did it for the exercise as well). I'd look at myself in the mirror and critique every aspect. A typical day would involve: a morning run (if I had the energy), followed by breakfast of maybe a tablespoon of fruit free, gluten free muesli, with a bit of yoghurt and some blueberries. Lunch was generally a small portion of sliced ham (the really thin packaged stuff) and a bit of salad, maybe a slice of cheese if I was feeling 'naughty'. School took up most of the day, which was very good, as it distracted me from my constant hunger pains. I usually had some sort of school sport training in the afternoon which would go for a couple of hours. Following that I might go for a run (if i hadn't been in the morning). The run was usually about 4-5km. Dinner was a very small serving of whatever meat the dining hall was serving up for us boarders, and some salad. I'd always leave something on my plate (just to show I had the willpower...) I'd judge others for what they ate in my head, telling myself they're fat, and they've got no willpower. Or if they were skinny, I'd be super jealous they could eat that much without gaining a kilo. My life revolved around this self-absorbed longing to be "perfect".

                        How ridiculous!

                        I think it's very normal to want to look good. For me, like for most who are not blessed with brilliant genes, or have not been a little overweight in the past (for me it was a year or so at around 15, when my body stopped growing taller, but I kept eating as much as I was + I put on about 5 kilos when I had glandular fever and ate and slept for about a month) it's a bit of a battle to maintain a constant lower BMI.

                        For now, I'll keep trying to lose my bulky upper arms and the excess fat that I seem to accumulate pretty evenly all over (a pain, because I can NEVER hide it), but I'll never revert back to that psychological pit I was in before, where weight-loss was all consuming and my total value depended on it. No wonder I suffered major depression on and off following gaining weight during what were for me very stressful final exams (knowing I needed a pretty high final mark to get into medicine).

                        I'm probably in the best place psychologically I've been for a long time, although I have had bouts of depression (I was back on antidepressants end of last year for a few months) I'm generally pretty good these days.

                        Eating this way is and exercising is vital for me to avoid stress/depression triggers, or bang them on the head if they do come.

                        Hence, this challenge.

                        That's about all I feel like sharing for now

                        - A


                        • #13
                          Haha yes, very true..

                          I'm contemplating trying IF next week - I'll start tomorrow, as it will be a lot easier to do when I'm back at uni. I've done the skipping dinner thing before, which has worked very well to speed up my weight- loss in the past. I know that I need to be very careful about it though, perhaps not make it everyday, but every second day or so, so as not to put my body into starvation mode. I need high energy levels with the amount of study I'm expected to do for uni, not to mention the training I'll be doing now hockey season has officially begun (first game thursday!)

                          I just had squid for lunch at this gorgeous little cafe. It is an absolutely beautiful day here today, it'll be a great afternoon for a hit of golf (9 holes) with my dad


                          • #14

                            DAY 14

                            Back on track

                            Calories 900-1000 and carbs a meagre 14.

                            B- 2 fried eggs
                            L- 5 pieces spicy squid
                            S- 1/2 avocado guacamole (lemon + salt and pepper)
                            D- 3 lamb chops and broccoli

                            Thanks to my pistachio overeating yesterday, I naturally felt the need to eat less today. I have felt a bit grumpy on and off throughout the day. It could be a hangover type thing from a higher carb day yesterday perhaps; or just coincidence.

                            I didn't hit up the gym, but did play 9 holes of golf this arvo, so a nice bit of slow walking around the course. I wasn't too bad with my hitting, considering I haven't picked up a club for about 3 months!

                            I'm looking forward to starting my IF'ing tomorrow.

                            - A


                            • #15
                              The day of the big IF I've had a hearty breakfast of eggs and bacon so far, and 2 coffees (with a bit of full fat fresh cream). I think garlic prawns and 1/2 avocado guacamole will be on the plate for lunch, and following that, nothing until breakfast tomorrow. I'm kind of excited to try this out again, and see how it goes and how I feel. It's all a bit of an experiment really. I definitely think you do need to be in the right frame of mind to do it though. I can't see myself missing meals when I'm stressed out. I need that routine, and that constant source of energy. Anyway I'll keep this updated on how I go!