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Primal Journal ~ Rhonda the Red~

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  • Primal Journal ~ Rhonda the Red~

    After many many months of reading MDA, I've decided to start a journal. This way, when I have a "primal moment" I'll have a place to talk about it!

    About me:
    I'm 46, female, and starting here at about 217 pounds as of today (4-19-13 -- btw, I hate that posts aren't dated on this forum, so I'm dating mine.) Since going primal last May, I've lost 25 pounds, then put it right back on again. I know that isn't supposed to happen, but it did and I blame it on the evil triumvirate of stress, inactivity, and carb feeding. Those three things tend to feed each other and here's how it happened to me.

    I had been doing great! Standing at work about 70% of the time, keeping it primal, destressing my life and the pounds were coming off and I felt wonderful. Then in August, I tripped (in my non-barefoot shoes, which I have ditched) and hurt my foot leading to a very painful bout of plantar fasciitis. My standing was heavily curtailed due to the pain for months. But last month, Hurache Gal pointed me to the sock doc Dr. Gangemi (Natural Injury Treatment & Prevention Education | Sports Injury Prevention & Treatment) who FIXED my heel pain through his video tutorial. So I'm back to standing and the pounds are falling off!

    During the sitting time, I also had some serious personal life stress going on. The stress made me crave carbs (no grains still though) and the inactivity made every bite count against me and made the stress worse. I count it all as good though because I learned some things about my body at the age I am now.

    1. No sugar for me. Of course no grains, but I have a very low tolerance for sugar of any kind and am currently working a detox with help from

    2. No Splenda for me. The Diet Coke is permanently banished from my diet. I went cold turkey three weeks ago and think that has made a significant difference in reducing my overall sugar cravings.

    3. The food additives are as gone as I can make them, especially MSG. Thank you, Rich Food Poor Food for the practical help in recognizing just how awful these things are. I do believe that some of my cravings for savory foods were spurred by MSG consumption. The cleaner I make it all, the easier a time I have of stopping when I need to.

    4. De-stressing is a significant health priority in my life. That means scaling back, prioritizing, supplementing correctly (I have become a big Primal Calm fan in the past week!), getting bodywork, and spending time outside. I must make this a real priority in my life or I will pay the consequences.

    5. I have to get off my ass or I will surely die on it. I finally talked my boss into letting me order a Wallaby from Adjustable Height Desk - Ergo Desktop | Home Of The Best Ergonomic Stand-Up Desk! I am so stoked!!! I will update when it comes in!!

    So here's to the journey!!!

    My weight: 217 4/19/13
    Husband's: won't tell me but it's over 300
    College Daughter's: 180

  • #2
    Glad to see your journal, Rhonda! I look forward to reading about your progress!
    My journal:


    • #3
      April 23, 2013

      We had the primalest of primal weekends. My husband and I built and planted three square foot garden 4x4 plots -- two for our house and one for his mother's. She was thrilled. She can't get up and down very well any more and we have crazy dogs, so we built them with 3/4" plywood bottoms and set them on concrete block pillars. I will be updating as to how well our garden grows! For info, check out Square Foot Gardening Store | Raised Bed Planters, Square Foot Gardening Grids, Square Foot Gardening Boxes.

      The workout to make these things was a primal beast too!!! I lifted heavy things like a madwoman and am still marginally sore. Also the whole "tumble the planting mix on a large tarp" is a great idea, but is a serious cardio workout to pull off. I also had to break up a dog fight between the two crazy dogs who decided they both wanted the same choice bit of chicken manure compost out of the mix. Yes, I caught my lovely 12 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel buried inside an empty chicken s**t bag, licking the tasty goodness from the sides. Yuck!

      My mom is a committed row gardener and has openly scoffed that I will grow anything but a handful of veggies from my small plots. She thinks I will do well with my basil, however. So here's hoping that I actually get something to come up!

      Foot still doing well. I can feel it twinging with the extra work, but when I massage the trigger points and it gets better. I am hoping for a full recovery on that very soon. It has not stopped me from standing at work about 80-90% of my day.

      Still waiting on the desktop and my new Unshoes! I ordered the new pink featherlight shoes from them and hope they will come in soon. Will review those as well.


      • #4

        It's an epiphany!!! I have had a breakthrough moment this morning! Welcome to the start of a NEW 21 day N=1 experiment for me. All this discussion of the paleo gut flora had me thinking. When I started taking a probiotic about seven years ago and attempted to clean up my diet to a whole-foods (only sprouted grain), homemade yogurt, organic meats etc. pretty close to primal in many ways diet, I had this sudden feeling in my system after about two weeks that my fat storage systems had turned OFF. It was profound. I was so convinced I was about to lose LOTS of weight that I took pictures and started a weight chart for the first time in my life. Sure enough, I lost 60 pounds and kept it off for a good couple of years. After a lot of excess stress, I put on about twenty again, but still kept myself in a much better place physically.

        Then three years ago I had a serious kidney infection and took a full round of antibiotics, then one day of another that caused me to have an allergic reaction. Within two weeks, I had started gaining weight again. During this time, I faithfully took my probiotic and ate homemade yogurt. Because I didn't have digestive upset, I assumed I had saved my gut. Now, I'm not so sure. Especially since 40 pounds went right back on, despite me really trying my best to eat like I had been.

        When I first went primal last May, twenty-five pounds just fell off me. Then over the course of my sedentary winter, it all creeped back up again. I am beginning to think that maybe the issue lies in my gut. Maybe my system is just super-sensitive to disruption from stress and less than primal foods. I rebound a little with positive changes, but critical mass hasn't been reached, so to speak.

        Also, I have never taken the recommended dose of my probiotic either (which is a very high-quality one, not some off the shelf crap). I think I have not been repopulating as needed. If we need to get 8 billion critters per day to be healthy and I'm only getting 1/3 of that since I am underdosing, maybe I'm not kickstarting my system quite enough to get me over the hump. I was afraid when I started looking into it this morning that maybe the contents of my probiotic were the problem. Now I am convinced it is the dosage.

        So here's to upping my priobiotic intake over the next 21 days and seeing if I can trigger that biochemical/biomechanical/microbial moment where my body says, "Turn loose of the fat! We're saved!"

        my weight this morning: 218.8 -- after a week of doing everything "right"


        • #5
          April 26, 2013 Day 2 of the Recolonization N=1

          I learned some seriously disheartening news about my "high quality" probiotic. The line I was using only has a depressingly low 1 billion critters per capsule. OMG. I felt betrayed. Back during my better times, I took the "Ultra" line with 5 billion per capsule and made homemade yogurt daily, a fact which probably had far more to do with my weight control than previously assumed. This morning I doubled my dose of my probiotic and when I got home at lunch I took 8 more. Until my order of Mark's Primal Flora comes in, I will be taking ten at a time to get 10 billion critters until Mark's 30 billion critters per capsule arrives.

          Meanwhile, I am committing to the consumption of sauerkraut, kimchi, homemade yogurt, and keffir. In fact I am going to start making some keffir this weekend if I can land some starter grains frrom somewhere. Dairy has historically not seemed to be a problem for me and the colonizing influence and variety of the critters in keffir sounds like just what the microbiome ordered.

          Since my new Unshoes still haven't arrived -- though I am endeavoring to remain patient -- I also ordered some DIY huaraches from Xeroshoes in black lacing. I am planning to possibly do a little decorating on them with beadwork and learn lots of cool tying techniques. The weather is warming up so that my winter 5 Fingers and Soft Star shoes need augmentation with more sandals. Though I must say my new silver Metro Mary Janes from Soft Star are adorable and super wearable with so many outfits. Nobody even suspects that they are minimalist shoes either! However, they were expensive. I can only have one pair.

          BTW, have I mentioned how much I love my NuWave oven? It cost me about $130 at Kohls but cooks meat like a dream! I can go from frozen to roasted in about half an hour or less depending on what I'm cooking. And the meat turns out so juicy and crispy on top. It has made throwing together a primal supper so much easier in the evenings.

          A bean and an onion have sprouted in my garden. I am thrilled. Week one of the garden shows sincere promise!


          • #6
            April 29, 2013 -- Day 5 of Operation Recolonize
            Over the weekend I picked up a replacement bottle of Ultimate Flora 50 billion count per capsule. I also made yogurt and had some at lunch. It was super yummy and reminded me that during the "good old days", my morning breakfast was yogurt from full fat organic milk (the best I can come up with at this time). Hmmm.

            Also my Xeroshoes huaraches came in and I put them together at lunch. I am sporting a bizarre looking rosette tying design at the moment and got one of the shoes backwards, so I'll have to retie this evening. So far I am loving them though! Very barefoot feel and since the weather is warmer, I hope to be wearing them a lot.

            The garden is really coming along nicely. I have a whole bunch of radishes, peas, and beans sprouting as well as some flowers! I am so thrilled! Maybe the rest of it will all come along soon as well.

            Meanwhile, I feel pretty good and am excited to see if this N=1 experiment in boosting my microbiome will help. Can 't hurt!


            • #7
              May 1, 2013 -- Day 7 of Operation Recolonize
              Yesterday I went to the health food grocery when I was in town for a work meeting. Oh my goodness. I spent way too much money! But I did get some keffir (still looking for starter grains), some real sauerkraut, a 7 day cleanse, and some organic maple syrup for my husband who needs to get off syrup completely but really likes the real thing at least. Cleansing began this morning. It's been over three years since my last and I hope it will help set the stage for a better microbiome.

              The Xeroshoes are being very fun and I'm getting used to the knot underfoot. I do have to say that I do still feel it, but not as much the more I wear them. They do really feel like I'm barefoot though. +1 to that. Even my minimalist shoes are beginning to feel too shoe-y.

              The garden is growing like CRAZY! I am so excited! Almost everything has sprouted! Go fresh produce!

              And the microbiome seems to be doing well. No stomach upset or crazy bathroom runs. So far I just feel better in general. Slept GREAT last night. Hurray!


              • #8
                Hey Rhonda! I have Xero Shoes too (along with Lunas and Unshoes). They're great! I just made a pair of Xero shoes with beads on them for a little dressier look. The knot does take a little getting used to but I sure love the shoes. Glad to hear you're doing well.
                My journal:


                • #9
                  May 2, 2013 -- Day 8 of Operation Recolonize
                  Well, dear readers, the news is mixed. In two weeks I haven't lost a single pound. Sigh. Instead I've come down with some kind of bizarre contact dermatitis issue that's making me itchy and red in places. After thinking for the past week it was bug bites, I'm beginning to lean toward the dermatitis theory since instead of getting better it's getting worse. So I have upped my dosage of my new Omega 3 oil in hopes of fighting the inflammation in my system and am about to search the internet for possible causes and treatments that will not interfere with Operation Recolonize or overset my system any more than necessary. I am also going to continue to cleanse b/c I figure my body needs all the help it can get right now and I might just cleanse out the toxins that are making me break out.

                  On the positive side, the square foot garden (Square Foot Gardening) is growing like GANGBUSTERS! Everything but the parsley is up now!! I have tiny carrot sprouts, big old bean and pea sprouts (don't diss me for the legumes here -- I live in Alabama and have to have at least one mess of peas in order to call it a garden) and the watermelon is finally up!!! In two weeks, my body has gone nowhere but my garden is thriving!!!

                  Meanwhile, still standing faithfully at work. Any idea from anyone how many steps per day that might translate into for fitness purposes? I know it isn't technically walking, but I do move about and change position a lot just because I'm up.

                  Until next time.

                  Weight 217 . . . still.


                  • #10
                    May 3, 2013 -- Day 9 of Operation Recolonize
                    Well, I am exhausted. Today has been super-busy at work and the internet is acting a complete fool. Thank goodness I took my Primal Calm today or I might be hurting people.

                    On the positive side, my new Ergo Desktop Wallaby came!! I am so stoked about it! It is really beautiful and works wonderfully. It is super easy and fast to raise up and down and I can't believe the ergonomic difference and comfort from having a real standup station at the right height rather than trying to make do with stacked boxes. If you are on the bubble about a sit/stand from Ergo Desktop, my vote says go for it!

                    On the negative side, I still itch. Horribly.

                    Next on the agenda, a revisit of portion control (which I need badly and now that my hungers are more in control due to the renewed support to my microbiome and properly increased fat consumption I think I can manage it) and Intermittent Fasting. I learned a long time ago that unless I get physically hungry in my stomach at least twice a day, I am not losing weight. But it's so hard to wait on that hunger before eating if every other hunger in my system is screaming for food. Maybe the others have been beaten back to submission for a while.


                    • #11
                      May 7, 2013 -- Day 13 of Operation Recolonize

                      Well, finally went to the doctor yesterday for help with the dreadful itchy rash. Got a steroid shot, some steroid cream and Benadryl's tougher cousin. Still didn't sleep worth crap last night due to itching and nightmares. However, my ankle and foot feel better this morning than they have in ages. I am wondering if the steroids helped with the last release of the trigger points giving me plantar fasciitis pain. Hmmmm.

                      The Ergo Desktop Wallaby is my new best friend. The improved ergonomics have tremendously helped my comfort when standing. And did I already say it is so easy to raise and lower?? OMG. What a delight.

                      Still no Unshoes. And it's five weeks into the order. I am going to hang loose here for another week and see if they'll turn up. At week six, I'm going to email them. I figure the new pink Wakova featherlights have been flying off the shelves, so to speak. I am getting way more used to my Xeroshoes as well. The knot is even less of an issue and to my surprise, even in the cool rainy wet we've been having, my feet aren't cold at all. I am wondering if cold adaptation for me is improving b/c I'm typically one of those freezing to death people. Maybe this is a sign of good things to come in the physical turnround department.

                      The garden is luxurious! However, my mother is still scoffing at the non-row gardening experiment. All I know is that my stuff is up and growing like gangbusters and she's got five scraggly tomatoes and several rows of mud at the moment. We shall see! It is my goal to bring her green beans b/c we've got more than we can eat. I sincerely hope this comes to pass!


                      • #12
                        May 10 -- Day 16 of Operation Recolonize

                        Still 218 pounds. Sometimes I feel like I am cursed. I can do everything "right" and not lose weight. I can do everything "wrong" and still stay the same. I feel like I have been cursed to weigh between 200-225 pounds for the rest of my natural life. And I've been overweight ever since I was 7 years old. I was a fat kid. I was a fat teenager. I was a fat young adult. I am a fat middle-aged adult. I will be a fat senior adult. In the epic words of the ladies of Absolutely Fabulous, only after I am dead for several months will I finally have the figure I always wanted.

                        It is disheartening.

                        But I do have to say that after going Primal, many of my other issues are better. My bodyaches are gone. My digestive issues are gone. I sleep better. I have more energy. I feel better. I even look better and my clothes fit better. (But they are still size 18. Damn it.)

                        It just feels pointless sometimes. CW failed me. I don't want to fail at primal too. I want to spend at least part of my life as a "normal weight" person. What could have happened so drastic to me at seven years old to make me perpetually incapable of losing weight? Maybe that's the big question.

                        Sorry for the downer, anybody reading. But I do feel better for having dumped this.


                        • #13
                          May 13 -- Day 19 of Operation Recolonize

                          I can't believe it is day 19. Where has the time gone?

                          Over the weekend I had several extremely primal experiences that I want to share. First of all, we spent practically all day Saturday at various farmer's markets. I got free range eggs and loads of fresh fruits/veggies. My fridge is full of fresh things that must be eaten!

                          Last night was a grilled feta-stuffed burger wrapped in Swiss chard and butter lettuce with all the toppings including homemade mayo. Swiss chard makes a lovely sandwich wrapper because it is big enough and tough enough to hang onto the ingredients, but has a fresh, slightly spinachy taste that pairs with a sweeter lettuce very well. I roasted enough beets and turnips and rutabagas to have Notato Salad for a month. According to Mark Bittman of "How to Cook Everything", they should keep wrapped in foil for a while until I work my way through them slowly.

                          Since receiving my Xeroshoes, I have worn nothing else. Even my nicely minimalist Soft Star Metro Mary Janes feel too much like shoes. My feet are thoroughly enjoying their freedom apparently. I know I need to be going fully barefoot more, but I have limiting concerns there. First of all, the primary reason I have always been such a dedicated shoe-wearer is that I don't like my feet to get dirty. I cannot stand that grimy look and hate to walk through gritty, sticky stuff. Secondly, I want soft feet that don't snag the sheets at night! I cannot stand to have heels that are thick and cracked. Thirdly, the weather is finally heating up here in Alabama and outdoor surfaces get HOT. Without the protective layer of thick calloused skin, my tender little feeties will cook. These are my fears.

                          However, I am going to push the envelope more and do far more inside and outside walking even if it means mopping my kitchen floor much more frequently (that grit and sticky issue). Each time I go barefoot, I feel like a new sensory organ has suddenly come on-line with this incredible feedback about the world. Walking barefoot makes me feel more alive and that is a good thing.

                          On Mother's Day, my mother, my daughter, my aunt and I went to the big fabric sale to pick out fabrics for a new quilt my daughter is making. That was also an extremely primal time. I love to sew. I love the sensory experience and the mental challenge of cutting and fitting. I love the sense of accomplishment that only comes from making something with my hands -- see Handicraft: The Ancient Tradition of Creating Things with Your Hands | Mark's Daily Apple. So getting the material for a new project should help push me off the couch in the evenings and over to the sewing machine. I need to sew. It it primally good for me.

                          My life has drifted very far from where it ought to be with regard to playing, crafting, singing, and socializing. Days like yesterday remind me of what it can be like to join that circle again. The quilting bee, the barn-raising, hay gathering, pea picking and shelling all made up part of my childhood in the rural South. So much of that is gone now in my life. Those used to be essential life activities and part of doing chores, so we threw them away at the first opportunity. I think I need them back.


                          • #14
                            May 16 -- Operation Recolonize Conclusion

                            Hmmm. My 21 day experiment ended yesterday and I am left wondering what good I even did. I have been at least 90% primally compliant and added many servings of kombucha, real sauerkraut, homemade yogurt, and keffir along with my 50 billion critter per capsule probiotic. My weight has not fluctuated a pound. I still weigh 217.

                            However, maybe, just maybe there's been a teeny break. For the last couple of days it has been relatively easy to do some IF. Most of the time, my faux hunger signals are too strong to miss a meal or to push away a half-eaten plate. But yesterday and today I found it much easier to put down my fork and be done the first time I had the inclination to put down my fork. For me, that tends to be a first sign that I'm really done with the meal because my clean-your-plate instincts are extremely strong.

                            So for the next 21 days I'm going to continue the super probiotics and the Primal Calm as well as the homemade yogurt and most likely some keffir if I can get the grains in the mail before the experiment is over. In fact, breakfast may become just a cup of full-fat keffir.

                            Also I'm adding the "lay down the fork" codicil to the experiment. From now on through the close of the 21 days, I'm going make the pledge to "lay it down" and be done the first time I feel the need to lay it down. If I'm really hungry again in half an hour, I'll eat some more. I'll also be sure to include plenty of fat per meal. That's a big challenge for me. I'll do my best to document how successful things are -- in fact, I'll try to break out my shiny new 21 Day Journal I've never used to help me keep track of things, not to mention updating here.

                            I have long had my hunger theories. Hopefully now I can get the pieces to come together well enough to lose the weight and make it stick this time.

                            Welcome to Day 1 -- Operation Lay It Down

                            Weight: 217

                            PS: The new pink Unshoes finally came!! Yes, it was a wait but it was worth it. They fit great, are super cute, and don't have a knot underfoot. I do hope the guys at Unshoes can ramp up their production to meet demand because their product is fabulous and their pricing is very competitive IMHO. I'm still a fan of my Xeroshoes and will likely go back there again too, especially if they get some more of the light multi-blue lacing. But there's gotta be a way to diminish that dang knot. It annoys me. Oh and I went barefoot outside last night!!! Great!!
                            Last edited by Rhonda the Red; 05-16-2013, 01:48 PM.


                            • #15
                              May 21 -- Well, here I am. Stuck. Operation Lay It Down lacks power for me. I simply can't remember I'm supposed to be doing it.

                              Meanwhile, I trimmed the pink Unshoes and may have ruined them by trimming a bit too close.

                              Still doing the probiotics and the extra Omega 3 and the Primal Stress. I also ordered some kefir grains and have them soaking in milk in hopes of making my own kefir drinks for the morning. That seems to be good for me.

                              Unfortunately, for some reason, wheat and Diet Coke have entered my diet at levels not seen since pre-primal days. I have no clue why either. So I better do some hard self-talk about that and get them out again.

                              My creativity, on the other hand, continues to be improved. This is a massive thing in my life since I write books and have many projects that I need to be working on desperately. Check out my stuff at Musa Publishing as both fantasy author Arley Cole for The Blacksmith's Daughter and romance author Leigh Daley for Storm Duty and the upcoming Lifebound. Those are purchasable at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc for your e-reader or as a pdf for your computer on my publisher's site.

                              The last time I got my diet/weight loss/creativity all working, I started writing and was ridiculously prolific for a long time. But I know that the same factors that caused me to gain weight also caused my creativity to suffer. I guess if I can get my writing chops really back togther, I can deal with the extra weight for a little while longer.

                              So, let me dig deep and pull out some resolve to keep going the way I'm going and stay primal. Maybe the turnaround will just take time, another 21 days maybe. Here we go!