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Primal Journal - Zinnia

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  • Primal Journal - Zinnia

    Hi everyone. Or maybe just me. I'm here to document and hopefully hold myself accountable as I move into the endgame of my primal weight loss and fitness goals. Of course, I fully intend to continue to make primal choices throughout my life even after these goals are met.

    I'm in my late 20's and a shade under 5'2". I put on weight gradually starting in college, although thankfully I've never been much of a yo-yo dieter. My high weight was about 3 years ago, when I think I topped out in the 145-150 lbs range. I was unhappy with my body and knew something needed to be done, so I doubled down on a CW-healthy diet, counted calories, exercised, and dropped maybe 5 lbs. It was rough, and I was constantly fixated on food and when I could eat more of it.

    In early 2011, somebody, somewhere on the internet (thank you random person!!!) mentioned Gary Taubes' book "Why We Get Fat," which I eagerly devoured. For the first time in my life, I understood that the problem wasn't my lack of willpower or some other moral failing on my part, but because something was wrong with the advice I was getting. It was insanely liberating. After that, I followed an Atkins-style low carb diet and dropped to about 127 lbs. I was thrilled, feeling good about myself, happy to be in a healthy weight range, but still not quite where I wanted to be. I stayed around that weight for about a year. (Much love to Dr. A, by the way. I don't think he got everything quite right, but I really admire his willingness to be a voice of dissent against the mainstream dogma. And if you follow Atkins the way he envisioned it, eating real foods and avoiding low carb junk food, I think many/most people will find that they are 90% of the way to a healthy diet.)

    In mid-2012, I mentioned my low carbing to a co-worker and she said, "Oh, are you doing paleo?" And I was like, what is this paleo you mention? I immediately started researching online, found MDA, and read "The Primal Blueprint." I also read "It Starts With Food", by the Whole 30 people. I feel like at that point, everything really clicked for me in terms of what I eat, mindfulness of food sources, and exercise. I did a Whole 30 and also began incorporating more long slow movement, although I never managed to get into strength exercises. I lost a few more pounds and have been bouncing around in the 119-123 lbs range ever since.

    I recently moved to a new country, and being primal has been a bit difficult to implement. On the one hand, I don't have a car so I walk, bike, or take public transit wherever I need to go. On the other hand, I have a very limited kitchen (no oven, tiny fridge, very very little counter space or cabinet storage) and somewhat limited food options. The grocery stores here are simply not as big and diverse as the ones Stateside and I haven't/don't have the wherewithal to run all over the earth looking for perfectly primal options, so my food quality has suffered a bit. Bread and cheese (I'm lactose intolerant) are everywhere, though I've pretty much managed to avoid those things so far. Plus, I don't speak the local language and - I know I need to get over this - I hate asking for help.

    Whew! All of this to say, I'd really like to lose the elusive "last 10" lbs and tone up. I know it won't be easy since I'm fairly small and already at a reasonably healthy weight. I know I need to strength train. I just signed up to work with a personal trainer 2x per week. Yes, expensive, but I can't seem to motivate myself to do any strength training so I'm hoping this will kick my butt in the right direction. I'm also going to start some IFing and see how that goes.

    My plan is to do a 16/8 fast three days per week (the days I am not working with the personal trainer). On the days I work with the trainer, I'll eat as normal, but maybe incorporate a piece of fruit or a sweet potato after the workout session. This is mostly a timing issue since I usually have 1-2 servings of fruit per day. Workout sessions will be morning or mid-day so I can't really eat a huge meal afterwards since I'll have to go straight to work. No particular plans for the weekends except to stick to primal foods and keep myself moving.

    Starting stats
    Weight: 121.4 lbs
    Neck: 11 7/8"
    Chest: 32 1/4"
    Waist: 25 1/2"
    Hips: 37 7/8" (yeah, I'm such a pearů)
    Primal Journal - Zinnia

  • #2
    Where did you move to? Small kitchen, cheese and bread, sounds like France, expect France has some nice butcher shops.

    On your stats, it looks like you have a perfect hour glass shape already.


    • #3
      Welcome Zinnia. Good luck with the strength training, a traiiner is a good idea so you can learn to do it properly. Have fun.
      Annie Ups the Ante


      • #4
        Sadly, not France - although I think I would have a much harder time resisting the bread, cheese, and pastries there! I'm in the Netherlands. Not exactly a place known for its food culture. Possibly the least paleo country, food-wise, on the face of this planet. Ok, I guess I exaggerate a little bit.

        I was riding my bike back home today and happened upon a street fair, which was absolutely burgeoning with goodies I can't have. But I did find a booth that sold nut butters and the like without vegetable oils or other weird additives. Yay! I bought myself a little jar of "Cacao Now!" (ingredients: cocoa, coconut oil, maple syrup, cocoa butter, vanilla and salt). I brought it home and ate some spread on coconut chunks. That was good, but it was even more heavenly eating it straight out of the jar :P Tastes like a really yummy ganache. Anyway, this will still have to be a special treat for me. I'm wondering if sticking it in the freezer will deter me from just wolfing it down with reckless abandon.

        I'm a little bit frustrated with my lack of progress over this past month. I weigh exactly the same as I did on August 1. My diet has been really good, certainly much better than it was back home when I'd be less strict over the weekends. There's a few things I can clean up here and there, but I think it might just come down to the fact that my body's at a set point and any further progress from here might have to involve calorie counting. That is such a bummer.
        Primal Journal - Zinnia


        • #5
          But you are so slim already. Further progress might be better measured with a tape than a scale. And by what your body can do - improvements in lifts, distance, speed, co-ordination etc.
          Annie Ups the Ante


          • #6
            I know you're right, Annieh. Part of the problem is that my mind's eye doesn't see myself as "slim" yet. I'm still a chubby girl in my head. But yes, I'm really looking forward to seeing what some strength training will do.
            Primal Journal - Zinnia


            • #7
              First official session with the trainer. I am beat. I felt weak and pathetic. Of course, I guess that is why I'm doing strength training. Hopefully I'll feel less noodle-like by my next session on Thursday.

              Ate an apple right after the workout, and it was the most delicious apple I have ever eaten in my whole life. I think I really needed those carbs. Came home after work and had a gigantic salad with like a pound of chicken, half an avocado, and olive oil. And some strawberries. And some carrots and hummus. I finished the hummus and I'm going to try not to buy any more of it.

              The plan for tomorrow is an IF with a walk at lunch time in my Vibrams. I don't think they've hit these shores yet, but maybe I'll start a trend!
              Primal Journal - Zinnia


              • #8
                I just barely made it through my 16 hour IF this morning, then ate a plateful of fries at around 12:30 pm. I was feeling woozy and lightheaded during the morning (and not just in a low carb brain fog way), so I concluded that I didn't eat enough calories or carbs or something after my fairly intense workout yesterday. Lesson learned. Hopefully next time I'll have planned ahead better, or at least will be in a headspace to make a better choice than fries when an emergency strikes. I did get in a nice walk though. Perfect, sunny weather and a stroll along the canal. I'd better enjoy it while it lasts, because the winter is going to be long, dark, and cold.
                Primal Journal - Zinnia


                • #9
                  Oh yeah, I get absolutely starving after doing any weights. It's great! Because I love my food
                  Annie Ups the Ante


                  • #10
                    Today's resolve: I will not let the scale be the boss of me!!
                    Primal Journal - Zinnia


                    • #11
                      Sailed through my IF this morning - unlike yesterday - and basically felt like a rock star. Then I ate dinner at someone's house and had quiche (with crust) and a piece of cake, alas. I haven't quite figured out the proper balance between being socially polite and sticking to my dietary choices yet. Oh well, I hope I don't regret the wheat and refined sugar too much tomorrow during my workout with the personal torturer.
                      Primal Journal - Zinnia


                      • #12
                        Another gym session with a personal trainer today. Before working out, they took my body fat measurements using a fancy scale. According to the scale, my overall body fat is 24.2%, my legs are about 30%, and my torso is about 19%. I don't remember what my arms were, but fairly high - closer to 30% than 20%. I know that the measurements probably aren't very accurate, but it's at least interesting to see where I carry my weight. I've heard abdominal fat is the most dangerous kind, so I guess I should be grateful that it's not my problem area. But I feel sort of like a reverse-apple freak with oddly fat limbs. The workout session went well, though. I was dreading it, but I'm so glad I went. I really dislike the strength training when I'm doing it, but I know I'll be really pleased when I get stronger and firmer.

                        My food today was pretty good. I bought some chili sauce at an asian supermarket last night, hoping it would taste like tobasco on my eggs this morning. Nope. And I saw that the sauce had MSG - how did I miss that when reading the label the first time?! So disappointing. Chili sauce let-down aside, I had my standard of 4 medium eggs cooked in about 1 tablespoon butter, 4 medium slices of bacon, and 2 small tomatoes. I snacked on some raw nuts in the morning and had an apple and a few more nuts after the workout. Dinner was a salmon filet cooked in olive oil and a big salad with 1/2 avocado, cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes, tossed with a little olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. I had a bowl of strawberries and blueberries for dessert, and a glass of really tasty Chablis. Pretty good primal foods, but I do wonder if I'm eating too many calories. I'll give it another week or two to see how my body adjusts to the strength training, then re-evaluate.
                        Primal Journal - Zinnia


                        • #13
                          Hi! I'm enjoying reading along! I started strength training with a personal trainer about three months ago. Like you I felt weak and soft at the beginning. I think I started to feel stronger and more fit after the first month. I look forward to the sessions now and I've made reasonable progress, and finally did a chin-up for the first time in my life last week!!

                          My trainer suggests to me that right after a workout you should eat low or no carbs, but high protein. On rest days, up the carbs, but right after the workout your muscles need protein, so an apple might not be the best post-workout snack, better to eat it an hour before the workout to give you plenty of energy to workout hard!

                          Best of luck! :-)
                          Height: 5' 10"
                          Starting Weight: 292
                          Starting Primal Weight: 275
                          Current weight: 265
                          Goal weight: 195
                          Body Fat 35.2


                          • #14
                            Hey, I'm the same with relatively low fat in my torso but plenty on my limbs, especially legs. Not even a pear shape; maybe a bowling pin! Didn't know they could measure it separately, though!

                            I console myself with the research that said big thighs are actually an indicator of good heart health! (Although it's probably the muscle that's good for you, not the fat.)

                            Your day doesn't sound like too high in calories to me (although hard to judge without knowing the quantities) and you definitely want your body to have sufficient nutrition to help your muscles develop.
                            Well and happy - Journalling a primal life in London


                            • #15
                              I finished out my week pretty strong, with the exception of some popcorn and a Coke Zero at the movies yesterday. There was NO butter (or more accurately, butter-flavored vegetable oil) on the popcorn and none available at the movie theater. What kind of a movie theater serves popcorn with no butter?! But I guess maybe it was a blessing in disguise to avoid that terrible oil.

                              DCarr, thanks for the tip about the post-workout protein. I had read that carbs were best ingested post workout because your glycogen stores are depleted and the carbs are most likely to be beneficial to your muscles then. But a little more reading suggests that maybe carbs are most important for serious athletes, and protein-based choices are better for us hoi polloi. I'm going to cook up some chicken breast and use that for my post-workout snacks this week, and see how it goes.

                              Pineneedles, I've also read (can't remember where) that storing fat in your lower body is a sign of good health and fertility in women - I just wish I had less of it I'm still probably a few years from trying for babies, but it's comforting to think that my overall shape is supportive of that.

                              September 7 stats
                              Weight: 121.2 (no change from baseline)
                              Neck: 12 1/8" (+ 1/4" from baseline)
                              Chest: 32 1/4" (no change from baseline)
                              Waist: 25 3/8" (- 1/8" from baseline
                              Hips: 37 7/8" (no change from baseline)

                              I'm pretty frustrated with the lack of scale progress. I don't expect to see meaningful tape measure progress yet, so I'm going to assume that the above differences are just lack of perfect accuracy in my measurement techniques. Hopefully I can gather enough data to see long-range trends even if short-range measurements don't tell me much.

                              If I still see no progress next week, I'll take a hard look at my calories and macros. I really don't want to have to count or track, but that might be what I have to do.
                              Primal Journal - Zinnia