Primal Journal (tim_1522)
So, here I am...making a journal.
My "intro" can be found here: [url]http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread35-222.html#post516293[/url]
Some more background:
Was a swimmer and runner in high school. Swimming for fun and running CC for the high school team. Between being extremely active (and being young as I've learned through the years) and my bodies almost overactive metabolism, I could eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and not really gain weight. I was 135 soaking wet on a good day all through most of high school. The downside to that was that even when I tried to gain weight in the form of muscle, it never worked. My diet wasn't terrible, but it wasn't stellar by any means. I consume plenty of sugar, but NOTHING compared to what's being consumed by a lot of HS kids today. I ate plenty of real food, too and have always like meat, eggs, veggies, fruit, etc. The big thing was that the AMOUNT of what I ate was high across the board.
Graduated, moved onto college and so forth. Work, family, kids, more school, new job and so on down the line...20 years later, time and life has caught up with me. I'm nearing 250 and I'm extremely inactive. Hypertension and High Cholesterol are the regular reports from a visit to the Doctor.
In the spring of 2011, something switched for me. I started running again and it was almost by accident. It was slowly but surely over the course of a couple of months but it felt so good and by the end of June, I was running about 20 miles a week and was slowly losing weight. I suppose I also made a conscious effort to eat "better" as well, but all of this was framed within the lens of CW. One thing that I did was I stopped drinking soda (was up to, at times, as many 4 or 5 cans a day) and replaced with water (and learned to drink coffee, which had added cream, but still didn't compete with the amount of sugar I was taking in from soda) Some of the running resources I was using recommended upping my protein intake, so I ate a bit more meat and such. I guess I tried to follow CW and make those protein/meat selections be "healthy" in that they be low fat. I also starting eating a little bit of fish (esp. Salmon -- one, I liked the taste best of all fish and two, I had heard it contain healthy fats/Omega 3s). But, those same running resources had the recommendation of getting lots of carbs. You know the drill: "Carb up" before a run, eat pasta, "healthy grains" and so forth...
I decided to train for a half marathon starting in July. The training went (I thought) very well and despite using lots of Gatorade and other recovery measures including pasta re-loads and so forth, I managed to drop below 200 (for the first time this millennium) soon after I ran my half-marathon in October. This included my BF %-age going from about 35% to 25% -- I was using a bio-electric impedance device, so the numbers aren't very precise, but I think the relative change was pretty accurate. The race itself went very well -- I had set a goal for myself of trying to hit an 11 min mile pace (or just under 2:24:00 finish time) and ended up running it in 2:07:57 -- a 9:45 min mile pace!!
Buoyed by a fantastic finish (IMO) and really ringing the bell from a weight loss standpoint, I decided to keep doing what I was doing. I did take a week or two off (as suggested by many of the running resources) before starting off again with my almost daily running. I was counting on continued weight loss (both in pounds and body fat percentage) and also improved running times.
From the time I dropped under 200 (almost November) until the end of the year I made very little progress in the weight department. My runs were pretty good, but they didn't seem to be improving anymore. I muddled through the winter. Holiday season present many times when my diet suffered. Between the weather (I only like to run outdoors...REAL running, not treadmill running) and just feeling a little "blah" I slowly didn't run as much, either. I ran a few races in something call the "Frostbite Series" (12K, 10mi, 15k) but none of my times were anything to be excited about.
As February 2011 hit, I felt like I had to get back to what I had been doing the previous summer. I "cleaned up" my diet and I also dusted off the old playbook -- the same 12 week half marathon training plan I had followed for my October run. I made adjustments to the plan in order to accommodate my new goal time -- I wanted to finish in under 2 hours, which meant maintaining a 9:09 min mile pace. I made plans to run another in May and started the training plan at the appropriate time in February to make it all work out. By this time my weight had crept back up to 205 and I was certain that I would be back under 200 and making progress in no time!
The first couple of week were great. The runs felt good, I was hitting the times in the training guide with ease and I was chugging along very well. Only one problem: my weight wasn't moving anywhere. I was still around 205 and above 25% BF. A friend of mine had started on his own weight loss endeavors and had discovered this great diet. I'm sure some here have heard of it. It was the "Slow Carb Diet" championed by Tim Ferriss and outlined in his book "The Four Hour Body" After doing some reading on it (for those unfamiliar, here's a basic summary: [url=http://gizmodo.com/5709913/4+hour-body-+-the-slow+carb-diet]4-Hour Body - The Slow-Carb Diet[/url]), I had some major trepidations --
1) I hated beans/lentils/any legume
2) I've not been a big fan of eggs
3) I really like fruit and I also like dairy
I figured if it would help me lose weight it would be worth it. I could suck it up and eat the beans. I could eat the eggs with OTHER foods and I could always have the fruit and dairy on "cheat day" (along with all the sugar and grains that I wanted, which I also LOVED) The idea of cheat day made it worth it to me!
So, I got started on March 27. I kept a progress log on a "Four Hour Body" forum here: [url=http://www.4hbtalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=1069]Tim (not TF) 38yo (2011) M, 5'11" 205 starting | 4-HBtalk: The 4-Hour Body Forum[/url] In a nutshell, I got burned out on the diet. I HATED the beans, I HATED eating basically the same 15 foods over and over again, and despite at first feeling like the change in diet didn't affect me -- I ultimately felt like CRAP the last 2 or 3 weeks of my half marathon training! Despite hitting my goal time (barely -- 1:59:57) I felt 10x worse than I did both BEFORE and AFTER the race. I kept at the SCD for another week after the race, but I had been slowly ditching the beans. The last week, I did it without beans, and finally just LOST IT and spent a lot of time cheating and eating a lot of (mostly) sweets and grains. In the end, I really didn't lose much weight (or BF) and I feel like the diet impeded my progress on my running. Upon posting my frustrations, I was given a lot of direction and eventually ended up finding Mark's Daily Apple.
(At this point, I should note some positives of my "flirtation" with the Slow Carb Diet) First of all, I was first introduced to the idea that controlling blood sugar/insulin was the way to fat loss. Secondly, I was also first turned onto the idea that grains were harmful. This was re-enforced by my early visits to MDA. As a result of following the SCD, I learned to like avocado, eggs, and many new varieties of fish. I also started to get an understanding for how the source of food matters.
I cautiously read a lot of the articles and the stuff that was posted here at MDA. I was (and still am) a bit suspicious of the idea that all grains are bad. I knew (and still know) a lot of people in the running world and lots of them eat lots of grains and they are holding up well. I know that I'm certainly not privy to every ache and pain and maybe they "suffer in silence" because of grains. I guess I have a decent grasp of the "bio-chemical" reasons "why for", but I am still holding out some "lets see how it transfers to daily practice" (at least for the case of n=1...me!)
It was enough to keep me "trying" to avoid grains and sweets even though I had many failures along the way during the months of June and July. I also had kept considering the idea of running a full marathon this fall, but between being so blasted by the training + SCD and often just feeling low energy (perhaps from carb flu) I just could never really get started on running again. I also took a hard look at my life schedule going forward into the fall. I have 3 kids with the oldest entering junior year and the 2nd starting a stint at rigorous 7-12 preparatory school. Their lives are going to be demanding and I feel like I need to be there for them. I can't afford the time it would take to put in as many hours as it would take...I was beginning to look for a way to maintain health/fitness that required less time.
I ended up downloading Primal Blueprint Fitness on July 22 and I read the thing straight through. I liked the idea of doing something that involved a strength component. I liked the idea of the hardest workouts being shorter and I like the idea of incorporating "Move Frequently, but Slowly" into other aspects of my life -- blending fitness with family time and so forth. Soon after I joined the forums here and have been kind of more and more following PB. I took the "assessment" for the 5 essential primal movements (as outlined in the "Lift Heavy Things" section of PBF) on July 28th. My wife found the PB book at the library this past weekend and I read it in pretty much one shot as well.