A change of body and mind, IF, barefoot running, and, of course, pictures.
Hi, my first post, so thanks for having me as well as the wealth and quality of info here, and to Mark S for inspiration.
I’ll post a question right up front, before doing my before/after and so forth.
The question: what to do next to reduce my body fat?
Current stats and regime:
Male, 39, 181 cm, 74KG, 12% body fat (calipers done by trained measurer).
Food: Alternate Day Fasting Mon/Wed/Fri for the last 4 months, paleo feeding the remaining days, usually about 1500 or lower calories. A few more at the weekend. Very little or no processed carbs, sugar, or alcohol. Tea only, no coffee. Some dairy, mostly cheese.
Exercise: Long run at the weekend (around 15km average), plus one sometimes two mid week, 5-10km varies (in running sandals, see below). A road-bike ride for an hour perhaps twice a month. A few pullups and some light core work about once every 7-10 days. Sprints every 7-10. Daily cycling of 4x 10 minute bursts (bike-bus-bike)
….and I’m plateaued. I’d like to get the body fat down below 10%, and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, or what to change / do next. Advice would be welcomed please!
I started in 2008, realising that I needed a change to my standard of busy job, lots of coffee and pastries, followed by the inevitable sugar crash, and then red wine in the evening, repeated until fat and tired.
Over Christmas in 2009/2010 I got a nasty virus that laid me up for 3 weeks. I had no appetite, and lost some weight. I also didn’t drink much other than water – especially coffee and alcohol. Whilst sick I Iistened to an audio book that gave me some advice on portion control and a mental scale for gauging hunger and fullness. I helped, and that year, just managing portions I was able to reduce my weight and waist size. Critically I didn’t go back to the alcohol or the coffee, and I’m convinced this both helped appetite control and mental outlook. Although the portions improved, the constitution of my diet didn’t change much – still the usual mix of sandwiches, cereal, pasta etc, although the processed sugars and carbs decreased somewhat. There was no exercise in place, just the diet.
Over Christmas 2010/2011 I read the 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. This gave me the next step up, and I adopted the slow-carb diet (plus the cheat day). I also realised I needed to start including some exercise. I’d never been a runner, but wanted to try, and had seen Vibrams somewhere. One way or another I stumbled on ‘Born to Run’, and anther piece of the puzzle fell into place. Vibrams were my Christmas present and slowly, I began running. By March 2011 I was up to 10Km. I did my first half marathon in May, in Vibrams, in 1.58. By the end of the year I’d clocked 1000KM, all in barefoot shoes. I switched from Vibrams to sandals/huaraches about October, and haven’t looked back. (pic below).
All the while, I was slowly, slowly getting leaner on the slow-carb diet, and although my weight wasn’t changing much, I could sense and see the difference. Motivation wasn’t hard. As I was getting fitter and clearer, my mother was permanently attached to oxygen after a lifetime of smoking. I was and am determined to be fit and healthy for as long as possible, and keep my mental acuity too.
I’d also begun meditating, and somehow the combination of diet, exercise, and removal of stimulants/depressants really started to make a difference. I felt clear, calm, and centred. Boring by some standards but wonderful by mine.
I ‘d been hearing about primal in late 2011, and finally read Mark’s Primal Blueprint in April 2012. Once again, the light went on, and I tweaked the slow carb diet into full primal. Shortly after that I began intermittent fasting, and feel like it’s kicked me up to the next level in terms of mental clarity, and I’ve seen a further kilo or two reduction in weight, visible in fat loss from my middle.
So, there it is. A slow and gradual set of changes, but on the cusp of 40 I’ve never been fitter, clearer or more equipped for life’s opportunities and challenges. I watch friends and colleagues get fatter, and struggle with their hangovers and constant tiredness, and then watch their confusion when they ask why I don’t drink/eat x/ etc.
There are no quick fixes. Everyone has to come to the right realisations for themselves, and I guess these take time. But, it is possible, and I’d encourage anyone reading this to take life by the horns and have a go. Good luck!
Thanks for reading this far.
Pics: before in 2008, after 2012, and running sandals.