Primal Journal - Hightower's health
I'm new to this forum but not totally new to Primal / Paleo. I am re-committing to my health and fitness after years of being consistently inconsistent. My hope is that this journal will help keep me accountable.
I'm a 42 year old male. Married, father of 3 girls - 12, 10, and 5. I have a few things that help me in my attempts to be healthy and a few things that I struggle with. Hopefully laying those out will also provide some background on me.
I will 1st say that I don't know how well I may fit in on these forums. I was reading some other journals, newbie intros, etc. and it just didn't sound like me. But I figured that was simply me trying to talk myself out of jumping in. If we were all exactly the same, what would be the point? And it if ends up that I'm the only one who reads this, then it's still a place for me to hold myself accountable.
Back to my intro - my "pros" that help me in terms of health / fitness:
- I have an athletic background and I enjoy working out. I was a runner in high school and college. I kept running and racing well into my 30s. Nothing spectacular, but even as I slowed down or worked through injuries, I knew that running or working out made me feel good. After running injuries piled up, I stumbled upon Crossfit and slowly converted to that type of training. I can track that back to 2007. I have never jumped in 100% in that I have never stepped foot inside an actual Crossfit affiliate. I work out at home, in my garage. I do it for the workout, not as a competition. But it did expose tons of weaknesses in my overall fitness. As a runner, I had almost no strength background. While my numbers would still be considered pretty weak, they are significantly better than what I started with in 2007. And on top of that, I have had no serious injuries since those running days. I do have some aches and pains, but as a 42 year old, I think that comes with the territory.
- I have been eating "primal" for a couple years. I put that in quotes because I am inconsistent. I did a 30 day Paleo challenge at one point and was happy enough with it that I knew it was the right way for me to eat. Since that time, I have been up and down in terms of how well I adhere to it. But the pro is that it's not new to me.
- I have never really worried much about the scale. While I feel like I should lose some weight, I don't have a firm number in mind yet. I like to pay more attention to how I look, how I feel, and how my clothes fit. In general, I think this is a positive because it's a more realistic way to approach things.
Where I may struggle:
- I turn to food (the bad kind) and drink when stress is high, and because I like it. One thing I learned when I did 30 days of Paleo was that I did not enjoy going 100%. Some of it was social, but some if it was the fact that I simply enjoy having a burger (on a bun), and french fries and ketchup. I like to have a cocktail and eat unhealthy snacks when watching a football game. My intent here is not to eliminate these from my diet but to keep them very limited. I don't even call them "cheats". These are things I will eat from time to time. I just need to set limits and hold myself to them. The problem I have experienced is that these exceptions can spin out of control.
- My family is not interested in going primal. My wife and I obviously talked about how I eat and what I try to avoid eating. She is very supportive but has said that she has no interest in changing how she eats. She eats what she wants but doesn't have much trouble limiting portions, so she stays at a healthy weight. In other words, she doesn't feel a need to change anything, so why should she give up things that she likes? As a result, there are foods in the house that require some willpower to avoid. We do plan out our dinners and most of them consist of a meat, a vegetable, and a starch. I just load up on the meat and veggies.
- Some situations at work and during travel have been pitfalls in the past. Travel is an obvious one and my struggles there are not unique. Work lunches are similar. What I will say about myself is that as an introvert, I have always avoided calling attention to myself. I have probably eaten things that I otherwise wouldn't, but in an attempt to blend in. That may sound ridiculous, and I don't think it's a conscious thing. But if people at work choose to go to a burger place for lunch, I am not the type to ask that we go somewhere else, order my burger without a bun, etc. This is something I need to address in terms of planning, changing my attitude, etc.
That's my basic background. I'm planning to use this journal as a way to track my food and workouts. That was a pretty long 1st post, so I'll bounce back on here soon to post some info about my goals.
Will try to post daily on the weekdays. Here goes:
Food so far today:
Breakfast - leftover grilled chicken breast, banana, almond butter
Mid morning - 2 hard boiled eggs, few strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
Lunch - Salad with spinach, cucumber, red bell pepper, carrot, grilled chicken, bacon, walnuts, olive oil
Snack - few almonds
Stuck to water today. I'm an on again, off again soda drinker. The on and off is a diet soda for caffeine. Part of my new commitment is to get off that completely. I've done it before so I can do it when motivated. No headaches so far today, though I did crave it earlier. I don't drink coffee or tea...never cared for them. The bigger soda weakness is that I have a soft spot for a bourbon and coke. I'm a southern boy and I grew attached to drinking a few of those while watching college football. It's one of the few things I'm not currently looking at eliminating. It brings me much joy.
No workout this morning. I'm nursing a case of tennis elbow. Did some mobility work and iced it. Need to do the same this evening. Will get back on track tomorrow morning.
It feels good to commit to getting things back in order. As said before, I'm going to put some thought into speciific goals and get them in here. I want to think about them a little more rather than just plucking them at random. I may have to dust off the scale.
Welcome to the forums, Hightower!
Thanks Peachy for the welcome message!
I'm not sure how my timing for these updates will work, but for now I'm just posting based on what's happened since the last post. At some point, maybe I'll switch to posting full day summaries.
Dinner last night - 2 gound beef patties, large salad
Breafast today - banana, leftover chicken, avocado, fish oil (this was a post workout meal)
Morning snack - 2 hardboiled eggs, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries (this is a standard snack that I pick up when I get to work)
Lunch - Tomato soup, small cobb salad. This was a lunch out at work. I held strong while looking at a menu that included burgers and a variety of sandwiches. Only mistake I made was ordering the combo which is 1/2 size of each item. I know that ordering more cals of healthier foors will help me get comfortable with skipping the bad stuff. I was hungry pretty soon after this meal.
Snack - Few almonds and a Lara Bar
Workout from early this morning:
Front Squats - 3x3 at 185
Bench Press - 3x3 at 185
Kept both of these short and a little on the light side as I feel like I'm at a reset and am dealing with some nagging aches and pains.
10 walking lunges w/ 95# in the front rack
5 ring dips
Done in right around 12 min.
Trying to work through some minor aches. Elbow and a case of plantar fascitis that I'm holding at bay. Lots of stretching and some icing seems to be slowly doing the trick.
Slept very well last night. Probably from no caffeine in my system.
Still thinking through some concrete goals and will update here when I have them. I'm giving myself a week.
I was thinking this morning about how great I feel. A couple days of eating relatively clean and I feel like a new man. But I also recognize that this is how it always feels when I straighten things out for a couple days - sleep is better, energy is more consistent through the day, etc. I'm motivated and that's a good thing. I also know this feeling will subside. I will be challenged more in the coming weeks. I'm really hoping that this daily journal will help keep me on point.
Another thing I realized after reading several other posts on the forums is that I don't understand a lot of the info here. The abbreviations and some references are completely over my head. I will have to spend some time in the "Start Here" section of the site.
Update for today
Dinner last night was tilapia and vegetable stir fry in olive oil. It was an evening when I was on my own for dinner due to my kids being in several evening activities.
Breakfast (post workout) - banana, 6 eggs scrambled with a little bit of chopped up ham, avocado
Morning snack - my usual - hard boiled eggs, honeydew, strawberris, blueberries, raspberries
Lunch - also a standard for me - salad w/ spinach, cucumbers, red bell pepper, carrot, chicken, bacon, walnuts, olive oil
Deadlift - 3x3 at 285
burpees w/ lateral jumps over the bar
I was worried about pull ups due to my achy elbow. Warmed up with a band and it felt decent. So I just used the band in the workout and kept the pull ups strict. I broke them up in a deliberate attempt to keep shoulders aligned and prevent the elbow from flaring up. It slowed things down, but I'm trying to nurse things a bit.
Was (and am) a bit sore from weighted lunges yesterday. It's a good sore, and I'll take tomorrow as a rest day.
Other: Nagging injuries seem to be getting better. I have some things coming up that need some planning - a lunch with co-workers tomorrow, and some overnight travel next week. These are things that usually trip me up, in that I show up and go with the flow (make exceptions for no good reason) rather than plan and make smart decisions re. what I eat.
Update for today:
Went to my oldest daughter's track meet yesterday afternoon. She's a 6th grader and managed to win the 2 mile against 7th and 8th graders. She came in 3rd in the mile. I was (and am) a proud dad.
Dinner was hectic as the family was all on different schedules. This would sometimes be a night where I'd make an excuse for an unhealthy dinner and a couple beers. Stayed relatively on track by having some chicken soup and extra veggies.
Breakfast this morning was some salmon and avocado mixed, and a banana.
Lunch was with co-workers. Had a salad with shrimp and lots of veggies and some sort of chicken soup. I know this was not all primal ingredients. But it was better than going with a sandwich, and that would have been the old me.
Snacking now on a few almonds and will probably have a Lara Bar. Stress at work increased this afternoon and I felt myself craving a soda and snack. Realized that I probably haven't had enough water so I'm going to drink a lot with my snack.
No workout today. It was a scheduled rest day and I needed it. I did take the dog for a walk. This is actually a daily thing that I haven't been including. It's usually my cool down in the morning after I work out. It's about a 1 - 1.5 mile walk. We do it as long as the weather isn't terrible.
I decided to weigh myself this morning. Took out the scale and the battery was dead. I almost never use the scale and the dead battery was a sure sign of that. I know that I stepped on it about a month or 2 ago. I was at around 205 lbs. which was the heaviest I've ever been. I'm 6' 1" so I can carry that weight reasonably well, but I don't want to be there. My lightest (not counting college running days) was in my 30s when I ran a marathon and was around 160-165. I had almost no muscle mass with the exception of runner's legs. In the last several years I've added some muscle to my upper body from lifting and CrossFit. But 205 is the result of my midsection acknowledging the burgers, beer, and bourbon that I've grown fond of. I'll call it the the 3 Bs.
I'll get the scale up and running, but I think I'm OK with assuming 205 as my starting weight because I was there recently. If it turns out that I gained since then, I'll update that. When I did that weigh in, it was a bit of a wake up call. But I didn't really do anything significant to change it at the time. I'm probably still close to it, but I'll know for sure soon enough. My current goal is 185 and I want to assess what that feels like as I get close. I'm more intersted in the mirror and how my clothes are fitting. But I do need to drop some weight as I think the extra weight is not helping some of my nagging joint pain. Pull ups with 20 extra lbs are probably putting stress on the elbow. Running at my heaviest isn't going to cure my plantar fascitis. I'll probably plan on weighing in once per week to see how I'm progressing.
Back to work!
Update for the day...
Dinner last night was "breakfast". My kids love breakfast food for dinner once in a while. For me, this was scrambled eggs and 2 chicken / apple sausages plus a few slices of pear.
Breakfast this morning was more of the same. I cooked up some more eggs and had 2 leftover chicken / apple sausages. Also had a banana. This was post workout.
Lunch - salad from Chipotle with lettuce, chicken, black beans, salsa, little cheese and guacamole. For me, I'll do the black beans and cheese once in a while. I know they are off limits for some, but when I've done 30 days totally clean in the past and then added things like this back in, they don't bother me. So I consider them optional on occasion.
I'm recognizing that I may be a little heavy on fruit. I'm curious to get into a weekly weigh in to see if that's slowing me down in terms of weight goals.
Shoulder Press (barbell, standing). 5-5-5 at 115-120-125. Press is a big weakness for me. I was happy with 125 for 5. My max is 145.
Then conditioning -
- 500M row -
4 rounds of
25 double unders
- 500M row -
Time was 9:35
I'm pretty happy to this point with how I've done this week. The weekend should be interesting. I'm going into this assuming that there will be a "treat" meal. Normally Saturday evenings are when I eat and drink what I want. I have been successful in the past with a routine of 1 treat meal per week and it's been something I can sustain over a longer period of time. What has bitten me in the past is Sundays. The Saturday treat can turn into a Sunday extension. So I'm going into this with the mindset that I won't let that happen.
From the weekend....
Friday dinner - Grilled T Bone steak and a pile of cooked broccoli. I was craving a steak and this took care of that craving.
Breakfast (post workout) - banana, leftover steak, scrambled eggs
Morning snack - almonds, pear
Lunch - 2 chicken sausages with spicy mustard, broccoli
Dinner - This was the "treat" meal. I usually like to take advantage with something I'm really craving. It was my daughter's birthday and we let the kids pick a restaurant for their b-day dinners. She picked Dave and Buster's. If you don't have one near you, it's a restaurant / bar / arcade all in one. The food is like what you'd find at a chain like Applebee's or TGI Fridays. I had some kind of steak, shrimp, pasta combo. I don't know why I picked it. I didn't finish and it really wasn't satisfying any cravings.
Sunday - all meals except dinner were an exact copy of Saturday. I don't know how that happend, and i didn't even realize it until I started to type this. I guess I'm predictable or boring depending on your point of view.
Today - Breakfast was eggs and a variety of fruit.
Lunch was my usual work salad of spinach, chicken, etc.
Workout Saturday was a longish conditioning workout. I usually do strength + conditioning most weekdays. I like to get a longer conditioning workout in on the weekends and take the following day off. I have a buddy that comes over most Saturdays for the workout. We did a partner workout (shared work) that consistend of 400 runs, burpees, back squats, cleans, box jumps, KB swings, and push ups. It was ~25 min long. But with some of the work being shared, there some built in rest.
I also spent the weekend working on my deck. I've been sanding off an old paint job and we're re-painting railings with the Deck Restore type of paint that supposed to be really tough. It's an attempt to get another 5-10 years out of our deck before needing to replace it. So most of my time was spend painting because I had wrapped up the sanding work a couple weeks ago. It's not terribly demanding but the days were long in the sun and I was bending, kneeling and twisting around a lot to get things painted. Knees and back were pretty sore and I'm still recovering from that. I decided to not workout this morning, and I just took the dog on a nice brisk walk. There's still a good amount of work to do on the deck, so I'm not out of the woods yet.
I think this week will be difficult to get my usual workouts in. My garage if full of deck spindles that we're painting, so I can't get to a lot of my equipment. I'm also traveling for work tomorrow through Thursday. My goal is to do some mobility each day, some body weight movements in my living room / hotel room, and maybe get some running in. But I really need to focus on eating right.
Dinner last night - pork tenderloin and a large salad
Breakfast today - banana, leftover pork tenderloin, avocado
Morning snack - 2 hardboiled eggs, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
Lunch - salad (same one as most other work days..yes I am a boring creature of habit)
Snack - Was traveling in the car and munched on some almonds and a Lara Bar
Dinner - Hotel room service - Shrimp cocktail with avocado, avoided the cocktail sauce. NY Strip steak with extra vegetables on the side. Dinner was a little heavy on the butter but overall I feel like i did pretty well. After traveling, it was tempting to go somewhere for a couple drinks and a less primal dinner.
Again, today was not much of a workout day. The garage is still a mess. I did a long walk with the dog and worked on some extra foot stretching for my plantar fascitis (steadily getting better) and did some work on my achy elbow. I'll probably knock out some push ups and squats shortly. Will try to do more of the same in the hotel room tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow will probably be a challenging day since I'll be away from my normal places to eat. I'll be in a different office. There will be snacks and probably a lunch order. There will probably also be several folks trying to pick a restaurant for dinner. I'll need to work hard to stay on track.
It's been a few days since my last update. I won't go all the way back with details. I was out of town on business for a few days. I expected it would be a challenge and it was. I went off program a couple times and also did not work out much. I did some push ups and squats in the hotel room but not much worth mentioning. I allowed the food choices to get away from me and that carried into the Easter weekend. I'm definitely a little down on myself at the moment. These were my choices, so there's nowhere to look for blame or excuses. It's time to tighten things back up.
Fotr today, I was up early and worked out. I finally got my deck done and all the materials were finally cleared out of the garage. I did some push presses and then a conditioning workout of back squats, rowing, and burpees. I was feeling pretty sluggish because it's been about a week since my last good workout.
Breakfast was some leftover ground beef, avocado, and a banana.
Morning snack was 2 hard boiled eggs, some berries, and a few almonds.
Sleep has been strange for the last couple days. I was really tired on Sunday night. I was falling asleep on the couch at 7:30 p.m. which is pretty unusual. It was deep sleep to the point that I needed to just get in bed. I slept a solid 10 hours (and could have kept sleeping) and I don't know the last time I slept that long. Last night I went to bed around 9:30. I woke up at 1:45 a.m. and never fell back to sleep. After an hour or so, I grabbed a book and read until it was time to get up. I don't know if it was a weird over-compensation or what was going on. Hopefully tonight will be back to normal.