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    sva's Avatar
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    Esau's Pottage

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    So I'm new to this site, and I'm new to journaling in a forum like this.

    I'm a 52-year-old who was thin for most of his life until age 40. I gained a lot of weight in the next two years, and for the last ten, I've been riding this ascending roller coaster of gaining and losing and always gaining more. I stepped on the scale mid January, 2015 and was shocked to see the number 280 pounds. Granted, I am 6'5", but still, that is way too heavy. Yikes! I thought to myself, "Okay, now I'm paying attention."

    I eventually stumbled upon the paleo approach to eating..and that all led me here to Mark's Daily Apple and the Primal Blueprint. From what I've read and experienced in the last five weeks, I'm coming to believe this is the path I want and need to be on. I've already dropped 20 pounds, and that feels good. But I feel this approach to eating is really helping me to have a better relationship to food all around. Now that I have greater clarity on the kinds of food that are going to get me in trouble, I'm staying away. It's working. I'm feeling so much better. More energy. More focus. Less joint pain in my knees. Life seems to be improving in a hurry.

    Some may wonder about the title of my journal here, "Esau's Pottage." Remember that dude from the Old Testament, Jacob's twin brother who was born first? He was the hunter who came back from the field overcome with hunger, and he traded his birthright to his shyster brother Jacob for a bowl of soup. That was a big deal and an utterly stupid mistake on Esau's part. He gave up something so important for something so temporary, a bowl of soup.

    I resonate with Esau because I've spent way too many of my years trading my birthright of a happy, healthy, and fit life for a bowl of unhealthy food. Yes, that food offered a certain kind of temporary satisfaction. But thank God, finally at the age of 52, I'm seeing how so much of that food was messing with me, compromising me one bite, one pound, one belt-hole, one pant-size at a time.

    Once Esau traded away his birthright, there was no undoing that reality.

    I'm blessed to know (and now experience) the same is not true for me.

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    My wife joined me in this endeavor as she, too, has some weight to lose. So far, she's dropped 14 pounds, and just this morning, we both acknowledged that for each of us--a total of 35 pounds gone so far between us--this has been easy. Imagine that! We're eating good food that we enjoy, and our weight problem is taking care of itself.

    The book of Proverbs says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." The fact that Mrs. SVA and I are taking this journey together is a huge blessing. I'm not alone in seeking a new chapter of health and life. And I'm thankful for her partnership.

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    Love the journal name, love that you're here, and I'm looking forward to following your success! Welcome!
    Goal: 230 @ 10% BF (preferably less)

    Follow my progress here:
    My Blog | My MDA Journal

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    sva's Avatar
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    When did unhealthy eating get its hooks into me?

    I don't believe it was a single incident, but a pattern of behavior started to emerge for me at an early age...like somewhere around the age of 4, give or take. Here's what I remember. After our family would eat dinner together, I'd start whining and complaining and carrying on that I wanted a bowl of ice cream. More often than not, I would get the ice cream, but sometimes not. Maybe I hadn't finished all the food on my plate. Maybe withholding the ice cream was a kind of punishment for some other misbehavior on my part. What I remember is that the idea came to settle in my head and heart, "I can't be happy unless I get my ice cream." That became the unwitting mantra of my relationship to food. I came to believe the lie that the only way I could be happy was to be regularly over-indulging my appetite with all the most unhealthy kinds of food. My "ice cream" came to include lots of other things besides ice cream. Any form of dessert. Pizza, of course. Anything with peanut-butter. Chocolate. All different kinds of bread. Candy. Most of the unhealthy breakfast foods. All the usual suspects. My mantra became, "I can't be happy unless I get my _______(fill in the blank)_______."

    And eventually the mantra morphed into, "I can't be happy unless I'm eating like a pig, regardless of the kind of food that's at hand." As I posted in my first journal entry, I was able to manage that reckless pattern of eating fairly well until the age of 40. Then I tried to manage it through additional exercise because I was gaining weight. I don't need to change the way I eat, I told myself...all I need to do is exercise more. Didn't work. Then I went through various kinds of calorie restriction. I'd be successful for a while, but the mantra would never change. I'd just chose to be unhappy for a time to attain a certain measure of weight loss, and then my fixation on "ice cream" and its coconspirators would overcome my resolve to restrict my calories. And I'd gain it all back, plus. Always plus.

    It's in this last season of my life that I've been coming to greater clarity on all of this...and seeing the need for me to grow up and become something other than a four-year-old whining for his ice cream. The fact is that I still get hungry. Who doesn't? But now I feel like I'm armed with the knowledge of where I've been and where I need to go in this area of my life.

    Living with a new way of eating and relating to food, I love that the primal/paleo path encourages the enjoyment of food rather than merely telling me to restrict my calories. For me, what this new pathway offers is a greater understanding of the kinds of food that are going to get me in trouble, as well as the kinds of food that I was meant to enjoy. I'm not counting calories or managing points or fixating on all the foods I can't have. Instead, I'm celebrating the foods that I should be eating and finding new ways to enjoy them. I'm allowing myself one meal a week that is not PB...I make homemade pizza for the wife and kids on Sunday nights. But even then, I'm doing so with a greater sense of awareness of what I'm doing. And that brings me a different kind of mindset.

    Psalm 139:24 (one of my faves) says, "See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting." I feel like the first part of that verse is definitely happening...coming to a greater awareness of the offensive way, the unhealthy way that has been with me for so long.

    And I thank God, not only for that new awareness for where I've been, but also for the new path I'm on.

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    I certainly track with your "how did I get here." I got to the point where I would eat when happy, eat when unhappy, eat a lot when frustrated. When I'd diet and lose X lbs, I'd go out to a good restaurant and eat. In the meantime, I'd tack on 2-5 lbs every year.

    Your mindset is great. Having your wife on board is a huge plus. You are making great progress so keep it up. Don't forget the exercise component, it will facilitate your health improvement.

    Just watch out for that ice cream!
    The Buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future. So for today: I choose to be happy. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.

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    Thanks for those encouraging words, Rig. I haven't commented yet on exercise because that has never been the issue for me. I'm sure I'll have lots to say on that subject in the future, but for me right now, the battle is being waged in the kitchen, not the gym. I love how PB is challenging me to rethink some of my assumptions and patterns with regard to exercise, and we'll see how the path takes shape in moving forward.

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    Up until not very long ago, I used to bake a lot of bread for our family. It was awesome tasting stuff. And I'm sure it was doing all kinds of mischief to my metabolism and the way my body was burning its fuel. If I had to pick one food that added to my weight gain more than any other, it would be the artisan bread to which the rest of my family woke up three mornings a week. One of the lies that I believed along the way was, "You'd better eat that fresh bread right now because it's not going to taste any better than it does at this moment." And when I ate it, I was happy...at least for a little while...until I walked past a mirror or saw myself in a picture. I call that "warm-bread" happiness.

    I remember, also, a time about 12 years ago when I was far more fit. This was back when I was about 40 years old. I remember working out one morning in early fall. I'd done an hour of cardio and circuit training, and I felt great. And then when I went outside, I felt so good that I went and ran two miles. I was happy, then, too...but with a completely different kind of happiness than the warm-bread variety. It was the happiness that comes from being active and strong and capable and fit. It was the kind of happiness that comes from not feeling limited by your body or your weight or your lack of stamina. It was great.

    I'm so thankful that I'm getting away from the warm-bread happiness, now knowing the damage it was doing to me. And I'm also so thankful that I'm starting to feel the fitness happiness...the life, the energy, the strength. It's coming back.

    It's not only good...it's very good.
    Last edited by sva; 02-28-2015 at 02:40 PM.

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    I did my body-weight resistance workout this morning. The time got away from me, so I wasn't able to be in the basement gym as long as I had hoped. But i still got the workout in, and I feel great. And now that I've got a window of time in my schedule, I'm going for a 35-minute stroll around my place of work. I love that the fitness and energy are coming back in palpable ways.

    I Thessalonians 5:18 says, "Give thanks in all circumstances."

    It's not hard on a day like today.

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    Does the primal blueprint for fitness include shoveling snow? Did Grok even bother with all this nonsense?

    I hate the month of March, the time of year when I start craning my neck toward spring and wonder if it is EVER going to come. For now, because of a bit of asthma that shows up when I head out into the cold weather, I'll continue to do my fitness stuff indoors. And I'll keep myself focused on the truth that being active indoors during the winter is way better than being inactive in any season.

    Hebrews 12 says, "And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us..." The late winter blahs for this PBer require an extra measure of perseverance. So looking forward to this leg of the race being OVER!

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    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    Quote Originally Posted by sva View Post
    I remember working out one morning in early fall. I'd done an hour of cardio and circuit training, and I felt great. And then when I went outside, I felt so good that I went and ran two miles. I was happy, then, too...but with a completely different kind of happiness than the warm-bread variety. It was the happiness that comes from being active and strong and capable and fit. It was the kind of happiness that comes from not feeling limited by your body or your weight or your lack of stamina. It was great.

    I'm so thankful that I'm getting away from the warm-bread happiness, now knowing the damage it was doing to me. And I'm also so thankful that I'm starting to feel the fitness happiness...the life, the energy, the strength. It's coming back.

    It's not only good...it's very good.
    How well described! It's a beautiful thing when our bodies begin to respond and thrive on a regimen of healthy habits. It's even grander when it refocus our energy because we love how we feel!
    Keep on inspiring.

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