Keepin' JMac Honest - Primal Journal
I heard Mark speak on a local radio show way back in January of 2010 and was intrigued enough to head to this site, buy the book, lurk around for several months, buy the cookbook, and slowly begin to change my lifestyle. As I've posted in another thread, I haven't seen the scale move as remarkably as have some, but I have started to notice my body & overall health change in positive ways. I hope that this journal will help me stay honest about my forays into primalness.
Background: I'm 5'9" and currently at my highest weight of 163-164. I just turned 35, although I have such a hard time with those numbers since, in my mind, I'm still 145 pounds and 25 years old. It helps that my boyfriend, soon-to-be-fiance, is eight years my junior and, with the utmost sincerity, worships my body, even as it is now.
My body-image story is similar to those I've read from a few women here. In my pre-teens, I began to loathe myself. In my mind, my medium-sized build felt like King Kong next to my petite friends. My stepfather, who isn't quite the ogre this story will make him out to be, put his calf next to mine when I was 13 and said, "Jesus, Jeni, your calf is as big as mine - and you're a girl!" As I was coveting Jennifer Grey's teeny-tiny physique in *Dirty Dancing* at the time, his words just knifed me down. I graduated high school at 152 pounds, to my horror. Now, of course, I long for that weight.
In my twenties, I discovered vegetarianism. I was vegetarian for seven years and vegan for one. To everyone who asked, I said that my ethics drove me to that lifestyle, when in reality, I just wanted to be skinny. As a vegan, I weighed 138 to 145, and I felt I looked great. Although I ate far too many frankenfoods (seitan, anyone?), veganism and, to some degree, vegetarianism, taught me to be much more conscious of what I put into my body. It stopped any fast-food habit I had. Yet, I still consumed sugar & processed foods for almost every meal. And, you guessed it, when I gave up veganism (cheese was my downfall), I gained back every pound. I also triggered my already genetic premature graying with a B12 deficiency.
I'm now a high-school English teacher and a speech and debate coach. In the six years I've been in this profession, stress, poor eating, and age have helped me gain more weight than ever before. CW has not helped matters - I lost about ten pounds on Weight Watchers last year, but gained it right back. And I hated the limits of that diet. It didn't feel sustainable at all and the point values seemed nutritionally senseless to me.
So that's my story of yo-yo. I will say that now, in my thirties, almost all of my self-loathing has abated. I don't compare myself to friends or celebrities hardly at all anymore. But, forgive the paraphrasing of Mark's wisdom, I still want to look good naked. And discover incredible health & happiness as I get there.
In January, after hearing about The Primal Blueprint, I stopped eating grains & processed food cold turkey and dropped eight pounds. Then, after some speech & debate trips and stress-eating due to the end of the school year, I gained it back again, despite the fact that I still wasn't eating grains/processed food.
In late June, I cut way back on sugars, including most fruit, and began working out more. Changes I've noticed: modest muscle definition, fingernails & hair that are growing out of control, lovely skin, a general glow & radiance about myself, less fatigue, significant improvement in my menstrual cramps and . . . here's the weirdest of all . . . my formerly misaligned nipples have now matched up. So, despite the fact that I haven't noticed a great drop on the scale, I know I'm dropping some fat.
Food cravings - with the BIG exception of dairy - are not too challenging for me. I love to cook & I've had so much fun experimenting with the recipes I find on this site & in the cookbook. I do run into obstacles when I eat with others. I feel that, since I've such a history of yo-yo, my friends and family inwardly roll their eyes when they hear about yet another of Jeni's "lifestyle changes." So, I'm rather reticent to broadcast my primal notions.
Wine is another obstacle. I love a glass or two in the evening when grading papers. I love a glass or two (or three) in the evening when I'm on break. While I'm in fat-loss mode, it's incredibly difficult for me to say no to this vice. Can't wait until I'm maintaining & I don't have to feel quite so guilty about it.
And my last obstacle is fitness. I've never been into consistent exercise. However, I live in Colorado, so the mountains & outdoors can be my gym. Currently, I hike as much as I can, walk or bike, complete a few pre-made Wii EA sports regimens, or attend a local yoga class. I've also started a mini-push-up challenge for myself. I'm up to 40 girl push-ups a day, after starting just two days ago. I HATE working out so, while I know I have a million options, I don't always have the motivation.
Okay. No worries if you stopped reading a while ago - that was a lot of background. But it was helpful for me to get it all out there so I that I know where I'm starting.
Today, here are my foods so far:
B: three eggs, sunny-side up, with small dollops of sour cream on each (had it in the fridge & it just looked super yummy), two cups of coffee with full cream (one with 1/2 a packet of Stevia since unsweetened coffee gives me a tummy ache)
L: Nothing yet. Not super hungry, so I may IF
projected D: boyfriend plans to grill up steaks, and I plan to make the bacon broccoli salad as a side (by the way, made the Brussels sprouts with browned butter & hazelnuts to go with pork chops last night - soooooo delicious!)
Workout: Only plan to do my push-ups, as I'm moving in three days and have a ridiculous amount of packing to do
I use MyFitnessPal to track my food & workouts, since they have an iPhone app. I like FitDay better, but they don't have an app & I like having a way to track when I'm away from my laptop.
That's JMac in a not-so small nutshell. I look forward to being a part of this supportive primal community. Hello!
Early morning today - had to take the BF to the airport. He works for an organization that sells mission trips to Belize, Haiti, Mexico, and Jamaica, and he leads several trips a year in Belize. He'll be gone for two weeks, which is hard on my heart but easier on my routine since I tend to work out a lot more when he's out of town.
Anyway, the early morning took away from the sleep rule since I didn't fall into slumber last night until about 1:30 for some odd reason. Guess I need to get used to early starts again since school begins again in a few weeks. Bah.
Got some packing accomplished today, with some intermittent lounging as well. Here's the food so far:
B: leftover guacamole beef with the last of the sour cream & colby cheese, Teavana loose-leaf chai & raspberry tea
L: BAS, which comprised a lot of stuff I had lying around like romaine lettuce, avocado, green peppers, and leftover Brussels sprouts/hazelnuts with Bragg's Ginger & Sesame dressing
S: six squares of 82% chocolate & blueberry bar
Not sure what I'll do for dinner tonight. The kitchen is super clean, and I don't feel like defrosting what I have in the freezer and then mucking up the stove again. Times like this, I wish there was a primal food delivery service, but that wouldn't be what Grok would have done, now would it?
The clean kitchen is important. A few weeks ago, my roommate flipped out over a primal mess I made in the oven after attempting to slow bake root-veggie chips. I'd really like to move out without ruffling anymore feathers due to my lifestyle.
Thanks for sharing your story! I love braggs It's great that you've found an exceptional man too, having healthy support and admiration at no matter what point you are in your life is key !
I'm 5"9 ish myself and I remember feeling like the Jolly Green Giant, taller than all the boys in class till about highschool haha. I have a thin frame, but I was upsessed with keeping thin because if I got bulky it would have been the end of the world. Grok on ! Primal feels great.
Thanks so much for responding. I've been out of touch with my journal & returning your response because I moved a week ago & I haven't had access to Internet. Love the Jolly Green Giant comment . . . it's grown better throughout my life, but, yes, the obsession with thinness does come from that fear of becoming looking unfeminine & freakish. End of the world, indeed. Yet, the proverbial grass is always greener - I have so many shorter friends who insist that I have it better since, when I gain, it tends to distribute a bit more proportionally than when they do.
Anyway. Thanks for the encouragement!
So, as I said, I've been on hiatus from my young journal due to my move. It's definitely thrown off my routine, particularly with with regard to fitness. The move itself was pretty intense - definitely fit the "lifting heavy things" bill - but I was so sore for days afterward that I made a lot of pity-me allowances (food & fitness-wise). Also, I attended an Advanced Placement Institute all last week for the AP language & comp class that I teach and, while the lunch fare was relatively acceptable by primal standards, with the exception of some sauces, I definitely indulged in afternoon mini-candy bars.
Then came the BIG dysfunction. The head coach of the speech team for which I assistant-coach is getting married in a week and Saturday was her bachelorette party. I stayed primal during the appetizer part of the evening, but I imbibed far too much and far too many poisonous things (shots, champagne, etc). Therefore, of course, Sunday was miserable, and I satiated my hung-over belly with lots of bready pizza. Woke up this morning, weighed myself because I was curious about how much this bloated pizza-baby had set me back, and I saw the scale jump up four pounds! Rationally, I realized that it won't stay that way, but emotionally I'm beating myself up.
So, this morning, I IFed until about three when I gave in to a craving of peaches & cream. Not the best, I know, but better than the junk I could have had. For dinner, I made creamed kale & a delicious beef stiry-fry with pea sprouts and a amino acid marinade (which was amazing and definitely worth doing again). One glass of red wine.
I know, through extensive study of this site, that I can get back on track & that I shouldn't waste too much time on guilt. Here's my plea, though. I do so well on my own, but I have a vastly more difficult time finding primal choices when I'm traveling or out for an evening. Does anyone have any great advice? What about road-trip-like adventures? With our speech team, we do a lot of traveling that seems like road-tripping & it's difficult to get in my two cents when there are 20 teenagers with us. Sometimes the most time- & cost-effective choices are not the most primal.
It's so funny (and unfortunate) how a one-night screw up can make you feel like you just undid a month's worth of work. I totally hear you, I'm coming back from that myself.
Traveling and eating out are SO much harder than I thought they would be. Luckily my husband is really trying to become more primal- and naturally gravitates toward fats and proteins over carbs anyway- so at least when we're trying to decide where to go I'm not having to fight the "but I want pasta" battle. It sounds like if you're traveling with your team that could really be an issue; if the majority decides they want Italian food, as an example.
What I've found is that almost every restaurant either offers or will happily make me a BAS with some kind of protein on it. If they don't have a salad on the standard menu that works, I'll kind of scan to see what components they offer on other dishes that they could likewise throw on a salad (avocado, seared tuna, bacon, etc.). And I've always been able to get some olive oil and balsamic on the side, too.
That's my emergency go-to. I feel weird asking a server forty questions about how a complicated menu item is prepared; I know some people don't, and that's great, but it's not the server's fault that everything in the kitchen is cooked in canola oil. Unless you're in a really upscale place (and I'm guessing that's out when traveling with the school) asking the kitchen to fundamentally change the way they cook a menu staple just doesn't seem realistic and/or trustworthy to me.
So protein rich salads. Dependable, adaptable, easy, good for you. Oh, and grass fed beef jerky is a great portable snack.
Great advice, Cosima. Like you, I hate doing my Sally impression at restaurants (When Harry Met Sally): "Waiter, I'll begin with a house salad, but I don't want the regular dressing. I'll have the balsamic vinegar and oil, but on the side. And then the salmon with the mustard sauce, but I want the mustard sauce on the side." But, like Sally, I just want things how I want them.
Have had a rough few days. I'm unmotivated and blue. Haven't gone grocery shopping in a while, so I'm living off of the almond butter, eggs, tilapia and wine I have lying around. Not very inspiring. School doesn't start until next Tuesday, the BF is still out of town, and all I've really had going on is the continued "settling in" after my move. These have been very good excuses to hole myself in and watch two seasons of True Blood.
I did make it out for a 45-minute bike ride yesterday. I expected to do the same today, but . . . I just got stuck. Just caught in a spiral of self-loathing, compounded by the fact that I have a wedding to attend on Saturday, a wedding where my ex-boyfriend will also be in attendance, a wedding where I will feel self-conscious because I will be alone, chubby and super pale since I've lost my summer tan.
I intend to do a better job of snapping out of this disgusting funk tomorrow. I've decided that I'm going to start the day with a hike - just what I need to regain a bit of perspective. With the summer coming to a close, I need to get into my mountainous backyard while I can.
Yes, the hike did the trick. I felt infinitely better today. Took me an hour to hike in and about a half an hour to hike out. Today, it was hard to hike slowly enough to keep my heart rate low, but I suspect that's because there's a bit of an elevation gain on this hike. Here are the stats for the area:
Apex Gulch Trail
Total distance: 4.2 (I probably did 3/4)
Elevation gain: 960 feet
Interesting fact: The Apex Trail almost became a major travel artery during the settlement of Colorado, but lost out to Mt. Vernon Road, which is now I-70.
I'm going to try to post some photos. They were taken with my iPhone, so they don't do the scenery justice, but they give an idea.
Stats for nutrition were:
B: 3 egg cheesy omelet w/ (too many) green onions
L: not much, just a couple slices of Braunschweiger (pretty primal, though this brand has nitrates)
D: BAS - mixed greens, deli slices of chicken & roast beef, shredded monterey jack cheese, sunflower seeds, Bragg's dressing
S: (OK - this is one of those weird ones . . . I just had a strange craving) about two tablespoons of almond butter, one tablespoon of honey, 1/3 cup of HWC, all mixed together
Sleep was OK last night. Been having some odd dreams about haunted houses. But I got in about 8.5 hours, so that's good.
Tomorrow, I hope to get up early for a yoga class & then spend a few hours cleaning. And then off to the dreaded wedding!
Last edited by Jenimc75; 08-13-2010 at 10:45 PM.