Hi: I'd originally posted this in the "Meet and Greet" section, but it probably belongs here. MDA has certainly made the definitive transition possible for my own health and fitness.
I am 46, male, based in Pune, India. I work as an automobile designer in an interesting but sometimes stressful workplace.
I started trawling through online health and fitness resources about 20 months ago, after finding that a desk job and poorly controlled eating had resulted in my weight expanding to nearly 200 pounds, for a height of 5' 6", and mildly elevated blood pressure.
Sure, there was a lot of the standard health advice - saturated fat is bad for you, eat a carb-based diet (most food across regions in India is seriously carb-heavy anyway). I chose to avoid sugar and eat more fish, and added weekend hill hikes, daily walking and some bicycle commuting to my routine. I didn't ever get into the chronic-cardio-treadmill-gerbil paradigm; even the thought was depressingly boring. I didn't make any attempts to give up grains then - though most of those carbs came from white rice. Also, I didn't deliberately avoid omega-6 intake (this can be alarmingly high in India, what with the intense media promotion given to safflower and sunflower oils as "heart healthy").
I did run into the MDA site at that time, and found it to be a very competently-written blog, but the food suggestions, then, seemed a little - er - dangerously radical. After all, didn't all the "experts" say - avoid saturated fat?
In one year, I managed to drop over 20 pounds of belly fat. Then, in August 2011, I realised I had plataeued, and was at the risk of gaining it all back again. While I had achieved what I thought were decent levels of fitness and activity, there was always a background fear that, yes, I could lose all that and become seriously overweight again despite the consistent exercise.
It was evident that a major dietary change was required if I was to even sustain the weight I had achieved already. I started again with MDA, and went on to read a large proportion of the online low-carb compendium of information. And, I decided to implement new, more primal, food and lifestyle rules this time around.
So the grains had to go, finally. No more rice, no potatoes, very limited fruit, not even token bites of anyone's birthday cake or from the odd restaurant bread basket, absolutely no sweetened drinks, and no sunflower/safflower oil.
And yes - more meat (fresh goat in India is pastured and can be cooked easily), at least 10 daily servings of colourful vegetables, more eggs, ghee and coconut oil, and occasional helpings of quality cheese and dark chocolate. Regular fish, and a daily dose of cod-liver oil.
Lifestyle changes included: cooking almost all meals at home, some free weights and bodyweight exercises twice a week, sprinting spontaneously during the morning walk, climbing those weekend hills more aggressively, focusing on proper sleep, taking frequent breaks from desk work, and generally supplementing more relaxation into life.
I didn't do this overnight, but phased into it over a month or so. This may have mitigated any "low-carb flu" effects - I didn't feel particularly off the rails at any point.
And the results:
- I lost another 20-odd pounds - in two months - while actually gaining some upper-body musculature
- My energy level and stamina increased substantially - I can now complete my weekend hill
climbs in 30% less time than before
- Productivity at work shot up dramatically, with enough energy at the end of the day to
go for a long walk, work on my other interests and generally relax without feeling fatigued
- Joint flexibility increased substantially
Primal really works.
Of course, I have to fend off anxious queries from people who are seeing me after a few months - "are you sure you're okay?" "Have you been sick?" etc. When I tell them (or they observe) that I am actually fitter than I've been in years, they ask - how?
I send them the MDA link. I don't know how many of them will actually read through it and take up even a few of the ideas, particularly in India, where "authoritative" medical information on low-carb approaches is hard to come by and adherence to "traditional-vegetarian" diets is a large-scale cultural obligation. I mean, yeah, you can read it all on the Internet, but then your respected family doctors, along with centuries of (post-neolithic!) ancestral wisdom, can't be wrong, can they?
People in urban India, particularly the more well-off ones, need to wake up. We are already on the brink of a major health disaster which will see a rapidly-expanding epidemic of heart trouble and diabetes. I can imagine the spiralling negative impact on a demographic profile which essentially powers India's remarkable growth story.
Anyway, a special thank you to Mark, for influencing positive change in so many people.
Last edited by Jayant S; 12-08-2011 at 03:50 AM.
I'm too stubborn to give up so I keep on trying.
You're never going to get to the top of the stairs if you don't walk up them.
This is an amazing story and congratulations to you, Jayant! I started my journey in earnest over the past couple months and would like to see similar fitness-based progress (wish I could find some hills!). I recently read about how diabetes is skyrocketing in India (just like in America)--maybe you can bring the word there of "low-carb" and use your own progress to market it! Good luck staying healthy!
"There is a cruelty in life which we must accept with stoicism as the inevitable." -Mizora