Over the last year or so I have been quite interested in the primal blueprint lifestyle. In that time I have practiced the Primal laws with to varying levels of strictness. Since I have started I have yet to backtrack. The only changes I have made since I started about a year ago have moved me closer towards the primal ideal. In this post I was hoping to tell a little about myself, and the extent to which I follow the PB, and in return would appreciate any feedback.
Currently I am an 18 year old male, 5'5", and 130 lbs. I have been interested in health, fitness and nutrition for quite a long time. While my original reasons for interest were decidedly vain in nature, I have since realized that any desire to "look good" would be achieved by an overall healthy lifestyle. With that being said, I believe one of the best indicators of a healthy lifestyle is a consistently improving body composition. Personally, the hardest thing for me in following the PB is uncertainty. As an active child with intelligent parents I have always been physically fit. While this is certainly a good thing, it also raises the question of "am I doing the right thing now?" I lived almost my entire life eating an above average version of the typical American diet. As a child I rarely ate processed foods, or foods with excess sugar such as soda. With that being said, I ate my fair share of pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, corn, and fruit juice. Even though I ate these "bad" foods I managed to stay in above average shape. If I could eat such a diet for 16 plus years and not see any negative results, than how can I tell if what I am doing now is working?
Since starting my journey into the primal lifestyle, I have yet to see any truly noticeable improvements in my body composition. My overall composition has not markedly changed from the days in which I thought grains and sugar was expectable. My biggest problem right now is that I feel that since I have no way of telling if things are working, I have to get more and more strict. Right now I would assess myself at roughly 80% primal. Since I am still in high school and the only one in my family practicing the PB finances are tight. A lot of the food I eat I end up buying for myself, so as a result I can not always afford organic or grass fed products. My weekly diet revolves around the following. Vegetables: Leaf lettuce, spinach, string beans, peppers, onions, cucumbers, broccoli, carrots. Fruit: Berries, apples, oranges, bananas. Meat: Eggs, Bacon(Not great quality), chicken, canned tuna, corn fed ground beef, ham. Nuts/seeds: Almonds, cashews, walnuts. Other: Almond butter, EVOO, coconut flour, butter, assorted seasonings. Roughly 95% of the time I eat foods exclusively from this list. The last 5% comes from primal deviations; Ice Cream, Ezekiel bread, Home made cookies... I these deviations perhaps four to five times a week. By combining such a diet with PB fitness should I be seeing noticeable changes in my body composition? Since I have yet to see changes, I feel guilty when I sabotage myself and eat something non-primal because I feel that in order to truly see if the PB is working, I have to follow it 100%. If I don't than any deviation could be the cause of not seeing any improvement.
I realize that this is an extremely long post, I was just looking for some feedback as to how I am doing so far and how I can determine if what I am doing is working. Is it possible to feel great and create an exceptional physique through the lifestyle I live? If anything does not make sense, I would be happy to clarify it.
If you've always been physically fit, I wouldn't expect dramatic changes in body composition. And given your comparatively young age, the fact that you rarely ate processed foods or sugary stuff while growing up likely protected you from overt or severe consequences of metabolic syndrome.
I posted recently about my lipid results, but I think you'll find my friend's more interesting:
Nutshell version, his profile is picture perfect despite the fact that he still eats grains, sugar and processed/fast foods a few times a month. From the sound of it you're doing great, and I wouldn't sweat the last 20% -- just let it come naturally, if it's going to. As far as determining whether what you're doing is "working", you could get some medical tests done (short list follows), but that would be more helpful if you had previous results to compare them to...and since you're already doing mostly everything right, the only thing bad numbers are going to do is encourage negative thinking. Like someone else said, what are you going to do if the tests come back bad -- start doing things wrong just to try something different?
The tests most worth getting, IMO:
- NMR or VAP lipoprofile (true cholesterol measurements including size and density pattern)
- HbA1c (stability of blood sugar over time)
- 25(OH)D3 (blood level of vitamin D)
If you end up having any oof those done, the good folks here can help you interpret the results.