Primal Journal: Catherine (Goal: leaner, faster, stronger)
I am a 52 year old woman who loves mountain biking, cycling, and high intensity training – all of which I’ve taken up in the last couple of years - the higher intensity training is the newest.
After reading articles and books about Paleo/Primal for a time, I finally decided almost 3 weeks ago to go Primal for one week. That went pretty well! I immediately dropped 3 pounds which I think was simply water from the sudden dropping of all grains in my diet. Went to a mountain biking/camping event for a weekend, and when I came home decided to try a 30 day experiment going Primal.
My ultimate goal with this? To get leaner, faster, stronger and more durable - I've been prone to over-use injuries after too many sedentary decades. I am now barely 130 pounds & have too much abdominal fat. My lower body is very strong, my upper body…isn’t. I am, however, taking steps to take care of that imbalance. My group trainer recommended The Primal Blueprint and I really like this forum so here I am. I think starting this journal will help me through this process as I get started, and really appreciate the chance to do this.
Today is day 8 of my 30 day experiment/challenge:
B: 2 slices uncured bacon, 2 pasture raised eggs + 1 egg white scrambled with spinach and mushrooms (cooked in coconut oil), 1 cup whole organic milk, coffee
1 hour (6am!) group training session that featured everything from bosu core work to kettlebell swings, to pushups, rowing and burpees
S: macadamia nuts, coconut water
L: organic mixed greens salad with 4 oz turkey breast, mushrooms, tomato, carrots, blueberries, extra virgin olive oil + fresh lemon juice dressing
S: celery + almond butter with crushed flax seeds
D: (planned) more turkey breast, bok choy and broccoli sautéed in coconut oil, more organic mixed greens, strawberries with coconut milk for dessert.
Calorie intake is still a bit lower than it should be, but it isn't bad an today I hit my target as I really need to be at 2k calories on a hard workout day, which this was. My carb intake appears to be averaging around 80 over the past 8 days and I still feel pretty good – but I have felt my energy levels getting a bit low this weekend when mountain biking and at another group workout at my gym. I try to eat well BEFORE my workouts, which has always served me well.
If there are any obvious holes apparent in my nutrition please point them out. I didn't really feel like I needed the afternoon snack but I've a problem getting enough calories if I don't. I can only eat so much at a meal. My average macro-nutrient splits for the last week has been:
57% (100.9 grams) fat, 16% (64.4 grams) carb, 27% (105.5 grams) protein (average for the last 7 days)
Today: Calories: 1,934: Fat 125.7 grams (57%), carbs 76.2 grams (15%), and Protein 134.1 grams (27%)
Last edited by Catrin; 08-28-2012 at 04:40 PM.
I am amazed at how much better I feel after I eat in the short time since I started going Primal. I had no idea that I actually enjoy eating vegetables, and my digestive system started working better almost immediately. Personally I don't care if I lose weight, I am only 6 pounds from my goal. I am far more concerned with leaning out, increasing strength, mobility, and endurance.
This morning's breakfast:
2 slices uncured bacon
3 eggs scrambled with greens and mushrooms
a couple of strawberries
cup whole milk
Today is a rest day, sort of. Planning to play on the bike tonight for an easy recovery ride - get out there and smell some fresh air, feel the wind, de-stress from the day. Riding and mountain biking IS play for me, though sometimes it becomes rather energetic play
I do intend on dropping milk entirely at some point but I want to make certain that I am getting enough calcium from veggies first. I've read Mark on this, as well as information from The Paleo Diet - but this is the last thing that I will change as I want to make sure... I am probably over-thinking this. Only 1 cup whole milk a day now rather than the 3-4 glasses skim milk before.
I am looking forward to trying beef for the first time in 4 years. Not out of some moral aversion to eating cows, I just noticed a few years back that I felt MUCH better if I didn't. Of course it wasn't organic/grass fed beef, and considering the price difference between grass-fed beef and pasture-raised poultry I will still probably not eat beef all that often.
Last edited by Catrin; 08-28-2012 at 06:05 AM.
Since I've a group training session tomorrow morning, and I took tomorrow off work as a treat to go either mountain bike or road ride - depending on how my legs feel - today is a true rest day. My bikes sit in the corner twinkling at me, they want to go for a ride...and so do I! My legs forget they do need breaks however, and tomorrow will go much better if I let them rest tonight. I did go for a nice slow walk after dinner however and just enjoyed the sunshine and breeze.
Had a great group training session this morning and followed it up with some heavy leg presses. Took the day off of work to play on my bike and enjoy the beautiful weather! I've a good amount of time off to use and decided to use some of it Waiting a couple of hours to give my legs a little chance to recover from the earlier efforts.
This morning I mixed up my usual bacon/eggs/spinach and went with some left over grass-fed ground beef/eggs/greens. I guess that wasn't SO different, but it was yummy. Weight is still rock solid stable since initially loosing 3 lbs that first week and I am not complaining about that. My final goal is in my journal title, and my weight is so close to my target that I really am not concerned about it. Right now I need to focus on changing my body composition/leaning out.
This is day 10 of my 30-day experiment and I've already noted a couple of things:
1. My system is far more, ahem, regular since ditching all of those grains and non-fat dairy. My reading told me to expect that but it certainly goes against conventional wisdom. Of course, I've added a LOT more veggies...problem solved
2. Energy fluctuations. My carb intake has been cut from ~180-200 grams down to 70-80 grams. So far I've not noticed an appreciable difference in my energy levels outside of one or two instances during a heavy group workout on Sunday. Obviously my body is still adjusting, but this is an interesting process. We will see how my hill-climbing bike ride goes in an hour or so. Still working out bike nutrition and am determined to not resort to the energy blocks and bars that I did before if at all possible.
If anyone is reading this other than me - does everyone normally go through some sort of carb flu? I am trying to prepare myself for this - but so far so good. My diet was clean of most sugar and no processed foods before starting this process - though of course I was consuming grains and LOTS of non-fat dairy.
Last edited by Catrin; 08-29-2012 at 06:59 AM.
Ok, I need to get better about posting my food choices here. Right now my meals aren't changing a whole lot, but that is ok. I've also been forced to try some new foods. I am finding it difficult to get enough carbs - as active as I am I DON'T need to have an average carb intake of < 60!
B: 3 eggs sauteed with spinach and mushrooms, coffee
1 hour intense group training session - I hit the leg press machine afterwards
14 ounce Muscle Milk (I know this isn't especially good for me but didn't have much of a choice)
45 minute easy bike ride a couple of hours later
L: Lots of baby mixed greens topped with 4 ounces grass-fed ground beef and a bit of olive oil (need to go shopping)
D: 1 tin Sardines in olive oil, olives and red peppers (never had sardines before!), roasted kale chips - roasted them in coconut oil as an experiment. 1/4 small honey dew melon. 1 cup organic whole milk
Calories: 2,002 (met my hard workout day goal)
Breakdown: Fat 156.1g (66%), Carbs 67.5g (13%), Protein 115.6g (22%)
My fat intake needs to drop just a bit and carbs need to increase a bit. Especially for hard workout days I really want to get between 80-95 grams of carbs - this is a challenge right now. The only reason I got as high as 13% was I ate the melon at dinner, they need to be more evenly distributed.
Catrin, I don't know what you mean by carb flu (english is not my first language), but like you reported, my energy levels have dropped a quite bit after dropping rice and pasta from my diet. Hope it's just some sort of readjusting phase.
By the way, how do you count your Fat/Carbs/Protein each day? I wanted to do it, but have no idea how.
My energy levels overall are better and more consistent since dropping all grains and beans from my diet. "Carb flu" I've heard use to refer to that time period in which our body has to become fat-burning adjusted and that apparently causes fatigue and so forth until the body adjusts. I've had a few fluctuations in my heavier workouts - but that appears to be settling down nicely I have, however, just learned that I've not yet cut my carbs low enough. As a small woman, I really need to cut it back more than a larger man would - like Mark. While I did grumble at the unfairness of that it does actually make sense.
As far as calorie/nutrient counting, I use an application on my phone called "Lose It!". I've used it for the past 3 years since I started work to reverse diabetes 2 and found it quite effective. I need the accountability to keep me honest with myself. The initial database is pretty decent, but you can also add custom foods and recipes - AND copy foods and entire meals over to a new day without having to re-enter anything. Hopefully Paleotrack will soon have that feature - I am too spoiled by that to move to another program that doesn't do that. Lose It! also has a website and you can track things there if you don't have/want to use a smart phone.
Breakfast: 1 slice uncured bacon, 3 eggs scrambled in coconut oil and spinach. 1 cup whole milk (hoping to find some whole fat organic Greek yogurt to replace this with). 4 small strawberries
L: 3 cups mixed baby greens, 1 roasted chicken breast, carrots, mushrooms, 1 tbls. extra virgin olive oil, and 1/2 of a medium orange
S: medium boiled egg, 1 small celery stick with a bit of almond butter w/flax seeds
40 minute hard workout with some stretching/walking beforehand (burned 450 calories according to HRM)
D: 2 small roasted chicken legs (with skins haven't done THAT in years), sauteed baby kale, 1/8 honey dew melon for dessert.
Totals for the day: 1,618 - too low for workout day
Fat 101.8 grams (57%)
Protein 118.1 grams (29%)
Carbs 57.2 grams (14%)
I need to increase the fat quite a bit, lower the protein and carbs. I am nervous about lowering the protein though, especially with my activity level as it is (which is lower than it WAS).
Yesterday was a pretty good day! I started out with a nice bike ride with a friend, we did 23 easy miles. Wanted to go further but rain was threatening so we called it good at 23 miles. I didn't feel the need to eat anything during/afterwards which is as it should have been. Not so long ago I would have immediately eaten a banana or chocolate milk + a few chips. I didn't even think about that for a few hours when I was eating lunch.
Breakfast: 2 slices uncured bacon, 3 eggs sauteed with spinach and mushrooms, coffee with half and half
Lunch: roasted chicken breast, field greens salad with mushrooms, tomato, broccoli, onion and dressed with extra virgin olive oil + juice from 1/2 lemon
1 hour gym workout - had a few frozen blueberries with coconut cream poured over them when I got home
Dinner: 2 thin pork loin chops fried in coconut oil, sauteed bok choy and kale, 1/2 avocado, 1 boiled egg
Fat 144.6g (63%), Carbs 68.8 (13%) Protein 122.6 g (24%)
Carbs are still too high but working on getting them below 50.