Chilling out in low light this evening, having completed day 14 of the challenge! I do feel so much better for it - less energy highs and lows, less sleepiness during the day, no more restless legs at night, no more struggling at the gym through overtraining. These things alone make me want to continue beyond the end of the challenge.
I did make it to the gym on time this morning, and I did indeed wake up during the night and read for a while. I felt fine in the morning, and i'm going to continue to explore the idea of two-phase sleep. One big improvement is that I didn't feel sleepy today after a weightlifting session in the morning - usually I come home and nap for several hours afterwards and waste the day.
Here goes for the last week of the challenge then ...
Last edited by Warrahooyargh; 09-29-2013 at 12:49 PM.
Reason: I spel gud
Feeling good this evening, I'm still enjoying the challenge and feel content and relaxed after a productive day. I got out for a walk in the sunshine late this afternoon, which was great - we're not usually this lucky with weather in the UK at this time of year. I've moved my work stuff into the conservatory so that I can get more light during the day - perhaps that'll help with adjusting to a more natural day/night schedule. As of this morning I've lost another half-kilo or so, so weight loss is proceeding as described in the Primal Blueprint book.
I want to start looking into primal recipes now, as I've just about got used to cooking meat again, at least in a very simple style. I do enjoy very simple meals, but it'd be nice to broaden my repertoire a bit now.
Not long to go now until the end of the Challenge, although to be honest I don't feel remotely as if I'm undertaking some feat of endurance and counting the hours until it's over. I've never felt better, and I intend to continue to try to live according to Primal principles after Sunday. I'm eating my fill at every meal and enjoying my meals, losing weight, staying awake and alert through the day and maintaining a nice level of energy without any highs and lows. If anyone is reading this and wondering whether to try a future challenge, I'd say definitely give it a go.
The biggest lifestyle change for me has been eating meat and fish again, after many years as a vegetarian. I have to concede, reluctantly, that something must have been missing - I've never felt so good in all the years as a veggie as I do now. I was probably eating far too many carbs, which can't have helped, but even trying to eat primally and remain vegetarian didn't produce the results that eating meat has. Obviously it's a personal choice that each individual must make alone, but quality of life is very important to me for reasons too complicated to explain here, and I'm now enjoying a quality of life each day that I don't think I've experienced before. I'm very grateful for this website and for the work that Mark puts into it. Really.
So the last day of the challenge is drawing to an end here in the UK! And I've made it! It's been a really good experience for me, and one that I hope to continue - realistically I know I'll lapse sooner or later, but now I know I can feel really good on a primal diet and hopefully that'll help me to stay on the straight and narrow. So what did I learn?
- Holy ****, meat is expensive! As a long-time vegetarian, my food bills went up quite sharply. I had *no idea* how much meat cost, and that's not even always buying grass-fed, humanely reared, organic, etc. Organic food generally tends to be more expensive than conventionally grown stuff in the UK, although the price difference has narrowed in recent years somewhat for vegetables at least. It's set me wondering why good food should be so expensive and therefore unaffordable for so many families on a limited budget. The conventional American diet Mark talks about in his book is very much prevalent in Britain, and it's understandable - supermarkets are stuffed full of carb-heavy, cheap, sweet foods. For some bizarre reason my local supermarket (Tesco) is stocked with poor quality foods with little choice, even though it's an enormous physical space, much of which isn't used. I suspect it's actually a loss-making store which Tesco prefer to cling on to rather than relinquish it to a competitor. Supermarket politics is weird. I'll be further investigating other options including the local butcher, although I'm a complete noob about what cuts of meat to ask for and haven't plucked up the courage to go in yet!
- The biggest change for me was leaving vegetarianism behind. I am astonished to find I feel much better for eating meat. The changed breakdown of macronutrients might be playing a part as well, but eating meat and fish must have contributed to improving my general sense of well being. I have enjoyed eating flesh more than I thought I would, and will continue to do so, preferably from humanely reared sources. I've been donating to Compassion in World Farming in the UK for a few years now, and I'll be reading their materials more closely in future to learn more about where my meat comes from.
- I'm doing less at the gym, not more. It feels completely counter-intuitive, but I'm having time to rest properly in between sessions and hopefully I'm getting a little stronger. I'm curious to see how I'm doing at CrossFit by the end of the year!
- My weight has come down, and it hasn't felt as if I've been on a diet. I've eaten very well, sometimes some quite indulgent stuff, and my clothes are fitting better. I'm hoping to lose a little more and keep it off long-term.
- I'm training as a court reporter, and have been slogging through that training for four-and-a-half years now, often feeling foggy and unable to focus. Since starting the challenge I have felt more alert and able to concentrate, and my writing speed has begun to improve. It's a career field where you really need to be in good shape, and I think this could be the area where primal living has the biggest impact for me. I suspect that it will enable me to complete my training more rapidly than I might otherwise have done, and hopefully it will help me survive the rigours of the job once I'm out there. That's a hugely significant change and one I'm very grateful for.
So a big thank you to Mark for all the advice on the site and in The Primal Blueprint - the challenge has been a great experience and I hope other people have benefited from it too!