Hi, I'm 30 years young, have some autoimmune disorders, and I am starting the 21-day primal challenge (with the intentions of keeping it going for a lifetime). I also have big curly hair, two dogs, and a love of ethnic foods.
I tried my best to avoid a paleo type plan for a year, I really did. It kept popping up everywhere online when I searched for treatment of my painful joints, bad fatigue, and bizarre hairloss. Give up rice and noodles? Pfft! Never! Finally, after 6 months straight of chronic bronchitis (which now gave me asthma), plus still feeling fatigued after taking 3 thyroid pills a day, I took the paleo plunge in late July 2013. I also eliminated anything that would contribute to gut inflammation like NSAIDs (an autoimmune person's security blanket) and antibiotics.
Wow, what a difference in 3 weeks. All my chronic inflammation related issues reduced including joint pains, bursitis, severe menstrual cramps, and asthma symptoms. I lost 8lbs of inflammation to be exact- went from 169-161lbs. I no longer need to take 2 antihistamines and carry around an asthma inhaler. Sadly, a stressful month long project threw me off the healing path, and here I am again, starting over on September 16th, still feeling better than I did pre-paleo.
So why am I starting the primal challenge? Because just a paleo diet is an incomplete answer for me. Food alone isn't going to heal my issues because I need to manage my stress levels, that's my real killer right there. I recently read "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers", and kept on reading Mark's articles in the archives. Even though I tried to avoid the man (and all his Malibu pictures), I found myself doing additional research on barefooting, forest bathing, lifting heavy things, sun bathing and walking. Then I started researching fermented food, gut health, and sleep management. Mark made too much damn sense and I found myself drawn to the blueprint more than the other Paleo only guru sites.
The Primal lifestyle mimics what I used to do as a child growing up in a tropical country. I was in the sun all day, climbed trees for hours, was always barefoot (most Asian cultures don't allow shoes in the house), ate hella coconut, fish, and Asian veggies, and slept with the moon. I moved to the U.S. when I was 9 and quickly became a latch-key kid with a deep stash of microwavable dinners for all my meals. I don't think I ate veggies from that period on until now. I didn't learn to cook till I was 28. Add in a high stress job and eating out every day, it is no wonder that I ended up with autoimmune issues.
So here is to a true primal lifestyle start despite a high stress job and a lazy thyroid. I have my grassfed meat, my FitbitZip, and my Vibrams (that I bought a year ago cause shoes hurt me, I was meant to be primal). I'm locked, loaded and ready to roll!:
- Sunlight: I've got to learn to leave my desk for lunch. Will go and expose my ashy legs by the water fountain for 15 mins a day. I know I need to do it longer cause I'm brown skinned, but hey, let's start with some small, manageable goals.
- Move slow: Joined a walking club on the weekends through MeetUp.com this week . Will slap on some lavender oil for the mosquitoes and see how long I last for my Sunday walk with the group. I've been tracking my steps on my fitbit and I tend to walk around 5-6k steps every weekday, but only 3k steps on the weekends.
- Lifting weights twice a week: I know you only reap the real benefits by lifting 3 times a week, but I'm so out of shape and still have so much chronic inflammation that my body soreness and fatigue takes longer to heal than others. I did dead lifts, squats, and bench press Monday. I'm thinking about doing the StrongLifts program.
-Play: this is my weakness, I have such a long, hectic work schedule, once I get home, I just usually do my chores, walk and feed the dogs, and then lay down (this is what us hypothyroids like to do, we like to chill). I don't even watch TV, I just lay, reflect, and read read read. I do feel that I need to get back into a hobby, but don't know if I have the time or energy yet.
-Sprinting: to be scheduled in the future once left knee bursitis goes down some more
-Sleeping: This is the easiest to do, but the least likely to get done. I need to set an alarm to get ready for bed by 10 so that I fall asleep at 10:30, which gives me exactly 8 hours to sleep. As I write this, it is 10:25 pm now, so I need to end this entry!
I will do so by leaving a pic of me at Malibu last fall. I was looking for Mark barefoot running or doing lunges with water containers, but alas, he must have been paddleboarding off in a distance somewhere.
You have some great goals here. I have thyroid issues, also. I just wanted to suggest not getting caught up in the mindset of "I have to lift X times per week". You have to figure out what works best for you, especially if you have to manage stress. I am older than you (47) and I have doing well lifting once per week. I wish I could do it more frequently, but for now I concentrate on walking daily. Good luck to you!
As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again.