Primal Challenge Journal (Shebajc)
I can only think of one time in my life, post-puberty, that I did not hate how I looked and felt physically. At that time I ate a lot of salads and trail mix, drank a lot of water, and walked everywhere I went. I also spent a good bit of my time chasing my young children around and playing with them. Sound familiar? Yeah.
The past few years I've moved closer and closer toward a primal lifestyle. It seems I'm already doing most of the plan, without officially going primal. Why not just go all in and give it a shot? I have some health issues, but they shouldn't get in the way. I'm hopeful, if this primal thing is all everyone says, my health issues might actually improve.
EAT REAL FOOD
So many influences have brought me here. My sister is not primal, but she is a firm believer in whole foods. She makes her own everything from scratch. Conversations with her and research on my own brought me over to the whole food camp, but I have no desire to be handy in the kitchen. This meant, for me, whole foods did not include homemade pasta, bread, or any fancy recipe. I can do simple stuff, but mostly what I cook is "throw everything into a pot and hope for the best." That's if I even throw it into a pot. It's not unusual for me to eat chicken sans veggies or sauce, or a pepper as if it were an apple.
I have an auto-immune disease, a symptom of which is water retention and swelling in my legs/ankles. I gave up gluten because I heard that was supposed to help reduce the inflammation. I say I gave up gluten as if I just walked away from it one day, but it was a long journey to string several days and weeks together, gluten free. I still backslide (like on vacation over Labor Day week) and it usually takes me a week or two to get back to healthy eating. Giving up other grains has also been a challenge, though not as difficult as that first gluten-free step.
I've given up sugar a few times, based on strong evidence that I'm addicted to the stuff. I'm not certain which is worse for my swelling actually, since both grains and sugar appear to aggravate my symptoms. When I backslide from gluten or grain-free, it's almost always because I'm backsliding from sugar free as well.
ALIGN YOUR CARB INTAKE WITH YOUR WEIGHT GOALS AND ACTIVITY LEVELS
This is where part of me balks. I'm a carb addict, a late night eater who doesn't always eat for hunger. I've been overweight for almost 20 years now, and nothing I've tried has gotten me down more than 5 or 10 lbs. I'm hoping this challenge, and maybe some community support, can help me over the hurdle until I can find a sustainable food plan that achieves my weight goals.
MOVE FREQUENTLY AT A SLOW PACE
I run, because it's the only exercise I've ever stuck with longer than a few weeks or months. I have a goal of ultimately running an ultra marathon. I'm ok with running distance on Mark's plan, because I am not in any way fast, and prefer not to push myself to run faster. I'm happy getting the distance in, plodding along at my own pace.
LIFT HEAVY THINGS
They say men like to lift and women like cardio. Mostly I run, but I've recently started adding more upper body weight training. I also started doing pushups every day. They're not as deep as I'd like, but they are not on my knees any more either. I'm up to sets of 12 real push-ups, done randomly throughout the day with a goal of beating yesterday's number. Today the number to beat is 70. I can't yet do a pull-up, but I play with my pull-up bar daily, too.
This one I haven't done recently. I used to incorporate speed work into my training, but I'm happier just plodding along. Also, I have a tendency to overdo, and speed work exacerbates some issues I have in my back. That said, I'm adding one morning of tentative speed work back in - no more than 2 miles, which includes warm up and cool down - once a week. If it doesn't work for me, I'll take it out again.
GET 8 HOURS OF SLEEP A NIGHT
Not everyone needs 8 hours of sleep, but I am a big believer in going to bed when I'm tired and waking up without an alarm clock. That doesn't happen every day, but it does happen more days than not. The goal is always to make today better than yesterday.
I'll have to work on this one as well. I play in my garden, I go out and play with my friends at karaoke occasionally, but I certainly don't play on a daily basis.
Today answers the question WHY.
Why do I never lose weight? Why do I find it so difficult to stay grain and sugar free?
Because I go out to eat on a regular basis, and I allow myself one bite. One bite always leads to many, many more bites.
Mexican. Every Friday we go out to Mexican. I've tried changing the restaurant. I've tried not going it. It's friend's night out though, so not going week after week is not an option. I did pretty well for a while, resisting the chips, getting meals without the rice and beans sides. I ordered a meal without the rice and beans side today. I also ate far too many chips, then had ice cream to boot.
I think the real problem is I don't really know how much food I need on a daily basis. I'm not so much counting calories, but in tracking my protein and carbs yesterday I couldn't help but notice I came in right about 1500 calories. Protein and carbs were both under the percentages I'd set. Of course, this is all relative and estimated. None of these numbers are hard and 100% accurate.
I went to bed last night a little hungry. Not starving, and I didn't wake up starving either. I did however wake up after only 5 hours, and couldn't get back to sleep. I wasn't thirsty. Just a little hungry. Just a small, niggling hunger. Not enough to make me get out of bed, but apparently enough to keep me awake.
I finally got up around 6:30 and puttered around with my morning routine. Did some pushups. Got some laundry and dishes done. Got ready and left for work. I didn't eat until almost 10. Intermittent fasting is supposed to be good, right? You're only supposed to eat when hungry, right? My problem has always been, I don't really know what hunger is. I think I do, but how can I be only slightly hungry completely overnight, into the morning, and not really hungry until 10am?
Does really hungry feel like you need to eat now or you're going to be sick? Or your stomach is going to eat it's way out of you? Does it affect your head and sinuses? Does it go away when you drink water? Does it go away at all, if you ignore it?
My problem did not start when I let myself have a bite of chips. My problem started when I went through all the food I'd brought to work, about 2/3 the protein and carbs I'd allotted for the day, and I still wasn't satisfied. I didn't necessarily feel hungry. I didn't necessarily feel full. I just wanted more... something. I'd hidden in a conference room all day, away from the donuts my manager brought in, but it only took a few moments after noticing the candy bars in the coffee room to decide a dark chocolate candy bar was primal. Yeah, right.
I was hungry and thirsty on the way home. I had a couple macadamias, then Superman and I walked to the restaurant. I didn't even balk a little at the chips. I didn't think about it. I just dove in as soon as they were in front of me. Then I ate probably a full basket by myself.
So where did this slippery slope begin, and how do I catch the warning flags to prevent it from happening again? Should I have gone to the cafeteria for a burger or salad? I did not have any salad or veggies today, until dinner. That definitely would have been the better choice, over chocolate. I don't know if it would have stopped the chip binge. Maybe.
All I can do is pick up the pieces and start again. Tomorrow is another day, blah blah blah.
I know primal is the answer for me. I know sugar free and grain free are the key. I just have to figure out how to convince the part of me that so often just doesn't care. The spoiled child in me that wants what I want, when I want it, damn the consequences and full speed ahead.