Congratulations to everyone who is participating in the Primal Challenge. If you have any questions or would like to connect with other challenge participants hit us up with a comment.
Here is a brief synopsis of our more vocal challenge particpants’ results for week 3 followed by their own full accounts:
Nkem: Stayed the course with nutrition. Work got in the way of exercise. 2 lbs lost for a total of 14.5 lbs over the course of 3 weeks! Energy levels are back to normal.
Alexandra: Stood up to peer pressure. Got sucked into eating a mystery egg bake that was more bake than egg. Indulged in planned Sensible Vices. Gave IF a try. Does not crave sweets, feels satisfied with less food, and feels more in tune with her body.
Kara: Weekend eating habits were tricky. Saw push-up success. A lot of low-level aerobic activity. Let hunger guide her decision to eat. Made intelligent, no-guilt Sensible Vice choices. Down 5 lbs in 3 weeks – lowest she’s been in her adult life.
Brian: Being away from home made following diet difficult. Ate grains, bread, pasta. Only 3 days off-track brought back old patterns of increased appetite and mental fogginess. Has new resolve to stay the Primal course.
Jeremy: Great results in week 1 and 2 led Jeremy to be a little less strict with week 3. Indulged in weekend pizza, bread and frappucinos and backed off of regular gym sessions. Saw lower energy levels as a result. Despite a higher carb week still lost 2 lbs.
Bradford: Down 7 lbs this week for a total weight loss of 17 lbs! Was diligent about being Primal on all fronts. Energy levels are up. Breathing and sleeping better.
Branden: Is finding it easy to stick to the plan. Has dropped from a 33 inch waist size to a 31. With 57 miles of training last week (an easy week for Branden!) he is staying Primal while training.
Participant 1: Nkem
I hope all is well. The following is the update of my third week going primal.
- 90% Compliant to Primal Blueprint nutrition: (I had a little carb fest meltdown while watching “the dark knight” on Sunday)
- Average caloric intake per day: 1700
- Macrobiotic percentage breakdown: 60% fat, 25% protein, 15% carbohydrate
- Average carbohydrate per day: 80g
This was the worst week in terms of exercise. I didn’t do much of anything. Once again, work took over. Not really sure what the deal is with this primal month and exercise. It’s very unusual for me not to exercise 6 days a week. However this month I’ve been averaging about 3 days a week for some strange reason. I’m not happy about it at all, but I won’t stress over it either. MD”Apples” don’t “do” stress!
- Monday: Bodyweight drills (25 mins total) + 45 minutes steady state cardio
- Tuesday: Muay Thai (90 mins total)
- Wednesday: Body weight drills (25mins total) + 45 minutes steady state cardio
- Thursday: nada
- Friday: zip
- Saturday: zero
- Sunday: zilch
I went from 229lbs (July 15th) to 227lbs (July 23rd) for a total of 2lbs lost in week 3. That is 14.5lbs lost in three weeks. Can I get and Amen!
My energy levels are starting to go right back up to where they used to be. I find that I’m not so tired in the evenings anymore. Seems like my body is starting to adapt to lower carbohydrate levels. I’m actually considering taking my carb levels even lower which will mean eliminating a lot of fruit where I get the bulk of my carbs from. I just don’t like vegetables but i force myself to eat them in the hope that I will finally acquire the taste. I’m really happy with my results so far. I’m really going to go for it this last week and finish strong
Stay tuned for week 4.
Participant 2: Alexandra
The Big Test
This weekend was a weekend away with the husband and sisters and brothers-in-law. There were six of us celebrating my brother-in-law’s 40th birthday. I figured this would be a good test for 1) how much I might throw my Primal Plan to the wind, if at all, with tempting treats around every corner; and 2) if I could withstand the inevitable peer pressure. These are possibly one in the same.
I am happy to report that I did outstandingly well, assisted by the fact that there wasn’t too much peer pressure (a little, but not much). I did not exercise Thursday night, as I had to go home and pack, and I did not exercise Friday, as that was the travel day. I did take a 45-60 minute walk around the grounds of the Inn at which we stayed Saturday morning before everyone else got up. It was great, and I felt really good afterwards (even with the high humidity). I’m beginning to believe that less is more when it comes to exercise. I probably have learned this before.
I had one “accidental” slip-up on Saturday at breakfast. I got some egg bake mystery thing figuring it would be “mostly egg,” but it turns out there was more “bake” stuff than I had imagined. I tried to eat around the bake, but I think I just didn’t get enough egg and got a little too much bake. Coupled with the fact that there was not much of it and the side dish was watermelon, it led to a low blood sugar episode (my first in months) later that day. I learned something – upon discovery of the bake, I would have been better off just not eating anything until later. I ate a burger (no bun) with mushrooms for lunch, and I was back to my old self shortly thereafter. I guess I’m carb sensitive J
I had a planned piece of cake (tiny!) and some ice cream on Sunday as a splurge – it was his 40th, and I love ice cream. When I started to “pick” at the icing and such, I walked away to avoid any serious binging. I also drank a bit of red wine each day – about 2 glasses each day.
I toyed with some IF over this week. I did one 16 hour fast last week and an 18 hour fast this week (I did eat a few nuts around hour 15 or 16). I got a little hungry during both but both of them felt good.
I noticed a few things over the last week or so:
1) I want fruit and veggies and sometimes meat. I do not crave sweets or carbs. Really. I only want sweets or carbs when I’m bored or when they have been thrust in front of me for one reason or another. I am amazed that I am seeking out fruits and veggies! It feels great, and they taste more amazing all the time.
2) I don’t eat as much. Curiously, I have cut my portions (especially the protein) by a quarter or even a half, and don’t eat as often, and I am just as satisfied for just as long.
3) I feel good. My digestive system has evened out, and I have so much less distress. I do still get some heartburn.
4) I am much more aware of my body and what is causing things to happen. For example, I noticed that if I have foods like fruits and yogurt in the AM it makes me hungrier for the rest of the day than eating something like eggs and spinach for breakfast and having some nuts/veggies/fats for a snack if needed in the AM. If I eat the berries/yogurt/honey whatever (higher carb meal) before my workout or later in the day, I feel fine, and I can control my hunger throughout the day much better. I never noticed this before. I can still get the “treat” of eating strawberries and blueberries with yogurt and a little honey; I just need to plan it for the right time.
5) I do still need to get more rest and probably reduce stress. Curiously, I have a lot of stress right now due to my job, but I haven’t had the urge to just throw my hands up and bury myself in a meal or fall off the Primal Plan. I believe the opposite is true – the Primal Plan is helping me deal with the added stress.
I plan to:
- Add some yoga and/or stretching/mobility exercises to my routine. I’d like to try FlowFit (Scott Sonnon). This should help with mobility (just to generally have better mobility), my knees (ACL replacement in both), and perhaps stress
- Keep trying IF when it makes sense, and I’m not starving in the AM. I may purchase the Eat Stop Eat book to get some further information
- Start using some Turbulence Training-like routines. I am considering buying the new TT for Abs to see how it looks
If anyone has any experience with any of these products, I’d love to hear what you think!
[I have the original TT book (without the membership), but I haven’t implemented it for more than about two weeks at a time. I was never on track with anything else enough to implement it and really determine how it worked. I may be back to that point.]
No numbers this week; I missed my weigh-in. I did weigh myself Monday morning and had actually lost 0.4 pounds.
Participant 3: Kara
Here is my week three update. My eating habits are good during the week, but I am struggling on weekends. I have been having one or two “treats” each weekend. My long term goal is to space these treats out to two weeks, and eventually just one a month, but willpower is a muscle and needs to be built gradually.
I started doing strength training with weights again this week, and I am also working on my “no knees” push-ups. I can do two in a row now (I think most women can appreciate this as an accomplishment). I did a vigorous 4 hour hike on Saturday and took a little longer for my muscles to recover than I would like. I haven’t been counting calories, carbs, protein or fat but I think I will do a check on my protein amounts to make sure I am getting enough for muscle recovery and growth. I am still doing lots of walking with bouts of running and yoga.
I am down another pound, for five total in three weeks. I can see my upper abs, and I am starting to get some side abs definition. I am lighter than I have ever been in my adult life and I almost don’t believe the scale…except that I can see the difference in the mirror and the fit of my clothes. I have never been able to achieve these results through exercise alone, not when eating the Standard American Diet or the low fat vegetarian diet. I am not restricting calories, just letting hunger guide me and having sensible vices as needed to not feel deprived.
My husband thinks I’m crazy when I tell him that cereal is unhealthy but fat generally isn’t. He can see the results I am getting though, and he has adapted to eating paleo dinners without even knowing it. I plan on raising our future children eating paleo, so I think eventually he will come around.
Till next week.
Participant 4: Brian
Here’s my sad rundown for week 3. Gah, will be back on it this week for sure!
I lost a bit of ground this week. Was away for a few days and did not pay as much attention to my eating, so had a couple of days of various grains, mainly bread and pasta. What was interesting to me was after 3 days of that, I was back to my old ways of constantly being hungry and being a bit brain foggy. Quite frankly, it stunk! So while I did pick back up a pound of weight and generally feel like crap on a cracker for a few days, it made me realize how much better I felt going paleo.
Now that I am back home I am solidly paleo again and learned that next time I will pay more attention to my food intake when I am away from home. This week I will work hard to get back on track!
Participant 5: Jeremy
Week 3 Nutrition:
All right, so it turns out that my will for this week goes as far as the weekend. I had some pizza with pepperoni and sausage, a couple (2) of Starbucks frappuccino’s and a bacon lettuce tomato sandwich over the weekend. My diet during the week however was on the up and up as I stuck to non-processed meats and veggies, with a salad for lunch. The weekend was a weak point as I did indulge a little.
Week 3 at the Gym:
Not as active at the gym this week, life and career got in the way a little, but I was still able to get to the gym at least 4 times this week which is acceptable, I can do more though.
• Day 1) A timed 340 (22:41) calorie burn on the treadmill with a slight incline (2.5). Again, I am walking 3 min. running 5 minutes until 320 calories were burned Upping the speed of the treadmill.
• Day 2) off
• Day 3) A timed 350 calorie burn (22:00)
• Day 4) off
• Day 5) pushups 2×10 ab machine 2×20 lat pull down 3×10 decline bench 3×10
• Day 6) basketball half court competitive (45 minutes)
• Day 7) off
This week I only lost a couple of pounds and am about 210 as we speak. It was not the most productive week as I ate some bad or high carb foods and took a few days off. I could certainly tell that with the bad foods, even though they certainly tasted great going down, I felt a little bit of a drag on my energy.
Summation of the week:
Not that pleased with my week, it seems to be getting easier to justify not doing as much in the weight room and the funny thing about this is that these first two weeks, I have seen nothing but results! I have to be a little more disciplined and “find the time” to get it done in the weight room. I slacked a little too much as far as diet went as well. Not the best week but not a terrible week either.
Participant 6: Bradford
Starting Weight: 265lbs
Meals: Salads every day for lunch. Dinners included carne asada, an omelet, chicken wings, and finally I cooked a huge batch of chicken & spinach curry  that lasted the rest of the week. I usually followed dinner with a shot glass of port. Also, I’ve been pounding down 3+ cups of coffee with plenty of cream each morning.
Tuesday: 30 minutes elliptical, 15 minutes upper body weights
Wednesday: 45 minutes elliptical
Thursday: Ran 192 step staircase 3 times.
Friday: 20 minutes core exercise, 30 minutes bicycle machine
Saturday: 3 hour hike through a canyon
Monday: 45 minutes elliptical
Avg Calories: 1250
Avg Carbs: 33g
Calorie Breakdown: 54% Fat, 9% Carbs, 34% Protein
Ending Weight: 258lbs (7 pounds lost)
Ups and Downs: My best week yet, I’ve lost 17 pounds since I began the challenge, and I’m really starting to feel the effects. At 275lbs, breathing was actually difficult. Getting to sleep at night was altogether tasking. Just standing up from the couch took a considerable amount of negotiation. I’ve still got a long way to go-I’m not exactly ready to do cartwheels on a balance beam yet, but my energy levels have improved greatly. The biggest downside is time management. After work, I hit the gym, drive home, take a shower, cook a healthy meal, and I’m lucky if I have a half hour left before bed. Oh well, that’s what weekends are for!
One more note: I am eating about 1500-1600 calories a day and feel totally satisfied. The average calories number above is skewed because I gave intermittent fasting a try 2 days last week.
Participant 7: Branden
Here is the week 3 update.
Starting weight: 172 pounds
End weight: 163 pounds
Exercise total: 57 running miles
Count down to marathon: 1 week (from end of week)
I had another good week of eating primal. Although I’m somewhat sure that the chilli soy hot chocolate was not in the plan it was at least made from organic dark chocolate and it was thoroughly enjoyed on a cold winter’s day.
My eating habits are changing for the better and I’m finding it very easy to keep to the plan but I can see after reading through my blog I have consumed more fruit than I should have with the lower energy expenditure. If my goal was to lose weight that is where I would make the first changes. Thankfully losing weight is not my goal so I think the increase fruit consumption is important to my overall health and wellbeing.
Exercise (taper week 1):
It was the easiest week of training that I have done for months and I found it often difficult not to go out and run more than prescribed. I’m still surprised three weeks into this how I seem to have an endless supply of constant energy rather than the ups and downs that is usually part of my day. While I wasn’t feeling particularly fast this week I was feeling like I could go on and on. Perhaps this will benefit those long endurance journeys (on the bike and on the trails) that I am planning for later in the year. We’ll see.
Total running miles = 57
Monday: 5.5 miles easy (40′)
Tuesday: 7 miles w/ 3.5 miles faster than marathon pace (mp)
Wednesday: am) 7.5 miles w/ 4.5 miles (50′) @ mp pm) 6.5 miles easy (48′)
Thursday: 8 miles w/ VO2 workout (1x2400m, 1x1600m, 2x1200m, 1x400m, 1x1200m @ 10k race pace (60′)
Friday: 5.5 miles easy (40′)
Saturday: 8 miles w/ 7 miles @ mp (53′)
Sunday: 9 miles w/ fast surges quicker than mp (70′)
I ate well and stuck to my eating plan and my weight dropped to 163 pounds (1 pound down from last week). With the reduced exercise volume this week as I enter the first week of my two week taper, along with a slight increase in eating (mainly nuts and fruit) I wasn’t surprised I only dropped a single pound. The big surprise came when I went shopping for new jeans and work pants to discover that my waist has dropped from 33 inches down to about 31 or below. I have definitely dropped some bulk from my thighs.
If I didn’t have such an important race looming up ahead I can see how easy it is for me to drop bodyweight. But as my goal is to have a strong race I think that reducing my weight any more (at the moment) would perhaps result in me losing some strength(?). After the race and the 30 day challenge have been completed I think I will continue along this path and really try and discover how I can successfully train as an endurance athlete while closely following an adaptation of the primal blueprint. I’ll continue to maintain my blog  so that I can keep you updated.
A Must Read for All Participants: Making the Switch to Primal Living in 6 Easy Steps