Wednesday, August 31, 2011


On to day 5 of eating Paleo and a few things have become very clear while some things have remained fuzzy, or gotten fuzzier.

There's no doubt that over the past 5 days I have eaten better. The question is, have I "felt" better. That's a harder question to answer. I truly believe that eating this way is the best way for our bodies. I'm continuing to read and discover the reasons why this lifestyle is the healthiest there is, the problem is, I don't find myself able to translate what I'm reading on the page to other people. When they ask me why or want me to explain it, I feel like I do a really poor job explaining it. I've been rather surprised that while a lot of people are curious and inquisitive, some people have been down right condescending about the diet. I've gotten everything from laughs to almost overtly negative remarks. It's totally possible that those remarks are more about, "Here goes will on something else again," than they are on the diet itself, but it's been surprising none the less.

It's also clear that I have already lost weight. Significant weight, 6 pounds to be exact. Now that sounds crazy, unhealthy even, but I of all people know that getting rid of inflammation, water retention, etc is most likely the cause of this. I went on a short "paleo cleanse" right after I finished Ironman Texas because of how awful I felt from consuming so many energy gels, gatorade, etc during the training and race, and then the smorgasbord I took part in for like 3 days after, and I lost 11 pounds in 48 hours. Again, inflammation, water retention, not body fat.

The last thing that is clear to me is that I need to eat a little more. I'm still finding out what ration of fat, protein, and carbs works best for me. For the last 4 days I have been running on about 50% fat, 30% protein, and 20% carbs. I know this is where people who don't understand this diet hit the ceiling. People who have been familiar with what American nutritional standards have told us would say that is WAAAY too much fat and that I am headed for heart disease and all kinds of other things. As I'm learning, fat doesn't make you fat. Sugar and it's effects on your body when it encounters fat, makes you fat. All that being said, I can't fully explain it yet, I'm just trying it. Robb Wolf can explain it completely, and it's not pseudo science and fluff, he knows what he's talking about. What I will say is that I do think my ratios need adjusting. I'm still doing endurance sports and training hard. So I'm going to start aiming for a 40%f, 30%p, 30%c ratio. Adding in things like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and extra fruit will give me a little more energy for the longer workouts.

So what's still fuzzy is how I feel. On one hand I feel great. I already feel like 5 days in my body looks better, somehow slimmer. It may be mental, but I don't really care if it is from the looks department. One of the things I'm after is a better sense of self from this lifestyle, and for this one small part of it, it's on the right track. On the other hand I feel like crap. Im sweaty, jittery, sick feeling, and I think it's because I'm, well, getting sick. I just started back to school in the last 2 weeks and hitting my immune system with 700 teenage boys worth of germs wouldn't be good regardless of how I'm eating. I will admit that this has been a shock to my system and may have made it easier for me to get sick, but certainly don't think it's WHY I got sick. So I'm fuzzy on how I feel because I'm not sure if I'm feeling weird from the diet or because I'm getting sick. I guess I'll find out in the next couple of days.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

This is hard...

My Crossfit coach, Theo, while giving his introduction to the Paleo challenge we are doing said something to the effect of "People always come whining to me, 'This is hard!!!' Diabetes is hard, fighting cancer is hard, not putting cream in your F'ing coffee isn't hard." It's not hard to see why I really like this guy. I have gone through some sugar withdrawals today and felt kind of crappy as my body gets used to the way I'm eating. I thought more than once today...this is hard. Every time I did though, the thought was instantly replaced by how sad I think it is that the American standard diet is so reliant on processed sugar. Compound that with the fact that I'm an "athlete" and therefore feel some sense of entitlement to put extra, well, anything in my body, and I am starting to see that my nutrition ideas have gotten pretty messed up. Coming from 300 pounds, it was easy for the number on the scale to be the biggest, if not the only, measuring stick I used to track my "health." At first, it needed to be, I needed to get pounds off me and I needed to keep them off. I did that, and the effects were fantastic. I was running, swimming, and biking and I was making great strides in my personal fitness. I got to a comfortable weight and stayed there, have stayed there for 2 years. As proud of this as I am, I think it's also the reason I have arrived at the place I am today. As long as the scale was roughly where I needed it to be, I sort of treated my nutrition like a playground, and it's now that I'm realizing that I feel a greater sense of responsibility to treat my body, as well as my place in this world, with a little more responsibility. So what does it matter if I do or don't eat this way, or live this way, or hold certain opinions of the way our American nutritional system has developed? Ultimately not much, but it's that sort of insidious thinking that has gotten us where we are. My eating may not change the world, but if I'm lucky, it just may change mine.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Pang?

I told myself that here in the beginning that I would blog about it whenever I had difficulty or struggles with eating this way. Well it's day 2, and I don't know that what I'm having here is as much a struggle as it is a realization. I used to have serious issues with food and it's emotional qualities. I was depressed, I ate, I was bored, I ate, I was happy, I ate. Most anyone can tell you that regardless of whether it's beer, a crack rock, or a nacho, people look for emotional relief in things that aren't necessarily the best for them. I've come along way from my crack nacho days, but I think today for some reason is reminding me of how true it is that those feelings don't ever completely go away. I've been up since 5 working at a cross country meet, it's hot, I'm tired, and nothing sounds better than to toss down 1,000 calories of something friedcheesysalty and nap for the next couple of hours, but honestly, I'm not hungry. I ate a great breakfast and a light but very sensible lunch, and I don't NEED any more fuel to do the laundry and sit on the couch. My mind wants something, because it has gotten used to being satiated by food. It's something I worked really hard to get through, and it stings a little bit to see them still hanging around. At the same time, the good news comes from the same place. I've been here before. I know enough to know what this REALLY is. Something that excites me very much about this way of eating is that it is treating food as fuel, and that's it. I'm fueling my body to work, whatever that work may be, not looking to fulfill my emotional pangs.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Our first purely paleo grocery trip...

Beginning Stats...

To begin our 30 day challenge, we weighed in and took all of our body measurements, including body fat. Here's what I'm starting with:
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 192.5
Body Fat %: 24.4
Chest: 41.25"
Waist: 36.5
Arms: 12.5 :(
Legs: 22
Hips 38.5

What I'm looking for is at least a 10% drop in body fat, with hopes of one day being being at or below 10% bf. I really could care less what the scale says anymore, but I wouldn't hate it if I lost a few lbs. Swallowing my pride, here are my before photos:

Looking down the river...

Im reading a book by Robb Wolf who uses an analogy of standing in a river and facing downstream as if the water is flowing from behind you. It has something to do with having to look to the past before we can turn and face the future. I don't really understand it...yet, but I will say that as I live day in day out I cant help but feel that looking backwards makes a lot of sense in thinking about how we treat food, our eating habits, and even the way we stay active. Robb has TONS of scientific, anthropological, real world, and theoretical research to back his claims. I have none of that. All I have are my two eyes, and I see the world around me changing. Getting fatter, people being more sedentary, and all of us getting our food more from factories than farms. I don't pretend to know what to do about this on a large scale, but I do know that feeling this way is too much for me to just ignore.

So what am I going to do? I'm going to try and look backwards, while also living in today. As many may already know, Im already passionate about fitness, especially running and triathlon. I will always swim, bike, and run but honestly a lot of the carb heavy, processed products we use in triathlon I think have contributed to my overall feeling of flab. I've come a LONG way in my health and in my body, but I'm ready to get over this plateau and take my health and fitness to a new level.

Practically, I am going on a 30 day paleo challenge with my new Crossfit gym. I've eaten this way before and I love it. As I said I am also starting Crossfit. I don't know if I will love it or not, but I want to love it. I want to transform myself, inside and out. I'm planning some things I've never done before. I will keep this blog, as well as adding video blogging. I'll share recipes, things I like, things I don't. I want to share it with the world, and I hope it's mildly interesting.