Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Mutiny and Intermittent Fasting

After 6 weeks of eating the primal way (here's a GREAT link that explains exactly what that is; How to eat according to The Primal Blueprint), I hit the dreaded plateau.  I was losing fast, 10lbs and 11 inches in 6 weeks, but then my progress stopped.  Shit, I thought, I didn't expect it to happen so fast!  I had dreams of steadily losing every week until I reached my ideal weight.  I had made a plan and was going strong thinking I would lose 2 pounds a week and by Sept 1st I'd be in the 145lbs ish range.  A girl can dream, right??  So it didn't happen how I thought it was going to happen, and I needed to look hard at what I was doing that was sabotaging my efforts.  I was being a mutinous child. 

So with the help of some other primal mamas we pinpointed what I was doing wrong and how I could rectify my new problem.  There was no excuse, I had to be brutally honest with myself here.  I had to figure things out and find a way to jump start my weightloss.

It all started with weekend functions and family gatherings.  Eating out never was  problem for me during the first 6 weeks because I just didn't eat out, simple as that.  I didn't have to deal with temptation.  And then we had a function or dinner with family every weekend for 4 weeks.  I thought to myself, a few cheats won't hurt me, isn't the primal blueprint all about striving for 100% but 80/20 is ok?  So what if I have a few non-primal foods, no one's going to tell me what to do (yes, I was justifying big time).  So I tried a few sauces laden with starch, corn, soy and gluten.  I had a few pieces of cake (it was a special occasion I said!).  I ate an egg salad sandwich.  And lots of beer.  I think my downfall was the beer.  I like beer, I like wine too, but beer makes me think of fun and summer, so I drink beer.  I also had family visit so since they did not eat primal I bought bread for them, mayo too, and chips, and pop, and...well the list goes on.  And then it was in the house even though company left, so darn it I fed it to my kids and had a few bites here and there. 

And I admit it, I got lazy.  Instead of buying primal-approved soy sauce or other condiments I bought the cheap, easy to get stuff.  And again I thought, this sauce or spice mix has so little of the bad stuff that it must be ok. Not in my case.  It appears that any type of "cheat" will stall my weightloss.  Shit. 

Add to that the fact that it has been raining non-stop for 2 weeks and I haven't done any exercise.  Sure I could exercise indoors, but did you see the size of my livingroom?  I tried sprinting up my stairs and moving often at a slow pace, but you could tell no outdoor exercise was taking its toll on my body and mood.  I also highly depend on the weather, and for me no sun for an extended period of time and I start hibernating again.  I started sleeping more in the afternoons, trying to pass the time.  What a way to live!

So how did I feel after 2+ weeks of eating non-primal foods?  Like crap.  I felt bloated, I gained a few inches back, I slept poorly compared to how I was sleeping during the whole30 challenge.  Sure I was "mostly" eating primal (meat, seafood, vegetables, nuts and fruits), but I was adding ingredients that weren't very good for me, and suffering because of it.

And here we get to Intermittent Fasting.  To tell you the truth IF was still a mystery to me, and frankly I was scared to try it.  But I would do anything to kickstart my weightloos since I had been working so hard at ditching conventional wisdom.  So yesterday I embarked on my first IF journey.

I planned on eating Sunday night and then fasting till suppertime on Monday, giving me a good 20 hrs "food break".  I had read that it could really help get you off that plateau and get you back on tract on your weightloss plan.  Now I don't have experience with this apart from my own, but it's my blog so I can write whatever I want :) .

For my first fast I planned on keeping my usual routine of 2 coffees with coconut milk in the morning, but apart from that no food till suppertime.  I thought I'd keep busy so that food wouldn't be on my mind all day, and it worked.  Honestly I wasn't even hungry.  I made primal granola with my son in the morning, cleaned my house, folded some laundry, and researched online.  And I didn't cheat with the primal granola (something I would never have been able to do 2 months ago).  I felt clear headed and I was able to accomplish a lot during the day.  By 1pm I started having hunger pangs, the kind that makes you feel sick and makes you believe you need food NOW or else you are gonna die.  I pushed through, and by 3pm I wasn't hungry anymore.  By 4pm I was short-tempered and angry, so I thought it was time to prepare supper.  And supper was goooood, I enjoyed it so much more than on other days.  I made ceasar salad, bbq chicken and asparagus, my usualy go-to feel-good meal.  At around 8pm I sampled my husband's primal granola bars and drank some tea.  My first IF experience was over, and I have to say it went so much better than I thought it would!

This morning I weighed myself out of curiosity.  I was down 2lbs!  Well geez, does this mean I'm off that damn plateau??  We'll see.  I do feel better this morning too with more energy than usual, which is a great sign.  I'm also reviewing my eating habits and am now ready to get back to eating 100% primal.  After the experience I had these past fews weeks  I am convinced that eating a conventional diet isn't good for you. 

So there you have it, I committed mutiny against myself, learned from it and moved on.  I do think that a lapse is sometimes a good thing, we always learn from our mistakes.

From Darkness to Light (continued...)

I left off talking about the changes I saw happening within 1 month of doing the Whole30 challenge.  One thing I was surprised with was how fast the inches were coming off.  I didn't notice a huge change in the mirror, but when I took out the measuring tape it was obvious this was working.  Within one month I lost 9 inches, mostly in the hip and waist area.  Talk about motivation!  As far as weight lost, 10 lbs were gone within 4 weeks.  I thought "OMG, I found something that WORKS!".  This came as a huge relief, I thought I was destined to stay just under the 200lbs mark.

Like I mentioned, I slept better, and this within a few weeks into the challenge.  I used to have to take sleeping pills to fall asleep and stay asleep, and then I moved on to melatonin pills when I decided the sleeping pills were too addictive (I have a crazy addictive personality).  Now without taking any kind of pill I was falling alseep and having deep sleep to boot.  I actually liked going to bed, knowing that I'd have a good night's sleep and that I wouldn't be tossing and turning till the wee hours (and therefore disturbing the husband with my moving around).  And HE got better sleep because of it.

As for other benefits that I noticed, my acne cleared right up.  I had mild acne when I was a teen, then it got worse after having babies.  They call it adult acne, I call it hell.  Anyone who has had bad acne knows what I'm talking about.  Here's the thing, my adult acne got worse before it got better on the challenge, and I felt like crap because of it.  I asked around and people were telling me it was because toxins were leaving my body, and to hold on and wait.  I waited and it paid off, after 30 days my acne was gone!  After trying for 15yrs to try and get rid of it, I finally realized it all had to do with the foods I ate.  I tried every damn soap, lotion, cleanser out there, from the inexpensive to the ultra pricey, and nothing worked except changing the way I ate.  Well hell's bells, what a revelation!  I now use water on the days that I wear no make-up, and on days that make-up is on I use a mild cleanser.  And now I can use day and night moisturizers, while before any type of moisturizer made my acne worse.  This is great news for my winter dry skin!

Bon alors, on to dry scalp (eww).  I never, I mean never, had a problem with dandruff until I started taking medication a few years ago, and then BAM, I had the worse dandruff possible, and NOTHING worked.  I tried all perithione zinc shampoos out there, and although they all boasted that it would make my hair shiny and flake-free, it didn't.  I tried a vinegar rinse, I tried washing my hair every day.  I tried washing my hair only every 3 days.  The flakes were still there.  And like my acne it cleared right up after changing my diet. 

I'm not painting a pretty picture of how it was for me before trying a primal lifestyle, I know, but it's necessary to expose myself this way to show how much progress has been made in many areas of my life due to The Primal Blueprint.

Of course, eating patterns changed.  I learned it was ok to skip breakfast if I really wasn't hungry, to eat when I was, and to throw away all bad foods and feel ok with it :) .  The kids also learned to eat the way I was eating, and learned to love good, whole foods.  It took some adjustment since they were used to eating conventional (re; school snacks, the kind that is loaded with sugar), but I can safely say that after 2 months they prefer their fruits and veggies for snacks instead of bread and granola bars.

After a month of the challenge I felt motivated and energized.  I wasn't existing to survive anymore, I had a purpose and new goals in life.  And all this from changing the way I ate.  And I ain't kidding, the first month truly changed my perspective on life.  I'm reading and learning more each day and it feels great to be passionate about something.

With the warmer weather in April I started working more outside to incorporate The Primal Blueprint's Fitness , since I had been sitting on my butt for far too long and needed to build muscle and strength.  I have the perfect yard for copying the movement patterns of our ancient forebears.  1 acre to clear and cut brush, move heavy logs, haul rocks, stack wood, till garden, build enclosures, the list goes on.  So on a daily basis I was moving around at a slow pace, lifting heavy things, and sprinting once in a while.  It felt great getting out there and moving my tushie, and it was fun!  Since I love the outdoors so much I am in my element, and even though I've got a farmer's tan, sore muscles, blisters, scrapes and bruises, I am happy.

Like I mentioned earlier, this is a lifestyle, NOT a diet.  And it didn't end with the Whole30 Challenge, every day I live with a better mental attitude due to changing my eating habits.  In later posts I will be talking about the Conventional Diet and how I really thought I was eating healthy since dieticians, doctors and our government are telling us the food pyramid is gold and why it's the best way to eat for optimum health.  In the meantime, I suggest you read Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes, read up on The Primal Blueprint, and check out the forum Mark's Daily Apple.  Happy reading!

Monday, 9 May 2011

From Darkness to Light

Ha, pretty deep huh ;) .  Many have wondered why I've started on the primal track so to speak, so I thought I'd share how I've come about the Primal Lifestyle and what it's done for me in these past few months.  Here we go!

On March 19th a friend of mine posted on a private board about this challenge a few ladies were going to attempt on March 21st.  To tell you the truth I was already at my wits end with my weight and feeling aweful physically and emotionally, so I was curious.  Supposedly this Whole 30 Challenge was about changing your life in 30 days.  God only knows something had to change in my life!  I looked it over, and my first thought was "hell no!".  It seemed too complicated, too hard, too farfetched, too crazy, too...well you get the idea.  Since we live in a world where instant gratification is the norm and we're not used to change I thought this would certainly not work for me.  I was too mellow, too soft, too unorganized, and, well,  not disciplined enough.  And then I had an epiphany.  What in the world was I waiting for??  Did I expect someone to invent a magical pill for weightloss and happiness?  I was so angry at myself for having waited so long to do something about my lifestyle and weight, that I decided to jump in feet first (which the challenge recommends doing, by the way).  So I started the journey with a group of newfound friends and fell in love.

I had 2 days to prepare for the start of the challenge, which was March 21st 2011.  How do you prepare for something life-changing like this??  I read all I could about The Primal Blueprint , and I bought the book The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf .  I read the book cover to cover within a few days.  I was hooked, how come no one told me about this sooner??  So anyway, the challenge starts with me feeling excited, and slightly nervous.  I tend to quit things within the 2 week mark so I was worried that this was just another attempt at another failure.  I did my grocery shopping for the week, planned my meals, learned to love coconut milk in my coffee, quit drinking wine and beer (OMG!), and just went with the rules, trying to not overthink it.  Here's an abbreviated list of THE RULES;

Eat real food – meat, fish, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re natural and unprocessed.

More importantly, here’s what NOT to eat during the duration of your Whole30 program. Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.
  • Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in all kinds of ways.
  • Do not eat processed foods. This includes protein shakes, pre-packaged snacks/meals, protein bars, milk substitutes, etc.
  • Do not drink alcohol, in any form.
  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, millet, oats, corn, rice, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. (Yes, we said corn!) This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.
  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans (black, kidney, lima, etc.), peas, lentils, and peanuts or peanut butter. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  • Do not eat dairy. This includes all cow, goat or sheep’s milk, cream, butter, cheese, yogurt, whey, ice cream, etc.
  • Do not eat white potatoes. It’s arbitrary, but they are carbohydrate-dense and nutrient poor, and also a nightshade.
  • Most importantly… do not try to shove your old, unhealthy diet into a shiny new Whole30 mold. This means no “Paleo-fying” less-than-healthy recipes – no “Paleo” pancakes, “Paleo” pizza, “Paleo” fudge or “Paleo” ice cream. Don’t mimic poor food choices during your Whole30 program!
One last and final rule. You are not allowed to step on the scale for the duration of your Whole30 program. This is about so much more than just weight loss, and to focus only on your body composition means you’ll miss out on the most dramatic (and lifelong) benefits this plan has to offer. Give yourself a well-deserved, long overdue break from fixating on that number on the scale!  Absolutely NO weighing yourself or taking comparative measurements during your Whole30.

List taken from http://whole9life.com/2010/10/whole-30-v3/ .

Looks pretty hard huh?  Well, it was.  At first.

First week was pure hell.  Come to think of it, the second week wasn't very fun either.  Ever hear of carb flu?  Well I had it, bad.  I pushed through even though I felt like crap, just because I knew after reading Mark's Daily Apple - A forum dedicated to The Primal Blueprint, that it would pass.  Eventually.  Well, it did pass, in the 3rd week.  From what I read, I was so totally full of bad food and inflamed beyond belief that it took a good 3 weeks to get over this flu.  My gut needed healing, pronto. 

Even after a few days I noticed some big changes.  I did not feel hungry at night (I used to crave bad carb foods after supper) and so stopped eating snacks while watching TV.  I ate when I felt like it instead of eating because I felt I HAD to.  I ate good, WHOLE foods and felt fuller faster.  I slept better.  I felt like doing stuff instead of sitting on my butt.  I enjoyed cooking different foods and finding new recipes.  And I LOST WEIGHT!  I knew I wasn't supposed to weight myself during the challenge but that part was way too hard for me, so I caved.  I really, really wasn't expecting any of this to happen, so this came as a huge surprise.  And I started to learn more about what was really going on with our bodies when we ate conventional foods and why we felt the way we did after eating high carbs and sugar.  I found a new passion, and boy did it ever save me from the dreary, boring lifestlye I had gotten myself into the last few yrs (I blame chronic pain and depression, but whatever).

OK!  Well I think this was long enough for my first blog post :) .  Keep checking in, I'll have more (way more) in the next week!


Hello fellow primal enthousiasts!  Testing out my new blog, please bear with me :) .