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!

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