Thursday, August 1, 2013

Seven months in

Trout with bacon, oven-roasted broccoli, salad w/homemade vinaigrette.
Grilled elk patties, cucumber "noodle" salad, sliced tomatoes.
Catfish pan-fried in ghee, cabbage "noodles" with bacon, salad w/homemade vinaigrette.

I "went primal" on January 2, 2013. (Why January 2 and not January 1? Because we eat tamales on New Year's Day. It's Texas, y'all.) My reasons were pretty simple:
  1. I wanted to maintain my weight loss from the previous year without counting calories or busting my ass like I did when I was losing the weight.
  2. This way of eating/moving/living made sense to me.
I used Mark Sisson's The Primal Blueprint as my guide, along with his incredibly informative website (and his eventual second book, The Primal Connection, which is A-MAZ-ING). My first step was to eliminate grains, legumes, processed food and refined sugar from my diet. My second step was to ditch the Jillian Michaels videos and buy a pull-up bar for my bathroom doorway.

So, how's it going seven months in? Well, I'll tell you.

Here are the things I DON'T eat:
  • any grain except for a bit of rice and corn now and then
  • any legumes apart from a shameful once-weekly soy latte habit at Starbucks (I KNOW!)(I believe in full disclosure)(and I also believe Starbucks might want to look into almond milk as a non-dairy alternative to soy, but I don't make the rules)
  • much dairy, apart from grass-fed butter and ghee (because my body doesn't like dairy, not because I feel it's inherently evil)
  • much in the way of eggs because I've found that I feel better, digestively speaking, when I don't eat them every day
  • much processed food apart from pre-made sausages, packaged pork rinds and jerky, and the occasional condiment (I know I COULD make my own sriracha but I'm just not going to, you guys)
  • much refined sugar, apart from those goddamn extra dark Lindor truffles that I can't seem to give up *shakes fist in the general direction of the Lindt factory*
Here are things I DO eat:
  • white potatoes, because they are a whole food and I'm not trying to lose weight
  • small amounts of rice and corn, as mentioned above, because I'm pretty sure God wants us to eat sushi and tortilla chips every now and then
  • lots of game and seafood because my husband and son have some weird animal protein allergies going on
  • lots and lots of fresh veggies and salad greens
  • moderate amounts of fresh fruit (mostly berries)
  • healthy fats like olives, nuts, avocado and little oily fishes
  • dark chocolate
  • soy lattes, oh how I wish I could quit you *shakes fist in the general direction of Seattle*
As you can see, I've tweaked my diet to the point where I'm not eating strictly primal all the time. Let's just say I embrace the 80/20 principle. I ate a 5-way at Skyline Chili in Cincinnati when my brother and I were up there for our grandfather's funeral in February. If chips and salsa are on the restaurant table, I'ma eat a few (not an entire basket like I would have before). I order my burgers without buns and my tacos with corn tortillas. I take my kids out for pay-by-the-ounce frozen yogurt every now and then. I drink beer and other grain-based, non-paleo forms of alcohol on a daily weekly basis. I'm not what you would call 100% compliant, whatever that's supposed to be, and I'd never hold myself up as an example of "how to eat paleo" or even "how to eat healthy", but I'd still put my daily food/drink intake up against that of the average American and I think I'd come out okay.

On the fitness front, I don't really work out anymore, if by "work out" you mean setting aside a block of time in my day to change into exercise clothes, work up a sweat, shower, and change back into regular clothes. I've jury-rigged a standing workstation for my home office and spend most of my computer time now in my bare feet doing squats, balancing on one foot, stretching, dancing, or just standing and trying to maintain some sort of decent posture (i.e., uncurve my spine from the C shape that it's settled into over the past 46 years). If I'm feeling energetic or just waiting for files to download/upload or whatever, I'll hit the deck and do a few crunches or modified pushups (and by a few, I mean REALLY a few). In other words, I've sort of worked exercise into my day -- small amounts, interspersed throughout -- rather than made it something that I have to schedule and then go DO. I realize I'm fortunate to be able to structure my day that way, but I've got to say, I really feel like it's working for me. (I haven't touched that damn pull-up bar in months, but I do occasionally bust out a Jillian video just to make sure I'm in as good shape as I think I am.)

I'm still very much a work in progress, but I'm happy with the path I'm on, if you'll forgive the multitude of platitudes in that sentence. I have managed to keep off the weight I lost last year; in fact, I dropped 3 more pounds in January after going primal and have kept that off as well. I have far fewer aches and pains. I've FINALLY got most of my life-long digestive issues worked out. I have more energy during the day and sleep better at night than I used to. I'm far less depressed and far better able to deal with stress than I was a year or so ago. (Seeing a therapist has helped with that, granted.)(Disclosure!) I've got my annual physical coming up in two months, and I'll be happy to report how the numbers shake out in my blood work, but I FEEL pretty damn good so here's hoping there are no surprises.

The longer I do this, the better I feel, and the more convinced I am that this is what my body needs. That's kind of the bottom line for me.

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