I’ve been sitting here feeling discouraged. Today is day 13 and I’ve had 2 iced coffees from Tim Hortons with non-approved cream and sugar. I did not acquire some foods a that ranks of the spectrum because I forgot (we had everything except macadamias and domestically grown extra virgin first cold-press olive oil.) I just forgot about it. I did the moderate duration aerobic workout by walking with my spouse and dog tonight. That’s when things started to look up. I realized that my spouse is also quite committed to living this way and it really picked me up when ze was talking about it. I’m feeling like this way of eating is here to stay for us. This way of exercising is growing on me and I am seeing that it really works. I’m partly discouraged that I have only lost 5 pounds since starting this journey 13 days ago. I’ve decided not to weigh myself every day and just weigh in once a week to assess trends. I was supposed to expose large surface areas of my skin to sun today but I did not. I forgot. Well, I have done it on several of the other days (I love sitting outside in our yard) so that makes up for that. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. WE will be switching some stuff around because it doesn’t fit with some activities that we planed but we’ll do it all. So , tomorrow I’m doing an intermittent fast. I don’t eat tomorrow until I am really hungry and uncomfortable. Can’t wait to see how long I can go….Good night…sitting in my yellow light…. love the bug lights!! They don’t feel like an intrusion into my relaxing evening and are really easy on my eyes.
I stocked up on my supplies of coconut food items as the challenge suggested. We had a lot already but I made a trip for more packets of coconut butter that totally save me from eating candy bars. We skipped the PEM (Primal Essential Movement) workout because we are both really sore from all the exercise and felt the need to rest a bit. So, we did meet the challenge of nurturing our intimate and social circles by inviting friends over for an evening of conversation. I did have an indiscretion today because of being on the road and not getting a good night’s sleep (stayed up too late again). I had a Diet Coke and an unnamedbadformetreat. Not sure why I did that except that this stuff is made to be addictive and I crave it. I’m moving on from it without the usual guilt and talking to my spouse about how much I regret it. I’m creating new and better habits and attitudes about my food and lifestyle.
Create a primal recipe: My spouse created some wonderful ground lamb to put on a salad for our lunches.
Moderate Duration Aerobic Workout: I decided to do the minimum since my sprains still feel sore and hot. I walked briskly for 35 minutes with 25 minutes at about 60% of my maximum heart rate.
Work Peak Performance: Start the work day with a to-do list and methodically work through each task. Notice how you are pulled away from your priorities etc… Yeah. Sure. I’m a crisis intervention case manager!! I have to be able to multitask and I do. I admire the general idea of this because it’s important for me to know what I’m going to do every day. I have ongoing lists in my head and organized in a spreadsheet. My job is a perpetual to do list!!! I don’t think this one really applies to my industry for the most part. I think the spirit of it is to be proactive to increase productivity which is great. I guess I just do that in my own way. And it’s working for me so I’m not changing it.
I had lots of difficulty on this day. It started with going to bed way too late because I just wanted to stay up. I didn’t sleep enough and hence wanted some quick energy in the morning. Somehow, (not sure if it’s really true) I associate this with donut holes and iced coffee. So, that’s what I did for breakfast. Then, I was on the road at lunch and brought a lunch that needed to be heated up in a microwave so I stopped at a placeIshallnotname for a bad lunch (it was both bad for me and tasted bad) with a Diet Coke. Dinner was at least a better atmosphere and more fun and festive. But not primal. If that had been the only non-primal approved food I would feel fine about it. We went to a local restaurant and had a good time. I guess the question here is whether or not I was primal at all today. I didn’t increase my activity except for the 35 minute walk. Well, I start again. And I will do that as many times as it takes to succeed. This is a journey…not perfection….
I’m getting a bit behind in blogging about my journey. Day 10 was focusing on our eating environment and eating slowly. This is somewhat usual for us anyway although there are some exceptions. I ate lunch outside at Chipotle (yummy burrito bowl) and soaked in the rays getting my Vitamin D! Other meals were as usual: relaxing and enjoyable.
Email fast: I took care of all of my emails quickly. No problem. I do that anyway.
Primal WOW (Workout of the Week): I believe that I lightly sprained my ankle and knee (on the same side of my body) and felt the need to rest. My body is sore from all of the extra moving around. It feels good in most ways but in another way, I feel like I need to tone it down a bit. I am going to do the primal WOW. Just when I’m feeling more recuperated and energetic.
I feel my enthusiasm waning a bit because I just want my “old favorites” food wise. Creating new habits isn’t easy but I’m going to do it!
Increase daily movement part 2! I sure did! I really took the long way everywhere I went and even parked very far going into the building for work. I did everything I was doing before plus some. I was typing on my computer at work when it hit me. My second computer monitor (which I rarely use) was on a stand on my desk. I removed the monitor and put my laptop on the stand and voila! A standing work station! I worked like that for the morning and really could feel my muscles working. How much more interesting than sitting there! I think it could really affect my productivity if no one at work puts a stop to it. I was so happy to go back and add this in since I didn’t have the courage to think of it the first time. I’m kind of a perfectionist like that. It seems like taking a 2 minute break every 30 minutes at work is too much. Maybe I need to modify it to just doing some stretching in my cube. I found that 45 minutes would easily pass as I was engrossed in my work and I didn’t think about moving much. I’m not going to interrupt that.
Media fast: The challenge was to handle all news and information in 10 minute blocks in the morning and evening. No problem. I’m not much for entertainment tidbits anyway as anyone who knows me will attest (I don’t know much about pop culture).
I also tracked macronutrient intake on paleotrack.com. That is time consuming (not my first time) but helps me to see on a pie chart what I did with food for the day. I stopped short of recording my anniversary dinner. Well, it was not 100% primal (but still within the 80/20 ratio) but the reason I didn’t record it was because IT WAS MY ANNIVERSARY! I just enjoyed it 100% and then came home to a wonderful long evening walk with my love. Did I mention that we passed on dessert at our favorite local restaurant and instead found a long walk to be the way to celebrate our anniversary!!?? Progress!! Just 10 days ago, we would have easily had dessert justifying that we were still within the 80/20 ratio….until we weren’t….then we would just justify it….I feel all of that changing.
No labels? That’s right! Mark challenged us to eat food without labels. I found that almost all of my food has labels. My food from the farm has labels and even my peach had a label! I took the spirit of the challenge and went without coconut butter and macadamias but could not go without farm fresh eggs, meat, veggies, and a little fruit. Nothing was frozen or from a can so I think I lived up to the spirit of this challenge.
Barefoot challenge~ 60 minutes barefoot. No problem! I have been totally barefoot (including wearing barefoot shoes) for over a year!
The real challenge for me on this day was the sprint workout. We found a sledding hill earlier in the challenge so we knew what we were going to do. I had class so it was about 9:00 pm when we got started. I sprinted uphill at 80% effort for 10 seconds and rested for 60 seconds. Repeat 5 times! After the third time I thought that maybe I could not continue but I did! It wasn’t really that hard. I didn’t feel the burn until we got home about 20 minutes later. Then I started really feeling what I had done. In a good way. I can feel all of my muscles working and I am feeling so good on day 8. It seems that I can handle a little “old favorite” (see yesterday’s challenge) and get back to the regular eating plan without much problem. I think it’s when I’m too far off the plan for too long that creates an addictive pattern. I have noticed that if I eat certain foods (carbs and sugar), I want more and more of them and get addicted. I’m finding that I can handle a little as long as I get right back to the plan (which can certainly be a challenge). I really enjoyed the sprint workout that he recommends to do when energy is high every 7-10 days. And the whole thing took less than 10 minutes!
What is really standing out for me at this point is how I often thought that I had no time to exercise. Granted, my schedule is a little more free right now since I completed my internship but I am finding that I do have the time to exercise (even when busy) in the way that Mark sets forth in this challenge. It’s really time efficient and not really a problem to do. It is also pretty fun which will be the motivation for me to continue with it. Going to the gym feels like a punishment to me and I just don’t like it anymore. I like to be outside and be active in ways that are fun, functional, and life affirming. Just burning calories doesn’t do it and it won’t last if I do it for that reason. But doing exercise because it feels good and because it’s fun is a keeper!
Today the challenge was to eat intuitive meals and it was allowed to indulge in an “old favorite.” We went to a local hang out and I had a small meal of “old favorites.” I’m really not sure it was worth it. I started to feel really tired and just not as good as I have been feeling the last couple of days. I think my idea of “favorite” is changing. Mexican Coke is on the way out and cherries are on the way in!
We had a grand play outing! We decided to hit the hiking trails at Kensington Park with our doggie. We all loved getting out into nature and getting some exercise. I love the fresh air, the physical challenges, and the sunshine. I could have done without the bugs but it was worth it!
As I am closing on day 7, my body is really sore. Good sore. Sore in a way that says I’m getting into shape. It makes me wonder why I haven’t done this sooner. I certainly know about exercise (I used to teach aerobics at Bally’s) and used to lift some weights on my own. I think as I get older and busier, it’s just so easy to sit around and be lazy. Isn’t that what busy tired people do? My idea about what to do in my free time is really changing. Breaks at work are no longer for checking Facebook. They are for climbing stairs and walking in the neighborhood. Evening time is no longer about coming home and crashing from my busy day, but about relaxing with an nice evening walk and a good primal meal. Facebook really does have its place in my life. But it’s not in place of physical activity. How does watching videos of baby elephants enhance my life? Only by the brief smile it gives me while I am watching it. I have a whole lot of other things to smile for. And I want my fit and less fat body to be a reason to smile. I am thinking that Mark Sisson is a genius and am thinking about going to PrimalCon within the next few years. I found a Primal Detroit meetup because I think that community is really important in meeting any goal and sustaining it. Well, time to stop blogging because I see that the sun is going down. I’ll be back sometime tomorrow for Day 8’s adventure.
On day 1, we purged our pantry of all non-primal-approved foods: grains, legumes, non-approved oils (the unnatural oils like Canola) refined sugars, and even fruit (yes, fruit like mangoes had to go!) We have been loosely following this way of eating so it wasn’t hard. We even tossed the Ezekiel bread we had been enjoying. We are committed to doing this for 21 days. After that, we will decide if we want to continue or loosen it up a bit and allow some legumes and sprouted grains. We also restocked our pantry with primal-approved foods which we had a lot already. The big one was increasing daily movement. I parked farther away, took 15 minute stair and street walking breaks at work, added a morning walk with my dog, an evening walk after dinner, and generally trying to do things the physically harder way throughout the day. For the lifestyle challenge, my spouse ordered yellow safety glasses to minimize exposure to bright lights after the sun goes down (our primal ancestors only had their fire after dark) and we got yellow bug lights for our bedroom and for our lamps in our living room to use after dark. We already have a lot of the stuff recommended like workout clothing and kitchen basics. We already get our animal products from an awesome farm so we were all set with that.
On day 2, we bought more primal approved foods and I made sure I had plenty of macadamia nuts (they save me on this way of eating). I did a moderate duration workout by walking at about 60% of my maximum heart rate for about half an hour. It wasn’t hard. My dog loved it. And it felt good. We had a calm, relaxing evening and things felt good. Except the Diet Coke cravings that I had been warding off all day. I even gave up Stevia sodas because they are not on the plan either. LaCroix, Perrier, and Pellegrino to the rescue!
On day 3, we did a full-length Primal Essential Movement workout. This was really great. We biked up to a park about 3 miles away and did our squats, pushups, pull-ups, and planks in the park. Only 2 sets of maximum reps which wasn’t much for me. I could literally only do 2.5 pushups. I was honestly surprised that I could do that many. I couldn’t do a single pull up but did what I could and I felt my muscles working. Mark recommended doing a chair assisted pull up but we couldn’t take a chair to the park. So, I just did as much as I could on my tip toes. It worked, because I felt it the next day. We counted our trip as a play break for the day too since we hung out at the park and scouted out good workout sites. We had already boycotted industrialized foods (although I was still getting Diet Coke at McDonald’s~ okay, and the occasional hamburger-yuck I know) but I made a firmer resolve to not give into the mass mentality of procuring sustenance.
On day 4, we honored our hunger by only eating when we were hungry. I noticed I was hungry by my energy levels drastically dipping. I didn’t feel actual hunger pains or stomach growling. I tried not to overeat (which I had been focusing on anyway) and had a good day food-wise (except for the awful Diet Coke cravings which I had successfully warded off with LaCroix, Pellegrino, and Perrier.) It was on this day that I came to a little epiphany. I drive around a lot during the day for my job. I’m always looking for something to eat for a snack or lunch depending on the time of day. I like looking for a food item and stopping to get it. On this day, as I was driving and thinking about what I could stop and get and why I wanted to stop and get it, I realized that maybe this is a hunter-gatherer instinct. Yes, I felt that I was becoming primal in the modern world on this day as I searched for a CVS to get some Perrier. I also found a delightful little spot next to the gas station where I got gas to take a 10 minute walk (I was due for my break). Mark recommends a stand up work station on day 4 which I did not do. I didn’t feel like dealing with weird looks from coworkers who probably think I’m weird already. I am keeping it in mind though for another time…
On day 5, we dined out for lunch. I did a great job of staying primal at a local restaurant hang out. I had a taco salad without the shell and an unsweetened iced tea. This was a big success because eating in restaurants seems to be my biggest downfall diet wise. We also did an abbreviated PEM (Primal Essential Movement) workout at the park. We watched some informal sporting events and were invited to join a rugby game. I said no. This bothered me. I wanted to say: “Yes! Show me how to play!” but I knew that I didn’t have the fitness level to try. I am using this feeling as a motivation to continue on with this journey. I want to be able to do everything I want to do. Couch potato rebellion: a 2-5 minute movement break every 30 minutes. I did great at this! I even walked around the movie theater (up and down the stairs) where we saw a morning movie!
On day 6, I made a special meal: primal pizza. I had been craving pizza so it was time! Love the Primal Cravings cookbook! We were supposed to have a primal dinner celebration and we did. As it was the 4th of July weekend, people were busy and unable to attend.
This brings me up to date…day 7…
About 8 days ago, I decided (along with my spouse) to follow Mark Sisson’s 21 Day Primal Blueprint Challenge. It’s all about living and eating like our primal ancestors for maximum fitness and health. It appealed to me at first because I need to lose weight and a paleo/primal diet was recommended by my holistic physician. I need to lose about 80 pounds. I also need to increase my fitness levels because I get winded walking up stairs or up a hill (to the library at my university). I am a really busy person (stressful day job and a Master’s in Counseling student by night and weekend) so stress management is also important to me. It seems as though primal living (yet in the modern world) is the answer to all that ails me. It would seem that I have it all together and am living 100% true to me. But my weight and the fact that I’m often tired, stressed, and sick shows me that I don’t really have it all together and that there are some things that I need to work on: namely feeling GOOD!!! As a person that helps other people to overcome and be happy, I see that I need this self-care. So, I invite you to come with me into my journey into primal living in the modern world. And I do live in a modern world in a suburb of Detroit.