Feb 22, 2010

Final week!

Final week of February is underway, and I have to deem the diet a success regardless. Although, I may actually miss both of my original goals (210 lbs, >100grams of carbs), I feel better and have really changed my eating habits.

I'm still getting to eat great food, check out the picture of the tuna steaks I made this past weekend for my wife and I to enjoy while the kids were away! It was pretty easy too, a little ground cumin, and some freshly ground salt and pepper pressed into the fish and then I seared it in my cast iron skillet. I got the recipe from here, a great source from good Paleo recipes.

Unfortunately, I managed to burn my finger when I splashed myself with hot oil, but that is irrelevant to our current discussion!

I have certainly lost weight, and probably more importantly I'm in better shape. I've lost close to 2 inches off my waist, and close to four if you go back as far as late summer. My weight is between 212 and 214 now, so I won't make it to less that 210, but I am creeping closer! Plus, I'm stronger by far, (I did 8 straight dead hang pullups last week, my deadlift and bench press max have gone up) and I recover better. We played football a week ago and I had no leftover soreness the following two days like I have in the past.

The key test from a fitness perspective will come on Saturday when I'm hoping to run the Colchester 1/2 Marathon. I haven't done any specific running training, and so I'm really anxious to see how Crossfit is going to translate for me. It's a tough, hilly course that I've run a few years ago in 2hrs and 17mins. Finishing strong and feeling good will be a decent validation of my work, I don't really even need to beat that time to feel good about progress.

While the end of February will be the end of my personal challenge, I'm not really anticipating going right back to my old eating habits. I don't really crave sweets and sugar as much as I did before anyone, and I would like to keep up the progress that I'm making.


Feb 16, 2010


It's been 2 weeks since I started my Paleo diet challenge and although I haven't been 100% compliant, I would say it's worked very well for me so far. This morning I weighed in at 212 lbs, but more importantly, I feel really good.

I did make an adjustment and added a protein and carb shake right after my workouts which seems to have helped me recover a bit better. I'm taking about 26 grams of carbohydrates and 60 grams of protein which may still be a bit light on the carbs but I don't want to lose the weight loss goal. My next focus is going to be on upping my water intake, I'm usually drinking coffee all day long and I'd like to switch that to water. I do take it black, so I'm not getting a lot of calories, but from a hydration perspective I think I would do better with more calories. I have noticed a tendency to cramp a bit more and I suspect that adding water would help since I don't have as much other fluids in my diet anymore.

The best part really is that I can feel my tastes changing! Sugar and sweets don't have the same pull, and my urge to snack is totally different. I do have craving for nuts which I need to be careful about since they are so addictive and add up fast in terms of calories!

It's definitely a different mindset for me, and I'm convinced that it's entirely due to the fact that I'm recording it all since I imagine hundreds of people are following along and I don't want to let them down!


Feb 10, 2010


The second week has started tough, real tough. I'm not feeling great, questioning my eating strategy and not recovering the way I want to from my workouts. Despite that, I've tried to not change too much other than adding a recovery drink with more protein and carbs immediately after my morning workout.

Unfortunately, I slipped a bit yesterday although in retrospect it wasn't all that bad and it did involve having a nice dinner with my kids! We made homemade pizza with a thin wheat crust, chicken and spinach meatballs, onions and cheese. It may have partially been a result of the way my body has been feeling with workouts as well and the fact that I skipped yesterday to recover. It gave me a blah feeling all day long but hopefully it will be worth it in the long run. I have read a bit about a tough lag a week or so after starting Paleo, and it has certainly worked out that way for me. I'm still determined to work through it though, the goals that I set are still well within reach for the month and that feels like the most important thing.

Taking a day off certainly seems to have helped me this morning, I set a new P.R. in both the bench press (230lbs) as well as with Jackie (1000 meter row,50 -45lb thruster, 30 pull-ups: 10:35) Last time I did Jackie it took me 10:37, but the key difference is that I had to scale the pull ups (jumping pull ups instead of regular). Very happy to say that pull-ups have ceased being a complete limiter for me. Still tough, and pretty hard to do 30 in a row, especially after the rowing and thrusters, but it feels great to really do the workout as prescribed!


Feb 8, 2010

Week 1 continued reflections

I'm meeting my goals, averaging 95.6 grams of carbohydrate and I've weighed in at 214 pounds! The one negative is that I'm starting to feel that my workouts are suffering a bit. I have two thoughts, either I don't have enough carbs to fuel ahead of time, or my diet isn't supporting recovery well enough.

I felt a bit flat on Thursday at Racquetball, and then Friday's workout really hurt. My shoulders do not feel like they have recovered since, and really bothered me again this morning. Of course, I helped move some heavy logs for my brother on Saturday and then played Racquetball for 2 hours on Sunday, so perhaps I need a rest day!

We'll see how I feel tonight, I may take tomorrow off, although I think it's unlikely at this point.


Feb 6, 2010

Week 1

My food intake for the week so far, the averages are off a bit since it's for 5 and 1/2 days, I may update this after I finish my meals for today. I'm guessing I will be around 2500 calories and right at 100 grams of carbs, maybe higher. This week has really taught me that keeping carbs down is a really tough chore, but it clearly works for weight loss. I'm down to 214 already, which is about 4 pounds for the week without really feeling hungry. A pound or two of that is probably normal fluctuation, but it's still feels pretty good to see that number on the scale.

The true test will be the rest of the weekend, tougher to eat strictly for me with 2 nights with friends planned. If I can come of out the weekend in good shape I'll be really happy with the progress I've made and excited for the weeks to come.


Feb 3, 2010

Paleo Food!

In the interest of something different and on the request of a friend from the gym, I figured I
would post my dinner from tonight.

It's a really easy way to make a Paleo meal with lots of meat and veggies. Ultimately it's really just a stir fry, and really easy to make.

Start by heating some oil in a large skillet on high then I like to throw in a couple eggs and scramble them. It adds a bit of protein and some interesting flavor a la fried rice without the rice! After the eggs are scrambled and cooked nicely add your meat. I've used chicken, shrimp, beef or even pieces of fish, it's all good. Let that cook thoroughly and then you can add some "sauce". A dash of soy sauce perhaps, some almond butter is also good, it gives a nutty flavor after it melts, or even
some curry or other spices. I almost never use the same thing twice! Now it's time to start emptying your veggie drawer.

Add onions, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, carrots, snow peas, artichokes, whatever you have. Just make sure to add them in order of how long they need to cook. Add onions first for example because they need to cook awhile longer. I like to add some vegetables right at the end so they are barely crisped and then nice and crunchy.

I also like to add some chopped nuts for extra crunch at the end. The pictures aren't great, but that's a mess of chicken, carrots, peppers and spinach with a curry paste for seasoning... delicious!


Feb 2, 2010

Interesting Paleo observation #1

Staying under 100 grams of Carbs is tough!

I feel like I'm getting enough protein, but obviously with low carbs, my fat totals are over 50% of the diet. On further review of my Primal Blueprint book and Paleo Diet information that seems well in line with what I should expect.

Other observation is that I feel great already... probably a bit early to correlate too much, but it's encouraging.


Feb 1, 2010

February is Paleo Month!

I've spent a lot of time researching diet lately and have really gotten to the point where it's become crystal clear that diet is much more critical than exercise in terms of health and weight management. My thinking has evolved a bit in the last few years, and the Paleolithic Diet is really matching what feels right and has worked for me. It's ultimately based on eating what our long ago ancestors ate and thus what we've evolved to eat. Meats and vegetables in plentiful quantities, but holding the processed foods including grains and sugars. There's lots of info on the web on the diet, so if you're interested you can check it out or let me know and I can tell you what I've learned.

I've applied the principles or varieties of them for the last few months and have felt good, but I needed to focus a bit better and track what I'm eating in order to truly see if this works for me. So, in February I've decided to focus on eating Paleo, and to track it by keeping a log at FitDay.com. I've made the log public, so you can cruise over and check it out any time by clicking the link above and certainly you should feel free to give me static if I'm not doing well.

My intention is not to be 100% strict, so I want to be a bit more explicit on my goals.
  • I'm not removing Dairy from my diet although it's not strictly Paleo, but I will try and cut down, specifically on cheese which is where most of my consumption comes from.
  • This isn't specifically a low-carb diet, you can have as many carbs as you want from veggie sources, but as I would like to continue with my weight loss goal I want to average under 100 grams of carbs per day for the duration of the month. This should keep me on average in the fat-burning zone.
  • Lastly, February is four weeks and to keep up the weight loss progress, I'm going to aim for just over 1.5 lbs per week which is another 8 pounds, putting me at the 210 threshold.
A couple other thoughts, I may play around with a day or two of intermittent fasting, more to see how it feels and whether it will work for me. I suspect it will be difficult with a morning workout, but it's probably worth a try. The key of course is to make I'm consistently getting enough protein to ensure that I'm not losing muscle mass on those days.

Over the last few months, I've noticed a trend of eating well throughout the day but really being hungry after dinner and eating a bunch of food then. I've tried to keep it relatively healthy snacks, but I'm probably eating too much. My suspicion is that I didn't have enough protein in my diet, so that will be another factor that I will be monitoring closely.

Ultimately, at the end of the month I hope to have a better feel for what works for me and to better understand how my actual diet matches the perception I have of how well I'm really eating.


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