Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's the little things... they add up.

Things I've started noticing since being Primal (besides the fat melting off of me).

- Gorgeous skin- WAY less breakouts (break outs now equaling a small blemish or two that disappear quickly.)
- Super strong fingernails
- Shorter periods
- Less sickness (and when it comes, it's short, mild and done)
- Less ear wax (weird huh?)
- Quicker healing time
- Less muscle soreness despite more activity (except for the first run in 3 months- yow!)
- Cleaner teeth
- Better breath
- Less BO
- WAY less gassiness
- More emotional stability (less anxiety)
- Less cravings
- I'm only truly hungry about twice a day (and then I eat!)
- Memory improvement (I was losing it big time for a while there!)
- Less headaches
- Deeper sleep
- More vivid dreams
- More good hair days!

That's just off the top of my head. There's more. It's getting really fun!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Progress: Weight Doesn't Matter

I started Primal Blueprint knowing I was pretty fit and didn't have a ton of weight to lose, just some muffin top to banish and some toning to do.
I didn't expect to lose 10 lbs in the first 3 weeks. I also didn't expect to plateau for week 4,5 and 6. The needle on my scale hasn't moved much in the past few weeks (2 lbs). I just might toss it out the window- not because I'm angry at it, but because weight doesn't mean all that much!

We've all heard the "muscle weighs more than fat" adage. Technically, muscle has denser mass than fat, but I'm just nitpicking here. As I've browsed the Mark's Daily Apple Forums, I've read it over and over- your body composition is changing. Pay no attention to the flashing numbers! I wanted desperately to believe it. I thought maybe I felt it. I knew my skin was better, my nails were harder, my energy was up, and so many other beautiful little benefits. I pored over "before" pics and 1-month-in pics, mentally grasping to the little lift in my bum, the slightly smaller love handles, and the beginnings of my killer ab muscles peeking out the edges of my mama chub. I could swear my jeans were slightly easier to pull on.
Then last night I went shopping with my husband. Normally, this is a stupid thing to do and only ends in anguish, impatience and a flippant "I don't care!" as I mope to the car. To do this on Valentine's Day seemed idiotic. The shop we went to seemed like even more of a set up for disappointment as it was obviously geared to the younger-than-us crowd. (Obviously younger than us, evident by the fact that the music track sounded like a 12 year old was singing and made us both want to gag!) Alas I was in a good mood and decided to give some jeans a whirl- and maybe a pair of cords too. I grabbed a "realistic" size and a "hopeful"size and asked the squeaky dressing room attendant to let me into a stall. Then I stood in the dressing room marked garishly with "Princess", just GAPING at myself. The 11/12s I had grabbed first didn't fit. They fell off. The "hopeful" 9/10 jeans fit like a glove. My adorable husband made that "oh baby" face when I walked out. :) The cords ended up being those skinny pants that I have loathed for so long on others and secretly wished I could wear without looking idiotic. They had a little stretch to them and fit gorgeously on my thighs and calves, but were a little loose in the waist and butt! I got to ask for a 7/8!! The 7/8 fit beautifully all but being a little snug on my powerhouse crazy thighs to be flattering, but I fit in them!! Without sucking in!! I haven't been in single digits since I was sixteen!
As I woke this morning, still high from an amazing Valentine's night with mine, I started to come down to earth a little. "It has to be the store's sizes," I thought. I stepped on the scale... no change. Then I pulled out my tape measure.
I wish I had taken my measurements on day 1. Alas, the first time I thought to do so, was February 6th. 9 days ago. That's not a lot of time for change. But I told myself I would be objective and gave it a go. I had to measure everything 3 times to believe it.
The only place I didn't lost inches was my bust line!(You read that right ladies!)
Waist is down 1/2 inch, Butt down an inch, hip line down an inch and a half, thighs down an inch! I lost half an inch almost everywhere else and a quarter inch off my forearms. In nine days.
I feel amazing- and now I have the mental place to match it.
And that ladies and gents, is how weight doesn't matter.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's Not About Low Carb

I've been Primal for a good month and a week now. It doesn't make me an expert, but I have a lot of thoughts that have been stewing in my research-devouring brain that are getting ripe. Not sure how cohesive this will be, but they need to come out in words somewhere, so LUCKY YOU! Bear with me.

I LOVE the Primal Lifestyle. Love it. One of the reasons I love it is the embracing of unbiased research, the "moderation" attitude, and the return to the simple and real. Unfortunately there are always the extremes- those who grab one aspect and run crazy with it. These people are the reason that others hear "primal" or "paleo" and think- "Those crazy carnivore cavemen are going to die of malnutrition and clogged arteries."

I'd like to clear something up here.

It's not about avoiding carbs, its about avoiding toxins.

Go back and read that again.

Now go read the research. The Primal Blueprint or Wheat Belly, or Good Carbs, Bad Carbs.

What is considered Primal?

*Eating grass-fed, free range meats (and their fat) and eggs
- Fat is the body's preferred fuel-Saturated is better! It's been given a horrible rap by decades of skewed science.
*Eating loads of fresh, organic fruits and veggies.
*Eating wild-caught, omega3-rich fish and seafood.
*Eating moderate or limited amounts of raw, full fat (healthy as you can find) dairy- if that works for your body. Especially if it is fermented (yogurt, kefir).
* Eating avocado, coconut, coconut butter and coconut oil.
* Eating nuts and seeds in moderation- again, if that works for your body.
* AVOIDING toxic things such as most grains and legumes (yes they are toxic-read that research!), Polyunsaturated fatty acids (canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, anything with "hydrogenated" in it's name), refined sugars and unnatural sweeteners. Raw honey is a beautiful thing in small amounts, as are Stevia leaves and Maple Syrup
* AVOIDING processed foods
* Moving more- but not over the top! Chronically stressing your body without proper rest periods raises cortisol levels and can lead to adrenal fatigue along with countless other issues. Way more is not better.
* Playing more
* Connecting more
* Sleeping well- letting our bodies chill from screen time before bed is important!
* Getting sunshine! (ps. healthy fat consumption is the body's natural sunscreen)

A Primal diet is by nature a lower carbohydrate diet than the Standard American Diet- where the majority of carbs come from toxic foods (most grains). Does it have to be a super low carb diet? Nope. Sweet potatoes, fruit, veg- all those things contain carbs. If you are looking to lose weight and get to a good maintenance spot, then keeping your carbs low is a good idea. Otherwise, figure out what your body loves according to your activity level and eat that. Keep it real!

80% of our health is dependent solely on how and what we eat.
20% is exercise. Even lazy bums can look pretty good naked (don't pretend vanity isn't even a little bit involved!) and not be skinny fat.

Sensible indulgence foods
Lets get real here. We live and we love to enjoy. I have found myself not even wanting "cheats" that I'd have drooled over 2 months ago. Your body changes when you eat clean and well- balanced. But I need chocolate. I adore chocolate.
There are those foods that are worth the risk to us, there are those that our body can compensate for easily enough, and there are those foods whose health benefits outweigh their not-so-awesome bits.
Dark chocolate (70% or darker) is my sensible indulgence. It's antioxidant benefits are well documented. It has a beautiful stress-relieving effect in sensible amounts. My body has adapted so that a square or two is plenty for me. The serving size on the package is 4 squares- with 2.5 servings in a bar, so I'm well under common limits, and still getting my "fix"!
Mark recommends keeping it at least 80% Primal. That, my friends is easily doable once you've adapted your body to fat burning. I find it easy to stay around 95% Primal.

Random crap I throw in at the end:

*Quinoa is not technically a grain- rinse it well before cooking and it is an awesome super food.
* White rice- While lacking in the nutrient department, is also lacking in the toxin department. If it's worth the calories to you, or you are super active, then it's okay once in a while.
* Grains have nutrients- Of course they do- they are like grass eggs! They also have anti-nutrients. Do the benefits of whole grain outweigh the toxic effects on gut, nervous system and brain? No.
* I dislike those who depend on one source for information. You will notice that pretty much all my links here go to Mark Sisson's website. This is because there has not been one article on that site that has not been well-researched and cited. Citing Mark is like citing the library, or pubmed.
* I know this post is linked to death, but there isn't a single link here that I don't think is important to know.