This is a bit of an awkward post. The Primal lifestyle is about more than eating, or not eating, certain foods. It’s about moving differently, sleeping differently, and paying attention. As I’ve adjusted certain behaviors and learned to listen more to my body, I’m finding myself rejoicing in small (or large) victories. I feel rested, energetic, and ready to face what comes my way. I don’t need my morning tea and I don’t dread going into work on Mondays, because I can handle the stress now. I guess I’m making it sound like a wonder drug, and it definitely isn’t–it’s hard work–but it has still helped transform my health, which in turn transforms how I approach the world.
There isn’t much new to report on the actual eating–I’ve found a good groove, and can actually come up with quite a few meal options, without needing to resort to pastas, tacos, or pizza. (Although I dearly miss our homemade pizza nights. That’s my first planned cheat meal.) I’m trying new dishes all the time, such as liver and onions over the weekend (YUMMO). I’m really only fighting cravings in the evenings now, or when I’m at home on the weekends. And they aren’t general cravings–they’re very instance-specific or is just an appetite craving, as opposed to a hunger-craving. The difference is being hungry enough to eat anything versus craving on specific thing. For example: Saturday I was hit with a super-intense craving for a Hopdoddy’s burger, fries, and Nutella shake after derby. Last Monday it was an office mate’s birthday, and they had Tiff’s Treats deliver red velvet cake cookies to the office. I also have a bar of orange dark chocolate sitting in my fridge, waiting for a cheat night. These can be supremely difficult moments, moments that test my resolve to be as healthy as possible. In those difficult moments, I remind myself that I want transformation MORE (sometimes barely) than I want that cookie, and I’m able to walk away. And soon enough, the cravings pass. I’m hoping that one day they will stop showing up altogether.
As with any healthy lifestyle change, along with eating properly comes exercising properly. The idea behind the Primal Blueprint is that not only are we designed to eat the way a hunter-gather ate (nuts, seeds, meat & veggies), we are also designed to exercise the way he did–low level cardio, like walking, with short bursts of high-energy cardio, such as when running from a bear. So the ideal for modern man is to walk several hours a week, and then at least once a week work in a session in which you sprint short bursts of 30-40 seconds between two-ish minutes of walking. You only do this for 10-13 minutes, once or twice a week, as well as working in some weights.
I tried interval sprinting for the first time last Monday, and it was very strange to be on the treadmill for only 12 minutes. I had the oddest feeling that I hadn’t done enough–like I should get back on the treadmill. There was a surprising amount of guilt! But, I decided to trust this…”plan”, or “lifestyle” or whatever, to work. I know there are several people who will simply not believe me, who can’t get past “calorie in, calorie out”. That’s fine. But I urge you to at least do some research before dismissing it outright. And since I know I’m not very eloquent when it comes to remembering and expressing the science behind things, here is the link detailing the “Case Against Chronic Cardio“. I found it very helpful, as well as supremely freeing.
But still, all in all, I am an impatient creature. We are all impatient creatures. I have only been seriously doing this since the beginning of January, and yet I am occasionally frustrated that there has been no miracle body make-over. I do believe that in the first six months of doing this I will see incredible results, but there is still some part of me that just wants to stamp her foot when that dress still doesn’t fit the way I want it to after three weeks of self-denial. It’s like there’s this little part of me that wants instant gratification for denying that doughnut or that gelato THAT MOMENT. I have to remind myself that it isn’t going to happen overnight, and that I won’t magically shed a pound every time I pass on sugar in my tea. It’s learning a new pattern to my days, not simply a magic pill.
Having said all that though, I feel great. I feel SO great. I feel strong and clean, I am not achy or tired (unless fresh from derby!), and my skin looks fantastic. I have noticed my tummy slimming down, and my thighs are truly becoming pillars of strength, although I must credit that to the weights and all the skating I’m doing. My chiropractor even said he thinks being gluten-free has contributed to the progress my spine has made since we began treatment, which was very empowering. There is nothing like feeling that all my hard work is paying off. It’s like when you pay off a debt, or finish that painting, or get that new job–you know that all your sacrifices and perseverance and dedication directly contributed to your success. It’s taking control of your destiny in some capacity. And now that I know I can do it, there seems to be no reason not to.
Have you taken control of something? How did it make you feel?