So every year Mark Sisson over at MarksDailyApple has a 30-day "Primal Challege" to encourage people to devote themselves to becoming healthier, or re-applying the Primal Blueprint to their lives. Although I had been attempting to eat fairly primally over the past few weeks, I decided to really buckle down and give the challenge a shot.
To give you a bit of background on my own personal health I'll go back to this past spring. The spring of 2011 was probably one of the most unhealthy times of my life. I practically gave up exercise, ate a LOT of pizza and fast food (meals were not provided over the weekend at the fraternity in which I was living) and drank my fair share of Budweiser and Whiskey sours. I hit a personal high as far as my weight, topping off at around 150 lbs (I'm 5'5 on a good day). My sleep at night was poor, my classes were stressful and on top of that I was preparing to transfer schools in the Fall to my new home here in Montana. So there I was, 20 years old at 5'5 150 lbs with around 18-19% body fat. Not too overweight by many peoples' standards, but far from where I wanted to be and far from the lean cycling physique I had just two summers before.
For those of you that don't know, the basis of the Primal Eating plan is to cut out all refined/processed sugars, carbohydrates and highly processed meats. Basically eat whole foods. You strive to reduce your carbohydrate intake to 150 grams per day or less, and derive those carbohydrates from plant or vegetable matter. The Primal Blueprint takes the evolutionary stance that humans have not yet evolved to deal with grains in their diet since we have only been eating them for about 10,000 years since the advent of agriculture. Replacing your traditional high carb load with healthy animals fats (Yes, saturated fat is your friend!) allows you to reduce systemic inflammation and effortlessly lose fat and maintain a healthy weight. If you want to read more about The Primal Blueprint head on over to MarksDailyApple or pick up a copy of The Primal Blueprint at your bookstore or on Amazon (I bought my used copy for under 15 bucks).
Getting back to my own personal challenge - I am now on day 4 of 30 on my Primal Challege to cut out all grains, processed foods and eat lots of plant and animal matter. I dabbled with this eating style over the summer and dropped to 132.8 lbs and 13.5% Body fat (I had it checked on day two of my challenge). I find that hunger is not nearly as much of an issue as it used to be when I eat a lot of carbs. Because carby foods cause a huge spike in blood sugar and then the resulting crash, when you eat a lot of carbohydrates you often are hungry every 3-4 hours. It takes a few days to adjust to eating fewer carbs, as your body learns to use stored body fat as its main source of fuel instead of carbs, and in those first few days I was SUPER hungry, but I kept with it and just doubled my intake of vegetables and meat, especially fatty meat. I plan on having my weight and body fat checked at the end of my challenge, and am excited to see the results.
I am personally adding an additional challenge for myself as part of my quest to become more aligned with my Primal way of living. I am going to attempt to not use my Truck for personal transportation until the challenge is over. Missoula is a very bicycle and pedestrian friendly city and the money that I save and the extra exercise that I get will surely be good for both my wallet and my body.
Until next time, get outdoors!