Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Pics! Plus, Let's Play Some Good News/Bad News

As promised, here are today's pics!  In addition to what I think is a visible improvement, the scale gave me some good news this morning as well!  I cracked the 230 barrier!  YEAH!  228.2 this morning.  Down 9 pounds now since starting this blog at 237, and 11 since getting back to paleo in general shortly before creating the blog.  Add to that I think I'm definitely beginning to look much better too!

That was the good news.  The bad news is that I went to lunch with some co-workers today.  The choice was a place I'd never been to before, and it turns out it was simply a bar.  Which meant bar food.  I had a sub.  Dammit I'm weak.  So hard being the freak of the group.  Hopefully this doesn't hurt my progress on the scale.  On the upside, at least I kept away from ordering a nice HFCS loaded soda.  I'll get back to it again tonight with dinner.  Whipping up some Japanese style hamburgers.  I'll report back on how that works out!

PS - I know the post looks like crap, but Blogger was giving me a heck of a time with the post and I'd had enough and just wanted to get it out there :-)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quick Pic Update

I'll be taking new pics tomorrow, but forgot to show the ones from last week:


I like my progress, and I think my pics from this week will be even better!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fighting the Psychological Battle

So in the month I've been living my paleo lifestyle and following the plan on I've found that it's a good thing I'm taking pictures in addition to watching the scale.  This morning I weighed in at a stalled 233 pounds even.  So since beginning, I'm still down 6 pounds, but I haven't moved much at all recently.


Since beginning, I can now say the following:
  • My pants fit much better
  • I'm in a belt notch
  • I'm now threatening needing a new belt altogether as there's not another notch left on this one
  • My gut (to me at least) has noticeably decreased
  • I'm certainly stronger in my upper body
  • I have way more energy earlier in the day and continuing throughout the day (No "2:30 feeling")
  • More frequent bowel movements (before, typically once every 3-4 days, now once every 1-3 days)
Despite all this improvement, I'm fighting with myself over why the damn scale isn't moving.  The geek in me looks at the statistical side of this and goes "Man, last time I did this I was down 10 pounds in the first month!  What the heck is going on here?"  The answer of course, is that last time I had no workout program and was simply eating better and losing weight because of this.   This time around, I'm building muscle in addition to losing fat and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt these things are counteracting each other when I step on the scale.  Now granted, I know that this isn't what many people would consider a "serious" strength program, but you've got to remember, I've done absolutely nothing for strength short of every day activities that might challenge my muscles.  And that's not much.  Any training at all certainly will be building muscle for me.

I write this post for those out there that may be just beginning because I know I'm struggling a bit with this and I know I'm not the only person ever that will run into this.  In fact, the majority of people will run into this at some point depending on your paleo goals.  Everyone wants instant gratification.  In my case, I want to improve muscle and lose weight at the same time.  The problem is that this strategy won't let me lose weight as fast as someone just going for weight loss.  Even the person out there that just wants weight loss will run into this at some point where the body just wants to be stubborn.  Remember that this is a lifestyle.  Your body will settle into where it's supposed to be over time.  If you do keep stats (and you should!) I guarantee you'll be slowly dropping weight month to month every month (if you stick with it) until you're at a healthy weight even if you aren't dropping as much as at the beginning.

If *both* are stalled, you probably need to re-evaluate your food intake.  If you're following say, 80% paleo, then this may be all you're going to get out of following only 80%.  To progress further toward the goal you've set, your only choices are to either eat more paleo or increase your workout output.  As I'm more than a bit lazy, I'd certainly recommend the "eat more paleo" approach.  For very little effort (you're already 80%!) you can get a big return on investment.  Working out certainly helps in the long term, but the clean diet will return quicker short term results in our instant gratification society.  If you need to see results now then upping your paleo percentage is the solution for you!  If you're already 100% paleo, then it's probably time to work in some more (or begin if that's your situation) strength training.  Yes, this will increase your weight, but you'll be improving your body composition by adding muscle, and at the same time increase your base metabolism since your body will require more energy to simply operate.  This will allow you to drop "fat weight" even as your "scale weight" is maintained or even increases somewhat.

The moral of the story here is that you shouldn't sweat the stats as long as you're seeing other tangible improvements as well. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Harsh Lesson On What's Really A Treat

So today marked the end of three work weeks worth of being paleo.  I thought, you know, I've been pretty good with this, so I'll treat myself for a meal.  I went to McDonald's, grabbed three of their sausage breakfast burritos, a medium coke, and had a Snickers once I got in to work for the first taste of sweet I've had in a while.

Sweet mercy.

I've been dragging ass all day.  Robb Wolf always talks about "How do you look, feel, and perform?"  I can answer that easily.  Like absolute crap right now.  And here it is 7 hours after the fact, and I still feel this way.  The moral of the story is that when you eat what you're supposed to for even just 11 days straight it becomes a whole lot easier to tell the difference of what happens to your body when you give it even a little junk to run on.

On the plus side, I'm back in the saddle as of lunch and had leftovers from last night's tasty lemon, garlic and onion stuffed chicken breast.  Think I'll grab the kid when I get home and head to the local natural foods store to see if I can find the elusive unsweetened coconut flakes I've been searching for so I can make some coconut bark to satisfy future sweet tooth attacks!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No Rest For the Wicked

Ugh.  A more terrible sleep graphic you'll probably never see.  It was a rough one last night.  It's my own doing, I procrastinated on wiping a laptop that I needed to get to a friend today.  Incidentally, that still didn't get done.  Wiping a Windows 7 machine and bringing it back to current with a basic antivirus/malware program and current patch levels takes an inordinate amount of time!

On the plus side this morning, I got a nice surprise at the scale!  Following on the heels of the success of the fat percentage going down, I'm down 3 pounds today!  232.4 and 24.3% this morning.  On the move downward!  I've got to work at being more consistent on my sleep now... the other half of my life improvement.  On the up side, my son was not the cause of the spike at roughly 3:00.  He actually slept through, and that will help the quality of both mine and my wife's sleep.  That would be a huge blessing for sure!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Here's me!


Well, at least it was me last week when I took my kickoff picture.  I plan to do one of these each month to visually see how things are going in addition to statistically seeing the same.  Right now, I'm still only down 4 pounds since beginning, but my fat percentage has been slowly declining.  It's now down to 24.2% as of this morning.  Obviously, I've got some work to do to hit my goal of a six-pack by December 31st, 2011.  The six-pack is my "visible" goal, my statistical goal is to get to 10% or lower body fat.  I realize that the six-pack will be more difficult to achieve, which is why I've set both goals.  My only exercise at this point is my daily activities, which will soon include playing Softball once a week, and potentially umpiring at least once a week as well, and following the program at  I tried to begin this last week, but it just didn't work out well, and was only able to do it one day.  So I started over yesterday, and already saw an improvement in my ability to do a maximum amount of pushups.  I started at eight (yes, pathetic I know) and am up to ten after having only done a single workout.  Even if I'm not losing weight, if I'm losing fat and maintaining because of muscle gain (muscle weighs more than fat) I can live with that.  As of this morning, I'm still at 235.2 pounds, but I'm down 1% fat since beginning my bloggings.  I'll take that for two weeks worth of work!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Paleo Lifestyle vs. Typical Western Diet Nutritional Throwdown

It's frequently assumed that because I follow a Paleo lifestyle that I'll be devoid of all these vitamins and minerals simply because I don't eat grains, dairy, or sugar.  That really couldn't be further from the truth.  I'm going to lift an excerpt from Loren Cordain's Book for this.  Let's take a typical Paleo day vs. a typical Western diet day.  This is an example using a 25 year old woman.  Out of a typical 2,200 calorie day (the US Recommended daily allowance, or RDA) half of her calories are coming from plant sources, and half from animal, all able to be found at your local grocery store.

Typical Paleo Lifestyle day:

Breakfast:  1/2 a cantaloupe, and a 12oz portion of Atlantic Salmon.

Lunch:  Shrimp and spinach/vegetable salad.  Specifically, seven large shrimp, three cups raw spinach leaves, one shredded carrot, one sliced cucumber, two diced tomatoes, and a lemon juice/olive oil/spice dressing.

Dinner:  Two lean pork chops, two cups steamed broccoli, and a tossed green salad consisting of two cups romaine lettuce, a half cup of diced tomatoes, a quarter cup of sliced purple onions, half an avocado, and lemon juice dressing.

Dessert:  Half a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries and a quarter cup of slivered almonds.

Snack:  Cold pork chop

Not too weird eh?  Yes, the salmon for breakfast is a strange choice, but that's not the only thing you can eat for breakfast obviously.  Now let's have a look at the Western Diet choices we're stacking this against:

Typical Western Diet day:

Breakfast:  Danish pastry and two cups of cornflakes with eight ounces whole milk topped with a teaspoon of sugar.  She washes it down with a cup of coffee containing a tablespoon of cream and a teaspoon of sugar.  Due to all the refined carbs consumed for breakfast, her blood sugar level plummets and she's hungry again by mid morning, so in goes a glazed doughnut and another cup of coffee as described above.

Lunch:  Hits McDonald's for lunch and grabs a Quarter Pounder, small fry, and a 12 ounce cola.

Dinner:  Two slices of cheese pizza and a small iceberg lettuce salad with a half a tomato and two tablespoons of thousand island dressing.  This is accompanied by a 12 ounce lemon-lime soda.

Now seriously... people are worried about *my* nutritional intake when that's a very real picture of an average American's daily diet?  I fully realize this isn't necessarily a fair fight, but again, we're looking at the average diet for a follower of a Paleo lifestyle and the average diet of a typical American.  But for giggles, let's look at the comparison.  These will be the percentages of the RDA for each nutrient:

Water Soluable Vitamins:

Thiamin (B1):  Paleo 417%, Western 95%
Riboflavin (B2):  Paleo 281%, Western 87%
Niacin (B3):  Paleo 374%, Western 73%
Pyridoxine (B6):  Paleo 369%, Western 20%
Cobalamin (B12):  Paleo 513%, Western 88%
Vitamin C:  Paleo 932%, Western 51%

Fat Soluable Vitamins:

Vitamin A:  Paleo 858%, Western 53%
Vitamin D:  Western 63%, Paleo 0%
Vitamin E:  Paleo 331%, Western 34%
Vitamin K:  Paleo 1,454%, Western 80%

Macro Minerals:

Calcium:  Paleo 111%, Western 111%
Phosphorus:  Paleo 289%, Western 115%
Magnesium:  Paleo 245%, Western 46%

Trace Minerals:

Iron:  Paleo 143%, Western 68%
Zinc:  Paleo 165%, Western 33%

There are a few items that there is no RDA for, but they're really important!  They are:

Omega 3 fats:  Paleo 6.7 grams, Western 1 gram
Dietary Fiber:  Paleo 47 grams, Western 8 grams
Sodium:  Paleo 813 milligrams, Western 2,943 milligrams
Potassium:  Paleo 8.5 grams, Western 2.1 grams

I've included only vitamins and minerals people would consider "common" even though the book gives many more.  I've not omitted anything where Paleo would have been an inferior dietary choice.  As you can see, there is only one listed where the Western example is better than Paleo, and only one where they are equal.  

Again, this is just an example provided in the book.  I may create my own example of a real day of my eating at some point against what I believe most people would consider a "Healthy" day of eating for the average American.

So I hope this puts to rest any fears of my lack of nutrition due to the omission of grains, dairy, and sugar from my diet!

Paleo Lifestyle Misconceptions

I think the majority of people that know me believe that I'm somehow suffering because I follow a paleo lifestyle.  I'm now refusing to call it a diet (despite the fact that one can follow a "western", "vegetarian", or "vegan" diet in the same way) because I've received so many comments to the effect of "diets don't work".  It is indeed a lifestyle as I intend to continue to live it long after the weight is gone.  I won't be perfect all the time, but I intend to adhere better than 95% of the time.  Since I've had quite a few interesting misconceptions I figure I'd lay those to rest here, even if most people won't actually see this.  At least maybe it will provide some Paleo curious people a "real" person's experience.  First though, my sort of boilerplate monologue:

"What if I told you there was a simple lifestyle to follow that would allow you to have more energy, potentially solve many nagging chronic problems you deal with daily, and transform your body into a lean, buff/bikini beautiful machine?

What if I also told you that you could eat all you wanted of the foods prescribed in this lifestyle and that was perfectly fine?

What if I also told you that these foods are lean meats, fruits and vegetables?

What if I also told you that you really only needed to work out once or twice a week for 20-30 minutes, and oh by the way, you're not killing yourself with cardio?

What if I also told you that you would decrease your chance of many diseases, including adult-onset diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, elevated blood uric acid levels, elevated triglycerides, elevated small-dense LDL cholesterol, and reduced HDL cholesterol?

Does all this sound great to you?  Well then I have something you should hear!"

Now that that's out of the way, here are a lot of common questions and statements I get:

1 - You did this before and stopped.  I thought this was a lifestyle change?
A1 - I sure did.  Unfortunately, another lifestyle change derailed it.  It's called having a kid and being a first time parent!  I'm back on track now with no intention of deviating.

2 - I'm healthy/happy as I am!  I don't need to lose weight.  I'd rather die happy than give up [insert food you can't live without here].  You have fun with your Paleo thing and suffering without [insert food you can't live without here].
A2a - You may be healthy now, but numerous sources show that being overweight significantly increases your risk of plenty of diseases which end badly.  Badly as in you spend a significant portion of the end of your life suffering.  That's not my definition of happy.  So let's see... live without bread and refined sugar, or be prone to multitudes of diseases that can cause an untimely and painful demise.  I think I'll nix the bread and refined sugar.
A2b - Are you *really* healthy?  Stop and think for a second.  Be honest with yourself.  Are you constantly sick?  Does the local drugstore roll out the red carpet when you visit?  Can you climb a single flight of stairs without being winded?

3 - You're going to be missing out on lots of essential nutrients by not having grains!
A3 - This is answer requires so much explanation, it gets its own post.

4 - I don't want to starve myself on some diet.
A4 - I'm not starving myself by any stretch of the imagination.  If anything, people might consider me a bit of a glutton.  Earlier this week my day of eating consisted of all you can eat soup and salad at Applebees and a gigantic helping of steak fajitas (minus the rice and refried beans) at a local authentic Mexican restaurant.  If you've ever been there, you know that was an undertaking to eat all of it!

That's all I've got for the moment.  I'll make a part two to this if I get a bunch more, which I'm almost expecting.

Strong Start to Thursday

I think I'm going to start posting these each day in an effort to prod myself to get more sleep.  I've got a nifty app on my iPhone 4 called "Sleep Cycle".  It's only a buck, so you may want to check it out.  It does three things for you, only one of which is certainly useful.  The other two, well, maybe not as much, but I think they're worth it.  Sleep Cycle is an alarm clock app on IOS devices that you put on your bed at night and keeps running statistics of when you go to bed and get up each night.  It also uses the accelerometer to measure how much you toss and turn.  (Here's where the actual use of this may be debatable.)  Based on how much you toss and turn, the app will rate you as being "Awake", "Asleep", or "Deep Asleep".  Basically, the less you move, the more the app believes you're deep asleep.  The app then uses this information along with the alarm clock.  It will wake you up as much as a half hour before the time you've set if it believes that you're "Awake".  The theory is that you'll wake smoother than if you're in a deep sleep and thus have a better start to your day.  As you can see, I didn't get as much sleep as I'd have liked last night.  But I do feel good this morning.  For whatever reason, I just feel ready to tackle the day.

Also good news this morning, though my weight hasn't moved much, my fat % is going down.  As of this morning, good ol' Tanita reports that I'm at 24.6% fat, and has upgraded me from "Obese" (the ++ icon on the scale) to just "Overweight" (the + icon on the scale).  So while I'm not dropping much weight at the moment, if the scale is accurate, I'm happy to see that I'm down there.  Hopefully that number continues to dip.

Last night I made a Paleo correct Taco Salad.  A friend of mine pointed out that the cheese on it probably wasn't paleo correct.  After digging into Cordain's book a bit and from what I keep hearing from Robb Wolf, I think she's probably right.  Glad for people that know more than I do to keep me on track!  As far as the taco salad, it's a keeper even though I goofed in making it and forgot to add the seasoning at the right time.  I also started the meat first as the recipe showed, but I probably should have waited until I had everything else prepared to start the meat since it finished early and was cool by the time we ate it.  I'll do better next time!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tuesday Setback, Wednesday Restart

Tuesday got off to a good enough start... but poor planning cost me.  5:00PM rolled around and I'd had no caffeine...

This is where caffeine, my wonderful Jekyl and Hyde friend turned into Mr. Hyde.  It'd been certainly 24 hours since my last caffeine intake, and while I'm making dietary improvements in my life, I have no designs on getting rid of caffeine.  This is because I once tried to do so, and the result three days later was the worst headache I've ever suffered.  (That has since been eclipsed by some migraines I had about two months ago.)  I said "eff that, not worth it" and have been sipping the fully leaded stuff ever since.

Back to yesterday though.  So it's 5:00 and I can feel the headache starting to come on, and on top of that I was hungry and thirsty as well.  I have an hour commute to work one way, so it would be at least that long before food would be getting in my belly.  I was stuck.  I could have went to the coffee shop to solve the caffeine problem, but as a rule warm drinks do nothing to satisfy my thirst.  So to the vending machine I went.

In hind sight, I could have made a better selection from the vending machine, but nothing in there was paleo, so I don't feel too bad about the extra crispy Kit Kat that I bought.  I washed that down with a 20 oz. Coke.

Once home, I started last night's recipe, "Cheezburger in a Bowl".  It was fairly simple, and we were eating in 30 minutes.  Again though, I faltered and had a Pepsi Throwback even though I'd already had a Coke.  Overall it wasn't a *terrible* day of eating... but it certainly wasn't great.

Weight Challenge!

So the official weigh in was last night around 7:00.  We weighed in our boxers, and agreed that the most percentage of weight lost between yesterday and May 31st would be the winner.  Below are the official weigh in statistics.  The names have been omitted to protect the fatties :-)

Me: 239.6
Opponent: 222.6

We'll see how it goes!  I was a little surprised that from yesterday morning to then that I'd picked up FOUR pounds.  And then my weight this morning was again back to normal.  Amazing how weight fluctuates throughout the day.

Wednesday Restart

So I hopped on the horse this morning back to paleo and fell off a bit.  I grabbed a bacon egg and cheese croissant that I fully intended to ditch the croissant from.  Unfortunately when you're driving 65 down the highway, it's rough to only eat the egg and bacon from said sandwich, so it was eaten.  Lunch and dinner should be fine though.  If that's my only misstep for today, I'll be happy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Good Monday, Good Start to Tuesday

Today begins a weight challenge with a friend of mine.  I think we're going to go 8 weeks, but haven't nailed that down yet.  The winner is the person that loses the greatest percentage of body weight.  Trust me, we both have plenty to lose here, so this will be a healthy endeavor.  Loser owes the winner a $20 spot.  As of this morning my Tanita tells me:

235.2 pounds, 25.2% Body Fat

We'll see where 8 weeks puts me.  I'm guessing I'll be near 220, but hopefully better!  Yesterday marked the one week point of the new start to paleo.  It was a flawless paleo day.  Fasted for breakfast, lunch was Pepper Steak with raw veggies subbed in for the rice they originally served, and dinner was at a local authentic Mexican restaurant.  I ordered the fajitas and didn't eat the tortillas.  I'm hoping to throw some start pics up on the site in the not too distant future so I have something to compare with weeks, months, and years down the road.

Dinner tonight is going to be "Cheezburger in a Bowl".  Recipe is courtesy of the "Following My Nose" blog and can be found here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Starting it up!

So who am I?

Well, you can call me DaringOne.  I'm starting blog to journal my paleo adventures for historical perspective without "pestering" all my Facebook friends that mostly could care less or worse, don't want to hear what I'm saying when it could change their life.

What's my history?

I'm a 31 year old married father of one.  My wonderful wife seems curious about paleo, but is also in school to become an RN.  Since probably 98% of the medical establishment frowns on paleo, this leaves her attitude toward my endeavor ranging from curious to being overtly concerned for my health.  I point out to her that I've yet to see a sickly person on the paleo diet, and so many stories of people with chronic issues that doctors are unable to solve that seem to "magically" solve themselves after adopting a paleo diet.

I've used the paleo diet before, and my wife ate the meals that I cooked that were paleo friendly with the exception of my paleo meatloaf.  I was dropping weight (about 20 pounds in 3 months or so) and feeling great!  But that "father of one" part screeched that to a halt.  As my wife was unwilling to use a diet she didn't fully believe in while pregnant or breast feeding, and I was unwilling to cook two meals per night, I was back to crap eating.

So where am I now?

Currently, here are my vitals:

Age - 31
Height - 6'4"
Weight - 237 lbs
Body Fat % ~ 28%

These stats are gleaned from my Tanita body fat scale.  Yes, I know the only true way to gauge body fat % is in a tank, but this is the only economical and convenient method I have.  I measure when I wake up in the morning, standing in my boxers only.  This eliminates variations in clothing from affecting my measurements.

Shortly, I hope to get a physical with some bloodwork done so I have a baseline.  We'll see where those numbers go.  Last I was tested about 6 months ago non-fasting, my numbers for everything were on the teetering edge between normal and elevated.  I aim to get a fasting measurement to provide a true baseline.

I'm a complete newb as far as my paleo knowledge is concerned.  I know the basic tenants of "if you can shoot it, catch it, or pick it and eat it raw, it's on the menu" and "GRAINS ARE BAD!" but don't know much of the underlying science and get tricked into eating things I think are paleo but really aren't after talking to some more experienced cavemen.  I have Loren Cordain's book, but haven't yet completed it (tough to complete a book when you're rarely at home) and want to pick up both Robb Wolf's and Mark Sisson's as well.  I'll be getting those on my IOS device.  This will increase probability of getting read, as when I'm home I have many other things I'd rather (or must) do than read.  I've been plowing through Robb's podcasts from the beginning starting 3/29/11, and they're really interesting, really technical, and I know I'm only catching probably a tenth of the information doled out.

I'm hoping to be posting my daily thoughts and food consumption as well as sleep patterns to see how well I'm doing.  Glad you're coming along for the ride!