Sunday, August 29, 2010

Starting a primal journey Part 1

For my first blog post, I am sharing my story, to set the scene for the beginning of my journey...

I am exhausted.
For years, I have religiously followed the conventional wisdom mantra of eating a low-fat diet and (albeit not as religiously) working out in excessive cardio sessions at the gym. But it hasn't worked! Since leaving high school 10 years ago I have gradually gained excess weight to the point that the Wii Fit now scolds me for being "Obese". What's going on? According to conventional wisdom, my low-fat, calorie controlled diet combined with regular aerobic exercise should have had me losing weight until I reached a healthy goal.
My latest quest for health began in April when my husband and I signed up to a personal training program at a local gym. This included two 1hr sessions per week with our personal trainer, regular gym sessions on alternate days, as well as a calorie-restricted healthy eating program.
We worked hard. We ate carefully. All our food was measured and portioned. All our workouts were hard-core. If we weren't hurting a couple of days after, we hadn't worked hard enough.
We both really improved our fitness levels. I started not being able to sprint above 7km/hr on the treadmill and I can now push 14km/hr. I can do twice as many pushups and even manage a couple 'man' pushups (proper ones on my feet instead of my knees). I can run the full 5 flights of stairs at the gym rather than plod up only 3 flights. Great results yes?!
There was one problem. In 8 weeks I had only lost 300grams. My weight, which had been measured on a weekly basis, had fluctuated up and down, but I hadn't even been able to crack the kilo mark! My husband, who granted had more to lose, had only managed a loss of 1kg over the 8 weeks. Obviously fitness is important, but my goal was weight loss and I expected at least some results.
After working our butts off (figuratively, not literally obviously) for more than 2 months, we were pretty much at the same size we'd started. No weight loss! No body fat loss! How was this possible? I was working harder than I ever had in past 10 years, and had drastically changed my eating habits. Most days I was averaging about 1500 calories. I was always hungry and generally didn't have the energy to put my all into training sessions, but I powered through, confident that conventional wisdom would come through in the end.
It didn't.
By month 3 I was over it. I couldn't understand what was happening. I had practically given up eating any food that was "bad" for me, even though they were the foods I enjoyed eating the most! I was dragging myself out of bed in the freezing cold winter conditions at 6am to flog myself in the gym before my day had even started. It was completely depressing and difficult to see a way through it.
An off-the-cuff comment that I remember my mum making last time I had been visiting up north was my turning point. She had mentioned a "Caveman" diet philosophy. I understood this to mean eating like they did back in caveman days. Before McDonalds, Lean Cuisine, and Light & Easy meals dominated our weekly menu, these caveman had access to natural, wholesome food. Could their way of eating be my answer?
As I could only guess that diet was the issue in my lack of weight loss, I set out to do some research to see what information was available about this way of living. And that's where the revelations began...

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