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Paleo eating & exercise for the win!

Just finished my mid-day workout and thought I'd drop in to LJ for a moment before resuming grading.

Haven't done a health post in a while, so a quick update:

  • Off sugar and corn syrup since April (with a slip during the CSSF Writers Workshops).

  • Eating mostly paleo since then, too, more as time goes on, but not strictly. That is, I eat milk products, just no refined sugar.
    For example, today for breakfast I had broccoli soup (thanks to clevermanka) with sasuage and cheese, and a glass of half-water, quarter each of apple cider and orange juice - oh, and a banana; for lunch a custom concoction of chorizo, spinach, chicken, and almonds with spicy cheese. Also a half-cup of kefir for digestive health. Dinner will likely be a big salad out with the guys, and I sometimes have a beer (but two usually upsets my stomach now). Other meals include fish, lots of veggies, nuts, and so forth.

  • Down to 168 pounds (from a high last winter of 195, and an all-time high of well over 200 [wasn't weighing back then], eek).

  • Today I did my first full-on, go-until-failure workout (rather than maintenance exercise) in weeks and found I haven't lost strength despite being buried in work. Even added a couple of new movements to my routine. Hurray!

  • Musculature shows better than in my last photos (and starting to get some ab definition!). (I'll post pics again next time, in the middle of grading now.) Apparently I had fat on my arms and shoulders, too. Huh.

  • Overall: Feeling much healthier, with fewer blood-sugar drops, more stamina, no joint pain (except the shoulder, natch) and all-around more vim and vigor.

  • Had to get rid of MOST of my long-sleeved shirts, and probably ought to ditch the old short-sleeves, too.

  • Ditto old pants. Which fit like clown pants. (Sorry, weaselmom, The Pants had to go; I was swimming in them.)
    An aside: I know what you're thinking: "Boo hoo, you lost weight and had to buy new clothes." Well, still, it's something to weigh (ar ar): cost of new clothes vs. cost of lots of crap food, health problems, self-esteem, and so forth.

  • Can't eat any pre-packaged food.

  • Most fancy receptions have nothing to eat that isn't half sugar or bread.

  • If I were really strict, almost nothing in a restaurant would fit my diet.

Anyone else out there eating differently and seeing positive results? Got a new exercise routine?

Maybe not yet, but you're feeling like shedding poundage, looking better, and feeling healthier? Well, if I can give up sugar, anyone can! Just ask any of my long-time friends and you'll likely hear that I was the worst chocoholic around and used to suffer all kinds of sore joints and blood-sugar instability. However, like any addiction, it's a habit that anyone with a little willpower (and support) can kick. It just took me two weeks of staying off sugar to lose my taste for the stuff.

Geez, I'm starting to sound like an infomercial. Anyhow: Paleo and exercise FTW!




( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 9th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC)
I went from 195 to 170 earlier this year due to exercise and diet changes. I've gained a bit back lately due to life being...well, life. But I agree with you that exercise and diet changes are the way to go. Your food description sounds fantastic.

BTW... Today's Piled Higher and Deeper might be appropriate.
Dec. 9th, 2010 06:59 pm (UTC)
Sounds like we both had about the same results, awesome! Don't let life interrupt your health; the two are inextricably intertwined. I'm never going to let myself go again, and what helps is a group of supportive folks also doing the same.

That link - hahahahaha! OMG, I can't begin to tell you....
Dec. 9th, 2010 07:12 pm (UTC)
Noooo! The Paaaants! I hope they went to a good home.

Totally off sugar? I wonder if the stock of C&H took a nosedive.

Congrats on your lifestyle changes - I know how hard you've worked. To me, you will always be the boy who ate chocolate chip pancake Piggies in a Blanket at IHOP with us, the one who had "Sweets Keep Me Up" tattooed on his arm. But the new boy sounds happy too.
Dec. 9th, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC)
No one believes me those choco-Piggies were tasty, but I tell ya... well, they probably weren't, but it was fun :-D

I'll replace The Pants at some point - with better, more flattering ones! The old ones went to the local consignment shop, and I used the money I got for 'em and other pants to buy an awesome '70s-cool leather jacket in burnt-orange (or whatever, darkish red-brown-orange). Too awesome. I'll post pics when I get some.
Dec. 9th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
I've been going to Weight Watchers for about a year and a half. I didn't have serious weight to lose, but wanted to get on top of it before it became a real issue. Mainly I stopped drinking soda and started eating a LOT more fruits and veggies. In addition to dropping the approx. 20 pounds in approx. 10 weeks, I found I was sleeping better and had fewer and less severe migraines.

Weight Watchers just (two weeks ago) introduced their "new" plan, which is still a points system but even heavier emphasis on the fruits and veggies, with all those super-refined "100 calorie" snacks given much higher points values than previously. Before, WW points were calculated based on calories, fat, and fiber. Now they're calculated on a more complex formula of fat, fiber, carbs, and protein.

I still eat more processed food than I should -- but a whole heckuva lot less than before.

My husband has been doing great on this too -- and one of his former officemates told him to buy some new clothes because he was starting to look homeless.
Dec. 9th, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
Go you! The other health stuff was totally unexpected, wasn't it? I mean, I don't even get sick any more (knock wood) when my students and friends are down for the count. Though my mold allergies (fallen leaves) have been as bad as ever.

Glad to hear that WW has modified their system, because their pre-packaged food that I used to see in the stores had more ingredients than the entire produce section ;-)
Dec. 9th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC)
What's funny is that WW sells all that packaged stuff, but their own philosophy dictates against it. That hasn't changed -- they still sell all that. But they're trying to make more clear that all calories are not processed equally regardless of their source...

And yes, those side benefits were completely unexpected!
Dec. 9th, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's good! So the packaged stuff they sell is pretty much just cynical biz stuff, eh? Naturally.
Dec. 9th, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
I just posted about it, but I've lost 50 pounds so far by reprogramming my brain. The same basic biological responses that say, "Oh yum!" to the idea of a Snickers bar can be reprogrammed to say "Oh gross!"

I'm not hungry all the time, and if I really want a treat, I'll get it, though I usually only eat half and think it's not nearly as good as I remembered it being. I no longer need to eat to the point of being overstuffed, and I no longer have the knee-jerk reaction to gobble up any mediocre treat passed my way for the very temporary psychological high.
Dec. 9th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
That's awesome! Congratulations!

And we truly do have much more control over our programming than we think we do. I would go so far as to say we can overcome just about anything, given enough time and mental reprogramming. I suspect we could even reprogram sociopaths if we catch them young enough....
Dec. 9th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
There's a certain willingness to be reprogrammed that has to be there, too. I had to accept that I will never view nachos the same way again. I suspect there's also some genetic components involved, and it's easier for some people to form different neural pathways than others. It's also nearly impossible to do if you can't track your behavior and measure the changes.
Dec. 9th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
True! And you're right about tracking - it's why I make these occasional updates (and should do another photo soon). Keeps the tricksy parts of the addiction in check ;-)
Dec. 9th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)
It's why I weigh myself at the same time each morning, because I'm lousy at measuring calories, but I am good at measuring their consequences.

I once saw an interesting presentation from a shrink who said that a golf counter was probably one of the most useful tools in psychology. If you had a compulsive behavior and track it, the simple act of measuring it and tracking it actually makes the numbers go down over time. You can learn to put a stop between impulse and action.
Dec. 9th, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC)
A good tailor is god-sent in such situations. Also, I would like to gently point out that "If I can do it, everyone can" is a bit of a fallacy -- weight loss is more difficult for some people than others. Giving up sugar works for you, great, but it may be different for other people.
Dec. 9th, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC)
You're right, and I ought to have been more clear. What I meant was that if I can give up sugar, lots of other flks can too, though I'm pretty sure there are people out there who're fighting much worse sugar cravings than I did.
Dec. 9th, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC)
I feel your pain. I have a very difficult eating out and I usually wind up cheating a little. I'm not paleo, but close. I'm vegan, gluten-free, no HFCS, refined sugars (I cheat here a little) and limited nightshades.
Dec. 9th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)
I suspect your eating-out is much more troublesome than mine! Funny how in this country where food is plentiful, finding good food is difficult.
Dec. 10th, 2010 01:55 am (UTC)
It is very ironic all the bad food you want is easy to get. I get very tired of people asking what *do* you eat, when they hear my diet restrictions. Oh yeah, I do eat eggs they don't kill my body the way meat does. Not vegan by choice.
Dec. 10th, 2010 03:07 am (UTC)
I am allergic to wheat, dairy and eggs (if I eat them, it triggers first hay fever and then asthma). I can fudge a tiny bit with dairy in that I can eat butter, a small amount. But neither egg yolk nor egg white, and while I can get away with spelt (not a gluten issue), wheat in any quantity above 2% of a recipe means first congested nose, then coughing as my lungs react.

I tend to confuse people by ordering gluten-free, vegan stuff with a side of bacon or some other meat. But it's easier to approach it that way than to try and explain that "wheat" means all flours made with wheat, not just whole wheat, and that I really can't eat dairy products or eggs.
Dec. 10th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC)
Oh yeah I know what you mean about confusing people like that. I have the same stuffy nose problem with dairy. It was the very first thing to go. I can't imagine having it to wheat that way.

I bet inhalers don't help you either with this when it hits. My uncle is very allergic to eggs the way you are. Have you tried ghee when you eat a small amount of butter? Does it do better or same?
Dec. 10th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)
While I love what Indian food I've eaten, I'm not very familiar with ghee. The amount of butter I can tolerate goes up to about 1/4 a tablespoon, or the amount you'd put on a baked potato. The fats issue also has to come into play.

But hey, thanks for the suggestion. I'll look into it.

I'm already on Singular, nasal sprays and inhalers to manage the sinus and asthma issues, as I also have mold and dust allergies, as well as reactive airways thanks to growing up with a 2 pack a day cigarette smokers back in the day when folks weren't really thinking about secondhand smoke issues. My father, middle brother and his first wife all smokers and didn't go outside.

What also does help is Benadryl.
Dec. 11th, 2010 02:36 am (UTC)
Oh I feel for you. I have same problem Reactive Airway from living with a heavy smoker and on a dirt road and dust, dust mites and mold allergies.

Benadryl is wonderful. The extreme sleep it induces in me isn't so great. LOL.
Dec. 10th, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
When I gave up dairy products it did wonders for my allergies, too. My ex-wife, whose idea it was at the time, said for many people dairy is bad for the immune system. I still have allergies, but they don't knock me down anymore.
Dec. 11th, 2010 02:37 am (UTC)
That's great to hear you have had a lot of success with that. It's amazing what dairy can do to a person's body.
Dec. 9th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
I'm so proud of you!

Good thing you look so fantastic in those new clothes you had to get, eh?
Dec. 9th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Dec. 9th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
We do paleo, except I still do whole grains and beans. I hate most veggies, which makes it almost impossible for me to do this (turns into a straight meat-diet really quick). But my husband likes it. ::shrugs::
Dec. 9th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
I do some beans, too. The key to veggies? Throwing them in with tasty stuff! I use nuts, meat, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, seeds, and cheese to tastify them. Fresh is vital, and I usually heat 'em up in a nonstick pan to pull out the flavors.
Dec. 9th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
To pull out the flavor? Ick! That's what I don't want.

Instead I puree them or mince them and hide them in things I do like ;o)

I should say that I've lost 14lbs, but 2 back on while travelling. So it does help...but mostly because I'm bored with the food I can have.

Edited at 2010-12-09 09:43 pm (UTC)
Dec. 9th, 2010 11:48 pm (UTC)

I've always been a fairly sensible eater and a box-food hater. Dropping wheat dropped 6lbs off me without changing ANYTHING else.

You're fortunate to have a partner who is supportive about eating healthy. I struggle with a partner who brings home standard crappy food because left to his own devices at the store, he falls back on what's familiar. But he's coming around in baby steps.

Eating out is tough, and I love dining out. Lawrence is a good town for foods that are easy on us. Oh, and fancy receptions often have bowls of nuts :)

Go you! You's done well.

Dec. 10th, 2010 12:39 am (UTC)
It's awesome, agreed.

Going out to eat opens up your eyes to just how much grains you were once eating.

Salad and naked burgers are my goto at lunch, but it is really, really rare that I can just order a dish without any omissions.

Dec. 10th, 2010 12:42 am (UTC)
Yeah, no kidding. I'm having dinner with the Boyz tonight, Panda Garden (in 20 minutes, actually, should run...), and at the very minimum I give away my rice. I'll just have to live with the starch that's likely in the sauce, *sigh*
Dec. 10th, 2010 03:25 am (UTC)
Congrats on the progress. Way to go!
Dec. 10th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
Dec. 10th, 2010 03:30 am (UTC)
I lost 50 lbs in the past year. Some of it is due to metabolic changes (menopause) and some of it is due to changes in eating and in exercise. And a wee bit of Day Jobbe stress.

I'm allergic to wheat, dairy and eggs as respiratory allergy triggers. I also don't tolerate fats well (irritable bowel syndrome). Several things that made a huge difference for me, food-wise, was a.) counting drink as food (calorie-wise, it matters), b.) portion control (I got the Lose It! app for my iTouch and used it diligently until I could identify and visualize what worked best for me on a daily calorie and exercise rate) and c.) consistent exercise, realizing that my daily weight/Pilates/yoga/ballet routine was not enough to overstress me to the degree that I need to take rest days from it.

I also eat a good breakfast, alternating weeks of quinoa with almond butter and veggies, miso with tofu and veggies, and baked potatoes. I weigh myself daily because if I don't, I risk gaining weight. I've been through wild weight swings before over a seven to ten year cycle, and at my age, I'd kinda like to not have to fight to lose this weight again. Plus I like being at this weight.

Another factor is that I realized that the last time I was even close to this light in weight, the winter damp and cold caused me a lot of pain. As a result I ate more and wasn't as active, which meant I gained weight. This year I invested in scarves, good quality ski base layers, and actively work on layering and keeping myself warm. Plus an exercise regime focused on stretching and flexibility.

It all helps.

I also need to eat a certain amount of whole grains to keep my gut happy. Beans are right out; not just for what they do to my gut but because I just no longer like them. Nuts need to be eaten in moderation to keep the gut happy.

I also need a moderate amount of starch.

Oddly enough, now, food has become more fuel than pleasure. I also now will eat a wider variety of foods in smaller portions, which is what I really prefer to do. I'd much rather have very small portions of several pleasant foods at a sitting than a larger portion of one food.
Dec. 10th, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)
Really good point about staying warm. I've discovered that the cold affects me MUCH more now than it did when I was heavier, and I just end up wearing more - even around the house!

So many foods are allergens, and it seems that I was allergic to some part of wheat, or at least it caused inflammation in my joints and such that I don't experience anymore.
Dec. 10th, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
I've lost 6.6 pounds this fall, while weight lifting a lot so I'm hoping I've lost more fat than that.

Odd thing is, I've been focused on increasing my bench press, but it stalled out at 264 pounds, I hope just from over training, while my military press jumped from 99 pounds to 132 over the same period as the weight loss. (sorry about the weird numbers, but I keep having to convert from the metric)
Dec. 12th, 2010 12:42 am (UTC)
Not long after quitting taekwondo to do this whole FE study thing, I realized that I had to do something or my weight would just keep going up.

Back in the summer one of my students did the South Beach diet and I could see the progress he made on a weekly basis-- so after the excesses (oh, the excesses) of World Fantasy Convention, I started South Beach.

Lost about 10 pounds, but then it was birthday/Thanksgiving/work-festivities and so progress has been halted.

If I were still getting any kind of routine excercise I figure I would be losing like crazy.

( 38 comments — Leave a comment )

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