You know what they say about good intentions?
Though I intended to spend October trying out the Paleo diet and returning to a basic regimen of total body exercise as opposed to mostly yoga or mostly running, that didn’t happen. I admit that most of my reasons why I didn’t do what I intended are excuses, and that most people really willing and wanting change don’t let excuses get in the way. But I also know that most people want to change something in their lives, and they don’t for the exact same reasons that I didn’t in October. Life is busy and stressful; sleep is hard to come by; it’s easier to maintain the status quo; change is hard, etc. These excuses are exactly why change of any sort is hard. So, I didn’t do what I intended to do in October, but I’m doing it now.
My reasoning for going Paleo is that I know something in my diet needs to change. Six years ago, when my weight loss journey really began, all I did was reduce my portions and walk every day, and I lost 70 pounds in less than a year. But I haven’t kept that 70 pounds off. I’ve yo-yoed, like most people, because I didn’t really change my whole life; I just changed aspects of it for a certain period of time. And that’s not a lifestyle change. A lifestyle change requires changing many aspects of life for the rest of life; and those changes are much harder to make because it takes so much time (i.e., your whole life).
Though my weight might not show it, I have made some significant lifestyle changes in the last three years starting with practicing yoga and continuing with running. Practicing yoga definitely changed my physical ability, but I think the longer-lasting and most beneficial effect of my yoga practice has been a reconditioning of how I process stressful situations. While it still affects me, I get stressed less often and about fewer things. I’m much more flexible with change, which is a life-skill not only reflective of a lifestyle change, but it’s like a seed that helps me continue to make lifestyle changes.
Flexibility helps me be more accepting of my life’s conditions and myself. So what if I didn’t do what I said I would do in October? Yes, I realize the consequences of that, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I can’t do anything about October at this point. I’m going to do what I need to do now.
While I still have a lot of work to do on how confident I am in and with my body, yoga certainly helped me have more confidence in my body’s physical ability. And with that confidence, I started running. I’ve been running for about a year now, and my progress is much slower than it was with my yoga practice, which is discouraging. But at the same time, I think the amount of time I’ve put into running might not be as consistent or as dedicated as I was with my yoga practice; so I get what I’ve put in.
Why am I not losing weight though I’m running?
I partially blame running for my current weight. For the most part, I have a sedentary lifestyle. I work in an office where I sit at a desk, and the most strenuous thing I do all day is pick up a phone or walk to the copier. Even when my work takes me outside for surveying, I only ever break a sweat when it’s hot outside and not from physical exertion.
Factor in running as my main form of exercise for this mostly sedentary person. It became my main source of exercise because I needed to focus on building consistent mileage for endurance events. It made me hungry, likely because it spiked my metabolism; but whatever the reason, I was famished, and I ate as if I was famished. I didn’t count my calories or control my portions, and my splurges on candy items became more and more frequent. I’ll add that when I refer to myself as “running,” I should clarify that my pace is more akin to really fast walking or light jogging with some slow walking breaks. So despite my “running,” I still gained weight because the physical activity couldn’t offset my mostly sedentary days or my uncontrolled diet.
Back to Basics
After my last (2nd) half marathon at the end of September, I decided I would spend October getting back into the practice of focusing on my diet (not dieting), while also building up more basic physical fitness where consistency would be my chief goal. But as I stated in the intro, I didn’t do those things in October, and I’m doing them now in November.
I’ve read and heard it said several times that “you can’t out-train a bad diet,” and that is why I feel a need to refocus on my diet (not dieting). Though I’m trying “The Paleo Diet,” I’m doing so to see if it is a lifestyle I can live with. I don’t plan to eat Paleo for only one month and expect to see drastic changes that are more consistent with a lifelong Paleo diet. Looking at things in one month increments is much more manageable than telling others or myself that I’m doing this for the rest of my life. If I am successful with weight loss, and if I can fuel my body to perform athletically on Paleo, then I’ll stick with it for as long as it serves its purpose.
The Nitty-Gritty Details
Sunday, I spent the entire afternoon shopping, which I loathe and find torturous for many reasons. But I did it. I went to three different stores, and even shopped at Wal-Mart, which really is the bane of my existence. I did it all by myself, too (and yes, I think I deserve a pat on the back for it!). Because I intended to do this in October, I already had a collection of easy Paleo recipes I wanted to try, and I already had a shopping list.
I started with Trader Joe’s, and I purchased some basic Paleo staples (arrowroot starch, untreated cashews, real Maple syrup, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, organic, omega-3 enriched eggs, real Apple juice, etc). From there I went to Earthfare and purchased a few more things on my list. (Sidebar questions: Why does Earthfare smell so strongly of patchouli and dirty feet? Does that bring in the hippies by droves?)
Though I did buy some produce at both stores, I absolutely refused to pay their ridiculous prices on the rest of their produce that was still on my list. After shopping at both of them, I looked at the three bags in the trunk of my car and began fearing how I would actually make full meals out of this. So I trekked over to Wal-Mart (aka the Devil’s Store). I had to go there anyway because they really did have the lowest price on the best food processor, which I needed to go Paleo. While I was there, I filled out my planned meals so they would actually be meals instead of just random items.
I began my Paleo diet on Monday, and I would say that instead of going cold turkey Paleo, it’s been more of a transition. Monday I skipped breakfast, which is a Paleo no-no, and I had a Paleo salad with a non-Paleo can of soup for lunch. Though my soup wasn’t 100% Paleo because it had some noodles in it, it was still very healthy and good with the salad. Dinner Monday was a yummy turkey, no bean chili, which was 100% Paleo.
I used a bit of my chili with two eggs for breakfast Tuesday, and I had more non-Paleo soup for lunch. I had chicken with rice (non-Paleo) for dinner.
Yesterday, I had fruit for breakfast and salad with vegetables for lunch. I also made vegetables and a yummy boneless chicken breast with salad and olive oil for dinner. This morning, I had more fruit for breakfast, and I had dinner leftovers for lunch today. I’m happy with everything I’ve eaten this week, and even though it hasn’t been 100% Paleo, it has all been 100% healthy food.
Weight Loss, Progress, & Goals
I bought a new scale on Sunday, too, and it tracks my body fat percentage, my water percentage, and my BMI along with my weight in 0.2-pound increments. I recorded my starting weight with a starting photo on Sunday evening, and though I’m not scheduled to weigh again until Sunday, I hopped on the scale today just to see. I have lost weight—more weight than I ever imagined in just a few days; I had to weigh myself three different times just to make sure it was accurate. I won’t share the numbers right now because the numbers aren’t important at this very early stage; and I have a hunch that as this month goes along, my weight loss will taper off into a more realistic two pounds per week average. So, I’ll share my initial weight lost after I’ve been maintaining this diet for 30 days, and if I keep this up, I’ll continue to share my lost pounds on a monthly basis. My current goal is to lose eight pounds by December 1. Check back in with me to see where I am then.
Don’t forget about fitness!
Because I’m so focused on my eating, and because eating this way takes up a lot more time than just popping something in the microwave or picking something up to-go, it’s been all I can do to exercise just once this week, which was on Monday. Admittedly, I need to be more consistent about my fitness. But I’m figuring this out as I go along and fitting it in as I feel I am able. My goals are to do a modified version of Tanee’s November 100 Challenge and the Well-Girl’s Thigh and Ab Challenge. I’ve modified the 100 Challenge because I’m doing it along with the T&A Challenge and with running. Tanee is the From Fat to Fit Chick who’s lost over 200 pounds with diet and exercise. She’s a recent inspiration to me, and I’m grateful for the very realistic way she shares her journey. Well-Girl is a regular woman, wife, and mother who is committed to fitness, and her exercises are challenging, but accessible to do at home without any equipment.
This is where I am right now, only four days in to practicing a Paleo diet. I’ll try to post another update around mid-month with a definite update at the beginning of December. Make sure to check back in to see how I’ve progressed. You can also like my Facebook page, which is where I post most frequently, follow me on Twitter, and track my fitness on Daily Mile.
Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!