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In search of the Mandala - pyrosis's journal

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  • In search of the Mandala - pyrosis's journal

    Here is the first post of my journal for this new Primal lifestyle. Will be giving it a strict go for at least 30 days! Since I did nothing of note today, here is some background...


    I am 32. I am not in horrible shape but also not fantastic. Certain events in my life have led me to an above average interest in health and nutrition.

    My life was perfectly normal until I was 6 years old. Then my father, aged 43 at the time, suffered from a significant heart attack and had to undergo coronary bypass surgery. He survived. He was at the time diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolemia. His total cholesterol at this time was over 500. Because my father is a military man, and quite used to doing things by the book, and also because he wanted to live to a ripe old age, he did exactly what the doctors told him to do. What the doctors told him was a very strict version of Conventional Wisdom, IE eat very low fat, little to no saturated fat, and plenty of exercise. He did. In fact, the whole family did.

    So growing up from age six I ate a very healthy version of the SAD. Lots of fish, lots of boneless skinless chicken, lots of PUFAs and grains. My brother, six years my senior, became vegetarian sometime in high school. I followed suit at about the same age. Later, I would become totally vegan for at least four years, and remained mostly vegan with occasional fish and/or dairy for an additional eight years or so after that. My brother and I were both tested for our blood lipids frequently as children, at least every 6 months or so. The doctors knew that there was a 50% chance for each of us to have acquired the FH gene from our father. As it turned out, my brother got the gene, but I did not.

    I have always been active in sports. In high school, I went for mountain bike rides almost every day. I began rock climbing frequently and snowboarding whenever I could. I ran cross country and track, though I never gave it my all because my I didn't really like running at the time. I preferred to ride my bike and rock climb. Running has gradually grown on me since then. My weight at this time stabiliized at ~185, where it would stay for many years.

    College was more of the same, staying very active though my partying took a bit of a toll on my health. After graduation I moved to Mammoth, CA, to further pursue my athletic interests and work on a forest service fire crew. The fire crew worked out together every day, either with a long run or a shorter run followed by weights. Then we would work in the woods all day. I was very fit, and although at times I felt and appeared stronger and fitter than before, my weight always stayed @ 185.

    After a few years of this I desired a more stable career, and so went to nursing school. I am not sure why but I got tangled up in some stressful situations at this time. I did well in school and stayed active running and rock climbing, but I also started drinking more than was healthy for me and smoking cigarettes. My weight dropped to 175 but I felt weak and unhealthy.

    Around this time, at age 33 or so, my brother had a heart attack. It was relatively minor, he got off with just an angioplasty, no bypass needed. It was a bit of a wake up call for him. His cardiologist put him on a statin, as well as prescribing a more agressive regimen of diet and exercise. CW of course. I may write more on this topic later as it is very near and dear to my heart and I am not quite sure what to say about it yet. My brother is doing well at the moment but I fear for his well being.

    At any rate, I graduated nursing school, discovered crossfit, discovered paleo, discovered starting strength, toyed around with various things.... My weight fluctuated a lot. No longer vegetarian but never true paleo, my weight rose to 195. Still climbing, snowboarding, doing crossfit, though also still smoking cigarettes. I know, WTF? Began lifting heavy, eating a ton, A LA Rippetoe, and shot up to 210 over about 6 weeks. This was no good for climbing, so I ditched that plan and went back to just climbing as my primary exercise. I came down to 195, where I sit today, eating lets say ~60% paleo.

    Anyway I could never do traditional Cordain style paleo 100%. I am just not sure what it was. But reading more into it, on Dr Kurt Harris's website, I learned a lot that Cordain seemed to miss. And when Dr Harris listed Mark Sisson as an inspiration, I was inspired in turn to read the book.

    So now I am psyched to live the Primal way, I feel I have finally found an approach I will be able to stick with, and I am excited to see where it takes me.

    Current stats:
    Waist 33"
    Body fat ~12% according to YMCA, but I feel it is in reality a bit higher
    Recent diet ~ 60% primal
    goal diet 100% primal for 30 days

    Though I know that the journey is the whole point here, not the end, I am excited to work on the following things:

    Leave tobacco behind forever
    Improve my skill at climbing
    Get my weight back down to 185, which I feel is around my optimal for my large frame 6'2" body
    Do some fast running and maybe even compete in a few short and fast races, 5K or so
    Learn some bodyweight party tricks like perhaps press to handstands or other fun things
    Cook and eat some bomb-ass food
    Find moderation for occasional treats such as a nice red wine or berries with cream
    Learn more about hunting my own meat and fish and gathering and/or gardening my own vegetables

    That's all for now! Will post again tomorrow. Thanks to anyone who read this whole tirade.

    edited for grammar
    Last edited by pyrosis; 07-19-2011, 12:58 AM.

  • #2
    Good luck! You may be very muscular, but I'm 6', 33 waist, and 180 or so, and the pinch test at the gym said I'm 19% bodyfat. Could be the extra height, could be my gym did it wrong, and could be you've got way more in the way of muscle weight than I do, though. Or maybe my fat is lower than they said!

    Either way, I agree with you...paleo is just too much. After just one week of Primal, though, I'm already feeling better overall, so hopefully the same will work for you.


    • #3
      Welcome! Not a "tirade" at all. We want to get to know you. Your plan sounds great. Go for it!
      Ancestral Health Info

      I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

      Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.


      • #4
        Day 1

        Slept ~8 hours

        Breakfast was bacon/pepper/onion omelet.. yum

        Lunch a few turkey slices with homemade habanero salsa - hot!

        Did the assessment from the PBF ebook -

        pushups 31
        pullups 9
        squats > 100
        dive bombers 16
        plank 1:21

        Much harder than I expected.

        Dinner - 2/3# lamb burger topped with 9 month aged cheddar, bacon, sauteed onions peppers and mushrooms, avocado, homemade habanero salsa, and salad with mixed baby greens, cucumber, and carrots. served with a glass of ice water and lemon. unbelievable.

        going to watch some comedy and sleep now


        • #5
          Day 2 - Bouldering in the high country. Delicious food. Good friends. Soak in a hot spring. Wine. Sleep.

          Day 3 - More bouldering, hiking, scrambling. More good food. Campfire. Sleep.


          • #6
            Day 4.. My awesome girlfriend cooked an amazing breakfast. <3 (: I packed up for a weekend trip and drove 6 hours to San Diego, stopping @ in n out for a bunless burger. Went for an evening walk with my brother. Had a late night snack of farms asada any guacamole. I feel great.


            • #7
              Day 5-

              Awoke. Ran fasted 30 minutes easy pace ... 3.2 miles. Ate an amazing veggie cheese omelet topped with carne and guac, shared it with my sis in law . Walked with my mom. Did a few barefoot sprints and gymnastics on the grass. Beef kebabs for dinner.

              Has it really been five days since sugar? And 48 hours since tobacco? I act 'as if' I can do this, but I am starting to think that I really can do this. Keeping it positive. Thanks for reading.


              • #8
                Chewing gum (sugar-free of course) helps with the sugar cravings when they eventually come along.. it should help with any tobacco cravings you get as well... not that I've ever been a smoker but I know that they helped my mum quit about 15 years ago.. good luck!!


                • #9
                  Day 6 - Cheated a bit. had some rice. no exercise to speak of.. but a very relaxing and enjoyable day. Then drove 6 hours back to bishop late at night. Drank a rock star coffee drink - the sucralose tasted like ass. i can't believe I used to like those things. blech. well made it back home @ ~4 AM without falling asleep at the wheel, i guess thats more important. *shrug* tomorrow is another day.


                  • #10
                    Day 7+8 - camping and climbing. Ate quite well but drank a bit of wine both nights. Days spent moving around the forest and hard efforts on boulder problems. Looking back I see I have drank probably more than is advisable given that I am trying to lose a bit of weight. Time to reel that in a bit. Slept well, feeling good. Going back to work today for a 6x12 hour shifts in a row. Will be a bit more of a challenge to stay primal. So far has been pretty easily kept ~95%


                    • #11
                      Day 9 - worked, cheated.. ate chocolate chip cookies and milk and paid for it. felt bloated, lethargic, gassy. blah.
                      Day 10 - Feeling much better. Diet dialed in today perfectly. Went for an evening bouldering session and felt pretty strong. Down to 192# this AM. I'm thinking just water weight.