Well in fairness, this began on November 1st 2016, but I can’t and shouldn’t back date blog posts, so it begins today.
Let me take you back to about 2 weeks before November 1st. I was looking for a change, I was feeling fat (in fairness I was not obese or anything of that nature most people probably didn’t even know I had some weight I wanted to lose, I always say I carried it well), I wanted to lose maybe 10 lbs, I wanted to get back in to running and maybe even attempt a second 50 mile Ultra-marathon in 2017. I had tried cleanses before but this time I wanted it to be different, something that could be a lifestyle change, something I could, if I wanted to, maintain for life. Having lots of health conscious and fit people in my life, Paleo was something that came up frequently, so I knew of it. After doing some research, and ordering a couple books, I opted for a 21 day Paleo plan. A guided day by day plan to keep e on the Paleo track and guide me to 3 weeks of success.
I made small changes 2 weeks leading up to Day 1 on November 1st, 2016 and on day 1, went full Paleo, including no alcohol, though I did keep coffee in (I drink 1, maybe 2 espresso, no sugar, no milk, per day).
Here are some of my Facebook posts through that 21 day journey:
Day 1 of my 21 day Paleo experiment starts today. People have been asking as I’ve been changing my eating habits over to Paleo for the last 2 weeks. Paleo is basically not ingesting any food or beverage that you could not have killed or gathered yourself greater then 7000 years ago. So no refined anything. Which means no bread, rice, beans (or legumes for that matter). Only vegetables, fruits, nuts and meat (eggs also). Meat should be pasture raised and grass fed. Vegetables and fruit should be seasonal (and direct from the farm and or organic)
Day 2 – Paleo Experiment – Day 1 went just fine, enjoyed my food, approx 1850 calories in (thanks fitbit app). Got out and enjoyed some sun, but no literal workout, today I will get out for a run (too nice not to). Breakfast today was a 3 egg scramble with mushrooms, peppers and 3 strips of pasture raised, natural bacon
Today is day 3 of the Paleo experiment. Yesterday was great until about 3pm. I did a 5 mile run early in the day which ended up depleting the few carbs I’ve been eating, my own fault for having no fruit during the day. So once I had dinner and then some fruit for desert I was all good!
Day 5 – Feeling excellent! Yesterday was a fun cooking experiment for dinner. For myself I made “vindaloo” chicken (was good but not very vindaloo) and we also made cauliflower rice and parsnip chips.
This weekend is a big cooking weekend: vegetable stock, tomato sauce, root vegetable soup and lasagna (vegan Paleo for all those)
(Day 8 – I had one alcoholic beverage (election day here in the USA, tough day for may folks here))
Paleo day 11 experiment – So what does a typical day of food look like? Well for this 3 weeks, nothing pre-made. Here is a typical day
Breakfast – basically alternate between a fresh vegetable and fruit smoothie or eggs (2 or 3) with bacon (2 or 3 strips) and mushrooms or greens
Lunch – 8 ounces of fish or beef or chicken thighs (note meat is wild, pasture raised, organic etc) with 3 or 4 cups of seasonal veggies
Dinner – if eating with my wife (she’s vegetarian and vegan most of the time) either a plate of roasted vegetables and squash or a vegetable soup we’ve made or some other vegan / Paleo friendly dish we’ve made. If I feel I need more protein I add some leftover meat to my plate.
May have 1/4 cup of nuts in the afternoon for a snack.
On average my daily caloric intake is around 1,750 calories per day (thanks fitbit app) and am not counting calories just tracking my intake so I know.
Paleo experiment day 15 – Weigh in no. 2! Down 3.8 lbs from the last weigh in for a total of 5.8 lbs in 14 days! So basically 6 down and 5 to go! It’s amazing to do this and not be hungry, be enjoying my food greatly and not having to break my back with insane workouts. (Alcohol and beer came back in starting this day)
Paleo experiment day 19 – I have not had dairy, sugar (in any form other then fruit), bread, pasta, grains, potatoes (of any form), or legumes (beans, peanuts etc) for 19 days (some of those things for – little longer) and still going strong. Enjoying it, not feeling deprived or hungry and full of energy. (Have brought alcohol back in!)
Paleo experiment day 21 – final day! It’s been very easy to stay Paleo, we even went out and found a great fast casual place that can serve both our very different food lifestyles. My goal is to stay Paleo after doing these last 3 weeks. I will modify slightly from what I have been doing to allow some cheese, possibly beans, oh and sweet potatoes occasionally (sweet potatoes and some cheese are both allowed in Paleo I’ve just not had any of that stuff for 3 weeks). Tomorrow will be my last weigh in.
3 week Paleo experiment – Results
Weight loss – 8.4 lbs
Week 1 – 2lbs, Week 2 – 3.8lbs, Week 3 – 2.6lbs (I have about 3 lbs left!)
Lost a full belt notch, should have taken measurements, but I did not, so at least 2″ gone. Also wearing shirts I was not comfortable in even 3 weeks ago and loving them!
Positives – everything. I’ve felt great, have not had energy problems, have gone on 2 long runs (80 mins). Have loved that I did not need to break my back in the gym. Averaged only 15 k steps a day. 2 workouts a week were lifting not cardio. All cardio was light such as power walking or jogging (approx 50 min a day). It’s amazing to have these results / success and not feeling deprived or feeling hungry is amazing.
Challenges – eating out, snacks and long run fueling. For the 21 days outside of one lunch I cooked all my own meals so that I knew exactly what I was having. Note I went very Paleo (no dairy, no sugar of any kind (honey etc) no sweet potatoes, nothing pre packaged or pre made at all). If you like snacks pre packaged (with no sugar or bad oils) are almost impossible to find so raw nuts became a go to (we did roast and season our own) as did fruit (with my own nut butter). Run fuels also very challenging as those are all sugar and bars generally have peanuts (I did make my own from a runners recipe book I happen to have that happen to be Paleo).
About all the “voodoo” benefits you get from Paleo? I doubt them. I doubt I can go out in the sun with no sun screen for hours on end. I did get strep and require antibiotics will being Paleo, my animal allergies are just as bad, acne on my back did clear up but always does on cleanses regardless of Paleo or not.
Note all food was truly Paleo, grass fed, organic (or local farm), pasture raised, wild/line caught etc. I also ate very very veggie heavy (some meals were Paleo vegan) and meat was always balanced, 8 oz potions no 20 oz steaks. I also had 0 sugar and 0 dairy which is not specifically Paleo. There are Paleo sugars and diaries.
Last but not least I will be staying basically Paleo moving forward.