Sceptically Fit


Day 26 and 27 of the Primal Challenge

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 00:32

My Vitamin D3 experiment is coming along interestingly – I was late to work today because I’m 99% sure I turned off my alarm without really waking up. I’m still counting that as a success because I never normally sleep that soundly.

I’m also counting as a success the fact that I managed to get to the gym yesterday and today – the lovely world of pms where things just feel so much more effort than they normally do. Except it didn’t. Normally, if I push myself I can manage the same lifts, but at a reduced workout but anything cardio is just too much intensity to push though. But this time there was definitely still the feeling of this is harder than normal. If I’d slept better on Sunday night I’m sure I’d have managed my full routine on Monday. But I did the core exercises (squats, press, romanian deadlift, bentover row, hip thrusts and the exercises my massage therapist had advised me) and was surprised that the squats and the press didn’t feel that hard. I don’t mean they were easy but they both had the feeling like, maybe I’m going to be able to increase weight soon. Today was a hill run routine on the treadmill and I was really expecting it to be hard work. I really wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get to 20minutes. Instead I finished the full 25, and contemplated whether next Tuesday I’ll be putting the speed or the incline level up. If giving up grains means pms becomes so much less of a hindrance – its worth it to me!

Last and final success is one I’m not sure about. I’d been resisting the allure of chocolate for the last two days. I even looked on line while dinner was cooking to see if there was some kind of paleo chocolate dessert I could whip up quickly and easily. In the end I’m pretty sure laziness won rather than self restraint. Trouble with laziness … So I ended up having a dark chocolate bar (85%). I’m not considering having it a problem – a world without chocolate isn’t one for me. But it was clearly some kind of emotional urge rather than really a taste issue. And it wasn’t particularly satisfying. Not in I want more kind of way, but in a food doesn’t solve emotional needs kind of way. Which is good, now I just need to work on what does solve the emotional needs…




Day 23/24/25 of the Primal Challenge with cheats!

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 23:23

The last few days have been a little up and down. Thursday, I felt pretty rundown – work, lack of sleep, personal problems… I pushed myself to get to the gym, but did a fairly reduced workout. I didn’t drop any weight from my lifts but I didn’t do any of the extra lifts. Took refuge in a slightly indulgent sweet potato oven chips, and accidentally at all the lamb steaks instead of leaving one for breakfast.

Friday, a friend hosted Burns Night. So this was my first proper planned to cheat evening. The actual meal itself isn’t too bad from a paleo perspective:  Haggis,  mashed turnips and mashed potato (or neeps and tatties if you will). The haggis contains oats but that’s still gluten free, and since I’ve gotten over my fear of the interesting parts of the animals, it really suits my ecological sustainability concerns to eat all the animal.

We had homemade apple pie which was deliciously tart rather than overly sweet, with a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream. Well it was only supposed to be once scoop, but mine went flying across the room so I got to have another one (I didn’t know ice cream could roll…). And as well as a few crisps that I helped myself to, we all had two macaroons each that another friend had brought from a French bakery in town. Oh and too much wine.

I felt pretty decent come Saturday morning. Considering I had to sit up for a bit when I got home until the world was still enough to lie down and sleep, I certainly can’t make any guess as to whether the slightly less than optimal stomach feeling was due to alcohol consumption or the small amount of grains/gluten I’d consumed. I don’t think the problem I have with gluten/grain is that dramatic – unlike my friend who was complaining about stomach pains after he cheated on Thursday with a pizza. If it just means I have to avoid wheat as much as possible but can enjoy rice/oats etc at a less than regular basis, I’ll be happy.

As I’ve started my training for the half-marathon in April, Saturday is my long run day. What I learnt today is that while an egg and bacon frittata is a lovely meal to start the day, not if you’re planning on using it to run 14km. I had assumed that all the carbs from the night before (potato, turnips, icecream, pie, booze, biscuits) would have been enough but apparently not. It was a very slow run and I didn’t feel good except for the fact that I finished it (technically 13.95km but as I was aiming for 13km, I’m fine with that).

I had forgotten to pick up any immediate after work out food so decided to experiment with a coconut milk smoothie. Coconut milk blended with frozen berries and a tablespoon of cocoa. Taste-wise it was good, not sure it even needs the cocoa. Problem was it was so very cold that it chilled me too much. By the time I finished drinking it I was shivering uncontrollably. I don’t believe I was in any actual danger, of course, my freezer is not that cold. But after seriously exerting myself my body does tend to lose its ability to keep itself warm (all those years in Australia – I had no idea this could be an issue). So instead of stretching and cooling down properly, I spent about half an hour standing under a hot shower.

After last night’s cheat dessert-wise, I decided dinner was going to have cheese! I hadn’t eaten cheese for almost a month. Taco salad: beef mince with taco flavouring, lettuce, tomato, spring onions, cheese, homemade guacamole (avocado, sour cream and jalapeños blended together). Incredibly tasty – too tasty! I ended up going back for a second dinner and eating all the leftovers that were supposed to be Sunday’s dinner. I know eating protein is good after an extended run to help prevent muscle loss, but I don’t think you need to eat so much your body temperature raises enough to stop you sleeping properly. Though I assume that effect was partly due to the messed up homoeostasis caused by the super chilled smoothie. Oh well, what’s a Saturday without a little overeating…

So my 30 day challenge hasn’t been very pure but its definitely been convincing me this is the way to go. And my reasoning is that by not limiting everything its more like a lifestyle I can keep following. Maybe I’m adding too many elements but I’d been reading so much on the effects of Vitamin d3 on sleep that I’ve purchased a bottle myself. Had my first d3 Friday morning – but my actions haven’t really made this a good test. I figure I’ll have a better idea come Monday.




Day 22 of the Primal Challenge

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 23:56

The joy of winter weather – if this keeps up I won’t be able to cycle to and from work for a while. I find the idea of being blown under a bus a little too frightening. Another dance class – can’t say I’m getting any better but I’m having fun. Diet-wise, another day proving that a high-protein meal is perfect for when you know you aren’t going to get a chance to eat for another seven to eight hours.


Day 21 of the Primal Challenge

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 23:51

So close and my adherence has wavered a little. I went to tapas with friends for lunch and I’m not sure all the dishes were actually gluten free. But I can’t say I noticed any great issue – I realise that doesn’t mean its not a problem. Seems I did need about two weeks to really feel the difference when I started.

Day 20 of the Primal Challenge

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 00:16

I deadlifted 60kg! Considering that’s about 85% of my body weight, I’m pretty happy (work it out for yourself!)

A friend has been doing this challenge with me and he’s also been feeling the benefits. I’ve been far to girly to go into detail of the digestive improvements (lets just say I spent many years being told by doctors that I have IBS) but he has said that his twice-thrice weekly heartburn is gone. He’s ready to say the experiment was a success and have a beer but I think I’ll continue as strictly as possible for the next ten days. I find it interesting that even though he feels so much better he’s fully intending to drink beer again even if it causes him pain. He was even suggesting why bother giving any of it up as he’s definitely having beer. I’ve known people with other food allergies and they’ve all said that once you properly make the connection between something – no matter how tasty – and the pain/nausea it gives you, you really do stop wanting it. I wonder if he’ll feel the same way.

Me? I’m right in the middle of crazy enthusiasm for it. I’ve annoyed my family talking about how grains are evil. I don’t think any of them believe me but they are ok now that I’ve promised them I’m eating enough non-grain carbohydrates. Although I’ll also admit to being rather pleased to discover that one of the best pizza places in town does gluten-free pizza.


Day 19 of the Primal Challenge

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 22:04

Sleeping through most of the day is one way to repair the diet from the night before, something about it also makes me crave nice fresh fruit. Is there anything better than a fresh pineapple?


Day 18 of the Primal Challenge

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 22:00

I don’t just have to plan my nutrition better – I have to remember that I have. So when I commented on getting woozy from taking too long between going for my run and eating – this is because I forgot that I’d bought myself a banana for this very purpose!

Another night with friends – resulted in much less boozing than expected though I’d say I’d had at least one bottle of bubbly myself. I did get snackish but managed to restrain myself from the crisps that were available though that’s probably a conservative estimate of my cashew consumption.



Day 17 of the Primal Challenge

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 17:48

Friday I felt better, but not great. I could now turn my head left to almost shoulder level before it hurt. Fortunately the leg felt fine so I’m guessing that was a very localised overdoing it with swing dancing on Wednesday. By the end of the day I was tired and sore enough to regress to some extra codeine, and some pudding indulgence.


Day 15 of the Primal Challenge

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , , — Sceptically Me @ 00:29

I think my appetite might be starting to catch up with me. I’ve been eating under what I should be for most days of this challenge – pretty much under unless I’m drinking. Is it that my appetite has caught up, is it the fact that I’ve started to push myself cardio-wise more and that’s spiking my appetite? Is it the fact that I’m still feeling like I’m catching up on sleep from my terrible Monday night? Is it just that today I’ve had to fit eating around other activities even when I was hungry? Is it a little of all of that?

I’ve been seeing some interesting reactions from friends and colleagues in the last two weeks. We’ve had a couple of birthdays at work where people have brought in cakes. Not eating the cakes is a big no no. I tried to explain I’m not eating wheat (or any grains) and of course I get the but you don’t need to diet; or  is this some kind of detox; diets don’t work; and just one won’t hurt. When I met some friends at a bar the other day, one took great delight in pointing out that I wouldn’t be able to drink gin. I did try to explain that the distilling process means that the grain element is removed by the time its turned into alcohol unlike beer which is fermented* but you won’t be able to say you gave up grains.

Now there’s a few things going on there. On both the detox comment and the last point seem to be coming from the same perception that this is some kind of superstitious ritual I’m putting myself through rather than a reason why I’m doing this. I’m avoiding grains to avoid the negatives that appear to be associated with them to see if I experience an improvement. I’m not avoiding grains to say I’ve avoided grains. So if distilling removes the negatives of the grain, why can’t I have it? If this was a superstition-driven detox, or an attempt to follow a fad diet for thirty days I would be much more austere. I would be giving up alcohol and coffee. But I’m not, I want this to be a healthy realistic lifestyle for me. So I’m drinking less alcohol but I don’t want to get to the end of the month and feel I’m glad that’s over. I want to feel good enough to continue – and being able to have drinks with friends is part of that (call me an alcoholic if you must).

The don’t need to diet comment is interesting. I get told I don’t need to diet, I’m already healthy – even why do I go to the gym when I’m already fit. One of my favourite blogs brought up this topic today in relation to the Paula Deen diabetes kerfuffle. Unless you have a very specific reason – and it pretty much has to be a sporting demand – you are either depriving yourself because you need to correct your current state or you should be over-indulging. I’m not about to be hospitalised, but just wanting my day to day life to be healthier seems to be insulting to people. Food is so social that opting out of the dominant way of eating is by its very nature confrontational. This is also where the just one won’t hurt comes in. Despite attempting to explain that I want to find out if it does – I’ve read the literature on grains/gluten but its far from accepted as proven – does it really have to matter that I didn’t eat any of the doughnuts?

The diets don’t work comments – once again THIS ISN’T A DIET – do seem to come from the unhealthiest people. I’m not fat-bashing and I do accept that healthy at any size is mostly true** but the people that criticise any attempt to eat better as diets don’t work always seem to be the ones who eat terribly. They might be fat  but they’re not the healthy at any size people – they are the several Mcdonalds burgers, or entire pizza for lunch people.

The last comment I’m going to mention is the but what do you eat question. I’m not talking about the general what’s all this then, tell me about it type questions. I mean the real bemused but what could you possibly eat if you don’t have grains. Most tellingly, this was from a friend who on more than a few occasions has had me over for dinner in which she didn’t serve grains at all. Yet the concept is so ingrained (hehe) that she couldn’t conceive of deliberately excluding grains. To that I have to say, I think it would do wonders for everyone to exclude grains just to see what else is available to eat!


*I know there are some that feel something of the grain still comes through into the drink but I think the science doesn’t hold up to that claim

**I don’t accept this for the extremes, but I think the evidence of obesity as a fat accumulation issue really gives greater evidence that the fat people who eat a diet full of meat and vegetables and get a moderate amount of exercise are healthy for that size. I’m still half on the fence on the evilness of grains. So while I can see their fat accumulation role due to the high carbohydrate consumption I’m not certain that grains cause the inflammation issues in everyone.


Day 14 of the Primal Challenge

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , — Sceptically Me @ 23:34

Today was another interesting example of the ups and downs of appetites. Once again I’m eating far below what’s recommended and yet I don’t feel hungry. And the whole day was pretty much like that with the exception of waiting for dinner to cook after the gym. Which seems unusual – not only did I do a weights workout yesterday which would normally leave me hungry (may be the late night supper addressed that), I got so little sleep and that usually sends me into major hunger and carb cravings. Perhaps tomorrow will be hungrier.


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