|Left: May 17, 2012 - Right: July 5, 2012|
Same pants, less fat. I still have been very lazy about starting to exercise. I am beginning (beginning!) to do some push-ups and I have been trying to do more walking. Mrs. H. and I went on vacation for two weeks, and we both lost weight! I'm down to about 145 - which is in the neighborhood of 30 pounds lost since I got rid of the starchy carbs about three months ago. I just bought some 28-inch shorts (I believe this is the size of pants I wore in high school). The 32-inch pants shown above were (not that long ago) pretty tight. In fact, I actually had my gut hanging over - known as "Dunlop's Disease" - where one's gut "done lops" over one's trousers.
One thing that I am very glad that I did (actually Grace and I did this together and I recommend it to anyone wanting to "go primal") was to read Mark Sisson's book The Primal Blueprint. The book is a kind-of owner's manual for the body - not for the whole body, but rather for the metabolism system. He explains concisely the way insulin works and why the SAD (Standard American Diet) leads directly to what we are seeing these days: obesity, diabetes, increased allergies, and a frustrated backlash that goes too far the other way: people burning out due to "extreme cardio" regimens. And, he points out a better way by means of his "blueprint."
Sisson's argument - though based on a mythological view of the origins of man - is that the SAD is a train-wreck right down to the cellular level, that our modern western diet - based heavily on grains and starchy carbs - runs contrary to our genetic programming. He argues (correctly, I believe) that federal dietary guidelines are based more on the exigencies of lobbyists and corporate interests than sound science and principles of good health.
His "Primal Blueprint" is a way of once more aligning our lifestyle (diet, exercise, sleep patterns, etc.) with the way we were designed instead of the demands we put on ourselves in our frenetic modern life heavily influenced by Big Pharma and Big Media. He compares two fictional families: one ancient and one modern, and shows why the current paradigm of eating a high-carb, low-fat diet, and being concerned with things like cholesterol, leads us to the lifestyle of being unhealthy and overweight and trying to recover our health with over-exercise and prescription drugs - which actually make the problem worse.
I have found his maxim that 80% of the key to health involves food rather than exercise, to be born out by experience. And this is not a "diet." If I really want a hot fudge sundae or a piece of pizza, I will have one. But what I have found is, knowing the "cost" in terms of insulin production and fat storage (as opposed to metabolism), and knowing how good it feels to be in better shape - I simply find myself wanting such things less and less. There are so many healthy and tasty alternatives (meat, oils and fats, nuts, fruits, seeds, and vegetables), why should anyone eat "junk"? Living primally is not a list of rules and regulations, but rather a way of getting to know how your body metabolizes foods and how eating and exercise affect you - and making decisions based on this realistic paradigm.
Personally, I really love having more energy, carrying about 30 pounds less of strain on my joints, and knowing that I am rebuilding healthier tissue from the cell level up. I get a lot more excited about that than eating a piece of cake or having a bowl of pasta or a plate of fries - though if I want to, I have the liberty to do so. It is not the job of government to tell me how to eat, nor can government be trusted to protect my interests. I think this is partially why the primal lifestyle is popular among more libertarian-minded people: it is taking personal responsibility for our health by making better choices and relying on ourselves instead of Big Government and Big Business. Ultimately, what you eat and how you move your body is up to you.
When you "go primal" you see results fast, and you don't have to count calories. The Primal Blueprint does provide links to a couple of websites that help calculate grams of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins based on what you are eating, and this can really help to identify areas that need to change in one's food intake on an average day. But once the overall diet has been analyzed, there is really no reason to keep journals and look things up online.
Also, the book is practical and is a quick (and entertaining yet informative) read. As for me, I can't argue with the results! If you are thinking of trying this, there is a 21-day experiment that you can take for a spin, and then decide how to live the rest of your life based on your how body reacts - not on what laws and rules and guidelines lobbyists have convinced Wa$hington to pass, telling us what we should and should not be doing.
The choice is yours!
Update - Update (update): I'm back in 28-inch pants!