A few months of paleo

I guess I’ve officially been a paleo eater for four months now. There has been the odd slip up (some accidental and some that I knew full well as I was stuffing the non-paleo item in my mouth). Slap the hand that feeds me!

cookie monster 2It’s been an interesting experience and I’ve had to rethink my relationship with food. Food is, and I guess, always will have an emotional attachment – I just need to manage it better. If I’m having a bad day I want to eat (even if I’m not hungry), and my will power is weak so I give in. I know it’s wrong, and that it only fuels the bad feelings. Pretty nasty circle isn’t it! Is it a female thing or do males experience this too?

I’ve made a handful of new friends recently, mainly paleo eaters, and those wanting to ask questions about what paleo is, how to do it and most commonly “what do you eat for breakfast?”. That’s an easy answer – bacon and eggs!!

eggs, bacon, spinach, avocado - paleo breakfast

Ok, so not every day but certainly on most mornings. I attend two or three business breakfast meetings a week, and the venues have been very accommodating. If you are cheeky enough to find what you want scattered throughout the menu, then ask for it. Most restaurants or cafés are willing to help with specific food or dietary requirements, as it’s becoming more mainstream.

The type of exercise is changing too. Only 2 or 3 Zumba sessions a week, bootcamps have dropped to 1 a week, and I’ve increased my low impact cardio. A casual bike ride, a walk in the Port Hills and at least once a week I’m going up and over Bridle Path. Even if it’s been torrential rain causing damage to the track, which turn into mini mud runs…

mud run

I’m still not happy with my results (even though I’m still under my new threshold) and my weight seems to fluctuate on a weekly basis. The measurements are variable but slowly trending in the right direction. I honestly thought I would have less fat by now – even though I know it’s a slow journey from here. I need to be a tiny bit more disciplined and perhaps I’ll get there eventually. One snack, one meal, one day at a time.

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2 thoughts on “A few months of paleo

  1. Hey Alison,

    I have a few comments.

    “If I’m having a bad day I want to eat (even if I’m not hungry), and my will power is weak so I give in” – this is something that generally happens to people who are constantly experiencing stress-levels that are beyond their capacity to recover from. This comment, others in this post, and information from previous discussions with you have allowed me to come to this as a potential conclusion. The main things that contribute to this are A) Food B) Sleep C) Exercise

    Let us first examine why this might happen with a crude explanation of stress.

    Stress can be beneficial and is indeed an important factor in creating a robust person. When we are exposed to a stressor, we have an acute stress response that serves the porpose of getting us through the stressful situation; after the stressful situation has passed, things return to normal. The sympathetic nervous system, which is our ‘fight or flight’ reaction, is activated upon exposure to stress. When the stress is over, the parasympathetic nervous system takes back control (‘rest and digest’).

    When exposed to too much “stress” or when a stressor persists for far too long, it disrupts the feedback loop that is involved with shutting off the stress response and returning things to normal. In the case of chronic stress, you can have an impaired ability to revert back to a parasympathetic state after exposure to stressors. Moreover, if the feedback loop is impaired and exposure to stress hormones persists for too long, the parts of your brain that are involved with mounting the stress response in the first place can become unresponsive to the hormones that tell it to do so. Both of these situations are involved in a potentially vicious cycle that can allow for stress hormones to stay present for far too long which is harmful. Some of these harmful things can include poor recovery from exercise or lack of improvement from training, impaired memory or focus, hypertension, a weakened immune system, elevated blood glucose, impaired fat loss, decreased muscle mass, etc.

    Now let us go back to the points I mentioned earlier, and you can decide for yourself if you tick any of the boxes.

    A) – not eating appropriate amounts of protein based on stress exposure and training
    – not eating enough carbohydrate based on stress exposure and type of training
    – not eating enough total food
    – you’re not absorbing enough of your food (a negative of stress)
    – your meal timing is inconsistent and infrequent

    B) – fluctuating bed-time
    – fluctuating wake-time
    – inconsistent/inadequate total sleep time
    – poor sleep hygeine (not winding down before bed, sleeping in a room with lights, etc.)
    – missing sleep by waking up early to work out
    – having no relaxation time throughout the day
    – not eating enough food throughout the day, leaving you stressed or anxious at night

    C) – performing training that involves moving for >30s without rest at a moderate or high intensity, 4+ times per week
    – engaging in too much exercise that results in a large stress response
    – not taking enough recovery time between workouts
    – not including enough low-intensity movement to set up an aerobic base
    – not working to create or maintain enough muscle mass or strength to allow for proper training
    – actively training in a way that is deleterious to the maintenance of muscle necessary for metabolic health and resiliency
    – training too much

    There are many more things that could be mentioned in each category, but I think this comment is long enough.

    I’m not going to touch on psychological/emotional stress, or discuss whether or not your expectations seem realistic (you’re not fat, Alison!).

    Please let me know if you have any questions about anything I’ve said. This is information meant to help you understand what might be happening to your body for informative purposes — I am not accusing you of all of the above-mentioned things.

    Cheers,

    – James

    • Thanks James for your comments and as always I value your feedback and encouragement. Loved the “you’re not fat” part the most 🙂

      I think I either fall into C (exercise) with a dash of emotions/hormones dictating my eating. Sometimes a gal just needs (or perceived wants) chocolate treats and it would take a brave (or stupid) individual to stand in her way…

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