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Considering Paleo

I  have a lot of thoughts and not a lot of structure to them. Let’s see what we can do with this.

If my weight loss trend continues as it has been, I will have reached my halfway point for my weight loss goal. That mind-blowing concept aside, it is time I started to consider what I would do after I reach my weight loss goal.

First and foremost, I have vowed to myself  ‘never again.’ Gaining this weight back is not an option, and will not happen, so going back to my old diet is not an option either.  With that out of the way, I  have my biggest question to ponder: do I want to continue on with the paleo, and turn it into a lifestyle instead of just a “diet?”

Clearly, I do  not know about this. There are some things that, after having been on paleo, that I never want to ingest ever ever again: soda. There are things that I don’t really miss: pasta. There are things I have discovered don’t taste as good: chips (some), mayonnaise.  I suspect I will find a lot of other things just don’t taste as good as they used to:  bread, french fries, pasta. But there are also some things I do miss (and, sometimes, simutaneously am revolted by): pizza, fettuccine alfredo, rolls, biscuits, sandwiches. Need I go on?

Part of me wonders and suspects if I just have a psychological need/want for these items. That I remember that eating these things made me feel good, or that they tasted good, and so I want them psychologically. Even, as in the case of my chip binges, if I don’t think that they taste good anymore, I wonder sometimes if I have a certain psychological addiction to these things.

So, naturally, going off paleo, even if it’s just a little bit, I am worried is going to lead to a slippery slope where I don’t intend to, but eventually do, get back to my old diet.

But I have also talked very often, on this blog and to people who have spoken with  me, how much I love the food that I eat. This is still true, also (when my fridge is full…). This begs the question that if I am satisfied with what I am eating, do not go hungry and do not really yearn for very many other things, why would I consider going off of paleo?

Well.

To break down this dichotomy, I’m actually gonna sort things out, both for you, my humble readers, and for myself. So let us begin.

Fears about maintaining Paleo

This also covers things I just don’t really like.

1) I’m not really sure if I “buy” it.

Yes. Sorry Tim Ferris, Mark Sisson, Dr. Cordian. I’m  not really drinking your kool-aid.  Eating Paleo has been excellent for my weight loss and for exploring different foods, but I really don’t buy that it’s the cure for everything from acne to cancer.  I’m really not sure that I even buy your basic argument — that humans didn’t have time enough to evolve to digest grains properly. 10,000 years is a long time, and while it is true that evolution is generally seen to take even longer, that is a common misconception and based on a misunderstanding of what precisely evolution is or does. Additionally, one could argue that we had already evolved to be able to eat grains before the agricultural revolution, simply by becoming omnivores. Omnivores, as pigs show us, can eat a LOT of stuff.

For that matter, I  have not seen an appreciable difference in my energy levels or general health since starting this diet. I feel the same, with the exception of my improved fitness from Taekwondo, which has more to do with TKD than the diet, IMO.

2) I am/was afraid that I would keep losing weight till I was unhealthy

Through  much explanation from Avi and Natalie today, I have… sorta… begun to understand/accept that this won’t happen. Basically, my fear was this: I  have been losing weight at 2.5 lbs per week for the past two months. I am/was afraid that if I continued on the paleo that I would continue to lose weight in a way that wasn’t healthy.

In case you were wondering what awesome looks like in graphical form.

Apparently this is not true, and I believe what they told me, but I am not sure if I could explain it back. This is something that I am going to talk to Coach about tomorrow. Perhaps with a third explanation it will make more sense.

3) It’s expensive*

I’ve been over this with you guys before — I spend about $200/month on groceries, and this is largely when I’m just feeding myself. If it takes me a while to get a job, or if I am living off  internship money, especially this summer, somehow buying grassfed free range beef who have had a lifetime of counseling service seems less important. I am gonna see if I can get that down some, but yeah.

4) I like bread*

I especially like potatoes.

*These two are important more within the context of the first. If I really thought it was THAT beneficial to my health, I wouldn’t have a problem dropping the dollars on good food, and I wouldn’t have an issue giving up foods that I like. It would just be something that I wanted to integrate as a part of my life to be a healthier and better person.

On that note…

Reasons to keep on Paleo

Paleo is pretty nommy.

Noms.

1) Parts of it fit in with  my life philosophy

I abhor foreign chemicals in the body, for a plethora of reasons that I don’t want to go into right now. I have been called a teetotaler in the past, but I guess I identify more strongly with the straight-edge movement (without the hardcore punk part…). With the exception of tea, I don’t consume caffeine, take pain killers, drink or do any kind of drug. I don’t take hormonal birth control and prefer the “stay in bed and rest” method of getting better.

I  have made exceptions to this in the past. For instance, when I had swine flu and had a fever of almost 103, you bet for damn sure I popped some Aleve.

However, I know that the vast majority of foods that I ate — especially my meat — is filled with chemicals, hormones, and other bad things. I have not had an opportunity to rectify this in the past because of parental and financial situations, but I think going paleo has given me an opportunity to shun processed foods from my diet. While I might not feel a physical difference, I do feel a spiritual one, and this does mean a lot to me.

2) I love the food I’m eating

I’ve talked about this in the past, but going paleo has opened up amazing doors to cooking, improving my relationship with food, and generally eating more tasty things (I think my favorite discovery has been bell peppers —  look for more of those after my grocery trip). I discovered today that mayonnaise is a poor, poor substitute for hot sauce and pretty  much shirked my “need” for it in my diet.

I want the opportunity to try more things, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to do so without my diet being “crowded out” by breads and grains.

3) Slippage

As I alluded to earlier, I am very afraid that if I get off of paleo that I will fall into my old habits: stress eating being the key of these things. Eating paleo has  made me conscious but not hyper-conscious of what I am eating, and that has been good for me. It has also been very good for me emotionally — instead of eating my feelings away, I talk about them. This may be a pretty awful thing for my friends and my boyfriend, but it’s been remarkably healthy for me.  However, I am afraid that if I “allow” breads, grains, and dairy back into my diet, or any combination of these that my awareness will slip and before you know it I’m back up to 185.

Never again.

So these are some of the things I have been wrestling with. Needless to say, I am very surprised that I am conflicted about this. I expected to be chomping at the bit to get off paleo, but I am genuinely conflicted about it.

If you made it to the end of this post, congratulations. You rock. I’d appreciate any input.

Do it out of love.

My first year at Agnes, I made what most of my friends now refer to as my “body post.” It consisted of several pictures of me in various states of being clothed. I was never naked, and I have pretty  modest underwear generally, but either way it was rather exposing.

The point of this post was not pornographic, but it was to be inspiring.  I was proclaiming that I was no longer ashamed of my body. That instead of being hurt, embarrassed, or hateful towards my body, I was going to love it.

I do not want to post it all here, because it’s a bit lengthy, and that’s besides the fact that the pictures are me, less than clothed, but if you are my friend on facebook, you are free to view it here.

I have been wanting to revisit this post for a while, and decided to do it both within the context of my knee injury and within the context of a few conversations I’ve had recently.

First of all, I still feel this way about my body, and with the exception of a few bad days every once in a while (everyone has them), I have felt this way about my body ever since that post. It is something that I need to keep in mind, however, as I deal with my knee injury. My knee hurts for a reason, and I need to be good to it because it has given me 22 years of good service, and it got hurt trying to do what I wanted it to do, and I need to be better to my knee, and less angry about my injury. After all, it could have been a lot worse.

Unfortunately, not my hand.

Secondly, I think about this post as I think about all the people who have come up to me and told me that I have inspired them, some of them telling me about eating disorders that they have had in the past. I am awed and inspired myself when people tell me their stories and I never cease to be proud of people who take that first leap into being more healthful.

I have never believed in universal, all-encompassing advice, but I think I have found something that I would say to everyone who approaches me about making a lifestyle change: do it out of love. Don’t do it because you hate your body or you aren’t happy with the way you look. Don’t do it because you think you’d be better if you weighed 15 pounds less. Do it because you love your body and you want the best for it. Do it because your body will be happier with a better diet. Do it because you want what’s best for this entity that’s been carrying you for your life.

If you can’t do that, then not only will you not be happy in your weight loss, you won’t be successful. Though I give lots of credit to the paleo lifestyle for my weight loss, I think the biggest thing that has made the difference is that I am doing this because I truly, deeply, love and appreciate all my body does for me, and I want us to have a better relationship. I don’t think negative thoughts about being overweight, or obese (with, of course, some periodic exceptions). I don’t look down on my body for being overweight — after all, I made it that way. I don’t hate myself for getting to this point. All of that negativity will only hold me back. We are moving forward, together, as a team to be a happier individual.

If you can’t love your body, then you shouldn’t be attempting to lose weight. Like a partnership with another human being, any changes you make should come from love, appreciation, and respect. Working with your body is no different.

I am going to go ice my knee, because it deserves it.

Gina

Measurements and Pictures

I’m sorta procrastinating getting started on the stuff I need to do today, but this is a post I  have been wanting to make.

I decided to start taking measurements and pictures for every 10lbs I lost. Nothing special to add here, so let’s get to the good stuff.

Measurements

Bust: 38″
Waist: 32″
Hips : 43.5″

I am amused, because I don’t fit into the typical “body shape” categories. I have always considered myself an “hourglass” figure, though when I read some descriptions, the hourglass nazis say that the bust and hips must be EXACTLY the same number of inches, or, since they’re being generous, the bust can be ONE inch larger than the hips.

Lawl.

Of course, this is by a women’s magazine, who is more interested in caricatures than actual body types. Wikipedia, of course, has a something a bit more realistic to say.

I think that understanding where and how one’s body distributes fat is a useful tool to help women understand why they look the way they do and to understand that things like “I want to lose 20lbs in my thighs” just isn’t going to work. And it also helps people like me understand that I will  never look like a supermodel, cause I just don’t have that body type.

I can imagine Coach rolling his eyes at me, because he is of the opinion that if you’re healthy and don’t have body fat, then it doesn’t matter what “type” of body you are. To him I say, perhaps that is true, but women in the healthiest of shapes are still going to have body fat. We are supposed to have more body fat than men because of that whole, you know, breast thing. So for us, where our body fat is distributed can be an important tool to understand how they look and why.

Anyway, I have a small obsession with body types, Waist-to-hip ratio, and other such things.  I strongly recommend looking at the wikipedia article and clicking around to the related articles. It’s interesting stuff.

Here is my picture.

Me, minus 20lbs

Deuces,

Gina