Disclaimer: Before we even get started, please know that I am not a dietician, doctor, personal trainer, or expert in the medical, health, or fitness field. Everything I am writing is my opinion and is to not be taken as medical advice. You should consult a doctor or a professional before changing your diet or exercise routine.
We are making some healthy changes around here, and I am happy to report that I am no longer going to weigh myself for Weigh-in Wednesday. Instead, I am going to focus on my strength and overall body fat percentages. Here’s why:
I spent a little over two weeks at my mom’s house in southern California for the holidays. Since my mom does not have cable TV, I read a ton of books and blogs on weight training, diet, and exercise. The original purpose of this was to complete my New Year’s Resolution of doing a pull-up, but it actually spiraled into something more. I realized that for years, I have been doing everything wrong. My diet was wrong. My exercise habits were wrong. My attitudes toward fitness and health were wrong, and I was determined to make it right!
A friend of mine told me about a book by Gary Taubes called Why We Get Fat. I am in the process of reading this so I can’t comment fully about it yet, but the gist of his book is that for years we have been conditioned to think that weight loss was a calories in vs. calories out type of formula. We have been taught to avoid high fat foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, and oils and replace them with low-fat foods that are actually higher in carbs and sugars than their fatty counterparts. Many poor crash diets have taken this idea and capitalized upon it, Atkins being the most famous. Don’t worry, I am NOT doing Atkins, nor do I think Atkins is a healthy diet.
Taubes’ theories led me to Mark’s Daily Apple, which convinced me to give the Paleo Lifestyle a whirl. In a nutshell, Paleo is all about consuming nutrient-dense foods that are not refined or processed. It’s not a diet, which is the best part. It’s about consuming items that our bodies are genetically designed to recognize and process as food/energy. You can think of it as “caveman food.” Could a caveman acquire a bag of Doritos? No. Don’t eat that. Could a caveman acquire green beans and eggs? Yes. Eat that.Paleo Food Pyramid.
Photo Source: Fit Bomb at http://www.fitbomb.com/caption
I have been interested in the Paleo Lifestyle for a while, but since I do not eat a ton of meat, it was hard for me to wrap my head around the idea of eating as much lean protein as Paleo calls for. However, the scientific studies behind Paleo intrigued me and everything I have read about it makes logical sense, which is why I decided to give it a whirl.
I have been living a Paleo Lifestyle for about 5 weeks, and I am amazed at the results so far! I am sleeping better, I am getting stronger, and I am fitting into pants that I couldn’t squeeze into in the fall. I am never hungry, my cravings for bad food have practically disappeared, and I feel amazing!
For my workouts, I have been focusing on High Intensity Interval Training (also knows as HIIT). I have seen fantastic results and my favorite part is that HIIT only take 20-30 minutes. I usually do my HIIT workouts in the pool 3 days a week and then do weight training on the other 3 days. I am still adjusting and building the best fitness routine for my schedule, but this is the basic idea I stick to for now.
Like I said above, I am tracking progress with measurements, body fat percentage measurements, increased strength, and pictures. I would like to accomplish my goal of doing a pull-up before my birthday in May.
Current Body Fat Percentage: 28.2%
I was going to post a photo here, but I am not ready for that yet! You can see the before when there is completely different after.
My Favorite Paleo Resources
- Nerd Fitness – Seriously, lvl up your life right now and join the rebellion!
- The Clothes Make The Girl - Go here. Start anywhere. This entire website is fantastic!
- Mark’s Daily Apple – Information packed site. All about Paleo.
- Whole9 – Another information packed site.
My favorite HIIT Resources
None of the sites below require a gym. They can all be done at home!
- Zuzka Light – She was one of the founders of BodyRock.tv. All of her exercises can be done at home and utilize your body weight so you do not need any equipment
- The Daily HIIT - Previously BodyRock.tv. Some workouts require a sandbag weight and dip station. Others do not.
- Nike Training Club App for iPhone -or-
- Nike Training Club App for Android – Some workouts require weights, some don’t. Good for variety and you can unlock recipes and extra workouts as you go.