Naomi goes paleo, week 4: results
The hard time I had last week on the paleo lifestyle seemed very far away today: when I measured my results of 4 weeks strict paleo eating, better known as The Whole 30. (I still have 2 days to go). The challenge deserved it's name today: my body fat percentage went down with 30%! It was 20,5% and now is 14,5%. If I had only known this method when I was still doing bodybuilding! I have decided to go through with the paleo lifestyle. Although I will loosen the reigns a little bit in comparison with the last month.
I think my dwindling appetite in week 3 had everything to do with a lingering flu, which I ended up not getting. Because this week my appetite was back! I would even say I was hungry from time to time. That might also been caused by me somewhat cheating a little bit with the rule that my food shouldn't look like my non-paleo favorite dishes. I had oven roasted parsnips 3 times this week... and they maybe look a little bit like fries. Just a little bit... By the way: just in their looks, not in nutritional value or taste! I also prepared turkey strips with an Indonesian inspired cashew sauce.... but I wouldn't call it saté, no way... Bootcamper Lilian handed me the drink of the week: coconut cappuccino. Somewhat over 200 calories per serving. That took care of my unwanted weight loss, because that was never my goal. I don't have any extra kilo's to lose. I got a big AHA from that: when I am really busy and my appetite is almost gone, it is important for me to have foods that tempt me into eating. Because otherwise I will not meet my daily calorie intake.
Goals My goals for this paleo challenge were: getting stronger, to have more energy, lose fat and give my body a reset.. Goal 1 and 2: getting stronger and to have more energy. I have no real way to measure this. After the bad week 3 I even had to skip some training sessions in the beginning of the week because I just lacked the energy. When appetite and eating picked up, I recovered pretty quickly. That is one thing I noticed over all: I recover faster. After training sessions, muscle aches disappear quicker, so I can train the same muscle group more often. Following that line of thinking, I should be able to train more and harder, so I should get stronger. Only after these 30 days, with a hint of a flu, I have no proof of that. So I will report back on it in a few months. Goal 3: lose fat. For a month I did not weigh or measure myself. But judging from how my clothes fit and how my reflection looked in the mirror, I knew I was getting results.
My six pack was popping a bit more and the lines on my upper legs were showing. My wife was pretty pleased with the part of me I have trouble seeing myself: my bum. But I was not prepared for what the Tanita-scale showed this morning. It gave me a big smile, I wasn't expecting that! My body fat percentage went from 20,5% to 14,5%. That is 6 procent points, almost 30% of my overall body fat. (Note: These are results from 2 different scales. So there might be a difference in the measuring. But I am still happy).I did end up losing 1,7 kilos, so that is not too bad. I now weigh 53,2 kilo's. I would like to gain some weight, as long as it is muscle. My goal weight is 55 kilo, keeping my body fat percentage in the 14%-range. I will work on that coming year. Goal 4: give my body a reset. This really was a revelation for me. Before the challenge I ate healthy and 'clean', as it is called in sports. I didn't really expect any detox effect. So when I noticed less bloating, I was surprised. I didn't know I was feeling bloated to begin with (expect the occasional fart...). I really never have that anymore. So I might not be as dairy and/or grain tolerant as I think. I am going to test that: which food group(s) is causing the bloating and the culprit will be eliminated.
Eating out Changing the way I eat completely was a good experience for me. It also made me more understanding towards the people who have to deal with one of my food schedules and have to change everything. Getting used to new things is just hard! When I discovered in week 2 I was not allowed to make pancakes with ingredients that I was allowed to eat, I was really disappointed. Also: spelling out all the labels on food again was so annoying. So much sugar en e-numbers where you don't expect them... it is disheartening sometimes. Also because it meant I had to do groceries at different shops. I hate doing groceries, so I did not enjoy prolonging it. But is was worth it! The meat from the ecological, free-range butcher is tastier and he doesn't add dextrose and preservatives
We also didn't think that going out for dinner would be an option. But we did, on our wedding anniversary. I want to give restaurant Burgerz in Scheveningen a huge compliment. Our waitress was really interested in my diet and was creative in coming up with options and adjustments that would fit the paleo lifestyle. And they have a lot going for them already: their meat is from their own farms, free range and the animals are treated with repect. They don't add coloring's or binding agents. Very paleo. In the end I had 300 grams (!) of sirloin steak, stir fried vegetables without butter and oven roasted sweet potatoes. Don't want any condiments and dressings? No problem! I never had the feeling I was asking too much, so: thanks for a lovely evening!
Conclusion I am very happy to have done the paleo challenge and I will continue the paleo lifestyle. Some things are going to change though, like searching through the internet for delicious paleo recipes, that were not allowed in The Whole 30. I understand the psychological link between delicious food, over eating and obesity, but I know myself. I will not binge on a bowl of avocado-chocolate mousse. That I might stray for the paleo rules every now and then is also a possibility, like in a restaurant that isn't able to serve me paleo food. But I do emphasize the 'now and then'! Something to consider when deciding to go paleo: it ain't cheap! Nuts are expensive and I did eat a lot of meat. Since I bought that at the ecological, free range, grass fed butcher shop, it did have quite a price tag. I balanced it financially by eating a lot less at restaurants. I do think that in the future we will invite people over to our house more often than going out to dinner. Luckily I found a brand new side of me: the culinary princess. I enjoy trying new foods and recipes. Before I couldn't even pronounce parsnip (in Dutch: pastinaak): Paksinaat... Parkizaat... those white carrots! Now I know several recepies with parsnip. I will advise paleo to other people too. As a matter of fact: I have inspired 4 people the last few weeks to try paleo. Jon, a man I train, who was suffering from health issues that made him almost faint during our training sessions, started eating paleo. I have to add that he was really bad with food, he would only eat healthy the day before and the day of our training session. Jon: "Previously, big things in my life were crisps, pizza, cheese, toast and jam, beer, wine, and Scotch whisky. And elevators. I have kept strictly to Whole30, not only Paleo rules. For the whole time. No lapses, and being careful with labels, etc. I did become more active on a daily basis also. Mainly walking up and down stairs at the office to go and not-smoke. That's 6 floors, 4-5 times a day. And not slowly either". He has been able to eat paleo for 3 weeks now and we have had 3 trainings sessions with no fainting whatsoever. Jon: "After 1 week, unusual. After 2 weeks, spooky coincidence. After 3 weeks, this is proof that eating 'well' has a measurable effect on something that has all the medical specialists baffled". Jon did have other goals like an effect on recent skin irritations, feeling more energetic and testing his personal discipline. The skin irritations are still there and he describes the difference in his energy as "nothing earth shattering". But he did lose 7 kilo and has shown discipline. So that is 2 out of 4 goals, in 23 days. I am a pretty happy coach!