For the first time in my life, I ate chicken for breakfast this morning.
Yeah, it was a little weird. After years of cereal, bagels, muffins, donuts, and/or high-calorie meal replacement shakes for breakfast, I’m working on this whole Paleo/Primal diet thing, (which I wrote about recently). I think it’s going to be a gradual transition from my old diet to a new one, but I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve spent the past four years of my life stuffing my face with 3500 calories a day, drinking expensive shakes, shoveling pounds of pasta and very few fruits or vegetables into my mouth. It was exhausting, expensive, and frustrating having to eat every 2 hours.
Since I started reading the Paleo Diet book and The Primal Blueprint, I’ve made a few realizations about my diet that I’m changing. I never realized how truly detrimental and pervasive sugar is. It’s in freaking everything! Yeah, even the “healthy” stuff. Take a look at a loaf of “100% whole wheat bread” and you’ll probably find High Fructose Corn Syrup as one of the top five ingredients. I know when I went to the store last night it was on the whole wheat bread I used to eat.
This is a big change for me: instead of trying to bulk up, I’m going trim down while building muscle and see where that leaves me. Rather than shoveling bad food into my mouth to put on weight, I’m going to cut as much processed food, simple carbs, and sugar from my diet during the week. That means no more spaghetti and PB sandwiches, two things I’ve eaten almost every day since I was five. In place of that, I’m going to stick with lean meats, LOTS of chicken, TONS of asparagus, and salads. I’ve been eating like a little kid forever, and I think it’s time to finally expand my food horizons and grow up a bit. I think I bought like six kinds of vegetables at the store last night – the old me didn’t even know six kinds of vegetables existed.
So what’s my plan now? As of this morning I weigh 177 lbs, and my body fat percentage is right around 9%. It was at 11% a few weeks back before adjusting my diet, so I can tell it’s already working. I have a hunch I’ll actually look bigger at 175 with 6% BF compared to 185 at 11%. Now, as I make my adjustment to a healthier diet, I do have some concerns:
- I’m going to get bored really quickly. If I eat chicken for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, things are going to get old quickly. Steaks are expensive, but now that I’m not buying tubs of supplements and 4 gallons of milk a week, it might actually fit into my budget. I’m going to have to start eating fish at some point, and this scares me because I’m not a fan at all. Any recommendations on the best fish to start out with would be helpful.
- I’m going to lose a LOT of weight. Cutting out most carbs like breads, rice, and pasta are going to severely drop my calorie count. A big serving of rice can have 15-20 times the number of calories of a big serving of asparagus. This is where walnuts, almonds, and occasionally oatmeal will come in handy, but for a guy trying to gain/maintain weight, this is going to be tough.
- I won’t have enough energy to get through the day and do my workouts - I’ve already noticed that my last few work outs haven’t been as good because I’ve had less energy going into them. Luckily I just picked up The Paleo Diet for Athletes, and I’ll be reading that on my flight out to Colorado this weekend. This book deals with athletes on the paleo diet and how they eat before and after exercising to maintain energy and build muscle. Full review coming soon.
- Not enough Calcium - now that I’m not chugging Milk by the gallon, I’m worried I’m just not going to get enough calcium and my bones will suffer (no not my bones!). Luckily, the author of the Paleo Diet, Loren Cordain, addresses this exact issue here. I’m certainly not giving up dairy completely, but it will be at a pretty large departure from where I was at a month ago.
We’ll see how this goes. I plan on sticking with the plan for the next two weeks and then reevaluating. I still plan on drinking a few beers, eating un-primal, playing bags (cornhole, corntoss, whatever you want to call it), and watching football on the weekends (read yesterday’s post), so that means I need to be super dedicated during the week. I’m going to keep having fun, just adjust my diet slightly and see where it takes me.
Why am I doing this? Some people (my mom included) have said “what’s wrong with how you look now?” Really, I like how I look now, I’m just interested to see how strong I can get and where I can get to in terms of efficiency (body fat percentage). Remember, “appearance is a consequence of fitness.” If this makes me healthier, function better in the gym, have more energy, and makes me look good, why the hell wouldn’t I try it?
I’ll keep everybody informed on how things go over the next few weeks, but I promise I won’t dominate this blog with just ALL PALEO ALL THE TIME stuff. Everybody is at different stages in their lives, careers, and levels of fitness and diet, and I’ll keep that in mind with my writing.
And here we….go!