It’s been nearly two months since I last posted. Life went crazy for a while, and it’s only now that I’m able to downshift long enough to consider how my primal journey was affected by a combination of office-induced stress and long hours. I’m delighted to note that the changes have been both dramatic and positive:
1) I’m content without eating for long periods.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve hauled healthful snacks everywhere lest I be beset by a “hypoglycemic moment.” You know the feeling — that sudden, lightheaded, weak, must-eat-NOW-or-I’ll-gnaw-off-my-own-bicep, carb-crashing hunger.
So ingrained was my assumption that if I didn’t eat every few hours, I’d be in for some serious suffering, that it took me most of these past two months to trust my body not to do that anymore. But it doesn’t. It really, truly doesn’t. I can happily metabolize body fat for energy for fifteen hours or more, workouts included. Hunger is a gentle nudge instead of a raging beast. I am boundless!
2) I no longer need to count carbs.
Using Fitday and My Fitness Pal for my first few months of primal living had value. It enabled me to memorize the carb content of the foods I eat most frequently, and it gave me a good feel for primal macronutrient balance. However, tracking food intake is undeniably time-consuming, and when I saw myself running short on hours, I figured I ought to try flying solo.
It works. I haven’t counted carbs in two months, except mentally, but I know I’ve dropped my daily intake from about 150g to 90-100g per day. Usually, my food days look something like this (yesterday’s menu):
Breakfast — Spinach salad with apple, fresh cranberries, walnuts, pecans, 6 oz canned wild salmon, and lemon-olive oil dressing.
Lunch — Leftover Thai chicken and coconut soup with veggies.
Dinner — Hamburger (no bun) with a melted cheddar, half an avocado, butter-sauteed onions and mushrooms, and a dill pickle slices. Peppermint tea with coconut cream for dessert.
Today, I had eggs and bacon for breakfast, an apple with almond butter for lunch, and I’m roasting a turkey roasting for dinner, to be served with lightly steamed green beans and mashed cauliflower.
3) My workouts are more flexible.
Everyone who knows me well (or even not-so-well) knows that I thrive on structure. I am the queen of lists, spreadsheets, and self-discipline. Granted, this is a positive quality…but it can be taken too far and become a stressor in its own right. The past couple months of business and winter weather have forced me to flex not only the timing of my workouts, many of which moved from 4:30 a.m. to afternoon or evening, but often their nature as well.
Lack of sleep, extra meetings, and high stress levels convinced me of the value of listening to my body from day to day. As Mark Sisson notes in his definitive work The Primal Blueprint (have you read it yet?), it’s often best to pay attention when I don’t feel up to the killer workout for which I’md scheduled — or to throw in a few unplanned sprints on my evening walk, if I feel particularly energetic.
I haven’t worked out any less than usual, but I have certainly worked out less rigidly. My heavy workouts are as heavy as ever, my push-up and pull-up counts continue to climb, and despite a travel-induced shortage of sprint sessions, today’s hill repeats were up to par. The message? Keep the self-discipline. Lose the schedule.
Ok, the changes are good. Thank you, Life. I heard you. Now, could we please settle back down to normal? Please?