Going Primal, Sort Of
After sleeping on it and doing a bit more research, I've decided that eating that few carbs might be an overreaction. [...] Besides, the last thing I need right now is worrying about my food intake and making eating more complicated - I think my most important rule should be to eat iff I'm hungry.
What can I say - I am a nerd. So of course the next thing I did would be to create a web app1 to track my daily calories, carb intake, and (while I'm at it) fat and protein. It's not perfect, whenever I eat something I haven't prepared (and boy, do I like preparing food lately!), I can't track that. What I can do all the time is try to eat meals with less carbs and more fat and protein, which is pretty easy - in fact, that's what usually makes the Primal Blueprint easy to follow, because you're not required to count calories, you just avoid certain foods.
So far, the data suggests that even with the added exercise (more on that later) I need a bit less than 2000 calories per day to function well, without getting hungry, if I limit the carbs to 100-150 grams per day. Though I'm also still in the process of getting my body to prefer fat as fuel - years of binging on carbs always make the body use more glucose instead of fat for energy, but Mark Sisson makes some good points, backed by studies, about why using fat for fuel is healthier. (I just realized I've linked to the same article before.) Anyway, for some people that process consists of multiple weeks of craving carbs. For me, it's more of a getting fed up quicker, and I mean really fed up, but also getting hungrier sooner after eating. Also, since the stomach takes up to half an hour to tell the brain you need no more food, your brain has to gauge the amount of energy the food gave you and pretend you're full. And my brain is used to me eating food that's less energy dense - one gram of fat has about 9 kcal, while one gram of carbs (or protein, actually) has only 4ish kcal. So for the time being, I have to eat way more slowly or stop sooner and assume I'm gonna feel full in a few minutes.
Other than that, I have no scientific way of measuring my success - there's no scale in my apartment, let alone one that measures body fat percentage - but I do feel like I'm more energetic, optimistic and relaxed since I've started this.
One field where my nerdiness is really starting to help me is exercise. So far, I've only been doing whatever exercises I felt like doing on a particular day (see my last post for details), but now I found a real incentive to do things Mark Sisson recommends: Grinding levels! You see, he has those exercises he calls the Four Essential Movements:
- Squats and
Each of them goes from Level 1 to Level 9. Alas, I don't have a chance to do pullups, but other than that, my self-assessment2 tells me I'm at Level 2 Pushups, Level 1 Squats and Level 1 Planks. Let's gain some levels! I hope I can increase my Willpower at level ups instead of just my Strength.
1 Why a web app? It was just the easiest way I could think of to do a database-based "app". Sure, there's Core Data for Mac apps, but I'm just way more used to using MySQL, as of yet.
2 The exercises, along with the self-assessment and a lot more fitness-related stuff, can be found in his e-book Primal Blueprint Fitness which I got for free by subscribing to his newsletter.