Archive | Lifestyle RSS feed for this section

Time for a review–Primal Diet

The New Year traditionally brings with it a period of review, as well as the setting of goals and plans to achieve them.  The beginning of January 2012 marks 6 months of primal living for me, and 1 month of convict conditioning.  So what has that done for me?

happy-meals2011 kicked off and I wasn’t really that happy with where I was in terms of my health, weight or energy levels.  I had just got back from an awesome trip to the USA, having put on a lot of weight, and despite having lost a lot of weight since the time I had been there last, I had put most of it back on before we got there.  Hence my in-laws had no reason to believe that I had been anything other than a lard ass for all of the intervening time.

I would lose weight without too much trouble, but then turn around and balloon back up again even more effortlessly.

2011 would be different I told myself.  I played around with the diet plans that had worked for me in the past, and while the tracking was going pretty well, the weight loss wasn’t.  It was just one long plateau after the other, or a maddening yo-yo up and down of the same 1-2 kgs.

My wife had enjoyed a lot of success with weight loss prior to our USA trip, doing mostly workouts and the couch to 5k running program, along with pretty strict calorie counting.

I decided to start the C25k program.  Of course when one looks at the first weeks of that program, one thinks “pah! is that all?  I can run for longer than that!” 

However I had started and failed at many other programs in the past and so decided to stick to the program exactly as written.  I also stuck to the schedule as stringently as I could, given the constraints of my work schedule.

Speaking of work, the crew started  a weight loss challenge.  As the weight loss challenge was finishing in June, I discovered the primal diet after realising that  conventional wisdom wasn’t working for me.

I lost more in the month after the work competition ended, than I did during the entire 3 month challenge!  According to the scale and the rough estimates provided by a caliper, I have lost 9kg and gone from 18 to 11% body fat in the last 6 months.  What is more is that it hardly feels like I am working, or depriving myself.  Making healthier choices doesn’t mean sacrificing great taste or flavours.


Small arms, guns & bazookas

First day off today and this morning, once again my wife points out that while I have lost a lot of fat, the fat that has gone from my left arm has left behind a rather flabby bicep.  I was actually feeling kind of good about having done the LHT the day before, and so flexed my right bicep for her.  I have to say while no Charles Atlas, I am kind of pleased with the way it is coming along.  Today was to be a move slowly day, and she was to be having lunch with a friend of hers, but that got cancelled, and so we decided to go to lunch together.

I had the super scoff, which consists of 2 fried eggs, bacon (the english kind for you americans out there), black pudding, fried pieces of real potato and really thick toast.  I left most of the potato and all of the toast on the plate.  I also had a long black coffee, or what some people call a coffee americano, yeah, some people.

After that I decided we should leave the car parked where it was and wander down to the discount store and pick up some large recycled plastic pots, so that I could plant the chilli seedlings I bought last week.  The seedlings have been quite happy on the kitchen counter, and I have been taking good care of them.  The weather has gone quite windy and I don’t think they would have made it if I planted them out now anyway.

Once I schlepped the pots back to the car and home, it was time to take the dog for his walk.  I like walking in a forest park on the other side of town, where I used to enjoy doing the couch to 5k runs as well. so off we went.

2011-10-10 14.30.31_WEB 

Here he is trotting off down the track.  I was actually feeling very energised when we got there and vaulted over the gate with a spring in my step. Woohoo!

I have often thought that I should bring a bag or a backpack along and collect pine cones along the way, either for the open fire during winter, or the outdoor brazier during BBQs in the summer.  All of the small  backpacks we have at the moment are too good to get trashed on that task, so I will need to keep an eye out. for a cheapy somewhere along the way.  Maybe the salvation army when I take all of my fat clothes down there. :)

Dog & I wandered along the trails and I was still wondering what to do about my flabby arms.  Maybe my form is just terrible when I do the push ups?  It doesn’t feel like bad form.  Maybe my form is terrible because of the fact that my left arm is so weak?  Around this time I formed a small kernel of an idea.

I found a tree branch that would have been a little over a metre long, and that my hand would only wrap half way around.  It was quite wet, and I estimated that it would be approximately 7 kg (15 lbs).  It had a few smaller spiky branches sticking out of it.

2011-10-10 15.04.32_WEB

I decided that I would carry this stick for the rest of the walk.  There needed to be rules for this carry though.  This was inspired somewhat by a WOW Mark posted some time ago on MDA.  The rules were relatively simple. Carry the stick any way I could, but only with the left hand, and walk at least 5 km.  I did stop once, only long enough to remove my sweater, since I’d worked up a good sweat, and to take this picture.  I completed the 5km and while the last km or so was getting quite difficult.  At one point as I was holding one of the short sticks, with the stick over my shoulder, I wondered if anyone that saw me would wonder if I was playing at toy soldiers with a pretend bazooka on my shoulders.  No sooner did the thought occur and I was just about ready to charge off into the undergrowth and assault a pretend bunker.  A bit like ‘Shogun’ in Boy the Movie:


It would probably be a breach of some anti-terror law though.  Full movie scene here:

Go watch the movie, it’s a crack up.

At the end of the walk, I stashed the branch by the start of the 5km section, hopefully out of the way of sniffing/pissing pooches, ready for use next time.  Then I spent 20 minutes or so getting in some karate practice before class.

Karate class was good, and thankfully the warm up did not include a beasting on the press ups.

Dinner was steak and vegetables.  Lovely.


It Burns!!

Yesterday was the start of my shift rotation again. An 8pm start so the day is one of mostly rest. Woke up and schlepped the garbage out for collection. Had a couple of HB eggs, and went and checked on my newly planted seedlings. Not too much slug/snail carnage observed, all good. Boiled up another 10 or so eggs for the coming roster week, the odd one or two always crack in the pot.
Lunch was a can of sardines on 3 pieces of whole grain toast. Before primal I always thought this was a super healthy meal, and I’m still not ready to give away the toast with my sardines yet. Any suggestions for a fast, easy accompaniment for sardines, other than salad? Next time I may try scrambled or mashed HB egg with them.
After that came a piece of real resistance:
1 clove of garlic (home grown) finely sliced
2 dried chillies (home grown) finely sliced
a drizzle of olive oil
Into the slow cooker with them
Cube up 600 grams of grass fed gravy beef and mix it in with everything else.
Drizzle over a liberal quantity of Kaitaia Fire.
add a cup or so of boiling water and set to high for a few hours.
I did a few more chores then turned in for a pre-shift nap. On waking 3 hours later, turn the slow cooker to low add a cup of hot beef stock and serve up with nuked broccoli, cauli and carrots.
A couple of cups of coffee, 2 apples, 2 HB eggs a handful of almonds, a sugar free energy drink and a hot chocolate around 6am saw me through the 12 hr shift and I was home in bed by 9a.


October 1–3 months of primal today

Saturday here, and I worked 8a – 8p. I only had 2 hardboiled eggs left in the fridge so saved them for a workday snack and had a chorizo sausage and some smoked kahawai for breakfast. Got to work and had my coffee.
Coffee and the 2 hard boiled eggs for morning tea.
Big bowl of mixed vegetables and some more smoked kahawai for lunch. A sugar free ‘energy’ drink.
A big handful of almonds and an apple between 2p – 6p. 2 cups of black tea no milk or sugar.
A large glass of diet coke <=== This. This is my current challenge and the least amount of coke i’ve drunk in a long time by a long chalk.
8:30p a bowl of stir fry chicken & broccoli with some (probably non-primal) sauce. 2 large mugs of chamomile tea.


Hi There. Remember me?

It’s been a little while since I posted an update, however I haven’t been slacking (much) with everything else going on.  There was a fairly nasty winter virus going around that I was lucky enough to catch.  It laid me up to the point where I just stayed in bed for four days and was not good for very much at all for about 10 days either side of that.  I’m really good now though, thanks.

Dad had a bit of bad news around a month ago (for his birthday) which meant that he needed to have surgery fairly quickly.  He’s at home recuperating now, and everything seems to have gone well.  He’s just waiting on some more results to make sure it’s fixed properly.

I’ve managed to get in a few more LHT workouts, and the diet (it doesn’t feel like a diet) is working well.  Since July 9 I have lost 3.4 kg (7.5 lbs).  This is 0.4 kg (just under a pound) more than I had lost in the entire 12 week challenge at work, when there was money at stake and I was trying my darndest!

One thing that Mark Sisson has been advocating is the stand up workstation.  Then yesterday I saw that Steve Kamb had also posted about it in a very clear and compelling  manner, only a day after I was telling my wife that I needed to develop better hip mobility for a few of reasons:

  • I want to do better kicks at karate.
  • I know it will improve my aikido.
  • My dad has had arthritis in his hip for some time and I’d rather prevent it.

So I decided to tetris up my work station:


So there it is.  A little rough around the edges, and still with some stuff to put away.  If I decide I can’t deal with it and want to go back to my chair I always can.  So far so good, and the dog likes it do much that he just had to get in the picture about it.  It makes him smile, see.






Here is a closer shot of the actual work station, pay no attention to the scuffed up X-wing, that is not the droid you’re looking for.


Measuring up

The tale of the tape on Saturday morning, after an evening at the club and a meal of deep fried everything with chips and too many beers (oops).

Continue Reading →


Marvin Gaye, Jackie Wilson & Me

We all work the night shift….

I’d been pondering the whole sleep/lifestyle balance with regard to healthy living and all of the advice that’s out there lately.

Continue Reading →