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Old 03-24-2011, 09:49 AM   #1
Zane Jones
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32-Day Paleo Challange Recap and Questions

I just finished my own 30+2 Day Paleo Challenge and wanted to come on here and share my results and get some insight from the community.

I stumbled upon the Paleo way of eating when I saw and read Gary Taubes’ Why You are Fat. The amount of research in the book was impressing and I found most of it very convincing. I followed up those books by reading Robb’s book, Paleo Diet for Athletes, and the latest Protein Power book. Robb’s seemed to have the most specifics on types of food and quantity so I used that primarly as the basis / starting point for my nutrition from that point on.

Prior to reading these books my low fat/calorie diet had consisted of leaner meats, whole grains, fat from things like olive oil and peanuts, and sugar. It was always in the 2000-2500 range and carbs were probably 50% of the overall diet, if not more. I’m 30 Years Old, 6’ Tall, and weighed just over 200lbs at the beginning of the challenge. I had ACL reconstruction in September of last year from an injury I suffered at OCS. So for most of last year my activity level consisted of upper body weight exercises (pull-ups, pushups, etc..), spinning, physical therapy 3x each week, and some basic globo gym style lifting. I probably worked out 4x each week in addition to PT. Toward the beginning of the year I was able to get back on the road and run, much to my delight.

Goals:
- Feel better, have energy.
- Lose fat, hold on to or increase lean mass
- Return to OCS in better shape than I was last time (To me that includes maxing the USMC PFT, Improving balance, coordination, jumping (explosive movement), and basically being able to mount any obstacle in a single bound.. with weight)
- My wife and I “enjoy” distance running, so I want to perform well on our races (full and half this year) and training runs.
- In my younger years I weighed in excess of 300lbs, so if I’m honest with myself I’d like to see what I look / feel like in a proper athletic build.

Nutrition:
I tracked my calories, protein, fat, and carbohydrates for the month. First I did this on my rite in the rain but have now moved to fitday.com. Earlier in the month I thought I was meeting my 2,400 calorie goal each day, but upon closer inspection realized my “handful” of nuts and “dab” of olive oil put me closer to 2,800-3,000. I corrected that, saw some weight loss, and since have reduced it to 2,200 in an effort to move things along a little faster.

- A typical day of eating is:
Breakfast: 2 Eggs, 1-2 Pieces Thick Bacon, 50g of zero carb protein. (split by my morning workout)
Snack: 30g Almonds, 1oz Carlson’s Fish Oil
Lunch: Salad with 6oz roasted chicken, olive oil and vinegar dressing, avocado
Snack: Hard Boiled Eggs (2), Apple
Dinner: 6-10 oz venison (or other lean meat) and a dark leafy green of some sort (or a turnip or sweet potato)



Activity:
I started working out at our local affiliate about 4 weeks ago. I do morning workouts 3x each week and enjoy each one and am always excited for the next. I run 3-4 times each week, usually a fast 3 mile, tempo 4-5 mile, our weekly long run, and a random trail run, usually of shorter distance. I also do daily pull-up matrix during the week.

Sleep:
Before it was 6-7 hours and I always work up in the middle of the night. My wife and I blacked out our room, unplugged everything (except the alarm clock) and my sleep has improved. I’ll usually get 7-8 hours a night, though I don’t always wake up feeling rested.

How Do You Feel:
Before the diet I was always tired. Immediately after starting paleo I felt even more sluggish and my performance and strength dropped. I had no energy. Slowly though it got better and my strength returned. I’d say right now its par with where it was pre-paleo. I have energy throughout the day, however (no surprise) my recent restriction in calories has at least momentarily lead to some sleepy moments.

32 Day Results:
Before the challenge I was 200lbs, 149.5lbs lean mass (25% BF)
After the Challenge I was 196lbs, 150.5lbs lean mass (23% BF). So I lost just over 5lbs of fat and gained a lb of lean mass. Other than always wanting more weight loss, I’m very happy with this result especially if I can keep it up for a month or two.

Thoughts / Questions on Paleo:
Overall, the best thing about the diet is the quality of food I enjoy. I do miss things like pizza, chocolate milk (or milk in general), and beer (!!!). But, roasting your own chicken, making your own bacon, and stuffing down a lot of leafy greens is fun, and leaves me full without a bloated feeling. I’m happy with these results but have a few questions:
- From reading the posts, Do I understand correctly that my performance (run, lifts, etc..) will continue to stagnate/moderately improve until I eat near my TDEE?
- I’ve never had a “sweet tooth” but how do people here on paleo handle sugar cravings? 85% dark chocolate? Artificial sweeteners?
- I’ve been maintaining a level of carbohydrates at or near 50g each day or about 10% of my overall diet. Would the addition of more tubers help give me an extra boost throughout the day? Any other foods like that that folks recommend? Mainly we eat sweet potatoes, turnips, and rutabaga.
- I haven’t cheated once this month usually don’t have the desire if other foods are available, but do others have a rule on the occasional cheat meal?

Any comments or insight is appreciated. Thanks for all the posts people have put up in the last month, they’ve been a huge source of information for this forum lurker!
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:28 AM   #2
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: 32-Day Paleo Challange Recap and Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zane Jones View Post
- From reading the posts, Do I understand correctly that my performance (run, lifts, etc..) will continue to stagnate/moderately improve until I eat near my TDEE?
Yes. For comparison, see this thread:
http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=65940 (WFS)

Katherine
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:31 AM   #3
Rebecca Roth
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Re: 32-Day Paleo Challange Recap and Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zane Jones View Post
- I’ve never had a “sweet tooth” but how do people here on paleo handle sugar cravings? 85% dark chocolate? Artificial sweeteners?
NO. Bad! Hehe, not really, but you are responding to your body throwing a fit by giving it a quick and dirty source of energy, which just throws you into a loop of sugar cravings/crashes potentially. Respond to sugar cravings by eating fats, not sugars. If you want to periodically have chocolate, go for it, but do it for the enjoyment of the thing not in response to a craving.
Artificial sweeteners are always a no-no, the point of them is to be low in calories so they taste sweet without actually containing any nutrients (hence why they are NON-Nutritive Sweeteners). So you are basically cuing your body "I just gave you a big shot of calories" without actually doing so, not good. Eat real sugar/honey/fruit before going to artificial sweeteners.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zane Jones View Post
- I’ve been maintaining a level of carbohydrates at or near 50g each day or about 10% of my overall diet. Would the addition of more tubers help give me an extra boost throughout the day? Any other foods like that that folks recommend? Mainly we eat sweet potatoes, turnips, and rutabaga.
Again, add some occasional fruit, any tubers you can find, squashes. spaghetti squash & meatballs is a great meal for instance. While being paleo certainly puts you on a lowER carb diet than the average American, don't feel like you have to be ultra-restrictive of your carbs, they do serve a purpose to your body, and yea MOST people can't run on <50g of carb without feeling somewhat foggy or run down, but it varies, personally I had almost no change in how I was feeling while doing so and it was just a lot of effort to track.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zane Jones View Post
- I haven’t cheated once this month usually don’t have the desire if other foods are available, but do others have a rule on the occasional cheat meal?
Some people do, some don't. Personally, I did almost 6 months completely strict (with one week semi-off due to vacation) before I added a weekly cheat meal. Some people do a full cheat DAY each week. Some only cheat for special circumstances.
I follow the Whole9 school of thought that recommends simply being a reasonable person with common sense:
-for some people there are serious mental responses to a cheat meal. This may go either way, a cheat could leave you feeling like you are spinning out of control, or it could let you feel a little more free from being constrained to your strict diet.
-If you can't cheat without derailing your diet, its probably not worth it
-In social situations it is sometimes appropriate to allow for cheats, however you should never feel obligated or required to cheat just because you are in a social situation.

Over all though the term cheat is a poor one, you aren't really on "The Paleo Diet", you are on The Zane Diet. The Zane Diet is just whatever you eat, whether those choices are good or poor nutrition is totally up to you, The Zane Diet may allow for Milk or all dairy because you don't find it is an irritant, or it may not, but that is going to be solely up to you how your personal response is to certain foods and whether or not it is worth it to you.
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:54 PM   #4
Doug Blankenship
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Re: 32-Day Paleo Challange Recap and Questions

Whenever I used to have a sweet craving I would eat a larabar and drink some water.

It's simple and usually does the trick.
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:01 PM   #5
Rebecca Roth
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Re: 32-Day Paleo Challange Recap and Questions

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Originally Posted by Doug Blankenship View Post
Whenever I used to have a sweet craving I would eat a larabar and drink some water.

It's simple and usually does the trick.
Thats a terrible idea, Lara bars are made mostly from Dates, which is pure carbohydrate/sugar. While a great and paleo "safe" snack, it again falls into the trap of responding to the craving by feeding it something that is just going to result in being burned through quickly, a crash and another craving unless you eat something additional to stop it anyway.
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:02 AM   #6
Zane Jones
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Re: 32-Day Paleo Challange Recap and Questions

Thanks everyone for the advice!
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Old 03-26-2011, 12:36 AM   #7
Doug Blankenship
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Re: 32-Day Paleo Challange Recap and Questions

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Originally Posted by Rebecca Roth View Post
Thats a terrible idea, Lara bars are made mostly from Dates, which is pure carbohydrate/sugar. While a great and paleo "safe" snack, it again falls into the trap of responding to the craving by feeding it something that is just going to result in being burned through quickly, a crash and another craving unless you eat something additional to stop it anyway.
Yeah, its terrible that's why it worked perfectly for me on weight loss. Also, it hasn't done anything negative to me in terms of performance in my workouts. Not everyone responds the same way to everything, I never have cravings.
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:45 AM   #8
Zane Jones
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Re: 32-Day Paleo Challange Recap and Questions

Just Updating with Cholesterol Changes.

Before Starting the Paleo / Low-Carb Diet - Feb 2011
Total: 184
HDL: 43
LDL: 117
Tri: 121

After 4 months of Paleo / Low-Carb - June 2011
Total: 225
HDL: 71
LDL: 142
Tri: 61

My liver enzymes AST / ALT were a bit high/borderline so we're going to have this re-tested in a few weeks. I don't have anything to compare to, so i'm not sure if it's gone up or down. Anyone have experience with AST/ALT numbers under at Low Carb / Paleo diet? Could this be elevated due to the an abnormally high number of cocktails consumed at graduation parties the days before?

Doc did mention the LDL was "higher" but said we could have the sizes tested after I mentioned it.
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Old 06-14-2011, 11:42 AM   #9
Dave Tate
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Re: 32-Day Paleo Challange Recap and Questions

I had very similar results as far as the huge boost in HDL and total cholesterol. My LDL didn't go up as much as yours but your Triglycerides are lower than mine. I don't recall anything out of the ordinary with the AST/ALT numbers but I only drink 1-2 times per month. My BUN numbers were pretty high but I do get a lot of protein in my diet. Right now I'm consuming roughly 175g of protein per day.
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