Pondering Paleo

Julie Berg had great success using a largely Paleo Diet to lean out while training for ultra-marathons. Based on her recommendations I recently ordered The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet for Athletes. Given how many problems I have been having with many foods recently, I am considering giving this style of eating a try. The upside is that many people have heard of it and I find that most people are more accepting/supportive to a diet change if it has a name. To say “I stopped eating wheat because it made me feel bad” generates a perplexed look (and the perpetual offer of danish, bagel or pizza) while saying “I’m pondering Paleo” generally creates a dialogue about the pros and cons of that type of eating in a more supportive environment. Frankly, I don’t mind the odd looks but it is easier when people can put the oddity in a box with a name. I found the same thing with my fitness pursuits. In general, the people I know seem to get the idea of training for an event such as a marathon. However, pursuing fitness for its own sake when you are training for nothing in particular (hmm life, a healthy body, etc) creates the confused looked.

Yesterday most of the non-Paleo foods were tucked into a cabinet (rice, grains, legumes). My husband is considering doing this with me. He’s done Atkins in the past so the idea of a meat heavy diet with leaner meats and ample fruits, veggies, and nuts is appealing to him.

I’m planning to use the month of October to gradually ease into Paleo and to revamp my exercise schedule now that the marathon is done. I have a few trips for work this month so it likely will not be possible to be perfectly on plan.

Overall goals: no belly pain, build upper body strength, find my abs again, and lose the extra fat I am carrying.

Current stats: 131.8 lbs and 22.7% body fat (Omron)

Goal stats: 18% body fat. Scale weight less relevant. If I retain my current lean mass this is a loss of 7.55 lbs of fat creating a target weight of 124.25. I’m 5 feet and 6.5 inches tall so this would put my BMI right about 20. This would be a terrific place to be.

Work Out Schedule for October

  • Monday: Off
  • Tuesday: Tempo Run (4-6 miles)
  • Wednesday: Upper Body Work Out (likely BFL format)
  • Thursday: Interval Run (3-5 miles)
  • Friday: Lower Body Work Out & Abs
  • Saturday: Yoga (Baron Baptiste Videos: 30-60 minutes)
  • Sunday: Longer Run (8-12 miles)

Diet Changes

I’ve been generally following a mix of Zone and BFL for food ratios with 6 or 7 smaller meals a day. Many foods are “triggers” for me and create a craving for more of the same, far beyond what my body needs: rice, oats, wheat (when I used to eat it), some fruits, potato, yam, pumpkin, clif bars, anything bread like, basically anything that is either mostly carb or a carb/fat combo. So one advantage to me of going Paleo is that frankly, of these triggers, only fruit is allowed. I’m going into this knowing that I plan to not follow it 100%. For example, every morning I eat oats (1/2 cup dry), whey (1/3 cup) and berries for breakfast. This meal for me is perfect before a long run. Aside from the berries, these foods are utterly not permitted by the strict Paleo diet. There is some advocacy for whey in the Paleo for Athletes book. With respect to nutrient ratios, Paleo looks just about perfect for me. It looks like protein = fat = carb (so 33P:33C:33F) depending on food choices. I know that I feel best if my meals are balanced in this way although I do drop fat a bit more easily with BFL (40P:40C:20F) ratios.

There are many items on the Body for Life food list that are not on the Paleo Food list. The biggest changes for me will be cutting out or down on: brown rice, oats (OK we already know these are staying for meal one), legumes (peanuts, chickpeas, beans), potatoes, yams, salty foods, crystal lite (OK this is staying until I run out), soy based foods, and coffee (hmm, I may try to cut back but it will be staying in some amount).

Exercise Impact

Yesterday I ate largely Paleo (ignoring oats for breakfast & a post workout Clif Builder Bar). I was not hungry at all (this never happens). I did a 10 mile run this AM. This was my fastest 10 miles yet (1 hour 36 minutes, so a 9:40 pace). This was a post-marathon recovery run. My knees, hips and legs felt terrific. I love 10 miles. I was just getting a bit tired at mile 9.5 and then the run was over. Well it was over at least for me. I ran just the first half of a 20 mile marathon training race that I’d signed up for back in July.