30-day Paleo Challenge

30-day Paleo Challenge

 

Week 1 – August 5

I am going to do something drastic for the next 30 days (together with June) and use this blog and audience to hold me accountable. Who knows, maybe we’ll learn something together.  

This whole paleo diet is all the rage amongst folks these days. What is it?  In a nutshell, you try to eat like our caveman ancestors did – no wheat, no rice, no potatoes, no sugars and no processed foods.  You end up consuming lots of meat, vegetables and some fruits as well. 

Personally, my diet is probably not that much different already – as I don’t really consume much sugar and have cut down on my intake of grain-based carbs as well. But I probably still do eat a fair amount of processed food, including the granola I eat for breakfast every morning and the protein bars that help me get through the day. 

Day 1
Day 1

For the next 30 days, I am going to cut out absolutely all grains and sugars to see what and if any impact that will have on my body. I will weigh myself on a weekly basis, including both my weight and body fat. I’ll also share a weekly picture and how I feel energy-wise. I won’t change my exercise habits (Crossfit 3x per week, plus another 2-3 days of fun activities such as biking, running or climbing), other than my nutrition so this dietary change should be the sole cause of any impact that might occur.  

I will keep track of every bit of food I consume, my sleep habits and all activities throughout this next month. If this works and you’re interested, I’ll gladly share the complete log with you.  June is going to do the same thing, so if you think her results will be more relevant, I’ll gladly put you in touch. 

I already consider myself to be in pretty good shape and don’t believe that I need to lose weight or anything like that.  However, I am curious to see if I am able to cut my body fat percentage and how this will impact my energy levels. Hopefully this will lead to a few insights that will help me be healthier in the future. 

Just fyi, I will have one complete cheat day every week (where I eat and drink whatever I want) and will allow myself to drink a glass of wine or two (no more) at night. 

So, here is my day 1 picture, weight and body fat.  

  • 156 pounds
  • 17.8% body fat

Week 2 – August 12 

The Body Fat Mystery and no cheat days needed 

Ok, we’re now one way into this paleo challenge and it’s a lot easier than initially expected. It has actually been a lot of fun to do this with June, as we’re constantly trying to come up with different things we can make together. I am not sure what happened to my girlfriend but she has gone from wanting nothing to do with being anywhere near a kitchen to becoming a paleo baking and cooking machine. I am not sure if I’ve ever eaten better/richer than in the last week – chocolate coconut waffles, burgers with homemade sweet potato fries, crockpot carnitas and taco salad have replaced sandwiches and pasta. It has been awesome, and so far there has been no need for a cheat day. I do drink a couple of glasses of wine at night sometimes which doesn’t seem to have any kind of negative impact on my progress. 

How about progress?  

First of all, and I don’t understand this, but my body fat dropped by about 5% two days into this diet. In a way I absolutely know that can’t be true. Then again, I also have been measuring my body fat for the better part of a year and why would my Aria scale all the sudden be right or wrong?   

Anyhow, in addition to a significant decrease in body fat, I also seem to have lost three pounds of body weight last week. My guess is that I won’t lose anymore weight (which isn’t the goal at all) but I wouldn’t be surprised if I drop another percent or two of body fat throughout this. 

Day 8
Day 8

In terms of energy, I feel amazing. By not really eating a lot of carbs, I don’t have energy spikes or drops. It’s pretty much a constant. Also, I am not hungry at all. I am snacking all day long on coconut chocolate waffles, almonds and beef jerky. Then I have 2-3 meals in addition to that, where I eat as much as I want to. And then some. The weird thing about this nutrition is that you really never feel too full, bloated or bad about what you ate. I’ll consume a 1,000 calorie paleo meal and an hour later, I feel like I can go on a run. Maybe I’ll test that.  Also, I stopped keeping a detailed log of what I eat – too complicated. The one thing about this lifestyle is that you need to take a little bit of time every day to prepare your food. They don’t have a whole lot of paleo stuff in vending machines. 

 

Exercise wise, I did Crossfit three times last week, and went on a pretty gnarly bike ride with June. I took three days off from exercise last week, which means I exercised less than I normally do. 

Here are my stats for the week.  

  • 153 pounds
  • 12% body fat

Like I said, I really don’t expect to lose any more weight over the coming weeks – maybe a bit more body fat. I have a hard time telling a difference in this picture compared to my first one. But I do feel a bit leaner. Heck, I feel great. 

June is definitely getting leaner and she feels great, which is the most important.  The girl likes candy which she cut out 100%. I am really proud of her.  This is a lot easier and more fun to do with someone else. 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me. This is pretty cool and I am quite surprised by how much I like it.  

Week 3 – August 19

Paleo is for real. 

Ok, we now two full weeks into this paleo lifestyle is for real. For one, it’s really easy. Every day, we’re eating great meals. June is cooking and baking up a storm, which she wants absolutely noboby to know. 

I am still drinking coffee, wine and am eating more chocolate waffles than ever before. June really cracked the code on those. A couple of nights ago, we even baked our own rolls with tapioca flour. I am developing an addiction to homemade sweet potato fries. Actually, I am addicted to sweet potato fries – who am I kidding.  

  I am pretty sure I am consuming more calories now than I did before. Yet, my body fat keeps dropping and I do have significantly more energy than I did before – both mentally and physically.

I think at this point, my weight is going to stabilize which is a good thing. I might drop another percent or two in body fat but even that seems unnecessary. 

Day 14
Day 14

According to my Fitbit, here are my measurements:  

  • 153.7 pounds
  • 9.3% body fat

I don’t really trust those body fat measurements, so I had a second test done (with calipers, also not scientific) and according to those my body fat is 6.8%. Either way, I’ve been losing some body fat throughout this process and feel great. I am baffled why my body is reacting so favorably, just because I replaced regular flour with almond/coconut or tapioca flour but it seems to. I can tell a difference between the first picture and the second, but not between the second and the third. 

Either way, this is fun and not hard.

 

Week 4 – August 25

The menstruation post. 

Ok, we just completed week three of this paleo challenge and I probably should stop calling it a challenge. This is not hard, at all. We still haven’t had a cheat day and I am pretty certain that we’ll just continue to eat this way past this so called challenge. It really helps to allow certain vices (wine, dark chocolate, milk in my coffee) because I am not really missing anything.  

Day 21
Day 21

My energy levels continue to be high and I feel super healthy. I think my body composition is going to just remain constant now. My body fat is staying under 10% but I really don’t foresee any further changes. Truth be told, I can’t tell a difference between most of those pics but that’s just me.   I do seem to be getting stronger in the gym. 

Weight wise, here is where I am at.  

  • 154.1  pounds
  • 8.8% body fat

An update about June. She feels great.  She claims that her abs are flatter but her abs were flat before too. One surprise (literally) has been that this whole paleo business seems to have eradicated all that unpleasant stuff that usually comes with her period. No PMS, no cramps and no bloatedness. 

Ok, I can’t believe I just wrote that. 

I should probably stop now.  

I’ll stop now.  

 

September 2 

The end.  

Ok, this challenge is officially over now. No more cramping abs from flexing so hard while taking shirtless pictures of myself.  

The end
The end

Here is my final weigh-in.  

  • 153.1 pounds
  • 9.1% body fat

A few thoughts. 

This was way easier than expected. Actually, not only did I eat more in the last month but it also tasted better. Honestly, I don’t feel like I ate that healthy. I’ve been eating tons of baked chocolate goods and had an inordinate number of dinners in the past weeks – and the wine that came with it. So, there was no suffering in this. 

I really wasn’t expecting my weight to fluctuate but am happy to get my body fat consistently under 10%. Considering that I am just an average former athlete in his 30s, that seems to be a good and sustainable weight/ body fat composition. 

My energy levels have definitely increased – in all aspects of life. No more post-lunch crashes and I seem to be getting stronger athletically. 

The best part about this journey has definitely been to be able to do this with June. She has turned out to be a (sudden) magician in the kitchen and it just has been fun to be able to have a common goal like this. We’ve been cooking together 4-5 times per week, which I’ve definitely cherished. This wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without her. If you’re going to do this, I strongly recommend a paleo buddy – just not mine. Oh, one other benefit that June just shared is that her skin seems to be clearing up significantly. I don’t know what “foundation” make-up means but apparently she doesn’t need it anymore. 

What’s next for us in terms of nutrition?  

We’ll just keep going.  

Good luck to everyone who is giving this a shot. Email me if you have any questions. 

Here is to chocolate waffles and sweet potatoes.  And June, the master paleo baker. 

-Mario

Awesome paleo meals

Below is some of the stuff we’ve been eating. I’ll keep uploading to that gallery over the next three weeks.