Friday, June 11, 2010

Ribs, Jack Daniel's Sauce, and Coleslaw

Last night, I tried Richard Nikoley's technique for cooking baby back ribs. Instead of The Salt Lick dry rub (which is reportedly hot), my wife put on Emeril's Essence and some Italian seasonings. They turned out wonderful, but they were falling apart when I took them out of the oven. We cooked them for 4:15, which was much too long. I didn't get to cook them on the grill the way Richard did. Instead, I put foil on my charcoal grill, and put the motley assemblage of parts on the foil. Not ideal, but they did get some smoky flavor (mesquite infused charcoal briquettes). Next time, I'll take them out of the oven after 3 hours or so.

I wanted to try the Son of Grok's BBQ sauce, but my wife was anxious to try a recipe for Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce. She substituted some organic natural cane sugar for the brown sugar. She only had 1 1/4 cups of ketchup left, so she added in some tomato sauce. She used 3/4 cup whiskey. I can't recall ever having a better BBQ sauce. Still, it's way too much sugar to be healthy.

For sides, she baked some frozen sweet potato fries (a handful for each of us), and made a coleslaw. Her recipe for the coleslaw was a modification of a cranberry coleslaw from a cook book:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise dressing
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
  • 5 cups coleslaw mix with carrots
  1. For dressing, in a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, honey and vinegar. Stir in grapes.
  2. In a large bowl pour dressing over cabbage; toss to combine. Cover and chill up to 45 minutes.

It was a wonderful meal, despite the difficulties with the ribs being too soft.

My dogs loved licking the foil clean and munching on the cartilage.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lilly: Paleo Dog

Our youngest and smallest mutt, Lilly, is a toy Dachshund mix. At 2 years old, she's about 6" 9" at the shoulders and 14 lbs.. When we got her at 6 weeks, she had typical Dachshund ears, hanging straight down.
A few weeks later...BOING! Her father's breed is unknown, but clearly he passed on those ridiculous ears to her. We suspect it's a Corgi trait.

As a pup, Lilly was ferocious and nearly unmanageable. Luckily, as she's matured, she's become more well-behaved, with a typically sweet, affectionate Dachshund personality. She simply waddles up to people, collapses against them to expose her stomach, and looks up plaintively in anticipation of a tummy scratch—which she almost always gets.

She loves to play fight with our other dogs, Sandy and Moxie. Sandy is a Chihuahua mix, much taller than Lilly, but lighter and less muscular. She tries to play the alpha bitch role with Lilly, which only works part of the time. Sandy's aggression works until there's food, and then Lilly's stout body works to her advantage—she just stands there and eats as she pleases, no matter how much Sandy tries to intimidate her. When it comes to playing tug-o-war, only Moxie, our Lab-Dalmatian mix, can keep up with Lilly. He's five or six times her size and gentle enough not to hurt her.

All three dogs have worked as a pack to catch and eat critters in the back yard. A dozen or more times, they've come in reeking of a dead animal, probably when they roll around on it. (Guess who gets to bathe them?) We've found parts of a baby opossum and a large rat. I found a rodent's nest on the back porch after I saw the little ones hunting in that area. But what makes Lilly my little Paleo Dog is her penchant for grub worms. My yard looks like I have gophers because she digs holes all over the place to get to her succulent treat.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Seeking Advice

I'm seeking advice on getting a loved one into the Paleo lifestyle. After seeing my experiences with and without using a evolutionary fitness approach (Paleo food, Intermittent Fasting(IF), plus strength and sprint exercises in fasted state), as well as seeing some inspirational videos like this and this, she has decided she wants to try it. She would like to lose several tens of pounds she has gained in the last decade or so. She was extremely thin up into her 30s.

However, she has a number of health problems, most of which predated her weight gain by several years. I'm looking for advice from people who have any first-hand experience or informed advice about the kinds of exercises she could try, and what to avoid. While we would appreciate words of encouragement from anyone, if you don't have training or specific relevant experience with these problems, please refrain from guessing what might work. Having done the paleo diet, IF, and resistance training exercise, I have plenty of advice myself, but I know that she can't do many of the things I do or the types of exercises I've found in articles and videos in the Paleosphere.

She does plan to consult with a physician, but (1) most doctors' advice is either too little or just flat wrong (e.g., SAD diet with low-fat, "heart-healthy" whole grains) and (2) it always helps to have options or a plan to present to the doctor when you walk in, rather than making an open-ended request.

I realize that many health problems can be related to poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, stress, and other factors we can control. It's obvious to us what negatives to avoid. Many years ago, she used a Callanetics workout tape (VHS). She has also done a program of walking several times a week. These did help, but we're looking for additional options which may be more effective (or a good addition to walking, for example). Some things we've considered: aquatic aerobic classes (reduced strain) and a moderate circuit training program (like Curves). But these may be too difficult or not very effective.

Her health problems must be considered. She has:

  • mitral valve prolapse, for which she takes heart medicine (when she was first diagnosed >15 years ago, the doctor warned her not to do intense exercises like a stair master as that would be too much of a strain on her heart. Currently, she has problems with dizziness when she stands up, which seems to be heart related. After about a minute, the dizziness fades, though. Doctors haven't been all that helpful, beyond prescribing the medicine to treat the MVP.
  • back problems, including C-shaped scoliosis and chronic back and neck pain. Much of this may be a result of a car accident when she was about 20.
  • non-diabetic peripheral neuropathy, optic neuritis, and some other nerve problems which neurologists have been unable to figure out.
  • plantar fasciitis, which was so bad several years ago she had to walk with a cane. Doctors treated it by taping up her feet for months, which solved the problem at the time. She still has occasional problems with it though, and it may need to be treated again if it gets worse. (Wearing a foot brace at night and rolling the foot over a can does help.)
  • constant muscle pain in her arms and legs. Doctors have diagnosed her with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. I realize these diagnoses are controversial for some, but rather than debating them, just bear in mind that she will need extra time to recover from exercising.
  • asthma, for which she takes medication (but has not needed to use an inhaler but a few times several years ago).
  • ex-smoker (quit 6 years ago).

If anyone has any helpful hints, thank you in advance.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Three Weeks

A little more than three weeks in and I still feel much better than before I resumed the Paleo fitness program. I hit a plateau this week as I lapsed in the fasting and exercise schedule, ate too many calories (nervous eating when I wasn't actually hungry), and perhaps ate too much fruit.

Exercise: I had planned to get more exercise doing yard work. However, we got some rain and I kept telling myself I'd do the work the next day. Things still haven't dried out, so I decided to get off my lazy butt and do a workout inside. I didn't fast until yesterday, when I skipped lunch. After that I used my son's new exercise equipment, a Gold's Gym short series resistance tube kit. (Here is the long series one, which is similar.) I got about 25 minutes into the DVD. Once I hit the squat thrust section, I called it a day. Yeah, I got wimpy not exercising for a year. The good thing is that I have almost no soreness today. I'll have to step it up next time.

I also have an Iron Gym workout bar that fits in the door frame for pull-ups, a couple kettle bells (4kg and 8kg), a lunge bar, and a big Labrador Retriever who loves to play tug-of-war, for working out at home.

Fasting: I only fasted once the past week, and only skipping one meal. Sometimes it's hard to synchronize meal planning with the family, grocery shopping, and fasting. I hate wasting good food by letting leftovers or uncooked food stay in the refrigerator too long*. I'm going to have to apply some scheduling and planning discipline to get back into the rhythm.

Food: I'm about 95% sticking to the Lacto-Paleo set of foods. However, the amount I'm eating is too much and unbalanced (too much fruit, which I eat to satisfy cravings for sweets).

Cheats: I tried hummus for the first time. Twice I ate it on crackers. I had a little bleu cheese dressing which was mostly soybean oil. Maybe a few small squares of chocolate. Not too bad.

I dipped down about 4-5 pounds since last week, but immediately went back up. After fasting and exercising yesterday, I went back down this morning. But I'm going to have to push harder (cut back on calories, fast and exercise more often) to speed up the weight loss.

This is a problem for me that I think I've been overlooking. I often get less than six hours a night, which I've read may hinder weight loss and fitness.

* I've learned the hard way not to take chances with leftovers. With the exception of a few things like cured bacon, I throw away anything I cooked more than three days prior—cooked eggs at most two days. I more readily toss out jars and cans past their expiration date. I once got violently ill from some sauerkraut because some of the cabbage was above the top of the liquid for days or weeks, giving it time to grow something nasty.

Furniture Slider Ab Workout



What do you call a diet which is limited to Paleolithic foods our ancestors ate, adding back in whole dairy products?

I was trying to come up with a name for such food choices. Previously, I'd made an impromptu, but detailed outline of my own Paleo-inspired menu. But try explaining that to someone in a sentence or two. It was no surprise that when "lacto-paleo" popped into the old gulliver that google found over 1,000 hits. It's just too obvious.

From one of the links comes Mark Sisson's* The Definitive Guide to Dairy, in which he offers detailed information (did you know there were A1 cows and A2 cows, with different characteristic caseins?). To help readers determine if dairy fits their goals, he sensibly suggests eliminating all dairy for a month to see how you feel. After that, resume using dairy and contrast your health symptoms. Personally, I'm not ready to try the dairy cessation experiment just yet.

Blue's Paleo Page and Blue's Diet Page provide a sensible framework for a Lacto-Paleo diet. She has some interesting facts about "New World foods" (squash, cucumbers) and Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers). I love those foods (but will avoid potatoes now until I lose lots of pounds).

The Paleo Diet Defined is chock full of information (some of which I question), and provides a link to PāNu, described as lacto-paleo (even though the Get Started page says, "12. Eliminate all remaining dairy including cheese- (now you are 'Orthodox paleolithic')." I haven't read too much of PāNu, but it looks promising.

* Mark's Daily Apple is one of the most informative Paleo/Primal/Evolutionary fitness websites I've found, so far. His website is well organized, but a few articles I'd pick out for an intro are: this, this, this, and this.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Highs and Lows

Earlier this week, I wrote about my progress two weeks on, including the yard work I'd started. My overall energy has been a major improvement, since I've eaten mostly whole foods and avoided non-Paleo ingredients (except non-skim dairy). I haven't had the post-meal slump or the bloated feeling (typical of processed carbohydrates and too many calories). But I've been having a few off days, which I think are mostly due to my sudden increase in activity level, as well as sleep deficit.

Not having had much intense exercise for about a year, I'm finding it a bit harder to recuperate. When I'd been exercising twice a week for several months, I had little more than mild muscle soreness the following day (maybe a bit worse when I added new types of exercises hitting different muscle groups). Being over 40 makes it even more difficult. Despite having added a lot of fat over a year, I'm still benefiting from the workouts I did before my lapse. I feel just fine when I'm hard at work pulling weeds and lugging around my new toy. I filled up my 5 cu. ft. wheelbarrow about 3.5 times with the weeds I stooped over to pull or gathered up with a metal rake. My Ryobi power head is only 10 lbs., plus the weight of the attachments. However, my yard was seriously overgrown and I was having trouble getting the hang of trimming and edging precisely, especially since it provides much more power than I'm used to with electrical trimmers. So it probably took me twice as long as it should have. I definitely felt the effects in my forearms and hamstrings.

It didn't help that after eating the Sausage and Cabbage Stew for dinner one night and lunch the next day that I had intestinal trouble and felt like I'd been kicked in the gut by a horse for almost a full day. My wife had similar problems. We don't know if it was because the cabbage was overcooked or if the Herbs de Provence (which we had never used before) had some ingredient, like lavender, which triggered a reaction. I had cooked a basic version of the stew (just a few spices) a half dozen or more times since I got the recipe from Richard Nikoley's Free the Animal website. I never had any digestive trouble before. Then again, our trouble could have come from a totally unrelated source. The good thing was, I ate very little food once I did get sick and by evening the next day I was feeling great again.

I purposely work in a fasted state and I suspect that's a big part of why I feel great at the time. Now, when I go into ketosis from fasting (or cutting way down on all carbs), I embrace the feeling. Before doing Paleo with Intermittent Fasting (IF), I would get a panicky feeling after not eating for too long and fell for the "low blood sugar" myth that going too long without food was harmful to my health. Also, I would drink "sports drinks" during exercise and eat "power bars" (might as well be candy bars). As nearly all Paleo Diet or Evolutionary Fitness websites will explain, it makes no sense that human beings must have a rigid, 3-meal-a-day schedule to be healthy, or to fuel up before a workout. Our ancestors fished, hunted, and gathered what was available. When they ate varied due to chance and circumstances, as well as according to the seasons. They had no artificial refrigeration, grain silos, or oast houses. They went hungry until they found their next food sources. So, not only did they not drop dead from hypoglycemia, but the most work they did, the greatest physical effort, was done when they had gone without, perhaps for days.

Not only do I understand this intellectually, but my body feels quite comfortable with throwing out the modern notion of breakfast, lunch, and dinner at scheduled hours. I'm still working on being more attentive to my hunger as I do eat when I'm not hungry sometimes. I know part of that is habitual, "nervous" eating. Junk food, such as processed carbohydrates, do have an addictive quality, which certainly contributes to habitual eating, even when not hungry. But sometimes, I get excited about a particularly tasty meal and can't wait until I'm actually hungry. One of the things about cooking from scratch most of the time and having improved my cooking skills is that I really enjoy most of what I fix. Luckily, these temptations aren't too much of an obstacle.

Another bad habit I need to break is staying up late and getting less than eight hours of sleep (sometimes as little as four or five hours). As I've increased my activity, I should be getting more sleep to help recuperate. When I do get more than eight hours on a night after exertion, I recover much better. When I don't, I have a greater chance of feeling sick, or just taking longer to feel normal again.

Dieticians Wrong About Fat, Ignore Processed Carbohydrates

Anyone who has been reading about honest nutritional science will not lift an eyebrow when Radley Balko says, "What do you know, the experts may have been wrong again..." to blame saturated fat for cardiovascular disease:

Ultimately, saturated fat...may be neutral for the heart. Meanwhile, some mono-unsaturated fats...and some poly-unsaturated fats...could be good for the heart.


If saturated fat doesn't adversely affect cardiovascular health, what does? Sorry, Nabisco: We should be giving a closer look to foods with a high glycemic index—a measure that reflects a food's influence on blood sugar levels, based on how quickly it is digested and absorbed. Typically, that means carbohydrates like cereal, bread, chips, and cookies.

In a 2000 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Harvard researchers...found that the quintile of women who ate food with the highest glycemic load—a measure that incorporates portion size—had twice the risk of developing heart disease than the quintile who ate food with the lowest glycemic load. A 2008 meta-analysis of 37 studies reported a significant association between intake of high glycemic index foods and increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, gallbladder disease, and breast cancer.
Read the full article for more details.

Meanwhile, CNN stupidly ignores the role of sugars in an article titled Fatty foods may cause cocaine-like addiction. Ironically, they call processed food "purified" and "evolve[d]" when comparing its addictive qualities to "evolved" drugs like cocaine (as compared to coca leaves).

Look at the ingredients on your box of "low-fat" whole-grain packaged food. You'll see dozens of laboratory chemicals and industrially mutilated plant byproducts. How is that more pure than a grass-fed rib-eye steak? Or a serving of vegetables, nuts, or fruit you buy in their whole, unadulterated form and prepare yourself? And, how can they use the word "evolved" without remembering how the human metabolism evolved almost entirely before agriculture (and definitely before industrial junk food and sedentary TV/Internet lifestyles)?

Eat like our paleo ancestors did, whole foods including fatty meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, and fruit. Skip the packaged stuff. Stay active as much as possible, but don't engage in unnatural aerobic or "cardio" workouts (animals don't run on treadmills--they walk around all the time and occasionally sprint).

Mark Sisson gives the lowdown on sugar, how it is so destructive to our health. And still, the "common wisdom" is that fat is the evil.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sausage and Cabbage Stew

I've been cooking Richard Nikoley's comfort food, a stew with cabbage and sausage since I first saw his recipe. It's a favorite at our household. This time, my wife did the cooking. The results were great. Here is her recipe:

  • 1 pork/venison smoked sausage link (any kind of sausage meat will work), U shaped, cut diagonally into1" long and 1/4" thick wedges

  • 1 head of green cabbage, diced into 1" to 2" pieces

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced to 1/2" pieces

  • 5 fresh medium sized tomatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes

  • 1 Calabaza Squash, cut into 1" triangle shaped cubes

  • 2 cups of water

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 1/3 of a piece of fresh 2" long ginger, minced

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence

  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander

  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/4 tsp ground curry

  • About 10 fresh Rosemary leaves, pinched into tiny pieces

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp salt

Put the coconut oil and olive oil into the dutch oven on the stove. Turn stove to low-medium heat. Add the spices/ herbs (minus the rosemary leaves, pepper and salt) and marry them for a couple minutes, stirring frequently so they don't burn. Add all the cut up veggies, meat, rosemary, salt, pepper and water. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and put lid on and cook for about 20 minutes or so. You want the cabbage to have a little crunch to it. I measured out the Herbs de Provence but all the other spice amounts I used in this recipe are approximate, as I didn't measure them. So you can adjust according to your own liking. You can even add more fresh ginger or add in Tabasco sauce if you want it hotter.

*The Calabaza squash is a Mexican/South American/Carribean squash that is similar to Zucchini Squash in size and color but has a lighter fresher taste to it. You can usually find it in the store right next to the Zucchini. Get the ones that are green and are about 6 - 8 inches long and as big around as an average zucchini. Some stores sell them when they get really big around like a cantaloupe, but don't use that size. It is sometimes also called Calabash. If you can't find it, you can use any kind of squash you want. : )

Monday, April 12, 2010

Two Weeks

About two weeks in and I feel much better. My energy is much greater and more consistent (the post-meal drugged feeling is going away). My "fat pants" are starting to get loose again. I can feel my muscles "coming alive" a little bit. I don't have that bloated, swollen feeling all the time.

Exercise: I've done some work and heavy lifting in my yard and house (it's amazing how things get overgrown and cluttered when I get fat and lazy). Overall, I have been moving around a little bit more, too. Due to my schedule and the list of things to do for work and around the house (yard work and cleaning, once again), I haven't scheduled time for formal workouts. I'm planning on starting that within a week or two. There are about three more days of weeding, leaf mulching, pruning, and trimming to do this week, so I'll have plenty to keep me busy. While I do plan to start doing 2 intense workouts per week, like I did before, I'm more concerned with diet these past two weeks, ending my seemingly addictive consumption of junk food.

Fasting: I've fasted a few times for slightly less than 24 hours. The last time was before and during the yard work I did for several hours Sunday. Working in a fasted state makes me feel like I did last time I did the Paleo diet. Like riding a bike, my body quickly adapted to the change, without any negative feeling this time.

Food: I'm about 85-90% sticking to the diet I plan to make permanent. I have been able to resist the junk, with increasing ease. I estimate I'm eating about 70-80% Paleo (if you exclude dairy from what you consider Paleo). I plan to keep dairy in my diet, which probably accounts for about 10-15% of my calories now. I've been eating some legumes (pinto beans, chick-peas, and a few peanuts), which have some negative nutritional content, but I plan to eat those only occasionally.

I would like to have only strictly organic foods, but I don't yet know of any stores which carry meat or dried fruit which are completely unpolluted. The sausage, bacon, and dried fruit I eat do have nitrites/preservatives. The beef & eggs are not grass fed/free range (I'm guessing).

Cheats: My "cheats" have included a few tortilla chips (with pinto beans I cooked and guacamole I mixed), movie popcorn, a few breadcrumbs my wife put in a meatloaf, some rice and beans at a Mexican Restaurant while travelling, and 85% cocoa organic chocolate (which I eat with pecans and dried apricots). I plan to make the Green & Black's chocolate my consistent, occasional cheat.

Weight: I'm down to 230 lbs.. My morning weight two weeks ago was 235. I did weigh myself once in the evening (so it's "unofficial") and saw an eye-popping 240. The older I get, the easier it is to add weight and the harder it is to reverse that. Telling myself that I can lose my weight again, that I'll get back to eating healthy "soon" but putting it off has been very costly.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Getting Back on the Horse

I've been reluctant to write this post for several months. This blog has been untouched for over a year, during which I lapsed. Now, I weigh at least 10-15 pounds more than my former maximum weight. It's horrible and it's my fault. (More here if you want to know my personal background.)

Look at the success stories of people on the paleo/primal/evolutionary/whole food diets, especially those doing Intermittent Fasting (IF). They are strong evidence of what works.

My success doing that diet, and then my failures not doing that diet are also strong evidence of its effectiveness.

Here are the mistakes I made:

  1. Skipping my workouts, from a few less workouts to none in a matter of a couple weeks. That is crucial because exercise helped tremendously to keep me feeling good, full of energy, and less hungry.

  2. Stopping Intermittent Fasting (IF), since workouts go along with that.

  3. Not cooking for myself for all my meals. Sometimes had one or two healthy meals, but started substituting fast food (at first, throwing out the buns on a hamburger, the tortillas for tacos, and such.) Fell into old patterns of just eating fast food as is--maybe not for every meal, all the time, but enough to sabotage the meals that were healthier.

  4. Indulging in junk food snacks for dessert or late-night snack. Big Mistake! Ice cream was my Achilles Heel. Cookies, candy, pastries came soon after. Said screw it, thinking I could give them up any time and go back to sensible eating. (Sounds like an alcoholic or drug addict, huh?)

  5. Fell prey to addiction to junk food. Willpower became less effective, which was maddening. Had stupid pity parties, wallowed in guilt, and tried (ridiculously) to eat my way out of stress. It's a vicious cycle, in which my stupid choices kept making it harder to escape.

The short version: I stopped being active and ate junk.

Excuses excuses: My diet failure is my fault and only I can fix it. Sure, a few things were made worse by external stressors (job security in a time of big cutbacks where I work, frustrating, melodramatic tensions between us and our teenager, a few illnesses and a tonsillectomy). But most of it was directly or indirectly because of my poor choices. At least on a previous diet over a year before I tried paleo+IF, I had one good excuse: medicine I took for a few weeks (unbeknown to me) dramatically increased hunger and that didn't wear off after I stopped taking it. I don't have that excuse this time.

Doing the paleo+IF thing made it much easier to deal with hunger and was actually enjoyable, rather than drudgery.

At this point, I could continue to feel guilty, self-destructive, gluttonous, and pitiful but no amount of excuse making will stop this. I've got to make a change now before it ruins my health (I've already got pre-hypertension).

I've been trying to eat paleo (or paleo-ish) meals the past few days, which could be the start of another round of losing multiple tens of pounds, getting below 200, and feeling physically and mentally better. The next step is to exercise, which is tough to start, but quickly beneficial to curb temptations. Now, this blog ought to be called My Diet 540°, to be more accurate.

I also plan to blog here to record how things are going. If you read this and don't see me posting, please feel free to send me e-mail to ediafono at the gmail dot com address. Any words of encouragement would be more appreciated that you can imagine.

Diet Yo-Yo

This post is mainly for my own benefit. You can skip it unless you're really curious. I'm tired of trying to do math in my head to figure out what years I did what sort of diet and exercise programs.

I have another article in which I try to analyze my diet successes and failures as a part of identifying lessons learned. I've taken the details out of the other article and put them here, which I hope makes the other post more interesting to readers:

Late 70s, early 80s

Jogging a mile or two several times a week. Included sprinting. Usual PE and playground activities at school. Cycling and exploring woods for fun.


Started smoking. Would continue until 2004, though I did quit for months at a time.

Mid-Late 80s

Got lazier and lazier. Ate more and more. My friends and I would have contests to see who could eat the most pizza at a buffet.

Late 80s, early 90s

Cycled occasionally. Lifted weights occasionally. Played racquetball and softball. Too sparse to make much difference.

Early 90s

Ocassionally cycled on trails and steep inclines (upper Hudson valley). Joined weightlifting club for many months. Played racquetball occassionally. Only the weightlifting had an appreciable benefit.

Mid 90s

Drank, smoked more, ate more, did nearly no exercise.

Late 90s

Quit smoking for longer periods (used patches and gum). Joined gym and did aerobic machines and weightlifting machines. Played racquetball. Learned how to swim enough to do laps, so I could swim multiple times a week. Weightlifting, again, had most benefit. Swimming also helped quite a bit. I estimate I lost about 10-25 pounds, but I honestly don't remember the numbers now.

Early-Mid 00s

Smoked, drank, got very little exercise. Ballooned in weight and struggled to do basic activities. Tried Atkins for a couple weeks, but had trouble dealing with hunger.


Struggled with quitting smoking. Succeeded in Mar 2004. Increased hunger, unfortunately.

Feb 2006-Jul 2006

Lost almost 50 lbs. Walked miles most every day. Reduced caloric intake. Avoided sweets and other junk snacks (mostly). Tried (ignorantly) to limit fat. Fasted for short periods of time and felt a bit of a "high" from the ketosis, in a good way.

Aug 2006-Sep 2008

Medicine I took for a few weeks made me super hungry (which I didn't realize until later). Threw me off track. Walked only occasionally, ate more and more junk food. Gained back weight.

Sep 2008-Mar 2009

Paleo/evolutionary/whole food diet with Intermittent Fasting (IF). Lost 45 pounds and felt wonderful. Did not struggle with hunger as with other diets. Felt alive.

Mar 2009-Mar 2010

Tapered off diet. Gained back the 45 pounds, plus 10-15 more. Occasionally tried to restart paleo diet, but resumed no-exercise, unhealthy food lifestyle each time.

Mar 2010-early 2011

Restarted paleo/IF diet again. Lost about 45 pounds again.

early 2011-Apr 2012

Tapered off diet, gained back the weight.

Apr 2012-May 2014

Had several bouts of illness.  Was bedridden a number of time for up to several weeks. Lack of exercise resulted in more weight and loss of stamina.  In Feb 2014, blood tests indicated prediabetes.  Dieted inconsistently.  Lost perhaps five pounds.

Jun 2014

Focused on diet and lost additional 15 pounds.  Mid-month, hemoglobin A1c was in type 2 diabetes range.  Put on medication. Took it for a day and a half, then decided to stop until I could consult doctor about side effects.

Continued with primal diet (with dairy), strictly cutting out gluten. Skip meals occasionally. Portion sizes are getting smaller and I am dealing with hunger much better. Have lost about 25 pounds by the end of the month.