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.

1 comment:

Richard Nikoley said...

Without experience with any of those things all I could encourage is that I can't see how a paleo diet could hurt and most likely it will help.