Sunday, 20 February 2011

Before: Just how rubbish I feel prior to going primal

I expect that this new way of living is going to dramatically improve my health and fitness and help me lose a lot of weight, so I will outline how I feel and look now, before going primal. Perhaps one day I will pluck up the courage to upload some hideous before photos for your amusement.

I will list the negative features of my current state, in no particular order:
  • My BMI is 36.3, which makes me obese. That sucks.
  • Being obese, even walking is exhausting so I can't join my friends on hikes around the countryside - long walks hurt my hips, back, feet etc.
  • Stairs frighten me: walking up more than one flight results in the rapid thumping of my heart, making me think that a heart attack is one step away.
  • I can't bear looking at my flab in the mirror or in photos, my belly is especially cringe-worthy and it all needs to go before my self esteem is sealed in a lead-lined, air-tight case of doom and swiftly shuttled to the centre of the earth, where it is promptly and permanently destroyed in a sea of red hot liquid magma. Makes one wonder why the lead and air tight properties are required if it's going to be destroyed anyway. Perhaps it's to make darn sure that it won't escape on the way down. Anyway...
  • I have PCOS, which may be a cause of or caused by being overweight, the jury's till out on that one. PCOS means that my hormones are all over the place, they aren't balanced, they aren't normal, and they'll stay that way until I lose weight.
  • Insulin resistance is a result of both PCOS and being overweight. This has a massive effect on my life as I need to eat every couple of hours, which can get rather annoying if you're in the middle of something and you have to stop to eat to restore clear thought and a sociable mood. Insulin is required for cells in the body to take up and convert glucose into a usable source of energy, but if they are insulin resistant they allow much less insulin to enter. In response, the pancreas releases more and more insulin and eventually fails, resulting in diabetes. Insulin also promotes fat storage and prevents the release of energy from fat cells. The primal diet can help completely reverse this process by keeping insulin levels low and constant so that the cells can increase their sensitivity.
  • PCOS has a number of other rather unfortunate symptoms, such as excessive hair. Also a nightmare.
  • Pain: Being overweight puts a lot of strain on most of my body, especially my lower back and hips. I regularly have lower back pain, sore shoulders (due to poor muscle tone) and my hips become sore if I walk for an extended period of time. I also have a damaged nerve in my lower back that causes a weird combination of hypersensitivity and paralysis in a panel in my upper thigh. If I sit or stand in the same place for more than a few minutes, or walk for too long, it feels as though I'm being stabbed in the thigh with an ice cold knitting needle. I tend to jump and scream if someone pokes me anywhere on said panel. An osteopath informed me that it cannot heal until I lose my belly as it's pulling on the area around the damaged nerve.
  • Fitting in airplane seats is a challenge, especially when the person sitting next to you is also hideously overweight and needs half of your seat too.
  • Libido is an interesting one. PCOS means higher testosterone levels and hence an increased libido, but being overweight tends to stifle one's libido, so it feels as though there is a constant fight between these two factors. I can go for long periods of time with no interest in physical intimacy, and sometimes it swings the other way in an attempt to make up for lost time. I don't, however, experience the raging desperation I used to feel in my late teens to early twenties, but I get the distinct impression that if I was fit and healthy and at an ideal weight, few men would be safe. Many people on the Daily Apple Forum report that going primal has done wonders for their libido. I very much look forward to this rewarding aspect of the lifestyle.
  • Enormous calves from supporting my weight are not only unfeminine but mean that I cannot fit into many boots. I love boots, so this sucks. Going primal can also mean altering other behaviours and activities, including barefoot walking for the health of your feet, legs and hips. I'll discuss this more in a future post, but I think it's something I will try, especially as I prefer to go barefoot whenever I can anyway.
  • Anxiety - particularly when trying to get to sleep. Possibly due to high levels of cortisol (stress hormone).
  • Sore knees and elbows if I over-exercise or strain them. Makes running impossible and interfered with badminton and swimming to the point that I stopped doing bother of them.
I hope to be able to come back to this list at some point in the future and be able to say that all of these issues have gone. 

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