Saturday, April 26, 2008

Paleo Diet - Day 175

After a late dinner (9:00pm) at Golden Corral (steak, chicken, pepperoni, salad and watermelon, with water) and getting up at noonish today, I find my weight has dropped another four pounds to 165 lbs. Here, I was expecting it to at least remain stable, if not go up a pound or two, and it goes the other way, instead. And this, in spite of less exercise, lately. I haven't been walking regularly since the weekend I spent with the flu. Also, though, I've been doing more on my Total Gym, at the same time, so I know I'm not losing muscle and have actually gained a bit, as I can see from my biceps and triceps. So, my guess is that I'm still losing fat, which is a good thing, as there are still some stubborn little pockets of it here and there. As I continue to add muscle, that fat loss will increase, in fact, so this may explain the spurt of additional weight loss. Of course, this additional weight loss has slightly changed my BMI (Body Mass Index), to 22.4, which is still mid-range "normal weight."

Also following the late-night dinner and a little snacking on Brazil nuts later, still, my blood sugar is at 108 at noon. Still normal, though "high normal." My blood sugar readings have been this way all week, indicating that not walking as much is not burning off as much blood sugar as usual. The Total Gym workouts probably aren't aerobic enough to have much effect on this, so my guess is it's the lack of walking exercise that has pushed my readings up a little. Still, my insulin resistance has improved (lessened), due to the diet, and, over time, should continue to improve.

Also improving (since adding new batteries to my blood pressure monitor) is my blood pressure, which is at 120/87. Sort of in the neighborhood of "normal," whatever that is.

Meanwhile, I have slightly increased my fat intake, adding a little more coconut oil to my diet, as well as more eggs (which also contains more protein). So, this may also be a factor in spurring new weight (fat) loss.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Paleo Diet - Day 168

Good news on the weight loss front this morning - i.e., I didn't have any, which is what I'm after, now that I'm down to 169 lbs. So, that's at least stabilized and my new goal has now become gaining some muscle. Of course, that will increase my weight a bit, but so what? The objective is correct bodymass composition, not being skinny.

To that end, I've been consulting some bodybuilding websites, as I believe that's where I'll find the best information on gaining muscle. So far, what I've learned from this is that I need to increase my protein intake, just as I was saying last week, and, to that end, I'm now eating more meat and I've stepped up my egg intake, as well, since eggs are your second best source of protein, after meat. In addition, of course, I've increased the intensity of my Total Gym workouts. While I have not seen noticeable results, yet, as far as muscle size goes, I have noticed that my muscle tone is improving, particularly in my arms. It's a start. Meanwhile, my BMI (Body Mass Index) remains a steady "normal weight," at 22.9.

Now, a word on the bodybuilding sources. I'm not looking toward bodybuilding, per se; i.e., I don't have in mind becoming a bodybuilder and looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. No, my objective is simply to put on a few pounds of lean muscle to improve my physique a little, as I've lost a little muscle mass over the last ten years, due to inactivity. That's all. But, in order to do that, I'm consulting bodybuilding sites for information, as I believe bodybuilders to be the best authority - not doctors! - on the subject of muscle gain. Who would know better than someone whose whole life revolves around gaining muscle?

So far, I have found some very useful tips, including something called the Anabolic Diet. You may recognize the word anabolic from "anabolic steroids," but don't worry - I'm not "juicing," nor will I be. The term "anabolic" simply refers to the process of anabolism, which, according to Wikipedia, " the set of metabolic pathways that construct molecules from smaller units." In other words, in this case, building up muscle tissue. It's opposite is catabolism, which is the breaking down of muscle tissue. In fact, I'm pursuing this muscle gain program now, in part, to avoid catabolism, as I don't want to lose any muscle tissue. Just working out, alone, should prevent this, though.

Anyway, the Anabolic Diet, depending upon whom you ask (because recommendations vary) is, basically, a lot like the paleolithic diet, except that it doesn't eschew grains and dairy. I'll be pursuing only the inclusion of more meats and fats, though, which are the principle building blocks used in the Anabolic Diet. I will still avoid grains and dairy, as I have been doing. But, I'm taking some tips from Anabolic Diet sources, as far as including more protein and fat in my diet is concerned. The inclusion of more saturated fat is in line with what I've learned already on the subject of fats, and, of course, eating more meat - especially red meat - is a "no-brainer" for building muscle tissue. The addition of more eggs, though, as a protein source was something I hadn't really considered until I got into looking at the Anabolic Diet, which is big on red meat and eggs. In fact, I found one Swedish bodybuilder, Paul Lundkvist, who routinely eats about 2 lbs of ground beef mixed with five eggs. That's another thing: bodybuilders tend to eat a lot of food, which makes sense, because it's your food that is the source of your muscle growth. You are what you eat. So, if you want to have more muscle, eat more meat (which is muscle tissue) and more fat. You'll both gain muscle and lose body fat at the same time. That - plus a lot of weight training - is how these guys achieve their massive muscles. But, as I said, I'm doing this in moderation, since I'm not seeking massive muscles - just slightly larger ones.

Where my blood sugar is concerned, I'm in the normal range this morning, at 112, just one point below the upper threshold of "normal." This is good, as I had a late-night meal of beef, carrots and blackberries, yet remained in the normal range upon waking. It'll go back down some during the day, with increased activity, as it usually does. But, the important thing is, Mr. Diabetes is nowhere to be found; he's toast!

Moving right along, I'm afraid my blood pressure monitor is either about to crap out on me, or it just needs a new battery. This morning's reading was a startling 103/81, which I quickly followed with a second reading, just to make sure. The second reading was an even more startling 131/97! So, something's obviously wrong, there, and it isn't my blood pressure! Time to change out the battery, I think - or get a new monitor, as this one's become completely untrustworthy.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Paleo Diet - Day 161

Good news on the weight loss this morning! Instead of creeping up another pound, as I expected I might after a week of being sick with the flu and, thus, not exercising, paradoxically, I find myself at 169 lbs - 5 lbs less than I was last Saturday! This knocks my BMI (Body Mass Index) down to the lowest it's been: 22.9, which is still right in the middle of "normal" weight. In my recollection, this is the lightest I've been since around 1985, when I was 33. I guess maybe the flu actually helped me lose a few pounds, then, despite the inactivity. Not the way I would have preferred to lose weight, though.

Where my blood sugar is concerned, it's a typical 110 this morning, after a late night steak, followed by some Brazil nuts later. Nothing unexpected, and still in the normal range. It'll fall again, back into the 80's or 90's within a few hours, as usual.

It's my blood pressure that has me a little concerned today, as it's shot way up on the diastolic side. At 125/100, my systolic has actually fallen by 4 points since last Saturday's reading, but the diastolic is the highest it's been since December 18th, 2007, when I began monitoring my blood pressure. Then, it was 135/99. As for possible causes, consider I've just awakened from about 8.5 hours of sleep, which is unusual for me, even on a Saturday morning when I don't set my alarm. I'm thinking it must be my sleep apnea, which is still there, of course. Though I don't recall waking prematurely at any time during the night, that, of course, doesn't mean I didn't have some apnic events, which usually have the effect of raising my blood pressure.

Then there is the fact that upon getting up, I noticed my left hand had some reddish indentations in it (gone, now that I've been up a while), indicating I'd slept on it for a while, so that would have cut off circulation in my left arm, somewhat. Other than this, I have no way of determining how my diastolic pressure got so jacked up.

But, the important thing to remember is that this is only a spot reading. My blood pressure will go down again during the day, most likely. Especially, if I just woke from an apnic event. That's the thing I touched on last week, about blood pressure "standards." This is really a hit-and-miss measure that doesn't give you a clear overall picture of what's happening in your body unless you're monitoring your blood pressure hourly - which would be ridiculous overkill, as everyone's blood pressure - including those who are in peak health - fluctuates throughout the day and with their activity level. So, just how relevant is this, really?

Last week, I was questioning - based upon something I'd read - the relevance of any of this concern over "high blood pressure." Could it be it's been made another health bogeyman, right along with saturated fats, which also doesn't cause heart disease? I'll have to look into this a little deeper.

ADDENDUM: I forgot to comment that, now that I'm at 169 lbs, I have exceeded my weight loss goal by one pound! So, at this point, I will be maintaining my weight, from here on out, in the range of 169 to 171 lbs, or so. Of course, it's going to fluctuate, so, I'm allowing for that by stating a range instead of a specific weight, which would be impossible to maintain as a constant. Anyway, I've arrived! I've done it, folks! Same with my diabetes; it's gone! Now, if I can just get my blood pressure down to normal without medication, I'll have achieved all of my stated health goals.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Paleo Diet - Day 154

Well, my boss decided to show us all what a "macho" tough guy he is, and showed up for work this week sick. So now me, and about six coworkers are having a lousy sick weekend. Gee, thanks, asshole.

Interestingly enough, though, my symptoms have been held in check by judicious use of dried Japones peppers, which seem to relieve the upper respiratory symptoms much better than any medication would, and without the harmful side effects. Besides, they taste great! This Saturday morning I've awakened with a slightly congested sore throat, but after having gargled and brushed my teeth with baking soda, as usual, as well as having chewed a Japones, I'm rapidly beginning to feel better. The peppers don't do much about the fever, aches and run-down feeling, however, which I'll just have to let run their course, though they have been rather mild, so far, so the peppers may have at least a moderating effect on those cold and flu symptoms. I don't feel nearly as bad as I did the last time I had a virus. So, there's a tip for you. Try chewing dried peppers instead cough drops, etc. next time you're sick. Your body will thank you.

Moving along to the the usual stats, it looks like I've gained back a pound this week, which is understandable in light of my being sick since yesterday and not getting any exercise then or today, so far. So, I've obviously taken in more calories than I've burned off for the week. No problem, though. Next week, I'll lose it again when I get back into my exercise routine. Of course, this changes my BMI (Body Mass Index) slightly, to 23.6, which is still "normal" weight.

This morning, despite my usual Friday night snacking, my blood sugar is at a respectable 96, so nothing to complain about, there. Perfectly normal.

On the blood pressure, however, it's gone up since last week's reading, to 129/88, which is slightly "high," by most standards, though some reading on this subject has me wondering about whether those "standards" are really all that "standard." It seems that what is considered "normal" and "high" blood pressure these days tends to vary a bit, depending upon whose standards you're applying. In come cases, my reading this morning would be cause for alarm, while in others, it's no big deal. Consider, also, that it's what my resting blood pressure was a few minutes ago. That will fluctuate throughout the day and even as I sleep, so what it was this morning just happens to be what it was at that moment. It could very well go down, an hour from now, to a "normal" level. In fact, I suspect that may be the case, as my sleep apnea has the effect of raising my blood pressure during sleep. So, after I'm awake and up doing things for a while, that should settle down. I can usually tell if my blood pressure is higher if my ears are ringing when I wake up in the morning, and today was no exception. After I've been up for a while and had something to eat, my blood pressure will probably return to "normal" - whatever that is.