52 Days of Paleo – Day 8

The Kitchen Sink Salad - everything in the fridge I can throw into a salad.

Here’s the thing about weight loss

I weighed myself today, and my body is already going through a radical change from eating Paleo for only one week.

Now, I want to preface this whole thing by saying that I did not start this journey to lose weight. Losing weight is not my primary motivation. I am on this journey to be healthy. I want to live for a long time. And mostly, I want to get fit enough to really enjoy myself when I pursue the sport of my passion; cycling.

Six months ago, I signed up for a full season of mountain-bike racing here in Arizona. That’s six races spread over four months. I haven’t raced this series in probably 15 years.

In my 30s, during peak race season, I weighed 155-pounds. In high school, I was 142 pounds my junior and senior year and didn’t gain anything until after I graduated. Neither of those numbers is reasonable for a 52-year-old man with two jobs, a family, obligations, a reasonably healthy appetite, and who needs to carry some muscle into the third season of their life.

The trap of making weight loss the primary goal when trying to correct bad nutrition habits is that you’re more likely to manipulate your nutritional intake just to produce the outcome of weight loss rather than making sure you’re fueling your body for optimal health and vitality.

I’m eating Paleo not as a weight-loss diet, but as a way to fix my nutrition. I make every meal myself, with ingredients I selected and purchased myself (whole vegetables, fruits, lean meats, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, lots and lots of eggs, etc.). I am exercising regularly. I expected to see some changes in my weight, just not such a radical shift. I was surprised when I stepped on the scale this morning.

In order to prepare myself for the mountain-bike race season, I signed up for Weight Watchers. I’ve signed up for Weight Watchers in the past. It’s a great system for gaming weight loss. If you follow it carefully, it will produce the results of weight loss. But on Weight Watchers, I was so hungry so often that I gave up on it. Well, I cheated on it first. And then got frustrated with the lack of weight loss. And then gave up on it.

I race with a group of guys my own age, with similar experience. I did five of the six races over the season. I was consistent. At each race, I finished in the back 10 or 15% of the field. I wasn’t disappointed with this. It was my first year back. I’m carrying some extra weight (in cycling, an extra 15-20 pounds can put you at a disadvantage against someone equally skilled and fit who is leaner), and I did not make the decision to race months ahead to give myself time to train specifically. I knew I would not be competitive. My goal was simply to put an entire season together, make it to every race, and learn from every race to make improvements to set myself up to be competitive (goal next year is to get into the top 10 on a regular basis).

Losing weight is part of that picture. Which is why committing to Paleo in a serious way has been in the back of my mind.

My 52-day journey is eight days in. I stepped on the scale this morning with little expectation that I would see any change in my weight from last week, which was 178.8 pounds. When the number 173.8 flashed back up at me, I got off the scale, turned it off, turned it back on, and went again. Sure enough, 173.8. I had lost 5 pounds in one week by just eating clean! No dieting. No calorie-constriction. No tracking every milligram of food I took in. No over-doing the cardio trying to burn as much energy as I could every day. Just clean eating.

I expected some weight loss. I knew that once I committed to clean eating, the bunch goofy crap that was gumming up in my gut would clear out, as would some of that watery, blubber fat on the outer layer of my body. But I’ve got a lot of work to do to melt that brown, inter-organ fat tissue that I carry in my torso. But still. Losing five pounds in the first week is pretty freaking cool.

I don’t expect this weight-loss pace to continue. And I keep saying, Over and over, that weight loss is not my goal. But damn, it is nice to achieve weight loss anyway. In the back of my mind, As much as I don’t really want to look at it, I am secretly really happy that it’s away last week. I can admit that I’m vain enough to care about getting leaner, and I really want to get down to my former bike-racing weight. So I will watch this number and I will be hopeful every Saturday when I step on the scale.

Sleep quality: 100%

Weight: 173.8

Breakfast: Smoothie: Almond milk, bananas, strawberries, almond butter.

Lunch: Leftover baked spaghetti (from yesterday’s dinner).

Dinner: Kitchen sink salad; spinach, romaine, and iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, mushrooms, avocado, onions, currants, pepitas, boiled egg, grilled chicken, homemade apple vinaigrette dressing.

Snacks: None.

Exercise: 109 minutes of road cycling.

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