“Surely it’s not time to get up” I groaned as the alarm clock sounded in my ear.
Life was moving fast very fast and was ridiculously busy. With out of town travel every other week, regular meals out with clients, networking & marketing events, all to keep the work rolling in, there was very little time to actually get the work done, so I regularly found myself burning the candle at both ends just to try and keep up. Trying to be the best manager I could be and hit my KPI’s. But this was just in the office.
At the same time I was also trying to be the best husband, the best father and a good mate. It was always a constant struggle to keep it all together. And in between all this trying to look after myself. I’ve always understood the importance of and attempted to live a healthy life, watching what I eat and drink.
But my solstice was always exercise – hard exercise and lots of it whenever I got a chance. After all, I worked hard and so it was important to exercise hard. After all that what we were told.
I loved to feel the burn and lived on the “runners high”, that was until the mid morning or mid afternoon crash, where I would go into my Esky stocked full of “healthy smorgasbord of muesli bars, fruit buns, sultanas, meat and salad sandwiches, fruit juice drinks and a fun size chocolate treat just to top it all off.
Life as I knew it was good, or so I thought. But when I fell ill my “good” life came crashing to a halt, I was unable to work or drive a car and even struggled to move most days and lived with a constant hangover that lasted for years.
It wasn’t until after a series of appointments with a local naturopath when we stumbled on a finding which surprised me to no end.
I thought I was living a pretty healthy life. Sure I was under a bit of stress and could certainly do with more sleep, but really who couldn’t, that was typical of corporate life. But I thought I had the other parts in check and was doing we’ve been told to do as best as I could under the circumstances.
As I expected at the time I was carrying a few extra kilos, tipping the scales at 85kg but this actually put me in the obese weight range for my age and height. And I also had a significant amount of internal body fat which I then found is actually a bigger health risk than body fat.
None of this made sense and I couldn’t understand how this could be. I ate healthy food, low fat everything, plenty of grains and tons of exercise. Exercise to me back then was now just about keeping fit but was my ticket to disconnect from the problems of my little world from my phone and my laptop. My escape even if only for a short while.
I was never a record breaker (and never will be) but I always trained hard and never missed a beat, even if I was tired and felt like I’d been hit by a truck I still got out there. Rain hail or shine. You name it. I was out there slogging away. Doing exactly what the program had told me I had to do. But in hindsight, over the years I never really seemed to improve. My age group results were fairly consistent year in year despite my gut busting training efforts and wouldn’t dare stop or change anything just in case I might lose it all. All of what?
And then what would my training buddies say if I couldn’t keep up?
But when I fell ill my whole world went on hold, almost overnight.
I’ll never forget it. For months I almost only left the house for a doctor appointment, more blood tests, more scans, or to fill a prescription for another medication. At the time I could see my body whittling away.
Once I had the Lyme-like disease diagnosis and a treatment plan my doctor advised I move to a low inflammation diet with green vegetable juicing. I didn’t quite appreciate what this meant, but at the time I was prepared to look a little closer.
I read and researched everything I could find on Paleo. All the guru’s. All the pros and all the cons. Sure there was a ton of testimonial transformations online but would it work for me?
It seemed ok, and what did I have to loose?
Out with the processed foods, grains, sugar & dairy, except for a little greek yogurt to rebuild my gut bacteria that had copped a battering from years of medications.
Over the next year the disease started to slow and doctors move me from intravenous antibiotics to oral antibiotics then to vitamins and supplements.
It was around this time a mate of mine suggested I take a look at Mark Sissons Primal Blueprint for a complete lifestyle. I read and researched everything I could find. All the pros and all the cons.
The principals of the Primal Blueprint are based on 10 laws that are en extension of the way our ancestors lived millions of years ago –
Eat Plants and Animals
Avoid Poisonous Things
Lift Heavy Things
Sprint Once in a While
Get Plenty of Sleep
Get Plenty of Sunlight
Avoid Stupid Mistakes
Use Your Brain
So, I ditched foods such as grains (eg bread, cereal, pasta, etc), sugar (eg biscuits, soft drinks, ice cream) and processed oils (vegetable oils, canola oil, etc) all of which generally form the basis of our modern diet and focus on foods such as meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, fruit, nuts, seeds, avocado & coconut products will certainly result improved body composition – reducing excess weight and inflammation.
I made sure I got up and moved around often (get up walk around, take the stairs when you can) and exercise most of the time at a low heart rate.
I started to lift heavy things once and awhile. Start with simple full body strength training program, twice a week for between 10 to 20 minutes maximum, that included pushups, pullups, dips and squats.
Despite never being a real runner I started sprinting once a week, 5 sprints a session for say 15 seconds each sprint with 60 seconds rest in between. This can be done by running (if you are a runner) or on stationary bike or in the pool.
I started looking at my sleep and being mindful of how much sleep I was actually getting , not simply ignoring it thinking I can catch up later. When is later? What about now!
I’ve always loved the outdoors – trail running, surfing, riding my mountain bike and paddling, but now I do it for fun for play, wherever and whenever I can.
I make sure I get 10 minutes of direct sun each day. Not for a longtime to burn but just enough for the health benefits.
As we get older we don’t bounce and recover from an injury as quickly as we did when we were kids. So I’m more aware of what I do when I do it.
And Im trying a few new things to test my brain in a way I hadn’t done for years. My kids were playing musical instruments at school so I thought wouldn’t it be cool to play with them. So I borrowed my father-in-laws guitar had a few lessons and I was on my way.
Unexplained things started to happen, even as my illness went into a recovery phase I started feeling better and better and my strength continued to increase, more that I could remember, even back in high school.
Today I am fitter leaner and stronger than I have ever been before and has become a lifestyle I’ve adopted following graduation from Mark Sisson Primal Health Institute as a Primal Health Coach.
I took control of my treatment, my body and my mind.
I have a completely different relationship with food. My additional body fat has gone.I have an abundant supply of energy available…on tap. My itchy skin allergies have gone. My cloudy head and afternoon drowsiness has disappeared. I’m a far better person for it
And I wouldn’t live any other way.