First year of business school has been really unhealthy. A lot of sitting in front of books doing case studies. Sitting in front of a computer making spreadsheets. Sitting in front of a computer working on coding projects. All I do is sit, sit, sit.
This combined with a hearty dose of socializing that typically involves going out and drinking has helped me pack on a nice layer of chub around my mid-section. I used to joke that I was building up a layer of insulation for those cold Chicago winters. But it wasn’t even that cold last winter; I just got fat 🙁
Even worse: I’ve noticed that my weight gain has caused disturbing side effects. For example, I have a shorter attention span, decreased athletic performance (I can’t even climb a flight a stairs without feeling some leg burn), lower self esteem because I feel fat, the occasional headache (I used to never get headaches), terrible allergies this summer when I was living in SF (I’ve never a problem with allergies before), and worse of all a general sense of laziness which is killing my productivity. Sure maybe some of these effects are because I’m getting older or am a little stressed. But still – this sucks because everyday life now seems to be more difficult.
Second year of business school has begun, so I’m striving to bring back my A+ game. I’m going to reboot my health with a strict eating and exercise routine, starting with a 30 day paleo diet.
What is the Paleo Diet?
I’ve excerpted the following from fairly comprehensive guide to paleo eating found at Nerd Fitness . The description is a bit sensationalist and would probably make an anthropologist puke, but it describes the basic premise.
The average Homo Sapien back then: tall, muscular, agile, athletic, and incredibly versatile.
The average Homo Sapien now: overweight, out of shape, stressed out, unhappy, sleep deprived and dying from a myriad of preventable diseases.
So what the hell happened? Agriculture! A few thousand years ago humans discovered farming, the agricultural revolution took off, and we advanced from hunter-gatherers to farmers. We settled down, formed societies, and the human race progressed to what we are today.
The problem is, our bodies never adjusted properly to eating all the grains that we we’re now farming. As Robb Wolf puts it, think of a 100-yard football field. The first 99.5 yards are how long Homo-Sapiens spent as hunter-gatherers. As they became REALLY good at hunting and gathering our bodies adapted to that lifestyle over thousands of years. That last half-yard represents our species after the agricultural revolution, where our diet has shifted (but our genetics haven’t).
The Paleo Diet is an effort to go back to eating how we’re biologically designed to eat, allowing us to tap into our genetic potential and start living healthier immediately.
If you’re tired of reading, this video also describes weight gain in a very entertaining way.
Paleo Diet Rules
The paleo diet is actually fairly straightforward and can be boiled down into three rules:
- No grains
- No sugar
- No processed foods
I’ll be limiting myself to eating various combinations of the following:
- 4-8 oz of lean protein such as chicken, lean beef, turkey, pork loin or seafood.
- Several servings of multicolored vegetables, either raw, steamed or lightly cooked.
- Good fats from Avocado, olive oil or a handful of un-salted nuts such as almonds, pecans, macadamias or walnuts.
The hardest part, I believe, will be consistency. As Tim Ferriss says, successful dieting is usually really boring because you just eat the same meals over and over again. So I plan to just eat combinations of the following meals repeatedly for the next 30 days. POOOWERRRRRRR!!!
30 Day Meal Plan
(Choosing one per meal)
- 2 chicken and apple sausages with steamed spinach. Fruit. Coffee.
- 2 scrambled eggs. Fruit. Coffee
- Slice of ham, 2 eggs. Fruit. Coffee
- Chicken salad with spinach/kale. Salad dressing.
- Canned tuna salad with spinach/kale, avocado, tomatoes and red onion.
- Grilled grass fed steak. Vegetable medley.
- Apples with peanut butter.
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, almonds.
- 2–3 oz turkey, carrot sticks, almonds.
- Grilled pork loin with salad.
- 6-8 oz grilled salmon, asparagus and mushrooms.
- Stir-fry beef salad. Serve over bed of greens with balsamic vinegar.