Open Sorcery: I’ll take the physical challenge

This month I’m going to participate in The Primal Challenge which is put on by the website It’s a month long challenge to live “Primally” in the method set up by the site’s founder Mark Sisson.

It is a website advocating lifestyle change; though admittedly it’s mostly about changing food intake habits. The theory is to live a healthier life by living like “Grok” the fictional caveman prototype who was a hunter-gatherer kind of guy. While exercise is included it is not emphasized for weight loss’s sake but for getting into the routine of play and keeping active muscles but not big muscles.

The eating part of it is summed up with “eat plants and animals” that are nutrient and fat rich (omega-3 fats not the bad kind) and stay away from anything that would cause a big insulin response (breads, grains, rice, sugars). Much of this on the site can be seen as a crusade against overconsumption of grains which he ties to much of the problem in traditional weight loss plans pointing to the sugar-insulin fight as the crux.

There’s a lot more to it and it’s all on the website but I wanted to put it out here because I will be updating as I go to keep me honest. As for the claims about what the causes and effects are the jury’s out but I am willing to try it.

I have had only a few major diet excursions in my life. Growing up I ate a lot (a lot!) of rice and was always carrying a bit of baby fat. In school I did some sports but honestly was fairly sedentary. In college and out there was a steady but slow weight gain. I never really looked portly, just that I could have a few less pounds.

This changed heavily about five years ago when my cholesterol numbers came back such that my doctor advised me 3 months to regulate diet or else go on drugs! I freaked out hard and actually ate vegan for a solid month before settling into a more moderated pattern. Julie had started a Weight Watchers plan at the time and I joined that too. That was very effective as I lost about 25 pounds and looked lean again, but that did slip as I got lazy counting points. I will give them props for turning it into a game where there are points and goals. Anyway I had started a regular exercise program at the time (my sledging) so I though that would offset my lazy counting but I gained a lot (almost all!) of the weight back after another year!!

I knew something was up. To my credit I do look pretty good with my shirt off; definitely better than when I was down at my lowest weight so I have swapped some fat for muscle, but I still feel I could lose a bit of belly fat and I know it’s diet related and not exercise.

Thus the Primal Challenge. It officially starts Tuesday but I started it last week, and to my surprise after a week of trying it I lost weight! A lot! 6 pounds in a week where we hosted a party where we grilled sausage, a week of bacon and egg breakfasts, and a week without food coma, sugar cravings, nor guilt. I miss my sourdough so I’ll have to find ways to cheat occasionally, but I’m happy with it so far.

We will see how it goes, so read on with a skeptic’s eye or seek inspiration where you can. I will give this the old college try and I am aiming for transparency so let’s get this started! If you’d like to try it with me, let me know.

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