How I Got Slim and Fit, Eating Like a Caveman
29 Oct 2006
Author and journalist Jimmy Lee Shreeve reveals how he got his jeans size down from a tight 36 inches to 32 in six months by following ancient diet and fitness patterns.
As an author and journalist my work dictates I sit at a desk for most of the day. I'm not alone. It's the same for nearly everyone these days, whatever their line of work. But as I approached forty I had to accept the consequences of a sedentary work life - encroaching middle-aged spread. I was in denial for years. But standing in front of the mirror in the changing rooms in outdoor clothing store, Hawkshead, I had no choice but to face the reality of the spare tyre forming around my waist. The depressing thing was it was more the size of a hot rod tyre than the bicycle-sized ones you find on a Citroen 2 CV.
Right then and there I decided to do something about it and get my jeans size down from a tight 36 inches to 32, like it had been through my 20s and most of my 30s. So I took up the universally recommended high carb, low fat diet and worked out religiously.
Alas! Despite my self-imposed boot camp discipline, it didn't work. My spare tyre remained at Firestone proportions.
Just when I was about to give up in despair, I came across an intriguing book and website by Loren Cordain, a Colorado State university sports science professor. he rejected conventional dietary "wisdom" in favour of eating a diet similar to how we ate during Paleolithic (early stone age) times.
According to Professor Cordain this is our natural diet. Apparently our genes - and thus our dietary needs - have hardly changed in 50,000 years. What's more, our Paleolithic ancestors didn't suffer from the "diseases of civilisation", many of which scare the hell out of us today. Obesity, heart disease, strokes, osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, allergies and other chronic illnesses were all but unknown to them. They didn't even have bad teeth. Even their lifespan (and height), contrary to popular belief, was comparable to ours - so long as they didn't succumb to infectious disease and weren't mauled to death by a wild beast.
It was only with the advent of agriculture (about 10,000 years ago) - and the new cereal and grain diets - that our ancestors' health and fitness went down hill, with increasing numbers becoming overweight and obese (they even became shorter in stature).
This was enough for me. I immediately took up eating like a caveman, as recommended by Cordain and a handful of other researchers working in the new field of ancient eating and fitness. My staple diet became meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and nuts. But no bread, pasta, rice, beans or dairy.
What was the result? Within two weeks I had far more energy than I'd had for years. And my workouts - which were now shorter and more relaxed (in keeping with ancient fitness patterns) - resulted in much greater fitness, stamina and muscle definition.
After six months - to my joy - my jeans size dropped to 32. In short, I'd become lean and muscular eating (and exercising) like our ancient ancestors, and by rejecting conventional dietary recommendations. I continue to eat and exercise this way now, and feel 100% better for it.
If you're a writer or anyone who sits at a desk for most of the day, you too could turn your life and fitness around by simply accepting your genetic heritage and eating the way you were designed to eat.
Jimmy Lee Shreeve is author of "Blood Rites: The shocking expose of ritual human sacrifice - practised today, and terrifyingly close to home." (Arrow Books 2006).
Visit his website at www.jimmyleeshreeve.com
Further Reading:"The Paleo Diet" by Dr Loren Cordain."Neanderthin" by Ray Audette.