Fat caveman


Thinking back on my year, I painted this on the inside of my cave.

At the conclusion of 2012, I found myself somewhere we’ve all been at one time or another: one of life’s dead ends, where the only chance of safe escape is to turn around and head in the opposite direction.

To shorten a long story, the year had been one of transition after a separation and career shift in 2011; my reaction to unsettling upheaval was to cocoon, slowly fattening myself in a one-bedroom uptown apartment on a diet of booze, man-sized sandwiches and premium cable TV. There was also some smoking and beef jerky.

By the end of 2012, I was visibly heavier and suffering almost daily from a festering case of acid reflux disease. I had not worked out for a year. With age 35 on the horizon, it was time, finally, to try out a radical version of an experiment I’d been thinking about for some time: living like a caveman.

Or a hunter-gatherer to be more precise. As a journalist, I’d become fascinated by research that suggested the average 21st-century First World person eats wrong, possibly sleeps wrong, and is slowly killing himself from sitting too much. (You can read much more about my thoughts on such matters here.)

So! Radical lifestyle changes are afoot for me in 2013. I will conduct a series of month-long experiments on myself to see which aspects of the so-called primal lifestyle suit me and make me feel better. I hope it’s educational for anyone interested in doing some of the same things.

January shall be a cold bath; a reintroduction to a mild form of the paleo diet, and more importantly, to exercise. The first part of being a hunter-gatherer is being healthy enough to hunt and gather. Sounds simple enough. As I write, I’m looking forward to checking out a new gym on Thursday night. Next week I will go rock climbing for the first time since high school.

But in between comes the scary part: CrossFit, which nearly killed me the last time I tried it.

Image: Copyright Adam McDowell, 2013


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