When can a caveman have a drink?


At the beginning of January, my marginally successful first month of primal living, I weighed 190 lbs. on the gym scale. By the end it showed 187. I was not pleased with the results.

Last time I did the paleo thing for a month, I dropped 11 pounds. So what gives? The difference this time was that I allowed myself to drink booze on many occasions this time around. As a guy who writes about drinks for a living, the biggest challenge of the first month of cavemanning was trying not to drink. And failing, several times.

There were other slip-ups, to be certain: I went to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico for a week — which should be a post unto itself — and fell off the wagon and ate a couple of hamburgers. I munched on things that included processed ingredients. I didn’t exercise as much as I should have.

In the end, however, I’m convinced my first month of paleo living was a disappointment primarily because alcohol is so woven into my professional and social life, and it trails all its many calories behind it. I go to tastings of new products, hang out in bars, visit people’s houses; there’s always booze. In my own house, there are hundreds of bottles — my roommate gleefully bounced around the place taking photos of the glorious hoard to post on Facebook when we moved in last fall. When people come over, it seems stingy not to dip into the stash. I even have free booze couriered to me at least once a week, thanks to my job.

I don’t have a drinking problem in terms of addiction, but I typically drink more than is healthy due to all of the above — perhaps 15-20 drinks a week? — and it has left me with a beer belly. Call me vain, but sunbathing in Mexico made me yearn to look better in a bathing suit.

So for the month of February, I’ve stepped up the caveman challenge, by harshening the rules thusly:

No booze, unless absolutely necessary in order to do my job

• Strict adherence to my own caveman rules with no exceptions. (Well, OK, I will have an occasional dollop of a condiment to make it all more palatable; you can’t deny a guy his horseradish)

• Physical activity at least once every other day

Will I start drinking again in March? Probably, but I’ll have to concoct some sort of permanent rule to keep the volume down. In the meantime, I’m actually looking forward to experiencing only my second (virtually) alcohol-free month since around the age of 16.

On the fitness side, my plan for this month was to enrol in a CrossFit intro program but I’ve totally bailed due to cost. (Next month, I guess? Why are CrossFit gyms so expensive?) Meanwhile I signed up at a local, ordinary gym and have been going rock climbing with friends and I suppose I ought to start running, since I stupidly agreed to do an 8K run in April.

I’ll let you know how it all goes.

Guh. And my cave-challenges will only get harder from here.

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