“Real People, Real Paleo” is a series of posts written by real people who were inspired to share their paleo story with you. There is such diversity in the challenges that bring us to a paleo diet and lifestyle and in what we hope to achieve by adopting them. These stories are intended to be a place of inspiration, written by real people, showing the diversity of our needs and our approaches to this way of eating and living, and explaining how each individual’s implementation of paleo meets their needs. By sharing these people’s stories with you on my blog, I hope to redefine what paleo success is. I believe that paleo is about being healthy enough to thoroughly enjoy life, whatever that means for you, and about sustainability for our entire lives. If you are interested in writing up your story, please email my assistant Tamar at firstname.lastname@example.org
My paleo transformation began on September 19, 2011.
I decided to participate in the paleo challenge that my CrossFit box, CrossFit Synergistics (CFS), was organizing. I was hugely skeptical and highly afraid. I mean, I made my own yogurt. And what do you mean whole grains, dairy, and legumes are not good for me? What about the food pyramid? You know that poster that hangs up in my wellness classroom in my school? What I base my 7th grade nutrition lessons on? I actually took nutrition in college back in the day and I have taken quite a few graduate level classes in nutrition in the past 4 years. To say I was skeptical would be putting it mildly.
But as a wellness teacher, and specifically a nutrition teacher in my school, I decided to take this challenge on from a few perspectives. First of all, I decided that it would be a good experiment for me to do this personally so I could accurately give my opinion to my students and to others who ask me for advice. Secondly, I decided that I had nothing to lose in trying. I remember saying to my husband (the night I told him that I was going to do the paleo challenge) that after 19 months of half and full marathon training that my body was still not where I had hoped it would be. Sure the scale read a lighter weight, and I was happy that I lost enough to lower my life insurance premium, but physically I still wasn’t happy with how I looked. I felt skinny fat. I had been CrossFitting for 5 months when I decided to start the paleo challenge.
The first few weeks were hard. I craved sugar in the worst way. The hardest thing was not putting any sugar in my coffee. I tried really hard to drink it black. I just couldn’t do it. I finally settled on a homemade coconut milk creamer that is actually really yummy. It took me so long just to pack my lunch for work! According to the rules of my challenge, I needed to have a protein, carbohydrate, and fat with every meal-and a meal was every time I put food in my mouth, and I needed at least 5 meals! I remember the first few weeks… it took me a good 30 minutes to make a lunch! Luckily for me I really didn’t eat too many grains, dairy, or legumes to begin with. I just had to eliminate sandwich bread and some dinners that included pasta, string cheese, and yogurt. Legumes were easy because I pretty much stopped eating them anyway. I noticed that every time I had some sort of bean, that I had an upset stomach and was bloated the rest of the night. Dairy was definitely the hardest to give up. I remember asking the wives of the owners of CFS, how they lost their baby belly. “Definitely the dairy” is what they told me. Not exactly the answer I was hoping for….
Results-that’s it, just results. Paleo works and I have the photos to prove. Isn’t the definition of crazy something to the effect of doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results? If your goal is to look and feel better, yet you are unwilling to try something different, can you really be disappointed when failure happens? I want to show you some before and after pictures.
The picture on the left is when I was starting to train for my first half marathon in January 2010. I made sure to take before pictures because I was positive that training for a half was just what I needed to get back into shape from having my daughter who was 9 months old at the time. I always “ate healthy” and now I was not only exercising but I was training. (Doesn’t it sound so much more legit when you say training instead of exercising?!)
Fast forward a few months when the race was over in May to the picture on the right and……voila! I.look.exactly.the.same. Seriously? There has to be a mistake? How did I train for so many months, run like a crazy person, only to look exactly the same? I was devastated and angry.
Here are the before and after photos from my first paleo challenge which was 63 days. I had been CrossFitting for almost 5 month by the time the before picture was taken.
Here are the before and after pictures of my most recent paleo challenge and I am proud of what I have accomplished in a year of CrossFitting and 9 months of eating a paleo lifestyle.
I have more muscle definition and I look fit not just thin. And even more important than aesthetics, is the fact that I am strong and that is empowering and fills me with the self-confidence I only wish I had when I was in my 20’s.
So what are you waiting for? Are you willing to give this whole paleo thing a shot? You have nothing to lose and so much to gain! What if this is the one that works for you just like it did for me? If jumping in cold turkey to a paleo challenge is scary to you, just like it was for me, you can join me on January 6th, 2014 for a 15 week ease your way into paleo challenge where we focus on one aspect of paleo at a time. Check it out to see if it interests you.