I woke up this morning and read Rob’s Paleo testimony. It meant so much to me to read his story I thought I would share mine. I heard about Paleo for the first time a little over two years ago, I mentioned it to Rob, he wasn’t enthusiastic, but he didn’t dismiss it. We briefly discussed how it would be too difficult to give up so many foods we loved. I liked the idea, but it just seemed insurmountable, -to not eat bread. All my favorite foods were bread! How could I possibly live a happy life while denying myself all of my favorite things?!
A few years pass.
A few pounds are gained. (More then a few.)
Here is what my “before Paleo” life looked like.
At my heaviest point I was 95 pounds over the recommended weight for my height. I only stand at 5’3″ so that was the equivalent of carrying around a 6th grader. To much stress for my tiny frame.
I woke up in the morning, dragged myself out of bed, usually because my stomach hurt, and started my day by drinking around 40 ounces of coffee. *Just to get me up and going. I drank this from two 20 ounce cups and it seemed totally reasonable at the time. I never drank my coffee black, I started with milk and Splenda, but worked my way up to those super expensive and sugary creamers. (those add around 35 calories per tablespoon to your coffee, I was not using just one tablespoon) Some mornings we would grab breakfast from a drive through but most mornings, just coffee.
Then I’d head to work, I have a job where I am on my feet all day, and I was constantly looking for any excuse to sit down or lean on something, my feet hurt every night. Most days I did not eat at work at all, I would just keep pouring coffee and coasting through on caffeine and sugar. I was experiencing rises and crashes, and mood swings, but I thought that was all just “normal” because I didn’t remember a time in life where I didn’t feel them. If I did order food it was most likely an order of french fries from the restaurant next door which I would dip in ranch dressing.
I would get off work late in the evening, too exhausted to cook, most of our suppers were handed to us through windows. I would go home, eat my supper, and while I was eating it I was mentally planning what I would eat after my meal, I was starving from my day long fast and I could easily justify this binge eating lifestyle.
During this period of my life I was active. I jogged 3 times a week, went hiking on the weekends, I drank water, and occasionally ate vegetables. I thought of myself as a happy healthy person. I was so far off the path to health that I didn’t even know I was lost.
But I was beginning to worry about Rob. He seemed to be developing a sensitivity to gluten, and he was starting to deal with more and more pain on a daily basis. (so much so that I joked with him about diagnosing himself with a new disease daily) But when I pulled back and looked at that, clearly his body was screaming at him to make changes. And so was mine. But I didn’t want to hear it. I wanted another doughnut.
So Rob and I went to the lake with my family early this summer. We want to start a family and have been having a lot of talks about what steps we need to take now to be the most prepared for this next chapter of our lives. (in our health, our finances, and our marriage)
We knew we had a long drive in the car, so it seemed a good time to talk so we started talking about our health. Rob and I both fell into the OBESE category on the BMI scale. Genetically his family has a strong history of Diabetes. Mine has a strong history of heart disease. We saw the path that we were on, we saw the future. We knew it was time to change directions. We talked about the reasons why we wanted to make life changes, and it came down to this. More years with our children. Suddenly we had a new incentive. After all those years of telling myself I could never give up “__________” (insert soda, bread, french fries, ice cream etc. choose your poison) I started thinking of it in a new light, the dialogue of my self talk changed. Would I rather eat this ice cream or see my kids graduate from college?
(now if you’ve read my about paleo page, you know now I sometimes eat ice cream, please don’t think this is because I don’t love my future children, this was self talk I used to break a lifetime of unhealthy eating)
We talked about all kinds of ways we could improve our health, and we kept coming back to Paleo. I work in the beauty industry, I’ve seen A LOT of diets come and go. Everyone has tried something.
They all seemed to work, but none of them seemed to be a lifestyle I would be able to keep forever. I needed to learn to be a healthy person, not yo-yo between underweight and overweight for the rest of my life. Every person I’ve met who has converted to a Paleo diet, has stayed with it and continued to stay healthy. Now maybe I’m just lucky and have well balanced friends. But it got us talking. I messaged some of my Paleo friends on Facebook and asked them how to get started.
My friend Morgan recommended I start with Robb Wolf’s book “The Paleo Solution” I read the book, then about a thousand articles online and listened to just as many Pod-casts. Then I started watching documentaries on nutrition and how food affects our body.
It all made sense to me. This was my path to health. I kept looking for the Paleo haters pages, and they are out there, but there are even more stories of people just like me who changed their lives by putting down the doughnuts.
We’ve been eating this way for just a few months. It started with a conversation, that lead to buying a book, that lead to research. That lead to cleaning all the junk out of our pantries. We had to plan, we had to cook ahead on the weekends, we had to work together.
But it wasn’t hard. Not any of it. It was intentional. We were choosing our path instead of drifting. The changes were almost immediate.
There was most definitely a detox. It took about two weeks for me, the first 2 days were the worst (most of that was the caffeine) but my gut needed to heal, I craved sugar, I was a bundle of nerves and mood swings. But then everything changed. I was eating regular meals, my moods were stable. I wasn’t starving or hungry in between. I suddenly I felt SO MUCH BETTER. -Then of course there is the weight loss, neither Rob or I have reached our ideal weight yet. But I am no longer obese! In just a few short months I have experienced, healthy, steady weight loss. But for me what’s more wonderful then the number on the scale going down is the way my body has changed. Before when I have lost weight my profile although smaller has stayed the same shape. This is not the case now. I am leaner. It doesn’t even feel like I’m trying. I’m eating awesome food, I have energy to run and play and look forward to working out. My skin is clearer, I wear about a third of the make up I used to wear. I’m sleeping better, soundly deeply, waking up feeling rested. I’m hydrated, I am drinking at minimum 8 glasses of water a day, so my headaches are gone, my intestinal cramping is gone, so much of my anxiety is gone. The fact that my stomach is shrinking seems like such a tiny bonus. Life is good and we know it’s going to keep getting better. For the first time Rob and I are looking forward to a long and healthy future.
The picture above is my jawline on my first day of paleo, and then on day 19.