I had the good fortune of growing up in the country. For much of my childhood, my family raised a lot of our vegetables, fruit, and livestock (chickens, cows, pigs). I grew into a tall, healthy girl.
We also went through lean times, when I ate a lot of beans & rice, with ham hocks if we had a few extra dollars, and “spaghetti night.”
I had weight fluctuations over the years, but I gained my BIG weight in 2009. My exercise, work, and diet habits did not change, yet my weight ballooned very quickly. One hypothesis (based completely on my own musings — no doctor has said this), is based on the fact that the weight gain occurred after a sinus surgery. Maybe my body, unable to distinguish between a real trauma and a controlled trauma, had an inflammatory response? But I digress. The “why” is not so important at this point.
It seemed like one day my clothes fit, and the next day they didn’t, AND I was huffing and puffing to tie my own shoelaces.
So, I started looking for answers to my diet and nutrition questions, and I looked and tried new things for at least two years before I found Paleo. There is no shortage of diet and nutrition information available online, in magazines, books, articles, blogs, cookbooks, dieting sites. I restricted my calories to a base of 1100 per day. I logged every calorie. I worked out at least 5 days a week (adding calories proportionate to the amount I burned).
And, while I did lose 20lbs, and felt a lot better, I stayed relatively overweight and got completely stuck.
My father died about a year ago. He was not old. He died from diabetes and colon cancer. He had suffered from pancreatitis as a younger man. He tried to be healthy, too, including using a lot of artificial sweetener, which it seems can now be linked to insulin resistance. I searched harder than ever to fight against what seemed to be a genetic certainty.
Thankfully, my searching ended up leading me to Paleo. I watched a one-hour video by Robb Wolf, and was so completely engrossed, that I almost immediately downloaded his book, The Paleo Solution. I devoured the book, and implemented the suggestions immediately as I continued my readings (I moved on to a book by Dr. Loren Cordain, described by Wolf as his mentor). (I’ll plan to eventually write my “review” for those books. They’re both good, but in different ways.).
As Wolf suggests, I had nothing to lose by simply trying the “Paleo solution” for 30 days.
Well. I am nearing the end of the first 30 days (which started just after Memorial Day weekend 2012). And my mind is blown. I had temporarily gotten up to 215lbs. (a result of unabashed vacation-weekend eating). In this month, I am almost down to 200 (201 as of this morning). And I did it with a nasty cold for for the first 2 weeks of this time period. Note: In the past, a cold meant salty chicken noodle soup, lots of Lemon-Lime Gatorade, and a few extra pounds of padding by the time I felt healthy again.
But the weight gain is not the only benefit…. I’ve lost weight before. It always feels good to accomplish a goal, but the dieting part pretty much sucks. This month has been dramatically different. By raising my caloric intake, raising my protein, and cutting out grains, I have: had a ton of energy for working out; I have been in a great mood; I have not fallen asleep at my computer while trying to work; I have been in a better mood (ask my husband); I have found brand-new muscles!!! and, for the first time in years… I have not been hungry or felt deprived while trying to lose weight.
I am so excited about this that I am here talking about this on the internet… Today, I even started a Twitter account (@PaleoLawyer) and I have already read some interesting articles, seen some fun recipes, and I have seen lots of inspiring posts by lots of people who have had similar experiences…
I’ll stop before this post becomes a novel. But I’ll be back soon!