Once upon a time I was large. Some may say I was fat. According to those pesky BMI charts, I could even be called obese. In May of 2014 I saw a picture that changed my life forever.
|I'm the one on the far right!|
I have many, many more from that trip. Picture after picture - I had seriously NO idea how unhealthy I was.
You get the idea.
With a rich family history of both diabetes and heart disease, I realized in this one photo album that I was literally eating myself to death. I was certain if I didn't change I would absolutely end up with one, if not both of these very serious health conditions. When thinking of my future I certainly did not plan on it being full of doctor appointments, medical tests, medication, and premature death. Now doesn't that sound like fun?
We ate all our meals from home, made almost everything from scratch without artificial flavors or colors, and we never ate fast food. What was I doing wrong? For weeks after we returned from this trip, I researched all I could find about healthy eating. My google searches led me to The Paleo Mom. The Paleo diet peaked my curiosity. I changed my google searches and focused solely on this new way of living.
What is Paleo? To break it down very simply, it is basically a lifestyle that revolves around eating the way our Neanderthal ancestors ate. Basically - meat, vegetables, nuts, and fruits. Immediately a light bulb went off in my head. How can you get any healthier than that? What the Paleo lifestyle does NOT include is sugar, dairy, grains, and legumes. By no means am I an 'expert' on the Paleo lifestyle, but I must be doing something right. I lost 65lbs over the course of a year.
When I first decided to try this Paleo thing, I gave myself 6 weeks. I told myself no matter what - I HAD to stick with it for 6 weeks. I started on June 16th 2015. It was not an easy start. Immediately I started having awful migraines. I was told it was due to the immediate lack of sugar in my diet. During my research, I had read that sugar has the same effect on your body as cocaine. Again, I am not an expert. I just knew my head hurt. A lot. I had a constant migraine for a good week. The lifestyle started to get easier and easier. By the 4th of July, I was already noticeably thinner to others and I had a lot more energy. I still kept at it for the full 6 weeks I promised to myself. In that 6 weeks I lost 20 pounds. TWENTY!! Aside from the weight loss, the acne I had since I was 12 and the gout I had in my big toes were both completely gone. I knew I couldn't go back to having a splotchy face or painful toes. Also, having done this for a month and a half what I could and could not eat became second nature. I didn't have to count calories or even weigh and measure food portions. I was no longer obsessed with points and playing the Weight Watchers game that I could never win. I just knew what I could and what I could not eat. Also, for first time in my life I only ate when I was hungry. I no longer ate out of boredom. I felt in control. The best part of all of this is it cost me nothing. No monthly or weekly fees. I didn't have to buy any books or cookbooks (though you could if you wanted), nobody made money off my weight loss. I spent money on food that I would purchase anyhow. Our weekly grocery budget actually decreased as I no longer was snacking heavily or eating unnecessarily.
This coming June will mark my two year paleo-versary. I do miss the social aspect of just being able to eat whatever at picnics or dinners with family and friends. It also can make life a bit more difficult when I can't just run out and 'grab something to eat'. What I do not miss is feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I am also pretty excited to have gone from a size 18 to a size 8.
Notice I don't ever call Paleo a 'diet'. If I went back to eating grains and sugar on a regular basis, I am certain that I will be right back to where I started. I now do enjoy custard from Culver's on my birthday for a special treat and I occasionally eat chicken nachos. Because yummm....nachos.
If I can reach out and help just one person with my story, I would be thrilled. If I said this weight loss has changed my life, that would be a bit of an exaggeration. I still have an amazing husband who loves me just as much now as when there was more of me. I still have a good job, amazing friends, and great kids who drive me nuts from time to time. What I do know is I now have a handle on my eating habits, and as a result I have a much healthier life ahead of me.
If you are looking for more resources, check out the websites below. They were great resources for me during my journey!
Nom Nom Paleo
Ultimate Paleo Guide