Friday, April 22, 2016

My Paleo Weight-loss Story

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!
Paleo Leap
Nom Nom Paleo
Ultimate Paleo Guide


28 comments:

  1. I wish I had the willpower that you do. I've tried a few things and nothing seem to work for me but I think that I MIGHT be able to do this although I'm going to have a hard time letting go of chocolate anything. You did what was best for you and it's time I did what was best for me. I need to lose the weight because although I'm 5'10 and 170lbs I look and feel overweight and that's not a good thing. :(

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    1. Amanda, you can still have chocolate! I have some recipes I will share later. Stay tuned!

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  2. Very inspiring Rachel. I learned of this lifestyle through you. I started on the Paleo path myself a few months ago. 20+ pounds so far!! I hope to be as successful as you long term. Congrats to you on an amazing story and thanks for sharing it. Cousin Ed

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  3. It is so crazy to see the reaction my body has to sugars and carbohydrates. I don't necessarily crave the sweets, just the breads that are just as bad. I, too, have gone without and loved the results. It is true that getting lax just ends you up where you started. I gained a couple of pounds at a time and now am looking at losing twenty pounds that I had already lost. Congratulations on your success.

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    1. Yes, you just have to keep it up! It is hard to get back on track if you fall off.

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  4. I have to admit.. I would love to think that I am healthy but I'm not as healthy as I should be and I have to drop a few pounds. Ok, at least 20 lbs to get rid of the jelly bean baby I have added since Christmas.
    I love bread and sugar and it shows. The thought of a migraine scares me. Did you find that natural sugars could help take the edge off a bit?

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    1. No. The only think that took the edge off was Excedrin. I hated taking it, but so glad I did so I could keep it up!

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  5. You go girl! 65 pounds is amazing! I think it is so awesome you decided to give yourself the 6 weeks, as more often than not I go about 2 weeks and cave. Having the migraines is no fun, but detoxing and getting over all of that is so amazing! Good for you!

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    1. Thank you! Setting that 6 week goal was so important. Failure was not an option. For 6 weeks...

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  6. Good for you!! It's always a good thing when we take the time to take care of ourselves! Congrats on all your hard work!

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    1. Thank you! The rest of my family is befitting also from the meals I prepare, so it is a win/win!

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  7. I need to do something so bad! I am a sugaraholic! I don't think I could do it. Even though I know I should.

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    1. You have to be in the right mind frame and have the right motivation. You can do it. Keep thinking it over and you will get there!

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  8. Congrats on getting healthier! What an amazing accomplishment!

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    1. Thank you so much! Success is pretty awesome.

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  9. Rock on!! Good for you for making a change for a healthier lifestyle, and sticking with it. Thank you for taking the time to share your story. It truly is an inspiration!!

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  10. you go girl! What an amazing story and you have stuck with it. You are truly an inspiration.

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  11. You have incredible will power, and you look so amazing. You go, and congratulations for doing this!

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  12. Your story is such an inspiration! I think is so important to look after ouselves, and that's including what we consume and how it influence our health.

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  13. Congratulations on such a great job! After having my second child I just couldn't seem to be motivated to lose weight. Then after number 3 I realized I just need to be healthier. It is hard, but it is worth it!

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  14. So awesome! Congrats to you. I know a few people on the paleo diet and they just love it. I am too picky otherwise I would have stuck with it a year or so ago! - Jeanine

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  15. I also lost about 65 lbs in the past year. I had blood work that was a warning and I was like 'oh no way' to the potential for an unhealthy golden years. I cut out sugar, cut the carbs, made lots of food changes and got a FitBit. I cannot believe how much better I feel!

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    1. This is so awesome! Congratulations. It does feel so much better!!!

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  16. None of the foods you miss are as awesome as your progress. You must feel amazing.

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    1. Word.

      I have to keep reminding myself this!

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  17. Thanks for sharing your story! I've been thinking about trying Whole30, I need a good lifestyle change with my eating.

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    1. Do it! Whole 30 is pretty similar to Paleo. Let me know how it goes!

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