Back in April of 2010, my doctor called to give me the results of my blood work. It wasn’t good. My blood pressure was up, my triglycerides were up, my bad cholesterol was way up and my good My cholesterol was way down. Something needed to change, and my doctor recommended a low fat, low cholesterol, low sodium diet in combination with exercise to get my weight down.
Fast forward to June 2010, and after several months of eating according to the diet and exercising daily, my weight hadn’t gone down at all and my blood pressure was still high. My doctor asked me to consider something radical – cut out the carbs, he said, and your body will be forced to burn its fat stores. Oh, I said, that sounds similar to the paleo lifestyle. I’d read about it on blogs like Health Habits. My doctor told me that his brother, an Ironman triathlete was a big proponent. He claimed man could live on meat and vegetables alone.
Meat and vegetables?! What a concept for someone who considered herself flexitarian. But I decided to try it. No more grains, no more cereal, bread, oatmeal, rice, crackers, cakes or cookies. At first, it seemed impossible. I hadn’t realized just how much of my food was one form or another of processed grains. But I made the lifestyle change, emptied my pantry and restocked my fridge. I started shopping at the local farmer’s market and joined a CSA, buying shares in a local farm.
The first few weeks were hard. I was still working out regularly and attended a two hour boxing class twice a week. I was lethargic and grouchy as I went through serious carb withdrawal. But as time went on, I started feeling better. And the weight finally started coming off!
At first, I felt very restricted by the paleo diet. Without cereal, pasta and bread, what would I eat?! But I’ve discovered some great resources for paleo recipes and learned to embrace the different fruits and vegetables in season. These days, I try to make sure that I eat a lot of protein and healthy fat and restrict my carb intake to under 100 grams. I also try to workout at least 3-4 times a week, at least three sessions of cardio and one strength training session with a personal trainer.
I’ve lost 12 lbs by living paleo and as of September 1st, I’ve lost 3.5 inches off my hips, 3 inches off my waist, 3.5 inches off my underbust and 2 inches off my bustline! My goal is to ultimately lose a total of 100 lbs, but even once that has been achieved, I expect to continue living the paleo lifestyle. I like the way it makes me feel and I like that it makes sense. When you look at the numbers, it makes sense to restrict our intake of grains and eat more vegetables.
For more information, I recommend the following resources: