Friday, July 1, 2011

Going back to my roots

My girlfriends and I like to have diet competitions. This isn’t as bad as it sounds. Basically the competitions are us trying to exercise (30 minutes) every day and incorporate more healthful foods into our diet. Based on how well you do – counting cheating – you get so many points. Whoever has the most points at the end of the competition wins and we usually take them out for dinner and drinks.

We’ve done Live Healthy Iowa through work, Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred, veggie/fruit days, and most recently a take on the Paleo diet. Usually the contests are pretty successful –we supported each other and found it more enjoyable to be healthier if others we there with you. The last few competitions weren’t as successful, but it was mostly because we weren’t ready for them – more specifically the Paleo diet. 

At first glance the Paleo diet is so foreign you think it is one of those “CrAzY diets” that are a quick and unhealthy fix to shed a few pounds. Seriously, what diet says you can’t have grains, dairy (that means cheese and milk too!), and anything that has been processed (aka comes in a box/package), or anything high in starch: peas, beans, white potatoes, etc. For all of us this eliminated most of our pantry. We were so shocked by the food limitations and strict rules we had to build in daily vices and weekly cheat meals to even attempt the diet.

At first it was not easy, but we set ourselves up for failure. The diet is impossible if you allow yourself to ‘have a daily vice’ and cheat weekly. If we were serious about beginning the Paleo lifestyle, we needed to mentally and physically prepare ourselves to take it on, but because we didn’t we failed after a week or two. The first attempt at this diet wasn’t all bad – I and another friend actually had some success. When it first began I weighed more than I ever have in my life. Mind you I’m only 24, so whole life really just means the past 10 years when I first noticed the scale realized I was eating poorly. I would eat whatever I wanted because I was young and relied on the metabolism I had built for myself (played lots of sports growing up through High School). At the end of High School I would consider that my optimal weight/body. I was slender and toned (about 130lbs, but weight doesn’t much matter with Paleo – onto that later).

Went through the fun college years and slowly picked up more pounds. I went to a private college and it didn’t have my sport of choice so I had less activity and I continued to eat whatever I wanted – oh and there was some drinking. By the time I graduated I was slightly heavier (about 140lbs), but nothing that bothered me unless I was in a bathing suit. Nothing close to the Victoria’s Secret supermodels…but that’s an unhealthy comparison.

Fast forward to two years later: I’m happily married, working full-time in research administration at a University (sedentary desk job), and have a puppy pug – Gizmo. Oh and I have added another 15 pounds of weight making that a total of 155lbs. At this point, I really start to notice. All of a sudden I have cellulite in my legs, working on a muffin top, large and in charge arms/thighs. I notice that I’m fuller and I don’t like it. I don’t want to buy bigger new clothes, be embarrassed at the beach, or watch my weight get worse. I didn’t know what to do. Yeah the girls and I were on the right track helping each other, but I DID NOT want to be a yo-yo dieter trying out a bunch of different diets all the time. I’ve seen those results and I needed to find answers now. 

I looked back at the Paleo diet. I had lost about 9lbs on that (146lbs) and was starting to fit better in my clothes before we all fell off the deep end. Once we were off that diet for almost 2 weeks I gained back 5lbs. I continued to make healthier choices over that time period, but I had added carbs and processed food back in. On Wednesday of last week I decided it was time for some research.

I read everything I could get my hands on related to Paleo and soon discovered it’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle. You have to commit 100% for it to be successful – that doesn’t just mean follow the strict rules, but rather: listen to your body. I told the friend of mine who also had success on our ‘Paleo diet week’ about the articles and that I was going to give it another shot. She decided to join me. I immediately ordered Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso and book marked her blog for additional support, tips, and delicious recipes. 

I began the Paleo lifestyle on Saturday June 25, 2011. I shit you naught, but it is easier this time. Go figure. It could be because I knew what to expect, I was prepared, and there was support from my friend and all of the Paleo Blogs. I have been completely Paleo for the past 6 days and it’s amazing. ZERO cravings for any of the old crap I used to purge on or give into. I can’t believe it – I read that you would initially have the cravings and it would be difficult, but I haven’t yet. Maybe it’s because I tried it shortly before with minimal cheating? Not sure. Don’t care. I’ll take easy any day. J So far the results are like magic – just like the blogs said it would be. The pounds/fat seem to fall off. After gaining back those 5lbs over the 2 weeks I was at 151lbs – the scale this morning read 144lbs = -7 in 6 DAYS. 

Results: My clothes fit better, I’m more slender, I have more energy (no more afternoon crashes), I focus better at work, sex drive has increase (hubby doesn’t complain), and I’m excited to show off my bikini bod this weekend when my family goes boating for the holiday = increased self-esteem. 

Again weight isn’t everything. About a week ago, Sarah’s blog had 2 pictures of the same woman and she weighed the same 155lbs in both – but they were drastically different. This is important if you start the lifestyle. You don’t want to be discouraged by your scale number not moving in the right direction – don’t put weight on a pedestal and think you must achieve it. Instead, look at yourself in the mirror. If you incorporate 2-5 hours of exercise a week into your lifestyle you should notice the fat shedding off and you muscles becoming more defined. Now that is the Paleo Lifestyle.

I will continue to blog on my Paleo journey, the highs and the lows. If you read all of this, thank you because that was a crap-ton of me yammering.

Off to grab some lunch – can you believe a chicken breast on spinach with broccoli and cauliflower sound good? Oh well, I’ll take it!