Every January, my company does a weight loss challenge. I’ve talked before about how that challenge was a great jumping off point for me in my experience with paleo. This year, several of my co-workers decided to try a paleo while competing in the challenge, but one – Dianna – went all in! She was strict and committed and her results shocked a lot of people!
Several weeks ago, I asked her to talk about her experience. I love her answers! She really learned some valuable things about her body, food and the power for perspective!
So Di – How long have you been trying Paleo? What are your stats/the biggest changes you have noticed since making this change?
I’ve been eating Paleo for 8 weeks and I really enjoy it. I’ve lost 18.2lbs thus far, which is over 10% of my body weight. I’ve also noticed my stomach and face are not as bloated as they normally are; along with that comes those bloated/extremely, sickly FULL feelings after eating – these are gone too!
What made you decide to try Paleo?
After over 3 years of thinking I had horrible sinus infections, the doctors realized I was having migraines. All that they could do for me was to give me a migraine medicine to use for when I get migraines. It works wonders, but puts me out of commission for the rest of the day. I started doing research on what causes migraines, hoping I could prevent them vs. trying to cover them up when they do happen.
I found that MSG & Caffeine are causes of many migraines. I started researching MSG and was shocked to find it’s in EVERYTHING that’s not fresh produce & fresh meat. I started tweaking my diet a bit, such as no creams of anything, using MSG Free Ranch dressing and making homemade taco seasonings. This cut back a little on the migraines, but not on how the rest of my body felt. I needed guidelines to live by and the food industry is just horrible about making eating healthy easy for us.
I knew I had to look elsewhere and could not rely on labels that said MSG Free, as this wasn’t leading to a healthy, balanced diet.
I knew I had to change, as I had gotten to my heaviest weight and didn’t want to live this way anymore. I researched a lot of Clean Eating diets. One even had two cheat days! That sounds awesome, right?! On the cheat days, you could only eat 1200 calories. I don’t want to have to count calories, I just want to eat good food and be healthy. I want to eat food that is going to make me feel better, not worse.
After looking into the Paleo lifestyle and asking you (Amy) a bunch of surface questions regarding it, I decided to give it a shot.
What were your concerns/challenges before you started? Did they prove to be true? What are your challenges now?
My biggest concerns were running out of things to eat/getting bored; and missing bread (of course)! Neither of these concerns has proven to be true thus far. I find I’m trying so many new foods than I have before and my taste buds are always dancin’ with delectable goodness. I hardly ever want or miss bread. Every once in a while, I crave a PB&J and maybe sometime I’ll have one. Overall, though, I really don’t crave things I can’t have anymore. There’s always a tastier and healthier alternative.
My challenges now are molding this lifestyle into my social life. When we go over to a friend’s house or the in-laws, I always need to be prepared with my own food, but I’m normally not! I don’t expect them to cook Paleo for me, but I also don’t want to be rude and say no to what they’ve made. This is still a struggle for me.
I know you are married. How has your husband felt about these changes?
Mike has mixed feelings about the changes. He tells me that I really do look great and he’s really proud of me for sticking with this and making it a lifestyle change, not a diet. He also loves the meals we cook now, although he could go without all the veggie chopping.
He is apprehensive with some of the Paleo guidelines. He’s very used to the food pyramid and can’t get past the idea that grains should no longer be in your diet because, well, they are on the food pyramid. I’ve explained to him the best I can why they shouldn’t be and have asked him to read some material on it. He’s not there yet, but he also has a stomach of steel and perhaps doesn’t understand the digestive effects certain foods can have on a person. The same goes for the Dairy group.
What were the most important tools to your success?
Having friends, such as you (Amy), to go with questions and successes (and maybe some fails) is really important. I know my husband supports what I do, but he also doesn’t truly understand it yet. To have people who understand and who believe in the same things is important. It’s good to have a Paleo Community either through friends or through blogs, Instagram, etc.
Reading about Paleo and the reasons why is the MOST important tool to my success. I’ve always done diets before just to lose weight, and never thought of any other health benefits. Once I got to the weight I wanted I would stop. Now I know WHY you shouldn’t eat certain foods and that is my motivation not to. It’s not about my weight or how my jeans fit, it has truly become about my health and well-being. It’s truly empowering to know that you can control your health. What we eat, what we do, what we say – these things will all affect our future and they are all decisions that we can freely make. I’m in control of my health and I couldn’t feel more powerful.
I’m so proud of Di! She really learned a lot, and I loved what she said about feeling powerful! How could she not feel powerful after reducing her mirage problems (something doctors tried to fix for years) without prescription drugs in just 8 weeks!? Food is powerful and our choices are powerful. It’s amazing what our bodies can do when we give them the right tools!