Paleo Progress

Well hello there! You must have thought I forgot about you.  
To put it lightly, I haven't had a spare moment until now to update this here, blog.
But I'm here now with a post that you may or may not have any interest in.

A friend reminded me today that I need to do a Paleo update for everyone.
I'm still riding the Paleo train and to be honest, I'm not sure if I'll ever jump off completely.
This is seriously the first "diet" I've stuck with. And believe me, I've tried most of them out there.
So before I share too many details, lets have a look at what I like to call progress.

I started Paleo a little less than 3 months ago (that's still hard for me to believe). If you're new to this story, I decided to take pictures along the way to serve as a documentation tool for my progress. All my prego friends are doing it to watch their bellies grow. This Tina is doing it to watch her belly shrink!

This little collage was the first month of Paleo. It was where I really saw "quick results" When you look at it on a week-by-week basis, you can see subtle changes. I joke that fat likes to migrate around before it disappears. One week, the hips look to have shrunk and then next week, they're a tad fuller but the waist has lost a few. It really is funny to me how that works. Maybe it is just me that this happens to.

Fast forward to today where I'm almost at the 3 month mark...

So what has changed, you ask?
Oh, dear friend, soo soo much!

For starters, I'm down a solid 20 lbs.
TWENTY pounds!
And I can honestly say that was ALL diet, NO additional exercise.

My clothes don't fit anymore. LITERALLY.  I have very few pants that I can't pull off when they're fully buttoned and zipped.

I sleep so much better now and wake up energized.

For about a year, my upper back was ALWAYS in pain. I would do stretches all the time but nothing helped. I realized the other day that I couldn't remember the last time it hurt.

And in the course of one month, my blood pressure has dropped ten points. TEN.

So if you're still reading and possibly considering a lifestyle change like this, I'll share a few questions I get asked quite frequently.

1. Isn't Paleo expensive to maintain?
Yes and no. Think about how much money you spend on food. How much of that is prepared at home versus at a restaurant? If you are like how I used to be, I ate almost every meal out. It was quick and easy and honestly, I was lazy and wanted instant gratification. But the truth is, those meals add up so fast! Ten dollars here, eight there...I was spending around $15/day just on eating out. That adds up to $105/week. And then there were the groceries I bought weekly that added another $50 in the pot for simple things like granola bars, coffee, creamer, cereal and a few other random items that usually perished before I ate them. With Paleo, you buy FRESH FRESH FRESH.  And you buy only what you can eat before things go bad. So you're forced to really think about what you need because who wants to go to the grocery store every day? Not me. This really leads to meal planning and you end up with precise lists. Translation: I spend a little less than I did before.

2. How do you live without cheese and bread?
Believe me, there has never been anyone who loved these two things more than I did (and still do).  Every year at Thanksgiving when it was my turn to say what I'm thankful for, my answer was ALWAYS "cheese." Yep-I couldn't get enough of it. And bread-that was my weakness for sure.  But I made up my mind that I would at least see if I could live without it and if living without it meant feeling better. I'm here to tell you that there is a direct correlation with these two items and how I feel. I've cheated a few times and literally within 20 minutes, I felt awful. Stomach hurting, headache, tired, nauseous...all because of these two precious items. Let me say this, I don't enjoy feeling that way. So much that I don't miss eating bread or cheese. Do I walk by the lavish cheese selection at the market and get a bit frustrated? Absolutely! Would I just LOVE to have pizza for dinner? YES PLEASE! But it honestly isn't worth it in my book.

3. No Dairy? What about the calcium you need?
Believe it or not, eating fresh fruits and veggies alone will provide you with most of the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Calcium is found in many different food choices, not just milk items.

4. Do you miss the junk food?
NO! I honestly don't. There's been several times that I've eaten food that falls into the junk category and after a bite I realized that it really isn't that much better than healthy options.  When you know that the food you're putting into your body is healthy and providing it with the nutrients it actually needs, you get a mental satisfaction that is actually greater than the satisfaction that comes from eating fries or cake.

5.  Isn't it hard to maintain that strict of a diet and go to dinner with friends?
Initially, yes.  When your friends are chowing down on yummy sandwiches and you're eating a salad, there are definitely moments of pity that you have to deal with.  BUT, there is also that thought process in the back of my mind that reminds me "a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips." Ten minutes after eating bad food, you can't take that back. You're not still thinking about how great that meal was. You're focused on something else at that point. That moment of pity you feel is temporary.  The key is staying prepared. If I know I'm going to dinner with friends. I load up on healthy snacks prior, perhaps a small handful of almonds and an apple. And then I typically research the restaurant before going to know what my options are.  I went to lunch with my Dad yesterday and it was tough to find something on the menu that I could have, but I did it. Ordering fish tacos (no sauce) and not eating the tortillas is exactly what I did and didn't feel deprived at all.  My friends have been so gracious and encouraging to me that they'll even try to suggest places that have healthy options.

6. Do you ever cheat?
Sometimes!  When I had a horrible day a few weeks ago, I threw the towel in and ordered wings with fries and a beer. It was good, but I felt guilty immediately.  A lot of work goes into this lifestyle and I know that I want to see progress. I know that a meal like this isn't going to get me to my goal so it wasn't worth it if you ask me. But yes, there are times when I cheat. I didn't allow this until I finished the initial 30 day cleanse. It takes that long to rid your body of the toxins found in processed foods. After that, you don't crave chocolate or chips. I'll allow myself to go off course maybe once a week. It keeps my sanity in check and reminds me that staying healthy is a much better option.

7.  Aren't you always hungry?
The first week-YES! Oh my gosh I was ravenous! I would eat some chicken and 1 hour later my stomach would be growling. This is the grain detox talking! A lot of people describe this initial phase to be similar to that of the flu because you just feel so tired and gross. But after that first week, my stomach size shrank and would stay full for longer. If you're considering Paleo, expect the first week to be very hard. But also know that it gets much better!

8.  How do you travel and eat healthy?
This is a hard one!  I'm still working on this if I'm being completely honest.  I always have snacks on hand with me, especially if I'm in the car on a road trip. I typically keep a Lara Bar with me and sometimes almonds and fruit.  Oh and then its an absolute requirement to keep a lot of water on hand. This seems to help as well.

9.  What happens when you reach your goal weight?
I didn't do Paleo simply to lose weight. Yes, I needed to shed a few LB's but the goal was really more about taking control of my health. The food you put into your body is so powerful in how you feel now and in the future. I'm pushing 30 now and from what I'm told, "its all downhill from here" when it comes to your health.  I figured that if I take control now, I can prolong or prevent so many health issues simply by eating healthy foods. So when I get to my goal weight, I'll be ecstatic. But it doesn't mean I can jump off the wagon and go back to eating fast food frequently. I like the healthy options now. I don't think I would want to change what I eat even with the waist size of my dreams.

10.  Are you counting calories?
Absolutely not! That's the beauty of Paleo! You can eat whatever you want and however much you want as long as the food comes from the list of approved options. The truth is, you're never really hungry!  I rarely eat much for dinner anymore. It's typically a spoon full of coconut milk ice cream (German Chocolate) to reward myself for completing the day and maybe some chicken.

11. What DO you eat?
LOTS and LOTS of fruits, salads, lean meats & nuts.  Right now, I really love pork chops. They're lean and so easy to cook!

12.  Why Paleo and not other diets?
For me, I liked the idea of no processed foods. No chemicals, no genetically altered items for this girl. I also like the idea that I don't have to worry about counting calories or reading nutrition facts to see how much I can have. I know what I can and cannot eat and it is so easy to do! I needed a lifestyle change, so a trendy diet wasn't going to cut it for me.

13.  How do you say no to something tempting?
Sometimes this is hard. I'm human, it happens. Over Labor Day weekend, my mom had all kinds of goodies up at our lake house. These didn't taunt me, but one thing did: a Layered Ice Cream Dessert. It looked amazing and everyone was raving about it. But I came prepared with my favorite Coconut Milk Ice Cream and I prepared a bowl of this while they chowed down on the other dessert. Overcoming that temptation was so gratifying, let me tell you! For me, its very mental. I sometimes have to talk myself through the temptation. "Rachel, if you eat this, how are you going to feel? You know that in 15 minutes you will feel sick. Is it worth it?"  Yesterday, I texted a friend and said "Talk me off the ledge. I'm really considering Zaxby's for dinner." I hadn't had enough to eat that day so the temptation was really strong. My friend encouraged me to say no and reminded me what my goal is and how hard I've been working to get there. Accountability is everything! Enlist all your friends and family to do this for you!

14. Dairy can't be bad for you. I just don't buy it!
Well I wouldn't say that dairy is BAD for you. I would just say that it really isn't good for you.  You know those pesky 5-10 lbs you just cannot get rid of? Try cutting dairy out and see what happens! Dairy causes bloating from my experience. Cutting out dairy is the difference of those jeans that are a tad too snug that you have to really work to get zipped up and those same jeans slipping on effortlessly and not having a little roll over. You know what I'm talking about-be honest!

15. I don't need to lose weight. Is Paleo an option for me?
First of all, cry me a river. You are naturally a perfect size. We all hate you!  Not really, but you should be grateful that you have a naturally high metabolism. The problem is, your weight isn't the only indicator of a healthy body. If you read my stats from my last physical, you would see that I am perfectly healthy in all regards. I like to think of Paleo as preventative medicine. You cannot go wrong with cutting out processed foods. You know that an apple is a much better choice than a few Oreos. The idea is to fuel your body with clean options. You don't want to put crappy gasoline into your brand new luxury car do you? Why would you want to put crappy fuel into your body? You can't trade it in for a new on in a few years, so take care of it!  Weight loss may not be a goal for you, which is fine.  Cutting out the junk doesn't mean you'll drop the amount that I have. I needed to drop that weight, so the healthy foods are helping to make that happen. Your body will tell you what it needs, I promise. If you notice a drop in weight, then add in more fruit and protein and pull back a bit on the greens.

1 comment:

  1. So impressed by all your progress!! It is truly impressive that you can say now to a layered ice cream dessert. I know for a fact that I am not that strong. In fact, I'm probably the one who brought it. Everything in moderation... including moderation? You're right about the dairy though. I was addicted to cheese, and went vegan for a month a couple years ago just to see what happened. the LBS dropped like flies! It was just the cleanse I needed. So excited for your progress! Definitely tops we can all use, paleo or not.


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