I’ve lived a yo-yo lifestyle since I was a teenager. Food was my drug of choice. I ate to celebrate the good times and to bury the pain of the bad times. Sadly, my relationship with food has been the single most detrimental relationship in my entire life. I’ve abused food and allowed it to control me, over and over again. In the fall of 2012, at the age of 47, I hit rock bottom for the fourth time in 30 years. The cycle was repeating itself again, and I feared I may never be able to walk away from this destructive relationship.
Then I discovered the Paleo lifestyle. For the first 4 months of my CrossFit journey, I dabbled with Paleo. It wasn’t until February 2013, when I signed up to play the Whole Life Challenge, that I went “all in” and committed to living strictly Paleo for 8 weeks.
It was the right choice at the right time, and the results were mind blowing! I lost 16 pounds in 8 weeks, but that was not the most dramatic difference. I discovered that eating Paleo was the solution to my harmful relationship with food.
Before Paleo, I would…..
- Think about food all day – now I don’t think about my next meal until my body tells me it’s hungry.
- Count calories or fat grams – now I don’t count anything. I listen to my body and eat just the amount of food needed to take away the hunger – and this varies from day to day.
- Feel deprived or forbidden from eating what I wanted – now, if I decide to eat a non-Paleo food, I’m choosing, not cheating.
- Binge eat, or eat to cope with my feelings – now I eat only when I’m physically hungry, not emotionally hungry.
- Eat junk food and fast food – now I eat healthy, clean, real food, and I cook more often.
- Get mood swings or feel lethargic after eating – now I feel energized and well fueled throughout the day.
- Spend most of my grocery budget on pre-packaged pantry items – now I purchase mostly perishable items – fruit, vegetables and meat.
- Eat 1-2 meals a day in hopes of losing weight – now I eat 4 to 6 small meals throughout the day.
The cycle has been broken and I finally feel a sense of freedom from food. I no longer live to eat – now I eat to live, and it’s a pretty darn good life I get to live!
I was always one of those girls who was “petite” in stature during my teens and early twenties. I stayed active with aerobics and step-classes and followed the standard low-fat, high carb diet that was popular for so many decades. It was during those years that I believed that as long as something was low fat, you could eat as much of it as you wanted! That worked until I was an active duty Navy nurse and started working nights.
To stay awake at night I would eat large handfuls of Hot Tamales, candy corn, and corn chips and soon found my 5’1” frame at 132 pounds. This was a huge departure from my 112 pound normal and I had a meltdown in my closet one day when nothing but scrubs would fit! I drove to the nearest Jenny Craig location and started on their program. It was the first time I had really dieted, but their program worked and I was soon back to 112 pounds. But, I didn’t learn anything about nutrition and how to make good food choices in real life situations.
To maintain my weight from then forward, I indulged in various diet lifestyles including being a vegetarian for upwards of 6 years. All of these diets were deprivation mode inspired and when I became pregnant with my twins in 1999 I developed an insane craving for red meat. Burger King Whoppers to be more exact! I ate a Whopper every single day of my 31 weeks of pregnancy, topping the scale at 166 pounds when I delivered.
To lose the remaining 40 extra pounds of “baby weight” I returned to Jenny Craig, where, once again, I got down to 112 pounds It was then that I hired a personal trainer and lifted weights for the first time ever. I fell in love with weight training and started reading as much as I could on nutrition and weight lifting.
I never returned to Jenny Craig but spent the next 10+ years counting calories, measuring portions, and turning down “fattening” foods like butter, steak, bacon, and avocados. In the meantime, I kept reading about nutrition and hearing about the Paleo lifestyle. It seemed so opposite of everything I had been taught and was doing for my entire adult life that I couldn’t embrace it.
Finally, in the fall of 2012, I decided to “go Paleo” and commit to eating this lifestyle. Without hesitation, it is the easiest, most fulfilling way of living and I easily maintain my weight and size. Because of Paleo, I have fallen in love with cooking and you can find me whipping up Paleo desserts and baked goods almost every week!
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