Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Paleo Experience - Month Two

....or... "Why Mac & Cheese never returns my calls."

As I have written before, going Paleo was something I was certain would never work for me. It seemed to work for J and he was pretty nuts about getting me to try it. I knew, however, this would be a challenge for me and I'd probably quit three weeks in. I had a love hate relationship with veggies and while I loved meat, any fish made me gag. I did not have high hopes for green beans and steak every night.

To be fair, J has done a really wonderful job of taking what I like and getting creative with it. I have to say, I wasn't sure how it would work. But we decided to keep us from getting burnt out, we'd give ourselves "free days", where we'd eat pretty much whatever...just as long as it wasn't in excess.

Frankly, I found that after an initial drop of fifteen pounds, I was really eager to give it a serious try. I tried veggies I didn't like in new ways, I went and bought fish willingly from the supermarket. (Don't tell J, but it was delicious!) And I was really eliminating grains and other pesky carbs and unnecessary sugars of my own free will. So much so, that after our chosen "free days" I would feel ill, and hung over the next day. It made that little splurge not worth it and so we pretty much eliminated the free days entirely.

I will admit It has really taken a lot of self control not to grab a dollar menu french fry or a cherry pie at the grocery store. They are?/were my comfort foods. I had emotional attachment to macaroni and got comfort from ice cream. And it was a dysfunctional relationship. They didn't love me back, in fact, they tried to kill me.

I never wanted to be one of those preachy "fad diet" kind of people. I usually find them annoying and a little too obsessed with whatever thing they were into. But I think I am officially that woman. Now in four months, I've lost twenty three pounds. That breaks down to about six pounds a month and around one and a half a week. However, in that time, I've not just lost weight. My body composition is drastically shifting. Parts of me that were stretched taut with fat are now seeming to melt away. My energy is unbelievably high and I have a new found understanding of what my body wants and needs.

When I'm thirsty, I drink. When I crave an orange, I get one. When I'm full, I stop eating. I know these all seem like very obvious actions. However, when you're addicted to food, like I am, those things require an almost herculean effort to do. When food means love, or comfort, or memories of a time after school at grandma's, putting down the dish and fork are really challenging. But for the first time, I'm losing weight without counting anything and without feeling deprived and hungry all the time. I really feel fortunate.

And what I've found out, is that when something works...something changes your life and everything you thought about your body and relationship with want to tell everyone. It's funny, now, that despite only losing 23 lbs, I want to tell everyone that this is changing my life. My obsession and ultimately dysfunctional relationship with food was killing me. My blood pressure and triglycerides were slowly filling my arteries with fat. Since starting this new lifestyle, I am completely off high blood pressure meds and have been given a clean bill of health, aside from the weight I'm still lugging around.

Let me reiterate...I have lowered my blood pressure completely by changing my diet. That, in and of itself, makes me want to tell everyone I know. I want them to benefit from the same vitality I've been feeling. To know that being tired all the time isn't normal, no matter what your size is. This is what our bodies need and I want everyone to feel great too. Which means I'm certainly a fan girl.

The more J gets into the actual paleo community, the more he forces me to listen to hours of podcasts from community experts who seem to make the science and physiology of it all so simple. Our bodies are meant to process meat and berries and vegetables. It's that simple. By throwing sugars and other foodstuffs that our body converts into sugars, we're poisoning ourselves slowly.

For more well-informed sources, you can feel free to visit several of the leading paleo blogs, Mark's Daily Apple, or Every Day Paleo, or Nerd Fitness for the actual science behind why this lifestyle not only works, but is good for anyone, not just folks looking to lose weight.

Also, here's a pretty concise video on how your body breaks down grains.

But all in all, after fully committing to the lifestyle for two full months...the drastic changes are pretty fantastic!

1 comment:

  1. I'm very proud of you.
    And not to put too fine a point on it, but the people reading this ARE addicted to those sugars and grains too. they might not manifest it the same as you, but they are. Because they're addictive foods, biologically. It's part of their evolutionary adaptation. They make you crave them. Don't buy it? Go grain free for a few days and see how your cravings go.