Jessica and I did a strict Paleo challenge back in 2012, mostly to lose some winter chub. The results were outstanding, as I lost about 20 pounds and she dropped 6. But the other results she experienced were even more awesome, so I asked her to write this article. Still relevant today!
Last summer, a spontaneous move to Austin sparked a new social life for me. After a few months of living in a new city, eating everything in sight, and drinking more than usual, my body started to take a turn for the worse. I gained 8 pounds, felt tired all the time, and had heartburn almost every day. So, after the New Year, Jacob and I made it a priority to buckle down on a diet that would yield weight loss results, and we started exercising more. We committed to a 30 day strict Paleo diet.
If you aren’t familiar with the Paleo diet, it basically focuses on foods that cavemen found in the wild. The theory states that a diet of simple meat and mostly green vegetables is easier for the body to process, and causes less weight gain, digestion problems, etc. than modern man’s diet. I later found this to be especially true as a fix for my near-constant stomach pain. So, 30 days of no milk, bread, sweets, and anything that I would normally crave. Jacob started back at Hyde Park Gym and we started doing afternoon walks with occasional fasted morning walks. He inspired me to start doing slow negatives at the chin up bar, lunges, and other exercises that led up to me actually wanting to start lifting heavy shit.
It was very difficult to transition to a diet so opposite to what I had done in the past, but I quickly acquired a taste for vegetables like kale, asparagus, and sometimes butternut squash as a treat. Preparing food for dinner and having leftovers to bring to work for lunch was key. I started enjoying the cooking aspect and created a recipe book full of Paleo recipes. It was much more fun and manageable sharing this experience with a partner because we could cook together and make sure the other didn’t fall off the wagon. Jacob was extremely supportive and helpful in the kitchen.
Coconut Shrimp Curry!
After the 30 days, I weighed in 6 pounds less and felt less bloated. The best result was that my energy level had made a huge jump. I used to be very tired after work and would sometimes need a nap, but I started to find myself motivated to exercise in the afternoons. Losing weight was great, but seeing the positive effects that it made on my body was shocking. Doing a little research on the Glycemic Index, I found that I could also improve the fruits that I was eating to satisfy my sweet tooth. Bananas were great, but very high in carbs. So, I switched to apples and grapes. Every time I cheat with a cookie, I feel the effects almost instantly.
It is great to inspire co-workers and friends to try to modify their diet and/or lifestyle and see their experience help them in new ways. I plan on continuing to maintain a Paleo diet because it helps me stay energized and motivated in the gym. Taking in a lot of protein from meat also helps me build muscles and get strong!