This is the first in a series of upcoming Guest Posts from real life friends from Matt and Stacy whose exposure brought them to their own health journey. It doesn’t look like ours, but it’s inspirational in it’s own merit.
Kerry is a long-time friend of Stacy’s. The ladies love to tell the story of how they met at a mutual friend’s party while heavily intoxicated on vanilla martinis. A subsequent friendship blossomed over supernatural TV shows, platform shoes and Jell-O shooters as well as breastfeeding, writing and many other things. Kerry is a university professor with a Ph.D. She’s gracious, generous, gorgeous, humble, funny, an amazing mother (of 3) – not to mention one of the greatest friends I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. This is her “Paleo Story.”
The Reluctant Paleo Person
My history with Paleo is thus: a few years ago, dear friends of mine opened a CrossFit gym on the other side of the country. They loved it, blah blah blah. Eventually, they started talking about paleo-this and paleo-that. Whatever, I thought, they are crazy fitness people. It makes sense for people who practice feats of strength every day to eat a lot of protein, but it seemed to go against all I’d learned about moderation in all things. So when Stacy and Matt started eating paleo, I was surprised, since neither had started talking about WODs and clean jerks and a bunch of other CrossFit lingo.
But by March, I was inspired by Stacy’s incredible weight loss, and I impulsively tried to give it a try.
Here’s what happened:
1. It is pretty easy and extremely satisfying to get off of sugar. I was amazed that I could drink black coffee and LIKE it. Moderately sweet foods, like carrots, started to taste pleasantly sweet when they weren’t masked by an overly sweet palate.
2. Intellectually, I could get into the diet without getting into the whole cavegirl philosophy. I like high heels. I don’t camp. As much as possible, I avoid sweating. The paleo “lifestyle” doesn’t appeal to me in the least. But, opting to fill my plate with vegetable rather than with grains made sense. Modern, non-caveman sense. Aiming for more nutrients, less filler jived with all that I’ve ever learned about healthful eating.
3. It’s harder to eat emotionally when you’re eating paleo. Fruits, veggies, and meat (with the possible exception of bacon) just don’t work as comfort food for me. I was amazed–shocked!–that I didn’t really miss sandwiches. Until I had a particularly crappy day, and all of a sudden, I wanted a grilled cheese with a passion. I’d always known that I sometimes wanted food when I wasn’t really hungry, but because it was harder for me to quickly that craving (no suitable cheese in the house), I was able to recognize it BEFORE I ate instead of afterward.
4. My skin is way better. Rare breakouts. I have not the faintest clue why this is, but it’s true.
Here’s what didn’t happen:
1. I did not magically shed weight. I’ve lost about 10 pounds in as many weeks. It’s not bad, but it’s not a miracle, either. It’s not the rapid loss that I observed in Stacy.
2. I don’t feel significantly different. I wish I could say that I wake up feeling great and that my energy level has changed, but I haven’t noticed anything like that.
3. I don’t feel bad when I “cheat.” For the first month, I more or less followed the Whole 30 plan. Right there, yeah, I know that “more or less” is against the rules. I drank wine and I had some appetizers that had creme fraiche on them, and occasionally enjoyed the sweet chemical-laden nectar I call Diet Coke. Since then, I’ve tried to maintain flexbility. When my friends ordered sushi for dinner, I ate the (delicious) tekka maki, rice included, because they made dinner and I’m not going to be a pain in the ass. Also, I love sushi. I’m planning on going out to an amazing restaurant with a chef’s tasting menu for my anniversary next month, and I will eat whatever the chef puts in front of me. Fresh pasta in a cream sauce? I will savor it. Not only will I not feel guilty about it, I also won’t feel bad physically. At least thus far, my “cheats” haven’t made me feel sick, as some report they do.
4. I’m not putting the whole family on paleo. My kids eat oatmeal for breakfast. And I make PB&J on whole wheat for my older son’s lunch. They eat burgers on a regular old bun. I am, however, gently introducing the idea that too many grains isn’t a good idea. Their grain intake has been reduced, though, just by virtue of the fact that they eat what I eat for dinner, and I no longer serve rice or pasta every day. But I made a sugary, gluten-y birthday cake for my daughter’s birthday, because frankly, I’ve never had a gluten-free cake that was good. Passable? Yes. Delicious? No.
The good news is that most of what I eat when doing Paleo IS delicious. I believe I already mentioned bacon. Avocado. Burgers. Tomato. Spinach. I’ve always liked these foods–I’m just eating more of them and less of other things. For now, I’m inclined to keep at it, half-skeptically, as always, and see what happens. I’m never hungry, and I’ve lost ten pounds! If that keeps up, I just may become a true believer.