Paleo IRL: Stacy's Confession


I’ve gained 3 pounds.

The world hasn’t ended. I’m not crying. I’m not panicking. I’m not confused why this is happening to me. I’m not even upset about it.  After I hit 198lbs on my birthday, I was able to let go of my scale addiction.  The number goal I’d had for a decade had finally been achieved and I knew everything from that point was all about health and well being.

I didn’t have an interest in weighing myself daily anymore, it wasn’t a game I was playing. I was finally living In Real Life (IRL) focused on what was in front of me and not some imaginary measure of success.

Since then I haven’t been going to the gym or moving my body enough. I haven’t been sleeping well. I haven’t been taking care of myself the way I know I need to. I’ve let the demands of my full-time job, this blog and our book get the best of me.  I’ve been snacking more than I need to, I haven’t been listening to my body’s hunger cues, I’ve been eating a ton of faileo paleo(ish) treats, and I’ve been enjoying the plethora of carbs fall and winter foods present.

It is empowering to know that.

I decided to step on the scale sometime last week just to see what was going on.  I knew I’d lost muscle and probably gained weight, but all my clothes still fit the same so I told myself no matter what it said I wasn’t going to freak out.  And I saw that I had gained weight. And I didn’t freak out.

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of any of that information until I was listening to Episode 39 of This Week in Paleo featuring Mark Sisson.  There was a lot of really powerful information in that interview, but what I took away was his philosophy of your body having a “comfort zone.” There’s a weight where each of our bodies “plateau.” And that for most people if you’re eating nutritious foods and living an active life, that weight is where you’ll achieve health. Not the cover of Shape magazine, but you’ll be healthy. There was an analogy to Oprah and I finally saw myself outside the confines of all of the cross-fitting paleo superstars in my life.

I was metabolically deranged. I was morbidly obese for the entirety of my adult life. I gave birth via c-section at over 300 lbs 3 times in a row.  I am never going to be able to compare myself to how hot Liz’s booty is or how spectacular Diane’s shoulders are. I need to compare myself to me. Eighteen months ago I could hardly find the energy to eat dinner at the dining table instead of on a sofa or in a bed. Today, I host dinner parties on a weekday with energy to spare for things like this blog.

My body is happy.

My ideal body weight was probably not originally 200lbs. But, when you’ve lost 135 pounds, have 20lbs of extra skin and years of damage to your metabolism, you have changed your body chemistry and you work with what you’ve got. Today I give myself perspective. I remind myself that the original weight loss goal I set for myself to achieve in January 2012 was 50lbs ago. It’s OK if I never lose another pound and spend my life in a size 14.

I never ever imagined I’d be under 200lbs or wearing clothes from the “normal” department of the store. I’m stopping to appreciate where I am. I’m not comparing myself to where I wish I was. I’m focusing on appreciating that I can have treats, that I can enjoy carbs, and that I can step on a scale and not cry or think terrible thoughts about myself. Most importantly, the ultimate goal I set out to achieve has been accomplished: I have energy to play with and enjoy my children – I will be here for them a long time.


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  • Genevieve

    THANK YOU for this.  I struggle all the time with stalled weight loss and the plus or minus 3 pounds.  I step on the scale every. day.  I know that’s not the measure of my health and I know that I spent 17 years screwing my metabolism by being all manifestation of vegetarian.  I can’t expect it all to just fall off or be normal because I’ve eaten paleo for the past six months.  I want so much to just concentrate on being healthy rather than being skinny.  And I really don’t want to freak out if the scale creeps up a few pounds.  If I’m doing things right then I’m healing from the inside out.  I just want to live a long, healthy life with my  husband and my babies and not be concerned too much with my fattiness.  Your post has definitely encouraged me in that direction this morning.  Thank you!

    • Genevieve, I weighed everyday too. Sometimes 3 times a day. It gave me motivation to eat right and lose weight.  But, I had told myself when I got under 200 that the behavior needed to stop. That it was no longer about weight – it was about body composition, health and personal well-being. It took about 2-3 weeks of Matt HIDING the scale from me, but then I was able to get on once a week, check in and say, “oh, yea, I haven’t gained back all 135lbs yet, the world is OK” and move on.

      I hope you’re able to get there too, it’s extremely liberating!

  • Stacy, you guys are such an inspirations!  Your blog has quickly become one of my favorites, and I love seeing your transformation.  You look amazing, and I don’t just mean the weight you have lost.  You look more alive, and it’s obvious you feel better.  Keep up the good work!

    • Sarah, there’s nothing more I enjoy hearing that people love the blog and that it’s worth the time and effort we’re putting out. Thanks so much and I’m happy to be a favorite 🙂

  • Kori Rotondi

    THANKS for sharing!!  I am also, after 6 months, wearing regular sizes (a 12!  OMG A 12!!) for the first time in more than fifteen years!  And yet, I am hovering at 170 to 175 and can’t seem to break through.  Like you, though, I’m not really trying.  I am enjoying sweet potatoes and the occasional treat and as a mother of 4 little ones I’m just not making it to the gym.  But I feel great!  My 6 year old and I had a contest to see who could do more jumping jacks yesterday.  He won.  BUT I DID JUMPING JACKS!!  And it was almost a close competition.  

    • How fun, Kori! Our kids love it when we exercise together. I think I need to re-kickoff hand-standing in the evenings.  It was loads of fun and gave us something to do together that isnt’ sitting on our bums… which is what cold and dark weather has brought us to!

  • Vanessa muemmler

    Stacy, you look beautiful. You are already where I want to be:-) I still have around 40pds to go and reading your story helps me believe that I can accomplish this.
    You are an inspiration to me and I am glad I found your side and have someone I can really relate to. So thank you for this side. Vanessa (Germany)

    • Wow, thanks so much Vanessa – that means a lot.

  • Stacy, you are awesome. 🙂 Love your confession!! (especially right now when I’ve gained 3 pounds and feel like crap lol)

    • Tara, I don’t want to encourage you to feel like crap so if food is giving you the yucks then try to modify to feel better – but, if you feel like crap because of an imaginary measure of something – let go and be happy, go play and cook with your kids!

  • Sarah SC

    I am literally crying. You absolutely spoke to me. I demean myself almost daily because of my inability to lose weight (though I’ve lost 70 pounds. I’ve been at a plateau since December. I have, however, gained a TON of muscle since then. And switching to an all egg diet I managed to lose 15 pounds, which immediately came back when I began introducing other foods again). I do this privately, while on the outside I preach about loving your body and working on being strong and healthy instead of thin. I, too, have destroyed my metabolism through years of overeating, and also years of starving myself. I gave birth via emergency c-section to my daughter and between gaining over 50 pounds during my pregnancy and the csection, my body has been left in a state that nothing short of surgery will “repair.” I spend an unhealthy amount of time scolding myself and obsessing over all of this. Perhaps this is my “healthy” weight. Perhaps this is where I need to find contentment. I workout 4 times a week (extended CF), and eat strict Paleo. If taking such good care of my body is not producing further weight loss…maybe this is where I need to be content.

    This post has really, really, really helped me, Stacy. Thank you.

    • Wow Sarah, there’s no better feedback I could ever want than that.  I think it’s hard when you’re coming from a place of having “abused” food to determine what’s healthy and allowable and when you’re crossing back into the “danger” zone.  But, it’s like you said – if you’re eating healthy and being active then just try to forget about numbers and focus on being happy and healthy.

      Easier said than done – but a beautiful place to be once you can get there 🙂

  • Liz

    You are far too kind, Stacy. My booty is a product of knowing EXACTLY how to layer several pairs of Spanxx. 😉 

    I think it’s natural to have that ebb and flow of positive and negative self-awareness, especially when you’re in a position where your experience isn’t just YOURS anymore. You have an audience of people who are profoundly inspired by you, and that changes the game a bit. You expressed it so well. <3 

    • I need a tutorial on the multi-layered Spanxing!  <3 you.

  • Rebecca carlson

    Good for you!  And by the way, you look healthy and happy- you’re glowing!  That should be proof enough that you’re doing the right thing for you and your family.

    • Rebecca, I’ve never felt better – thanks for noticing!

  • ThePaleoMom

    Inspirational! You should be very proud! And good for you to keep such a healthy perspective!

  • Patti Simmons

    I am currently in a similar position. I’ve become a bit more relaxed about my diet and am pretty happy where I am. Could I get fitter/leaner? Sure. Could I be more strict about food choices? Totally. But I haven’t had fast food in 6 months, i love the way i look, and I can easily maintain this long term, so I’m not stressing about a plateau/very slow loss at this point.

    • Girl, you’re smokin’! I agree with you, I’d rather be a little more relaxed and happy with where I am than constantly stressed and watching what I eat to get into *perfect* shape.  It’s the beauty of paleo, if I have to “diet” and count calories then I’m not going it right…

  • breanna

    well you may not be crying, but i am! i’ve lost 90 pounds in the last 14 months, for the first time in my life have control over how i respond to the constant food thoughts (though the thoughts are taking much longer to get rid of than the weight!) and all I seem to be focused on is the few pounds left that i’d *like* to lose…I didn’t lose this weight being Paleo, i’ve just recently come into the paleo lifestyle, and i’m spending every day FREAKING OUT because I’ve never eaten so nutritiously in my life…i haven’t had sugar or any breads/rice/pasta etc in almost 10 months, NOT ONE BITE…but for some reason my body is gradually adding on weight, and nothing I’m doing to correct it is working. i’ve tried eight billion different things to try to figure out what on earth is going on…and nothing seems to be helping. my lovely husband is constantly (and so gently) trying to point me to focus on how very far I’ve come (which i’m almost completely blind to) and remind me that my body has “readjusting” to do, it has to learn how to be this new weight…i’m so completely overwhelmed with the feelings and fears of each day that I just can’t see the bigger picture. 

    i’m not sure that i’m ready to accept that my body might *need* to be at a slightly higher weight than i’m at right now…that it is just trying to get to a comfort zone for health, i’ve just become so preoccupied with the number I see every day, and how to get it back to where it was! it’s like i’ve gone too far in the other direction…just a year ago I was obese and addicted to all the SAD foods, i fed my emotions constantly…i was a mess! now I feel like i’ve conquered a lot of those old things, have completely changed my lifestyle and habits, but i’m a new mess! i really need some balance! i’m at a size/weight i NEVER thought i was capable of, and instead of celebrating that and feeling the joy of it, i’m riddled with fear of all the weight coming back, and i’m dissatisfied and wishing i could go smaller still. 

    How do you keep yourself at a place of focusing on all those positives and shutting out any of the negative thoughts…that “imaginary measure” that has somehow made me feel like i’m constantly failing, even though all my actions are spot on healthy? why don’t i *feel* healthy? 

    • Breanna, I don’t know your current weight or your activity but remember that muscle weighs more than fat. So, if you’re upping your protein and reducing your carbs you could be changing your body composition. Also, focus on hunger cues, staying hydrated and skipping meals if you’re not hungry.  I find that because we eat nutritionally dense food, that often means caloriclaly dense – so listening to your body tell you if it needs more or not can make or break weight loss.

      You’re husband’s right, you’ve got to relax. Cortisol can cause weight gain, and stress increases it’s release. Try to focus on eating the right foods at the right times and step off the scale for a week or two (I like to weigh after my period since I know it’s the same time every month and my water retention will be consistent).

      Good luck, thanks for chiming in!

  • Well done Stacy, for both becoming physically healthier and also for developing a healthier attitude towards your body and you wieight. Both changes are quite an achievement and I can only imagine that both achievements took some hard work. You look beautiful in all those photos, especially the last few, great to see a happy healthy family enjoying each other’s company.

  • Milliannj

    Great piece…I am a scale watcher 1/6th of the way to a 120lb weight loss..the scale has played games..since I started Primal,but the inches R melting away…so if I’m 200lbs & a size 5 I’m ok with that (LOL)! as far as extra skin…dry skin brushing is suppose to work wonders. I’ve not yet lost enough to see the results…the T-Tapp website has some info or you can just search it. Thx 4 your great articles

    • M, coming from an expert – do what you can to be less scale obsessed.  When you’ve got a lot to lose it can be a great motivator – but somedays you’re going to gain weight even though you’ve done everything correctly and that can lead to some disappointing reactions/behaviors.  I switched to measuring myself and LOVED seeing inches melt off my belly.  See if you can find another way to track your results, good luck 🙂

      And thanks for the info on the skin !

  • Celia O.

    Brava!  I’m finally past the scale obsession (but just barely). I had an eating disorder in college and have been struggling with a healthy relationship with food since. I believe my body’s comfortable weight is different now because of the abuse I put it through, and though that number is about 15 lbs higher than I’d like I can live with it because I’m *health* now.  Cheers!

    • Celia, I’d love to be 15lbs away and others would love to be where I am – we all have our desires but what’s important is that we’re focused on a healthy journey to eventually get us there. Thanks!

  • Alexa

    I love this, Stacy.  It literally made me cry (something very hard to do).  Thank you for sharing this.  I needed it.  

    • I’m glad it was crying in a good way! Thanks 🙂

  • Jen

    I love this blog – it’s so real, so human. Thank you for your openness and honesty. You’ve given me the reality check that I needed. I have extra skin, too – I’m not gonna lie, I wish I knew how to get rid of it, it’s frustrating! – but you are right, it’s time to focus on health. I’m doing things that I haven’t done in years. Thanks for all that you share – your blog posts, your recipes, your pictures — you’ve really made a difference in my life! Cheers to you and your family 🙂

    • Jen, I’m not gonna lie either – I want that skin gone… but I’d rather remember the journey I’ve taken than go through another surgery to have it removed… plus then you’ll just have a scar. Just focus on the fact that all that skin used to be filled with fat and your hard work and dedication to health has taken it away 🙂

      Thanks so much for your kind words – I feel like I’ve got family and friends I don’t even know and it’s so nice to “meet” you all!

  • Mijoy17

    SO proud of you!  You are doing a fantastic job, this is just a small bump in the road.  Everyone gains weight this time of year, there is nothing wrong with fluctuations.  You look great!

    • Thanks for having been a friend through it all!

  • Elenor Snow

    Ooooh, look how great you look!  Great entry, and good example. I’ve got 100 pounds to go to reach my *normal* goal (after 70 off) — I don’t want to look like a model.  I want to look like a healthy person — and I will get there!

    • “I want to look like a healthy person” So true! I feel like I finally look healthy, I hear that I look vibrant and have nice skin, I feel great and happy – everything else after that is just a bonus!

  • Julie

    Stacy, you are amazing.  Truly and inspiration. Thanks for being so brave and putting yourself out there. It means a lot.

    • Thanks! I just hope to help people find their own inspiration and hopefully people will realize they can do for themselves.

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  • Systemofadowney8

    Thank you so much for sharing your story here.  I have only recently found your blog and am so happy I did!  Most of the other paleo people I know or blogs I read are from people who originally only had a little bit of weight to lose or they just wanted to be stronger.  I do not fit into those categories!  It’s so great to hear from someone who deals with body image just like I do and who has a scale obsesion!  A few months ago my husband convinced me to throw it away and I agreed but had him throw it away.  That felt like cheating so after he left I took it out of the trash and did it myself.  Sounds lame I know but it felt soooo good!  I am only a few months into my paleo journey and have a lot of weight to lose.  I feel like things aren’t happening fast enough but they are happening and I need to focus on that.  Good to know there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Thanks again for sharing your families story!

    • Thanks so much for letting me know you found us and find it helpful.  Best of luck – just stick with it, have confidence and listen to your body and the rest will come naturally!

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  • Jpeltzer35

    This is so fabulous…I found your amazing/inspiring blog via my old Crossfit gym in El Segundo, Crossfit Intrepid. I am newly married and have really started to think long and hard about how difficult it may be to have children and have them eat paleo, or really close to it. This blog has really inspired me to take it one day at a time, to not compare myself to others, when I should be comparing me to ME. Thank you for this awesome blog, you guys rock! 

    • Thanks for reading! We entirely agree with your sentiment! We can only do exactly what we can do and no more. The goal is to just be that much better than you were yesterday.

  • Susan Plocher

    This is such an amazing story.  I’m so proud of you for your wonderful and very real attitude about where you are.  What I want to know is “what were the nuts and bolts” of what you did?  Did you weigh, measure, plan, snack, have calorie or exercise goals or just eat what you want, avoid the “bad” foods and exercise more?  I need a concise plan to follow – I’m not great with “just go with it” type plans.  I function better with rules.  Can you help?  I have “The Paleo Solution” and I have Mark Sisson’s emails and his Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy (and of course your cookbook which I’m really enjoying reading through and can’t wait to try some of your recipes.  My kids are older than yours, but I think they will still enjoy helping and doing with me – it’s the process as much as the end result, right? :-D)   I’d love to hear more about what you did to be successful – mentally and physically.  Thanks!

    •  Susan, neither of us followed any plan. The key here is to avoid the problematic foods, eat mainly fat and protein, and only eat when you are hungry and no more. That’s the only thing we did! More specific ideas about what to eat everyday can be better found at such sites as nomnompaleo, who posts everything she eats. For us, relaxing about food was a good portion of the healing!

  • Les

    I know this comment is 4 months later, but I just wanted to say that I am so impressed with all that you have accomplished!  You are doing such wonderful things for your life and for your family.  Bravo!

  • Karenkennedyrippl

    Stacy, you look great.  I’m well impressed at what you have achieved.  I’m a nutritionist and blogger and while I say away from advising EVERYONE that one diet is right for all, I’ve seen a lot of people able to heal their metabolism and avoid foods they are intolerant to on this kind of diet.  I’m not surprised that you’ve inspired so many people.  But don’t take the criticisms too personally.  Food is very personal to people and it’s not uncommon for people for people to cling to their diets like a religion.  Ideologies are hard to soften.  I get it and I’m not nearly as extreme in what I advise!  Your story will resonate w/ some and not with others.  Congrats on finding your health!!  Karen  http://ripplfamilyfarm.blogspot.com/

  • Jan_98k


  • LiTtleheathfishes

    Love it so inspiring!

  • *Applause* You look fantastic – beautiful and healthy. And it sounds like you feel fantastic – even better. Love your writing, and your perspective. I needed to hear this today.

  • beautifully said! You are such and inspiration.

  • kelly

    hi, im kelly, i weigh exactly the same as you , 336lbs…. id love my journey to follow yours, any help and advice from you would be amamzing pls. xx

    • I’ve got LOTS of info on the site and our podcast, just search the “paleo journey” tag or read my B&A story for recommended links 🙂

  • Dara

    Hear, hear! So inspirational!

  • Jeremy

    Stacy, you have a ridiculously awesome ability put everything in perspective! And I have LOVED your recent updates on your Crossfit experiences!

  • Anthony Della Rosa

    you look amazing. Motivation for the rest of us

  • Amanda M

    Dude, I needed to hear that today. Get my head out of my dumbness and focus on what matters. Time to revise my list of things that constitutes “success”.

  • Sheila B.

    Yay for you! I did not start Paleo to lose weight. I started because I was always tired, felt sick all the time, in pain, and depressed. I am in the same place of excepting myself and being happy having the energy I have never had and being able to get clothes off the “regular” section too! I have only lost 25 pounds in a year and a half, but what I gained, my life, is so much more important to me. You keep doing what you do, for you and encouraging us that just want to be healthy. 🙂

  • Myles mom

    Chica…you kick all kinds of ass. Thanks for being so open…it makes me feel like its not just me 🙂

  • You are such a vision and an inspiration. As a woman in her mid 20’s (I’m 25 and it FEELS WEIRD) hoping to be a wonderful mother one day, just like yourself, I am so thankful from the wisdom and guidance you share on your blog and in on your podcast. You’re such a rockstar. I LOVE YOU!!! 🙂

  • Luckily I never got beyond 97 kgs (194 lbs). and now I’m already down to 88 kgs after almost 4 weeks of paleo. I started at 92 kgs. I’m 1.76 high and weighed as a teenager around 60 kgs (120 lbs) and you were able to see my ribs and I also had low blood pressure.I guess I was underweight. At the age of 19 I started working at an archeological excavation site for the whole summer and gained around 10 kgs (20 lbs) and felt really good Finally I was able to lift a box of water bottles. When I started university I gained some more kgs because I started to ride by bike to university and I had sore muscles for several weeks and had to buy new pants too.

    I am happy that I have a boyfriend who loves my curves :). I still have this muscles and feel proud of them, though my thick thighs and booty makes shopping difficult.But it makes me able to lift more heavy weights. I’m a little curious at which weight my weightloss might stop.
    I am very impressed that you can accept your body the way it is and also the kind of sport you are doing. I actually stopped lifting heavy weights because I was afraid to lose my female shape.