I’ve lost 65 lbs with paleo but, really, that’s just the cherry on top.
I didn’t get into the paleo lifestyle to lose weight. I’d sort of given up on the weight-loss front. After hitting age 30 and having had 3 kids, I assumed there’s only so much one can do.
I was not an overweight kid but I was definitely a health disaster. I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for most of my childhood and consumed mostly soy and wheat with a few lentils thrown in for good measure. By age 15 my list of diagnoses was impressive and the medications were starting to pile up:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Chronic Amenhorrea= Rx: birth control
- Hypothyroid= Rx: Synthroid
- Tonsillitis and strep throat at least yearly=Rx: many rounds of Amoxicillin, later large doses of penicillin and finally tonsillectomy
- Chronic allergic rhinitis= Rx: cortisone nasal spray and decongestants (which I became addicted to) and eventually nasal polyps which were surgically removed during my teen years in addition to cryosurgery on my adenoids. Fun times.
- Allergic to just about everything= Rx: allergy shots every 4 days starting as a pre-teen that I would self administer after school
- Epstein-Barr virus (aka “mono”) multiple times= Rx: rest, hope and prayer (ha!)
- All of this was in addition to a heart condition I was born with called supraventricular tachycardia for which I was on beta blockers and other random things that never worked until I had my heart catheter ablation when I was 21.
Comprehensive diagnosis: HOT MESS
My medical file was a FAT one (pun intended)! Seriously, when my mom handed it off to me a few years ago, even I was shocked.
My experiment with paleo came out of desperation since my thyroid symptoms (fatigue being the most crippling one) were persistent and severe despite my lab work being “normal”. The first 30 days of the transition to paleo were not easy. My body was not used to so much animal protein and fat, and I was dealing with mad cravings for sugar and wheat. Finding the time, energy and money to do more shopping, cooking and dishes while juggling the usual madness of life definitely took some effort for both me and my husband Eric.
We made mistakes.
We got frustrated.
But, we stuck with it.
I lost 65 lbs with paleo. The craziest part was that I wasn’t focusing on weight loss at all.
I realize there’s many ways to lose weight. I’ve tried many of them myself: calorie counting, low fat, more exercise, low carb, slim fast, cortisol regulating supplements, among others. Some of them were seemingly successful, but I’d eventually gain the few pounds I lost right back.
You see, being overweight or underweight is often not the problem. It is a symptom of a problem. When you’re body finds health, it will most likely self-adjust on the weight front quite a bit.
The improvements I found with paleo were well beyond weight loss:
My cycle is like clockwork now. I’d asked countless MDs about this and only received shoulder shrugs and prescriptions for birth control.
My blood sugar (and hence mood) is finally regulated.
The bags under my eyes which I thought were hereditary and obsessively covered with makeup are gone (unless those little kids keep me up at night)
My nails don’t break as easily. My teeth are not translucent and I have not had a cavity since going paleo. This is someone that had a cavity at EVERY SINGLE dental visit- and no, my diet was not nothing but pop tarts.
The reason that I attained these benefits from paleo was because I was malnourished.
I was fat yet malnourished. It sounds paradoxical, but it’s true.
Food really is medicine.
In the last few months I’ve started working with a naturopath to help me continue to achieve optimal health. I will always be a work in progress and have many years of damage to unravel. After three decades of consuming large amounts of soy, wheat and very little animal protein and fat, my body just can’t handle everything as it was meant to on its own. This process is sometimes discouraging but, most of the time, it’s fascinating and uplifting.
I’ve only just begun my journey of finding health and I’m honored you’re giving me the opportunity to help you do the same!