A Visit from Being Primal's Dean Dwyer

*Note from Sarah:  I recently had a chance to interview with Dean Dwyer of Being Primal, and let me tell you, Dean is one amazing dude who has this compelling way of making people laugh hysterically, think deeply, and drive you to tears all at the same time (in a good way of course).  Dean offered up this article for the Everyday Paleo blog and I simply couldn’t say no.  Please read, enjoy, and leave your comments!

How to succeed at being Paleo

Psst! Want to know a secret?

People who succeed at Paleo know something others don’t. They have uncovered clues, knowingly or unknowingly, that have allowed them to flourish within the lifestyle and achieve amazing results that have eluded others who are desperately seeking change.

The problem is most of us are too wrapped up in our own drama to know how to find these clues.

I don’t mean to sound critical here, but you can’t possibly succeed at Paleo if all you ever do is tell your tales of woe.

“Oh poor me. I have this problem. I have that problem. I can’t do this. I don’t have that.”

There is a difference between acknowledging your current challenges as opposed to leaning on them to reinforce exactly what you don’t want.

When we lean on them, we miss the chance to steal the clues that exist. We miss the chance to ask someone a question that might change our destiny. We miss the opportunity to not only ask, “What are you doing,” but more importantly, “How are you thinking?”

[Ironically I have NOT yet had a single person ask me how I changed my thinking to achieve the results I achieved.]

I am not trying to sound like I have things all figured out here (I will forever be under construction), but I do and think differently now.

For instance, I am constantly interviewing people who have had success to see what strategies they have employed.

I don’t just listen to podcasts. I dissect them and take notes. I wade through piles of dialogue looking for clues. I dig deep to “steal” strategies that I can test for myself.

For instance, some of you know I interviewed Sarah last month. If you haven’t listened to that podcast I would recommend you do so. There is a lot to be learned from her story other than simply being inspired by it. You can find that interview here.

I have listened to it 3 more times since I made it available for public consumption. And not only did I listen to it, I took notes looking for ideas I could steal for myself and share with others.

Here are 11 that I uncovered that you might want to steal if you are not already doing them.

1. Scale up…

This is my own term for finding someone who already has the results you want and doing everything you can to find a way to work with them.

Sarah tells the story of a chance encounter with Robb Wolf when he was still a wolf-pup [get it?] in the Paleo movement. It took her 2 more years before she would act on that encounter, but when she did, she quite literally showed up at his gym and said, “Help me!”

Of course, we don’t all have the luxury of working with Robb. But there are many people out there who have shown they have achieved results by adopting the Paleo lifestyle.

Action: Scale up if you have not already done so. It could be with someone who is certified in the field like Sarah, or Jason. I have even jumped into the ring simply because I know I can help people. Whoever it is, find someone who you can lean on and learn from.

2. Jump in…

Sarah didn’t initially jump right into Paleo. She started out by going to Robb’s gym, but realized this wasn’t enough. She once again asked for more help. Robb and his wife Nikki, recommended giving Paleo a try.

She “kinda” did it for a few days and then would have, what I like to call, a day where you eat like a hyena. She realized that was getting her nowhere. It wasn’t until she went 30 days following a strict Paleo diet that things changed for her.

This is a theme I have seen time and again. I did an email interview with a girl who I shall call Laurie (I am calling her that because that is her name). She has gone from 194lbs to 131lbs by jumping in.

That’s exactly what I did as well. I read one post on Mark Sisson’s site and said, “Hell yeah! Lets try this!” I literally raced off to the grocery store about 5 minutes later.

Note: Jumping in doesn’t mean you have all the answers. It just means you are prepared to learn as you go, but you are going all-in NOW!

3. Create a clearly defined light bulb moment…

If you don’t have a moment of clarity where you realize enough is enough, things won’t change. There has to be a clearly defined light bulb moment; a specific moment where you are no longer prepared to live life as it is currently being dished out.

Sarah’s moment occurred when she realized that her health no longer was simply affecting just her, but her ability to be a great mother to her children and be a great wife to her “rock star husband” (her phrase not mine).

The good news is, these moments can be created artificially as well. I can tell you exactly when things changed for me. November 23rd, 2010. I looked in the mirror and vomited. OK I didn’t’ vomit, but I thought, “This is just stupid. I have been doing the same things for 25 years and nothing has changed.”

My light bulb moment was realizing I had to change how I was thinking, knowing if I could do that, then the doing would help me change how I looked.

The thing with a light bulb moment is it acts like a reset button on a computer. It allow s you to go back to a moment of clarity and remember exactly why you are doing all this in the first place.

Action: Create your light bulb moment now. Write it down and put a date on it. Have a reason so compelling that you can refer back to in times of crisis and reset things as they were at that moment in time. It really does work.

4. Ride out the storm…

This period is different for everyone, but there will be severe turbulence before there is calm. In Sarah’s case, the first 2 weeks were hell, which literally induced bouts of crying over her Paleo cereal.

But then something wonderful happened. Around day 15 she woke up and felt great. And for the first time in her life, she finely knew what it was like to feel healthy.

And once she gave herself the gift of healthiness, there was just no going back. The alternative (eating crap for the mere 15 minutes of enjoyment it provided) was no longer an acceptable tradeoff.

Reminder: There will be pain before there is gain. That’s the way it is with change. I mean, if change was easy, we would all be exactly who we want to be.

5. Create your own unique coping strategies…

Here is the scoop. All of us suck at change. Why! Because it’s damn hard that’s why. And when things get hard, one of the first things we all resort to is food; bad carb high sugar content food. (When was the last time you heard someone say, “I was so upset I ate a whole bag of baby carrots with avocado dip.”)

You need to know that when your emotions run amuck (and they will) you will be looking to seek comfort. You need to have a plan of action before this happens so you don’t fall into the above mentioned default reaction.

Here is what Sarah did.

a) She wrote.
She loves to write so that is what she did. Everyday she journalled about what she was experiencing. I did that also (still do in fact). Laurie, who I mentioned above, did/does the same thing. Writing helps you see what you are doing and what you are putting in your body. And unlike many of our friends, writing does not judge us.

b) She focused on the gains she was making at the gym.
When you partake in a program that focuses on increasing your body’s functionality, you will begin to notice improvements. That is incredibly motivating.

c) Noted the disappearance of aches and pains
We all have something that isn’t working the way it should. Make a note to check in regularly and keep track of these markers and where they now sit.

Action: Don’t just nod your head in agreement here. Get out a pen and paper and identify situations or people that set you back in your quest and come up with a list of coping strategies to test.

Here are a few others from my list…

6. Asked lots of questions
7. Started a blog to hold herself accountable
8. Committed to helping others
9. Changed her vocabulary (treats are NOT called cheats)
10. Understood which foods made her feel like she had been hit by a train.
11. Bloating was a reminder that what she had eaten was something that she should not be eating.

Your challenge…

So don’t just read this post, steal from it! Steal from Sarah. And steal from each other. If you are inclined to share, tell us a strategy you use (or one you know that someone else uses) so others can steal from you.

Who knows? Your strategy might be the very thing that changes someone’s destiny.


Ps…. I comment on every comment left so check back to see what others and I have to say.

Dean Dwyer is the author of the blog Being Primal.  When he isn’t writing in the third person, he coaches others in the art of being primal so they too can Make SHI(f)T Happen. He believes strongly in creating community and the power of positive peer pressure to create change. He is currently recruiting 9 women to prove just that! Click here for more inf0.

Sarah Fragoso

Sarah Fragoso is an international best selling author of 6 books, co-owner of the Chico, CA based gym JS Strength and Conditioning, and founder of the Everyday Paleo franchise. Sarah is the co-host of the popular Sarah and Dr. Brooke Show podcast and she also conducts workshops and retreats on the subjects of nutrition, lifestyle and fitness.

Her message is from the heart and she carries a genuine desire to help other families looking for guidance. These attributes have contributed to her successes and provide the drive to keep the discoveries coming.

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  1. Thanks for writing this. I’ve been MOSTLY Paleo for a few months now, but I know I really need to crack down and get on with my bad self in order to continue seeing change. Even with one non-Paleo meal a week in the first 3 weeks I lost 2 lbs “effortlessly” (“effortlessly” in quotes because it was a HUGE effort to stay away from my comfort foods.. but I didn’t have to count or measure!). Your post inspired me to get this going again and try for NO non-Paleo meals except for a couple of my own birthday celebrations this month 🙂 Thanks again for guest posting… I have a slew of Paleo cookbooks on their way to help me!

    1. Hey Tonja, I would invite you to explore some of the other emotional psychological reasons why we do what we do as well. It is not simply of matter of eating Paleo or not eating Paleo. There are reasons why we do what we do. Our challenge goes far beyond simply eating Paleo. Curious to know if you have a way of tracking the discoveries you make about you?

      1. Not really.. and not sure exactly what you mean. I do know my over-eating and food choices are probably 90% emotional.. always have been. My mom is the same way. I’m hoping one day to be the person who doesn’t think about food, but I am a foodie at heart too so it’s a difficult battle.

        1. Thanks for the clarity. So to use your example, if you think 90% of your issues with food are emotional (I’m sure many can relate) then what is the next step for you to start acknowledging what those are so you can being to put a plan of action in place to deal with them effectively.

          I mentioned in Sarah’s story she journalled. It’s very effective. I do as well and encourage my clients to do it as well. We need to go beyond thinks like saying I’m a foodie or simply acknowledging we are emotional eaters (which in fairness to you…we are all emotional eaters in one way or another).

          We have to take steps to address some of the issues that are preventing us from achieving what we want. If we don’t, we run through this never ending loop of behaviour that forever keeps us from achieving what we want.

  2. Dean, you’re swimming in the deep end *and* you used that word ‘irony’ again. That’s *my* word, okay? 🙂

    But seriously, I think your idea of looking for clues in everyone’s success story and applying their strategies in a way that works for you simply brilliant! But you knew that anyway…

    One of my many, many strategies is never to cook hungry. I eat before I cook for my family otherwise I eat while I’m cooking and then I’m full for dinner. But I eat dinner anyway and then I’ve eaten twice. Ugh. So I make sure that I have a decent sized healthy snack before I get dinner ready and then eat smallish at mealtime. So there you go, one of my secrets…

    And now I’m late for bed because I checked Twitter…

    1. Alison clearly you have drinking the Deano-kool-aid. That can be the only reason you would publicly admit I’m brilliant. I’m making a t-shirt with that slogan right now. There is a reason you know why zoos have signs that say, “Don’t fee the animals.”

      I NEVER shop when I am hungry. But my reasons are somewhat different. I actually eat the food before I get to the check out. Got tired of the weird looks when I was handing the cashier empty wrappers and boxes to scan with nothing in them.

      1. Another strategy I learned a long time ago – never shop with hungry KIDS! Bad bad bad bad bad BAD idea…

  3. Wow! Thanks so much for this. I have some friends who have really been struggling and I’m passing it on to them.

    My biggest strategy is to research. I love learning new things and digging into the “meat” of a subject. For me, it started when my mom got sick and was told that it might be related to gluten intolerance. In support of my mom, I started doing research on the subject. The more research I did, the more I could see things that effected my health and that of my daughter. Researching gluten intolerance led me to the Paleo lifestyle, where I got even more research to read. 🙂 After a couple weeks of trying to decide whether to go completely Paleo or stay just gluten free, my husband gave me a challenge – try it for a week and see what happens. Well, I did and I haven’t looked back! I’m feeling the best I’ve ever felt and I never want to deal with sugar crashes, joint aches and low energy again! At 46 I’ve walked a half marathon in under 3 hours! It was a great “high” just knowing that I could accomplish something that I had never dreamed I could do. Now I want to go find other challenges to see just what I can do.

    Keep sharing!

    1. Hey Tre, to be fair to your friends, this is a struggle. This is hard. Unfortunately, most people (myself included at times) do a crappy job of explaining their success in an effort to come off as an “expert.”

      I think we do people a disservice when we do this because when they struggle they think this is not normal and so quit thinking they are “broken.” That was one of the things that I loved about interviewing Sarah. She tells her story in very honest and raw fashion and in no way claims that she possesses some superhero traits that differentiates her from humanity.

      In fact, my point with this post was to point out she has better coping strategies than most. Most focus simply on the diet. When things don’t go according to plan however they think they are horribly flawed individuals and quit. I would argue they simply lack adequate coping strategies to move beyond something we all experience (just less so over time as our array of strategies expands.)

      Also there is a simple brilliance to your husband’s comment as well. So many of us look for reasons NOT to do something. We hide behind, “I need to do more research”, etc instead of just simply testing ideas for ourself and seeing how we feel. We have so little faith in our own opinion.

      So good for you to just JUMP IN!

      (whoa! this isn’t a comment it’s a blog post. What up with that?)

  4. catherine says:

    I had to laugh, because 2, 3 and 4 all converged for me. On August 1, I made the decision to go, and on that day, I cut out all sugar, grains, legumes, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, you name it…

    That was step 2.

    And Step 3 became Step 4, because I was so ungodly ill for a week (dry heaving, fever, chills, lethargy, nausea, headache) that a lightbulb went off… first, that whatever I was eating really was horrible for me, and second, that I never want to live through that again.

    Great article, and a nice reminder that while we strive for perfection with this thing, we are not, in fact, perfect. I’ve had a few stumbles, but I get right back on my feet again.

    1. I like your perfection comment Catherine. You would not believe how many people toss the diet out the window the moment they have a bad day or a bad meal. It is just that, a bad day. I do something now where I have a recovery day. It’s a specific day I use to get back on track. And just like that, bad day is behind me. I choose to toss the bad day as opposed to the good lifestyle (Oh I like what I just wrote there.)

      1. I Love THAT “choose to toss the bad day as opposed to the good lifestyle.” I just signed a book for someone today and she asked for inspiration – what keeps me going is what a dear friend of mine told me not so very long ago and it’s simply this. All we have is RIGHT NOW – tomorrow is gone, forever, and ever – we are never getting it back so if we continue to dwell on our yesterdays we will be stuck forever, and being stuck sucks so MOVE FORWARD!!

      2. Recovery day! Now that’s a great example of what I’m going to steal. GENIUS!

  5. Great post! I would add that change isn’t just hard mentally – it involves a fair bit of work in the real world too. Paleo eating is awesome but pretty high maintenance, in terms of cooking, searching out ingredients and having very few eating-out options. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it!

    Once you accept responsibility for your own diet, you can also accept that from now on, the time you spend preparing food isn’t an imposition – it’s a part of life. An important one. So embrace it, put time aside for it, plan ahead, enjoy it – and own it!

    1. Good point Belinda. I get a lot of emails from people who want change without having to actually make any changes. They simply are hoping something magical will happen. As you brilliantly point out, this is as much a realignment of our time…clearing space to do something that we KNOW is important. It’s a challenge at times, but the stress and bad decisions that follow if we don’t do that wreak havoc on us psychologically.

      Check out this picture. This dude is not Paleo, but it demonstrates that there is nothing magical about his success. He puts in his time and then reaps the benefits.

  6. Laurie says:

    Thank you for the post….and the encouragement.

    My strategy has been to change how I think about food. It’s a big one for sure, but the one thing I really needed to do. I’d been increasing my level of exercise over the last year and a half, in an effort to become more fit and ultimately lose some excess weight. No matter how much effort and exercise I was doing I just kept losing and gaining the same 3 pounds. My food mentality was “I just worked out for 3 hours so I can eat whatever I want”, well that didn’t get me the results I was wanted. Clearly something had to change. I stumbled upon Paleo while looking for a recipe on line and it made sense to me so I decided to give it a try. In the 15 weeks since I started eating a Paleo diet I’ve lost 13.5 pounds. Finally I’m not sabotaging all my hard work in my training. Seeing such immediate results helps me to continue to stick with the plan. Not to mention I feel much better. No more eczema or acne and I feel more energetic.

    1. Hey Laurie, that’s great to hear. Funny how life throws us a bone when we least expect it sometimes. If I may dole out unsolicited advice, really focus on the intangibles that come with this. Weight, which I am not a fan of, doesn’t measure happiness, self-confidence, self-acceptance, energy levels, physical capabilities etc. It’s important that people develop other, more accurate, sets of indicators outside the scale to measure progress. Congrats on your success though. It’s an amazing feeling when we find something that just works

      1. Laurie says:

        Hi Dean,

        Thank you for the advice. I really needed that reminder. Sometimes I get so focused on a particular goal that I lose sight of the bigger picture.

  7. Sarah Macarthur says:

    This is a great post. I shall pass it on to a few Paleo newby friends of mine. The ‘light bulb’ moment is so true. Mine was when my doctor was prescribing me medication for chronic migraine. I looked at the side effects of the medication and they were worse than the migraines. I thought to myself, ‘I can do better than this’, and so head first into paleo I went. 18 months later and I haven’t looked back since.
    The benefits are obvious to me. For example, I gained 23kg with my first ‘non paleo’ pregnancy and took 15 months of sweat and tears to shed it. However with my paleo pregnancy, I only gained 2.8kg, which I had lost after 8 days. You wouldn’t believe the number of mum friends who have started asking me about my paleo lifestyle since! I love it, I love how I feel and I love that I can wear my jeans 2 weeks after giving birth! Happy eating people.

    1. Hey Sarah, you share that luv gurl 🙂 Isn’t it amazing though though how people will totally chuck the side affects aside simply because their doctor has told them they need to take whatever it is they are prescribing.

      I was watching a commercial for some medication. You know how they have to mention side effects. Well these ones sounded like a skit right from SNL. I laughed out loud when they listed things like, may cause anal leakage and cancer. I’m not kidding. It was crazy.

      Oh and two HUGE lessons there for those playing at home. We should always be the last one to decide what happens with our health…NOT the doctor. Too many hand their health over to someone else and say, “Here, fix me!”

      Two, when you get results “they will come.” Sorry that is a lame “Field of Dreams” rip off but people always ask me how to convert others…I say DON’T. Get results and people will come to you.

      1. Sarah Macarthur says:

        That last comment is also very true. When people/friends ask me about the way I eat, I give them the very basics. When they have their ‘light bulb’ moment, they always come back and start asking questions. I point them in the direction of this blog and a few others and set them on their way to find thier own version of paleo. What fascinates people the most is how I can eat so much fat, have eggs and sausages for breakfast, and still stay lean…bring it on I say!!! 🙂

  8. Shannon says:

    Love the post and all the comments! I’m 7 days into a Whole 30, after several stalled attempts and a maybe 75 percent paleo diet, and so much of this applied to why this is working for me now. I realized my body feels awful when I fall off the wagon, and that I needed to starve my sugar deamon, because all my little feel-better treats were going to undermine my work at the gym and all my other paleo eating. For me, reading more about why paleo works gave me my lightbulb moment. After reading Robb Wolf’s book and Gary Taubes book, it was like someone flipped a switch in my brain. That stuff was not appealing anymore. Thank you Sarah, for giving me the tools to do this. I love your recipes, and would not be able to stay paleo without them. For me, it makes all the difference.

    1. Hey Shannon. The think to remember as well as that we all have bodies that offer different levels of forgiveness. My is not very forgiving. I don’t have the wiggle room that others have. I used to complain about that. I don’t anymore. It just is what it is. Sounds like you are now starting to figure out your forgiveness factor (hey look made up a phrase!) And yes, thank you Sarah!!!

    2. Thank you so much Shannon for you kind comment. : )

  9. Marcheline says:

    I “jumped in”, and have lost 30 pounds so far. But what I’m finding is that the “hard part” isn’t the beginning, where you make all the changes and see all the immediate results. For me the difficult thing is now… when I’ve lost a good chunk of fat, but only about half of what I need to lose. I guess you’d call it a plateau. I’m searching for new tidbits of info and ways to fine tune things so that I can move forward and get to where I need to be. It’s easy to go from eating crap to eating paleo, to get excited when all sorts of changes happen. This middle-earth of stasis is what I dread. Thanks for the encouragement to keep seeking, keep tweaking!

    1. Hey Marcheline, you have turned this into a Lord of the Rings episode…love it. Interesting, I did an interview yesterday with Jimmy Moore. The talked about his journey to when he lost 180lbs. He lost 100lbs in 100 days and then for 5 weeks nothing.

      The common mistake people make here is to think something is wrong. That something is not working! Plateaus are evident in all parts of our life. Nothing is always travelling on an upward trend. It will level out at some point.

      In Jimmy’s case, he had the wisdom to know that he was doing the right things and not to abandon them simply because the scale wasn’t showing weight loss. In fact he said even though he lost NO weight, he still lost 6 inches around his waist over that period.

      My point (I think there is one)…just because it appears nothing is happening, doesn’t mean nothing is happening.

      1. Marcheline says:

        Exactly. So it’s up to us to keep our brains entertained in the meantime so they don’t focus on the scale and panic! One of the many reasons I read this blog- thanks for the great article. See you at the Prancing Pony. *wink*

  10. Melissa says:

    After years of excuses about how expensive it is to be 100% paleo with a large family, (I have 5 kids) on one income, I’ve recently gone ALL IN! It has been a huge challenge learning how to talk with my kids ages 10-8-6-4-2, I want them to grow up understanding this is a lifestyle not a diet. They’ve seen me get healthier and thinner as well as much stronger at the gym. My main strategy for day to day success is FOOD = FUEL!
    Be aware of your triggers! As a mom, as well as a Navy wife I am so aware of how hard this is but I am all in so my kids wont be in their 30’s trying to find a way to avoid illness.
    We teach what we know, We reproduce what we are………..

    1. BTW I’m not a parent so take this parenting advice with a grain of salt. If you want to teach the kids about the lifestyle, it sounds like you could now easily do this: pick them up and toss them. What kid is not going to listen to a mom who can literally throw them out of the house (OK maybe we shouldn’t do that)

      I need to do a post on this, but I LOVE the word triggers.

      I mentioned to someone above, but when we have a bad day, instead of tossing the lifestyle out, find out what triggered the behaviour. That’s where the growth is at.

      One of my mine is Deano-frustration (when I am not doing the things I should be doing). That’s one of my triggers for crapola! Knowing this helps me catch myself much faster so I don’t need to spiral out of control for days weeks or months. Now it seems to only last hours.

    2. Love hearing from another mom of a larger family going all in! I’m also mom to 5 (11, 9, 5, 2, 3mo) and our whole family is eating the same. It’s hard enough making food for everyone, I can’t imagine making different things for hubby & me and kids! You go, mama!

      1. Wow! A mom of 5…that’s like a modern day The Waltons (sorry I just revealed my age.)

      2. Another mama of 5 here. (10,8,6,3 and 18 months) I had to take control of my diet before I even considered switching the kids. Those first couple of weeks were tough on the food budget and my sanity. There were so many days where I just wanted to buy a loaf of bread and a box of cereal because I didn’t know what to feed them.

        Now that we’re all in it together, I can’t believe how much their food choices have changed. They have gone from “No grains or sugar? We’re going to die!” to “I feel great! Can I have more broccoli please?”.

        I love the way Melissa states “this is a lifestyle, not a diet”. It’s so true! So many parents I know are on these diets while their kids are having a free for all and then they wonder why their children don’t like healthy foods. My kids are in the kitchen with me and they eat what we eat.

        Since this is Dean’s visit post….Dean is a genius. (mega ego stroking)

        1. Damage complete. Ego out of control Tara 🙂

          Like the idea of the kids being in the kitchen with you. Sarah has a video where one of her son’s is in the kitchen with her. Makes all the difference in the world. You can see that here.

          Kids become part of the solution.

          Lesson from Tara and Sarah (hey that rhymes….I should be a rapper”):

          Get the kids involved!!!

  11. I have been on the Paleo wagon since May 18th. That was my lightbulb day and I jumped right in. I’ve lost weight, felt good, pains went away, headaches gone, bloating was history. Everything was good then I slipped off track. I started eating junk food again and though everytime I would eat that way I would feel sick and depressed, I wouldnt really go back to 100% primal like I was before. I’m still in this state and cant seem to break the cycle. I will eat my delish paleo food then sit there and have a small bowl of ice cream. It’s hard to explain why I am doing this. I read the blogs all day long, listen to the podcasts on my way to work, talk about paleo every chance I get but yet I just cant seem to get out of this rut. Thanks for the great post because I will use it and hopefully stick to my better lifestyle.

    1. Hey Jenn, I am going to disagree with you on this. I dont’ think it’s hard to explain why we do what we do (ie resort to eating ice-cream). We know why we are doing it. The hard part is finding the courage to confront ourselves and our brutal honest truth. It’s easier to hide from ourselves and pretend we don’t know why this stuff is happening. Why! Because then we don’t have to deal with it.

      Wowzers! That was deep. Where did that come from? Anyone?

  12. Pam S. says:

    I think most of the points are spot on when it comes to the transition one has to make to really go paleo (or any big life change for that matter.) The one thing I disagree on is creating the light bulb moment. The light bulb moment is in my opinion the big driver of change, but I don’t think one can really “create” it, I think it happens serendipitously. I think you have to be in the frame of mind to be open to a new possibility and then you happen to read something or someone comes into your life and things just click. The thing could have been around you all the time but you waved it off.

    I’ve tried to “teach” people about proper nutrition and health but it doesn’t work. I only get resistance or their eyes just glaze over. I’m a big believer that one has to discover it for themselves. (I’m referring to adults here, not children.)

    1. Oh Pam Pam Pam, you wrote Dean’s blog rule #1. NEVER disagree with Dean..ha ha!

      Perhaps we are both stating the same thing. What I am saying is we can create it, but of course you need to be open to exploring that. It can’t happen if you aren’t open to change right?

      And I used to teach so I am well aware of the glazed eye look (actually I’m kidding. My kids were riveted by everything I said!!)

      My approach has always been this. You can’t cram paleo (or any other change) down someone’s throat. What I can do though is make it so damn attractive that they can’t help but want to know more. How do I do that. By how I live and act.

      Teaching is really just a nice way to say nagging I think.

  13. Dean,

    This is such a great post! Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I think your post helped me re-evaluate my Paleo process. I never had a “clearly defined Light bulb moment.” I have just kind of slipped into Paleo mode. I think this has prevented me from going full throttle and made it easier to be a bit lackadaisical in some areas. I actually don’t have any weight to lose, so I think it has made it easy for me to rationalize adding some sugar, etc. into my diet.

    Thanks for the wake up call! 🙂

    1. Hey Sally Anne, clearly you are very intelligent to recognize wisdom when you see it. And you are right. I am wise. Serioulsy, ask me and I will tell you.

      Kidding aside, I kick Paleo ass in this lifestyle when I am recording my foods, journalling on my successes and failures etc. When I deviate from that, things move into a grey-zone and my results become more sporadic.

      I think most of us (not all) need better systems in place to keep us centred. I think Sarah would probably tell you that this blog really helps keep her accountable. But we don’t all need blogs to find ways to do that.

      1. Yes, 150% this blog is not just for all of you but for ME TOO! I started this blog to help our clients at the gym and to keep myself accountable as I transitioned my family to a paleo lifestyle. Well, it worked darn it and now I have too many people counting on me to throw it all away and go back to eating pasta and cereal and more paste, and more cereal… Sigh….

        Just kidding, I love what I do and even if keeping yourself accountable means taking pictures of all of your food, or doing a paleo challenge with your significant other or friend, or setting a really cool goal (not aesthetically related) like climbing a mountain or getting a pull up; that always helps – to have your eye on the prize~

  14. Great post!
    It’s definitely not easy and hard work, but for me it’s so worth it.
    Almost a year ago that I jumped in.
    My life totally changed in that year completely and I’m loving it.
    I’m still learning, but it’s also really cool that some people made the switch because they saw how it positively changed me.

    1. That is cool isn’t it. We can all spread the Paleo movement far more effectively by being the Paleo movement. OK seriously, how profound was that statement? Anyone? Hello? 🙂

      1. The first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club.


  15. My clearly defined light bulb moment was when my “baby” was turning 6, and I still weighed essentially what I’d weighed since birthing him. I’d been working hard physical labor for well over a year and hadn’t dropped a pound. It clicked that diet was (and prob had been my whole life) the real culprit. I’d always wanted my cake and to eat it, too. Easy (lazy) preps, laden with the stuff to which I was addicted (flour, carbs, sugar). I had my Mom take the pictures on that day in February, 2009, and have been very kind and patient and compassionate with myself since then. I have also never allowed myself to feel like I’m temporarily depriving myself and that my new way of life might be reversible. It is how it is, and sometimes it is hard, and sometimes it feels like auto-pilot. But, mostly I feel like I love myself with every stitch of time and effort that I put into it.

    1. Ellen, very elegant gurl! I have nothing clever to add to this…dang!

  16. Chris Murray says:

    Great post!

    My family has been trying to eat more of a paleo diet. My husband is 100%. The kids and I still eat oats and occasional wheat. Honestly, we just can’t afford it. Do you have any pointers for budgets? We are a family of 7 and it can be hard, but I know it is completely worth it! I always cook from scratch and make meal plans so that part is easy for me.

    I have felt the difference from removing all grains and starches, etc. I am so thankful for the paleo community sharing all their wisdom!


    1. One of the things that is helping our family of 7 is to buy meat in bulk. And by bulk I mean half a hog and a 1/4 beef (maybe 20 or so chickens if you have the freezer room) We got an inexpensive chest freezer and eat out of it for the year. Saves alot of money, and if you can find the meat grass fed/pastured, then it’s even better for you!

    2. Hey Chris, this is a bit out of my range, but I think Beth makes some great points. I would I imagine it would be a challenge when you are raising a small village.

    3. Like Beth said, buy bulk. Cook in bulk. Buy fruits/veggies in season. Eat more inexpensive cuts. Shop around. Coupon. Find another family (or two) to split bulk items with (5 gallon coconut oil = half the price of 32 oz jars).

  17. Thank you so much for all of the advice. I have only been doing this for about a week now and am excited to measure success not in pounds lost just to be found again, but in the amount of chin-ups I can complete unassisted, a positive attitude and a change in self worth. I definitely still have the cravings and like one commenter above, I have actually been pretty sick for most of the days. I did not realize my addiction to the wrong types of foods was severe enough to cause withdrawls- pretty scary wake-up call. Thanks again for sharing your journey with me so that when the time comes I will know how to share mine.

    1. Shannon says:

      Hang in there and be kind to yourself! I know a lot of the paleo sites say starve the sugar cravings cold turkey, but it took me nearly six months of cleaning up nearly everything else to really feel like I could do it. By then I had found paleo dishes I loved and wasn’t stressed about my day to day meals. For the next month I’m focusing on getting the sugar out. What helps me the most is having something I love that I can reach for–Sarah’s meatballs and fruit and nut bars, right now, along with olives and sugar and nitrate free lunch meat with guac. And look at why you have the craving. I needed to realize that eating sugar did nothing make a crappy day better. Good luck!! 🙂

    2. The problem with guest posting is I am never sure if people are talking to me or Sarah…so I will assume we are talking to Sarah. I too am glad she shared her story, because I believe she got into are the real cornerstones to helping people make long term change.

      And yes, addiction of any kind is unsettling to say the least when we discover it is in fact an addiction.

    3. Yes, I agree, and I was there at one point. Very very scary. I used to smoke a very long time ago (crazy, right??) and when I first started eating paleo I completely equated the feelings I would get, physical and emotional, about certain foods to exactly how I felt when I was going through nicotine withdrawals. But now, several years later, like with smoking, I can’t believe I ever ate the way I did and thought it was not hurting me!! I promise it gets easier and finding your coping strategy and for me, really learning to love myself, helped tremendously.

      1. WHAT! you used to smoke gurlfriend? How did I miss that in our interview. I need to better research me thinks!! 🙂

        1. CRAZY, I know. I even forget sometimes that I used to smoke. Now, I can’t stand even the slightest whiff of cigarette smoke. I quite soon after I met John. He simply wasn’t having it and he’s too damn cute to turn down over a stupid addiction to nicotine. ; )

  18. My moment of “ah-ha” looking back was (don’t recall the date but I figure in Feb or March of this year) while laying in my sons bed w/ no energy to play with him and just praying he would find away to entertain himself. My son is a special needs child and he deserved a mom who could keep up with him. I was tired of being tired!!!

    A friend of mine who had been doing crossfit in Canada for about a year mentioned I should try crossfit. It wasn’t only joining that gym (Alternative Athletics in Billings, MT) but the owner Katie telling me about Paleo. So I tried it, the rest is history. I”m not 100% yet as my son is on a Modified Atkins Diet to control his seizures so I’m sort of stuck between the two right now, but I intend to get there. I have noticed that during the day I don’t have the energy ups and downs and my sleep, oh my gosh my sleep is so much better!!

    My helpful strategy just came to me last night from another friend who is wanting to “jump in”. She is hosting a Paleo party and has asked all of her friends who eat Paleo to bring a Paleo dish to help her get started. I thought it was a great idea so I thought I would share.

    1. I love the idea of a Paleo Party. How cool is that. A bit of your story is similar to how Sarah Jumped into this as well (the part about not having the energy to really partake with her kids).

      And definitely keep track of those intangibles like energy level etc. Those are important to focus on during this journey.

      Curious to know how the Diet is working with your son?

      1. Well its a little early to tell with the diet. He had a minor set back b/c he quit eating completely and was lethargice, so we allowed him to go back to how he was eating to get his energy level back up and then we slowly reduced carbs. We started at 20 a day which was to low right away. We we are back at it and doing 80 a day and weaning from there. The modified atkins is unlimited protein, unlimited fat, and we don’t count carbs in any of the protein, fat or nuts if they have them. He was a picky eater to begin with so this has been a little difficult to get going on PLUS he is strong willed so we are finding ourselves once again in the None-eating stage. We will just have to work past it. I”m determined to make it work!! I know for certain if the diet works for him and we are able to return to a “normal diet”, it will be a Paleo Diet, not the Carb crazy-eat-every-1 to 2-hours diet.

        1. Hey Holly,

          Good for you for being proactive with all this. I wish more parents would be. I wish you all the best with that and hope to hear your great success story with this someday!!

  19. Crankycalypso says:


    This quote perfectly describes me as well. Over and over again.

    My primal journey began about 3 months ago. With my partner on board, we cleaned out the shelves, cooked a bunch of meals for the week and set out a ”treat day” where we could indulge in our old, non-paleo favorite foods. I would go through the week, sorta, sneaking a treat here and there, and the week-end ‘cheat day’ would come and I would eat everything under the sun. I still saw some positive changes in regards to energy, knee pain and body composition, and my partner saw even more changes, the lucky bum. As the weeks went by, I found my cravings to be increasingly difficult to resist and gave in more and more on a daily basis to some sweets. Which then lead to episodes of stuffing myself with loads of processed sugar. Feels like the more I give in to sugary sweets, the more difficult to resist future cravings. Duh, right? Well, apparently it was not so obvious to me. How could things slip so much when really, all I had to do what cut the d**** sugar? Unreal. Well, this is my journey. Thank you for this article, it could not have come at a better time.

    1. Hey cranky,

      The first thing that comes to mind is something I have learned the hard way…bad carbs attract bad carbs…the more of it we eat the more we want. Again its different for everyone…sounds like you are like me…little wiggle room for the crap. It might be time to embrace some brutal honesty here…you can’t have that stuff…one leads to two etc…

      Something to think about.

  20. DirtyD says:

    What is the first thing you do after you have had a dietary lapse? My diet efforts have been sputtering all week. Today I visited the local Indian buffet. Not so bad except for the naan and rice pudding. Do you ever need to get yourself back on track after a week of eating in a way that bloats?

    1. Well here is a gap in your program that you need to plug…bloating is a sign what you had does not agree with you. First thing I learned when i went paleo. As a vegetarian I was always bloated…thought that was normal. Don’t get that with Paleo. So if it happens now, I now have a food I should not be having.

      BUT that realization needs to be made immediately. A week soon turns into a month or more.

      Bigger question…why are your efforts sputtering. This is not a food issue. It’s a life issue and we use food to compensate. Thoughts?

  21. KimberlyL says:

    Great post. My husband and I have been paleo since July 3. I have lost 20 pounds and I have about 50 more pounds to lose. My biggest success has been giving up the 6 pack a day diet soda habit that I have had for 30 of the last 47 years. It is challenging at times and daily I have to make a choice between immediate gratification and long term well being. But what I am finding is the more success I have in paleo the more capacity I have to succeed at other areas of my life. I have more energy, more mental clarity and most importantly more belief in my own ability to make myself well and fit. What started out as the primary goal (weight loss) is fast becoming a pleasant side effect of becoming my best self.

    1. I LOVE that last line…Pleasant side effect: BECOMING MY BEST SELF….awesome!

  22. I totally followed the “Jump In And Learn As You Go” strategy. A friend of mine sent me a link to Mark Sisson’s site back in May. It just so happens that she sent it to me on my birthday, May 31st. I basically did not do any work that day; instead, I *poured* over his articles, and some of the sources, and a lot of the success stories. That evening, I ate a butt-load of birthday cake, but the very next day, June 1st, I threw the rest of the cake away and started clearing out my pantry and fridge. I viewed the start of that month as the start of a new life for me.

    It was kind of a bummer, since I had JUST been to costco the week before so I ended up dumping and/or giving away a lot of food I had spent a good chunk of change on. Still, I have realized that the jump in strategy was ultimately the best for me. If I had tried to ease myself into it–like waiting until I had eaten all the SAD food I had in the pantry–I would have just put things off and made excuses and never have really made the commitment. But once I committed, I lost 5 pounds in a week and a half and stopped getting migraines, and from there I was hooked.

    Strangely, I wouldnt consider that my “lightbulb” moment as much as a few weeks ago, when I read through Good Calories Bad Calories. It was FASCINATING to see the history of nutritional research and thought and policy laid out, and as a scientist, I was INFURIATED at how all these health policies that have dictated my life were based on bad science. At that moment, a lot of my anxieties about whether I could maintain my commitment melted away. I KNEW that what I’m doing is right for me, I had a better understanding of why what I did before was wrong; with that knowledge, maintaining the course is easy.

  23. Thanks so much for this post, Dean. I am still figuring out coping strategies, b/c after a few “relapses”, I have learned that I really don’t miss the grains, dairy and legumes, but that I am well and truly addicted to SUGAR. So I clearly need to break the emotional/psychological craving for it. Reading posts like this or other articles definitely helps. So does forgiving myself and then hopping right back on the wagon. I think I’ll give daily writing a shot as well because I really want to succeed at this and be completely free of the hold sugar has on me. 🙂

    1. Start with that. I think writing is powerful personally which is weird for me to say, since I never used to like it. Love it now and learn most of what I learn about myself through it. I think better when I write. Keep me posted on what you discover!

  24. Hey Cto…I read Taubes book as well. I had a second revelation reading that book. One line in fact….one researcher said this…

    “What if weight gain is a symptom and not a character flaw.”

    Totally blew me away. And it made sense as well. The character flaw theory just didn’t make sense in my case. Was a huge revelation and a real game changer.

    1. Yes! Me too! As did his statement pointing out that in the standard equation:

      High energy intake + low energy expenditure = fat accumulation

      One could look at it *from the other way around.* Blew my mind-grapes.

  25. I “went paleo” back in May at the recommendation of my chiropractor. In the midst of all of my excuses (this is too complicated, time consuming, etc.), he looked me square in the eye and told me I would be speaking about it and inspiring other patients in September. He even put the date on the calendar! I bought Mark Sisson’s book and soon Sarah’s, and there was no turning back. So here I am, 4 months later, 35 pounds lighter, free of asthma and set to speak. I have a long way to go, but I know I will accomplish my goals. I can’t thank you enough for this post, because it puts into words exactly what it has taken to get this far along in the journey. I’m looking forward to sharing this link during my talk.

    1. You obviously have an AMAZING chiropractor!! ; )

      1. He IS amazing! Probably a lot like the one at your house. 🙂

        1. hey Marci, I was wondering if I could talk to you a bit more about your journey. If you are interested email me at Your story is awesome!!!

  26. danielle g says:

    Thank you Dean, I really love this post! I even took notes and wrote down my “light bulb moment” in my journal – this is mega huge for me since I’m usually not a person who reads something and then just does what it says… you must have powers.
    I love all the tools/ideas, but especially numbers 1-5, which I took the time to do when I changed my lifestyle in July. Honestly I wish I would have read this article bck then, but still it’s awesome to have it now.
    My 1-5:
    1, Scale Up: I found a coach to keep me on track and focused on my goals. I know if I have to be accountable to someone then I won’t slack off.
    2, Jump In: I put a date on my calendar to clear out my pantry and fridge and went to the grocery store and stocked up on ONLY paleo friendly foods. That way I had no excuse, but I had to put it in my calendar because it gave me something to really look forward to.
    3, Lightbulb Moment: this is my favorite tool – I wrote mine down in my journal right away! Mine was the night of June 30, 2011. I had a seizure, wound up in the ER and almost slipped into a coma. This could have all been avoided if I was taking better care of myself and my nutrition. All I hve to do is remember that night and BAM! I am determined to take care of myself and treat my body like a temple, not like a felon.
    4, Ride out the Storm: the first week was brutal, I felt like I was literally a zombie! But I wasnt’ eating fruit or any carbs except veggies, so after a week I slowly started allowing myself a little fruit and it was like instant magic – that is exactly what I needed. The rest was all pretty easy from there, now I just watch my fruit intake but overall I love my lifestyle now and the benefits far exceed any cons.
    5, Coping Skills: like Sarah, I started journaling also. Plus I got a friend to keep me accountable and check in with me regularly. When I got my energy back, I started going back to the gym and now it’s just all a part of my new lifestyle – one that is free from dairy, gluten, and processed junk. I’m not 100% perfect, like at my sister’s wedding last weekend I had a bite of dessert, but it was totally ok! I just had one bite, and then jumped back on the dance floor. This lifestyle seems to have changed my taste buds and I no longer feel like I want to eat an entire cake or anything sweet like that anymore. It feels too good to be healthy to ever want to ruin all this hard work!
    Thanks Dean, rock on.

    1. For get great comment, this would make a great blog post. I hope people read this because it’ s important that know that those who have success, have it because it is deliberate and calculated….none of this I’m kinda paleo stuff.

      Ok I need to talk to you as well. Could you email me

      Thanks so much for sharing all that with the detail you provided. There are literally points people can take from your story right now and apply them to their own life.

  27. Hey Dean,

    My husband and I are taking the plunge! We ordered Sarah’s book and start Monday! I am super excited to get all of the excess crap out of our lives. We’ve been weaning down all week and I am already noticing sensitivity to dairy?? But I have a question for you or Sarah, I am breast-feeding our 4 month old son, could this affect my milk supply? Should I cut everything out? And will I still be getting the necessary calories to maintain it. Thank you so much for all of the helpful insight!

    1. Hi Jess, Nope, eating paleo should NOT affect your milk supply. Remember, this is not about calorie restriction, but about making better food choices. Make sure you are eating PLENTY of food, do not go hungry, eat plenty of healthy fats, load up on the protein and veggies, and you should be good to go! Most important thing when nursing – make sure you are properly hydrated, always have water nearby especially when nursing, get plenty of rest, relax, and don’t stress! You are doing the absolute best that you can for yourself and for your baby!! Best of luck to you and your family!

      1. Whew! Thanks girl. Breast feeding does not lie in my area of expertise…might have something to do with the fact I don’t have breasts!

      2. Thanks for the tips, and the great website to help us get started.

        1. Your welcome Jess…unless you are talking to Sarah 🙂 But I know she would say your welcome as well.

  28. Crossfit Mamma says:


    Amazing blog! I forwarded it to my Crossfit trainer. My story is a bit different, so I wanted to share. I started Crossfit 2 1/2 years ago. Won my first Paleo challenge, then went right back to my former eating. Tried a second Paleo challenge and did OK, but went right back again! Both times I lost about 10 pounds, but didn’t see any other benefits. I should pause here and let you know that I am a 45 year old, post-menopausal (honestly it’s true), mother of 2, 8 year thyroid cancer survivor. However the biggest issue in my life was mood swings. I had not experienced any relief at all in my previous 2 attempts at strict Paleo. So when the third Paleo challenge was announced at our gym, I almost didn’t participate. Wow the third time is definitely the charm! It worked! I have lost the weight I kept regaining, I am now completing our wods RX for the first time ever, and I am the happy, smiling person I used to be! I “get it” now and will be eating this way for the rest of my life! Happily my husband and two girls eat Paleo right along with me! I want people to know that jumping in may mean jumping more than once!

    1. Hey crossfit mommacita

      Thanks for sharing that. A few things come to mind. I admire your ability to go back to it more than once….what I am really curious about though is what you attribute to the success this time. By that I mean, what changed from attempts one and two. It is logical to assume that if all things remained unchanged on trial number 3 you would have experienced similar “failure.” SO do tell gurl. I want to know the secret!

      1. Crossfit Mamma says:

        Dean, I have really given my answer a great deal of thought. I have not stopped to consider why my first two attempts were unsuccessful but my third was. Here is what I discovered:

        In the first two challenges, I attempted strict Paleo. I had “cheat” foods both times, and would really mentally beat myself up. I lost lots of weight and inches, but could not see the results in myself (not surprisingly).

        Sometime during the middle of my third challenge, I realized that I no longer refer to non-Paleo foods as “cheats.” I really think about what I want and why, wait a few days and try Paleo substitutes, and if I still really want it, I eat it! I also realized that I stopped mentally berating myself! How freeing that was! I would simply move forward and continue with my clean eating! I also lost weight and inches like before, but I am still not able to see the difference unless it is in a photograph. However I think the biggest difference this time is that I am actually experiencing huge improvements in mood and wod results! I can now RX most WODs, do 13 continuous double-unders, and recently completed 120 pull-ups! I also don’t feel the need to nap at every opportunity (like I did during my previous life and also during the challenges). I don’t know why I didn’t see strength gains the first two times (still pondering), but I am so glad I am now!

        1. Wow c-momma! There are some GREAT lessons in there. Sarah mentioned in our interview that she made a simple distinction of going from cheats to treats. Seems like a small thing but that is a massive shift.

          I also love the evolution in thinking.

          Hey idea here. Could we chat more about this offline. Sarah and I were discussing an interview series with people who have GREAT paleo stories.

          Email me at

  29. Amanda says:

    Dean, thanks so much for this post. I have been doing CrossFit for a little over a year now and have started to be 100% Paleo countless times. The longest I have made it is two weeks. I suffer through the agonizing detox, ridding my body of all of the sugar, diet soda, processed foods, etc. that I have been eating, then get to the point of actually feeling okay, and then “life” gets in the way (husband traveling, stress at work, etc.) and it starts with one diet soda and three weeks later, I’m back to my old habits and feeling awful. I have asked numerous people for tips on how they do it and have even hired a coach to “beat me up” if I fall off track, and even that hasn’t helped me stick with it. I am desperate for some insight on how to make that mental switch to stick with it. I know what I need to do and I know why I should do it, I just can’t figure out the coping part and how to stop life from getting in the way of my goals. I am very frustrated with myself. I’ve read all of the replies to this post and have found some potentially helpful hints, but would love more on how to make that switch mentally so that the next time I “jump in”, I’ll be as successful as you, Sarah, and the many others that enjoy this lifestyle.

  30. Hey amanda,

    I love your raw honesty in this comment. So let me start by saying this. There is no magical tip myself or sarah or anyone else can give you that will make all this magically go away. So my first suggestion is lose the idea that is a one off…here is the tip, apply it, no more problem. This is an evolution of our thought processes to something more harmonious with who we are.

    Here is an example I use when I refer to my former teaching back ground. When I would talk with other teachers (parents) I would tell them that correctly behaviour of kids is not something that happens overnight. I had one kid who was difficult. Would tell teachers off etc. I worked with him a lot. What I learned from him is I can’t cure his behaviour because I talked to him once. But I could keep offering tips and strategies and look for something more important…longer gaps between melt downs.

    That’s how I believe we need to progress with this. Change doesn’t happen overnight. We get better at catching ourselves so we don’t fall off the wagon for 3 weeks at a time…

    Second, life does not get in our way. We get in our way. My issues are always a result of who I am and how I am being. If I think they are out there…I am always going to the victim. My point: you need to peek inside and see what needs fixing (and we all need fixing gurl!)

    Third, there are some harsh facts you need to confront. One: you CAN’T have one diet soda. Just like I CAN’T bring junk food into my house. You need to be honest and admit at this point you have not learned the art of self-discipline. You don’t complain about it either…it is what it is.

    There is a lot more to this of course. If you are interested in discussing this further email me. I’m hoping to get a video up today explaining my new project where I will be working with a group of 9 women to leverage the power of positive peer pressure to help create change. It might be of interest to you.

    Email me at if you have further questions.

  31. Christy Savage says:

    Wow. I so needed this today. Thanks to my new friend Hannah for sending this to me. On my 5th day of eating Paleo. I am constantly learning and I love it, but boy am I having a rough week. Emotional wreck and lots more tears than usual. Bit on the cranky side to say the least. My friend says I’m detoxing. Is this normal? I’m sticking with it after my ahh hah moment…..realize what I really need is this support and am so grateful for it. Despite having more tears than usual…I feel so empowered and strong and believe for the first time that I can do this. Maybe just morning the loss of my Carmel macchiatos and rice crispy treats.

    1. Well I might be the wrong gender to address this (you know how emotionally unattached us guys can be.) but the more women I talk to the more common I find this is. Sarah mentioned it in our interview as well.

      Keep track of this however and make notes and possible hypotheses of what you think this might be. This is a journey of self-discovery. You just need to focus on the discovery part.

      I would focus more on the last part you said…EMPOWERMENT baby!!!! How great does that feel!!!!

  32. Jenn R. says:

    My lightbulb not a single point, but a period of about six months. My husband and I went in to see our GP last year to get updated physicals because we’re seeking to adopt. My husband was diagnosed with HBP and T2D. We shut down our adoption process in order to get a handle his health issues.

    We didn’t bother trying SAD, we knew we had to go low carb. We had both done low-carb years ago on Atkins, and were successful, but we couldn’t stay with it. In retrospect, I believe we couldn’t stick with Atkins because we were still eating wheat on a regular basis. You know, low carb pasta and tortilla wraps, processed crappola bars. That sort of thing. So we eventually regained the weight we lost.

    This time, my husband was not really willing to to go low-carb because of our prior failure. I felt I had to find a way to make low carb work. I wound up finding Steve Cooksey’s Diabetes Warrior website, and from there found MDA, Robb Wolff, and of course Sarah’s blog, and a host of others. I was determined to give up the grains. I did it first, without even letting my husband know what I was doing. Then, I started cooking for both of us with butter and coconut oil, shopping at the local farmer’s market for grassfed/pasture raised meat, and no grain.

    After about a month, I asked my husband to learn a little about the changes I had implemented in our diet. He suprised me and dug in with gusto (I guess he was really liking all that steak!). He was a little skeptical about the saturated fats issue, but one day I came home and found him watching Fat Head! He’s been on-board since then.

    Now we are 5 months into our Paleo diet. We’re both down 40 ish pounds, he is off his diabetes meds and HPB meds. We IF regularly, and for the first time in my own life, I know when I’m hungry and more importantly when I’m full. I feel better than I can ever remember feeling in my life.

    Oh, we also restarted the adoption process! Homestudy here we come. 🙂

    1. Wow!!!! what a great story!!!! Jenn would you mind contacting me. I would like to talk a bit more about your success. Email me at

      1. Jenn R. says:

        Thanks Dean. I’ll email you from home this weekend.

  33. Thanks for this great article! I’ve learned so much from Sarah’s site and all of the thoughtful contributors. I have traveled a long road from being vegan years ago to eating Paleo/Primal (I’m not going to quibble about the words). It wasn’t weight loss that spurred my interest, it was being hungry constantly! One month into eating this way, I am no longer constantly hungry, I’ve lost my taste for sugary foods, my acid reflux is gone, and (huge bonus) my stubborn, middle age acne is gone! So excited!

    1. wow! that is a lot of things gone!!! Congrats on that Cat. I could have used paleo when I was a teenager for my acne…

  34. This is great! One of the things that has been helpful to me, is that when I want to “cheat” I evaluate how worth it the food is to me. The bread basket at a restaurant? Maybe a 3/10. A few bites of the restaurants amazing chocolate cake? 10/10 so a few bites might be worth calming the war that is raging in my head against it. I also love to challenge other people I know to do the Whole30, and then do it with them. That strict month is usually what I need to remember why I love this lifestyle!

    1. I like your little thought process you go through…this is really about changing how we thing so we can change how we look. Thanks for sharing that little strategy!!

  35. Nicole says:

    It’s always nice to see that so many people have gone through and are attempting to do the same thing I am. I tried to do the paleo thing starting in June 2010. All the way through July 2011 I was on again off again. I’d tell myself I “deserved” to eat sugary food. I told myself I couldn’t refuse food people had made specifically for me. I told myself it would be “just one bite”. I journaled through that entire time period and recognized at the time that these were all lies and yet I continued to live my life as if they were true. Finally on August 1st I went “all in”. I physically feel better but I think it’s the mental part that’s the best. I’m not at war with myself anymore. I decided to no longer let an inanimate object like sugar and flour control me. I love dessert foods so I wasn’t sure how this would ever be possible. But it is! Granted it’s only been 40 days but I know I can do this for life. Eating foods that make me feel like crap, physically and emotionally, are just no longer options. I pretend that they don’t even exist. Thanks so much for your post. It’s a great reminder on the effort it takes to “win”.

    1. Hey nicole, I love how you are looking at and thinking about some of these things. That’s a huge evolution in and of itself. Of course, as you know, it’s always a struggle, but it’s NO longer the battle it used to be and we learn better strategies to quiet the voices in our head!!

  36. I think this is a great blog post. I also wanted to share some of my story and also comment on the chronic cardio syndrome. I, unlike most of my paleo friends, came to paleo before I started crossfitting. In the beginning I mocked both and thought people who ate paleo and did crossfit were crazy health nuts. I wasn’t going to let something like that take over my life. I hit 200 pounds (at 5’4) and had a night where someone actually had the audacity to call me fat to my face (twice at that). I was mortified, angry and hurt. The next morning I stepped on a scale at work (at the opera house) and realized I was 200 lbs. I had no clue I had gotten that big. I was still small as far as most opera singers were concerned. I called my best friend and started crying. (She was one of those crazy health nuts I mentioned earlier.) Well my friend said to me, “I know you’re going to think I’m crazy, but try eating paleo for one week to see how you feel.” I was at the end of my ropes, so I said sure. The first week was hell. All I wanted was a bagel with bacon and cheese. Then the cravings started dying. It wasn’t until between weeks two and three that I had an urge to cheat. I went to outback and ate bread and some Bloomin Onion…I felt so sick that night. Still, I would allow myself one cheat night a week…feeling disgusting after and promising never to do it again. Then I went to sing in Finland for a few months. I was still eating primal, but ended up switching to strict paleo because the culture there encouraged it. I no longer had the cheat cravings and I was constantly surrounded by fresh fish and farmer’s markets (one across the street every morning). I didn’t even realize how much weight I was losing until I got home and noticed, for the first time, that my clothes looked huge on me. I went shopping and bought size 8s and 10s. This was shocking to me. I hadn’t worn a size 8 since high school…maybe once or twice in college. I kept up with my strict paleo diet and ended up going to an Art DeVany book signing in NYC. It was there that I met Robb Wolf and John Durant. The two of them encouraged me to start crossfitting (at that point I had lost between 50-55 pounds). I had another kick in the butt when I met Josh Newman (Crossfit NYC) at a fitness talk. He and I had a huge debate about crossfit and being an opera singer. He was the first person to give me proof that it wouldn’t hurt my singing. He ran a deal on elements and I decided to start. Since then (last February), I’ve gotten to visit boxes in Charleston SC, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City. I have to say that I feel even better when I crossfit. I’m now down to 135-140 pounds (fluctuates sometimes)…60-65 pounds from when I started. I’m a size 4 opera singer…and I’m in a field where people worry because I’m a petite small girl. Then they hear that the weight loss (and now obsession with crossfit) has had no effect on my voice–in fact, it’s gotten better. I’ve also managed to convert people because I’m obsessed with experimenting in the kitchen and tricking people into eating paleo without even realizing it.

    Sorry for the long saga, but I wanted to share (for those of you out there that are just starting) that if this ex-overweight southern girl who was obsessed with fried food and bread (think 24-36 brown and serve rolls downed WITH Thanksgiving dinner) can turn her life around, so can you.

    1. PS: Ignore the comment on chronic cardio….I forgot what I was going to say, so obviously it wasn’t worth mentioning!!

      1. Holy crapola Cindy,

        What a great story! Thanks for the detail. That’s the kind of stuff people need to see and read and hear. Listen I would love to chat more with you about this.

        Can you email me at Look forward to chatting in more detail.

  37. Michelle says:

    Really appreciate this post…. I am a COMPLETE newbie to the Paleo lifestyle, and I was just searching online for more info and came to this post (Took notes on almost everything you and Sarah shared, BTW.) I have had thoughts that I should do a blog or something of the sort, so now I know I’ll have figure that one out soon.

    I started this journey September 5th of this year, and I am just trying to figure out how to design the right kind of meals. Taking out grains/pastas and processed/packaged foods has me feeling like I have no “base” left for a filling meal! I have to learn so many things….it seems daunting! But I want change desperately enough to endure the challenge….there’s a really strong, fit woman in me that has wanted out since I was in high school. I can’t ignore how wonderful my body responds when I’m athletically involved….but I have to nourish myself better;that’s where I’m starting.

    Thanks again for the article!


  38. I do believe all the concepts you have offered on your post. They are really convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very brief for starters. Could you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

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