Paleo Stories from the Frontline

*Not from Sarah: Here’s an inspiring story from blog reader, Christena on how thinking outside the box, focusing on fun, and living life to the fullest helped this family get back to a healthy and happy paleo lifestyle!  Christina also shares an interesting observation on how society appears to be simply accepting the fact that the majority of people are continuing to become larger and sicker by the minute and rather than trying to change this reality we are beginning to simply adapt to it… Yikes!!

My husband and I learned about paleo in 2008. We read Loren Cordain’s book and lived it to the letter. Many, many months later, two things happened: 1) we started to get burned out on paleo and 2) I became pregnant.

We were very strict in our habits: limiting and/or eliminating eggs, vinegar, salt, sweet potatoes, butter, etc. We pretty much grilled some lean meat or game and ate some steamed or sautéed veggies. Plus fruit and nuts. I wasn’t familiar with any other paleo resources or the paleo community.

I pretty much learned how to cook by watching Rachael Ray on Food Network. Although we didn’t have much difficulty switching to paleo, I started to miss the way I used to cook—casseroles, crock pot, baked dishes, gravy. I didn’t have any paleo recipes and I just didn’t know how to translate some of our old favorites to paleo. (Once, I tried doing a paleo shephard’s pie with mashed cauliflower=fail)

Plus, I had no guidance for a paleo pregnancy and just didn’t feel it was sustainable. I was hungry. I wanted more carbs. We ended up incorporating some sprouted grain breads, lots of beans, etc. We weren’t entirely carb-o-holics, but I wouldn’t classify us as paleo anymore either.

Fast forward to two kids and the social media explosion later. Somewhere along the line I also discovered CrossFit, and while pregnant, I “liked” CrossFit Mom on Facebook. I think this action triggered the rest of the story.

One of the sponsored ads on the side of my Facebook wall was for a page called “Paleo or Die.” I hadn’t thought about paleo in over a year, but decided to “like” the page. A few weeks later, he posted a list of paleo blogs he recommended and one of them was your blog. From that day forward, we were paleo again. I discovered your blog and podcast, Chrissy’s blog, Robb Wolf’s blog and podcast, and most importantly, YOUR RECIPES! I read The Paleo Solution and Everyday Paleo.

You made paleo cooking FUN again and helped me learn to think outside the box. You also made paleo more achievable and sustainable for us. It’s not all or nothing. It’s delicious and nutritious, and I’m so proud to be teaching my kids healthy eating habits.

I went clothes shopping this week. I’m a size 4 (used to be a size 8). Two thoughts on this:

Point 1) I know I have lost some weight, and I feel and look great. However, I think the industry is increasing the sizes of clothes across the board. Americans are getting larger and larger, and instead of giving people a reality check on their increasing girth, manufacturers are just upsizing (or “super sizing”) clothing, so you can remain a size 8 or size 10, when in reality you’ve become a size 10 or size 12 … but now there’s no guilt about it. [Am I getting a little conspiracy theory crazy on this?!] I honestly can’t remember ever being a size 4 in my entire life. Though I wouldn’t say I was ever overweight. Rather than me getting super tiny, I think the clothes have just gotten bigger. I have size 8 items in my closet that I’ve had for 10+ years and they still fit (a little looser, but not falling off my hips like today’s size 8).

Point 2) I noticed something else in the clothing store this week. Sizes 12 and 14 had entire rows; sizes 8 and 10 slightly less than an entire row; sizes 4 and 6 less than half a row; size 2 or smaller nonexistent. Society is getting larger and sicker, and it makes me sad. I’m grateful for people like you and Robb Wolf who are making an effort to educate the masses.

So, very long story just to say THANK YOU! You’ve changed my family’s life, and I’m so grateful that you’ve put your life and your knowledge out there.  Our favorite paleo recipes include Puerto Rican Beef, Sundried Tomato Chicken Bake, and Thai Green Curry. 

Christena family pik


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.

You may also like...


  1. Adam Landry says:

    I read an interesting article recently on the very topic of clothing sizes. It focused on mens clothing and how men judge their risk of heart disease based off waste size. However, most mens pants don’t use the “real” waste measurement. You walk around thinking you are a 36″ and safe from heart disease but in reality you are a 40″ and at higher risk. It’s a big game.

    At the rate we are going, we’ll need custom clothes made for us healthy people.

    1. What is the “real” waste measurement? Did this get adjusted as well then?

      1. Jackie says:

        I think the REAL waist measurement is being missed since some men wear their pants under their big stomachs, therefore they have a “smaller” waist size than if their pants were worn around the waist.

    2. Glib says:

      It’s called “vanity” or “flattery” sizing – a common practice with clothing manufacturers. Esquire did an article which showed this with mens pants.

  2. Christina, I’m glad you and your Family could get back on track, Congrats !

  3. Vanity sizing is real and has been around for a while. I’ve noticed that the more expensive a store, the smaller size I wear at said store. I can go to a cheaper store and wear a 6 or 8, and then at a more expensive store I wear a 4, 2 or even a 0. And we’re not talking luxury expensive, we’re talking Express or Anthropologie or Nordstrom. Even Victoria’s Secret has started vanity sizing their bras and underwear. The only exceptions I’ve seen to this have been expensive teen stores like Abercrombie and Hollister. I think they fit the “shame you into being skinny” section, while everyone else thinks if you wear a smaller size at their store, you’ll shop there more for the ego boost. My friend, who normally wore an 8 or 10, wasn’t too happy with me when we were at Nordstrom and she found that she fit into a 2 and I explained my theory.

    1. Its true; it was an epiphany when I realized that I need to try size MEDIUM shirts at Express, not the Ls and XLs. I had been shopping there for years and had trouble finding stuff that fit. Now I know that almost any of their shirts in a medium will work well for me.

    2. Jennifer says:

      Ok. I knew I wasn’t nuts then when I found it odd that I fit into a Size 4 shorts at Ann Taylor LOFT. I just recently started personal training and found the paleo lifestyle through my gym. I knew I lost some inches but prior to starting all of this I was struggling to fit my size 10s! I know the 4 I bought is not a “real” 4. I am more a 6/8 now – I tested my theory at other stores. But now I wonder…what size am I really?

  4. Daria says:

    I had not shopped for a new size in a couple years. I dropped 10 lbs in the last two months and my size 6 pants were sagging off my butt now so I went shopping. For the most part I’m back down to a size 4 which is my pre-weight gain size but I’ve found that with some pant styles I had to go down to a 2. I was shocked by that and felt something had to be wrong, no way I’m that small. I feel you on not being able to find your size also, especially when it comes to sales racks. I don’t know what my true size is but it doesn’t really matter as long as I’m healthy and feel good.
    And yes Sarah’s recipes are really great. I used to be a Food Network junkie but I never watch it any more.

  5. Nancy says:

    I’ve definitely seen the vanity sizing. I have a favorite brand of jeans that I’ve been buying for the past 6 or 7 years now. I’ve gone from wearing a size 7 to a size 3, and I know I haven’t actually gotten any smaller.

  6. Great comment and inspiring! I’m relatively new to Paleo, though I’ve been exposed to the “minimalist” type of eating for years and most recently the good fat way through Weston A. Price (worth checking into).

    The clothing size increase you refer to is an industry term called “size creep”….manufacturers are infact increasing the size of clothes to accommodate our country’s obesity. I guess it’s a way to make the consumer feel better about themselves, right? I think it’s WRONG! face the music I say.

    Anyway, good luck with your journey. Live well.


  7. I completely agree with the sizing! I am fitting into a size 6 now and wonder if pretty soon I will need a 4. I have never been a four! My go-to skinny pants from 2002 are a size 8 and they still fit me normally. Sizes must be changing.

    Nonetheless, great job on your success – especially learning to do it with two little ones. 🙂

  8. Very inspirational! And Sarah helping ANOTHER person… She is great… 🙂

  9. Christena says:

    Vanity sizing … that’s the perfect term!
    Thanks everyone! And thanks again Sarah!

  10. Alexis says:

    I find the “vanity” sizing of clothing very annoying. I KNOW I am a size 4/6 yet I go to Ann Taylor or any other place (BCBG, Express, Forever21, etc.) and I’m a size 2. I can’t imagine what it must be like trying to find clothes that fit if you are very small because most places don’t carry anything smaller than a 2. . . It was a real reality check for me when I went to H&M who uses European sizing and I was a size 6/8–I went home and just cried because that was the truth and it hurt. My new goal is to fit into an H&M size 2/4. Hopefully this happens for me eventually. 🙁

    Anyway, my point is that these companies shouldn’t “vanity” size because it is only hurting Americans and allowing them to continue thinking that the standard American diet is healthy when it’s NOT!!!

  11. Gremster says:

    Why worry about sizing? I mean in reality who really cares about what size you wear from Ambercrombie or Nordstroms in comparison.

    If you look good in the mirror for yourself and feel good about your own image then you’re doing a great job at exercising and eating correctly. If you feel like you need to trim down more, readjust your lifestyle goals and keep on trucking. Or if you’re slacking on every aspect of life and don’t really care about how you feel or how you look, just wait until I bring back the velociraptors to eat you and get rid of your oxygen consuming carcass. Welcome back into the bottom of the food chain!



    1. Sarah says:

      I don’t think anyone who is commenting is worried about sizing, it’s just an interesting observation that clothing manufacturers are making clothes bigger but keeping the same old sizes as always just to please folks as they get bigger and bigger. It’s just kind of weird.

    2. I have heard of women who OBSESS about the size of their wedding dress. Not the style, or designer, what SIZE they will fit into on the day of their wedding. Like the number is going to be plastered on their forehead or something.

      It probably wraps up into the overhype about weddings anyway. They have this one day for everything to be perfect, so they have this one day to be the perfect size. Even if they dont care about managing their health for the rest of their lives (and a sadly large number probably do), they can say “hey, I was that size at my wedding, and that makes me better than other women who were fatter at their weddings.”

    3. I worry about sizing because I used to be a size 2, but now the size 2’s are too large for me. I can’t find clothing at “normal” stores that fit me anymore.

      I’m thin, but not ridiculously skinny, and it’s very annoying that I used to be able to shop anywhere. Now I have to shop brands/stores that have correct sizing (like H and M) or go to petite sections. It’s difficult to find things that fit in petite sections because I’m 5’7 and lots of the petite sizes are for shorter women.

  12. The author said they eliminated things from their diet. What’s wrong with eggs and salt?

    1. Sarah says:

      In the original Paleo Diet book by Dr. Cordain he suggests to limit eggs (which he has changed his stance on since writing that first book ) and to remove salt (which currently he states in recent article that a little sea salt on your food is ok This is the first and only book that the author of this article read about Paleo so they were following to the letter what was suggested. Her point was that with eating this way, its very important to eat according to what’s best for you. For example, eggs usually only pose a problem for folks with an autoimmune issue or obviously with an egg allergy but the typical person does fine eating eggs and they are actually incredibly good for you if you are eating eggs from pasture raised hens. Sea salt also has it’s benefits and for folks who are athletes especially need some salt in their diets in order to avoid dehydration.

      1. Caitlin says:

        Do you have any sources on the auto-immune/egg danger? I wasn’t really aware of the issue… but should be!

  13. Wenchypoo says:

    Speaking of vanity sizing, let me give you a scale of what we’re facing: saw this on a documentary one night–what was size 16 in the 40’s is now size 12 (and possibly even smaller today). Garment manufacturers play all kinds of tricks to get you to keep buying clothes–super-sizing, using clever cuts and cutaway areas to keep the total amount of fabric down (because they have to buy it, and they want to get as many garments as they can out of a bolt of fabric), and by making things shorter but wider to fit the shorter-but-wider crowd…sort of. Too short? Oops–looks like you’ll have to move up a size and possibly pay a higher price.

    We didn’t have much of an obesity problem here until the Food Guide Pyramid was created (in the 80’s), and it just exploded from there, taking the Garment District with it. Ever wonder WHY garment manufacturers all moved to China? To offset the rising costs of needed fabric to sell clothing in all ballooning size ranges with cheap labor. God knows the quality isn’t any better, and it takes 3X the people to churn out what we can do here individually, plus the Chinese are getting 4X the pay they used to…so where’s the savings? More and more businesses are coming to the same conclusion, and coming home.

    1. Sarah says:


  14. Cortnie says:

    Just a little FYI…I’ve made my own little Paleo Shepherd’s Pie recipe. Ground grassfed beef, green beans, red peppers, and sweet potatoes and then I sprinkle a little Matt’s Mix ( ) . It’s so so yummy. We would seriously eat it everyday!

  15. sarena says:

    Good for you and your family. I have also noticed that is impossible to buy pantyhose any longer without tummy control. I mean they sell everything with tummy control today…Spanx is huge …and for guys too!

  16. Jen Sanchez says:

    I have wondered about the sizing and if it was biased but until reading your post thought I might have my own conspiracy theory going on! Although active since childhood, I have never been a “small” person. I’m usually a med-lg, 8-10. I don’t shop much. I recently went into a dress shop and was amazed to buy a small and xsmall, which I couldn’t believe. I had also leaned out a little with a more strict paleo diet and more strength training. ButI never even wore those sizes as a freshman in high school well enough a middle-aged mother of 3! I began to wonder if I was having a body image issue! Thanks for the post. At least now I know I’m not crazy.

  17. Charlotte says:

    As a Brit who shops in both the UK and USA on holidays I can confirm the the sizing is…. strange. I am a UK size 10, so according to Ye Olde Size Translatore I should be a size 8 in the states, BUT I am not, I’m a size 6. Sometimes 5… think that’s in the youth-y section though (which is fun but confusing to me; over here we have kids or grown up clothes, that’s it). It has been remarked upon in the media over here that super-sizing has/is happening, especially the likes of Marks and Spencer. When I was a bit more jiggly I managed to squeeze my UK size 10+ (OK, 12) junk into a pair of M&S UK size 8 ‘skinny’ jeans. Some kinda skinny!

  18. James Orr says:

    What do you guys mean when you talk about out population being sick? I imagine people walking around all jaundiced and what not. I’m curious about the vernacular’s describing there.

  19. Jane says:

    Why would it make anyone sad that we are getting bigger? I wish society would develop an eye that can see beauty and health in all sizes. It isn’t healthy to obsess about a number.

  20. Primal Bunny says:

    The other thing I’ve noticed about clothes, in addition to the vanity sizing, is that the styles that have been popular and have stayed popular for much too long now–the blousy, voluminous tops with empire waists so that women can hide their pudgy tummies. Anyone else noticed that? Not that I want to wear something skin tight, but my body just gets lost in the “stylish” tops nowadays.

    1. Beatrice says:

      I have the same problem! I am super athletic shaped lady and so most of these trendy cloths make me look ridiculous. My husband tells me that these tops make me look pregnant (which there’s nothing wrong with a beautiful pregnancy bump… when you really are pregnant).

  21. cristine says:

    This post does have a holier than yhou feel to it. Both paleo followers and crossfitters come in all shapes and sizes. This coming from a girl who has been crossfitting for over a year and went paleo over eight months ago. I am proud of what I have accomplished, how healthy and strong I am and the sizes I wear. Even if they are a “Gigantic” size 10 or 12.

    1. Sarah says:

      I don’t think people are getting the point here. No one is saying it is bad or wrong to be a specific size, it was just an interesting observation made by the author that clothing manufacturers are making sizes larger and calling them a smaller size which is obviously linked to the fact that the majority of the general population is getting larger because they are unhealthy not because they are working out and putting on muscle and eating paleo. The sizes are wonky, period, no other underlying message here.

  22. What would it take to start a campaign to have the Food Network offer some Paleo Food programming?
    I’ve shed almost 30 pounds in the last three months since beginning this lifestyle change and the lack of publicity about our culture is astounding.
    About the clothing, luckily I kept a lot of my favorite smaller sized things so I’m able to forgo that problem 🙂

    1. Leslie says:

      I too would like to see some more publicity on the Paleo lifestyle. Several months ago I went strictly Paleo after a few years of sloppy Paleo dieting. I saw some dramatic changes in my health and my family took note. After repeated failed attempts at trying to convince my diabetic sister, whose thyroid also stopped functioning properly, to follow suit, I stopped forcing the issue and lived by example. One day, after telling her that I was feeling great and waking up everyday was a joy, and I no longer had to find a reason to be happy, but I just was happy, she broke down and asked me “okay, what books do I need to read, how do I do this Paleo thing.” I was so happy to have finally convinced her to give it a try. She now feels sooo much better, she’s happier, and on her way to much healthier, she even had to have her thyroid meds reduced. We were both shocked at how quickly she began to feel all of the changes.

      So, what I’m trying to say… Like any new covert, I want the whole world to know how great it is to be Paleo!

    2. Sarah says:

      Do it Poker-Pauly! Let’s make it happen! I would LOVE to see paleo on Food Network. It’s a huge gap that needs to be filled. Paleo is NOT a diet, it’s a lifestyle – and one that happens to be saving lives – and we need to have resources in the mainstream media to support that fact.

  23. Great story, and I am paleo (or at times as close as can be) for about 6 months (only). Yes on many counts, but wanted to comment on clothes size. Not only sizes in industry increased inside same numbers, I always said the sizes in more expensive stores are “downsized” while measuring same. Like, when I was 8 in KMart, I was 6 in Old Navy and 4 in JCrew. It feels nice to wear “smaller” number for a size and show it off to girlfriends, so many tend to shop at more expensive brand stores (of course, the quality, but still, talking about enlarging America).

  24. Marcheline says:

    I guess I’m the only one who disagrees with this size thing. I have always found that if I walk into a store wearing my size 12 jeans and pick a size 12 pair of jeans off the rack, I can’t get one leg in them. I’ve always thought they kept making the sizes smaller… I keep clothes a LONG time. Almost never go shopping. And almost every article of clothing, when I finally decide to replace it, cannot be replaced at the same size as the one I was wearing. I thought it was a conspiracy in the other direction… to make us all feel like we needed to diet. I thought the clothing manufacturers were getting kickbacks from Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers.

    Thank goodness for paleo – now I’m finally getting to see the numbers going DOWN instead of up!

  25. Alex Grace says:

    Interesting subject this …

    About seventeen years ago, in the early 90s, a friend gave me a dress that she had bought and worn in the early 80s. It was a size ten from a British high street chain.

    At the time, I was fairly slim and young, and took a regular size ten from a high street store, but no matter how I tried, I just could not get into this 1980s dress. It was tiny, and, when I say tiny, I mean it must have been the equivalent of a British size six at the time, maybe even more like a child’s “12 to 14” age range (they didn’t do adult size fours back then).

    So I suspect sizes have been getting bigger for the last thirty years.

  26. Danica says:

    Does anyone here sew? The pattern sizing is still using the same size data gathered from the 40s- when we were able to gather a giant mass of sizing data for uniforms.
    And a size really is just a number… I have to laugh at those bandying about tiny sizes or their version of “large” sizes as if anyone who wears them is somehow “fat”. Newsflash… Fit, active and muscled up women actually DO wear “large” sizes. So stop with the looking down your noses please. I’ll take being able to dead lift over 250 over being a “healthy looking” stick figure.

  27. Cecilia says:

    Yes. What is interesting to me is looking at the sizes on my sewing patterns from the 60’s and 70’s. I am a size 10 or a size 18 depending on what decade we’re talking about! :o)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.