*Please enjoy Kristy’s story of how she regained her health by switching to a paleo lifestyle.
My Paleo journey began January 16, 2011. I will never forget that day. For some women it is the threat of swimsuit season that motivates them to lose weight, for me it was ski season. My husband, Chad, and I took our two boys, Shane (6) and Jake (4) skiing. I had just thrown my ski pants in the car that morning and worn sweat pants for the car ride. When we arrived, I tried to put on my ski pants and couldn’t get them zipped past mid-thigh. I was too fat to fit into them, and there would be no squeezing into them. It was hopeless. Chad offered me his rain pants. For some reason he had brought his ski pants and his rain pants. They were a bit too big but didn’t fall off of me. I was devastated that his pants weren’t falling to the ground. My hips were holding up his pants! What had happened to the petite 103 lb girl he had met 18 years ago and the 109 lb girl he married 10 years ago? I had gained a lot of weight and a lot of it came during 2010. That was a stressful year for me. We sold our house and bought a house in a better school district. Shane started kindergarten and I was moved to a new position at work. Work was the driving factor in my weight gain during 2010. I was working a lot of hours, staying up late, getting very little sleep, and shoving food in my mouth during those late night hours. My cravings were beyond what I could control.
So after a weekend of skiing in Chad’s rain pants, I went back to work and talked to a couple of friends about my rock-bottom moment that weekend. They had been doing Cross-Fit for several years and had been eating Paleo for the last year or two. I started eating Paleo that night and haven’t looked back. Over the last 7 months, I have read Robb Wolf’s book, checked out Sarah’s blog nearly everyday, pre-ordered Sarah’s book (and use it almost daily), and read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The first six months of my Paleo journey consisted only of diet (no exercise). I spent all of my free time, which isn’t much time at all, learning about healthy food, cooking healthy food, and getting my family on board with this lifestyle.
Prior to the ski trip, I felt like I was feeding my family and myself pretty well. When Shane was a year old, I worked with a nutritionist to help improve our family’s health. We were eating all nitrate-free meats, no artificial dyes, my kids ate spinach salads with us, we ate organic whole-grains, and very little sugar. But despite all of that, I was packing on the pounds. I gained about 14 lbs in 2010. The amazing thing for me was that within a couple weeks of eating Paleo, I had stopped gaining weight, started losing weight, my cravings were gone, I stayed full longer, and I wasn’t falling asleep at my desk at 2 pm every afternoon. I felt really good.
For most of my adult life, I have had stomach problems. I went on this diet looking to lose some weight. I had no other expectations of Paleo. So it was really shocking to me when all of my gas, bloating, and painful cramping went away just from eating Paleo. I had seen doctors about my GI issues. One doctor had me eliminate wheat for a week and then dairy for a week, etc. It had no impact. I had daily stomach cramping. Several days each week, the pain was so bad, I wanted to cry (this is coming from a girl that birthed two babies with no pain medication, no epidurals, and Shane was induced). It was at that moment, that I knew I would never go back to eating the way I did before. I felt too good to go back to feeling that way.
The other amazing thing that happened to me after eating Paleo is that it appears to have “cured” my fibromyalgia. In 2001 I was diagnosed with trauma-induced fibromyalgia. I saw a rheumatologist, a board-certified MD, a DO that specialized in cranial-sacral, an acupuncturist, and a massage therapist. No one could help me. I lived with this pain for 10 years. It wasn’t debilitating and didn’t prevent me from doing anything I wanted to do. The pain was a pressure sensitivity issue. If I bumped into something or tried to scratch an itch it would cause a lot of pain. About a month ago, I realized that I didn’t hurt anymore. I have been pushing on all of my tender points for the last month trying to find a spot that is sensitive and can not find any sensitivity. The only thing that has changed is my diet. I believe in my heart that the food I am eating now, has taken my pain away. There is no other explanation.
I must confess that we have not gone 100% Paleo with our diet. I have reduced my dairy consumption, but we did not completely eliminate dairy. We did make some changes in our dairy consumption however. We switched from fat free milk to whole milk. We are also buying grass-fed butter and grass-fed cheese now.
We have made improvements to our food quality over the last several months. A couple months ago we bought a hind quarter from a grass-fed, pastured bison. For Valentine’s Day, the boys built a garden box for me. We planted spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and sunflowers.
At seven months into the Paleo lifestyle, I have lost 18 lbs. I am able to zip my ski pants now; however, they are still too tight to ski in. I am now starting to exercise again and hope to improve my body composition. Other than some occasional hikes, I haven’t exercised regularly since Shane was born six years ago. Exercising feels good. I am using Sarah’s book as a starting point and intend to go the Cross-Fit route eventually.
Sarah’s blog, her book, and her willingness to share her life so openly have been such a blessing for my family and me. I am forever grateful for my friends at work and for Sarah. I would have been lost without all of her recipes. I also never thought about trying to get my boys in the kitchen with me to help me prepare meals like Sarah does. We now turn on some Christian rock music and work together in the kitchen and it has helped me bond with my boys in such a special way. Thanks Sarah!