Having a "standard nutrition background" from culinary school, I made sure to have whole grains, low-fat milk, and canola oil as staples in my home. I had high cholesterol, so checked against all "high cholesterol foods" in an attempt to reduce it. Being on my feet all day, exercise was not exactly a concern for me to increase, but I did troll around the gym bouncing from machine to machine, and "warming up" for 10 minutes on an eliptical.
After being diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, but not having levels high enough to recommend medication, I still felt the symptoms and knew something had to change. I did not want to accept that being 26 years old, and having all these "ailments" was normal. I did not want to rattle off all my medications and suffer the side effects with often seemed worse than the "solution" the medication offered.
When I first heard of the Paleo diet, I laughed at the high fat, "don't worry about the cholesterol" scenario. But upon an interest in knowing more about this crazy idea, the "whole food, no processing" idea latched on and I had to know more. Improving my health, and supporting local farms with pastured animals was a win-win and so my husband and I decided to give it a go.
What took a full year to lose 10 pounds, took 2 months on the Primal/Paleo and had such energy. I actually contemplated getting up earlier than what used to be "absolutely necessary" just so I could have more of the day to do things. My hunger pangs ceased, and my incessant need for buttery, crunchy french bread became a fond memory, and recognizing why my stomach felt so cramped after the fact.
I have completed 2 Whole30 programs, and we continue to eat on Mark Sisson's recommended 80/20 rule. The feeling from "I can't have that" became "I don't want" was magical when I realized I had finally control over my impulses. I love that we support our local community, that regardless of what media or conventional wisdom has to say on the matter of this "fad diet", the results are tangible and real. I'm not paying anyone for my results, not downing pills twice a day, and my blood work shows that through this whole food lifestyle, I am healthier and happier about who I am, than I ever have been.
Being a chef and a carb queen, (those bread bowls at Panera's were my guilty pleasure) it was difficult to let go of the bread. After a week or so, the cravings were gone and I no longer felt compelled to sleep during the day and did not wake up wishing away the hours when I could fall back asleep. I still have a vice for chocolate, but it is now soy-lecithin free, dark chocolate,and it only takes a bite or two to satisfy me.
What advice (if any) would you give to someone interested in trying a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet? Were there any obstacles that you overcame that could help future dieters?
Always try it for yourself, and give it a real shot. Take progress photos, measurements, and perhaps a daily log to show how your mood, energy levels, and overall happiness progresses. A Whole30 program from whole9life, offers a strict but tangible way to show how you can eat until you are full, and that it is possible to do this without paying for shakes, food replacement bars or pre made plastic meals that cost an arm and a leg. It teaches you practicality, how to create meals for yourself, and you don't have to be a chef to do it!
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