I'm nearly 40 and have struggled with 'the last 5kgs' all my life. I'm wasn't tragically overweight; I just did't feel attractive or comfortable in my skin. I've tried every diet/eating/exercise program on the earth and I can drop the weight relatively easily but I can never keep it off. I also suffer from extremely severe (near-suicidal) PMS - fatigue, headaches, depression, endless crying, anger, mood-swings, you name it, I get it in spades. The thought of 3-4 days of horror every month was starting to have an impact on the days where I wasn't symptomatic - the anticipation of what was to come, I guess.
I came across Paleo when searching the web for yet another solution to my lethargy and inability to lose the weight and keep it off. I have to say, it did seem too good to be true but I decided to try it for one month. The first 3 days were hideous and I can't stress this enough. Nausea, headache, exhaustion like nothing I'd known. I was ready to give up but on day 4 the headache and nausea lifted so I decided to wait it out until the end of the week. By day 7 I felt like I could take on the world! I had lost 3kgs and had more energy than I can remember. I wasn't dozing off on the sofa at 3pm. I was hooked!
By the end of the month I had lost 7kgs and was really starting to look different. My hair, my skin, my eyes, my nails - everything was just responding so well. I purchased the Primal Blueprint book and really felt a connection with everything Mark Sisson was saying. I can't look at a bowl of pasta without seeing a bowl of sugar. My whole approach has changed - I just don't want to eat that stuff anymore. Knowing what it does to your body once it's been swallowed has really made giving it up actually quite easy.
I'm now 8 months into my Paleo lifestyle. I eat heaps of food and I'm never hungry. I have lost 11kgs - I now weigh 49kgs and it's stayed static for 6 months with no effort or worry at all.
But most importantly, my PMS problems are a thing of the past. No more cravings, mood-swings, irritability. My period arrives now and I'm often shocked because even though the dates are correct, there has been no prior PMS to warn me of their impending arrival. I am level, satisfied, strong and happy for the first time in many, many years.
What was the biggest challenge to adopting a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet?
Honestly, not being able to just quickly make a sandwich as I'm running out the door. I have to be organised and plan what I have in the fridge so I don't feel tempted to pick at evil food. Also, dining out is quite a bit more challenging (hidden evils, etc).
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?
1. Don't let yourself get hungry - I don't go anywhere without a ziplock bag of mixed nuts and goji berries in my handbag. If you let yourself get hungry, it's very easy to find yourself at the McDonald's drive-through.
2. Don't be scared of fat. In western countries we're educated from birth that fat is bad for us so for me, it just didn't compute that I could eat so much fat and it not have a detrimental effect on my body, organs and arteries. It's a tough one to get over but fat is good for you; you just have to eat the good stuff!
3. There are plenty of knockers out there but this is your journey. Nearly everyone you tell will say you're a freak, that it's just another fad diet. Don't listen. If it works for you then it's irrelevant what anyone else thinks.
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