It's been one year since I started following the Paleo/Primal lifestyle! Happy Paleo-versary to me!
The whole thing started off as a 2 week experiment just to see if I could do it and to see how it made me feel. After the 2 weeks I didn't really miss anything I'd cut out of my diet and didn't miss any of the chronic cardio I used to do. So I just kept at it, taking it day by day, week by week always knowing that if I didn't want to continue I could go back to my old way of eating knowing that I gave it a good try.
I found that I loved the food, felt fuller for longer while eating smaller portions and was losing weight without really feeling like I was missing out on anything. If I went to a special event, I'd eat what was served without feeling guilty, because I knew the next day I'd go right back to eating the "real" paleo food I'd been eating before without feeling like I'd "fallen off the wagon". I believe in the 80/20 rule, which states that if you eat food that's good for you 80% of the time, the other 20% of what you eat won't really hurt you. That rule gives me the freedom to choose what I want to eat rather than feeling like I "can't" eat certain foods. I'm also pretty sure that any time I eat food that I don't prepare, whether that's eating out or eating packaged foods, I'm eating things that aren't on my list of "real" foods. But I don't stress about it since I have the 80/20 rule. I also feel pretty crummy after eating non-paleo foods these days. So I've found that my 20% has probably dropped to 5% over the course of the year because I don't really want to eat non-paleo foods. They just don't look very appetizing to me any more, and I'm pretty sure they will make me feel bad later.
I love the fitness regime of the Paleo lifestyle: Walk a lot, lift heavy things and play often. I can do that and have fun at the same time! I still do yoga at the gym, I hike with my friend Kate every week and lift some weights and ride the stationary bike in between. I never really liked those aerobics classes and don't miss them at all! But walking and yoga are an integral part of my life and I can't see myself ever giving that up!
I've enjoyed this paleo journey and don't see myself going back to the Standard American Diet. I feel like I have more energy now and feel like I'm eating real food. I'm having fun coming up with new paleo recipes to eat and share and never feel like I'm missing out on any foods. And to top it all off, I've lost 20 lbs in the past year! I now weigh less than I did in college and can fit into the dress I wore to my Junior Prom!
Picture on the left is from college. Picture on right is from a photo booth about a week ago.
I've been lucky enough to avoid food related illnesses. I've never been diabetic (although I was borderline during my first pregnancy), I've never had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides and I've never been obese. But I believe the paleo lifestyle has helped me reach the best health I've ever had. I feel fit, and I feel healthy, and I would love others to give Paleo a try! Give it 2 weeks...and you may never go back.