About five, maybe six years ago, I constantly would get the famous question from my 38-40 year old clients. “Sandi, where did this extra 5 pounds come from?” I honestly without any thinking or going deeper into their health history would automatically answer, “Must be hormones.” It sounded good, kept them satisfied, but not happy and from all of my previous studying and research the hormone answer made sense to me. That is until I myself reached the age of 38 or so and went for my yearly physical. I hopped on the scale figuring I would see the same number I have seen for 15-20 years. I noticed my weight was 2-3 pounds more than usual. I gave it a thought for 15-30 seconds and went on with my healthy eating & workouts just like I always have. Well I did not step on another scale until the following year at my next physical and noticed another 2-3 pounds. I have to admit I did wince and say to myself, “Must be hormones”. The number from the scale that day did haunt me and I kept a closer eye on what I was doing or not doing to lose those extra 4-6 pounds I had gained. I know 4-6 lbs does not sound crazy, but honestly I was doing everything exactly like I had been for the past 20 years. In January 2012, one of my clients mentioned the Paleo or Caveman diet. First of all, I hate diets, hate the word diet and hate the idea of dieting. I always went with, “Everything in moderation.” I listened to what this Paleo thing entailed; no sugars, no carbs, no processed foods, no dairy, or even peanut butter! You’ve got to be freaking kidding me! I loved my healthy oats in the morning, my yummy cheese on everything and peanut butter was a staple in my house! I did not give another thought to this Paleo Palooza nonsense anymore.
Well, in September 2012, I just happened to hop on that damn scale again and said, “Enough is enough”! I decided to revisit this Paleo stuff, because I knew in my heart my weight gain was not going to beat me! I did some research, read some books, looked at the pros and cons and said I will give this 30 days and see if I gain some results. I tried the stupid calorie counting with My Fitness Pal, upped my exercise and was out of answers. The book suggested not starting at 100%, but I was on a mission and went 100%! Easing into it was not an option.
By day five, my morning bloated stomach was gone and I was already down 2 lbs. Ok, 2 lbs, big deal! I found I did not miss bread, my gooey cheese, pasta or even peanut butter! I was enjoying my 3 scrambled eggs with salsa, my mid-morning snack of an organic granny smith apple with almond butter, a lunch of veggies and meat, a afternoon snack of a Larabar and for dinner some more veggies and lean meats. I would also have a night time snack. I was full, had energy and by week 2, five pounds were gone. My workouts were great and I still had my red wine 2-3 times a week. (Sorry I could not give that up).
During the holidays I did not struggle and I did attend one Christmas party that I went off of this way of eating. The next day I felt like complete crap and discovered that all this weight gain was not hormonal at all! My body was not the same as it was when I was in my twenties. My body could not process or digest food like it used to. I am happy to say that I am down those eight pounds or so and have hit my pre-prego weight! I have maintained this weight since October and my body feels much leaner now. I do want you to understand that yes, with the Paleo diet you will consume less calories. I do not and will never again count calories. I know now that eating every 2-3 hours is what our bodies require. Our brains send us signals of hunger every few hours and we need to start listening to those callings. Most of us have ignored them for so long that we do not even get those messages anymore from our brain and say, “I’m not hungry, I can’t eat that much.” Hence this is why we are gaining more body fat.
Since I have been doing this, the most common question I get is, “Sandi, do you ever cheat?” Of course I do! My favorite cheat is chips with salsa and guacamole. I drink my wine, enjoy my dark chocolate, eat raw cheese (which really is not a cheat), and I did have a Domino’s veggie, gluten free pizza. I know that bread will probably never enter my system again unless I am in Italy or somewhere close to it. I have realized that eating clean is the only way I can function without feeling crappy. I want to fill my body with good fuel and being in my forties, I am aware now. I do not see myself missing out on anything, because honestly it is not worth it.
I recommend before you start with Paleo, do your own research. A great book is, The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf, and Everyday Paleo. Everyday Paleo is an easy read with recipes. Please keep me updated with your success on your nutritional journey……Peace…….