If you’re new to the idea of Paleo, it can be easy to feel skeptical about all of the success stories floating around on the internet. Even my own success story can be dubious for some since I am now a Paleo nutritionist. “Oh, it must be easier for her, she’s a nutritionist.” I’ve heard every argument in the book! However, I didn’t become a nutritionist until after I had already lost all of my weight on a Paleo diet, and I was so inspired by my success that I wanted to be able to help others.
But if you need to hear a good success story from someone who is rocking the Paleo lifestyle, but who isn’t a nutritionist, we have an awesome one! Paleo Plan member Carol is a teacher who lost more than a hundred pounds by eating a Paleo diet! I’m going to let her introduce herself in her own words.
Carol: I am 64 years old. All of my life I have struggled with being overweight. I am 4’9″ and in the 1950’s-60’s, it wasn’t popular to be short. I had a double whammy! I was short and fat. I have been on almost any weight loss plan that you can name. Four years ago, I became ill. I had shortness of breath and I could barely make it from my car to a school building. By Thanksgiving, I was admitted to the hospital and they did a CT scan. I had pneumonia and they found a mass on the wall of my abdomen. In December they removed the mass and it was cancer.
Okay, so there she was, finding out she’d had cancer removed from her body—what a terrifying realization! Thankfully, they were able to remove all of the cancer in that surgery, but Carol’s health challenges didn’t end there. As she explains:
Carol: In the ICU following that surgery, I coded twice. Every time I would attempt to lie flat, I coded. The diagnosis was finally made in February: myasthenia gravis. The antibodies my body was sending to address the cancer had caused an entire host of autoimmune disorders, low thyroid, psoriasis, and ulcerative colitis.
Carol: In June 2013 I saw my oncologist. My highest weight was 245. I was miserable. I was on 60 mg of prednisone a day along with a whole host of other drugs. The prednisone drove up my blood pressure and my blood sugar. I cried in his office and said I would do anything to turn things around, barring having surgery or more medications. His answer? Paleo!
Carol went on to explain that her doctor reasonably cautioned her not to go extreme on the Paleo diet because her body was dealing with so much inflammation from all of the antibodies and the extra weight. He recommended eating the Paleo diet with a practical view, saying that the diet would help dramatically reduce her inflammatory response.
Carol: I left his office and never looked back. I went online that very day and discovered Paleo Plan’s website. I joined, cleaned out my pantry, and started the meal plan. I started walking for five minutes a day.
Because Carol didn’t attempt to start super intense, long workouts right away, or try to finagle a complex meal plan, she was able to stick with her new program. She started losing seven or eight pounds a month, which is a very reasonable and healthy rate of weight loss!
But what about Carol’s old way of eating? How much did it bother her to suddenly go Paleo?
Carol: I loved cheese and peanut butter and all kinds of beans. But after about five days on the plan, I had no cravings at all.
We Paleo nutritionists say this all the time, but it’s true—when you remove sources of irritation for your digestive tract, and when you nourish your body with the right amounts of protein, fats, and carbohydrates (which is accomplished well by following a meal plan that’s designed by a Paleo nutritionist instead of randomly grabbing recipes from here and there), your body will respond. Cravings are produced for various reasons, but when you are nourishing your body and giving it what it needs, it will settle into a happy homeostasis and find balance.
So where is Carol at today?
Carol: As of September 1, 2015, I weigh 138 pounds and am just 23 pounds away from my goal. I do a wide variety of exercise including walking, Pilates, and at-home workout equipment. People who have not seen me in a long time have to do a double take because they do not recognize me at first. I usually get a big hug and then I comment on the obvious: “Yes, I have lost a lot of weight!” They instantaneously ask me how, and I refer them to paleoplan.com!
Carol said that she tells people what her doctor told her: if you want to have a lot more energy, feel healthy, get good bloodwork results, and watch the pounds fall off, then Paleo is the way to go. She also adds that she has no cravings for non-Paleo foods, and that especially if autoimmunity is present, it will likely improve just by sticking with Paleo! (I can personally attest to this, as my own autoimmune conditions are in remission because of Paleo living!)
So how does Carol feel about being a Paleo success story?
Carol: I am a teacher for Virginia Beach Public School System in Virginia where I provide instructional support to about a hundred teachers. Needless to say, people have noticed the huge change. At first they were worried I was sick again, but I can honestly say I have never felt this good in my entire life! Then there are the constant comments that I have such fabulous “willpower.” That is not the case at all. I look at the foods I consumed before Paleo and I cannot fathom going back to the way I felt in that doctor’s office two years ago. My primary care physician is in awe! He has never in his career seen someone accomplish what I have on my own.
One of the secrets of Carol’s success, without experiencing any setbacks, was to view the plan as a health supportive lifestyle. She said, “I have never looked at Paleo-style eating as a weight loss plan. Weight loss has been a wonderful consequence of staying with this way of life and I am thrilled, but what I focus on is making one choice at a time, all day, every day of the year.” She continues, “When I approach everyday eating in this manner, it is not difficult. I tell people not to overwhelm themselves with the plan. Think one meal and one snack at a time.”
So what quick tips does Carol have for you?
- Portion control. She says, “I eat about six times a day with smaller portions and quality products.”
- Practical snacking. She says, “Nuts and seeds are something I carry all of the time. I buy them raw and put them into snack bags and stick them in the refrigerator. Then I can grab and go.”
- You’re worth it. She says, “The most important thing I have learned about myself over the past two years is that I am worth the time and effort it takes to take care of myself. Everyone around me is benefitting from my positive vibes and increased energy levels.”
You might be wondering, is there any downside to all of this? Carol admits that, quite frankly, it is expensive to lose so much and then need an entirely new wardrobe! She said that it’s costing a fortune and she’s had to replace it all a little bit at a time. Yes, that’s a true reality to losing a hundred pounds, but when you compare her two experiences: miserable in the doctor’s office or faced with a small wardrobe and clothing expenses due to impressive weight loss, there’s absolutely no question as to which scenario is the best one!
Carol states again and again that she couldn’t have done it without Paleo Plan. “I have sent person after person to the website,” she says. Carol’s story is truly amazing, and I am so inspired by her and grateful that she wanted to share her success with all of you!
So, what about you? Could you be the next great Paleo Plan success story? You don’t have to have willpower of steel or already be a health professional or even jump into a complex and rigorous program a la The Biggest Loser. All you have to do is start eating differently—and that precisely is why we created the Paleo meal plan service that we did. We know how powerful Paleo is, and we want to make it attainable for everyone. We do the meal planning to make sure you’re consuming balanced macronutrients. We create the shopping list. And now we even let you customize it for your own specific taste preferences, food sensitivities, and number of people eating! We’ve given you the virtual benefits of having a Paleo nutritionist in your kitchen, and with our 30 Day Paleo Challenges, our plethora of resources, and our educational and inspiring Paleo blog, we really don’t think there’s any reason not to go Paleo today! (We even offer you a free trial of the meal plan so you can try it on for size!)
Congrats Carol, and keep inspiring us all!
Aimee McNew, MNT, Certified Nutritionist
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