Losing Weight and Getting Healthy with the Paleo Diet

By Melissa Jenkins As It Turns Out, You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks!

As my sister Meri revealed in an earlier post, dieting, food restrictions, or anything of the like have not been part of my lifestyle. Much to the dismay of my particularly healthy surroundings (husband, sisters, friends) I have been known to nosh on candy stashed in my glove compartment or grab fast food for a lunch on the run.

Back in October, when my sister initially coerced me into trying the Paleo diet for 30 days, I fully intended for it to be just that -- 30 days. I just wanted to prove to myself and others that I do have some self-control when it comes to food choices. In this case, “if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em” has turned out to have had a good outcome.

To my surprise, I have maintained quite a bit of the Paleo diet for over three months now.  This is still me, so of course I haven't permanently omitted any foods from my daily diet; but my intake of whites, sugar, and dairy is limited these days and I have now incorporated lots more protein, fruits, veggies, and water.

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So why have I continued??

1. More Energy

For me, a driving force has been the energy I felt during the month of strict Paleo. I pride myself on being “well-rested” (sleeping at least 8 hours a night and taking a nap whenever possible). However, I often still found myself feeling drowsy throughout the day.  My idea of a snack was a small bag of candy and a diet soda. Not surprising, this would result in a burst of energy soon followed by a wave of drowsiness. These days, my favorite snack is pistachios and seltzer water, which keeps me going and feeling good.

2. Clear Skin

Another huge motivator to keep this Paleo thing going is the clarity of my skin.  I live a relatively busy life and often use a facial wipe cleanser before falling into bed at night. This lazy approach does not exactly lead to flawless skin.  However, with limited intake of gluten and diary, I can slack off doing a total face washing and still have skin that makes me smile.

3. Weight Loss

Although I did not start the diet to lose weight, I'm certainly not going to turn it down. During the first month, I lost almost five pounds and since then I've taken off another three. Good to be back in my skinny jeans!

Moving forward, my goal is to roll into my 40s gracefully.  I just celebrated yet another birthday, and I am hoping that as time goes on I will continue to feel more energized, eat healthier, and look good doing it!

Especially now that I work at IronPT where I continually see individuals striving to improve their quality of life through physical exercise, I am inspired to keep this good thing going with my Paleo (modified) diet!

Has anybody else had success on Paleo?

Do you have any good recipes for breakfast...that seems to be the hardest meal?

Paleo Diet Challenge: Family Style

By Meri Mayes My sister Melissa never dieted a day in her life!

Personally, I started getting into health and nutrition when I was about 14. Step aerobics was just getting big, and my Uncle Don made my first step out of plywood. I would spend hours in my basement doing videos with Tamilee Webb (remember her) and body builder Cory Everson.

When I was about 16, I remember ordering protein bars from PR Bar before people even knew what those were. Around the same time, I started hitting the local YMCA with my best friend Jill who was kind enough to take me because I didn't have my license yet. We would take all kinds of classes and do a weight circuit in the gym. We were the youngest people there by about 20 years. I rode horses competitively and never played team sports, so this was a whole new world for me.

I also started learning more about nutrition, and there always seemed to be some great new idea out there (nothing has changed in that department). My mom and I were just laughing about those Entenmann's cakes that were all the "low fat" rage in the 90's. I definitely remember limiting high fat, fried or sugary foods and was even known to bring my own salad dressing to restaurants that didn't have healthy options.

This all brings me back to my sister! 

While I was eating carrot sticks and doing aerobics growing up, she was eating Yodels and Twizzlers. She still reminds me that she would get a Whopper everyday for lunch during senior year of high school. You might be waiting for me to say she now weighs 250, but you'd be wrong. She looks amazing and still eats what she wants. Don't get me wrong, she hits the road/gym now and does have a nutritious diet, but the girl has never met a piece of chocolate/candy she didn't like.  When we go out, she can still be found eating a burger and fries. I say...good for her!!!

I bring all of this up to say, I am so glad (and proud) that my sister joined me in this 30-day Paleo challenge. Here's why:

  • I needed some accountability. I see my sister almost everyday, and I knew that if she could do it, then I could too.

  • I wanted her to experience the power of choice. Everyone should know how it feels to really want something but choose not to have it. (click to tweet). It's empowering and also makes you more understanding for the millions of people who make the hard decision to live without unhealthy food, alcohol, cigarettes, you name it.

  • Gave her just one more reason to believe she can do anything : )

So we have less than a week left! Let's just say we are counting down til Halloween ; )

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Weight loss to date:

  • Kerry - 10lbs

  • Lis (my sis) - 4lbs

  • Me - 2.5lbs. I have been battling the flu, so the gym has been out of the picture. My sister and I weighed in at exactly the same weight. Fun!

**As mentioned in earlier posts, Lis and I are not aiming to lose weight, but when you can only eat a few things, it's bound to happen.