My husband and I were at the Follett’s house collecting some honey from their hive early 2014. Mark and Jamie were spinning the honey out of the honeycomb while Leah and I sat under her veranda and chatted, finally landed on the subject of diet.
Being January meant that I had just started another diet in my cyclical New Years resolution. I had just completed two rounds of a very popular 12-week low-calorie, high impact weight-loss program and although I had failed to achieve any weight-loss, I had gained a substantial foot injury. Over the last 10 years I had tried multiple weight-loss programs all based on the same principal, deprivation coupled will power, bucket loads of will power!
Leah talked about her family’s journey into the Paleo lifestyle and the health benefits and natural weight loss that they had experienced. I toured their kitchen, including the fridge and pantry; taste tested some staples from the fridge, was given some starter recipes, and drank some Kefir water. I was swept up in the excitement of my possibility of wellness, and I could not wait to start!
For reference, on that day in January, I was 42 years and obese, I had Gastro-Oesphageal Reflux Disease (GORD); Dry Eye Syndrome (autoimmune); chronic Plantar fasciitis (inflammatory); Fatigue; and hot flashes.
To tell you the truth the first few weeks were not easy. I felt that we, as a family, ate predominately healthy, but the pantry and fridge clean out told a different story. We found that many of the foods that we were eating contained ingredient lists filled with colours, flavours, preservatives, toxic oil, and sugar. We removed all of these foods from our diet and replaced them with organic grass-fed proteins, eggs, organic fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and filtered water.
I began adding in pre and pro-biotic foods, stopped drinking alcohol, and added a diverse range of good fats [and flavor] to our food. Food actually began to taste better and I was at long last satiated after eating. I was able to achieve long periods of time without snacking or obsessing about food and was able to feed proper and real-hunger again. My blood sugar stabilized and subsequent so did my mood.
Exercising for functional fitness rather than endurance and weight-loss was completely a foreign concept to me. I had to learn to listen to my body when moving which allowed time for my injuries to heal, and they did. I grew lean muscle and the weight started to fall off, this was exciting because I really began to enjoy movement again.
I also had a lot of work to do on my sleep hygiene. My adrenals were fatigued because I was running on adrenaline and cortisol. I once ceremoniously believed that as a mother, wife, sister, shift worker, daughter, carer, committee member, chef, taxi, dog walker, cleaner, accountant, personal assistant etc., etc., it was my duty to put myself last and sacrifice important restorative sleep. I now know different. Today I love to sleep and cannot wait to go to bed at night, and most nights am heading there by 8.30pm or so. I have found it to be one of the single kindest activities you can do for yourself.
So where am I today, just 14 months on? Well I have lost 18 kilograms and am now in the healthy weight range; I no longer have GORD or take any medication for it; I no longer have Dry Eye Syndrome; I no longer have Plantar Fasciatis; I have loads of energy and no longer have hot flashes. The Paleo “lifestyle” has given me the tools to change not only my physical self but also my mindset and I thank the Follett’s for opening our eyes.