In 2010 I completed the Honolulu Marathon. Shortly after, I started my doctoral program and pretty much stopped exercising altogether. I put on 20 pounds in a year. I decided enough was enough and got back into exercising again, doing it on my own for awhile before finally learning about CrossFit. Even with my increased exercise, I still was not dropping fat like I wanted. I did not eat what I considered to be poorly (no fast food, nothing fried at home, no soda, etc.) but I did love my bread and cheese. The Natural November challenge seemed to be a necessity for me and so I jumped in at Level 9, ready to take it on.
The first week was the hardest is I “got off the crack” of my love of chocolate, cheese, and carbs. I remember the first day that the entire day went by and I did not feel any cravings or desire for my normal food loves. I was so surprised! As the month continued, I felt great and not deprived at all. I started sleeping better, I had more energy, and my anxiety levels decreased, which was good because November was also the craziest month I have had in years. I cheated on Thanksgiving to have a small serving of stuffing, pumpkin pie, and a brownie and, looking back, I wish I had not. Until then, it was easy to say no to treats and not feel like I was missing anything. However, one taste got me reacting like a druggie with how I could not stop thinking about my drug. It was willpower that finished up the challenge after that cheat and I just started to get past the cravings again when the challenge ended.
My results blew me away. 10 pounds, 3 inches, and a 1% body fat in just 30 days! WOW! The greatest revelation has been in the days following the challenge. I have learned that I really feel terrible eating the way I used to eat. It has been exciting and a bit sad at the same time. I know what my body needs and fueling it in a way that honors its needs must be a priority. I am back on eating clean, at a lower level (I really missed that splash of milk in my coffee), and feeling good again. I am even avoiding all the holiday treats at work and not feeling bad about it at all.
Paleo works. My skepticism is no longer- especially after a year of being 20 pounds heavier than my norm. I’m looking forward to continuing eating clean and transferring my family, including my 11- and 8-year-old children, to a paleo lifestyle.