Beyond the “Challenge”- Paleo Success

22 Apr

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“For years I went from one fad diet to the next trying to find that miracle “quick fix.” By the time I hit my heaviest weight of 230 lbs. I had tried every possible diet out there with nothing to show for it. All the yo-yo dieting put a strain on my health and I was back at square 1, but even heavier than when I started. I finally realized that in order for me to get fit, I needed to commit to something. So, I settled on Weight Watchers. This by far was the only “diet” plan I was able to actually live with. As the weeks turned into months and the weight was melting off my body I started to really feel good about myself again.  It was a great jump start to my weight loss journey, but it wasn’t until I started Crossfit that I started noticing it was lacking in some way.

Naturally, I heard about Paleo through Crossfit so I started reading up on it. I was definitely intrigued by what I read and it made sense, but I was still a little on the fence about some things, especially going completely grain free. When I heard about the challenge I thought, what better way to try it out? I mean how hard could it be, its only 45 days right? Plus, I was hearing a lot of great feed back from people that have done the challenge before and because it was a challenge it would keep me motivated to stay on track. I was a little nervous, but with some persuasion from friends I decided to go for it. I thought it would come easy to me since I was already eating relatively clean, or so I thought.

The first thing I quickly realized was how many foods have sugar in it! I felt so overwhelmed with what I thought was the lack of food choices to choose from that I wondered, what the hell am I going to eat for the next 45 days?! But, I had already committed to this so I was determined to find a way. The first day, I’ll admit, was pretty hard for me. In fact the first three days were rough. I’m a big coffee drinker and every morning I could not funtion unless I had my cup of coffee with 3 splendas and half & half cream. So, switching from sweet and creamy coffee to just plain black was a huge hurdle. I tried some recipes to make my morning cup of coffee more tasty, but nothing tasted good enough. So for the first week and a half I just didn’t drink it at all. It was hard! I was feeling sluggish, tired, and maybe a little cranky to put it lightly. Don’t get discouraged! Keep reading.

After the initial “detox” phase,  I started noticing how much better I slept at night and how much more alert I was in the morning. I felt so refreshed in the morning that I didn’t even need caffiene to “wake up” (although I did take to drinking black coffee, and actually liked it, the second week in).  Prior to the challenge I was the type of person that needed a pick-me-up at around 2pm. However, I found that my energy levels stayed consistent throughout the day as well. And, this is going to sound strange, but I just FELT so much cleaner.

Another thing I noticed while on the challenge, was how I felt during my wods. I could feel myself getting stronger and was hitting a new PR almost every week plus losing weight. In the span of a week I increased my deadlift from a max of 190 lbs. to 205 lbs and was able to PR my backsquat from 125 lbs. to 155 lbs. just to name a couple. It was an amazing feeling! The best part was for the first time since I could remember I didn’t have to count calories or points. All I had to do was eat!

Towards the middle of the challenge my weight loss slowed, but my overall performance and energy were still at peak levels. I was finally letting go of the number on the scale. Now that I felt healthier and stronger, I didnt need the scale to define me. I was defined by how good I felt because of the foods I ate and how well I performed everytime I did a wod. Freeing myself from the chains of the scale was so satisfying.

This challenge taught me a valuable lesson about how I viewed food. When I was on Weight Watchers, yeah I lost weight, but I wasn’t fueling my body the way I should have been. I could eat anything I wanted, no matter how bad,  as long as it was within my alloted points for the day. It wasnt actually teaching me anything. The challenge forced me to look at my foods and experiment. I learned what foods to eat before a wod and the best time to eat certain foods for maximum muscle recovery. Food became fuel instead of just a means to an end. Simply put, I eat to exercise not exercise to eat.

Going into this challenge I was excited to see how Paleo was going to transform my body, but I was in no way prepared for the amazing results. In 45 days I dropped 12 lbs, 1 pant size, and 3 overall inches! Before the final measurements I knew that my body had changed just based on how I felt and how my clothes fit, but it wasn’t until I seen my before and after pictures that I was truly blown away. This journey has been nothing short of amazing and I don’t plan on ever going back. Paleo changed my life. Plain and simple. To me it’s not a “diet” that will give me great results for a short amount of time. It’s a lifestyle that allows me to be a better, healthier, person for the long haul. Plus, I can eat bacon…who wouldn’t love that?! Primal for life, baby!!”

Chenoa

 
 
  • About Courtney Johnson

    Courtney Johnson is one of the original (2006) CFO members and has been coaching for over 4 years. She is also a Registered Dietitian and has special "Paleo" powers. When not at the gym, "Coco" enjoys the beach, reading, volunteering and the island life.
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