Wow…I never imagined when I first took a 30 day Primal challenge that I would get to an entire year! I can still remember the first couple of days when I felt irrationally angry, exhausted, and had a nightmare of a headache…. I could have quit then. But something amazing happened… a switch flipped and I felt better than I had in years! And so… I kept going… 1 year. This is only the beginning!!
My story, and how I got here, actually starts 2 years ago…
May 2010: 7 weeks post partum with baby #5. This was my first day back in the gym. I was horribly out of shape and tired….so, so tired. I felt accomplished and encouraged every single time I walked into the gym but I could barely function for days following the work outs. I counted calories and measured my food quite meticulously. The day that I was finally down to my pre-5th pregnancy weight was cause for celebration because that had never happened before; I held onto 5-10 pounds with each baby. That’s where my weight loss ended…I was confused and angry.
For a year, I struggled to lose just 5 more pounds. I just wanted to be back at my pre-4th baby weight; 10 more pounds. When I was suddenly pulled from the gym to deal with a physical condition, I was devastated. I went against medical advice and went back to the gym.. and made things worse. I comforted myself with food because if I couldn’t work out, it just wasn’t worth it to me to eat well. (yes, that really was my mindset)
April 2011: I had gained 6 pounds once I stopped going to the gym and ate like crap for a couple of months. I was hyper emotional, depressed, and sick. (you can read about that part in THIS POST) My friend Robin issued a 30 day Primal challenge on a message board and I felt like I had nothing else to lose. I guess when you find yourself contemplating driving into oncoming traffic, anything sounds like a good idea! I’m eternally grateful for Robin and her support in those early days (and today!).
Over the year, I connected with a lot of primal/paleo people and along the way, they have been invaluable. I’m so afraid that personally thanking these people will end in my forgetting someone important so if I’ve forgotten you, I’M SORRY!!!
First… Huge thanks to the primal/paleo ladies of CDN! My biggest source of support for those bad times (omg, I ate pizza and I think I’m dying!!) and those bad times (woo hoo, I lost 5 pounds!!). I never would have taken on this challenge without the push!
Next up is Mr. Humble himself, Dean Dwyer from Being Primal. I used to check Mark’s Daily Apple every Friday for the success story and when Dean’s story was featured, I knew that this guy would play a BIG role in my story. His positive attitude is infectious and I feel like each of his posts gives me a ‘deep thought’ pause. It’s been a while since we’ve talked…. *tap tap tap* He’s busy making his mark with his new book, Make Shi(f)t Happen but I know that I can still e-mail him if I need him.
James and Kristin from Fast Paleo are the reason why my Facebook page exploded with new fans in a couple of very short months! I remember the post that James made on my page telling me to post a recipe on Fast Paleo. Fast Paleo is one of the best sources for paleo recipes out there!
Paleo Parents (Stacy and Matt) have played a huge role in my success. Not only my success, though…the success of my entire family! I never intended for this to be a family affair…this was my thing. The more I read, however, the more I knew that this was about all of us. It took almost 2 months to convert my husband and another 2 to get the kids switched. I loved Stacy and Matt’s blog, loved their story, loved that they were doing this with their kids! It would take a few months before I started talking to them personally but I loved them from afar for a few months.
Maybe you’ve heard of Civilized Caveman…? Or maybe you’ve been living under a rock.. that’s cool too. George is probably the most down to Earth guy you will ever meet. He’ll give you the shirt off his back if you need it but he is also great at giving a much needed reality check. Really..some of our conversations go like this.. Me: “I am miserable and whiny.” Him: “Well, quit that.”. He just finished up a 21 Day Sugar Detox and posted his results! Before I knew him, I assumed he looked like his cartoon guy… I know I’m not the only one! Now he’s like a brother to me…not one that rips the heads off of my Barbies, but a cool one that gives me great advice and a reality check when I need it.
There are a lot of other influences who may or may not know just how important they have been to me this past year… I will be here all day if I type them up… But Diane Sanfilippo (Balanced Bites) may have influenced me in the most positive way. After 32 glorious years of having no damn idea what I’m going to do with my life, I have decided to grow up. My nose will be buried in books for the next 2 years while I work my way to becoming a Registered Holistic Nutritionist!
Okay, okay… if you’re looking for 1 year results, here they are! (note: they are not as impressive as Big Tim’s amazing year!)
April 2012: If you’re doing the math, that’s 30 pounds in 1 year that I lost. I keep scrolling between the 2 pictures and trying to see every part of me that’s changed. Legs, belly, arms, and I have cheekbones!! I’m refraining from pointing out all of my bad areas because it’s ridiculous. The outer physical changes mean so little to me compared to what’s gone on inside. I took control of my health and regained my life. I can have a bad day that won’t spiral into a month of epic fail. I can pinpoint exactly what I ate to make me feel like crap!
I dropped to my pre-Anya weight by the end of one month and hit pre-Gavin weight by the end of the 2nd month. Suddenly, my ultimate goal was within range!
Highlights from this past year: Losing 15 pounds in 2 months. Buying clothes off the rack in my regular sizes…only to discover that they were way too big. Eating 3 meals a day and not being hungry in between. My ridiculously supportive family and their willingness to try anything! Being able to see Joel Salatin speak at a local food event and having him give me a twice over when I told him that I had 5 kids. (seriously, man…you made my year!!!) Having 3300+ people follow me on Facebook and 500+ follow me on Twitter….it’s very humbling!
I seriously feel like I’m missing something… Oh, someone on Facebook asked me about cheats/treats. Do I have them? Damn rights! What are they? Well, dairy is my weakness. Always has been, always will be. I confess to still consuming dairy and, aside from the whole 30, I can’t see myself giving it up forever. Yes, I consume alcohol on rare occasions…nothing beats a glass of wine on the weekend with my husband after the kids go to bed. Sugar is extremely rare… on a couple of March birthdays we had ice cream and I ate a teeny bit. Wheat/gluten just doesn’t happen for me. Over the year I have had gluten 3 times and each time I would spend days in pain. I’ve never been diagnosed as having a gluten intolerance but my reaction to gluten is enough for me to never eat it.
About treats/cheats… a couple of weeks ago we let the kids have a peanut butter marshmallow square from Big Bend Market. They all ate half of their square and decided to save the rest because they were full. Pre-paleo Tara baked a lot. Like, every single day a lot. My life goals were food related…I wanted to open a bakery, I made/sold peanut brittle and lollipops, I gifted all of the important people in our lives home baking… My kids were no strangers to ‘treats’ but treats aren’t treats when they become daily occurrences. They could eat through a hand full of cookies, a piece of cake, and a boatload of ice cream without any ill effect. The marshmallow square made me realize that they finally understand what a treat is.
I will always be a foodie and I will always love eating but I appreciate food in its purest form now. Eating an avocado straight out of the shell, a salad without dressing, raw veggies, barely seasoned salmon, … I have discovered that food can heal. My body isn’t perfect, but I appreciate how forgiving it is. I’m forever grateful for the chance to make things right. When people ask I can survive without grains and sugar, I tell them that I wouldn’t have survived eating them. I have eaten almost every item in the produce section of the grocery store, almost every cut of meat, and consumed things that I never would have before. I’ll gladly give up the pasta for a steak, the crackers for a batch of kale chips, and the bread for a big ass salad.
I couldn’t just have individual pictures up there because scrolling for comparisons was making me crazy… here’s a side by side of them all.
So that’s it… I may not have a super impressive transformation but it’s me. And if you’ve made it this far…thank you!!! *sparkly hearts and a lot of love!!*