August 7, 2012

My Personal Paleo Story

I first discovered Paleo late last summer.  My mom had lost a lot of weight very quickly by following the Dukan Diet, a very low carb diet.  I started researching low carb diets because I was having trouble getting rid of the baby fat that came along with my daughter who had been born a year earlier. I read quite a bit, especially on Sarah Fragoso's site, Everyday Paleo.  I was already eating just eggs and bacon for breakfast, no breads or anything like that, but I usually had cheese on the eggs and milk in the coffee.  One morning I didn't have any dairy.  I noticed immediately after breakfast my stomach didn't feel so heavy.  I decided then and there to try going Paleo for 30 days.  That was in October.  I had a really rough time the first two weeks.  The "low carb flu" left me irritable, and I did cheat quite a bit.  I finally started using dark chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth, and I managed to stick to it for 30 days.  A month after I started eating this way, I had my blood drawn for my endocrinologist.  When I was pregnant with my daughter, my midwife had found a large goiter on my thyroid.  The endocrinologist did ultrasounds on it, and even biopsied it after my daughter was born.  He also ordered several blood tests over the two year period.  The goiter was benign, but my thyroid stimulating hormone was always extremely low, way out of normal range.  The last blood test was in July of 2011.  TSH was very low (around .1, and the low end of normal is .45).  After eating Paleo for one month, I had my blood drawn again.  My TSH had jumped all the way to .42!  I had also lost 10 pounds!

I went home for Thanksgiving and my parents were amazed at my energy levels.  Around that time I started eating some gluten-free treats, but I mostly stuck with real food.  In January I started a 30 day challenge but only lasted two weeks.  I lost 5 pounds.  Throughout the spring I maintained the weight loss and ate gluten-free, mostly real food.  In May I did another 30 day challenge, and I lost another 5 pounds.  This summer I've been pretty lax, what with the pantry challenge and all, and I've gained back 3 pounds.

This month (August), I am trying to get back to the state I was in during May.  I really didn't have many food cravings (which begs the question of why I fell off).  I feel so much better when I'm strict.  My skin clears up, my mood improves, my energy is steady, I don't fall asleep while putting the kids to bed, and I can deal with my husband and kids more rationally!

What's really kept me going this past year has been a strict adherence to gluten-free.  I have eaten glutenous foods on a couple of occasions (usually after consuming alcohol), but for the most part I have stayed away from obvious gluten-containing flours.  So even when I cheat, it's with ice cream or milk chocolate candy, not with cookies.  And maybe those things do have a little gluten in them (in the artificial flavorings perhaps) but to me there is a difference between having a bowl of ice cream and having a oreo.  Staying gluten-free has been great for me, and going Paleo has been even better!