For the past few weeks, you’ve gotten an inside look at the various journeys of people who have undergone a major Paleo transformation. You will now get to meet Jeanne, whose story holds a special place for me because she was actually the first person I interviewed. For those of you who have already bought The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking, you may recognize Jeanne as one of our success stories at the beginning of the book. When Bill & Hayley asked me if I would interview Jeanne (as well as the other individuals who submitted their stories) I replied, “Yep. No problem. I’ll get right on that.” I thought I could crank out an interview in 10-15 minutes, post it the same day, and be done with it.
Wow, was I wrong. I was so freaking wrong.
I spent two weeks interviewing these people, and however corny it may sound, I have never been so inspired. 15 minutes over the phone wasn’t enough. 10 was an absolute joke. I ended up listening on the phone for almost an hour as Jeanne told her story, in complete shock at what she had done. For someone who had been losing the same 30 pounds her whole life, she lost 100 pounds in just NINE MONTHS after going Paleo. Who does that?? She claims she didn’t even know what “Feeling good felt like” before she went Paleo.
I had a prewritten list of questions I thought I would ask each individual, and I scrapped every last one of them. Instead, Jeanne told her story like it was. And her story was completely different than each one that followed. She was the first person who really sold me on Crossfit, and was also the first to prove that NEVER is it too late to make a healthy change in your life. So if you’re looking for extra motivation or just need to refocus, I hope you find it here. Thanks Jeanne for sharing your story! -Kara
What was your life like before Paleo?
I always had a weight problem. In my mind, I knew how to diet and I knew about nutrition. For the longest time, I really tried to follow what I thought was right-mainly counting calories. But my life was crazy: I was working 60-80 hours a week and raising three kids. Eventually, I just gave up. I gained SOOOO much weight. I gained 70 pounds. I was trying my best to stay active-I walked the dog, chased the kids around, but was still rapidly gaining weight. Finally, I went to see a doctor. His suggestion? To cut my caloric intake to 800 calories a day.
After the doctor visit, I went home to see my son. He was the one who introduced me to Crossfit and Paleo, and basically screamed at me, “IT’S NOT ABOUT THE CALORIES!” He drilled the concept of Paleo into me, but I didn’t buy it. The whole idea of cutting out whole food groups just didn’t sound healthy. At the time, I was 1-2 points away from being diabetic. I was to the point where I couldn’t function: I could barely make it through a day of work. My son had gone away to college, and when he came home to visit I asked him, “Will you start training me?”
He worked me SO. HARD. I would be lying there ready to die and he just said “You can work as hard as you want. But in the end this is 80 percent diet.” That’s the moment I decided to cut out sugar, and everything else just fell into place. It was the first thing I had ever tried that didn’t seem hard.
That month, I lost 25 pounds. I lost my first 100 pounds in just nine months. For the first 50-60 pounds, I was still able to fit into some of my clothes, but after that nothing fit. Then, about eight months I lost all desire to eat the things I had given up. It was enough for me to just see the results to keep going with it.
Did you have any other health problems you were trying to cure?
No. With the exception of being prediabetic, my only real concern was my weight. I tried Weight Watchers multiple times and would lose 30 pounds only to gain it back. The other thing was just my pure lack of energy. I would watch people get up in the morning and accomplish 100 different things, and all I could think was, “How do you DO that?” Now I understand. I have more energy now than I did in my twenties.
Did you ever “cheat” on Paleo?
It probably took me a full year before I was 100 percent Paleo. I was doing 80/20 Paleo before that. I was able to eliminate yogurt last October, but only after I did a 30 day challenge did I eliminate all dairy. Now I don’t even want it. On special occasions, I would also have wheat. But now I just can’t do it anymore. It’s not worth the feeling I get from it.
Honestly, I think it’s ok to admit when you DO cheat. I’ve actually gotten a lot of people to try Paleo, and they can get frustrated with it. You have to understand it’s a gradual process. You can’t expect to be perfect, especially in the beginning.
Paleo definitely had a learning curve to it. How did you “teach yourself” Paleo?
My son once showed me the youtube video, “Why you Got Fat.” It explains the relationship between the blood sugar insulin spike and fat storage. That really resonated with me. I had never even heard that before! I read Robb Wolf’s book, and mainly went online for other research. I also began Crossfit, which I still do 3-4 mornings a week. I do Olympic lifting two days a week and walk my dog almost every day.
If you were speaking to someone who was just starting Paleo, what would you tell them?
I understand that if someone is 100 pounds overweight, they are going to have doubts. I could preach about Paleo and try to explain the insulin spike and fat storage, but who knows if that would ‘click’ for them. Honestly, I think I would tell them how easy it really was for me. I didn’t have to limit quantity. I never felt hungry. Not even once.
People think dieting equals deprivation. Before I went Paleo, I never ate vegetables. I HATED vegetables. On a rare occasion I might eat carrots. Now my hatred I had for veggies is gone, and I realized what I truly don’t like is sugar or grains. Or maybe they don’t like me. Since I used to eat them all the time, I never realized how horrible I really felt. I literally felt horrible! Once you start to feel GOOD, it’s such an amazing change. When I do start craving something sweet or sugary, I have a cup of tea. Try the Good Earth Sweet and Spicy Tea. It’s awesome.