Paleo Success Story: 60lbs Down in Less Than Half The Time

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Hi there! I’d like to introduce you to our latest paleo success story, Karen. I heard Karen’s story and, as politely as I could, approached her to see if she’d be interested in inspiring and encouraging others with her story. She graciously agreed and sat down to answer all my questions. Thank you, Karen!

Please share this story so that others can be inspired too! Buttons are to the left and at the bottom of the post. Read all the way to the end to get the very latest on this uplifting paleo success story! :-)

Here is Karen’s summary:
   Time on paleo: 7 months
   Results:
60 lbs (goal) down in 5 months, 67lbs down total
   Essential advice:
Give it the thirty days they recommend.

paleo success story, paleo diet, paleo

Karen, tell us a little about yourself.
I am 45 yrs old and I live in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. I am a federal government employee and I am required to travel occasionally. Some of my hobbies include walking, reading, house-sitting and spending time with friends & family. 
 
How long have you been paleo?

I started my paleo journey on November 13, 2012.  I had been reading about paleo since late October 2012 and felt that it was the right choice for me but I was going out of town and thought it might be hard to start it off with that challenge (I did try it out at a couple of restaurants!).

What prompted you to make the change?

I have made the weight loss journey a couple of times in my life and had always fallen back to old bad habits.  With both prior journeys, I had always become obsessed with the exercise part but never really developed correct eating habits (‘I can have that cupcake because I’ll just work harder tomorrow at the gym’) so when I wasn’t able to maintain my gym routine my eating habits were still the same and the weight came back.

This time I wanted to work on my eating habits before doing the gym/exercise obsession.  I had gained back almost all the weight I had lost on the prior journey and was in a real ‘funk’ so I decided I wanted to get out of the funk and get healthy.  I had already started being more conscious of what I was doing in my life (got into the housework routine again and making sure I puttered around the house each evening after work rather than sitting watching TV all evening) and was starting to feel good mentally.

Then one day I was getting my daily dose of news off MSN and I saw a blog about the paleo diet.  I read it and thought it sounded like something I could do.  My doctor told me years ago to stay away from bread so I thought maybe this was the answer to how I was going to do this.

What problems were you experiencing before you went paleo that you wanted to address?

My biggest concern was to lose weight.  I have always battled my weight and this time I wanted to do something that would be more of a lifestyle change and something I could do for the rest of my life. I had also noticed lately that I had been experiencing bad heartburn and just generally felt uncomfortable in the evenings.  After reading about paleo I was really excited about trying it to see if I could start feeling better.

It wasn’t until I was about four months into my paleo journey that I found out more about how this diet helps people with autoimmune disorders.  I have Polycystic Ovarian Sydrome (PCOS) and there was a booklet in the Primal Kit that was recently on sale and it was an eye-opening read for me.  I should have read it 22 years ago when I was first diagnosed.

How did you do it – gradually or cold turkey?

Cold turkey, I jumped right into the paleo way of thinking.  A lot of people asked me why I didn’t wait until after Christmas and I told them that there is a switch that goes off in me and I was not going to ignore it.  I did, however, tell myself that I would enjoy some of my mom’s turkey stuffing because no one makes it better, plus it helped that my 30 days would be completed by then.  I have tried hard to be faithful to my new lifestyle (no birthday cake at work, no Yorkshire puddings, no lasagna or other old favorites). The cravings are definitely gone (I don’t crave the salty snacks like I used to).

What do you feel has been central to your success?

Everything I read in the beginning talked about planning your meals.  I decided that if I was going to succeed I had to master this technique.  I am a fan of soups, stews and other ‘prepare ahead of time’ type meals.   I decided I would cook a batch of turkey soup and chicken stew to freeze for my lunches.  Not being known for my cooking skills caused me to request tips from my sister (she makes awesome stews) and brother-in-law (soup master).  I am also a person who likes routines so I found a breakfast option that works for me.  I know that the paleo lifestyle allows you to think outside the traditional breakfast box but for me eggs, raspberries and a banana work. 

What were your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

I love my family dearly and knew that I could not convince them to change their eating habits along with me.  I live with my sister, brother-in-law and niece and we try to eat dinner as a family.  My sister has been supportive and tries to include things that I can have but there have been times that I feel tested.  My brother-in-law is a trained chef and he likes to cook.  I remember one afternoon coming home and he had made lasagna and it was sitting on the stove.  Damn, it looked good but I did not have any. 

We are going camping this summer and two month ahead of time, I am already thinking about what will work for me. If I know about the events early enough, I can plan for it and that is so important.

What does your average day look like?

As I mentioned earlier, I am a routine person so breakfast is two hard-boiled eggs, a cup of raspberries and a banana, lunch is either turkey soup, chicken stew or paleo cottage pie (from Well Fed) and dinner is usually a stir-fry (my sister laughs at me for being able to make any meat into a stir-fry).  I don’t eat out nearly as much as I used to but my favorite is a local Chinese restaurant that makes a great Almond Guy Ding (altered a bit to exclude the peas, corn and much less sauce).  If I snack, it’s an apple or a small amount of almonds. 

Are you at goal or do you have further progress to make to achieve your health goals?

On April 23, 2013, I was at my goal weight of 180lbs.  Everyone tells me that I don’t need to lose anymore but I would like to lean out a bit more and maybe try for 170lbs.  I am now working on my strength training (although purchasing a pedometer in January has helped me walk more and definitely take more stairs) and my weekly totals for steps and stair climbing are well above the goals I set. I recently received my 500 mile badge from Fitbit. (Yay!)

How have those around you responded to your changes – both your lifestyle changes and your results?

As I mentioned earlier, my family has been very supportive (that includes my ex-husband, who looks forward to my updates and hasn’t seen me since September 2012 so he hasn’t observed the transformation, only read about it) and my co-workers have noticed the change in me.  When I see someone that I haven’t seen in a while they are shocked at the change because it has happened so quickly.  When I lost 60 pounds in the past it has taken almost a year and this time around it has taken just over five months (23 weeks). 

Where have you got most of your information?

The first information I got was from Loren Cordain (I ordered his books) and I have also gotten information from Robb Wolf, Nell Stephenson (Paleoista), Sebastien Noel (Paleo Diet Lifestyle), Neely and Jason at Paleo Plan, Melissa Joulwan (Well Fed cookbook) and most recently Bill and Haley at The Food Lovers Kitchen and yourself at Paleo/Non-Paleo.  I signed up for meal plans but found that I wasn’t quite ready to be that strict with my planning. 

paleo, paleo diet, paleo success story, weight loss

To anyone reading this who is facing similar problems, what would you say?

You’ll never know if it works for you if you don’t give it a try.  Remember, new habits take 3-6 weeks to form so make sure you give it the thirty days they recommend.

What three strategies can you give us that have helped you stay the course?
  1. Plan, plan and plan some more
  2. Give it the full thirty days before you say it’s not for you
  3. Adopting paleo is a lifestyle change, not a diet and if you are in it for weight loss, do not go back to your old habits once you reach goal.  I have decided that once I am at goal, I will still not be eating grains, rice, potatoes, dairy and legumes.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

I haven’t really craved any of the salty snacks I used to eat daily and I don’t miss the potatoes, rice, pasta, and processed sides. BBQ season has begun and green salads are my friend.  I am below my goal weight and have not been a slave to the gym. Walking has been my only form of regular exercise but I do want to work on some yoga and strength training.

Update: As of today I am seven months strong on paleo and I can’t see myself going back to my unhealthy eating habits. Since I originally wrote this piece, I have continued to lose another 7lbs, making a total weight loss of 67lbs. :-)

Karen

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Interesting and inspirational, huh?! I love how Karen, despite not having perfect control over her home environment, made it work for her instead of throwing up her hands. Way to go, Karen! What insight did you gain as you read her story? Tell us in the comments because it is in stating the learning that we gain the self-awareness to identify our way forward.

And don’t forget to share this story with your friends because Karen’s weight-loss was fast!

I am looking for success stories to feature on the blog. If you have had major health gains or inch/weight loss with paleo, or paleo and T-Tapp, and would like to tell your story to inspire and help others, please email me. Thank you!

amazon, modern no nonsense guide to paleoAre you struggling to sustain a paleo lifestyle change? Or not sure how to start? Or perhaps those around you are resistant and you're feeling undermined and unsure. The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo provides practical tools to ease the transition to a full-on paleo life. Each chapter includes strategies, tips and checklists to identify the actions to power you on your paleo journey and create sustainable change. Buy it at Amazon.com.

Written by 

Alison Golden writes on the topic of paleo over at Paleo/NonPaleo. She aims to share ideas, inspire and motivate readers by teaching them how to live paleo in a non-paleo world. She is also the author of the bestselling book, The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo, a unique tool that gives the reader hundreds of strategies to navigate the learning process to successful paleo living.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

mark June 18, 2013 at 8:32 am

Awesome stuff! I am surprised that you have had so much success while eating a fairly sugary breakfast (banana in particular) – I love bananas and they are an occasional treat for me, but was always leery of eating them too early for concern of that insulin spike first thing in the AM. But it’s worked for you!
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NJ Paleo June 18, 2013 at 8:46 am

Karen, what great changes you have made for yourself! Thank you for sharing! It’s amazing how little we crave those old things once we get rid of them for good and feel better in the process!

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KATHY AUSTIN June 18, 2013 at 9:28 am

Great success story! I am at about the same point you are and I will never go back to eating the other way (not to say I don’t cheat once in a while) Keep up the good work…Isn’t it sad that we cannot convince the ones we love and the ones we know need this to give it the 30 days… It just seemed so “simple” to me to go 30 days… Oh and I am not a big banana fan (but I do have some paleo banana ice cream in my freezer right now that I made this weekend)…My breakfast is usually a meat (or eggs) and a dish of blueberries and blackberries!!!

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Joyful Susan June 18, 2013 at 9:31 am

Very inspiring!! I’m hoping I can share my story by the end of the year!!
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Alison Golden June 18, 2013 at 5:01 pm

That would be great, Susan! :-)
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Lindsay June 18, 2013 at 9:34 am

I’m frustrated. I have gone Paleo for 6 months and haven’t lost an ounce. What am I doing wrong?

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Matt @ Your Living Body June 18, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Don’t get discouraged. Everyone’s individual biochemistry is different. You may need some tweaking to fit your on body.
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kirsten June 18, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Lindsay, every body is different. I had a similar response initially when I read this. I said, hey! She started the same time I did, and I’ve only lost 42 pounds! I even cut out dairy, and don’t cheat at all, but why did I only lose 42. And then I thought, hey! that’s 42 that has saved my life, and I have done something. Also, if you are exercising, like I am, muscle weighs heavier than fat, and my body is getting muscular. Have you noticed inches coming off? Clothes fitting better?I stopped weighing myself all of the time, cause it was inches and muscle. Definitely stick with it, and make sure you are walking and doing weights, and really keeping an eye on eating lots of vegetables and pasture raised meats, which are much leaner. Good luck!

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Alison Golden June 19, 2013 at 2:06 pm

It could be any one of a number of things – you will need to do some detective work. Thyroid, insulin resistance, eating too many starches, exercise – the amount and the type, could be any number.

I would urge you to read Beth’s success story – paleo didn’t do anything for her weight-wise: http://paleononpaleo.com/t-tapp-success-story/ – and go to marksdailyapple and search on “why you’re not losing weight” or something similar.
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Teena June 18, 2013 at 9:52 am

I’m happy to report that I lost 60 lbs following the Paleo lifestyle. I went off the rails a bit this past 4 months but I’m back on track and plan to add exercise this summer.

Lindsay- it’s hard to know without knowing your typical menu.

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Kathy June 18, 2013 at 6:37 pm

I am Karen’s sister, who she mentions in her story. I have watched her throughout her journey and am believing that I need to do the same, but the “switch” that Karen mentioned is not quite there yet for me, but I am sure it will be.

Karen is someone who, when she gets something in her head, can be very successful. I am extremely proud of her. I truly believe that this is now her lifestyle for her future.

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Alison Golden June 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm

So great that she has your support, Kathy. My guess is that Karen is someone to “watch and learn.” :-)
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Elke June 18, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Im with Lindsay, I feel great on Paleo and even if I never lose weight I wont stop but I have lost around 6lbs in 6 months and that’s it. I don’t eat any fruit or starchy veg either. Its so frustrating sometimes. I cant think where there might be hidden sugars.

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Loretta June 18, 2013 at 9:14 pm

I’m Karen’s other sister.
I am very proud of her and, I’ll be honest, I’ve been shocked at how easy this has seemed to fall into place for her. Of course, I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but she seemed to take to it very quickly.
I am quite overweight and have done some reading on the Paleo plan and it does seem like something I could do but I, like our other sister said, haven’t had the “switch” go off yet.
God bless her, she tried to get me addicted to kale salad…just can’t do it!
Congratulations, Karen!

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Alison Golden June 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Honestly, she couldn’t get me addicted to kale salad, either! I quite like the kale chips though. I think we often have some kind of psychological barrier to some foods which is why I suggest trying one new vegetable each time we go to the market. Took me nearly three years of paleo and plenty of people saying kale chips were yum, before I’d try it. But one day I just went for it, I rather liked them.
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Doug Westlake June 19, 2013 at 8:23 am

I’m Karen’s Uncle (her dads’ brother) and am very proud of her success,when she visits me in Victoria she would always ask me to cook Chicken stir fry,my famous spaghetti and meat sauce or Bbq chicken for a meal while she was here……. now I’m curious as to what I will be asked to cook when she visits next time. Once again Congratulations Karen and keep up the good work!!!!!

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Alison Golden June 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I have no doubt, Uncle Doug, that you’ll be able to rustle up something delicious for her to eat. Great that you’ve come out in support. :-)
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Susan June 20, 2013 at 7:03 am

Congrats Karen. Doesn’t it feel great, to feel great?

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Donna July 9, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Great story Karen! I’ve been Paleo for almost two months and have lost almost 15 pounds. It’s a really amazing because I haven’t done anything except go Paleo. No exercising, but I’m a nurse and I’m active.i have IBS and can’t have dairy anyway so this has been easy plus my joints feel better too. I’m immune compromised as well so this helps so much.

Good job Karen. I wish I had converted to this years ago. God bless you on your journey. God bless all fellow Paleo people!

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Sue August 21, 2013 at 9:16 am

I think I have read Karen’s story before- were you featured on Wheat Belly blog also?

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Henry Edwards January 6, 2014 at 7:26 am

I have been on this new lifestyle for 2 years and the results were amazing. Not only that I’ve lost about 60 pounds and maintained, but my health improved significantly. When I first started the Paleo diet, I found this guide very helpful. Maybe you will do too. http://bit.ly/18OmG8t

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