Paleo Success Story: I Didn’t Want The Pain Any Longer


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Today, we have another of our paleo success stories! This week we have Kathy who has had some phenomenal rewards from her paleo journey and is excited to share them. I recently met Kathy when she came to the city in which I live, and she was a bundle of paleo enthusiasm! 🙂

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 Kathy’s summary:
   Time on paleo: 14 months
68 lbs down
   Essential advice:
Give Robb Wolf the thirty days he asks for and read, read, read about paleo.

paleo, paleo diet, paleo success story

Kathy, tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Palo Alto, CA, and grew up in Cupertino.  I have battled my weight all my life.  As an infant I was started on a formula of Karo Syrup and canned milk.  I did so well on that that the doctors told my parents I would never walk…I would just roll, so at 6 months old my “formula” was changed to skim milk! 

I battled chronic tonsillitis until I was just about five years of age and at that point was so thin that after the tonsillectomy I was given an appetite builder (crazy docs) and from then on I have battled the weight! 

I work at a clerical job sitting down all day and have done so for thirty years.  I have been on almost every diet there is and several years ago I decided that I guess it was just meant for me to be fat.  I lost weight on all the diets…and gained it all back and then some.  I had dieted myself all the way up to about 260 pounds!  Oh…and I love to cook and try new recipes all the time!

What was the impetus for you to transition to a paleo diet? 

I had been having quite a bit of back pain and had been to a back doctor who told me it was time for shots in my back or some back surgery. He started me on physical therapy which was helping some.  One morning I got there and the therapist put a little step stool in front of me to help me hoist myself up onto the table. I put my left foot on the stool and when I went to bring the right foot up I heard (and felt) my Achilles Tendon snap in my right ankle!  Now I had a foot doc…and a cast for 8 weeks…on my driving foot! 

I bought a little knee scooter to get around work on but how to get to work was another question!  I carpool, and my carpool person was great to drop me off at the office door but getting to the commuter lot was another issue! 

Through the women at my church arrangements were made to pick me up in the morning and drop me off at night.  One of the women told me about this remarkable book, “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf—her brother had sent her the book. She told me that she had been in so much pain and no luck with all the docs and examinations but this had helped her. 

While I was in the cast my 84-year-old mother was staying with me and doing all the cooking (she is a vegetarian).  I bought the book and started reading it. Before I was finished I determined that once the cast was off and I was able to cook for myself, paleo was starting! 

The day after Mother’s Day 2012 I undertook the challenge. In his book, Robb Wolf asks for thirty days. Okay, I can do almost anything for thirty days! 

What changes have you seen?

After the thirty days was up I had lost close to thirty pounds, so I decided to go another thirty days…and another…and another.  I have, to date, lost 68 pounds (my goal is at least another 30). I have been on two pain medications daily for a long time and while I cannot say that I am totally pain-free, the pain has been significantly reduced, and I feel 100% better than I have felt in a really long time! I also was taking five other pills a days but have been able to reduce them, and my goal is to eliminate them entirely.

How have you found it? What was simple? Difficult?

This has been the simplest/hardest thing I have ever done. No sugar? No cookies? No German Chocolate Cake? But I do love to cook, and I do love to try all kinds of new recipes…

What was different this time around from past efforts at weight-loss?

I have not been hungry once!  Other diets are so restrictive and little tiny portions.  Paleo has allowed me to eat bacon…and chicken thighs with the skin on!!!  The hardest part was the first thirty days with no sugar and I stuck to it religiously!  I have now found lots of recipes that I can have that help with the sweet tooth in me and I fix those things on the weekend when family will be there to help me eat it up.

What other aspects of the paleo lifestyle do you follow? Are they important to your success?

I read as much as time allows regarding the paleo way of life.  I have gone through and cleaned out my pantry of stuff I no longer want to have in my house.  I am trying to get a little more exercise incorporated into my life (don’t think I am anywhere fit enough to do CrossFit though, plus there is the expense of that).  This whole new way of life is important to my success.  I do not want to go back!

Are your family on board, or are you going it alone?

Pretty much I am doing this alone, but I live alone so that’s okay.  My brother calls it the “Polio Diet”. 🙂 I usually fix a nice family dinner on Sundays, he comes and he eats what I fix (I do try to remember to fix him a potato now and again). Some things he likes (I mean meat and veggies) and I have taken the time to fix him gravy made with flour and I still fix something vegetarian for my mother. 

My sweet desserts are sometimes interesting, even for me, but if I don’t like the recipe, I throw it away. There are millions of other recipes to try (thank you, Facebook), I’ll never get them all made. And I have a recipe for a paleo-friendly German Chocolate Cake to try yet. 

Though my family isn’t ready to try this for themselves I will say that they have been good about being sure there is something I can have.  Going to my daughter’s house may mean that I bring the “extra” stuff to satisfy me and that is not a problem.  The family is all glad to see the weight loss and the improved health!

What advice do you have for anyone out there who is either contemplating moving to this way of eating, or struggling?

This is a serious choice to make but I do not like pain very much and I am very stubborn. Robb asked for thirty days.  I think it was easier for me because I live alone so I didn’t have to fix the old stuff or have the bad stuff on hand to feed anybody else.  Giving up bread was hard…giving up sugar was hard. I have joked with friends at work that I am over 800 days clean and sober…from Mountain Dew. 

I actually think that decision (to give up all soda) was a good start for me without my knowing it.  Having gotten that out of my system the rest was  a lot simpler to accomplish!  I just keep remembering myself in physical therapy and having to use a cane to get around…I do not want to go back to that.  I want to continue to move forward, one step at a time!  Your book would have been great to have to start this process with.

kathyafterWhat practical strategies have helped you? What has been the most helpful advice you have received? 

I shop around the outer edges of the grocery store; the only canned foods I buy are tomatoes and tomato sauce/paste.  I do buy frozen veggies and I shop a lot online or at Trader Joe’s (when I can get there—3 hours away). There is so much good advice online and every day there is something new from all my paleo friends on Facebook and the blog, like yours, these things keep me going.

What has helped you keep going when times have gotten tough?

Pain…or the thought of pain and how much I do not ever want to go back to that!  Oh…and I have always joked that I had to go to Omar the Tent Maker to get my dresses made…  Sorry, Omar…I am getting my clothes someplace else nowadays and forever forward.


paleo, paleo diet, paleo success storyMe, again.

Kathy works as a health records technician. She handles everything from birth to grave. Last year she “buried” five friends. When she told me that when we met, my heart gave a jolt. Can you imagine doing that – handling bits of paper but knowing that these used to be real, live people with families, hobbies, ambitions?

Kathy focused on her goal like a laser beam, and having met her, I could tell she lets nothing stand in her way when she alights on something and I applaud her for doing so. We have to place the utmost priority on our health. As Bronnie Ware says in her essay, “Regrets of the Dying”  

Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

Kathy took that idea, and ran with it. 🙂

I am looking for more 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 inspire and help others by telling your story, please contact me. Thank you!

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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.

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