Like so many of our success stories, our latest, Vicki, did her research, got prepared, and executed her plan. Sounds so simple when put like that.
There’s no equivocation here. Poor health will do that to you. Getting better is the most important thing in life and everything else takes second priority. Atta girl, Vicki!
Read on to learn more about her and her story.
(Please remember that those who share their stories do so to help others find success (really, they are saving lives), so please share this story via your preferred social media outlet. Trust me, your friends will thank you! Sharing buttons are to the left and below. )
Here is Vicki’s summary:
Time on paleo: I started paleo on July 3, 2013
Results: 60 lbs lost, brain fog gone, more energy, cholesterol and blood sugars normalized, diabetes medication cut
Essential advice: Take it one day at a time and work in the moment
Tell us a little about yourself (location, occupation, family, hobbies, etc.)
I am currently 52 years-old, a registered nurse and I live in Virginia on a small farm.
What was your health/dieting/workout experience *before* paleo?
My story with weight begins at age 13 when my mother, who comes from a petite family, took me to the family doctor stating I needed to lose weight. My father’s family are tall and larger-framed but I was overweight. The doctor had envelopes of pills in his office and he gave me what I now know are amphetamines.
I realized I was larger than average and I really tried to diet and take the pills but since I was eating all processed food my weight was stationary. My mother put me on every diet that was popular. I would lose and gain and craved sugars and carbohydrates. I felt I would always be fat but still kept trying. I had multiple reproductive problems which made me unable to have children. I had multiple reproductive surgeries and became a diabetic in my thirties.
I continued having health problems and had a bout with cancer at age 40, as well as heart problems at age 42. My diabetes was worsening and by the age of 50, I had multiple complications including neuropathy of the hands and feet, and gastroparesis (delayed emptying of stomach due to nerve damage). I felt miserable with frequent infections.
I finally had to change jobs and left a full-time job and began working part-time. I had no energy and could barely get through a shift at work.
What was the “clincher” that persuaded you to jump on the paleo bandwagon?
My youngest brother, Joseph, is 29 and was having health problems that traditional medicine could not help. He went to a naturopath, also a D.O. (osteopathic doctor), and was placed on a diet similar to paleo. My father was texting me about it and how much better Joe was feeling. The difference was amazing! He has now lost a total of 87 pounds.
How did you approach going paleo – gradually or dive right in?
I was feeling so bad that when I looked at paleo, I wondered “What did I have to lose?”. I researched paleo for at least two weeks, reading a lot of testimonials as well as information on the lifestyle. I read Robb Wolf’s 30-Day Challenge
and decided to try it. I set a date and started on a 30-day, 100% commitment. Having researched for several weeks I was prepared for the “carb flu” as well as many of the pitfalls but I noticed a difference in the first two weeks. My mind was clearer and thoughts were much faster. The brain fog was gone! I had energy again and I had fewer aches and pains.
How paleo are you? (80/20, 90/10, autoimmune, etc.)
I would say I strive for 90/10 paleo. Sometimes things happen, and one day I had to eat pizza due to an emergency. I felt terrible and have come to realize I have several food sensitivities, one of which is tomato sauce.
How have things changed for you?
After 6 weeks on paleo I had my check-up. My cholesterol which had previously been off the charts was now within normal limits. My Hgb A1c, an indicator of blood sugars over a 3 month period, went from 11 to 8. My blood sugar was within normal limits which had not occurred for many years. The last time I had been in the doctor’s office my levels were so out of control that dialysis was mentioned.
My doctor was stunned, he had been prepared to start me on the newest diabetes medications but instead we were cutting some of the ones I was taking. My body was healing itself! My doctor stated he was writing me up in a medical journal. I had lost weight and looked different. The doctor called it “downsizing” and said he could see me on the cover of a magazine in 18 months.
I weigh what I did in my 20s. My father has lost 40 pounds and my stepmother has lost weight as well. I plan my meals and eat healthy. Weight is secondary for me. Health is, and always will be, my first priority. Paleo has changed my life.
Tell us about “A Day In The Life Of Vicki” – a typical day especially from an eating and exercise standpoint before you went paleo:
Before paleo, I would lay around. I have a small farm and would get chores done and then get back in the house and lie down. I ate whatever was quick and easy. I would eat part of a pizza and eat some more the next time I got hungry. I would try Weight Watchers or another diet but didn’t have much success because my metabolism was destroyed from years of yo-yo dieting. I would try to eat according to the food pyramid and thought I was eating healthy but I had no energy for anything.
Then please tell us about “A Day In The Life Of Vicki” – a typical day especially from an eating and exercise standpoint after you went paleo:
After starting paleo, I noticed I was different. I felt years younger and wanted to do things I hadn’t done in years. My days now start so differently. I get up and plan activities. I take pride in all I accomplish. I have taken additional training at work and volunteer to work more hours. I have my life back!
What helped you when you were struggling?
Freshly-ground almond butter and fresh fruit really helped get me through the first 2 weeks.
What, if any, exercise routines do you do?
I don’t do standard exercise in a gym. I have a small farm and do extra things including walking my dogs, chasing goats and coralling chickens.
What do you think were critical factors to your being successful with paleo?
I believe three critical factors in being successful with paleo are: support (I was blessed to have my family support); knowledge (I researched and learned all I could prior to starting); and determination (I was determined to have a better life).
The support I received from my family in PA has been the most influential. My father has been cheering me on and has given me recipes. My father doesn’t hear well so he uses texting to keep in touch. When I hit the 60 pounds lost mark, he said he knew they could fix me up. He was right, they certainly did!
Were there any practical things you did such to support yourself – like clear out your pantry, eat before you went to a party to avoid the buffet table?
Before starting paleo I cleaned out my cupboards and gave the food away. I did not want to sabotage myself. In the beginning, I didn’t know I was a sugar addict. Once I realized I had a problem, I made sure there was no temptation in the house and I had to get in the car and drive through a gate to go to the store if I wanted anything. That was a great deterrent.
What has been the reaction to your paleo success from those around you?
Everyone around me knows I have been doing paleo. I had a co-worker ask me about it and she pulled the information off the Internet but she felt it was too restrictive. I now look at cookies and cakes and see the poison control symbol because to me they are poison. Most of my coworkers have verbalized positive comments and are so happy I have been able to turn my health around.
There are people in my life that are not happy for me because they do not want to change, and some do not understand that this is not a diet, but a lifestyle change. I had to forgo a vacation because paleo and my health come first, and that is difficult for some to understand.
I had someone recently say they could not afford to eat paleo and yet they were driving a new car, wearing new expensive gold jewelry and shopping for the latest gizmo. I looked at them and felt pity; buying things to them was more important than their health.
What books/blogs/support groups did you use to help you?
What three practical tips would you offer our readers based on your experience? (Refusing bread being brought to the table when dining out, packing all lunches yourself, asking other family members not to bring home cookies, that kind of thing.)
Three practical tips I have are to remember that:
- Not everyone can handle change. Some people can and will be happy for you and others will be jealous of your success. Not everyone is at the same stage of life or has not reached your maturity level.
- There are talkers and there are doers. I choose to be a doer.
- Don’t feel apologetic – this is how you have to eat to maintain good health.
What advice would you give people who are struggling with health or weight issues right now?
Take it one day at a time and work in the moment. Do not become overwhelmed.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know? (life philosophy, people you’d like to thank who’ve supported you, inspiration, any more advice)
I never want to go back to being sick all the time and having a box full of medicines. I want to feel good and be healthy. Instead of feeling I wouldn’t live to retirement, I am making plans for a long healthy happy life!
Would you like to be featured as a Paleo Success Story? 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!
Are 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.