Paleo Success Story: How A Trekkie Went Caveman and Lost 100+ Pounds


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This is our first success story from Europe.
I spend a lot of time over there and it always surprises me how different the food is from the US. That’s not necessarily a good thing, there is still lots of less than healthy food no matter what country you’re in. National cuisines vary tremendously in their health-giving properties and of course, nowhere has been immune to the proliferation of fast food.
I had a number of take-aways from this story; Adriaan’s approach is refreshing and infectious. Read on to find out how this Trekkie hit rock-bottom at a Star Trek convention and so completely changed his life, he has practically undergone a personality change. Spock would approve…
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 Adriaan’s summary:
    Time on paleo: Since 19 August, 2012.
    Results: I have lost 112 lbs (51kg) since I have started paleo. I have gone from XXXL to M shirts and from a 44″ waist to 30″ waist. My cholesterol is now normal and my past daily illnesses/conditions: gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hernia, cellulitis, high blood pressure, depression, sleep apnea, insomnia, migraine, acne are all gone. My energy levels are seriously through the roof…
    Essential advice: There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them. Please give paleo a go, you will be amazed. It is really worth it! Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant…!

Tell us a little about yourself (location, occupation, family, hobbies, etc.)
I live with my partner just outside London. I am a software engineer/developer by trade and work for a blue chip international company. My family lives in sunny South Africa. My hobbies include: cycling, walking, swimming, shopping, coding (app development).
What was your health/dieting/workout experience *before* paleo?
Health: I was not well and miserable most of the time. I always woke up in the mornings thinking what illness/condition will give me most trouble during the day. I had gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hernia, cellulitis, high blood pressure, depression, sleep apnea, insomnia, migraine, acne, just to mention a few.
Diet: Microwave meals (processed food), junk and fast foods mostly.
Workout: Sadly nothing at all… I only started cycling, walking and swimming when I started my new lifestyle.
What was the “clincher” that persuaded you to jump on the paleo bandwagon?
I was morbidly obese, uncomfortable and plagued with many illnesses/conditions as I have mentioned before. Moving around, doing physical tasks had really become very difficult. Socially, I did not gel anymore. Buying clothes had become a huge problem, as I was unable to find suitable clothes that I liked and in my size.
The scale-tipping day was when I visited a Star Trek convention here in London. I was unable to dress in any Star Trek attire because of my size… yes well, I daren’t say more. 🙂 That day threw me completely. We did not stay very long.
I started paleo for two reasons: to lose weight, and to try and rid myself of all these illnesses/conditions.
How did you approach going paleo – gradually or dive right in?
I dove right into it. I learned about paleo via a podcast which I stumbled upon while searching for a way to improve my life – Fat-Burning Man – Abel James. After only listening to one podcast, I was convinced that paleo was for me and that it would change my life, which it did.
What improvements have you noticed in your health?
My cholesterol is now normal and all of my past daily illnesses/conditions are gone. I feel alive and amazing, something words cannot describe.
How paleo are you? (80/20, 90/10, autoimmune, etc.)
98%. But that 2% non-paleo is only because it’s unavoidable. I stay in hotels a lot and sometimes something slips through that I could not stop or did not see in time. Sometimes I also need to buy something, but one or two ‘non-paleo’ ingredients are present in trace form. Or I need to eat and I might be too far from a supermarket, etc. My goal and intention is 100% paleo.
How did you find the transition?
For me it was easy because my mindset was right. I was 100% ready for the change. It takes me a bit longer now to shop for food, but it is fun, and well worth it. It is second nature to me now. “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” ~Thomas Jefferson
Tell us about “A Day In The Life Of Adriaan” – a typical day especially from an eating and exercise standpoint:
We have sold our car in order to use public transport and to be more physical. I walk daily +/- 10 – 15km (6-9 miles). I do the Your Shape Fitness ‘Mens Health Xbox Workout’ +/- 30 minutes, if possible (I travel for work daily, and do not always have access to the Xbox.) We also cycle at weekends for a few hours.
A typical meal plan for the day is:
Either 2 scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, avocado, mushrooms, peppers and tomato or 3 egg omelette with mushrooms and tomato, or fried chicken (no oil) with mushrooms, peppers and tomato. Green tea.
Either vegetable soup, chicken soup, or fish salad; also with a cup of green tea.
Either a chicken stir fry (no oil), or stuffed peppers (chicken, turkey or fish filling with vegetables), or salmon stir fry, or grilled meat with sautéed vegetables; again with green tea.
What helped you when you were struggling?
My family, friends and work colleagues… I also kept a ‘bad’ photo of myself on my phone to remind me constantly as to why I am doing this. 
What do you think are three critical factors to being successful with paleo?
  • attitude
  • planning
  • self-responsibility
What do you say to people who ask you about paleo?
I show them my pictures…then start preaching…ha-ha-ha…
Paleo is really worth it, 100%. It is NOT a diet, but a lifestyle which I would highly recommend to anyone. It is seriously life changing! Please do not be discouraged by the things you can’t eat anymore, but try to see the bigger picture, the bottom line. Your health and well-being are the most important thing in your life. You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself…
What has been the reaction to your paleo success from those around you?
Many of my friends are following paleo now because of my success. People are seriously amazed at what only eating right can accomplish. I get compliments daily and sometimes from strangers on the train, bus, tube, etc, asking me what I have done and if I can help them.
How has your life changed now? (More activity, promotion at work, stronger relationship, etc.) 
I feel alive and amazing, something words cannot describe. I now have respect for my body. I now fully understand the importance of food and health and how it affects the human body. I am considering a new profession and adventure as a nutritionist/dietitian. I started my nutritionist course a few weeks ago. I feel the need and responsibility to tell people about paleo. I have transformed from a previous introvert to extrovert and motivate people daily wherever I go.
My social circle has grown from just a handful of friends to many. I am also now a counselor, helping people with daily life issues. It is massively rewarding.
What activities do you do now that you didn’t do before?
I am active in the community now doing cancer walks, counseling etc… Ah, and exercising, which is completely new to me, and I must say, I do enjoy it. Going out with friends.
What books/blogs/support groups did you use to help you?
Besides weight-loss and/or “losing” your health problems, have you lost anything else (good or bad?) 
I don’t feel guilty anymore if I go for seconds, or if my plate is a bit too full; before paleo I always did. And now I know what I am doing.
Have you experienced anything negative as a result of your changes? (Earlier success stories mentioned having to lose certain “friends”, others have said there are restaurants they now avoid because they can’t eat their former favorites.) How have you dealt with those negatives?
Nothing negative that I know of. People do laugh and stare when I place my ‘special’ order in a restaurant, but if I add laughter to their lives, then so be it. Waiters can sometimes be a bit negative/rude, but I overlook that. I will not be stopped. 🙂
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.)
  1. Do not be afraid to say no!
  2. Always read the labels! Do not be fooled by clever marketing… 
  3. Do research, Google it!!!
When eating out, do not be afraid to alter the menu a bit. The restaurant industry is a service industry, chefs will assist where possible, just keep your request reasonable. Most of the time, I make up my own meal by combining 2 – 3 other dishes.
Give it at least one month before saying it is not for you.
What advice would you give people who are struggling with health or weight issues right now?
You’ll never know if it works for you if you don’t give it a try.
There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them. Please give paleo a go, you will be amazed. It is really worth it! Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant…!
Paleo is not a complex lifestyle and really easy to follow.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
Paleo has seriously changed my life forever. Thank you for letting me share my story! I hope that it will motivate and encourage other people.

These are the takeaways I got from Adriaan’s story:

  • It is up to (or down to) you. Whether you can or whether you can’t.
  • It isn’t difficult once you get into the right *mindset*.
  • The rewards are massive, and generate their own reinforcing cycle.
  • Confidence has the power to “change” personality.
  • Big goals require commitment – selling his car and maintaining a near 100% adherence demonstrates that.

What were your takeaways – please tell us in the comments so we can all learn and because, for you, it demonstrates commitment and reinforces positive behavior. 🙂

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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!

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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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