Not all of the changes are visible, but they’re mostly noticeable. Weight has changed, attitudes have changed, and – surprisingly – relationships with food have changed.
What you see is just the surface
Quite simply, we both lost weight.
I had been stalled for quite some time between 295 and 290. I honestly didn’t expect such dramatic results. Finally there was movement; I am now down to 282. It’s been about three years since I have been in the 280s. Next stop: 270!
I also lost 1.75 inches, and my bodyfat went from 33.9% to 32.4%.
For my entire adult life, everyone who has taken my blood pressure told me it was elevated and that losing weight would help. Even when I weighed less than I do now, it was always at least 135/90. The last time it was taken, about 3 days before ending our experiment, it was 117/71 with a resting pulse of 51. The nurse actually compared it to a runner. I remain astounded.
My wife lost about 5 pounds as well, but she didn’t have much to lose (she was 116 at 5’2″ when we started). She didn’t take any bodyfat measurements or inches at the beginning, but you can tell that her clothes fit better, and I think she looks leaner especially in the arms.
But our changes weren’t only physical.
We don’t think about food the same
One of my challenges my whole life has been my attachment to food. I’d spend a lot of time craving foods that when looking back mostly have grains. Donuts, pizza, pancakes, and cookies top the list.
After a week of strict paleo, I didn’t yearn for a cheat day. After two weeks, I still didn’t want one. In fact, I went the whole month without so much as thinking about cheating. It was the wildest thing. Above that, I can also eat a small amount of nuts and fruit. That is to say I am learning – and mastering – portion control. I also never really felt hungry and finally understand what people mean by eating until I’m satisfied.
My wife can’t necessarily say that, though. She reported feeling much hungrier eating this way than when she’d eat a lot of bread and rice. She always missed it, but she was strong with me and was able to mostly not cheat at all.
I will say, though, that we’re pretty excited about the cheesecake we’re going to eat tonight.
We’ve realized things about our food
When you eliminate foods from your diet, you can start to tell the difference in how you feel. If you don’t think you have a problem with grains, dairy, or legumes, I challenge you to not eat them for a month and then reintroduce them.
For example, the reflux I used to get from pizza doesn’t come from the tomato sauce like I had thought. It comes from the gluten in the crust. Now if I eat even a couple cookies, I can feel the acid getting active. I learned that legumes were the reason for my frequent burping, even while eating a decent slow-carb diet. Some dairy even makes me stuffed up.
My wife says the same thing. Eating just one cookie one time with the girl she babysits was enough to make her stomach knot up a bit. We duplicated this effect when we ate a funnel cake at the fair this weekend.
You don’t know what affects you until you cut it out. I really recommend it.
What made this different than starting Slow-Carb
Even though I’ve talked about cheat days before, I have to say my opinion is changing. I believe cheating has kept me from breaking the emotional connections I had with food. While eating a pretty standard slow-carb diet, I always yearned for my cheat day. I truly believe that having the cheat day made it harder for me to avoid cheating during the week. The other explanation for that would be the legumes, which I’m introducing again this week.
A paleo diet can even be a much lower-carb diet than the slow-carb diet (or not, it depends on what you decide to eat), so I think that also affected my fat loss positively. I had hit a plateau, and now I know how I can break it.
The verdict: Should you try it
Resoundingly yes. I highly recommend trying at least Whole 30. Worst case scenario: you don’t eat some foods you like for a month. Especially if you’re having trouble following slow-carb and seeing results.
I don’t know if I’m going to move to a paleo diet, but both my wife and I like it and think it’s sustainable. We will see how eating legumes affects me in the next couple weeks. Maybe I’ll switch on and off depending on whether I want some lentils or an apple.
If you’re on a paleo diet, give me your best argument to stay on it. If you’re on a slow-carb diet, give me YOUR best argument!