I’m really excited to make this post. Honestly, I’m really excited about almost in everything in life lately. Having grown up on Prozac and always feeling melancholy about something or other, it’s amazing to have such a clean and healthy outlook on life. I’ve heard from other gluten and sugar-free friends that they too have this clarity and general joy. I would say, without any doubt, that the most awesome feeling to have is happiness; going Paleo has given to me this wonderful gift. I think to myself, at least several times a day, how happy I am with my life, how grateful I am for my family and friends and how awesome it is to be alive. I was never regretful or upset about those factors before, but I didn’t ooze jubilation about them and life in general.
Joy (and a happy tummy) is what has kept me motivated from day 1, it provides the self-discipline and will-power necessary for the processed, grain and sugar-filled world we live in. Who wants to be depressed, lazy and sluggish after feeling so energized and happy for months on end?! When my grandmother passed earlier this year, I ate a lot of non-Paleo foods. It put me in a huge funk I had a really hard time escaping, I actually had several panic attacks and was going off a huge cliff. As soon as I put my diet back in check, I felt better in less than 48 hours. If you’re not a believer, Matt Lelonde provides some serious science in Episode 68 of Robb Wolf’s podcast.
But, to get back to the Subject topic, it’s not just all in my head. Here are some of the physical changes I can directly attribute to going Paleo:
- Great skin. I no longer have ANY breakouts, not even when I am ovulating or menstruating (oh, get over it boys!). Normally in the winter I get incredibly dry skin, but I’ve experienced dry skin minimally at most this season. Matt usually has chronic dry skin to the point of cracking and bleeding on his hands in the winter – since going strictly Paleo a few months ago, his dry skin has disappeared. Finian’s eczema has also significantly improved (he still eats yogurt and cheese, which is likely culprit).
- Great hair and nails. Both are growing rapidly and are strong. With the volume of protein, vitamins and minerals now being easily digested in my body – it’s amazing. I have people comment or compliment my hair at least once a week!
- Never have gas and have great digestive function. I won’t go into details here, since I’ve already done that elsewhere. However, I have NEVER in my life been “regular” even at Fat Camp where nutritionists and dietitians had complete control over my gut. Once your gut is “healed” and healthy, you’ll be able to do elimination experiments on yourself to see what may or may not work for you (food wise). I’m now able to tell exactly now what food are problems and what aren’t; I wish I could enjoy hummus and peanut butter, but can tell you those things tear me up almost as badly as gluten.
- No heartburn, no joint-pain, no chronic knee, ankle and back-pain! Any inflammation I had before is GONE. To the point where I really wish there was a way to get this message out to arthritic patients, I can’t imagine how helpful it would be with that chronic pain!
- No more sleep apnea or snoring. I sleep like a baby. Well, except when the literal baby wakes me up… but, otherwise I’m sleeping solidly, soundly and not almost suffocating myself at night anymore. The weight loss, more so than the diet, is a significant contributor – but one couldn’t occur without the other. And, Matt said he noticed a difference almost immediately.
- I’m vivacious. I am not only happy but extremely energetic. The other day I found myself walking in the house after work and instead of wanting to slump down and “relax” I found my children in the playroom and entered as a monster – sprinting after them and playing until dinner time. Scraping the ice off my car used to tire me out, now it’s an activity that gets me happy and moving in the morning. I literally want to get up and GO – it’s exciting to have a thirst for adventure and the energy to follow it.
- And you know, I’ve lost more weight off my person than all 3 of my children weigh combined. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to sit in a meeting and cross my legs in the chair, or to cross my arms entirely across my body, or have my husband hug me and be able to put arms entirely around my person. I’m able to shop at stores and websites that don’t specialize in plus-size clothes; I have access to such a wide variety of options now. And, I have room in my lap for my children to sit. Nothing tastes as great as being happy and healthy feels.
I’m looking forward to seeing if I have reduced seasonal allergies, less likeliness for sunburn or other suggested benefits of being Paleo as the years progress. Not all of the changes I have had are notable and physical – some of them are simple but important psychological and social changes and I wanted to share some of the fun I now notice on a daily basis:
- People make eye contact with me. You might not believe this, but at over 300lbs it was rare to have strangers acknowledge my presence. I believe this nation is not just uncomfortable with the obese, but actively and openly discriminating based on phobia. Weight is the singular “class” not protected from discrimination in our Federal laws. Strangers now talk to me in elevators, make eye contact and offer to help hold doors for me and the kids. It’s honestly a different world to live in inside of this body.
- I’m comfortable in public seating. I wouldn’t go to the movies before, unless I knew for sure I could get an end of the row seat that I shared with the aisle. I spilled out of the seat and had to share the “extra” space I occupied with my husband. However, I went to the movies a few weeks ago and had tons of room in the seat; I even shared my seat with Finian during a scary part of the film. I haven’t been on a plane or roller coaster in years, for much the same reason. I’m really looking forward to experiencing those joys as time allows.
- I receive near daily compliments. I’m terrible with responding to compliments, and honestly I sometimes wish I wouldn’t receive them, but I’ve had people say the most wonderful and flattering things lately. I’m learning how to acknowledge them properly; it’s wonderful to know that my hard work is being recognized.
- I’m not embarrassed. I used to want Matt to meet new people, to be the face of the family for the children. I didn’t see myself as someone people could take seriously or value me and my opinion. I’d give it (oh boy do I love to share my opinion) but I didn’t think people heard me or cared. Now, I speak with confidence; I speak with a desire to be heard. And I’ve learned (more than less) that I don’t always need to speak, I’m not as desperate to be heard – so I’m able to more carefully choose when to do so.
- I have energy to PLAY with my children. I don’t just mean throw a ball. I don’t just mean play go-fish. I mean, I now have a DESIRE to go outside and get physical with my children. We take long walks; I chase them on the playground; I pick them up and throw them around; I push them hard on the swing. It’s not something I even am conscious about anymore, I just want to be active and subconsciously it happened.
- I’m spreading health and wellness. I’ve had no less than half-a-dozen friends and their families introduce Paleo into their lives (one way or another). Knowing that I can provide inspiration for people to improve health and often the behavior of their children is amazing. It’s what drove me to create the site!
I hope you find inspiration in your life not just to make improvements, but appreciate them. I know I have and am thankful everyday for the changes we’ve made and the happiness it’s brought into our lives!