Stacy Toth blogs with her husband (Matthew McCarry) at the popular website, PaleoParents.com. They co-host and produce the top reviewed podcast, The Paleo View as well as authored bestselling cookbooks, Eat Like a Dinosaur, a recipe & guidebook for gluten-free kids, Beyond Bacon, Paleo Recipes that Respect the Whole Hog, and the upcoming Real Life Paleo,Recipes, Meals, and Practical Tips That Follow an Easy Three-Phased Approach to Health as well as 3 Phase Paleo: Transition Your Family in Three Easy Steps! They and their award-winning recipes have been featured in several national publications, television, radio shows, podcasts and many sites online.
In addition to writing on topics related to paleo parenting, Stacy & Matt are well-known for their candor and openness in addressing topics related to having changed their whole family’s health with a paleo lifestyle. This includes living without a gallbladder, depression, the auto-immune protocol, still being the fattest people in paleo after losing 200lbs, becoming a strong athlete after a lifetime of obesity, and everything in between. Stacy is also a competitive Strong Woman.
Mostly though, Matt & Stacy try to keep it together with duct tape and lots of love. After over a decade of marriage, 3 kids, 3 cats, a blog, multiple books, a podcast, training for StrongMan and Stacy’s full-time job, sometimes it has to just be about spending quality time together. It just so happens that’s often in the kitchen.
How Far I’ve Come
That’s me, at 286lbs, on the left. At my height I weighed 336lbs; I’d already lost 50lbs at that point! On the right, it’s almost 15 months later and I’m 202lbs. I can’t think of a single reason why I would humiliate myself in sharing those photos and facts, except that I really want to provide inspiration and drive home the idea that – Paleo works. It’s what your body wants and needs to be healthy and strong.
For me, the desire and strength for will-power came from the scientific write-ups in books like The Paleo Solution and Practical Paleo. As of today, I have been Paleo for nearly 15 months and lost 134lbs. I’ve never been healthier! I’m not near where I want to be, but I know I’ll get there. I wrote about what losing 100lbs feels like here. Then Matt wrote about what it feels like for us both to have lost 200lbs here. Yet, we’re still known as the fattest people in paleo.
I’ve known that I have lactose intolerance since about 5 years ago; I just couldn’t give it up unless I was nursing and was willing to sacrifice my desires for their belly pains. With Weight Watchers and the avoidance of dairy, I lost 75lbs after I had Cole. I felt awesome – but, I couldn’t get my weight to budge anymore. Even with daily work outs I’d hit a plateau. After I incorporated dairy back into my diet (after Cole was a year old) the weight crept back on and I started getting sick again. It got worse when my gall bladder was taken out (a common after-affect of c-section, little did I know) in February 2007. During 2007 I’ve had a LOT of gastro-intestinal issues. I discussed it briefly with my doctor, who said it was normal and that in a few YEARS it MIGHT get better. I tried to figure out what foods were triggering the problems, but they were all over the map. So, I avoided and ignored.
After I had Finian in 2008 I went on and off Weight Watchers, losing less (50lbs) and then IMMEDIATELY rebounded when I stopped pumping and was unable to keep the weight off.
I decided that with this baby I was going to do something different. I knew having the baby would be the motivation I needed to quit dairy, but I was going to make it permanent. My body doesn’t like it and I know that. So I was looking into dairy-free recipes and diets and found the The Paleolithic Diet by Loren Cordain. The book I read and found the motivation from was written by a doctor of anthropology who specializes in nutrition, he’s researched the evolution of our bodies and diets and gives clear, logical, easy to understand directions on what our bodies want and how, as a species, our “cave man” or “primal” or “Paleo” diets led us to evolve. Today I’d recommend Practical Paleo by Diane of BalancedBites.com, but all have wonderful information.
I’ve noticed since going on the diet that my hair and nails are growing healthy and strong. I no longer have any gas or any gastro issues (unless I cheat). My heartburn disappeared within 48 hours of the diet. I sleep soundly and comfortably all through the night. Back pain, feet pain, knee pain have disappeared. I have MUCH more energy and feel much more upbeat. I avoided all post-partum emotional issues almost entirely and my cycle is now regulated with it being lighter and less long that it previously had been.
The best part for me has been an improved white blood cell count. It’s a weird thing, but I’ve always had high white blood cell count. As a child I got extremely high fevers and was hospitalized several times (my mom says she thought I was going to die at least twice). As I’ve gotten older the cell count got higher. At a physical in 2009 my doctor asked me if I had an infection. My last pre-Paleo physical he told me I needed to see a blood specialist because it was so bad I could have an infectious disease.
But I didn’t. Because now my blood is COMPLETELY NORMAL. Turns out, I had an undiagnosed case of Celiac disease, as did my mother who had the same problem and result with going gluten-free. Sadly, my doctor was not the one that figured this out – it’s extremely common.
Oh, and then there’s the 100+lbs lost in less than a year. But I didn’t set-out on this diet to lose weight, I set-out to be healthy and feel good; I knew if I was giving my body what it wanted then I would naturally lose weight – and that is absolutely the case. I still have a long way to go on my journey, but I’m confident I’ll have no problem getting there - considering how easy getting here has been!
Of late, I am most proud of my accomplishments with my training. I never thought that I would be an athlete, let alone an accomplished weight lifting athlete. I have learned that I Am Strong and it gives me confidence in every aspect of my life. Training has enabled me to reincorporate safe starches, like rice and potatoes into my personal paleo diet as essential recovery food. I’ve been training for NOVA’s Strongest Woman competition in March with much gusto; how much weight I can lift became much more of a priority for me than how much my body weighed or what other people thought my body looked like.
The reason I love lifting heavy so much is that it’s the first time in my life my body has been good at doing something productive and positive, rather than being an uncomfortable, embarrassing burden (other than making babies). I’m sure that’s hard to understand if you haven’t been obese your whole life. But I grew up afraid I’d be destined to knee surgeries and be home bound or in a wheelchair, like my grandmother. Instead, I now see a future in front of me filled with strength and power. That’s why I love it. That’s why I talk about it. That’s why it makes me more happy than I know how to express and sometimes end up a blubbering mess.
The journey to achieve and maintain health is not linear. There are many factors that contribute and they change regularly for me. I’m grateful to have found something I am passionate about, that my family encourages and that makes me feel really great. I’m thankful to have the opportunity, both with time and finances, to commit to this sport and prioritize making time in my life for it and myself. I cannot encourage you all enough to do the same, because there is infinite joy in finding what you love and making time for yourself to enjoy it. Bonus points if it contributes to a healthy lifestyle!
See more photos and read more on some of my most popular posts:
- Stacy’s IRL Confession
- Deep Thoughts: Taking Care of Me
- Stacy’s 10lbs 11 day Detox
- What losing 100lbs feels like
- What it feels like to lose 200lbs
- How just doing it can create some incredible results
- Stacy’s New Protocol and Mantra
- A trilogy on Autoimmune Paleo Protocol : Stacy, Seriously. WTF, The Egg-Free Saga and WTF, Practical Paleo is Awesome
- What losing 135lbs looks like
- Why the Metabolically Broken Can’t Eat Carbs
- A Fat Girl’s Confession on Starting Crossfit
- I Want to be Strong, 45 Day Update and 100 Day Update of Training Strong
- I Am Strong
Stacy & Matt are the Paleo Parents ♥
photos by Mickey Trescott and Bill Staley
Still madly in love since they committed to one another in 2002 – read more about Matt here