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So easy, even a cave(wo)man could do it

Warning: This is long. Grab your coffee.

This morning's weigh-in results are in, and I'm about to break a promise to myself. I was going to wait a month to tell you about the tweaks I've made to my eating plan, but I've decided today's the day. Why today? Because I weighed in this morning and lost three more pounds, for a total of 16.5 since December 26, 2012. I'm slowly inching up to the one-pound-a-week goal I set for myself the day after Christmas.

April 6 was the beginning of the end of sugar, grains, dairy and legumes here in the Middle of Nowhere, as my husband and I dipped our forks into the world of paleo eating. (There's much more to the paleo lifestyle than the menu. But that's where I'm starting.) A combination of factors pushed me to this point, and I'm dragging him along for the ride. (He has not given up his slimy sugar-free/fat-free yogurt, which I never cared for anyway and which never appears at mealtime, only for snacks.) Those factors were:

  • at least three real-life or blogging friends who have been eating primally for more than a year
  • my husband's cousin, who has recently completed Whole30 and hasn't looked back
  • Bloody Head Syndrome (which I'll explain)

Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. (This quote has been attributed to several famous people, including Einstein and Twain, but the first written instance of it is in the 12-step book for Narcotics Anonymous, published in the early 1980s.) Hmmm.

I'm one of those weight-loss bloggers who has had marginal success off and on over a number of years, until last year, when I found myself staring at a truly scary number on the scale. If only I'd decided 20 years ago that 140 was the truly scary number, I may never have gotten to the much higher one I saw in December.

And so I began counting calories in earnest, putting in the effort to exercise daily (have missed only a few days this year) and keeping a closer eye on the scale. (Well, at least after the first month.) From December 26 to April 6 I lost seven pounds.

Bloody Head Syndrome (don't bother Googling, it's not there) is kind of like the definition of insanity but there's the additional factor of actually hurting yourself. One could argue that I wasn't really hurting myself by simply eating less and moving more. But as time went on, I not only felt worse physically I was becoming completely demoralized emotionally.

All. That. Work.
All. That. Effort.
All. That. Time.
Seven pounds.

That doesn't just hurt, IT BITES!

It's been said and sung that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Seven pounds in 15 weeks is tough, my friends, and it was time for me to get going.

You'd truly have to have lived in a cave to never have heard about the paleo/primal/caveman diet. (I dislike the word "diet" but, as the young folk say, it is what it is.) I knew about it, thought about it, and promptly dismissed it, saying,
(I've given up sugar before, once for five straight years, so I knew that one was at least possible.)

Well guess-effing-what? I can and I have. In the three weeks and two days since we started I've dropped 9.5 pounds, gotten significant relief from the aches and pains I've blamed on aging, zipped up those jeans and actually worn them and am heading for my own personal Whole60.

Because if it ain't broke, why fix it?

The quick-and-dirty theory behind Whole30 is to go cold turkey on sugar, grains, legumes and dairy for 30 days, giving your body a chance to recover from the inflammation caused by sugar, grains, legumes and dairy. You then re-introduce them, one at a time, and assess. If you feel worse or have less energy after eating beans, well then that's the culprit. Or a culprit. I didn't buy the book or even the support for the program. All I did was print out the food list and go shopping.

Because that's really what the tough do when the going gets tough. Heh.

That list, as well as several other helpful guides, are available for download by clicking this link. (Scroll down the page to the Free Downloads section.)

I really don't expect to see many out clicks on that link. After all, it took me well over a year to mull this around in my cavewoman brain. Most likely it doesn't work for everyone. But everyone I know has seen positive results (not necessarily weight loss) and, more importantly, they haven't missed (for the most part) the missing ingredients.

As for me, I miss cheese. But you know what? I'll get over it.

Last night's dinner: grass-fed beef burger topped with homemade mayonnaise,
homemade sweet potato chips (oh-so-yummy) and cucumber/onion/tomato salad.


Debbi said…
I find it VERY AMUSING that the BlogHer ad is for Weight Watchers today. Heh.
gingerzingi said…
Well, I'm not going to say "I told you so." I'm just going to THINK it really hard :-) And no matter what, congratulations! I hear you about the 7 pounds in 15 weeks - it's just not even worth it!

I felt like that too when I started eating paleo style. That I couldn't possibly give up such-and-such. There's a similar 30-Day Challenge in the primal world, and that's where I started. Just to see if I could give up sugar and grains for 30 days. After that first month was over, I never looked back!

You have to tell me how you made the sweet potato chips - I've tried that a number of times without success. Did you deep fry them?
Debbi said…
Yes, Ms. Gingerzingi, you DID tell me so and you HAVE told me so and I was too whiny and self-absorbed to act on your advice. I've come around, though, so thanks for your congratulations. Onward and downward.

The sweet potato chip recipe is linked in one of yesterday's posts. They were super easy to do, but you do need a mandoline to slice them super-thin. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the turntable in your microwave. Toss the sweet potato slices in olive oil and lay them out in a single layer on the parchment. Salt. Nuke for about 3 minutes, and then check them. If they're not done, keep nuking in 15-second increments. They burn quickly. They taste better if you eat them right away. I made ours earlier in the day, but the ones straight out of the microwave were tastier.

A question: Do you get an e-mail notice that I've replied to your comment, or do you have to come back to the blog to see if I've replied?

And an additional thank you for helping me on my way.
Diandra said…
HEy, if it works for you, why not? I am not really convinced by the theory behind paleo, that's why I won't try it - at least not at the moment. But if you are happy and healthy and heading in a healthy direction, why not?
Debbi said…
Diandra, my decision had much more to do with "I've tried everything else with little or no success, so WHY NOT?" And the experience of others I know has shown it's something you can live with, and even occasionally stray from. I'm not planning to stray anytime soon, though, that's for sure.
gingerzingi said…
You're neither whiny nor self-absorbed :-) And we all have to choose our own path!

I'm going to make those chips tonight.
gingerzingi said…
That was my thought process too: Why Not?

I'm not proselytizing for paleo, everyone has their own preferences and beliefs about food. But for me, I don't really care what the theory is. Every diet or type-of-eating I've ever tried has a massive volume of theory and science supporting it, even when they are diametrically opposed methods, and all that theory has been useless for me. I'm my own science experiment, and I try to discover what works for ME, not for anyone else, and not according to theory. Reality, baby! :-)
Cheryl Marois said…
I have been thinking about this as well though I haven't read much about it. Like you I have tried without success to lose weight and keep it off and at the point where I'm willing to try anything. My Dr says that white bread and similar grain products actually stop the digestive process in some people
Vickie said…
I am glad I was sitting down.

Very glad for you.

Isn't life so much simpler?

I would be curious to see a list of what you were eating, that you are now NOT eating, if you feel so inclined.
D said…
So interesting Debbi! We are on a similar journey. I had some food allergy/intolerance testing done a couple months ago and came back with significant sensitivities (not allergies) to dairy, eggs, and gluten. So while I haven't eliminated sugar, and I still eat some non-gluten grains, I have eliminated some pretty significant elements of my diet as well. I eliminated dairy one week, and then took on the other big ones (eggs, gluten) the following week, and now it's been about four weeks total. My "cravings"--the foods that I couldn't stop thinking about--completely went away after that first week without dairy. And I love me some dairy :)

I'll have a reintroduction phase as well, in about 3 more weeks...I'm working with a naturopath through this process. I'm hoping at least eggs come off my "avoid" list, but I think I can manage eliminating dairy and gluten long term. And like you, I've lost weight without doing anything more than dropping those three elements. I'm not going to lie. It's work figuring out what to eat, what meals to make, etc. But it's also so much easier than having those endless internal food conversations in my head.

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