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My Month on the Paleo Challenge…

Five weeks ago, I signed up to do a “paleo challenge” with some girls at the gym (see my Paleo Page).

Throw $20 in a pot and follow a strict regimen of food, water, sleep, and exercise, for four weeks with the hopes of losing some weight.

Those crazy Crossfitters did it, so I can too!  I told you I’m not competitive at all…

The 4-week challenge is over and the results are in!

I wrote a page on my blog with the rules and the food list, in case anyone wanted to follow along with us, so it’s only fitting that I write a closing post. Feel free to do the challenge at home anytime; I will cheer you on from here!

Sorry there are no before and after photos. I really didn’t think I would lose any weight, so I didn’t take any. In addition, I would feel obligated to wear some silly workout outfit, stand in front of a mirror with my phone, snap pics from awkward angles that always show the phone, cover my face, and show a toilet in the background. Who wants to see my stretch marks anyway?  I, for one, do not!  I still hide my midsection from my husband after 15 years of marriage.

Originally, this post was going to be about how much this month has changed my life, what I learned about myself during this journey, how I emotionally connected and disconnected with food, personal growth blah blah blah (insert boring testimonial here)… But who really wants to read that crap? People want the real story about diets and results so let me just say that these four weeks were almost as hard as giving birth to my two kids without an epidural, but TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Here are the top 12 things I learned this past month…

1. I really missed drinking my Pinot Noir. Not sure I really wanted to put that in print for fear that I would sound like a lush, but I really did miss it. My poor wine collection has dust on it and looks like a sad, forgotten toy. My routine of only drinking wine on days that end in Y, to decompress, came to an end.  Starting this challenge the week the kids got out of school and having them 24/7 has really tested my will power. I’d like to say that all the exercise I did relieve my stress, but it didn’t. I did exercise every day because I needed points, but that didn’t cut my stress levels like they said it would. LIARS! I wanted wine, not burpees, but I held strong. It’s been over for a week and I still haven’t had a glass because I’m afraid even smelling it will get me intoxicated. I’m sure it will be a great buzz when I finally indulge!

2. Going to the movies is not fun without Sno-caps and popcorn. I won’t miss the upset stomach I would have after eating them, but somehow, movie watching is just not as much fun without chocolate, greasy, salt covered popcorn kernels and Twizzlers. Those red ropes of sugar acted as my security blanket during the scary parts and didn’t judge me when I cried at the sappy endings.  Now that the challenge is over, I can have dark chocolate again so I’ll be adding it to my snack bag of almonds, fruit, and other seeds, all the while plotting to steal my kids candy when their hands are in the popcorn tub.

3. Spicy tomato sauce and chunky salsa go with everything! Trying to find sauces and dressings to go with proteins was difficult due to the restrictive nature of this challenge. Everything has sugar or soy in it, in some form, so here’s a big thank you to those sneaky food companies which left me in a constant state of frustration. Making my own dressings and spice mixes and carrying them in the few restaurants where we could actually eat, had me suffering the stares of the other patrons. I just gave them a “go ahead and eat all those chemicals” stare all the while secretly wishing the server would spill their food in their lap so neither of us would be enjoying our meals. Did I mention that exercise makes you happy?!?!?

4. Groceries are expensive! My grocery bill has almost tripled this past month, but the money that we would have spent eating out, we spent on groceries, so I guess it was a wash. Why do natural products cost more than the crap that other companies put in their perfect packages covered in subliminal messages? At least, I know what was in my food and how it was prepared with the added bonus of racking up an enormous amount of fuel perk points!  Very helpful during travel season since the weight of the coolers I carry in my car for my snacks/meals, affects my gas mileage.  No more drive-thru windows for me:)

5. Salt and grease smell awesome together. My kids continued to eat fast food during this month and every time I smelled french fries my mouth watered like Pavlov’s dog. Once I gave the kids their processed chicken sandwiches, I wanted to steal the whole bag of fries! On one of the two days that I did cheat, I did eat a few of those evil potato sticks and they tasted like heaven…for about 3 minutes.  Two minutes after ingestion, my stomach wanted to turn itself inside out to expel the garbage, that had tasted so good going in. Maybe I should just stick to licking the salt off the fries before handing them to the kids. They don’t really need all that sodium anyway.

6. I am still cheating on my husband with iced tea, even if she is not such a sweet mistress anymore. Because I am not a coffee drinker, I rely on tea (large quantities of it) to get my caffeine buzz and keep the mood in check. My girlfriend may have lost her sugar, but we still have meaningful relations.

7. My bladder can now hold 3 gallons of water before I have to go to the bathroom. The first week of drinking over 70 ounces of water a day, I spent more time in the bathroom than I did thinking about wine (hard to believe). Now I have trained her to hold quite a bit without making me look like the new spokesperson for overactive bladder medication. Sitting down and getting up from the toilet should count as exercise!

8. Clean eating makes me feel healthier, sexier, and more energetic than I did when I ate junk (sounded like a diet ad). I knew that it would, but I hated listening to skinny people telling me this fact all the same. Especially while shoveling ice cream down my throat. I am worried about going back to my old ways of eating but have to take one day at a time and allow myself some treats every now and then. Who am I kidding, I want a king sized snickers bar right now!

9. Sleep is easier to come by. I have always been a night owl (there are some great cooking shows on late at night) and had trouble falling asleep before midnight. This posed a serious problem since the challenge required me to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Not that I am competitive, but I was not losing points because I couldn’t sleep and I considered sleep points the “easy points” of the competition. Turns out, it wasn’t too hard after all. Not having sugar and getting my mandatory 30 minutes of exercise a day made for one tired girl by 9 pm. Must have been all that cooking and washing all those dishes, or countless other things I did to keep my mind off candy bars, or just maybe because Brooks stopped snoring 15 pounds ago.

10. I have added some new blogs to my list of favorites because I am in awe of these people who can transform the simplest ingredients into healthy, clean meals! It certainly has inspired me to get creative, especially if I ever want to eat dessert again. I’ve never tried a Manjool date, but I hear they can sweeten a plethora of things. To me, they look like old people prunes and they are still not as good as diving head first into a cheesecake, but I’m willing to try anything at this point.

11. Reading food labels has opened my eyes to the stuff in my food. I use the word “stuff” because I honestly believe that some of the items listed are just made up gibberish words. I took organic chemistry in college and still have no idea what they are. One protein bar, that I used to eat, has 62 ingredients in it. Nothing you eat should have 62 ingredients in it, especially if it is only 4 inches long and an 1 inch wide. That’s a lot of crap in a small package! My kids hate my mini lectures they get now about what’s in the food they are eating and Braxton still can’t get past the whole gelatin thing…

12. Cheese is on/in everything! I can’t order a salad, get a burger, or eat vegetables without it coming with cheese or some sort of dairy. House salad, Greek Salad, burger, quesadilla, or anything else that tastes good, has cheese in or on it! I really missed cheese and can’t wait to start slowly adding it in. If you see me writhing in pain, it might be the side effect of a spec of feta.

After these amazing four weeks I can state these facts with pride:

I lost 11 pounds~

I lost at more than an inch off my waist and 2 inches off my hips!

In regards to my planks – I beat my personal best by 30 seconds for a 2:30 plank!

My 200-meter run – I beat my beginning time by 3 seconds. I still have turtles passing me on the left side, but they no longer have time to give me the finger.

Burpees suck like they did a month ago, only I can do one more in a minute time frame. Not much improvement, but I was thinking how much I hate doing these while taking the test. Negative energy I guess.

I can pump out 4 more pushups. Pretty good considering my arms still look like limp noodles.

5 more squats this time! Must have been all those trips to the bathroom the first week.

Last but not least, I won the 100$ prize money!  

I’m thinking about going and buying 25 bacon cheeseburgers! My stomach would crawl out of my body if I did that, so I guess I’ll buy some organic seeds and make some granola bars because we all know they taste just as good! LOL!

This month was very eye-opening and, of course, I am pleased with the results that I achieved and the other ladies too. My husband most of all! He’s just finished his 6th week and has lost 30 pounds! I thank him and my kids for their patience, the other ladies in the challenge for pushing me to work hard, and all the others that supported me during this month! If you are looking for results, PALEO ALL THE WAY! 


Tuesday 24th of June 2014

Jennifer, good for you! Enjoyed your post. You had me laughing a couple of times. Good luck on your continued efforts.

Wednesday 25th of June 2014

Thank you so much! It was definitely a test of wills but I think I will continue with it as close as I can. Still going to be making non-paleo foods so stop by again soon! Subscribe to my blog email and don't miss a recipe!

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