Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Paleo Story

By Tom Jones

A year ago I was 255lbs. My waist size was 44. I ate a diet of cheeseburgers, steak and potatoes, soda, and lots of dessert. I was tired all the time, out of shape, unfocused, I snored, I felt an unholy pain in my chest whenever I exerted myself, and I hated looking in the mirror.

After looking up Objectivism on the web for the first time I joined a popular Objectivist site and got on the chat room. I mentioned having a problem with acne and struck up a conversation with Rob O'Callahan privately in the chat room and he said that he was able to get his acne under control just by changing his diet. I was dubious at first but he explained some of the foods he eats and it reminded me of the Atkins diet, which is what my mom has advocated as the best diet since I can remember, though she was never able to stay on it, or get me on it for any length of time. He linked me to Whole Health Source and that blog made a lot of sense to me.

I remember when I first read about grains and that they are actually poisonous. That was when the diet paradigm began to shift for me, when I realized that the food I choose to eat might not just be making me fat, it might actually be causing me real harm. (As a side note, it's amazing how easy it is to rationalize obesity as not harmful when you are obese.) The transition after that was slow, but mostly by talking to Rob and reading blog posts I was able to glean a diet similar to Dr. Harris' at PaNu, which made me all the happier when I found and began to read PaNu.

It took a lot of self discipline. Ultimately the philosophy that helped me the most was to forget the idea of 'diet food' and 'breaking my diet' and just start having some meals that are paleo. By slowly learning to make paleo meals, while still eating junk whenever I felt like it, I was able to phase out the junk until finally I spent a whole month eating only paleo approved foods. I had to tell myself that eating a cheeseburger at McDonald's is not the end of the world, or the end of my diet, or even the end of all weight loss. I had to be able to say “I'm having a tasty meal now, and when I finish, I'll go back to eating what's healthy for me.” By avoiding a cycle of self guilt tripping I was able to avoid making the diet a negative experience for me. I also completely avoided scales for over half a year after I started the diet. I didn't want to get emotionally caught up in the ups and downs of my metrics when I knew all I had to do was just stick to the diet and not worry about it.

I cheated, I cheated a lot. So much that I thought I would never lose weight because of how much I cheated. But despite all the enchiladas and hamburgers with fries, I was able to lose weight after all.

A year ago I was 255 lbs. Upon weighing myself last week I came in at 180lbs on the dot. My waist size used to be 44. I recently had to buy new pants, as the ones I had (which were also new) didn't fit anymore, I fit comfortably into size 34. I am energetic, I have a happy attitude, I don't snore, I can focus easily, I can run without chest pain, and best of all: I make constant double takes in the mirror, wondering who that sexy guy looking back at me must be. I've lost 75 lbs on a low carb paleo diet. I've gained good health, self esteem, and the confidence of knowing I have a good immune system and I'm doing what I can to reduce my chances of disease. In retrospect, this reward is well worth giving up some double cheeseburgers.

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