On Jan. 2, 2012 I started a weight loss contest with about 70 other guys. I didn't win, in fact I got 9th. However, the contest was extremely successful for me. Here is how I did it......
Just before Christmas 2011 a friend of mine, Jason Glover, posted the video below on Facebook. I watched it and it blew my mind. I sent it to Jessica, and she watched it and started doing research about what this woman said. We ended up getting educated and interested in the "Paleo Diet". We thought it would make us healthier and might help with our daughter Alex's various allergies. Please stop reading right now and watch this video, it will be 18 minutes you'll be glad you spent.
After this we watched a documentary on Netflix called Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead. You can watch it via Hulu for free now right here, but it's 97 minutes so you might want to come back to see it.
So, starting around Christmas we started to change our diet to a Paleo type diet. And on Jan. 2 we went on it pretty seriously. It worked. On Jan. 2 I got on the scale and weighed 233 pounds. This morning (Aug. 7) when I got on the scale it read 194 pounds. I haven't been this light since the late 1990's. So, what all did I do to make this possible? The key is you have to change your diet. This is far and away the most important thing. Especially if you are over thirty years old. I have been running tons in the past 6 years, and some of those years I actually gained weight, even when training for marathons. Excercise alone won't do it. However, changing what you eat will, so here are a few guidelines on how to eat "paleo" without becoming an obsessive psycho. If you do this, you will lose weight slowly but surely...
1. Replace all the bread and chips you eat with something else. This is huge. Stop eating anything made with bread for breakfast. Instead eat protein. I eat 3 eggs mixed with spinach and spices (cooked in a bit of coconut oil) pretty much every morning. I stay way more satisfied throughout the day when I do this.
For lunch we usually eat a salad with some kind of meat in it, usually chicken. We use Paul Newman's oil & vinegar dressing which is delicious and not terribly bad for you. This salad consists of a lettuce, possibly some spinach, a few olives and a few tiny tomatoes. Sometimes we'll add a strawberry, some guacamole, or something else.
Dinner is usually pretty similar to lunch, but with more meat (chicken, fish, salmon, grass-fed beef).
2. Snacks - quit eating garbage for snacks (cookies, donuts, candy bars, cokes, bread, chips, etc.). For a snack in the morning I'll eat an apple with some almond butter (almond butter is my dark lord on this diet, I love it!). Other nuts and fruits make great snacks. I pretty much snack all day. I'll eat some nuts or some fruit at various times whenever I get hungry.
3. No more sweet tea, cokes, kool-aid, etc. these are all loaded with sugar. The whole deal with this diet is really that you are replacing sugar (which your brain craves more of every time you eat it) with things that are actually good for you and will make you less hungry.
A few questions....
Won't I be hungry all the time? Nope. When you're eating healthy stuff like a ton of vegetables and meats that aren't loaded with grain (because of what the animals were fed) your body feels fuller for longer. Personally I think that is because your brain doesn't get it's sugar euphoria and crave more. Basically, I think sugar is like a drug (like cociaine, nicotine or heroine) that we get addicted to. I know I'm a total sugar junkie. When I get sad I start craving donuts. When I eat a piece of candy I have almost zero ability to stop myself from eating more.
Is it more expensive to eat this way? Yes, kind of. You spend more money on the food you buy, but then you end up eating less in the long run, so I personally think it's a bit of a wash.
Are there any other health benefits? Lots of people have claimed there are, and if you watched the video above, you've heard at least one claim. Personally I have noticed that I don't get the post lunch sleepy eyes nearly as often as I did in the past. The big thing I've experienced is NO MORE HEARTBURN! I used to take a Zantac 150 every other day, I have yet to take one in 2012!
What happens when you stop this diet? I don't know, becuase I haven't stopped it, and I don't plan on every going back to the old way I used to eat. However, I did just spend 44 of the past 55 days at Young Life camps where you get tons of bread, carbs, desserts and sugar. I resisted some, but gave in way, way, way more than I would at home. I didn't gain any real weight, because I continued to avoid the bread and chip gorging that I used to do.
We love this diet, and we've made it a lifestyle. I'm planning on weighing no more than 189 pounds on by 40th birthday in October. This works, it isn't that difficult, and it will work for you if you'll give it a go!