This is part of an ongoing series of real life success stories from people all over the world who have been impacted by the Paleo lifestyle and The Paleo Solution. Read Jodi’s story below.
The following was sent to Robb by Dr. Jack Kruse. “A patient wrote this to me today…..thought I would share it with you.”
My Paleo diary, 7 weeks in
by Jodi Guillot Wibel
Since several of my friends have expressed interest in this new “Paleo” thing, I thought I’d share some detailed results for those curious about it.
I’m a sugar/carb addict. Always have been. So although I’ve wanted to be 10-15 lbs thinner for the last 8 years (since before having 3 kids), I never could commit to giving up the bread and sweets. Sure, I knew they’re bad for you… but like any other addiction, the road to complete “sobriety” seems insurmountable, especially living here in New Orleans where temptation resides in every consumable food and beverage. How could I possibly give up cake, cookies, fried seafood, po-boys, jambalaya, frozen daiquiris, ice cream, Sal’s sno-balls, and above all, my beloved crown royal & diet coke? Inconceivable.
Then two things happened.
(1) I turned 39 in November, which was a little sobering. With the big 4-0 looming over me, I finally decided if I don’t get my ass in shape now, when will I ever? Do I really want to spend another summer hiding self-consciously in knee-length cover-ups?
(2) I started paying attention to what my friend and neurosurgeon (Jack Kruse) was posting on FB about this “primal” diet, the dangers of wheat consumption, and the science behind it all. I bought Robb Wolf’s book, which, in layman’s terms, made biological sense of it all, and I saw the transformation in Jack, who lost 160+ lbs. Suzanne Somers (in her 60’s) does it too, and she looks 10 years younger than me!
I decided to start after Mardi Gras, with Lent. Because, after all, I had to get that last king cake season in. Then on Superbowl Sunday I was at a party watching the half-time show, and while on my 3rd or 4th slice of Randazzo’s cream cheese, I heard my husband comment on how “smoking hot” Fergie’s body was. That did it. I started Paleo the next day.
The first week was pretty gratifying, as most of them are when you make any drastic dietary changes. I lost 4.5 lbs in 4 days and although I still craved sugar and bread, it felt great to see a difference on the scale already. I stocked up on coconut oil (to use in place of olive oil), omega 3 butter, omega 3 eggs, heavy whipping cream (for my coffee), Nu-Stevia (in place of my 100g/wk Splenda habit), grass-fed beef, fish, bacon, ham, cheese, avocado, and a varied assortment of veggies (mostly tri-colored peppers, onions, zucchini and squash). I wasn’t counting carbs or calories, or even fat grams, just eating til I was full. To keep the sweet tooth at bay, I kept a jug of green tea in the fridge, and thinly sliced sweet potatoes on hand to bake with cinnamon and butter. I snacked on that often in the beginning.
But then, the scale stopped moving. Every morning I weighed myself and scratched my head in confusion. Was it broken? Why the hell am I not losing more? I’m doing everything right! I started taking measurements and to my surprise, saw some significant changes there. Turns out, my body composition was changing, and so was my metabolism. I wasn’t really working out much – except for my 20lb kettle bell swings 4 times a week and some 8-lb free weights – but usually when I would go on a “crash” diet cutting out sugar completely, the weight would come pouriing off. This was different.
I also noticed I was going to the bathroom more. And taking Advil less. And never felt bloated or swollen the morning after a big dinner. Hmmm…. interesting. Maybe wheat and sugar ARE the culprits of so many of these seemingly insignificant ailments that we’ve been taught were a “normal” part of the aging process?
The weeks went by… 3, 4, 5… the scale didn’t budge. I started getting frustrated. Yes, I was happy to be seeing less of the tape measure wrap around my middle, but I had a NUMBER in mind I was itching to see on that damn scale. And it was starting to piss me off that I wasn’t getting any closer to it.
It was during the 6th week that my family and I went to Disneyworld. And folks, there isn’t a more Paleo-UNfriendly place on earth, let me tell you. I watched my kids indulge in cookies and ice cream, french fries and pizza – all HUGE no-no’s for me. But I didn’t cheat. I was determined not to quit, considering how far I’d come. And one thing Jack had said kept echoing in my mind, “You CAN get over your sugar addiction to the point where you can easily pass it up without a second thought, but it takes a couple of months, and if you cheat with even so much as a cracker- you’ll set yourself back (with the cravings) 2 weeks.” The last thing I wanted was to start all over again… so I stuck it out.
For me, this was nothing short of a miracle. Those of you who know me well know I can’t turn down a Froot Loop, much less a fresh-baked cookie! Zero willpower, that was me.
Now here I am at 7 weeks, and I’m finally seeing my patience and discipline paying off. The scale did finally move, and I’m currently down a total of 8 pounds, and 13 inches. I have more energy and fewer aches and pains than I’ve had in 10 years. I don’t crave sugary sweets anymore, and have no problem passing up dessert at parties or restaurants. I hardly ever feel the need to snack in between meals, and when I do eat, I eat until I’m full, plus it takes less to fill me up now that it used to. [That’s because protein tells your brain you’re full, sugar and carbs do not. Ever say “I can’t believe I ate the whole quart of ice cream!”? You don’t have that problem as much with filet mignon – after 6 or 8 oz, you’re done. There’s a biochemical reason behind that. It’s called Leptin function, which you can read about in the book.]
On average, I’m eating 130g fat, 150g protein and <50 carbs a day. Carbs are in everything from vegetables to seasonings, so it’s nearly impossible to avoid them completely, plus your body needs them to function. But I’m learning that you get more than enough of them in the Paleo diet without having to eat grains… and I don’t miss them anymore.
Have I reached my goal? Not yet. But I feel like I’m well on my way. This is a lifestyle change, not a diet, and it has changed my thinking on food unlike any “diet” I’ve tried and given up after a week or two. They say it takes 21 days to break a bad habit; in my case, more like 50. My only regret is that I was too vain to take “before” pictures, even though I was strongly urged to do so. Even if they were for my eyes only, it would be cool to see the transformation over time.
Like anything else in life, it takes determination and commitment in order to get the results you want. Even if I never see that magic number on the scale, I have proven to myself that I can overcome a lifelong addiction to unhealthy food, and potentially avoid a multitude of health problems that typically present themselves when you reach your 40s. If I can do this, believe me, ANYBODY CAN! You can make excuses til the cows come home, but when make up your mind you want something bad enough, you find the will to make it happen.
Whether your motivation is weight loss or overall improved health, if you’re serious about doing this, you have to jump in with both feet, so to speak. You will gain weight if you combine too many carbs with high fat/ high protein eating. Read The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf and check out MarksDailyApple.com for a list of grocery “musts” and foods to avoid. Get a carb counter app (it’s free) and keep track of what you’re eating. Finally, take before pictures and track your measurements. The results will astound you and you’ll thank me in a couple of months.
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Thank you for this story. I’ve been slowly moving to the Paleo way and for some reason real world accounts like this help with the practical decisions.
Adam K says
As a fellow 39-year-old, congratulations. 🙂
I’m curious, if you don’t mind sharing – how tall are you? If you want to share your weight, that’s cool, too. And yes, I know, I’m a guy, and it’s not a comparison thing, so much, but I’m curious about your numbers because I’m trying to get a grasp on the ‘grams of protein per day’ thing, both for myself and others.
Jodi Wibel says
I’m 5’4″ and weigh 129 lbs. Started at 137. I found my measurements from when I was 15, and would you beiieve, they’re almost exactly the same (except I’m ~3 inches bigger in the waist now, go figure!).
Good luck to you!
Kris @ Health Blog says
This is pretty inspiring, thanks for sharing. Seeing other people do well always helps with motivation.
Thanks for sharing Jodi.
I’m also feeling the frustration of the scale not moving but I too can see my body composition changing before my eyes! Great feeling huh. Pity we can’t change our mind set about those darn numbers…
Jen Duncan says
GREAT story Jodi. I too am so stoked about feeling so much healthier. Thanks for sharing, and you look mahvelous 🙂
Jodi – Thanks for sharing this story. When I was 39, Atkins was resurfacing and I tried it, but couldn’t really give up my beloved fruit. Now, many years later, I’m doing paleo seriously for the past two months. I don’t weigh myself, just go by how my jeans fit. They were not getting any looser about two weeks ago, but I am determined NOT to cheat or quit. So I really appreciate the “2 week set back” reminder. But, finally this week, I feel and see a difference again. Lots of trial & error on how many grms of fat/protein/carbs I can tolerate. Seems like I can handle alot of protein – more than I’ve ever eaten before (being a fruit and veggie lover). Anyway, kudos for finding and trying this lifestyle, espiecially in NOLA – one of my very favorite cities. And don’t worry about turning FORTY. You’ll look so fabulous that no one will believe you anyway!! A big Thank You also to the paleo community – where I spend too much time listening to podcasts and reading blogs – but feel much validated in my “where’s the beef” choices!
Nice work Jodi.
Just throw the scale away.
Bhavesh Patel says
Hi Jodi, Dr. Jack sent me the link to your story. Congrats on your success and thanks for sharing!
Congrats on making such a positive change! And I’m so glad there’s another “Paleo woman” in New Orleans.
Another New Orleans native here! I currently live about 45min away in a quaint beachown called Bay St. Louis but still frequent NOLA. I am 24 about 5’5″ – 150lb. and have been CrossFitting for about 2 months now. Just returned from a trip to Italy and plan on starting Paleo immediately. Went to the grocery store yesterday and stocked up! Looking forward to seeing results as I already feel better and stronger with CrossFit!! Thanks for a great inspiration story.
Where y’at Jodi! I’m in Nola too.
I just started Paleo this week, and have been doing Crossfit about a month, so I can use all the local people I can find to geek out on this. You’re right, New Orleans has to be the most ruthlessly tempting food city in the world, and so much of it is tied to culture and tradition. So giving it up for proper nutrition is very isolating – like you are giving up your tribe. And I suspect they feel this way too since I’m enduring lots of jokes about my ‘fad diet’, as they call it.
Jodi Wibel says
Hey Andrea! I’m in Metairie. How do you like Crossfit? I’ve been thinking about trying it… a friend of mine teaches at the Sports clinic on Airline. Friend request me on FB, if you have a page. Always good to have a paleo buddy, like you said, especially in this city!
Maryann Ramirez says
Awesome… It’s great to hear another carb junkie kicked the habit!
Thanks for sharing. It was like I was reading a page out of my own diary. Nice to hear how sticking with it pays off since my “diets” usually only last about 4 weeks, then something triggers the evil carb monster inside of me and off I go. Never reaching the goal. I’m going to be sticking it out this time even if it takes until week 8 to get that scale moving again. I’m currently on week 3 and the scale stopped. Same ratios as you but even less carbs. Feel amazing and starting to feel those hidden muscles 🙂 Maybe I’ll just throw the scale out lol
Jodi Wibel says
How’s it going, Kathleen? Did you throw the scale away yet??? 🙂
Great! Thanks for asking. Carbs are at approx 30 now and feeling awesome. Didn’t throw away the scale but not really obsessed anymore. Rarely hungry, and noticing subtle changes. It’s been like 5 weeks now and the jeans are looser. Finding it easier to avoid carbs (not all, just sugar/fructose stuff). Especially reading recent info about the toxicity of sugar. Can’t wait for summer :))
Thank you for sharing this story! I’m only on day 3 of my 30 day challenge but its stories like this one that helps me remember why i’m doing this. I must admit…i’m a little bit cranky…tired. I find myself eyeing bread, pastry..almost ready to jump over the table to try and bite the bread out of the mouth of the person across from me. lol.
I’m focusing on all the wonderful things that i can eat! I’m a converted sugar junkie!
Robb Wolf says
You can do it! Keep us posted.
Hey Yota – stay focused and you will get there! I joined a 63 day Transformation Challenege through my crossfit gym, which included eating paleo…and had a massive butter tart meltdown! I somehow pulled through (despite many sleepless nights thinking about a damn butter tart). Trust me when I say, it is worth it!
-4 inches on the waist
-2 inches on the hips
-8% body fat
Stay strong! 🙂
Hey Jodi, I get some cravings now and then and could definitively use some more paleoish snack. How exactly do you make the sweet potatoes with cinnamon and butter? My cooking skills are abysmal so please forgive me if this is self-explanatory 🙂
Jodi Wibel says
Don’t feel bad- I’m culinary-challenged myself. Preheat the oven to 375. Get a big cookie pan and grease it with coconut oil. Cut the sweet potatoes crosswise in THIN slices (the thinner, the more crispy they come out!), and put in a single layer on the pan. Sprinkle a little sea salt on them. Then melt some butter (I like the Organic Valley Omega 3 from Whole Foods) and add a little olive oil. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the potatoes with the butter mixture and when well coated, pop the pan in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. When they come out sizzling, you can sprinkle some cinnamon on top and enjoy!
john murray says
I’m on day 8. I usually stick to a diet 2 or 3 weeks, and slowly give up, but I will go the 30 days as asked in Paleo. Being morbidly obese, 308 lbs., 5′ 10″, I need it. I’m 55 years old with a family history of diabetes. Okay, back to Paleo. I’ve had some hunger pangs, especially at night, and I’m holding them at bay with nuts, seeds, and berries. My nephew turned me on to Paleo after he lost 25 lbs., from 216 to 191 in 7 weeks. We’ll see how far I can go.
Thank you very much for your posting. Some time, i make diet, once per week.
I’ve been doing paleo for just four days, and while I notice I’m already a lot slimmer and firmer, the scale hasn’t moved much. I am in total disbelief (the kind of amazed disbelief) that having steak, pork chops, chicken, all these things that I’d been programmed to consider ‘fattening’ are going to change me, but they already are!
Thanks for your story!
Liz B. says
I have been doing Paleo for a couple weeks (well, with a few slip-ups) and have never felt better.
With former eating disorders, this way of eating is the first time I just don’t really think about food.
I truly think I was a SUGAR addict!
My one thing I cannot give up for the life of me is diet soda (diet coke). I have far too many a day, but it’s like my one thing I just adore.
I know it’s not good for me.
Did you quit cold turkey? See, I don’t drink coffee (religious reasons) so that “hit” is so lovely…
Jodi Wibel says
Yes, I did quit cold turkey. Not sure what to tell you about the diet sodas… but if you can give up sugar….
I probably shouldn’t drink coffee either, but it’s one of my few indulgences, and I look forward to it in the morning. You could try cutting back slowly, but another suggestion would be to try iced green tea. I make it by the quart and drink it a lot throughout the day. With a little lemon and Nu-Stevia, it tastes like REAL sweet iced tea, so it satisfies my sweet tooth and is very good for you too. I don’t miss the diet cokes anymore, but once in a while I do indulge in a crown royal with d.c. because I’m not a big fan of wine. Good luck to you!
Karen Burdick says
Jodi – thanks for your inspirational example. Just one thing…
I read your comment about Suzanne Somers “Suzanne Somers (in her 60′s) does it too, and she looks 10 years younger than me!” with surprise. To double-check my suspicions, I went to her website, read through her material, looked at her products, and browsed her recipes (black beans and rice, anyone?). She is most definitely NOT paleo or primal. She liberally uses grains and promotes unhealthy/unpaleo ingredients in her prepackaged products.
I just don’t want anyone new to this site to be mistakenly misled by Ms. Somers information and miss out on the truly wonderous benefits of The Paleo Solution!
Thanks for your story!
Jodi Wibel says
Karen, you are right, and I’m glad you pointed this out. (I think it’s too late to edit my story at this point, but it wasn’t long after it was published that I realized the mistake.) Suzanne Somers is a Cenegenics patient, which early on, I had confused with a primal diet. I have since been getting her emails and the more knowledgeable I’ve become, the more I’ve noticed some major differences in the diet she promotes and the Paleo diet. Sorry for the misquote. By the way, if you haven’t already ordered it, Sarah Fragoso’s new cookbook “Everyday Paleo” is AWESOME!!!!!! Worth every penny and I have yet to find a recipe in there that isn’t delicious!
Thank you for that article! It was very insightful! I, too, am a Carb-Addict. However, I don’t eat ANY veggies. I know, get over it, but I have an honest to God aversion to them. I’m not sure how that will help me going Paleo. I have taken to blending veggies (don’t recommend that!) and juicing them. Also, it seems a lot cheaper to just have the heart attack than to go paleo! Any suggestions?