I took part in the 30 day paleo challenge in a group setting as part of an exercise and
fitness education program offered by my workplace. The group challenge was exactly
what I needed to get started down the path of paleo. I had heard of The Paleo Solution and
read a little bit about it but had not initiated it for myself. Truthfully, I was scared that I
would fail at paleo. Really though, I was scared to face my addiction to sugar, grains, and
processed foods that I was consuming on a regular basis and that attempting paleo would
make that painfully clear. I did not trust myself to be better than that.
I had the support I needed in the form of a couple of friends who were part of the group
committed to the 30 day challenge and family as well. Stephanie Greunke, RD was the
registered dietitian who educated us about paleo with a thorough presentation filled with
scientific data, personal anecdotes, professional experience, and a willingness to address
any skepticism on our parts. All that support made it easier to deal with the moodiness
and irritability I experienced early on. Almost immediately though, I felt more energized
consistently throughout the day. That feeling continues now, a little more than 1 month
after completing the challenge. I also valued having a professional who I could turn
to with questions about weight loss, supplements, and macronutrients. So I dove in,
following up on recommendations for butchers and farmers’ market vendors. I cooked
more regularly than I had in a while. It was time-consuming, but I enjoyed the fruits of
my labor. I was comforted knowing that others involved with the challenge were also
investing a lot of time cooking meals for the days ahead, that it wasn’t just because I am
far from being a talented or inspired cook. Nevertheless, many times as I heated up my
lunch I heard co-workers who did not know about my paleo challenge say, “That smells
good. What is that?” Any time I share samples of my beef jerky, without exception, I am
asked for the recipe.
When I thought about making a poor choice, no temptation was too big or small that
I could not talk to my paleo challenge friends. We texted each other about the lure
of tortillas, the smell of a bakery on the street, and the cupcakes and chocolates that
were plentiful around Valentine’s Day or desserts at office parties. We were quick
to encourage the others and suggest alternatives. When I “cheated,” I certainly paid
the price with uncontrollable fatigue. I may not be completely in step with paleo
lifestyle choices ALL of the time. I will continue to work on that, but I do know I feel
significantly better and people tell me I look well – thinner, happier, radiant. Nothing
wrong with that! It only serves as more encouragement to continue. I don’t mind hearing
it so keep the compliments coming. 😉
We had a lot of fun with it too. My friends and I shared recipes and got together for a
potluck paleo feast once. Our menu consisted of Spanish ham, celery, grape tomatoes,
spicy chicken fingers, Mexican meatball soup, chicken jumbalaya, roasted chile peppers
stuffed with cauliflower and roasted red pepper soup. We even had some berries with
walnuts, coconut butter, and tidbits of 90% dark chocolate for dessert. It was a real treat
to get together and share our food and our experiences with paleo to date.
My biggest motivating factors for trying paleo in the first place and continuing with it
are the diseases that devastate my family: type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. I feel
good making food choices consistent with paleo because I know I am eating an anti-
inflammatory diet. I will continue because I want to make the best choices I can make for
myself. Here’s to the next 60 days, and the 60 days after that, and so on!
Earl Sarsuelo says
This would surely be a big help for me as I’m planning to have my food diet as well as having a regular exercise. Hope to read more from the author. Thank you for sharing this very informative post.
Good for you. Keep it up! Psst…it gets better and better.
Lulu Jones says
Your article was so inspiring to read. I sent it to my boyfriend as well so that it could serve as motivation for him to keep it going. Yes the paleo diet plan is really amazing. I have been on the plan for about 6 months now and I really am present to the impact it has had on my mental clarity. Before paleo I was really difficult for me to focus and I had lots of negative mind chatter. Now however, I feel like I can focus better and I feel more positive about myself and my life.