Written by: Wes Gross
My name is Wes and I am NOT going to tell a heroic story of overcoming obesity or serious illness. What I’d like to relate is the feeling I now have of being in total control of my health and fitness. Something I haven’t felt since I was a fairly fit Air Force pilot.
I first heard about Paleo on a local talk-radio weekend show. Robb Wolf was the guest. Everything he said made perfect sense and it made an impression on me. But, like a lot of people, I needed a kick in the posterior to get me to act.
That kick came from two people, my 14 year old granddaughter, Aly, and her climbing coach, Kody. Aly began climbing at our local rock climbing gym about 4 years ago and is now a nationally ranked competitor. I decided early on that she should not have all the fun and joined in. I was doing OK and lost a little of the excess flab I was carrying around. But, minor injuries kept me from really improving my ability to climb indoors and outside on real cliffs and boulders.
One day, I was working on a ”project” in the gym that required a strength move to get around a roof overhang. I asked Coach Kody, who also sets the routes in that gym, if there was a technique I should employ to make the move easier. He very matter-of-factly stated that it would be a lot easier if I was carrying 15-20 pounds less up the wall! How brutally honest could he have been. After all, he looks at me not as a 60-something climber, but as just a fellow climber.
Several weeks after that episode, I was nursing rotator cuff tendinitis. Aly and I had not been able to climb together for awhile and she was getting a bit out of sorts. One day, she said ”Look, grandpa, your constant injuries are cutting into our climbing together. You’ve got to do something about that!”
Well, that was it. I promised her I would get it together somehow and that’s when I remembered the radio interview with Robb.
I got online, researched Paleo, bought The Paleo Solution on my iPad and dove in. Within a week, I had shed all my cravings for certain types of foods and most of my misconceptions about proper nutrition. Everything about the Paleo lifestyle clicked. After two weeks I felt noticeably better. I wasn’t ill before and most people would not have said that I was overweight. However, I just felt better than I had. After a month and 15 pounds, it was obvious that Paleo was not like any diet I had ever tried. It truly is a lifestyle change that changes your life.
I was definitely headed in the right direction and decided it was time to zero in on the sports injuries. I found a local fitness trainer and he designed a program for me that focused on my specific needs. The Paleo plus fitness training has gotten me to a point where I have lost another 5 pounds, and probably exchanged another five fat pounds for muscle. My climbing has improved steadily, and my last physical exam, including a stress echocardiogram, had my doctor scratching his head.
What has amazed me the most about this is how incredibly easy it is to eat Paleo. As a pilot, I travel frequently. So, I’ve made kind of a game out of picking and choosing from menus. So far, I have yet to run into a wait staff that was not eager to put together what I ordered.
At home, since my wife has celiac disease, we both are now gluten-free. It is fun to devise new ways to prepare meals Paleo-Style. One of my daughters and one of my grandsons have also adopted the Paleo lifestyle and have had great results.
Paleo has become a life-long commitment now. I can’t imagine going back to all the sugar, pasta, potatoes, breads, and diet sodas that were part of my dietary habits for 62 years. The Paleo lifestyle is easily sustainable and I feel confident that I am truly in control of my health.
Thanks, Robb, for all your research in this area and for the way you’ve presented it to a public that is in desperate need of this solution.