Monday, February 24, 2014

How did I know that a Paleo-ish template would work- long term weight maintenance?

Colorful ruffled feathers!
WOW! Lots of social media buzz around Paleo this week both in prime time TV, podcasts, etc.

 I found myself thinking:
How did I know what tools I would use to maintain 70 pounds lost using a Paleo-ish template? How did I navigate the diet/weight/health advice? After 40 freaking years of trying weight maintenance and only re-gains to show for my efforts, how did I know it would work?  I was only 46 at the time. I did not know the new normal yet.

Answer: I did not know, for 100% sure.
2012. Paleo was just becoming popular. Very few books and websites and 0 people in real life, until I met a few people at an Everyday Paleo workshop. Michelle Tan was blogging her meals at Nom-Nom Paleo. I followed the tweets at PaleoFx 2012.  Cool stuff! Still is, in my opinion.

Here's my 2 cents on my experience 

What worked:
1. Basically, I read the book Refuse to Regain (Barbara Berkeley, MD) and experimented with the book's structure." If an MD who specializes in obesity medicine writes a book based on 20+ years of experience, that could be my starting block." I thought. She recommended a Primal style diet. Plus, a whole lot of other things that worked well.

2. I experimented the heck out of the concepts. I didn't ask what others thought. I decided, I did, I tested, and I told people later my conclusions. This may have something more to do with me being in my 40's, prioritizing myself, asking for what I need,  and not caring what other people think of me!

3. I failed, in some ways. I tried grass fed butter,  I got a face full of cystic acne so bad I cried. A lot recipes included sweet potatoes, I got a huge belly (temporary) that made me look pregnant. My kid was almost a teen. Not a good look or feel after losing 70 pounds. I ate a lot of raisins, I started to regain weight again. Sugar is sugar.  I ate nuts, I over ate nuts. I thought I could eat nuts. I was nuts. I learned a lot! Beans, Beans the juicy fruit..  oh, heck, I didn't even bring back legumes. ;) 

4.  I worked the solutions. The fails turned into wins when I brought along what worked for me.

What didn't work in the past:
1. Not reading about weight maintenance. Weight maintenance is less talked about and a less supported concept. So much of what is presented as truth made and kept me re-gaining.
2. Doing what others were doing without looking at MY result outcomes.
3. Continuing to do what wasn't working, and not stopping fast.
4. Not looking enough at root causes.

There is no right way, just the way that works for you. But, you can learn from others who have had success. You can listen and learn from people who are like you. We're out there!

Less debate on the details, more problem solving.  I know that there will be more collaboration, more focus on grain free living. Finding the food template for yourself is worth it.  Experimenting and the courage to find your own template is worth the risk, in my opinion. 
Peacock deciding to run or attack the camera. One outcome will work better for me!


  1. I didn't know it would either... And I'm
    not one to try fad or trendy diets. But as an anthropologist, the paleo diet stood out for BAD reasons, which led me to start learning about it... And once I removed the "eat like our ancestors" tagline, it made a lot of sense. I gave it a try and never felt better for longer ever!

    1. Interesting, Jeanette! I dislike the "caveman" portrayal... I remember thinking meat roasting over an open pit and thinking... no way!!! (before I read more). It's amazing how much better I feel. I'm just glad I found it at the time I did. I think it's cool that you didn't like it but used your science minded brain to learn more..... Love that!

  2. I can't tell you how hard I looked for maintenance info in 2005-6 (Refuse came out in 2008 I think). I was looking while still in weight loss, so I knew "where/how to land". Some of the current maintenance bloggers were still in weight loss then too. Many have lost and then regained from then to current. Others totally disappeared. Some of the key ones from that day are so long gone that new bloggers would not even recognize their names, which is just freaky on so many levels.

    Really good post.

    All of the hubbub from last week only touches me peripherally as I do not read mainstream. I stay away from the podcasts, etc even. Not sure if that is good or bad. But it is what I do.

    1. Vickie, I was part of a weight maintenance group in an on line forum- public and private (various places) from 1999 to 2003 or so. The group had varying results. I'm still in contact with a few group members. The lost and regain (then disappear) is pretty common. I think the complexity of navigating maintenance is not talked about enough. Different things for different people- although a lot of commonalities, too.

      Smart to stay away from mainstream. The particular hub-bub was on TV (Dr. Oz). I watch very little TV since 2012. I was told in my Paleo seminar that once you get your food/exercise habits down and could tackle sleep... that a LOT of people ended up almost completely stopping TV. Something about getting back to basics, my brain doesn't want/need the thing TV provides... Very interesting. There's so much big food influence on TV, too, from advertizing.

  3. See I still love TV at night, for about 2 hours, and that won't change. ;)

    Great post, Karen! It's so critical that we tweak tweak tweak ourselves and our routines/habits to keep ourselves on the straight and narrow. The more we do, the better new habits we build. :)

  4. Hi Karen,

    These words of yours ring so true "Finding the food template for yourself is worth it. Experimenting and the courage to find your own template is worth the risk, in my opinion."

    Now sorry this is where I may get boring ...... you have done fantastic, I just love the way you keep giving the facts as what works for you and what doesn't. For all of us this is so important. We may have different foods that are best left off our menu plan, in those early days we need to experiment and keep note of what worked best and stick to it. A healthier way of life and living should be for life and not just a few weeks to lose weight. Living a healthier lifestyle means now til ...................the end. Sorry to be blunt!

    Whether we are paleo/primal/low carb whatever suits us should be maintained. We owe it to ourselves to eat real food not processed - it is just so much healthier.

    My food template is low carb, high fat, moderate protein. Adjust the amount to suit my lifestyle, my movements etc. I do think regular exercise is important and the same goes for a good sleep pattern. Many may say as they get older they do not require as much sleep - fine - but it is the pattern of life, the pattern of living let's just do our best and keep on doing our best.

    Sharing our news helps too.

    Good post - thanks

    All the best Jan

  5. I found primal after being low carb for awhile. I didn't feel the need to go paleo as I love my cheese too much... and butter. I don't a lot of these and they have no negative effects that I can tell. It just made sense to me to cut out the foods that made me fat... simple!! Clean, fresh food and no processed rubbish. Every day I still have to make decisions and say no to food or walk away. I just got to the point that my health was more important the pie or cake.

  6. I'm not strictly paleo, but I've tended that way due to experimentation of what worked for me. I give myself a star, or good, or not so good, or bad rating in my food journal after I list what I ate. My star and good days are basically paleo days. My not so good rating has happened due to dried fruit or nuts. My bad rating invariably had a carb trigger that caused a carb binge. Month after month, I saw these same results, and I adjusted my diet to have more great eating days. :-)