After 30 days, I updated on how I felt on the diet and after reintroducing these foods, as well as how my family did both on and off the diet. To recap, I felt better physically on the diet, almost all my stomach issues gone, but I didn't lose much weight, if at all, which was frustrating for me. And that I noticed after the thirty days, I was reacting to certain foods that I hadn't realized I'd reacted to before, such as rice, buckwheat, potatoes, and aged cheeses. I also mentioned that I thought my family was reacting to rice, corn, and sugar, but I wasn't sure.
Anyhow, after that, a few months have passed, and I wanted to share how our family is eating now, how those 30 days of Paleo affected our family's eating habits in general, etc...
So, firstly, I wanted to say that for the most part my family is no longer eating Paleo. They're eating cereal for breakfast, corn cereal sweetened with coconut sugar and with milk, and no one seems to be reacting. I don't think corn affects how they feel or behave and that is great. After a month off rice, though, I've noticed that my kids are no longer fans of it- they'll eat it here and there, but not in the quantities that they used to eat it- for meals they prefer other foods like fruit, veggies, and proteins instead of grains. And that is pretty cool- they're getting used to better eating habits. I don't see them having sugar melt downs and crashes after eating rice like I saw at first, so I'm happy to see that as well- it makes my life easier.
After 30 days completely off grain, my oldest son, Lee, who I hadn't seen a specific gluten reaction in (my younger three certainly react to gluten), decided to try gluten again, first a bit and then a lot, and zero reaction. Which means that he's probably one of those few individuals that actually is totally gluten tolerant. According to Chris Kresser (sorry, can't find the link that discusses this- really frustrating!), there are some people with a severe gluten intolerance, a majority of the people somewhat sensitive to gluten, in varying degrees, and a minority that actually is completely tolerant to gluten, no problems. It seems that Lee is in that last category, especially since after completely cutting it out for a month, he was reaction free after reintroduction. Fortunately he's got no physical health issues, nor behavioral or emotional issues, so I think it's safe to say he's totally ok with gluten.
So he actually has gluten every day for breakfast- Mike found some gluteny cereal at the grocery store that is cheap, with relatively innocuous ingredients (assuming that you aren't gluten sensitive) that he and Lee enjoy, so the two of them eat that daily. Not quite Paleo.
The other kids do pretty decently on their corn based cereal. Not Paleo either, but gluten free.
But what about myself?
Well, after my 30 days of Paleo and not losing weight, I reread what Chris Kresser says about weight loss, and he mentions about trying to do lower carb to lose weight, if you've never attempted low carb beforehand.
But the thing is- he doesn't have the same approach to low carb as most people do- he only counts fruit sugars, added sweeteners, and starchy veggies like sweet potatoes and white potatoes as carbs, but doesn't count veggies like tomatoes, zucchini, onions, carrots, beets, etc... towards your carb count. He says to aim for between 25 and 50 grams of the first group of carbs per day, and not to limit the second group, so that is what I've been attempting to do.
And it paid off!
Ok, well, I don't know if just that. Because at the same time as going lower carb, I also was pretty sick for a week, and barely was able to eat anything, and at the end of that week, I went down from 175-180 lbs that I was at the end of my 30 day paleo reset, to 165 lbs! And people told me "Oh, you'll gain it all right back once you start eating again!" but you know what? I didn't. I actually lost more weight and got down to 161.7 lbs, even once I was back to eating my low carb Paleo!
At the moment, I am not being as strict with low carb paleo as when I first started.
I am doing this as a lifestyle change, and not a temporary diet which isn't sustainable, which is why I am not guilting myself if I want to eat something not allowed.
So sugar is what I eat with the least reaction, other than slight weight gain. So I do eat things with sugar sometimes, like chocolate, or banana chips like I had the other day.
Then there's things like aged cheeses, which don't give me a headache anymore either. They may or may not make me feel a little more sleepy- haven't been able to ascertain that for sure- but I have it anyhow sometimes, as a treat- and it is worth every bite for me. I just try not to do it so often.
Rice and buckwheat and corn, I don't do so well with. I have them sometimes, but they bother my stomach a little bit, and make me feel bloated for the next few days after eating them, as well as causing the number on the scale to bounce back up, so... I try not to eat items made with gluten free grains- if I want to, I remind myself how it makes me feel, and sometimes I decide it is worth it, but most of the time I don't. Again, knowing how it makes me feel- not amazing, but not terrible either- gives me the freedom to make that decision and feeling comfortable with it. Most of the time I stay away, but here and there I make exceptions for myself.
As for legumes- I seem to be totally 100% fine with green peas and green beans, but split peas bother my stomach. Aquafaba, whipped desserts made from chickpea water didn't seem to bother my stomach either fortunately. I still haven't tried peanut butter, and I tried lentils but I'm not sure, so I have to try again, but for now I'm staying away mostly from legumes.
There's a concept called the 80-20 rule, which basically means that you should eat well, do the healthy thing 80% of the time, and the rest of the time, 20% of the time, you can live normally and not feel guilty about it. I wouldn't say I am eating paleo 80% of the time, more like 95% of the time, but I don't feel bad about eating my less than perfect stuff here and there- because it means it actually is sustainable to stick to this lifestyle- and why I fully support the concept of SWYPOs- healthy alternatives to junk- because I don't feel like I'm missing out by eating predominantly paleo.
Essentially, when I stick to lower carb paleo, the scale has been around 165-166 lbs (sometimes a little lower, even, if I've stuck to it for a while), and has been consistently there, other than when I eat grains or overdo the carbs- then the numbers start creeping back up, and if I start eating lower carbs (and also try not to overdo the nuts), after a few more days I'm back at 165/166.
And I feel really awesome!
Also physically- though not as perfect as I was feeling when I was doing 100% super strict paleo. (I know if I did want to feel 100% perfect, I could cut out all those non paleo things I'm eating, but that's the choice I'm making.)
But also emotionally.
Finally managing to lose weight- those 10 lbs since the beginning of the summer, and a total of 41 lbs since I started my weight loss journey in May of 2014, and more seriously in October of 2014 (wow, didn't realize that was just 18 months!) and it really has effected how I feel about myself.
For the first time in like, ever, I look in the mirror and I am happy with what I see. Yes, I wouldn't mind losing maybe 10-15 extra pounds tops (my ideal weight range is 150-165 lbs, and since I'm at the upper end of that, I wouldn't mind getting to the lower end), but at the moment, I am feeling confident and beautiful and it is just really special. Not that I wasn't beforehand, but when I weighed more, it was hard for me to feel that confident, I felt just like a fat blob.
Now I feel good.
Also for how I look, but even more than that, for my self control and my managing to finally take the bulls by the horn and have self control when it comes to food and not constantly overeat and overeat and eat the wrong things, like I did my whole life until this point. Literally until this summer, I never managed to stick to a "diet" for more than 2 or 3 days. The fact that I have been sticking to this since July- already 4-5 months- means a huge deal to me, that I am not letting food control me like I did in the past.
I haven't actually been exercising- just living my day to day life- and while I would like to start exercising, I am realizing that at this point in time, I don't have the emotional energy or the time to do so (whatever time I have is usually at 10-11 pm at night, when I'm tired and just want to veg out) and that's ok too- maybe at some point soon I will start exercising again, but for now, diet is the only change I've made, and I'm glad that I disproved everyone that was saying that I'd gain all that weight back, wouldn't manage to keep it off.
P.S. I should add that one other thing I've done is started drinking coffee- I giant glass in the morning sweetened with coconut sugar- since I heard it helps both speed up your metabolism and also works as an appetite suppressant. And I think it is working, because I feel I am not overeating nearly as much as I used to...
So yes, that's how I am eating now, and I think I can do this for life. Because I am not feeling deprived. I am getting my treats and keeping my weight down as well. And I feel amazing!
And as for my kids- they see how I eat, they can eat how I eat if they want to. And if they want to have their cereal and milk every morning instead of the veggies and protein I have, they can as well. I provide healthy foods for them, with the occasional treat, and they're learning healthy eating habits by example.
If you're attempting to lose weight or did lose weight in the past, what method are you trying to use/what did you use successfully?
If you've tried going Paleo, either for health reasons or for weight reasons, what effect did it seem to have on your body? Have you stuck with it?