Ellen / by Stephen Cooper

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Hi Coop,

The Paleo challenge was great for me personally overall. It was difficult at times, but isn't life? I think there were two main cravings I had: salami and soy-marinated meats. I managed to stay away from salami but the meats I just had to have. Honestly it wasn't even as good as I remembered so it was kind of a pain because I felt like the cheat wasn't even worth it at times. Other than that, baked goods didn't bother me too much. I think sometimes my problem is not being able to just eat one bite of a cake. But if I don't even eat it to begin with - no problems there.  

One major challenge for me was how people responded to me not being able to try something they were eating, or what they wanted to eat. That was probably the most frustrating part. I hate cooking rice for my boyfriend and not even taking a bite. I also hated it when he would order my favorite pasta while I chomped on salad right next to it. I eventually figured out that if I just made yummy foods, he would eat it without knowing what it is.  Now he wants coconut flour pancakes every weekend. I also hated my coworker that would say "JUST EAT IT" when I told her I didn't want to try what she made. My friends were annoyed at how boring some of the restaurants I picked out and they just decided to not eat out with me at all.  But eventually with that frustration, it actually made me stick to the diet even more. Instead of eating out, I'd offer to make them dinner. Plus I felt and looked great..and I know I didn't get there by eating french fries all day.  I did lean on a few people that loved health and fitness as much as I do and they both really supported me through encouragement. I will try to keep up the diet with a couple of modifications and cheat day once a week after this challenge. As far as others are concerned, I think I will just blame it on allergies instead of explaining why I'm being healthy.

Diet and exercise was easy to track and I did really well overall. I managed to only miss 1 day of any exercise because I was sick. Since I have puppies, even on the non-gym days I would at least walk them for 45 minutes.  The hardest part was sleep. I did really for the first 4 weeks and was consistently 15-30 minutes late for work.  After that I started going back to 6-7 hours just to get to work on time and I could tell I wanted to work out less because I was still tired. The last week was the worst, hardly any sleep and I'm cranky and tired all the time.  Sleep is important and for someone like me that always have things going on in the evening or weekends, I need to make a solid effort to get to bed since I have to be up so early. 

Overall I lost about 6 pounds. Number-wise it isn't very much and I would be lying to say that it isn't frustrating...but I'm trying really hard to not focus on it because I look and feel great. I just know that someone with more weight to lose will probably smoke me in that area.  My goal was to have a 2 pack, and right now it is looking pretty good (with proper lighting).  I know what my problem areas are and will continue to work on it through continuing my own version of the challenge. I did not take measurements but I know for sure my clothes are fitting better.

This challenge was an amazing experience and I can't wait to incorporate it with the rest of my life. I believe in that this is what works for me.  I can eat healthy things, ingredients I can pronounce and I don't have to worry too much about calories counting and portion control. If I'm hungry I just snack away on natural foods.  I even picked up a couple books on Paleo.  Mainly to understand it more but also to have a better response when people ask, "why can't you have beans?"

Thank you for this wonderful experience...and I'll be up for it the next time around, too!

Ellen Sue