Six weeks ago, I joined my gym's annual fall meltdown with a bit of hesitancy. Not because I didn't want to participate, but because I wondered whether I would see a decent return on my investment: $100 plus six weeks of focus and strict paleo (i.e. no coffee, no sugar, no treats, no wine). I'm still breastfeeding (currently three times a day), and I had this idea stuck in my head that I was going to hold on to excess body fat and the last few pregnancy pounds until my daughter is weaned. What if I worked really hard for minimal results? How would that make me feel? Disappointed? Discouraged? Annoyed? I seriously considered just resigning myself to staying where I was at until later (staying where I was permanently has never been an option; I just questioned the timing). Also, I couldn't help but consider the meltdown I participated in two years ago. It was a life-defining experience for me, in so many ways. Would this experience have the same significance to me? I assumed not, and therefore wondered whether it was worth my time from a mental, emotional and psychological standpoint.
Despite all of this, I wound up just saying "what the heck??!" and set two goals -- to fit back into my smallest pre-pregnancy jeans, and to reduce my dependency on coffee and chocolate. I'm so glad I did, because a month-and-a-half later I have achieved far more than I thought I could achieve in this brief time period.
Within days, coffee and chocolate were no longer at the forefront of my mind. After four weeks, I was wearing the jeans I bought at the end of Meltdown 2010. And as for my numbers (weight, body fat, lean mass), I was blown away. I didn't expect to see such a big improvement. I just knew that I did my best, so no matter what the results were I had to be satisfied. As it turns out, I am more than satisfied!
In six weeks, I lost six pounds and five percent body fat (from 28.1 to 23.1), and my lean mass went from 76.9 pounds to 85.6 (we're measured in the Bod Pod)!! This is almost exactly where I was two years ago (right after my first meltdown experience). I'm super happy that at 40-years-old and just 13 months after having a baby, I have returned to the healthiest, lightest and leanest version of me I have ever known.
More importantly, I feel strong and confident and ... grateful. Grateful that I discovered the paleo lifestyle two-and-a-half years ago. Grateful for my wonderful pregnancy experience and my beautiful, sweet and healthy paleo baby. Grateful for the people in my life who support me on this journey (like my husband Carl, my BFF Lorrie and my trainers/coaches Kili and Robert). Grateful that, after years and years of following mainstream advice and getting nowhere, I now know how to best take care of my body. Grateful that, despite my reservations, I signed up for the meltdown and gave it my all. My concern that it wouldn't be a significant experience for me? Totally unfounded. Just like last time, it was significant. Not in the same way, but perhaps in even better ways. I'm excited about it, and I am determined to make my 40s my best decade yet. Bring it on!
Before I go, I'll just write a few quick details on how I did this in case anyone is interested. I'm going to assume you know the paleo basics, though. Most importantly, I eliminated all sugar. No fruit, no honey, no maple syrup, no paleo baked goods or treats. I also cut out all nuts and seeds. Coffee, as I mentioned, was out. My diet basically consisted of meat, eggs, veggies and fat (lots of butter and coconut oil). I did not count calories, and I did not feel deprived. In terms of workouts, I couldn't push as hard as I would have liked because I've been dealing with a pesky shoulder injury. I did, however, increase my workouts from three of four days a week to four or five per week. And that's it. Super easy, reasonable and do-able!