How long have you been Paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 17, 2010 at 2:46 PM

How long has everyone been Paleo? Have you cheated at all? Start, then stop, then start again? What did you eat before? low carb, or SAD, or what? Has it changed your life dramatically?

I have been Lacto-Paleo for over 2 years now. I started with low-carb in March of 2007 after my last child was born, began experimenting with paleo that november, and was fully lacto-paleo by March of 2008.

I've never 'cheated' on the lifestyle (I'm one of those "do or do not" people) so for two years now I've eaten only fatty meat, a few veg (almost 100% cruciferous), heavy cream, butter, cheese, and eggs. No nightshades, no fruit, and of course no tubers, lentils, grains, or sugars!

I'm 45 years old and since that March of 2007 I've lost 155lbs and feel bloody great! :)

How about you guys? How many of you are long-term (relatively!) success stories?

Blue - The Thrifty Mom



on March 17, 2010
at 04:56 PM

155 lb.? Congratulations--you're an inspiration!

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13 Answers


on March 17, 2010
at 08:28 PM

I started Paleo in the summer of 2007 after several years of yo-yo dieting; mostly calorie and fat restriction, a-la Weight Watchers. I initially lost 32 pounds. That fall during the holidays I regressed back to the SAD and gained back that 32 lbs. plus about 15-20 more. Upon entering a weight-loss contest at work back in '08, I re-started Paleo nutrition with IF and have since lost 50 pounds. My skin has cleared, I have more energy, I sleep more soundly and wake up refreshed, I'm off anxiety medication, and I no longer have ravenous cravings and hunger. I think this being a 'lifestyle,' or just 'the way I eat' has finally sunk in and I'll never go back to the SAD. I just look and feel too good to go back! And the best part...it's catching on with my family and friends. I'm happy to be an inspiration and an agent for change in my corner of the world!



on March 17, 2010
at 07:09 PM

Just this year. I have no great story. I was thin as a rail on the SAD diet and still am now (6'2'', 180) The best thing about this diet is that I don't get hunger urges every 2 hours. I guess I have a fast metabolism and always thought that I was just one of those people that had to eat lots of calories. Not true. I now have freedom to run or train at almost any hour of the day without first having to plan some sugar burst an hour beforehand. I typically eat a juicy steak, or 80% lean hamburger and drink whipping cream (love that stuff). For veggies I go the green route, and I do like an orange or two. I eat some honey or a bar of chocolate every now and then. I always loved cooking pastries and baked goods, so that was hard to give up. I avoid grains like the plague, so I have made a few cheesecakes with almond crust to fill this void. The think now is that if I eat something that is full of sugar, I get a high and a bad low and feel like shite for a few hours. That's pretty good motivation to not repeat that.



on March 17, 2010
at 06:32 PM

Awesome story, Blue. 155 pounds! I've been at it 10 months and lost 121 pounds. I'm not a total purist, but am about 95%.



on March 17, 2010
at 05:47 PM

A month ago I started going paleo. Until recently, I was no-dairy, no starches and sugars.

Mentally, I feel more level-headed. Physically - and also due to sticking to the Stronglifts program and now Crossfit Football - I'm also in the best shape of my life. From some hefty love-handles to ....4-pack? I'm getting there! Down from a tight 32 waist to probably around 30 (I'm 5'5, though, so it works). I'm hitting personal records weightlifting.

I'm not exactly a model dieter, though. I cheat a bit. A few beers here, a snuck proffered dessert there. It's nothing I can't handle, and I probably keep primal between 80-90% of the time. Gotta live life, too.


on March 17, 2010
at 05:06 PM

Two months as of March 15th. Admittedly, it was the NY Times article in January that prompted me to buy Dr. Cordain's book, and from there on out it was Paleo for me.

In that time, I've gone from 213lbs. to right around 187. None of my clothes fit (in this case, a good thing) and my energy level has skyrocketed. As a pastry chef, I do have to taste the food I'm making, but these instances are few and far between. So am I 100% Paleo? By the textbook definition, no, but this is the industry I chose to work in. :)

Part of the enjoyment for me is actually challenging myself to come up with new things to eat that fit within the Paleo parameters. Do I miss burgers? Oh, definitely. But if it's a 95/5% patty served up animal style (a la In-N-Out Burger) sans ketchup and mustard, it's a worthwhile reward that I can allow myself to have.


on March 17, 2010
at 02:56 PM

August 2008, got introduced to the Swedish acronym LCHF. Possibly stopped a slow but steady gain in fat weight, can't tell for sure though. Was never overweight. So, no weight loss, rather the opposite... which I'll credit the increased lifting intensity for, i.e. muscle mass.

Main thing for me is the far better hunger control. I can't stress this enough.


on March 18, 2010
at 05:37 AM

Ten years - found Ray Audette's book "Neanderthin" and Cordain's paper around March 2000. Before that I was a junk food junky. I was 48. I was never that overweight, but in a few months I had to go in the closet and get clothing that I hadn't been able to wear in ten or twenty years. Then in a few more months had to buy new clothes. Chronic sinus problems and frequent colds were much improved, especially after I learned several years later that I needed more vitamin D. I have never needed a doctor since going Paleo.

Knowing that if I cheated even once I might fall off the wagon and never find my way back, I haven't had any cake, donuts, ice cream, bread, rice, beans, corn, etc. at all. However, there have been a lot of gray areas for me, like fruit, cheese, dark chocolate, potatoes (Audette said they were a no-no, now I'm having some again), a glass of red wine now and then, etc.

I don't know if it's just me, but I;m seeing a tremendous explosion in new knowledge about healthy nutrition in the last few months, as though some kind of critical mass has been reached. I'm learning more each week than in an entire year earlier in the decade, a lot of it on this board. And only in the last year or two have I learned about the importance of vitamin D3, K2, magnesium, iodine, avoiding fructose, too much vitamin A in C.L.O., iron overload, etc. etc. There's so much new material to go through now, so much to try to integrate into one's lifestyle. It's very challenging to keep up.


on March 17, 2010
at 05:53 PM

Been paleo for a little over a year. Prior to that, I was high protein/low carb (relative to SAD, but not relative to paleo), but too willing to eat processed franken-foods (Diet Coke, Soy Chips, processed salad dressings). I actually found paleo through fitness bloggers (I get the sense that most are here via dietary channels).

I cheat fairly regularly for many reasons: convenience, camaraderie with friends, politeness towards hosts, etc. I think however that I use paleo as a compass to guide my daily eating and exercising decisions and will continue to do so for the rest of my life, i.e., it is a lifestyle.

Still, to insist on utmost dedication to the paleo doctrine is overly strict and frankly somewhat inherently isolationist. I am also under the impression (as posited by Robb Wolf), that certain less paleo options (ie, higher carb intake) can be optimal for athletes in training (though I am no longer an athlete, I am seeking optimal fitness).


on March 17, 2010
at 03:59 PM

In 2007, I cut down on starches, sugars and refined/processed junk. Vague rule, but it was a good "first base."

In 2008, I specifically eliminated grains and legumes, with carbs under 100 grams/day.

In 2009, I cut out all added sweeteners of any kind, 'natural' or otherwise.

Mid- 2009: VLC lacto-paleo (butter, cream, and cheese) transitioned to ZC. Coming up on a year with minimal onions and garlic my only plant matter; probably adding back in a few others (yams, etc) when I reassess at the one year mark.

Mental: Mood/outlook improved; lifelong anger and depression much less.

Physical: Chronic pain from two major injuries much improved, leading to more activity.

Also, for first time in life, have abs :)



on March 17, 2010
at 03:01 PM

5 weeks and counting I've never cheated - I went all out from day one (including no dairy, potatoes, salt or other common "gray areas") I ate the SAD diet before - I'd pretty much eat anything that I could eat

Changes: The most important change for me is I don't see myself ever going back to the SAD diet after seeing the other side. I'm 35 years old.
I've dropped 10-12 pounds so far. I have never been overweight, but I was working on "thin guy with a belly" and I didn't like that much. The belly is almost entirely gone, I'm getting some muscle-tone improvements, and more energy.
Heartburn and headaches seem to be things of the past.


on March 26, 2010
at 06:31 PM

I'm 20 years old and have been eating paleo for about 3 months. Before this, I was going insane with all the diets I was reading about. I couldn't seem to stop the college weight gain, despite working out and avoiding the binge drinking parties. I am into this for vanity reasons and health reasons, but lately I have been changing my perspective on health since reading about the importance of insulin, blood sugar, macronutrients, and vitamins on all these paleo blogs. Needless to say, I have lost about 15 pounds in 3 months and have not experienced any bad side effects except for the first two weeks of sugar withdrawal. I finally have a healthy BMI, which was over 25 before starting this. I assume the BMI is accurate for me because only elite athletes, crossfitters, and bloggers like mark sisson look like models and have BMIs over 25. I also cheat when people force feed me and watch me like hawks, like my stubborn mom (if you met her you wouldn't say no either). Since I don't want to be a freak, I eat grains at uneasy social situations where food is the center of our lives. I avoid baking situations as much as possible (lucky for me I hate to bake, dislike cake, but love to cook steak). I am testing time, but I plan to stick with this because I have been horrified by the stuff I read about SAD.


on March 22, 2010
at 08:21 AM

I've been strict Lacto-Paleo (the PaNu version) for about a year now, with a single week-long cheat / "experiment". I lost more than 35 pounds, and then put back on 10 during the week of cheating -- weight that is now much harder to lose than the first time around.



on March 18, 2010
at 01:45 AM

After losing weight on a low carb, low fat plan about two years ago I sort of slid off the rails a bit, but was aware of the carb problem I faced. I ate better than SAD but not as good as Paleo and gained a few pounds back, at which point I started to get more seriously Paleo in my diet.

I will have much more control once I leave Mexico- it is so hard to avoid tortillas and beer and such here. When I travel I cook things like burgers in lettuce "buns" and snack on protein not chips, so it will all be good soon.

Pop, diet or otherwise is OFF the radar screen for good.

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