Friday, June 1

Success Stories!

Stephanie Radnan

Paleo success stories...we love 'em!

Read Stephanie's paleo journey here.....

The Beginning
My life for the past five years has been a whirlwind journey of trying just about every diet under the sun. Except for shake diets. I like real food too much to have ever gone there! But I have tried low-fat, vegetarian, calorie counting, no carbs, high carbs, high protein, and even spent a while living off fruit, nuts and cottage cheese. This last one wasn't a diet, I just really liked fruit, nuts and cottage cheese so much it became a three-meal-a-day thing. This wasn't so good for my waist-line though. In fact, as much as my diet varied, so did the scales. In 2007 I weighed in at a huge 120kg. I never really thought I was that big, until intestinal issues lead me to a gluten-free diet. Without much effort, I shed a heap of kilos. I was fascinated by my new body and how much food and nutrition played a role in how I looked. My inner-geek loved the research and science behind it all, and one thing lead to another and my life became dedicated to getting as fit and as healthy as possible. This is when my montage of diets came to play, and by February 2011 I was down to 62kg.

Reality Check...
After I dropped all the weight, I figured it was ok to start eating "normally" again. I would never go all the way back to how I was eating in 2007, but I figured it would be ok to include some of the things I missed from my years of dieting. I was slim, so thought, why not? I re-introduced all my gluten-containing favourites such as cereals, and breads, and pasta again. I decided that so long as something was "healthy" it was pretty much good for me too, and that translated to eat-in-unlimited-supply. I would have anything with low-fat, no-fat, no-sugar, organic, whole-grain, natural and heart tick approved on the package, and consider it a "free-food". Surely enough, the weight crept back on. I would also treat myself a lot more (I should really have emphasised that, A LOT more) McFlurry's. But in the grand scheme of things, and compared to the majority of society, I considered my diet to be extremely healthy!  That was until 2012 came about, and I realised I had gained back 20kg.

I couldn't believe I had let myself get like that. Apart from the weight gain, my skin was terrible, my PCOS symptoms had worsened, and I began experiencing my intestinal problems again. I had to do something. I wasn't happy. I didn't look like me. And I certainly didn't feel like me. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin; internally and externally.

My dad had been speaking about a caveman diet he was on, and which he had lost 50kg following in the space of a year, and I was intrigued to find out more about it. I couldn't believe all the science behind how our bodies reacted to gluten and what insulin spikes meant, and how the best way to eat is to fuel your body with the foods it was designed to digest. The way we eat now, based on the food pyramid, and from mass-produced, highly-processed food sources, was not something our grandparents ate, let alone how our neanderthal ancestors ate. The whole concept made a lot of sense, to eat whole, naturally occurring foods, that contain all the vitamins and minerals we were intended to consume.

I toyed around with Paleo-esque ways for the first two months of the year, but it wasn't until March that I completely cut out things such as dried fruit (which still contain sugar) and let go of my passion for nuts, as I really wanted to benefit most from the Paleo diet for fat loss. As soon as I cut out gluten, dairy and legumes it was incredible how quickly my situation changed. Definitely the first two weeks were hard but the drive of knowing you are doing something great for your health is what kept me going. I was making a choice to be my best. What initially started out to be a 30-day challenge, was soon after extended, and I haven't turned back since.

This weekend will mark my three months since my dedicated attempt at going Paleo. Apart from my skin clearing, my PCOS symptoms diminishing, my intestinal problems completely disappearing, and my stomach NEVER bloating after meals, I feel a lot better. I found that my moods have stabilised so much. Something I never even realised before. I didn't understand just how sugar crashes affected my temperament. I also have a constant supply of energy, no spikes and falls, no drowsiness after a meal. I sleep a lot better. I don't need to eat so frequently. My body now receives all the vital nutrients it needs, and I don't get crippling hunger pangs, nor do I get anxious when I am hungry. I only eat when I am hungry, and stop when I'm full. I used to be able to eat three bowls of cereal in one sitting, and now one plate of real protein and veggies can keep me full for hours, no joke! I have definitely shrunk in size too. I have been trying to keep clear from the scales, but I have been taking monthly photos. I can see more muscle definition, and my measurements have definitely gone down. After a while, you no longer crave all the sugar-loaded junk you see everywhere. It honestly loses its appeal. Paleo is a great way to achieve optimum health. There is no denying that whole, natural, unprocessed foods are by far the best way you can treat your body and help it find return to its natural weight.

 For men, this is lean and built, however, for women, as we were designed to bear children and for not really any other purpose, our bodies are more inclined to want to fall naturally at a higher weight and this is entirely natural.
A Sustainable Diet

Regardless of how much you weigh, I believe Paleo is a great framework that should be used to begin to feed your body right. Everyone is able to build their own Paleo code based on what they can tolerate. So long as you follow a general rule of thumb that if it didn't walk, swim, fly or grow, you probably shouldn't eat it. After this, just listen to your body and see what it needs, and what you respond to best. Whether that be high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat, high protein, low protein, or all three in moderation, Paleo is bound to change your life. To me, Paleo is living with holistic health. It's a life time commitment, not a quick-fix. I am enriching my wellbeing with better food, more sunshine, more play-time and more sleep. There really is no other way I would rather be!

You can submit your real food diet success story via a comment or by email to we'd love to hear from you

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