First, I want to thank the many people who submitted their Paleo weight loss stories for this article. There were so many amazing transformations and it was very difficult to choose which ones to publish.
Know that all of your stories are truly inspiring, and I hope you’ll continue to share them here at ChrisKresser.com! I love reading stories about people who have regained their health and lost weight while enjoying healthy, nourishing, and delicious Paleo food.
With that said, here are five incredible Paleo Transformations that will blow your mind.
I have struggled with weight loss my whole life. I don’t care to think about the number of times I lost 50+ pounds only to regain it again and again.
I have always been a carbohydrate and sugar junkie, and after I stopped drinking alcohol to excess… sugary foods were the next logical step. I moved from one addiction to another. When I realized what had happened, I was all the way up to 215 pounds. That was in 2004. My back was such a mess; I could hardly get out of bed in the morning. I went to the doctor and he told me if I kept doing this yo-yoing with my weight, I was going to kill myself. He said I may as well just stay fat. I set out to prove him wrong.
I started walking, a little bit every day. The more I did, the better I felt. So I looked for an eating plan I could live with. I changed my diet and lost 70 pounds in about 9 months and found racewalking. I never knew I had a competitive bone in my body… now I was racing regularly and have even won a few walking competitions.
Fast forward to January 2, 2011, driving home from Phoenix after completing 100 miles in this third attempt at the distance. I was ready to give up on my goal of walking 100 miles in a 24 hour period because I had let my food addictions take over yet again and was back up to 170. I was 30 pounds overweight, and yes, I did just walk 100 miles, but it took me 45 hours of a 48 hour race. The more I trained for ultra marathons, the more crap I ate. I was desperately trying to keep my energy level up.
Trapped in a low fat, high carbohydrate cycle, I gained all the weight I had lost back on a Mediterraneanesque diet, a couple of pounds at a time. I mulled this over and finally posted something silly on Facebook about the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon. If they would count the 30 extra pounds I am carrying around, I could just add a 5 pound pack and enter the heavy division of the marathon. A new, awesome friend saw it and sent me a private message about Paleo, and the rest is history.
January 12, I flipped the switch and removed everything containing sugar from my food intake. It is amazing how when I set my mind to NO SUGAR, I was able to just quit, cold. January 18 2011 I quit grains. It took a couple of weeks to learn to eat when hungry and to stop obsessing over food logging, and I lost 6.5 pounds by January 22. It was so easy; I didn’t even feel like I was depriving myself of anything. My energy level had increased dramatically!
I didn’t start my serious training until after I had lost a total of 12 pounds, which was January 30. Can you believe it? I lost 12 pounds in 18 days with little effort, and this time, I can actually see the weight coming off my waistline. It’s like a miracle for me, as I have ALWAYS been fat, even when I was thin. I know a lot of people who read this will understand that statement.
Today is February 5, 2014. I am in the 140 pound range, but care less what the exact number is anymore. I have not been near a scale in quite some time. I finally had blood work done last May. Before Paleo, my HDL was around 36 and my total cholesterol was 98. No amount of endurance exercise could bring it up. After Paleo, my HDL is 72 and the total cholesterol is 170.
I still find it hard to believe that my weight loss happened so effortlessly and was so easy to maintain this time.
I finally decided enough was enough. I saw a picture of myself where I really looked big and it struck a cord. I knew I had to do something. I had weight problems as a kid eating lots of sugar and lost my “baby fat” in high school due to being more active and watching how much I ate. I worked out and went into the Army. Boot camp and Infantry school really whooped me into shape. I got out and stayed pretty lean until my mid 20’s.
Then the weight started to creep back on. I couldn’t eat crap and get away with it anymore. I went from a lean 175 up to 220, at my heaviest in my middle 30’s. I decided to do some research on losing weight and having success with the Atkins diet earlier, I started with the low carb diet. I downloaded a Jimmy Moore podcast and one of the first one’s I listened to was with Mark Sisson. I bought Mark’s book, The Primal Blueprint, and that’s where it all started. I made a lifestyle change and learned all I could about the Paleo or Primal way of eating.
I eventually found your podcast and learned a lot from listening you your show. I went from a very chubby 220 down to 180 pounds with not much effort! My heartburn, sore joints, bad skin (pimples) and other health issues disappeared. Once I went Paleo the fat started melting away and there it was, the muscle I knew I had! I was lean again and felt and looked much younger than I am. Many guys my age don’t look anything like they did in their early 20’s but going on the Paleo diet will give you that body you once had. Give your cells the right fuel and they’ll do the rest.
Back CameraI’ll never go back. Now that I learned what the human body does with certain foods it’s easy to say no to sugar and grains. I feel better at 41 years old than I did at 26, it’s amazing. I try to share with anyone ready to listen. It was a great journey learning all this new information and I still am hungry for more, we can never stop learning.
My wife has been a huge support for me and we do it as a family, kids and all. It can be tough sometimes with treats in school and the constant sugar that is thrown at our kids now a days but we keep up the good fight. Thanks for doing what you do Chris! I enjoy your website and can’t wait to read your book.
I had resigned to being overweight forever. I steadily gained weight until I reached 25 years of age and weighed in at 313lbs.
My wake up call was a photo of me that a relative posted on Facebook. It was then that I realized my denial and I decided to make a permanent change. I created a blog to chart my journey and began seeking information regarding effective weight loss strategies. I found a podcast via a “diet and weightloss” search on iTunes. The Rebooted Body w/ host Kevin Geary was my gateway into the Paleo world.
From there I subscribed to dozens of other great podcasters like Jimmy Moore, Dave Aspry, and Robb Wolf just to name a few. I’m definitely still learning and I’m still working on losing more weight but so far I’ve lost 111 lbs since I began my Paleo lifestyle back in May 2013 (a little over 8 months of eating clean).
Losing weight has been incredibly easy and fun. I’ve averaged a 14 pound loss per month and I’ve gone from a size 28 to size 16 in pants. I don’t see food the same way anymore. I’ve trained myself to filter out processed junk and I find joy in eating healthy whole foods. My kitchen is now my favorite place to be. New recipes make me giddy.
I would have never guessed I would ever be the type to get excited about a new cooking pan or fresh spices. Before going Paleo, the extent of my cooking skills was warming up a hot pocket in the microwave.
I found out about the Paleo diet shortly after trying the vegan diet for a very short period of time. Something just didn’t feel right to me about the diet so I started reading articles and books about food/nutrition and that was when I really made the connection with Paleo.
Learning about grassfed meats and what it meant to eat meat from pastured animals just made sense to me, so I quickly abandoned the vegan thing. It was never an ethical issue for me although I completely detest the inhumane way animals are treated in these factory farms.
During that time I had heard about Paleo from other people but really didn’t pay it any attention. Once I started to research it more it just started to make sense. I jumped into it very slowly but in a way that I could commit to. Before I made any changes to what I was eating I asked myself if it was sustainable and something I was willing to commit my entire life to.
Over the next couple of years I had already learned quite a bit about nutrition so combing my knowledge with the Paleo lifestyle, everything just started coming together. I was very active and feeling very healthy and it was just a snowball effect. The weight started to come off very easily.
I’ve never enjoyed counting calories or keeping track of my macronutrients so one thing I really enjoyed about Paleo was not having to do that and still seeing results. I have to recognize that Mark Sisson and his awesome blog really helped me understand what foods to avoid and how to make lifestyle changes that were conducive to becoming lean and healthy.
Although I don’t even like to label the way I eat, the majority of my eating is Paleo-like. For the most part I don’t eat grains, bread, beans, processed foods, sugar, etc. However from time to time I do indulge in all of these foods. Some of these types of foods I’ve lost interest in entirely, however I don’t deprive myself from things I still do enjoy and I eat them when I want, it just happens to be very little these days.
I think having a healthy relationship with foods means being able to eat the things you enjoy however the awareness that comes with it is what’s important. My goal is to eventually have NO interest in these foods but everyday my diet/lifestyle evolves and I let things these occur naturally.
The icing on the cake in my story is that this journey has also been my wife’s and although I’m the one with more of an interest and passion in this area she is right along with me and I attribute a lot of my success to having her as a willing and supporting partner.
Last year I was 35 years old (I felt like I was 50, though) and about 50 lbs overweight. I have hypothyroidism due to a goiter, so my thyroid levels are never quite right. I was extremely tired ALL OF THE TIME!
At the time, I wanted to find a new endocrinologist because I felt my current one wasn’t very helpful. I found a new doctor who performed various tests, and found that not only was my thyroid still not acting right, but also that I had Pre-Diabetes! That doctor’s visit was a wake-up call for me, to say the least. I decided then and there that I was going to get healthy no matter what.
I had tried Weight Watchers in the past and had success with it, though it was a slow process, so I thought I would just do that. At the same time, my husband happened to mention to a co-worker how unhappy I was with my health and my thyroid problems, and she gave him a book for me to read that she had read when she discovered she had a gluten allergy. That book was Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution. And the rest, as they say, is history. TOTAL LIFE CHANGER!
When I did Weight Watchers in the past, it took me 1 year to lose 25 lbs. In doing the Paleo diet, plus exercising, I lost 50 lbs in 6 months! I have NEVER felt better in my entire life! I have energy that I never thought I could ever have. I feel better now than I did in my 20s. Paleo has been a huge blessing in my life. I look great, I feel great, but more importantly I have learned how to live healthy forever.
by Chris Kresser
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