My Personal “30 Day Paleo Challenge” Journey!
Ok, so let me introduce myself and give you a bit of my background:
Weight: 151 lbs
Pants size: 31
You get the picture. But I wasn’t always having those attributes. In fact, I grew up as a chubby kid…so much so that I think I still have that chubby kid living inside me now that at a moment’s notice can DESTROY a tub of ice cream and graham crackers! When I got to high-school, I thinned out a little but by joining the swim team and track and just playing more sports with my friends (WAR: Ultimate Frisbee!). I got a bit thinner, but I did so the unhealthy way….running around a lot, and limiting my food intake (as an example…I was having cold cereal for breakfast, a large cookie for lunch and Ramen Noodles for dinner – yea, very nutritious, right?). So, even though I got thinner – I was still incredibly out of shape and had ZERO muscle definition. Junior year of high-school I joined the Weight Training class as my ‘elective’…stayed in that for Junior and Senior year…learned all I could learn about lifting properly and gaining muscle. Went through all the motions: didn’t see any significant change! 😦
I move around a little bit, all-the-while, lifting regularly just knowing that the muscle definition would come.
Fast forward about 8 years and I’ve been living in Atlanta,a member of a gym for 8 solid years and putting in weight training work nearly every single day! My strength would gradually increase, but I would see ZERO in‘results’ for my physic.
Through the next couple years, I continued on this struggle…until one day I just got fed up and accepted my fate:
“Sean, you don’t have a body-builder’s frame! So stop trying to force that…you’ve got a ‘swimmer’sbuild’…accept it”.
So, I did. But with that acceptance, I also turned my back on ‘lifting weights’. I looked over my last decade of my life I had ‘wasted’ in the gym with nearly ZERO result. I was done. No more traditional gym for me!
I began joining gyms that interested me and gave me a workout at the same time: started with boxing, evolved to kickboxing and then I found the art that I fell in love with: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)! All of these gave me a good workout, but mainly I was simply having fun working on improving my skills. My goals changed…instead of ‘looking good’, I wanted to ‘perform good’. This still remains a top goal for me today…But several months ago, Istarted to notice one of my fellow ‘forever slightly chubby’ friends start to thin down QUICK….and not the sickly way…the‘toned’ way. He started educating me on this thing called “Paleo”. But once he’d get into the “you can’t have’s” (dairy, grains, sugars, etc)…I would dismiss it and say “no way, I can’t do it” and that would be it. I continued to instead stay on the sidelines and watch him continue to get in incredible shape –meanwhile he worked out much less than I did! I was running 7-10 miles a pop 3-4 days a week….working in some P90X…practicing BJJ on a regular….why was my fellow ‘forever slightly chubby’ friend making this look so darn easy?! So, finally….I chewed on the idea of giving these precious things like Dairy, etc up and trying this crazy Paleo idea of a diet that my friend had.
MY PALEO JOURNY:
I was 180lbs
Waist was pushing passed all my size 34’s
And had just about exhausted all avenues of getting into complete shape
Was ready to give up
But decided to jump in on this last-possible-hope known as “Paleo”
This is where I did things a little backwards (and not necessarily what I recommend for others). I jumped right into a 80/20 version of Paleo (80% strict Paleo, 20% ‘cheat’). For me, it allowed me to ease my way into things and be able to fully buy into Paleo and giving up the many vices that had deterred me from Paleo in the first place.
In a little over 2 months, I had slimmed down with very limited exercise- I remained doing ZERO strength conditioning, ZERO traditional cardio (no more long runs, no running at all) and ZERO Ab exercises! I was simply doing my regular 3-5 daysof BJJ per week (about 2 hours a day).
In a little over 2 months, I lost 25 pounds without any extra effort in the exercise department at all! It was all in the diet!
By then, I was a full blown believer in Paleo!
I decided on 10/10/2011 to officially kick off my Paleo 30-Day Challenge of complete strict 100% Paleo!
To help me in my journey, I enlisted some motivating factors:
- I signed on for my gym’s Paleo Challenge for all members, which started that day (Gentry’s MMA & Fittness)
- I signed up for coaching support with my good friend Tom at Ninja Fitness
- I told everyone what I was doing and what my specific goals were
So, that’s what leads us up to these last 30 days.
It’s been quite fun going through it. The above motivating factors HELPED TONS! First, having other gym members and friends being on the exact 30 day plan that you are is a great way to share ideas and challenges and grow as a team together. Secondly, my Paleo Coach, Tom at Ninja-Fitness, was an incredible help…pointed me to different resources, motivating messages and guidance on different dieting tips that I had along the way. Having someone who’s “been there, done that” to rely on while you’re going along your path is a very comforting and beneficial compliment to your journey. Lastly – I continued to talk and blog and post about my path through Paleo during the entire 30 days….this kept pressure on me to continue….and I knew that every eye that saw me at work, gym, home –KNEW what plan I was on and what my goals were, so I had a responsibility to keep it up!
Towards the end of my 30 days, I started getting a team together of my own that I have been ‘coaching’ through the start of their 30Day Paleo Challenge (started 11/1/2011). And honestly, that is the full circle that pushed me through my 30 days, most! I preach a lot about how important your good influences could be for friends/family/coworkers and even strangers. People weren’t telling me at first, but I knew they were watching to see if it trulyworked. Not watching so that they can mock me if I fail….but actually watching because they were hoping I’d help show them a path for success that they could also venture down. So I took that unspoken responsibility and have put myselfout there for anyone to take a bit of motivation from. This responsibility was very important for me and if I failed, I could be failing numerous people out there that were counting on me for their way out of being unhappy with their health.
So, I’ll end this long post with this:
BE MOTIVATED! Take pride in your health! Be that example that you can show others to save them from their unhealthy rut! Be that one remarkable influence that finally gets them engaged and motivated to follow your footsteps! Inspire someone today! Take the challenge! Change your life!
If you feel alone in this journey, reach out to me – I am here…I’m officially a “been there, done that” guy. I can help you reach your potential!
Take care of your body, it’s the only one you got!
PS. Here are my progression pictures. Remember, I started maybe 2 months before this @ 180, my 30 days began when I was 156lbs and Ended at 151lbs (30lbs loss in 3 months!). Even though my 30 days is complete, I’ve found my comfort zone in being 100% Paleo and am going to extend even further until I,for the first time in my life, finally get that darn complete six pack!