In this PaleoHacks success story, learn how the Paleo diet combined with Crossfit helped James lose weight and gain strength!
1. Tell us your Paleo story.
When I was 22 I got into bodybuilding and had the general diet that goes with it, high carb and high protein foods little to no fat. I got larger and did put on muscle mass. I then started to have children and no longer had time for my daily 3 hour gym session. Over the next few years I continued to eat the same type of diet I had been on while going to the gym. I lost most of my muscle and put on fat. When I got married on April 1st 2010 I weighed over 130kgs, while I knew I was getting large I was in denial about how bad it really was. I had stretch marks appearing on my sides yet in my mind I was still that guy from the gym. Even though I hadn’t been to the gym for years at this point. The penny dropped in 2012 when I saw some pictures of a friend of mine from one of his tours of Afghanistan, realized I was 26 and still had a dream of joining the Australian defense force as a Commando, something that I had always wanted to do ever since I was a child. I knew I was a little unfit so I went about benchmarking myself. To pass the initial phase of training one of the test was a 2.4km run. So one night I measured out my track on Google maps and then proceeded to give it my all… 26minutes later and I felt like I had been hit by a car. I then revised how out of shape I had become. Just a few years earlier I could smash the 2.4 in the high 8 minute mark.
I started looking for something and after talking to some friends that were ex special forces I was recommended to CrossFit. I soon feel in love with it and the kg started falling off. Within a few months I was down to 116kgs however my diet was still sub par. My coach Brian Russell from CrossFit Morley tried to convince me about Paleo, however I was skeptical at the time as like everyone else I have always been told drink you milk, eat whole grains and cut the fat off your food. So I started doing some research and found many people with many different success stories yet I was still skeptical, why hadn’t I heard of this before if it works so well why isn’t the government and healthcare profession pushing it?
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After a few more weeks of research and my coaches help I started eating Paleo. At first my wife didn’t believe in it and I set out a lone. I was determined to do the 30 day Paleo challenge. A week into it I started convincing my wife to try it with me and she slowly come around after seeing how good I felt and how much energy I had. In the first few weeks I lost another 10kgs. I also managed to up my CrossFit training to 2-3 sessions a day and never felt fatigued or sore. In the months that followed I stuck to Paleo having a few cheat meal a here and there which only serve to remind me how bad western food is and how depressed I feel after. I am now 88kg I still haven’t got my six pack yet but I’m working on it. I love eating Paleo and have managed to convert some of my friends and family to the lifestyle as well.
2. How long have you been Paleo?
I have been Paleo for the best part of a year, however before I started eating Paleo officially I did omit wheat dairy and sugar from my diet as I had been told it would help. I did that for around 6 months before going full Paleo.
3. Why did you start? What did you want to change?
I started eating Paleo because I was talking to my trainer/coach Brian Russell at CrossFit Morley about my diet and the fact that I wanted to lose more weight (I was around the 116kg mark at this time) but also train longer and harder. He started telling me about Paleo but I blew it off at first as I was always told that legumes and the such were good for you so why should they be banned. After a few months of constant Brian asking about it and giving me helpful information I decided to try the 30 day Paleo Challenge. When I started the challenge it was hard as I hadn’t really planned it out and thought that far ahead. Once I got the hang of it and started writing myself weekly meal plans and shopping list it got a lot cheaper and easier to stick to. Toward the end of the challenge I was at work and had nothing to eat all day after spending most of it travelling and the only thing offered to me was a pie, I took it out of complete hunger and regretted it within 30 minutes of eating it. I had a light head and felt drunk.
4. Was it hard to incorporate into your lifestyle?
It wasn’t that hard really looking back on it, At the time it did seem a lot harder. I think once I got my wife on board and started planning out my weekly meals and posting them on my fridge it just all fell into place. We made it a routine to sit down on a Wednesday and plan the week aheads meals and do our shopping on Thursdays.
5. Give us an example of a typical day.
A typical Tuesday for me when I’m not away for work.
6:15 – First CrossFit session of the day, I normally do my boxes WOD
7:30- 8:00 Breakfast – Generally Grassfed steak, spinach, kale, mushrooms and bacon.
9:30 – Second CrossFit session of the day, I normally do either skill training or another WOD.
During the day I will stay active and generally take the dog for a walk/run.
I will play with my kids during the day.
Help out around the house.
12:00 -1:00 Lunch, Generally a Chicken based meal.
3:30 – Third CrossFit session of the day, I use this time for Strength training normally doing my boxes Strength WOD which is based on Wendler 5/3/1
4:30 – I will regularly do another WOD while the 1630 class runs. Normally I will EMOTM Snatches, Cleans, or deadlifts. I sometimes use this time to do a hero WOD my favorite is Murphy 1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups 300 squats 1 mile run.
8:00- 9:00 Dinner, Generally a fish based or turkey based meal.
6. What are the biggest changes you’ve experienced?
The biggest change has been my ability to train harder and more often without feeling sore or injury. I have endless energy all day, haven’t had heartburn since I started eating Paleo, something that I used to have regularly. My mood has been a lot more positive and I keep calm under pressure better than before. My weight plummeted from 116kg down to 88kg that I am today.
7. How has this changed your outlook on life?
Paleo has helped me no end. I now have a positive outlook on life and try to help anyone that ask for it. I regularly get asked questions while i’m at work because people can’t believe how much I eat and that I’m not overweight. I take time to explain Paleo to them and offer to help them with websites and blogs to visit for information.
8. What words of encouragement do you have for the Paleo community?
To me Paleo is definitely a lifestyle, not a diet. Its something that you actively take part in and explore on a daily basis. Its not something you can just half heartedly take part in. If you’re looking to lose weight then like any diet out there you will need to actively use portion control Paleo isn’t a licence to indulge in a entire paleo cake just because its Paleo. You still need to cut back on fats (even grass fed fats) and starchy carbs like sweet potatoes and sugar, even natural ones like Maple syrup and honey. You need to make your body burn the fat you have readily available instead of burning the energy you are eating. Its easy put in less energy then your are using in a day.
The Paleo community is fantastic, its the best resource anyone could ever ask for, and its all free. You can hit up forums or blogs and get any information you could ever hope for. I use blogs to help plan my weekly menu and shopping list.
(Related: How the Paleo Diet Saved My Life)
Have YOU transformed your life with Paleo? Help us inspire the Paleo community with your journey! Email your story and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org… we’d love to hear it! [author_bio name=”yes” avatar=”yes”]