Today’s Paleo Transformation Story comes to us from Zach, who lost 40 lbs on Paleo, but more importantly learned the importance of eating real food.
He got his whole family to eat clean too, including his wife Rachel, and their kids on it too! Read about Zach’s journey below:
Starting out, I was always a bigger kid. I was active in school sports, but always found a way to eat everything in the house after school, or during summer break. I ate as a reaction of how I was treated and how I felt I looked, which is a bad path to take. Eating would be my comfort from that feeling, yet eating was the reason I felt that way! When I got into college, I started working out with some bodybuilder buddies, and started to understand the macro and micro nutrients needed in your body to build muscle and lose fat. I went from 250 as a junior in high school, to 190 as a college freshman. I was satisfied with my results, but could never really get just “ripped” I would then always go back to my crutch of when anything went wrong, I’d eat bad processed foods. I would over the next ten years, be in shape and muscular, to chubby and lazy. This took a toll on me, and I wanted to give up, thinking, “ if the only way I can lose weight and keep it off is bust my butt and eat plain tuna and whole grains, I give up” so I let myself go one more time. I didn’t lift weights, I just lived life, and ate what I wanted. During this time, I got married to my wife of 3 years, who had 3 girls: twins who were 9, and another that was 7. I was just a chubby guy from then on, I ran around with the kids, but still just felt bad about myself because of what I attained before, and how I had lost in multiple times.
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Last year, I was looking into how to feed babies after the birth of my son. I learned about Paleo while browsing nutrition catalogs, and thought, “ hey, this diet is down my alley, I love meat! “ So, as I decided to make all my child’s food, I decided to also start using these natural ingredients in my own diet, to compliment my meat intake. I was never a person who liked vegetables. In fact hated them! Meat on the other hand, was in my wheel house. My dad gave me the talents of being a great cook ever since I was old enough to join him in the kitchen. He would grill out and smoke meats all the time over the weekends. He always taught me to always pay for higher quality meats. So with that, knowing my meat sources was not an issue. I already had my “ farm connections” to meat and high quality pasture raised eggs. I also hunted, so eating animals closer to nature was something very familiar to me. Getting the older kids on board, after years of eating processed foods, was somewhat of a challenge. My wife also had a hard time with it, but during this time, she developed a pretty bad staph infection, and as she was put through the ringer of different medicines that didn’t work, we decided to late natural foods do what they are supposed to, and make our bodies work. How we put it in motion was, when I would buy vegetables for my baby, I would then take that vegetable and figure out how I could stomach it. Some recipes failed, some were awesome. I would jump online and look at recipes for vegetables I hated more than most (broccoli, cauliflower!) and figured if I could turn them into something I’d eat, I can eat any kind of vegetable.
Within the first week, I felt like a new man. I hadn’t yet seen weight results, but I was clear minded, my add seemed to be gone, and I was in a good mood all the time, which at that point, was hard, as I had lost my job in December. Rachel, my wife had healed from her staph infection, and the kids were getting full on smaller meals, because they were actually eating something with nutrients. Once I saw this and felt this, I was all in: I started fermenting my own vegetables, brewing kombucha for my kids soda fix, and making my baby raw milk formula along with his fresh pureed and solid foods. I wouldn’t have cravings of the usual things I would while on normal diets that wanted you to starve. I started seeing that most people just follow, without doing their own thinking and research. Why did we think for so long that as long as the package says 100 calories, its ok to eat chocolate covered pretzels? It almost made me feel dumb for not realizing it. I had cut out pork, and most importantly, bacon, for so long, being told that its so bad for me. What they fail to mention is that it’s the source that puts their hands on foods is what is bad for you. If you get animals that are taken care of and eat what they are supposed to, then you eat them, and you don’t stop. Vegetables aren’t just a torture device made for parents anymore, they are a new fresh idea for a side, instead of fries or rice.
In a matter of 3 months, I had lost 30 pounds, getting down to a weight I hadn’t seen since I was in fifth grade! I had no time to lift weights, being Mr. Mom since I was unemployed, taking care of a baby while my wife was working. It seemed to not matter, as I was ripped. I could see muscles and definition I wouldn’t even have dreams id see on me, because I began to think I just wasn’t genetically able to. Its like I had been doing exercises all day long, yet the only weight I lifted, was my chubby, grain free cave baby. Speaking of him, he has yet to be sick in any way shape or form up to now, he is 1 at the end of July. The girls miss no school because of sicknesses. They sometimes snack on bad foods, and we are working on deleting them for good, but as of now, most everything they eat is totally Paleo.
As of today, I have slipped up a few times, but I quickly correct it, bc of the absolute pain I am put in now when I eat anything processed! Its crazy what your body adjusts to while eating crap. It doesn’t want to adjust to them, and it causes issues with skin, mood, etc, that people tend to blame on other things, instead of their diet. When I would slip up, my body would let me know it. I work out 3-5 times a week, but most importantly, I let my body tell me what to do, not a fitness magazine. If I am rested, I work out, If I don’t feel it that day, I don’t. I stay active chasing my baby around and the girls! When I do workout, I either do Crossfit, the Insanity workout, and sometimes just straight heavy lifting. My meals usually happen 3 times a day, usually one day a week at the end of the week, my body just tells me that I don’t need to eat, so I fast and only drink water.
Eating Paleo has added so much to my life. It makes me totally aware of what my family eats, and that used to not be a concern to me, but we rely too much on other peoples wrong opinion on eating processed foods, as long as it matches a certain calorie count. Our kids get to go out to farms and play out in the fields and see what animals are supposed to do and how they provide us with nutrients. The girls are brought closer to me bc they like cooking and its something that I can pass down. Going to the farmers markets every Saturday morning is a must nowadays, along with the random fresh fruit picking trips, like blueberry picking. It makes my wife and I have more time to talk and hang out, instead of filling our times with eating.
A word of encouragement for the Paleo community is to keep spreading the word! Some people don’t understand it, because they have been told otherwise for so long, but the feeling you get seeing your friends and family literally change totally, is amazing. Know that all of us are making us and our kids and our kid’s kid’s healthy and we will all be living a more action packed, fun life, while others who make fun of it might not be.