Do we have people who've been doing this for over 10 years? Has there been a shift in how and why people have been discovering paleo over time? Is it increasing in popularity exponentially or is the definition just getting broader?
In short, when did you go paleo, and why?
I went Paleo in February of 2010. I saw John Durant when he first appeared on the Colbert Report in January of that year. I'd been trying for years to lose weight. Ever since I was a kid I had a great deal of trouble with it. I ran an hour every day all spring and summer of '09 and counted calories (restricted to 1400 a day (I'm 24 and 5'10)) and I only lost 12 pounds (in 6 months), which I quickly put back on as soon as I quit running due to feeling like shit. After about 2 weeks of research following the interview, mostly spent on MarksDailyApple thanks to a link from Durant's then website-in-construction, I decided to go Paleo. It just seemed to make alot of sense. At the time, I was eating a great deal of "whole" grains, but I never felt satiated. I couldn't go 2 hours without something to cut against my hunger. After the switch, I lost 9 pounds the first week. I lost 7 the next. By the end of the second month I'd lost 27 pounds. I felt amazing. I ate whenever I was hungry (suddenly I could go 6-7 hours between meals) and instead of running I switched to walking. To date I've lost 50 pounds, (down from 230lbs and something like 33% bodyfat to 178lbs and something like 15% bodyfat). I'm still working on the last 10-13 I'd like to lose, but it's slow. My body, despite it's immediate shedding, only gives up a pound or two every couple of months now, but I'm fine with that because I feel awesome and I eat as much I want whenver I'm hungry. No more painstaking caloric measurments. I also started going to the gym and throwing heavy shit around. Yesterday, actually, I set a personal best deadlift of 315. I never thought I'd be able to lift that much weight. I was always a weak, out-of-shape, geeky kind of guy. Now, I'm well on my way to lifting my goal of 2x my bodyweight.
Paleo quite literally saved my life. I'm quite convinced I would have developed heart disease or diabetes or cancer, or some combination as they all run in my family, if I had not made a change. I went Paleo because I was tired of being fat and feeling awful and hating myself. I wanted to be happy in my body and the Paleo framework has granted me that.
I started the 1st of July after 8 months of depression, allergies (hives, eczema), sinus problems and mild-moderate acne. No nuts, no fruits, no nightshades, ...
The real reason I started paleo though, was because I had been avoiding mirrors for those 8 months, because I simply didn't have the guts to look at myself anymore. I realized it was getting too extreme, and instead of picking the easy way - suicide - I decided to work for real. I was really really happy when I found out suicidal thoughts were related to diet.
I shifted from a low-carb diet to WAPF about 6 years ago, and from WAPF to a more ancestrally-oriented, cultivar-free (paleo-style) way of eating about 2 years ago. I had a lot of health problems at the time, was limited to getting around in a mobility chair, and was not looking forward to the 2nd half-century of my life.
I didn't know anyone else who was doing this, and even my companion and our offspring thought I was out of my mind -- except for my youngest child, who'd found P90X and Crossfit and thought what I was doing was "the bomb".
After 2 years, I've restored about 80% of my mobility, trimmed down by about 180 lbs, and haven't spent a SINGLE DAY of the past 1.5 years in the hospital!!! Things aren't all perfect, of course. I still have the genetic defects that started the ball rolling for me, as well as permanent damage to my heart and kidneys from chemotherapy for cancer, multiple sclerosis, and I'd developed pretty severe sensitivities, celiac disease, etc. before I headed in this direction that are unlikely to be 'fixed' by food -- so at my age, I'm unlikely to ever be a "poster Paleo"... but I'm happy, stronger than I've been in a decade, and I managed to thwart my conventional doctor's predictions of imminent demise.
In August 2011 I started the 4HB Slow-carb diet for body recomposition. Part of the diet is the off-day which allows you to eat as much carbohydrate as you like in effort to "reset" your hormone levels and metabolism which have been effected due to the very low carb intake during the week.
I started questioning the off-day as I really did not think eating 4000+ calories (mainly refined carbs) on a Saturday was actually doing me much good or could be used longterm. I spotted The Zone first and then Paleo via some CrossFit articles and then came across Robb Wolf, read his book "The Paleo Solution" and joined PaleoHacks. The Zone seemed like unnecessary trouble, and Paleo seemed to make a lot of sense. The hardest adjustment for me was increasing fat intake, but began reading "Gary Taubes - Good Calories, Bad Calories" which sparked my interest in researching the science behind it all. Still on the educational journey but understanding enough so far to make changes and to know the basics of why I should.
I feel I run better off a low carb paleo diet and generally manage to eat strict paleo five out of seven days a week; a sandwich, pastry or non-paleo restaurant meal being the exception.
I started around 6 weeks ago, specifically because I was looking for something to maybe help clear up my back acne I've randomly developed since summer (never had it before then I my life, and I'm 26!).
However, even if it does completely clear up, I'd like to think I'll stay on it, since without trying I've lost almost 12lbs, and 2" off my waist - and it hasn't even felt like a diet!
One things for certain, I'm never doing a calorie-counting diet again ;)
After my boyfriend left for his deployment, I was ready to get my butt back in shape. A friend suggested that I download Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution and after the first chapter I was convinced that is what I needed to do for my own well being and dove right now. I started with a 30 day challenge on August 31st with no intention of continuing. I loved the results I was seeing and how amazing I was feeling so I stick with it. I am now almost 4 months since I started and feeling better than ever! I am a 6' tall female and went from 178 pounds to 166 and a size 12 pants to a size 6! It's so liberating to eat what ever real foods I want, when I am hungry, until I am full and my body is just handling the rest. While I've only lost 12 pounds on the scale, I'm down 3 whole pants sizes and have start to become so lean!
I went gluten free in April of 2011, then Primal in June, and cut all dairy for the month of September. I drift in and out of strict Paleo but only cheat on dairy and teensy bits of added sugars (in poultry marinades and super dark chocolate). I went gluten free because gluten made me feel absolutely terrible. I drifted into the ancestral eating sphere over the summer, and it all made so much sense that I simply had to go primal. Graindairylegumefreepaleo was the next logical step, and I'm the healthiest and leanest (not skinny!) I've ever been on a strict paleo diet. I don't really veer off because I feel - for lack of a better word - yucky when I do.
To answer your former questions, the definition of paleo is becoming hugely broad. People who eat white potatoes are paleo. People who eat rice are paleo. People who drink milk are paleo. People who eat fermented soy are paleo. Paleo is really now about eating ancestrally as much as your body needs and then "seeing what you can get away with".
January 2010: I started a conventional "bodybuilder's" weight loss diet (high protein, pretty clean in general). I ran into paleo a few times that year, but always just passed it off as low-carb voodoo. I was quite successful losing weight on this diet (though I wasn't exactly lean).
January 2011: I had put on a few pounds over the holidays so I went back on my above diet. Even cleaner this time and then ran into paleo. I started cooking paleo and found that I enjoyed it as much as I did a SAD. Still skeptical of the "voodoo" I eased my way into it and eventually ended up paleo around April of this year. Had my paleo "epiphany" in June where I felt totally awesome and could tell it was the paleo voodoo. I'm continuing to lean out despite my scale weight being stable. It's great.
Everybody tells me I'll give it up soon, but I can't see doing that. I'm certainly not strict paleo, my take is that half-assed paleo gives approxmiately 90% of the results for "normal" people. Only really sick people need to do strict paleo.
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