Hey there Journey Family!!!
OMG, I cannot believe that it has been one year since I made the decision to stop being sick and fat and embark on living a Primal/Paleo lifestyle. I have much to reflect on and so many people to thank, and also update my progress numbers and pictures, so you can scroll down for all that stuff and just cut to the info, but I hope you read my reflection because the many people that I have come to call friends, will be all linked up along the post!
I began my journey on 4/28/11. This after spending all day on 4/27/11 reading Mark’s Daily Apple’s site. As you know I am a Type 2 Diabetic and was really down and stressed out and wanted so very much not to be taking drugs the rest of my life being diabetic. The article that changed my life was Mark’s easy to read Definitive Guide to Diabetes (and you’ll understand it). You can read that here. After reading that article, I instantly decided that I would give up all grains/sugar/soy/processed foods and begin my new “diet” (no idea yet this would have been a lifestyle). I had no clue other than being a former Atkins low carb person (which I had the most success with as a diet), but because I believed the conventional wisdom of so many saying it wasn’t healthy or it’ll kill you eating all that meat, I gave that up almost 7 years earlier. Anyway, after reading the article from MDA on diabetes, and the 8 hours worth of links from all over, I was set, I would never eat grains or junk processed foods ever again!! What the hell was I thinking? No more Pizza, cakes, cookies, diet soda, splenda goodies and all that tasty stuff. Nope I was done!! I was gung ho, and set that I would do it. I told my wife that evening that I was going to stop eating all grains, read all this info, and I was gonna cure my diabetes doing it!! Needless to say it was a bit bumpy with my new eating way and I was a bit preachy in the beginning. (Ok a lot a bit preachy 🙂 LOL!!)
My wife Kathy being my supportive and understanding wife of almost 20 years now, yes I know our Anniversary date (June 27 LOL!) knowing we couldn’t afford to eat both Primal/Paleo and SAD (budget wise) also would eat as close to what I did as possible. My sons Jake & Ryan, being 15 at the time, weren’t really on board, weren’t too happy with not having their goodies, but knew that they had to eat whatever was in the house, so as the year went along, after many conversations, and some emotional ones at that, we decided that it would be up to them to make the best choices they could for themselves, and as they are not 100% we still buy a couple loaves of bread and 1 box of pasta a week, but for the most part, they all eat everything I do. They understand the choices they make with food and when going out, they still will have bread on their burgers, or have pizza, and I am ok with that because ultimately it is my choice to eat this way, and they will figure it out for themselves some day. Neither of them are overweight, Ryan is on the Varsity Football team and Jake goes with me to CrossFit, and Kathy works out many days a week, so they are all very health and fitness conscious and getting stronger each day! Everyone has seen the benefits of “cleaner” eating. Ryan just hit the 1000 club with his team workouts with a 265lb Bench Press, 215lb Power Clean, 350lb Back Squat, and a 7:06 mile run. 1 point is given for every second under a 10 minute mile. So he earned 174 points for the mile, hitting 1004 total for the 1000lb club. He was quite excited and his coach is as well. Jake is also doing very well with CrossFit, he is learning all the lifts, and is strong on his own. His body is changing and he is consistently beating the old man during the WOD’s, so I have officially relinquished my video game title to them, and while still stronger in some areas, their fitness level is far superior to the old man!! LOL!! I love you boys!! You make me so proud and I’ll keep going as long as I can to keep up with you. I couldn’t have achieved what I have done this past year without the support and love of my family!! I love you so very much.
Those first few months, I was a sponge (still am) needing to find everything I could on this way of eating. I read, and read, blog after blog, page after page, Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, Gary Taubes, Loren Cordain, and countless other bloggers, reading reading reading. After a couple weeks I was ALL IN. I was still taking my 2 medications for my diabetes, but after 2 weeks my BG had already dropped 45 points!! I was getting fasting readings in the 140’s!!! I knew then I would never eat any other way again, and I stopped taking my drugs. It all made sense!
I was a bit down because I only wished I had stuck with Atkins and then maybe I wouldn’t have ever become diabetic, but as I have learned in this life, no regrets, only choices. We choose how we eat, we are responsible for our actions, and ultimately responsible for finding the knowledge to serve us best in this life. My eyes had been opened, and I wanted to share it with anyone who would listen, and believe me, it wasn’t many. I would post info on my profile on facebook, and people would tell me at work I was crazy (however I did manage to get one of my work friends to try it), and so I thought, ya know, I am going to create a page to chronicle my journey and share all the food pics/scientific/primal/paleo info I could find, and if people didn’t like what I posted on my profile, they didn’t have to like my page. Big Tim’s Primal Journey was born 5/11/11. On that day I also found the greatest group on Facebook. The IPMG (International Paleo Movement Group). I also decided to blog my journey as well, thus this site was born as well.
I quickly felt that I found nirvana!! All these paleo/primal people, led by Karen Pendergrass of Paleo Approved. Every one sharing their stories, asking questions, sharing info, progress pictures, recipes, food porn 🙂 and wow I belonged here! I would answer questions based on my (extensive 2 + weeks of research) LOL, and I got to talking with Karen and we became friends, and after about a month, she saw how active I was in the group and asked me if I would help her Admin the group. I happily accepted. I posted my facebook page and people were coming and liking, and commenting, and after 1 month, I had almost 300 likes!! I couldn’t believe it. People want the info I’m sharing, they like what I have to say, it’s surreal!! It’s Awesome!! I also found and friended George Bryant of Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations. George is an active duty United States Marine sharing his love for food, cooking and now photography with his loyal followers 21,000+ now on his facebook page, and the thousands who follow his blog, and he has become one of my best paleo brothers. We have shared recipes, collaborated on a few, and he is responsible for introducing me to Megan of MM Livestock where we get our awesome Pastured meat and BACON from!! (More on that in a bit). I thank you each and every day George for your service and our friendship. You are an amazing inspiration and hell of a good guy I am proud to call a friend!
I also found James Gregory and Kristin Jekielek’s Fast Paleo.com A recipe sharing site for Paleo people!! How cool was this idea?! Wow, I uploaded several of my recipes and they would feature them as their ROD’s recipe of the day!! I thought that was the coolest thing ever!! I shared them, blogged about them, they would share it to my page, more and more people would like my page, and it was such a network of internet sharing, I was amazed how fast things move. James and Kristin have been such awesome supporters, and while they have gone their separate ways with James continuing to build fast paleo, and I wish both of them amazing success as you follow your dreams!! You are my friends and we shall meet some day!
Speaking of meetings, as I said, George introduced me to Megan McDowell of MM Livestock Co. We started chatting through facebook, and set up a meeting where I would go down and see her farm and talk about the operation of getting me some Grass Fed meat, oh yea and Bacon!! 🙂 I went down in the middle of July, and met with Megan, toured her farm, and she gave me some samples of meats and bacon, and I bought some steaks from her too. Got home, made the steaks, and wow, really, this is what Grass Fed meat is??!! I couldn’t believe it. It was amazing. And the Bacon, whoa!! Nothing has ever tasted so good. I ordered 1/4 cow from her, and I have been getting my meat from her ever since. We have also begun talks for me to help her with her business side of it, and hopefully that will get going here soon. She is becoming very popular, and it’s time to take it to the next level.
As I continued to share things, post results, pictures of food, more and more people liked my page, sent me friend requests, and I am proud to have so many in my “Paleo” family whom I consider friends. Even virtually, I love you all, and thank you for your support and conversations. You help motivate me as much as you tell me that I do the same for you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart!!
So….get to the point already!! RESULTS!! 🙂
After 30 days I dropped 17 lbs, dropped 65 points on my fasting morning blood glucose numbers, and I was no longer taking any meds for my diabetes!! I knew then that I could beat this disease of stupidity. (my own). As I said earlier. I’M ALL IN! For the first 7 months I made progress, and at month 7, I was down 50 lbs. Wow!! This was 11/28/11. December started off great, I dropped another 4lbs the 1st 2 weeks. Well, I wasn’t sure how the holidays were gonna go. I knew I wasn’t gonna eat like I did in previous years, the endless treats, cookies, chocolate, parties, alcohol, bad food, but I did attend a Christmas party and had a bit too much to drink over the weekend of the 17th and that wasn’t a good thing the next day…LOL!! Well that kind of spiraled into the rest of the month where even though I still was eating mostly Paleo, I was a bit lax in my food choices, too much cheese & dark chocolate, along with my wife making some awesome Paleoish treats, cookies, some primalized pecan pies, lemon cheesecakes, and I even had my mom’s traditional spritz cookies (she brings me a tin every year just for me on Christmas day), so yea while I was better than any year previously, it wasn’t strict by any means. The last 2 weeks were the start of my plateau.
My parents, my brother and sister in law came over for Christmas Dinner and it was totally Paleo. Tri-Tip, Turkey, Bacon Wrapped Asparagus and garlic mashed sweet potatoes. Everyone LOVED it!! No one was bloated, or over full, we took many pics, had lots of laughs, and it was just an awesome day. But, overall for December, I gained that 4lbs I had lost in the early part of the month + 3 more by the end of the month, and saw my first regression in progress so far. 😦
In January, February, March, I kept dropping and gaining the same 10lbs over and over. I was officially STALLED. Many factors (EXCUSES) during that time contributed. The first 2 weeks of March were really hectic, I wasn’t working out as much, wasn’t super strict with my food, and on March 12th I started a Whole 30 program with my Full Force CrossFit box, and we had many interested in starting a paleo challenge, and I was strict for 2 weeks. Dropped that stubborn 10lbs and was finally back at my 50lb point at month 7. CrossFit has changed my body in so many ways and I thank the many awesome peeps at my box for helping me achieve amazing things!! 🙂
After 2 weeks strict, we moved on the 31st of March (not proud to say we had to short sale our house, but hey shit happens), and the stress of the move and getting everything into storage and the new place took it’s toll, and I started eating dairy again, and I had managed to stay right around the 50 down mark thru the end of March when we moved on the 31st.The first couple weeks of April, I was drinking a lot of coffee, drinking tea all day long, eating lots of cheese and dark chocolate, and I started to itch quite a bit. My skin on my chest area has a hive type rash and I said, I had to give up caffeine and dairy for good, (or at least for a good while) I saw George’s post on his 21 Day sugar detox results with Diane Sanfilippo’s 21 Day Sugar Detox program, and he was gonna go for a 2nd round.
Diane runs Balanced Bites, and she has given so much to this community inspiring so many with her podcasts and free info, and I wanted to do the challenge with George so last Sunday 4/22/12 I got Diane’s program read it from beginning to end, and I stopped all sugar (dark chocolate) caffeine, dairy, no cheese, no heavy cream, milk sugar is still sugar! Well during this week I dropped another 5lbs, to get to where I am right now, and I have a ton of energy and feel great. My rash has calmed down, but not totally gone away yet, but I see progress. This is always an evolving process and I will continue to improve and grow and I see myself hitting my goal of 220 by my birthday in July 🙂 I am currently studying to become a Nutrition and Weight Loss Consultant, and will achieve my certifications by the end of the year, and I have so many people to thank for helping me realize that this is what I want to do in my life. I want to help as many people as possible be the healthiest they can be.
So, I’m getting close to linking my stats, but I want to share the most awesome story of all of this. You all have seen how my Blood Glucose numbers have dropped doing my journey, I have never really had super low morning fasting numbers right when I wake up. I had always had the “dawn phenomenon” that many diabetics have, where most normal people their sugar is lowest as soon as you wake up. Well for some diabetics, this isn’t the case, my BG was always higher when I first woke up. My numbers I posted were always right before I ate my first meal which would be up to 6 or so hours after I got up. This was always my lowest reading. When I first got up it was always 20 to 30 points or so higher. Strange, but true. I actually hadn’t taken my BG for at least a month while we were moving. I knew from previous months, I would be normal under 100 within a couple hours of eating as my readings had been good for the past 10 months or so. Anyway, yesterday morning I said ok, If I’ve truly beaten this disease, I know my BG would have to be lower when I first got up. So yesterday I took my reading just 30 minutes after I awoke…and what did that reading show?????? HOW DOES 83 SOUND??!!! HOLY SHIT!! I couldn’t believe it. I had never pulled that low a number right after getting up. I took my readings all day Saturday, and they never got over 100 all day even after eating. 97 was the highest reading of the day. So as of now, I consider myself a former diabetic. I have found what works, what beats this, and as my friend Steve Cooksey “The Diabetes Warrior” has done and shown on his website, it is possible to beat this disease with a Primal/Paleo lifestyle!! I plan to set up a doctor visit after my birthday in July to get my full work up, with cholesterol numbers. (Trust me I’m not worried!) 🙂
So are you ready yet for the numbers…and pictures yet?? Yes!!!! OK, NOPE, not yet, almost there I promise!! I thank you so much for following along and I hope you share this with as many people as you can to find who might be interested in my story. Nothing I can say can change everyone, but the results speak for themselves, and I know that EVERYONE would benefit from this lifestyle just by giving up Grains/Gluten/Sugar/Soy and Processed packaged junk fake food. I close with a quote that has been passed around now for a few months since I wrote it in my 9 month post.
“The only person who can be the Expert of you, IS YOU!! All the advice that anyone gives you must be questioned and tried out on you, by you, in order to make an informed decision to decide if that was RIGHT or WRONG for YOU!! No special schooling is necessary, you don’t need a college degree or a medical degree, or a nutritional degree to eat real food and see if it works or not. Self experimentation is the only way to truly know what works FOR YOU!!”
I am PAF FOR LIFE!!
A very special thanks to the following people who inspire me every day. I am sorry that I can’t list everyone I’ve met and talked to, however you are all special, and I enjoy interacting with everyone on Facebook, the IPMG and the various groups that I belong to on Facebook. I am lucky enough to have been in the right place and right time with this community, and as the overall movement was in it’s infancy as a “known” way of life. Everyday I am honored to interact with so many new folks who finally found it as well curing things they never thought they could be rid of!! 🙂
“Papa Grok” Dave Parsons, Ian Lucas, Nichole Wherry, Laurie Anne Gomes-Skonieczny, Shirley McLean, Barry Cripps, Dean Dwyer, Judith Ruder, Shelly & Tim Good, Tiana & Calvin Babers, Jennifer Huda, Joe Salama, Cale Shultz, David Craig, Carol Burns, Justine Rhyne, Malika Duke, Michelle & Keith Norris, Tony Federico, Orleatha Smith, Nick Castrellon, Jenice Johnson, Sergio Ominetti, Joe Leonardi, Randy Brummit, Jack Kruse, and the over 3200+ fans who follow me on my page. I am proud to have your support and friendship. We are all achieving the greatest thing we have as humans…Our health!!
Eat well, sleep well, get some sun, move smart, Don’t Stress!! That’s the key to all of this!
I LOVE YOU ALL!!
Tim 1 Year Paleo Stats <<< Link to spreadsheet!! 🙂
1 Year Progress Pics.
Left is 4/28/11, Right is 4/28/12 🙂