The Journey

Finding My Path Through Paleo

Here comes empty nest syndrome – my daughter went off to college and we are back to just the two of us again. Weighing in at 277 and kayaking becoming a huge part of our life, we started going to these events called midnight paddles. Check in your area, they are so much fun – they happen at dark with a big group of other kayak lovers. At first I was afraid that we would stand out being older and fat. We showed up to our first paddle and to our surprise it was men and women (and their kids) of all ages – the average age being in their late 40s. Yay, we fit right in, and even though we were the biggest folks out there, no one made us feel unwelcome. We got geared up and put on our light sticks to enjoy the night adventure on the water.  Stories of the area told by the rangers come with the night paddle and the beautiful lights of the stars and sounds of the wildlife come free. So much fun, watching the sunset and then we are off into the wild (local reservoirs) for a couple hour paddle. Nothing wakes up your senses like a night paddle with a group of others that enjoy the sport.

Since my daughter went to college in San Diego the three of us took the kayak tours of the La Jolla Caves. Talk about fun! They do everything for you, but paddle the kayaks (of course). You get out of the kayak to snorkel to see the big fish, and if you are large like I am, they help you (without judgement) back in the kayak – it’s difficult for big people without upper body strength to get in from a water start. I feel she was proud of us for joining the kayaking world and that we didn’t let our size stop us. As time goes by she moved to the LA area where she now works. Since she works down south and wasn’t coming back to San Jose we decided on the BIG MOVE.

After 34 years in Bay Area it was time to pack up and move down south. We found paradise! We now live a block from a lake, where we can kayak all we want, and we have a boat to start water skiing again. I just have to lose enough weight to get myself up on skies again. Could this be a dream – pinch me, I can’t believe it! The environment just calls to your healthier lifestyle dreams – with a pool in our yard, the lake just walking distance and hills for the occasional bike ride. The only issue is the first year we were there – it was all about getting the house “together” and doing projects of such. To top it off, my health had deteriorated to such a point that I am diabetic, high blood pressure, and now high cholesterol. My A1C1 was close to 8 when I was at 280 (still living in the bay area). Before the years of the walking stick and kayaks, I had gone to a fat farm called Hilton Head Health Institution for a month and went from 277 to 255 in a month, best time ever. Sadly, it didn’t stay off – but it gave me an idea for my new house. I now live in a place much like Hilton Head – I have a pool for water aerobics, a lake (a block away) for my kayak, and a beach to bike to, no excuse – I live it so I need to get it back into gear. They don’t have Weight Watchers near here so that was out of the question, online won’t work for me, so my hubby and I decided to try a “modified Paleo”. His earlier years of yo-yo diets included Atkins which basically cut all carbs – it wasn’t super healthy for him as he’d lose 20lbs and gain back 30lbs as soon as he started to add back in the carbs. However, our modified paleo focused on a variety of new healthy lifestyles.

The paleo consisted of eating meat – chicken, fish, steak, pork, etc as we needed – cutting our sugars and those pesky carbs down considerably (still keeping in healthy carbs). We did allow ourselves a low cal no carb tortilla (60 calories) once a week (Mexican food is my favorite, well Indian, Chinese, … you get the picture). My daughter jumped in to help try to lead us to success by trying a bunch of different paleo recipes – pulling from the true paleo which is swapping processed foods and adding in healthier options (ie. Coconut flour replacing regular flour, etc). She tried 2-3 new recipes a week for about 4-5 months and a lot of them were let downs – nothing to do with her cooking, just the recipes weren’t as appetizing as hoped. We did come out with a few winners which had been rotated into our diet, but the rest was just our standard meat and veggie dishes, boring.

The modified version worked pretty well, we definitely were eating healthier. So we started on the diet and lost 1-1.5 pounds a week, but as soon as we fell off it creeped back. I did however, get to 266 and stay there. Slow weight loss but frankly, it’s my fault it’s hard to stay on “diets”. My A1C1 is now 6.5 (one pill a day) and my blood pressure is pretty normal (down to only half a pill) and my high cholesterol (needs work, but I refuse to take any more medicines) so what is the solution – life change.

So months pass and I joined a gym I don’t use, have three swimming pools I don’t use, and a lake that doesn’t have my kayak on it! I kayaked more when I had to drive to a lake, what is going on? Well life’s little rejections keep getting in my way of success. I have to find a way to not let the “bullies” or the “rejection” get to me any longer. How can I stay and live healthy – I want to get there for my daughter to meet the real me before I am too old to be her again. Thanks to my daughter and her vegan friends, I think I have found that life change I was looking for.

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