After deciding she needed to make a change to her overall health Alexandra discovered the Paleo diet and the benefits of eating real food.
Her success motivated her to start PaleoKin.com along with her cousin to share their story and a bunch of amazing recipes while they’re at it! Alexandra shares with me her weight loss success story journey and why it is so important to make the switch to real, whole foods
With those two conditions, it is really challenging to lose weight unless you drastically change your nutrition and work out extensively. I knew I needed to make a change back in 2011 because I was the heaviest I had ever been, my knees were hurting, and I was starting to really notice a difference in my energy levels. I was miserable!
J: How did you first approach undertaking your new pursuit?
A: As I mentioned above, I tried everything (and I mean everything) to lose weight. I worked out all the time, I went to a nutritionist who told me I would never lose weight unless I got on Metformin (a drug prescribed to PCOS patients that I was really opposed to), I even tried a shake diet and didn’t eat solid food for weeks.
None of these solutions helped me lose even an ounce on the scale and it was very discouraging! Luckily I found the Paleo Diet and researched how eliminating gluten, dairy, legumes, and sugar can drastically reverse PCOS and Insulin Resistance.
J: How did your nutrition plan and educating yourself come about?
A: I found out about The Paleo Diet from family members. One of my cousins was starting along with her husband, not for weight loss purposes, but for overall health. She recommended I read The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf and it was honestly life changing! He addressed Insulin Resistance and described how gluten, dairy, sugar, and legumes process in a body like mine with some hormonal imbalances.
I had tried so many other weight loss solutions and I realized if I was going to get my weight under control for life, I would have to make a lifestyle change. I went strict Paleo for 30 days and have never looked back. I have been Paleo for 2+ years (it will be three years in December 2014) and I’ve lost a total of 40 pounds. I am the lowest weight I’ve ever been as an adult, but more importantly the healthiest. My triglycerides are “exceptional” and my yearly blood work continues to amaze my doctors.
J: What were some challenges you faced on the way?
A: I think the greatest challenge for me was giving up the type of meals my family eats. I was never a junk-food eater and was an avid Whole Foods/Organic lover even when I was at my heaviest weight. The problem for me is that I come from a Middle Eastern and Greek family, so we consume a lot of pita bread, feta cheese, and rice.
Dishes that I grew up eating suddenly became completely off-limits and that was really hard not only for me, but for my family. My love of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods was the motivation to start my website, PaleoKin.com with my cousin. We make traditional global cuisine into Paleo-friendly meals so that you don’t have to lose out on delicious, international foods once you go Paleo.
J: What does an average day of meals look like right now?
A: On a typical day, I would normally make eggs for breakfast. If I’m not pressed for time to get out of the house, I’ll add some bacon to the mix. I love to make omelettes and add lots of vegetable goodness to my morning eggs. If I’m running late, I’ll grab a piece of fruit and a So Delicious Greek Style Coconut yogurt and be on my way.
I’ll have a snack two to four hours after breakfast and that usually means some fruit, nuts, seeds, veggies (like carrots, celery, bell peppers) or a Real Stick. Real sticks are snack-sized meat sticks that I found at Whole Foods (Paleo friendly of course!). I practically live off of them, they are a quick burst of protein and energy I need during the day.
For lunch and dinner, I always make sure to eat a protein of my choosing with at least two different vegetables. What is so great about Paleo is that you can pretty much never run out of food ideas by just following that rule. Combine, mix, mash different veggies and meats together and you’ve got a simple, Paleo meal every time. I’m a huge herb and spice lover so that keeps the meals exciting and fresh as well. I love salads and kelp noodle dishes as well.
J: What are some go to snacks and meals you turn to?
A: Go-to snacks would be fruits, nuts, seeds, coconut yogurts, lunchmeat, an almond or coconut milk shake, kale chips, veggies, anything I can grab that’s Paleo and quick! If I’m in a bind for a meal right now, I turn to kelp noodles. I am seriously obsessed with them! Just throw some in a marinara, sauté some ground beef, and you’ve got gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free spaghetti. Kelp noodles have the best texture and taste comparable to regular pasta and I’ve tried a lot of pasta alternatives.
J: What advice would you have for people just getting started in weight loss and wellness?
A: First of all, congrats! It takes a lot of courage to realize that you need to make a change and a lot of determination to continue it. My best advice would be to tell yourself to stick to something for 30 days.
When I first transitioned to Paleo, I told myself I was going to be strict for 30 days, but when the 30 days were done I had lost weight and was motivated to continue it! It takes that long to break a habit and detox yourself from the sugar, chemicals, foods, etc that you’re accustomed to eating.
My second piece of advice would be to recognize that you are your own worse critic. I’ve made my Paleo lifestyle maintainable because I don’t beat myself up over having a little “cheat” now and then. One meal isn’t going to make you fat just like one meal won’t make you skinny.
It’s all about balance and finding what works for you and your body. Remember you’re trying to be healthy and happy, so listen to your body (what it craves, what it needs to function at its best) and keep pushing on! Find resources online or in person (like a gym or Pilates studio) that build a community of other people on a weight loss journey with you. You’re not alone and good luck! You can do it!
Thank you to Alexandra for sharing her weight loss success story and for showing the amazing benefits that focusing or real food can have on the body. Like Sean Croxton from Underground Wellness says, don’t forget to JERF (Just Eat Real Food)
If you would like to read a full breakdown of the Paleo diet you can check out my article here on all things paleo
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