Monday, September 24, 2012

Why run Paleo?

When you tell people that you're on the Paleo Diet you inevitably get asked two questions: What is the Paleo Diet? and Why did you decide to do that?  

I've been running for 4 years.  I took up running because my Daddy (an amazing Ultra Runner) invited me to come run the Disneyland 5k.  He was running his first half marathon and my momma (an amazing trail runner) was going to run her first 5k. When someone offers to pay for your entire trip to Disneyland AND your race fee, you do it even if you have never run more than a mile in your whole life.

Surgery and radiation left me swollen
and gave me a radical scar in May 2010.
Running the Disneyland 5k
Sept 2010

I took a brief break in late 2009-early 2010 to deal with thyroid cancer.  But returned to Disneyland, this time with 2 old friends who had found a love for running as well.  I finished the 5k and thought "I'd like to try a half marathon."  

circa 2006, at 230 pounds
Ran my FIRST half marathon with my
mommy on her birthday June 2011

As you can see, my body had already gone through an amazing transformation.  I started my journey in  2006  at 230 pounds.    I used a modified South Beach diet and CURVES for Women workout, then tried Herbalife, then settled on a calorie restrictive diet (1200 calories) and working with a personal trainer. Through all those efforts I lost 85 pounds.

Four half marathons and multiple
5ks in 10 months
I ran 4 half marathons and tons of 5ks between June 2011 and April 2012.  And while my activity level continued to increase, my weight did too.  Slowly, over a year, I put twenty pounds back on.  I truly feel that RUNNING MADE ME FAT.  And it was due to the excessive amounts of carbs and sugars that my body was asking for because it wanted quick energy to replace what I was burning on my long runs.  I was starting to feel the effects of the excess weight on my body and seeing it in my pace.  I needed to do something since my calories in vs calories out approach wasn't working anymore.

A friend mentioned that they may start the Paleo Diet since they were in the same place as I was, carrying around weight that had been previously lost.  I had heard of it, and it sounded radical, a fad diet.  Intending to debunk their idea I headed to the internet.  What I found was a very divided opinion on the validity of the Paleo Diet.  But after being sent the Beginner's Guide To Paleo , I found myself standing on the side that thought it made sense.  Low Carb diets had worked for me in the past, why not try the "Whole Foods" approach as well.  It couldn't hurt to try it for 30 days.

In a recent race, running with
 my daughter
I wish I had taken before and after pictures during my first 30 days.  I dropped 10 pounds and lost a whole pants size.  My abdominal fat has always been a problem area and it immediately began to decrease.  I always notice a drop in SIZE before I lose any actual weight.  My leg muscles grew even more developed, helping my speed.  I finally started seeing some PRs again!  But even more amazing, I FELT better.  I had more energy, my environmental allergies decreased, my skin looked great.  I couldn't deny these results.  And so at the time of this post I'm on day 47 of the Paleo Diet.

When I'm asked those questions about Paleo and my choices, I answer, "Paleo is eating Whole Foods that our bodies were meant to utilize.  No processed oils, sugars, grains, legumes, soy or dairy*." And I chose to go Paleo because I wasn't living up to my full potential.  My dietary habits were in the way of success.  Check back later to hear about my techniques for carbing up before a long run.  It's a challenge on the Paleo Diet but not impossible! I've now completed 2 long training runs while Paleo and plan to stay Paleo for the San Jose Rock N Roll Half Marathon on October 7th, 2012.

And if you have your OWN answers to people's questions about Paleo, I'd LOVE to hear them!

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