Paleo Diet – Weight Loss & Rheumatoid – Success Story
The bottom jeans were jeans that were tight on me in August 2013, the top jeans (the ones with the crowns on the pockets) are one of two pairs I have that “fit” now however I can take them off without unzipping and unbuttoning them.
I don’t often share many non DIY posts nor do I usually share things this personal on my blog, but have decided to share this with the hopes this will give others encouragement. I’m sharing my personal story with Rheumatoid Arthritis, the Paleo diet and the weight I’ve lost along the way.
Before I share my story I need to tell you all to talk to your doctor before considering going on the Paleo diet or taking any supplements, everything I have done I have done so with the ok from both my regular MD and my Rheumatologist. If you chose to do any of these things without your doctor’s consent do so at your own risk.
This post is about eating paleo, how I lost over 40 lbs going from a size 12 to a size 4-6 in three months and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Skip the RA section if you are only interested in the weight loss!
In August of 2013 I “hurt” my wrist, I thought I moved it the wrong way when I was pulling a garage door down. I didn’t think much of it, just thought it was odd. A week or so later I did it again… Again I thought it was odd but blew it off. The following week I hurt the other wrist pushing the trash down in my trash barrel, that should Not hurt my wrist so I finally went to my doctor and told them I kept spraining my wrists and didn’t know why. They sent me for blood work and I got a call a few days later that I had Rheumatoid Arthritis. My reaction: What? Old people get arthritis I’m not old what the heck… So began the search to learn everything I could about this disease. In the meantime my doctor recommended a Rheumatologist. I was horrified to find out the way this is “treated” is with Chemo Immune Suppressant drugs, not something I was willing to consider so I started looking for alternatives. You see Rheumatoid is nothing like regular arthritis. Regular arthritis is from wear and tear of your joints, Rheumatoid is when your immune system attacks your own joints, it can affect anyone at any age. I tore the ligaments in my knee a few years ago and I would in a heartbeat take that pain any day over Rheumatoid.
I met with a Rheumatologist who was open to treating this as naturally as we could. With the agreement of my regular doctor I started the Paleo Diet as well as a list of supplements and one prescription anti inflammatory.
I won’t lie feeling better did NOT happen over night, it took 3+ months before I noticed I was having far more good days then bad days. RA comes on very fast or it did for me at least. Shortly after being diagnosed I was in so much pain all the time. The joints that were affected were (are) my feet, ankles, knees, hands, fingers, wrists, elbow and jaw. I remember early on one day my feet hurt so much it felt like all the bones were fractured I couldn’t even walk down the stairs I had to sit on my bum like a little kid. My dog waited with me each step I went down on my bum, my dog went down one step, he’s such a lovebug! Halfway down I just busted into tears wondering how the heck I was going to live like this for the rest of my life…. Some days I couldn’t open my mouth due to the pain from the jaw inflammation, some days I couldn’t open the cap on the toothpaste due to my hands being in too much pain. I was like this every day for over 2 months.
Treatment: Autoimmune Paleo Diet and allergy testing. My regular doctor did an allergy test on me and I found out I was allergic to more food then I ever thought I mean seriously who else do you know that is allergic to onions aside from me? After meeting with my regular doctor he suggested I read the book The Paleo Diet by Robb Wolf so I got it, read it and was convinced this would be my new way of eating, however I had to take it a step further by avoiding the foods I was allergic to as well as the foods that aren’t allowed on the autoimmune paleo diet.
Short synopsis on what foods you are allowed and not allowed on Paleo.
Allowed: Fresh meat (preferably grass fed or free range) any seafood, veggies (except for night shades which are tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplants and some spices) some fruits, I eat strawberries and blue berries. Nuts are allowed but I can’t eat them they cause inflammation in my joints.
Not Allowed: Dairy, Legums, Grains, Gluten, anything that is processed if it’s not fresh food you can’t eat it. No refined sugar. Eggs (some say eggs are ok some say no) this means no breads, no pasta, no chips etc.
Not Allowed if you are doing the autoimmune paleo diet: eggs, nuts, seeds, there are probably more that I am missing.
Since I really don’t enjoy cooking and being in pain all the time I wasn’t too thrilled to have to cook every day but I did it anyway. Up until I started the paleo diet I got take out most nights, pasta, pizza, Mexican, etc.
Supplements: I take the following at different times of the day (different ones at 4 different times a day). MSM, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Omega 3 fish oil and Turmeric for the Rheumatoid. Ashwagandha root, Pantothenic acid (Vit B5) and Vit C for Adrenal Fatigue (due to other symptoms my doctor had me take a saliva test which showed my Adrenals are in exhausted mode) and Vit D3. ALL my supplements come from an organic health store, I DO NOT buy supplements at my local pharmacy or big box stores.
Since I changed my diet my constant stuffy nose that I thought was from a deviated septum is Gone! However if I eat any foods such as dairy or tomatoes etc my nose immediately gets all stuffed up, after eating this way for three months now if I stray from it I can notice the affects immediately.
The jeans I am holding are the same jeans in the first photo!
The jeans I’m wearing are “skinny jeans” however they are too big!
From the very start of eating Paleo, I started losing 2 to 3 pounds a week, on three separate weeks I lost 6 lbs in one week. From the time I started the Paleo Diet in September to a weigh in on December 29th I had lost 44 lbs and started out in a size 12 I am now in between a size 4 & 6. (see above under “treatment” for more information on the Paleo diet)
My whole adult life at 5’7” I weighed 120 lbs and was a size 2-4 (depending on the clothes). I went from a size 2 to a size 12 in less then a year and started having all sorts of weird health problems, one of which was very very low Vit D3 levels (it was at a 11 it is now over 70!). My former doctor couldn’t figure the weight gain out because my thyroid levels were coming up in the low but normal range. However as soon as I went Paleo the weight started to melt right off I did NOT exercise during these three months (there was no way I could exercise with the pain of the RA) the weight loss was 100% from diet alone.
The weight loss averaged at 2 to 3 lbs per week with three different weeks losing 6 lbs at a time in each of those three weeks. On December 29th I weighed in at 135 lbs with a total, on that date, lost at 44 lbs.
What I typically eat:
I usually only drink filtered water (using a Berkey water filter as it’s the only one I know of that filters out fluoride) or spring water. If I want something hot I drink boiled water with fresh ginger slices in it or I make hot coco using Coconut Milk, organic unsweetened powdered chocolate and unrefined organic sugar. I gave up coffee 13 years ago, opting for decaf instead but I no longer even drink decaf because I don’t like it with the coconut milk and I can’t drink almond milk (it’s delicious but I’m allergic to nuts). I don’t drink alcohol it’s not allowed on Paleo and I just was never a big drinker to begin with.
Breakfast – fruit, piece of left over meat from the dinner the night before or noting. I DO NOT force myself to eat I only eat when I’m hungry even if that’s at 11pm and I’m usually not hungry in the morning.
Lunch – consists of left-overs from the dinner the night before.
Dinner – dishes I typically eat are, steak and green beans (I coat all my veggies in olive oil with a little sea salt I never use regular salt, and bake them at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes) Fish (salmon, or scallops, shrimp, lobster) with zucchini and summer squash (cooked the same as the green beans but I add dill to these veggies), Chicken (roast a whole chicken or breasts) with asparagus (again cooked the same way as the green beans), Soups (I make bone broths then add in veggies etc bone broth is so nutritious and trust me you will never again use a canned broth or canned soup after making your own bone broth!) I make chicken, beef and fish broths if you make the chicken one add kale to it in the end it is so delicious with kale, carrots and chicken. I eat sauerkraut for the live probiotics (I’m not as faithful with this as I should be). You can have any unprocessed meat and veggies (aside from night shade veggies) on the Paleo diet. I don’t measure or weigh foods, I don’t count calories, I eat as much as I want when I want it. If I’m not hungry at dinner time I don’t force myself to eat I wait until I get hungry even if that’s at 11pm at night. I also cheat and eat ferrero rocher candy whenever I want, as it doesn’t hurt my joints or make me all stuffed up in the head! Even some healthy foods I can’t eat due to the inflammation it causes such as nuts or honey.
If I cheat and eat foods I know I am allergic to or foods not on Paleo I do feel the affects of it to some degree. For instance I know I shouldn’t eat nuts (some but not all do cause my throat and tongue to swell) some nuts like cashews make the inflammation in my joints really bad and they usually stay inflamed for days after eating a few handfuls of nuts. If I eat diary my nose immediately gets all stuffed up and it affects my joints.
Food: I only buy organic food if I eat food that has pesticides on it my throat swells up and this has gotten worse since being diagnosed with Rheumatoid. The Paleo diet suggests organic food as well. I do NOT eat anything processed I Only eat fresh meat, veggies and fruit (aside from the occasional cheat with ferrero rocher candy). Not even mayo or premade store bought salad dressing if it’s processed you can not eat it on Paleo end of story.
Conclusion: If you found this post when searching for Rheumatoid and are looking to go the natural route have faith, the ONLY thing that helped me stick with this was reading success stories by others who were dealing with the same thing. It took me three months to see a significant difference in pain levels and frequency of flare-ups. In the beginning I felt like I was on a never ending flare-up with no good days between. Now I have a few bad days and the rest are pretty great. I actually didn’t notice many good days until the three month mark. I’m not in remission yet (to be considered in remission you have to be pain free within 15 minutes of waking up) but I am getting there, a month ago it took 3 hours before the pain got less after waking now it’s about an hour unless I am going through a flare which at the writing of this post I am but I know it’s due to eating cashews over the weekend.
If you found this post when searching for weight loss & Paleo I can vouch 1000% it has worked for me, losing over 40 lbs without exercise and going from a size 12 to a size in-between a 4 & 6 in three months says it all. I find the Paleo diet easy because for me if I stray from it I end up in bad joint pain others who aren’t eating this way for Rheumatoid and only to lose weight sometimes have a hard time sticking with it. As I said I don’t because I know the consequences for me if I eat processed foods etc unfortunately I pay for it in pain. I’m used to eating this way, I find most “sweet” things now to be way too sweet, since I don’t eat sugar that frequently anymore and refined white sugar is far more sweet then unrefined. I also think strawberries are the best dessert going now! And trust me I used to LOVE candy! Now fruit satisfies the sugar urge which isn’t that often anymore.
***UPDATE: As of May 2014 I am in a size 2 and weighing in at 125lbs. I stopped losing weight in March and have maintained my weight at 125lbs. In February I stopped taking the prescription anti-inflammatory per my RA Dr and in March I started taking Minocycline (a low dose antibiotic for the RA) a lot of inflammation and pain went away after starting this antibiotic and i could finally bend my thumb again after months of not being able to after starting the minocycline (google minocycline and rheumatoid for more information) and in May per my RA Dr I started taking LDN I can honestly say I rarely wake up with pain and if I have any pain or inflammation it is very minimal and usually not until late evening but again it’s only occasionally. Google LDN and Rheumatoid for more information on these. Discuss both of these with your Dr’s. I have full flexibility in my joints again, no swelling and little to no pain anymore! Occasionally I still have a little stiffness from rainy weather but it’s really nothing I can’t deal with. I see my RA Dr every 6 weeks to see how my progress is going and to have blood work done to be sure none of the supplements or prescriptions I take are affecting me in a negative way.
*They say if you are underweight and go Paleo you will gain weight, if you are over weight and go Paleo you will lose weight. You will stop losing or gaining when you get to the weight you are naturally supposed to be at. So if you are already thin and still want to lose weight don’t be mad if you don’t lose anything or surprised if you gain weight if you are under weight to begin with.
Some Paleo people also say it’s ok to do the 80/20 rule which is eat Paleo 80% of the time, I don’t subscribe to that theory, yes I cheat once in a while with three candies etc but for the most part I am 100% paleo every day. If you chose to only do Paleo part time don’t be surprised if you don’t lose weight as quick or as much as you want or would if you were Paleo 100% of the time.
Now that my joints are feeling much better I plan on getting back to working out – The Bar Method, kicks your but for an hour but you feel fantastic after doing it!
Wishing you success on your road with Rheumatoid hang in there it can get better and success to those who just want to lose weight!
For more information on the Paleo Diet I suggest Robb Wolf
For more info on Bone Broth I suggest The Paleo Mom
*This is not a sponsored post I am not receiving anything for linking to these sites.