Please…. DON’T take my word for it.

It’s Day 12 of Lola’s Primal Challenge.

I’ve kicked the cheats and I’m happy about it. I’ve even created a Facebook group to help myself stay motivated. It went from 4 people to 47 people, many of which are just picking this Primal thing up for the very first time, with others being old timers.

To back up a little bit, I went Primal on March 1. I eased in. I eliminated all the bread right away and processed snacks right away, but I didn’t throw out gluten-containing condiments or my corn tortilla chips for a few weeks or months. Despite the cheats, I was lucky and I saw a positive change in my body IMMEDIATELY. And, to be fair, I was a pretty healthy gal beforehand, so the changes were not significant to the naked eye, as in I did not drop tons of weight or suddenly have the energy of a hummingbird. But, some chronic health issues that I’ll share in more detail later cleared up, and I stopped gaining and losing that 5lbs over and over again.

One weekend I went to visit a friend with Oatmeal and decided to just take a weekend off. I ate a lot of chips, drank a lot of beer, and shoved some delicious sugar and flour laden dessert into my mouth like a heroine addict getting her first fix in weeks. No big deal, right? Just one weekend. I didn’t sleep well that night because I felt so bloated and yucky. The next morning we returned home and ended up having friends over that afternoon. I was walking around my back yard in a swimsuit because it was so bloody hot, and I was feeling… HORRIBLE. I couldn’t suck my stomach in an inch due to the bloat from the day before. If I flexed my abs, no visual changes occurred. I was exhausted. And, everyone around us knew that we were “Primal” and I was certainly a poor advertisement for the diet. I looked, and felt, very yucky. I’m no swimsuit model, but I was at least somewhat confident the weekend before my cheat weekend, and here I was a week later feeling like I just needed to go put on my jeans and tshirt and sweat it out. In my own back yard! In front of my own closest friends and family, no less!

I decided to stop cheating so much. I had experienced a taste of looking better and feeling better and I wanted that feeling back. So, I started Lola’s Challenge and decided to incorporate more fitness goals as well.

The beauty of the challenge is that I feel SO much more support and motivation. The downside is that when people are feeling yucky, sluggish, or unmotivated, I feel responsibility for them. Why? Because it’s my name (or nickname) on the challenge. I want to encourage, and praise, and give ideas, and solve problems. I feel empathetic to everyone who is feeling bummed out about missing their diet soda or feeling tired because I suspect they are not eating enough or are working out TOO much, and I really just want to be agreeable with everyone. But then, I turn a little “Oatmealish” and those of you who know Oatmeal know that his attitude is a little, er, less empathetic.

So, I’m going to give you a little taste of the types of “pep talks” that I get from Oatmeal on an almost weekly basis. Let’s be serious. If this were easy, everyone would be doing it, and there’d be a lot less chunky, sick people walking down our streets. If it were easy to prepare so many meals in our own kitchens, check labels, eat only when we are hungry and not just at “meal times,” and avoid all the hidden processed crap, we would not need a supportive facebook group anyway. We’d all be doing it and so would our parents, friends and family. But, it’s not easy. It’s actually pretty hard and it’s especially hard in the beginning. But as for me, it’s my health and the health of my spouse, and that is a pretty darn big priority for us. So, we got through it and we are continuing to get through it.

Sometimes I nearly tell people, “Well this lifestyle isn’t for everyone.” It seems a kind thing to say to someone who doesn’t agree with me, or perhaps someone who really has good intentions but just cannot find a way to make the switch to Primal eating. But then I stop myself, because frankly, eating natural foods such as meats, veggies, fish, nuts, fruit and oils are what we were MADE TO EAT. So, to be completely honest, I DO think it is for everyone. Our bodies were not designed to handle huge sugar rushes, carb crashes, gluten, chemicals, fake sweeteners, etc.

So, I’m not going to say, “It’s not for everyone and it may not be for you.” I am going to admit that I fall off the wagon every single week in some way or another and I am trying all the time to be better. I am going to admit that I am NOT a nutritionist, a doctor, a specialist of any kind, or an expert. I am simply a random person who read a book after being pestered by a friend and gave something new a shot. And it worked. And I see it working for lots and lots of other people, even people who at first said “no way am I doing that.” And I know that some of you may be sort of annoyed right now, just as I am annoyed with Oatmeal’s tough love approach with me when I am telling him that I just want ONE homemade cookie during the challenge. I get it, it’s annoying to be told that you ARE capable of completing a challenge, and it’s annoying to have it pointed out that you need to try a little harder. I’m annoyed with Oatmeal just thinking about his pep talks, and he’s not even here right now.

Okay, so remember when I said I feel responsible for everyone in the group feeling great? That’s just silly. Stop taking my word for it. GO READ IT FOR YOURSELF. The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sissons. The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain. I truly think that if you read the first half of The Primal Blueprint that your motivation to go Primal will increase tenfold. But more importantly, I think your ABILITY to go primal will increase tenfold. I’m seeing questions being asked in the group that are very good and legitimate questions, however it’s easy to tell that a lot of people have not read much primal information at all because they are eating things that are not primal by ANYONE’S standards. There are certainly gray areas, but most of it is black and white simple. I cannot imagine trying this lifestyle for the first time without having a firm knowledge of what I was doing and why. I would have so many questions and I’d be beyond frustrated. If you are serious about giving Primal the old college try, go spend $12 on a used copy of the Primal Blueprint. You can find it on Amazon and it’ll really make things easier.

Please keep posting questions and continue to help and motivate others. I call Johanna every day to ask questions because she got me started on this whole shebang anyway. I text Jessica constantly. I wish to goodness I knew Mark Sissons or Robb Wolf and could just call them up on my cell and say, “Hey I’m in the grocery store looking at 3 brands of beef jerky and wondering which you would buy.” But until I fall into that social circle, you guys are stuck with me. 🙂

Stay positive, keep trying, make modifications if you absolutely need them and be so proud of what you’ve accomplished so far. EAT ENOUGH, SLEEP ENOUGH, and HAVE FUN. If it doesn’t work, then, eh… maybe it’s not for you. 😉

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