Mary C. from Southern California joined my 8-week paleo program in September 2016, and she was kind enough to share some of her experiences with us. At the end of our time together, I like to do a final reflection on the aspects that drive my participants through the program, and truly highlight the individual’s experience such as the ‘WHY’ I ask them to establish during Week 1.
I had a chance to ask Mary a few questions after we had worked together, and she had some truly amazing results!
What was your ‘WHY’ going into the program?
I had made the change to a paleo style of eating about six months prior to the program, but felt that I could use as a bit of guidance with balancing fats and proteins. I felt that I was eating a bit too much of certain things that are “allowed,” but do still need to be eaten in moderation like nuts and fruit. I also wanted to see what this program was about because I had done Irena’s 7-Day Challenge, and I absolutely loved the recipes. I was excited at the prospect of cooking recipes recommended by an expert in this field, who would SHOW me what a balanced, healthy, paleo eating style should look like.
What was your progress like? What effects did the program have on your life and well being?
First of all, my overall health has improved greatly. I used to be sick every other week with a cold, flu, strep, stomach bug, or some other kind of illness. I was tired and moody all the time, it seemed. After taking part in this program, I have so much more energy! I am not nearly as prone to mood swings, and have not been sick in three months. I am a school teacher, so there is no shortage of illnesses spreading through my classroom at any given time to the year. My boyfriend caught a horrible flu a few weeks back, but I remained healthy even after taking care of him through all of it. That is no small miracle, let me tell you!
What are some of the most important things you’ve learnt along the way?
First of all, I have learnt to love and forgive myself when I am not “perfect.” There were times during the program when I ate things that weren’t compliant with the program guidelines, and there is that tendency to feel guilty about it – and I did! But, at the end of the day, I still experienced such drastic improvements to my health. This program really taught me to do the best I can, but not to beat myself up when I don’t.
What were you most surprised by throughout the program?
I was surprised by how incredibly supportive the community of people were. I’ve used a picture logging app with a food coach in the past, but mostly felt as if everything I ate was nit-picked and criticised. This program is completely different. Someone always answers your questions, gives you advice when you need it, and I loved email check-ins. That was so powerful for me! Also, the community of other people taking part in the program are so supportive of one another. There is no criticising or bullying like there can be sometimes on social media. It was such a wonderful place to share, support, and uplift each other!
What was your absolute favourite part of the program?
I loved the recipes! Every single one that I made was absolutely delicious. There was such variety in the foods that I was eating. Irena – the recipe goddess – really knows how to create nourishing meals that not only fill you up, but help your body feel amazing!
What was the most significant thing you’re taking away from the program?
One of the most significant things I’m taking away from the program is the balance of it all. Coming from a traditional Western diet, it was a huge shift to a paleo style of eating. I now have a better understanding of what a real food meal should look like. It doesn’t feel anymore like there are all of these foods that I can’t eat. Now, those are foods that I am choosing not to eat because I don’t feel well afterwards. I am starting to make that crucial shift from “this is my new diet” to “this is how I eat.” It has become a lifelong change rather than something I’m trying out.
What are your top three favourite meals from the meal plan?
Oh, it is so hard to pick just three, but these were my all-time faves: Raw Pad Thai with Awesome Thai Sauce, Beef Chilli with Baked Root Fries & Greens, and the Honey-Garlic & Tamari Chicken Livers.
What are three tips of pieces of advice you would offer to future participants?
1. Be active in the community feed on Facebook. It will really help with both keeping you accountable and getting the support that you will need from the other members along the way.
2. Try out as many of the recipes that you can, even some of the ones that you think you may not like! It will surprise you to find that foods you didn’t like as a child are now palatable!
3. It is hard to be perfect. When you deviate from the plan, don’t beat yourself up. Get back on and keep going!
We hope you enjoyed Mary’s story! The participants in the program are what truly make it successful, and I love to share those victories with you!