comparatively minor success BUT I'M STILL PROUD
I just wanted to share this:
I lost 15 pounds last year doing basically the Zone diet - counting calories, earn your carbs - and at the same time started reading Whole Health Source and picking up bodyweight exercises from the old Bodyrock. Those two things led me here. I didn't know what the paleo/primal movement was or even that it existed, but those two activities led me to this site, where I found out that what I was doing was actually a real THING. That is, I was starting to realize that I couldn't get the right veggies and vitamins and minerals and every possible thing "they" say you should be eating into my body without fat, and I couldn't "afford" to eat fat unless I kept the carbs to a minimum to compensate. So my instinct that that plate of pasta primavera didn't really count as an effort to get enough vegetables was spot on. Anyway, I stopped counting calories in May 2011 and just went baby-Primal. I say baby because I cheat all the time. Not with wheat or grains, but with my vices - I have the occasional beer when I go out, I sometimes have sugar in my coffee (although I have stevia whenever that's an option), every so often (every couple of weeks maybe?), I make almond-flour baked things, and sometimes I cave in and get Ben & Jerry's.
So, it's been a year since I lost those 15 pounds. With all this cheating and NOT calorie counting I was sure I'd have gained back 5 or 10 pounds. I felt okay about those theoretical gain-back pounds, given that I still felt just as muscle-y and fit and fast and strong as I did right when I lost them (actually, I feel stronger), so I was telling myself that it was okay, I'd probably gained mostly muscle, and I could still be proud of my body composition, whatever the hell it is. (I'm not a member of a gym or anywhere else where I'd measure it.)
But I haven't gained *anything* back. I'm still 15 pounds lighter than I was in February 2011. And I'm fitter, stronger, faster, and svelter than I was when I stopped counting calories and intentionally going for deficit. Which means that I've gained no weight but achieved more muscle anyway. And I feel fuckin awesome - my gut is way more settled, I can climb rocks and run races without feeling like such a hippopotamus, I don't mind the figure in the mirror anymore, and my boyfriend and I get on great having more steak and no pasta. And my ankles haven't been wrecked in 18 months due to going barefoot as much as possible.
One last share - my skin is still terrible, especially for a non-teenager. I've experimented with strict paleo and not seen any improvement in rampant painful acne, so I feel like going 100% strict whole-30 style would be more trouble than it was worth, particularly in work field trips and living away from my kitchen often. So I'm still putting myself in the hands of Western medicine there and taking what's worked in the past: Accutane. I've decided not to feel guilty at all about not trying to solve absolutely everything nutritionally - I've tried to solve some things, and won, and tried to solve other things (like cystic acne!) and lost. I've learned that in the future, if something chronic is bugging me, I'll try paying attention to diet first, but not to dismiss other evidence-based sources of information - like plenty of Western medicine (some of it is actually based on good trials, just not the old nutritional crap!). And I couldn't be happier!
Thus is my story. I'm toying with the idea of going strict paleo for about 5 weeks and shooting for a calorie deficit to lose another 10 pounds, but as I mentioned, my fieldwork schedule makes it hard. Also, I don't actually *need* to do that for health reasons - it would be strictly for vanity. So for now, I really am just proud to be as healthy, fit, and shiny as I am, with so little effort in managing my diet. I call that a win.