All the background:
My weight loss journey started in January of 2010. I am 5'8 and was at my heaviest weight, about 210 pounds, after the holidays. I've been pretty chubby most of my adult life, and I was tired of being fat and feeling disgusted with myself every time I went shopping for clothes. I also had some pics from a holiday party I attended at the end of 2009 and realized that I did not look very good. To this point, the past year of my life had some positive changes. I quit smoking in April of 2009, after 15 years of smoking. In 2009, I also started hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains with my fiance, Adam, who is an avid hiker and fly fisherman. We are aiming to be 900 milers, meaning we want to hike all 900 miles of trails in the Smokies. I might have 20% of the trails done at this point, and some of those hikes were pretty difficult. So, these accomplishments gave me the confidence to think I might be able to do even more good things in my life.
In January, I began a low carb diet. I'd never really dieted before, so this was all pretty new to me. I tracked all my net carbs in a spreadsheet and tried to follow the Atkins approach with no more than 20g net carbs during induction. Since I wanted to lose about 60 pounds, I stayed on the induction plan from January 4 through February 17. Adam was doing low carb with me too, so we planned lots of our meals together, and it was nice to have someone to lean on and commisserate with. We used planned "cheat days" every week or two to "reset" our bodies so that they wouldn't get too used to low carb. I bought some ketostix and managed to get into ketosis during this time. I lost about 15 pounds.
In mid-February, I joined a new gym that opened in my area. I began going two or three times a week and using the treadmill and elliptical machines because I really didn't know how to use the weight machines or free weights. I was pretty scared and intimidated by the gym, but I went anyway. After a couple of weeks, one of the personal trainers zeroed in on me and gave me the sales pitch for personal training. This was something I'd wanted to do anyway, but hadn't had the courage to ask about yet. He explained the process to me, did an intro workout, and I decided what the hell, I'll do it. The cost was more than I would have liked, but I did manage to work it into my budget. I also justified it as an investment in myself. Yeah, it would cost me a few thousand dollars over the course of a year, but if it resulted in a healthier me, then it would be worth it.
My trainer talked to me a little about diet, and I told him about low carbing. He said he wasn't a fan since you needed carbs to work out. At this point, I wasn't necessarily "over" low carb, but I was interested in trying something new. I decided to start a low calorie diet, or a CW diet as they are known here. I did this until about June, consuming all kinds of low fat, low calorie, meat replacement type products. It worked, and I lost another 20 pounds or so. I did wonder about all the seemingly unnatural things I was putting into my body, but the diet seemed to going well. People commented on how good I looked and how much weight I lost. I spent a lot of time evangelizing Hungry Girl and sharing my tips and tricks for reducing calories.
I went on vacation in June, and so did my diet. I ate all kinds of fried seafood, pork BBQ, slaw, deep fried hush puppies, and any dessert I wanted. I loved every minute of it. At that point, I weighed about 174.
I lost another 4 pounds or so after coming back from vacation, but it seems my weight loss has really stalled since then. I've held steady at right around 170 pounds from July through September. My diet hasn't been as strict as it had been in the spring, and since I'm still doing my personal training, I could very well be adding muscle which is preventing the scale from going down.
Around this time, Adam told me about something called a caveman diet and I started researching it. It seemed a lot like low carb to me, but infinitely cooler with its organic, natural, the-way-we-are-meant-to-eat slant. In August, I stumbled upon Mark's Daily Apple and I've been fascinated with everything on this site ever since. There are many aspects of the primal lifestyle that just seem to make sense to me. I like how Mark posts articles about the science behind our genetics, how insulin and hormones affect weight, how we can eat to lose weight, and all the fabulous recipes. I've tried several of them already. I've been impressed with the robust community that's developed on MDA and the voluminous discourse that accompanies many of the posts. I've explored many of your journals, especially Diana's on the forum and Michelle's blog. Both have inspired me to start my own journal to coincide with the 30 day challenge beginning tomorrow.
I've been following a primal diet since August and doing fairly well. As I've done more research, I've learned more about paleo, IF, tabata, Crossfit, Vibrams and all the other cool stuff this community seems to appreciate. I'm really excited about the 30 day challenge and can't wait to see what everyone else is doing and to experiment with more recipes.