6 week PALEO cleanse REVIEW! – fitness

Okay dudes, here’s the deal. FIRST OF ALL, if you haven’t read the reason I did this 6 week Paleo cleanse OR if you don’t know what Paleo is, GO READ THIS POST RIGHT NOW, then come back and we can break this whole thing down…

I am going to give it to you straight.

Paleo is hard, but it works.

Like, really well!

Before I get too far into this post, I want to give out a slight disclaimer.

Jeff and I did this challenge with a few of my family members, and before we started, we decided to make a few exceptions and changes to make it “realistic” for us. I didn’t eat Paleo for 6 weeks so I could say that I stayed away from sugar for 6 weeks, or say I never chewed a piece of gum, or only ate avocados and eggs, NO WAY, I did this specifically to reset my body and get it back on track to where it needs to be. I will explain those exceptions in a second and to some, you might think those exceptions discredit this cleanse from being “Paleo”. We are all entitled to our opinions, but I straight up ate Paleo and I don’t care what you say. HA! If you still want to put up a fight, you can call it the “Sadie Jane Paleo Inspired Cleanse”. I don’t care what you call it, but all I know is I ate like a caveman for 6 weeks and lost 13 pounds!

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(mashed sweet potato, avocado, beef rump roast cooked in crock pot with beef stock, garnished with cilantro, onions, and freshly ground pepper and Himalayan pink salt)

YEP, you heard me right!

13 pounds!

AND Jeff lost 15!!!!

It was extremely successful and frankly, I knew it would be! I ate Paleo after I stopped breastfeeding my son and lost the majority of my baby weight by doing so. It’s pretty impossible to not lose weight when you eat that way, especially combined with exercise, drinking your weight in water (that’s a bit of an exaggeration) and sleeping well.

It’s amazing to me what eating well can do to your body. Since losing 80 pounds, I often have people ask me or comment about how it must be easy for me to sustain my weight now that I look the way I do, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! I usually gain weight during the winter because I get really lazy about my diet and eat pretty much what I want. If I don’t keep my eating habits in check, I can easily put the weight back on. This journey takes work every single day for me. I am at the point where I can read my body and sense when it has gotten to the point where it craves everything bad, all the sugar, and all the carbs. When that happens I literally have to detox and restart my body in order for me to feel like I can eat clean everyday. This Paleo cleanse did JUST THAT!

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(paleo meatballs – 1 tbsp dried parsley, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp of cinnamon – sauted cauliflower, brussel sprouts, Sonoma Gourmet roasted vegetables paleo pasta sauce – found at Harmon’s)

With all that being said, let’s talk more about the “exceptions”…

As a family, we decided we would allow one BAI drink a day, to help with energy aka to replace that soda beverage that some of them were used to drinking. We don’t drink coffee so this was the “healthier” option we chose for our family. Oftentimes, we misunderstand fatigue or being tired for hunger. That’s why I love these beverages and why we decided to add those to our cleanse. They are antioxidant infused, have 1 gram of sugar, 5 calories, and taste SO SO GOOD!

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(cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, red onions, carrots, brussel sprouts, saute in coconut oil until tender)

The other thing we decided was to add one 4 hour period, once a week, where we could cheat. We weren’t allowed to break up that time frame but we were allowed to eat whatever we wanted during that time. So, for example, Jeff and I usually had our cheat meal on our date night Saturday night. On the Super Bowl weekend we waited until Sunday and we ate all the yummy Super Bowl treats for 4 hours. OR on date nights, I would DEVOUR an entire pizza, half a nutella pizza, and a milkshake. And I enjoyed every single bit of those 4 hours. #sogood

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The last thing we “cheated” on a bit was some of our foods. Although eating healthier isn’t necessarily more expensive, it can EASILY become more expensive if you let it. Paleo has a tendency to be more expensive because most things like bacon and dried fruit need to have absolutely NO sugar added. Jeff and I are on a budget and really wanted to make this a lifestyle change that we would continue to implement into our diet even after the cleanse was over, so we decided that a few of those things we would buy a bit more budget friendly. GASP…you didn’t eat organic turkey bacon? No mam. Although, I think it’s wonderful if you can afford it, we simply could not. SO, we bought the precooked packages from Costco and not only were they budget friendly BUT they were so great to throw in the microwave on the fly. To make a long story short…(too late) I made Paleo work for me, Jeff, and my young little family. I believe YOU CAN change your eating habits for an affordable price and with a busy schedule. WE are a testimony to that. Although, we ate healthy before this, Jeff has never done a challenge like that before.

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(this picture was from the swim event for Albion Fit, they had fresh fruit and bags you could fill them up with little skewers to eat them with. Such a yummy fun idea)

Can we talk about that for a second. How extremely proud I am of him. I asked him to write a little bit about what this journey has meant for him!! Let me first say, that my handsome hard working husband has been an AVID Crossfitter for years and goes to the gym every morning at 6 am. (he’s the morning person in the family) Read about what he thought of the cleanse…

“Growing up I LOVED eating food. I didn’t care for healthy food, all I wanted was MILK and CARBS. I would rarely have a meal without 2 big glasses of milk. Looking back I’m sure I was consuming around 3,000 – 5,000 calories every day! I firmly believe that I developed an addiction to food while growing up. I think about food all day, everyday, and will eat 2-3 servings just because I like the taste, not because I was still hungry. I’ve tried many different ways to lose weight and many different ways of eating and never seemed to figure out what would work. 

I joined in with a group of family members to start a 6 week Paleo diet challenge starting the first week of 2016. I’ve tried Paleo before but never seemed to figure it out, I couldn’t give up my dairy or bread.  This time was different, I wanted to go full force into this and make it work. I made it up in my mind that I was going to do it and stick with it. The biggest thing for me was making the decision to start and stick with it. So on January 4th 2016 I started my Paleo Journey and didn’t look back for 6 weeks. With all my other diets I would watch the scale like a hawk and after a week or two I wouldn’t see results. I’d get depressed and end up going back to my old ways.  This time I decided to NOT look at the scale the entire time. After the 6 weeks I was legitimately afraid of looking at the scale, what if I hadn’t lost any weight? But I had! And I felt better mentally and physically than I had in a long time.

 The key for me was having the cheat meal at the end of the week to look forward to. I kept the food in my diet relatively simple and similar to what I had been eating before. I simply stopped eating bread and drinking milk and I substituted crackers and chips with Mixed Nuts. (Jeff and I have different weaknesses, it was interesting to go through this with him because all he wanted was fries and all I wanted was SUGAR COVERED CANDY! Ha.)

 After the 3rd week my pants were really baggy and I needed to drop down another beltloop hole. This was huge for me, I hadn’t dropped a belt loop in about 5 years and it gave me hope and a realization that it was working. 

 Were there times when I wanted something I shouldn’t eat? OF COURSE. So how did I handle the urges and stay strong? A while back I listened to a podcast where they interviewed Chris Powell (Extreme Weight loss). In this episode Chris talked about how he starts off with his clients by telling them that they lack INTEGRITY. This thought was a big deal for me because integrity in my life is why I am who I am with my Family, Friends, Coworkers, etc. The only issue was that I didn’t have integrity with myself. I wouldn’t hold up to my word with myself and in turn was letting myself down. When I decided to “STICK WITH IT” was when I decided to start having Integrity with myself. This thought process is what changed my eating habits and helped me succeed. When I wouldn’t stick to my diet or exercise I knew I was letting myself down and it was detrimental to my self-esteem. When I stayed strong I was happy and felt great about myself. 

 My suggestion to everyone looking at losing weight is to do the following

  1. Decide if becoming fit is what YOU want. No Person or Inspirational Poster is going to convince you. It all comes from within YOURSELF.
  2. Ask yourself if you are someone with INTEGRITY and if you can hold to YOUR OWN word. 
  3. If you can do step TWO then START!
  4. Remember it’s not the work in the GYM that will matter, it’s the work in the KITCHEN.  I didn’t get the results I was looking for until I worked harder in the kitchen.”

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(traveling can be difficult, but just come prepared so you aren’t tempted by gas station food)

Isn’t he just the cutest!!

I really could not be more proud of him. He decided on his own that he would take this cleanse head on, full force. He did AMAZING and it was amazing for me to watch!

SOOOO, now to the GOOD STUFF!

All of our tips and tricks and stuff…

If you are still reading #blessyou

Let me make it worth your while and give you some tips and tricks that helped us survive!

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(grapefruit, and eggs – green onions, ham, and cheese – this was after my Paleo cleanse so I didn’t cheat, I swear. HA)

  1. SUPPORT-

Like I said before, this isn’t my first Paleo run! The first time I did Paleo, I was completely SOLO. I remember talking to Jeff one day about it and he was kinda like…”good luck.” Ha. Not in a rude way, but he was not about to get on this crazy Paleo train with me. I was solo and it was HARD. This time was a night and day difference. Having him on board has been life changing. He helps cook, prep, plan, shop, and talks me down from my bowl of cereal “I just have to have” at 10 pm! Even if your significant other isn’t about that Paleo life, AT LEAST sit down with him/her and give them a run down of what you are about to venture through. This goes for ANY part of your fitness journey. Explaining the process, your goals, intentions, and plans with the one that you love will not only help you find some extra support during those tough times, but also keeps you accountable to someone else. Remember this is just SUPPORT. You have to find the fire and drive WITHIN yourself. Like Jeff said earlier, be accountable for the INTEGRITY within yourself! One more thought about this point…if you enjoy social media and find inspiration in it (which I assume you do since you are reading this post) Start posting your progress and goals on your instagram! It’s really incredible the community that is out there and how many people that are out there that want to see you succeed.

  1. ONE DAY AT A TIME-

You can eat healthy for one day. Sure you’ve committed to 6 weeks but if you think just about today, it won’t seem so difficult.

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(another day, the same breakfast – mashed sweet potato, from the microwavable individually wrapped sweet potatoes, and 2 eggs)

  1. PREPARE FOR THE WORST-

Just for the first week. The first week just really sucks guys. The sugar flu is real and it’s nasty. Don’t get discouraged. It does get easier. Your body is literally detoxing itself from the most addictive substance on this planet. Also, I’m just going to be really real for a second. We are a social generation, which means that we like to go out to dinner with friends, or make a meal and have friends over, or pick your kids up from school and run to grab a cookie. So, life gets a little boring when you take the enjoyable food out of it. It’s crazy how that happens and how you don’t realize how much social eating is apart of your life until you are left without it. It does get easier. I promise! Your mind adjusts and you learn to live your life without the food in the center of it. Most people don’t even realize they are guilty of this, but you probably are. #justsaying It’s not the end though, trust me, it becomes easier to go out and order a steak and broccoli, or eat an RX bar while taking the kids to ice cream! It’s not the end of the world. Just get past the first week and you are home free.

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(left over sauted onions, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts, with 2 eggs)

  1. THINK SIMPLE

Paleo can be really easy! I promise. If it seems intense at first, just take a deep breath, go buy a bunch of fruit and veggies, throw in some chicken breasts, ground turkey, maybe some chicken apple sausage and you are set. It’s a lot more doable than you think it is. I kept my children’s diet the same for the most part, maybe adding some more veggies and fruit but continued to serve them cottage cheese, string cheese, and yogurt. They would eat what we did but with some added carbs or whole grains. Or, we would make something different for them all together. Also, the amount I ate was pretty much the same. I tried to never feel full or over eat (because you can do that with healthy food too). 6 small meals or snacks a day was usually what I tried to do.

A normal busy day would look like this for me…

Breakfast- scrambled egg in coconut oil with half a sweet potato. (I would make my kids eggs separately because they don’t like sweet potatoes)

Snack- banana

Lunch- chicken apple sausage with brussel sprouts and cauliflower (all cooked together in coconut oil with fresh ground pepper and Himalayan pink salt

Snack- RX BAR

Dinner- chicken breast with broccoli (covered in mustard)

There are a few simple tricks we learned while doing this that have saved us so much time too.

*Microwavable bacon from Costco (CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MORE BUDGET FRIENDLY CLEAN EATING TIPS)

*Individually packaged steamable sweet potatoes (these are amazing amazing amazing – I have only been able to find them at Walmart)

*George Foreman! SO easy to cook chicken or steak! We even grill veggies on it. It’s the best, for real.

*Pamered Chef microwave vegetable steamer. This thing is seriously incredible. Throw some fresh veggies with some water in, microwave for 4 minutes and you have yummy steamed veggies, just like that.

*Make a shake before bed. My husband started this about week 3 and does it every single night now. (frozen fruit medley from Costco, unsweetened almond milk, chia seeds, almond butter, 2 handfuls of spinach)

*Try to be budget friendly but don’t be afraid to go out too! I have some amazing restaurants by me that have the best Paleo food. AND I have fresh pressed juice places that I love. When I needed a change from my veggies, I would go to Cubby’s and get a salad with their Whole 30 approved dressing.

*PREP PREP PREP! If I make sauté vegetables, it’s normally a vegetable medley pack from Costco (the frozen food section) and I do like half the ginormous bag at a time. Nothing better than just having to microwave and go!

*eat RX BARS! Whole 30 approved and so good and perfect for on the go.

*Don’t be afraid of dried fruit or fruit leather. You can get no sugar added fruit leather at Costco, it’s perfect to calm the sweet tooth. I don’t buy expensive dried fruit. I will buy dried fruit packs from Trader Joes that have sugar in the ingredients but I didn’t eat it much. If I ate fruit it was usually once a day, or twice if it was after a workout, and it wasn’t very much of it.

*GUM, oh blessed gum! CHEW ALL THE GUM IN THE WORLD. It saved me. I usually had to pop a piece of gum in my mouth after each meal to resist wanting something sweet.

*Water- I always start my day with a large glass of water and end my day with one as well. OH, and I drink it throughout the day. So much peeing but so worth and it helps you stay full as well.

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(Cubby’s tri tip steak salad – no cheese, extra dressing, it’s Whole 30 approved and amazing!)

  1. DON’T EAT AT NIGHT

It messes with your metabolism and doesn’t help you wind down for bed. I feel like this was a HUGE key to my success when doing this. There were a couple days when I caved and ate a couple bacon slices at 10 pm! #guilty But I usually tried to stop eating around 8-9.

  1. HAVE YOUR GO-TO FOOD ALWAYS AVAILABLE

We ALWAYS had.

EGGS. mixed nuts (they are great options for these at Costco). BACON. Chicken breasts. SWEET POTATOES. bananas. APPLES. chicken apple sausage. AVOCADOS. almond butter. DRIED FRUIT. peppers. SUGAR SNAP PEAS. almond milk. BULK FROZEN VEGGIES AND FRUIT. unsweetened all natural apple sauce. BAI DRINKS. rx bars. BROCOLLI. cauliflower. SPINACH. coconut oil. SUNFLOWER SEEDS… I think that covers it…

Here are a couple other quick meals that my family and I loved.

Cauliflower rice- cooked in coconut oil and ginger and spices with peppers, chicken and jalapeños.
One pot pork roast- cooked in red wine and fresh rosemary with a butt load of carrots, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
Eggs overload- two whole eggs and three egg whites with peppers, onions, sweet potatoes and a side of a mountain made of thick burnt bacon.
Sara’s salad- lots of lettuce, spinach and kale topped with things like apples, pears, grapefruit, pomegranate seeds, craisins, peppers, mandarins, pecans or pistachios and drizzled with balsamic (can add chicken or fish)
Treat- bananas, almond butter, dark chocolate (over 70%) and shredded coconut

PALEOFOODGUIDE

(PIN, PRINT, and USE this guide)

  1. DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!

This is to benefit YOU and YOU ONLY! Well, maybe your spouse as well, but what I am getting at is this, if something works for you, do it! If it doesn’t, switch it up! Some people can’t handle the temptation of having unhealthy food in their home, if you think you are that person, get rid of ALL OF IT during this cleanse. I had all my Christmas candy locked away and didn’t feel tempted. I had decided to commit and I was for sure committed. Interestingly enough though, now that I am done, that candy has become a temptation once again. Our minds play crazy tricks on us. It takes time and willpower but you will get the hang of it!

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(before 142 and after 129! Jan 4th to Feb 15th! I am 5’5)

Just so you know…the picture on the left was the night we got home from being 2 weeks away for Christmas. Such a hot mess disaster in the background!

I think that’s it dudes.

As Jeff and I became more comfortable with the idea of Paleo, we would search frequently on sites and Pinterest for yummy recipes. It’s amazing how delicious and full of flavor food can be with the right spices. I will make sure to share the recipes if we love them!

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(before 240 and after 225! Jan 4th to Feb 15th! He is 6’1)

For those all that have asked…

will I continue?

There is a reason I called this a “Paleo Cleanse”, a cleanse to me is something done with a bit of extreme measures to help detox your body, and is only done for a short period of time. I think Paleo is great but it is NOT something I want to do long term, nor do I think it is necessary. Let’s remember that I don’t have any specific food allergies and I’m not trying to lose an extreme amount of weight. With that being said, I really love the benefits that steel cut oats, quinoa, and whole grain brown rice give me. Dare I say even all natural peanut butter and butter!? All of these I will incorporate back into my diet because I think they really bring some added benefits to my health and let’s be real honest here, eating Paleo takes planning and work, if I want to eat like this my entire life, I need to feel like it’s doable. Being a young busy mom, it can be overwhelming so, I am going to stick to the “idea of Paleo” while focusing on eating clean the best way for me and my body.

As for Jeff, he will be continuing on this Paleo journey. This has lit a fire in him that I have never seen. He is so dedicated and really wants, “A 6 pack before he’s 30!” His 30th birthday is in June! I don’t doubt for one second that he will get there. Paleo works and REALLY IS doable. Just believe in yourself and keep it simple.

I hope you enjoyed my novel and found it SOMEWHAT helpful!

XOXO

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