Hi, my name is Kristina and I'm a sweets addict.
It's been seven days, 12 hours and 30 minutes since my last cinnamon roll. For the past few nights, I've dreamt of hot cinnamon and frosting baking in my oven, only to awake to disappointment and the realization that there will not be any gooey sweetness in my oven for at least another three weeks.
On Aug. 6, I started a 30 day fitness challenge along with Journal reporter Nancy Angel. My main goal is to break my dependence on processed sugars and baked goods. I also want to lose a few (dozen) pounds and have more energy throughout the day.
To achieve these goals, I adopted a new diet and exercise regime. For diet, I went Paleo. The Paleo Diet is based on eating modern versions of food that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have munched on during the Paleolithic era, the time period from about 2.6 million years ago to the beginning of the agricultural revolution, about 10,000 years ago.
No, I'm not hunting large land animals with a spear and roasting the meat over an open flame I created out of hitting rocks together. The diet uses "modern" versions of food our Paleo ancestors would have eaten.
The basic breakdown of Paleo is:
• No grains
• No legumes (including peanuts)
• No dairy
• No refined sugar
• No potatoes
• No processed foods
• No salt
• No refined vegetable oils
What I SHOULD eat on Paleo includes: grass-produced meats, seafood, fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, nuts and seeds, and healthful oils (olive, flaxseed, avocado, coconut).
My daughter was the one who first introduced me to the Paleo diet. I decided to give it a try, mainly because refined sugar and grains are my weak points and going cold turkey on those items sounded like a good idea - at the time.
The first 24 hours I was on this diet, I had a major sugar crash. I almost fell asleep at work three times! Since then, however, I have a new energy level that is more even. I miss feeling the energy boost after downing a Starbucks cinnamon dulce latte and chocolate croissant, but I don't miss the ups and downs during my day. I also really miss cheese - cheddar, mozzarella, gouda and even string. I used to jazz up my vegetable dishes with cheese. I no longer have that fatty crutch. I now rely heavily on spices, especially garlic.
After the initial shock - that I only got through because I knew I was being held accountable by Nancy and all you readers now - I don't really feel deprived. I cook way more than I ever have; and I always have a bag of nuts for cravings in my purse and a lemon to give my water more zing. Pre-planning is the key to keeping to a Paleo diet.
After the challenges of going Paleo, returning to Latin dance exercise classes was a breeze. Group dance is very motivating for me. The only obstacle I have in exercising is making the time. I've already had to supplement the weekday dance classes with weekend individual hikes to get enough exercise time logged for the week.
All in all, I feel like I'm off to a good start for my fitness challenge - and I've already lost 6 pounds!
A more in-depth look at the fitness challenge both Nancy and I are undertaking is available in video format at http://turlockjournal.com/multimedia/. I also would love to get feedback (diet advise, personal fitness stories, etc...) from anyone and everyone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for all the encouragement I've already received from Journal Facebook and Instagram followers!