Paleo Progress

Apr 30th, 2014

Category: CrossFit

Paleo Progress

Calling all Paleo Challengers! We’re about half-way through the challenge, and hopefully you’re holding strong. Maybe you’re starting to miss your sweets, or maybe you are starting to lose faith in the challenge altogether. I’d like to share a story with you from one of our members and winner of our last paleo challenge, Mel. A few weeks ago in between sets on the platform, she showed me a photo of her paleo progress and I was totally shocked and inspired by her journey. Read below to hear her story. It’s a perfect reminder of why we tell you to stay patient with your journey and to ignore the numbers you see on your scale. Way to go, Mel!

Two years ago, I was living a pretty decent fit and thin life – at least that’s what I thought. I was the smallest I had been in my adult years and feeling pretty good about myself. However, I was at the gym almost two hours every day (running, spin, and body pump classes/light weights were my jam) and I was an obsessive calorie counter (not concerned about WHAT food I ate, just that I was under a certain amount of calories). I was consumed with maintaining that lifestyle and it ruined a sense of normal life for me – there were times where I would turn down social obligations because I was concerned about the added calories or taking away from my gym time!
cffreecomp1Then some personal life changes led to me working out less frequently, eating poorly, and drinking way too much socially for almost a year. By last March I was feeling like junk – when I begrudgingly checked the scale I was shocked to find I had gained 18lbs. In a year. Holy $hit!

I knew I had to do something – so I joined Crossfit Southie. But I still stuck to my old methods for a while (old habits die hard, right?). I began crossfitting 2x/week, running, and eating whatever I wanted as long as it was around my calorie limit. Then I went on all-inclusive vacation in August and gained nearly 10lbs of “water weight” (I use quotations because it didn’t come off even a month later). At that point, I said enough is enough.In September, the Paleo Challenge came around, and I knew it was exactly what I needed. I read “It Starts with Food” by the Hartwigs right before starting the challenge. So many things clicked for me while reading that book. It opened my eyes as to why eating the right foods is so very important to your body and what eating “non-clean” foods do to you chemically. I had never thought about it that way; I just thought, “food is food.” I had little self-control, but I figured that as long as I worked out enough then it would all balance out! I mean, I knew a double stuffed Oreo wasn’t a good option, but I never really thought about the impact it was having inside my body – making me want more and affecting me for hours after I ate it. Reading that book really helped me make better choices when starting the challenge because that education forced me not to revert back and to truly think what I was putting inside my body.

I took the challenge seriously: I upped my membership to unlimited and started showing up to the box 4-5 days/week. I ate completely clean during the 6 weeks, with my only cheats being some extra tequila or ciders here and there. And I ate A LOT – I had to change my mindset because the volume of food was so much more than in my old “healthy” days. Eating paleo was such a new concept to me , and I took the challenge as an opportunity to transition, making sure I got my protein, veggies, and fats in without making a major focus on portion control. I was concerned that I’d get bored of just plain meals and be tempted to quit, so I found great paleo recipe blogs and couldn’t believe how much tastier clean eating was. Seriously, – Make it all. Yes, everything. I lost 12 pounds and started feeling a lot better overall. I was working out harder, getting stronger, having more energy, sleeping better, eating yummier food, and generally in a better mood.

For the last five months I’ve lived an 80/20 paleo lifestyle and stuck to Crossfit 5x/week on average. During that time I’ve lived a normal life and didn’t let my old obsessive habits creep in. I loosened up during the holidays, took off time for vacation, and extra days off for special occasions or just when I needed it. I also allowed myself to indulge more often in general when it came to food and drinking (sometimes too much, and boy did I feel it afterwards). When this current Paleo Challenge came, I decided to use it as a time to reset again.


Her face is only blocked because “google lasts forever” 🙂

I took my “before” picture and was shocked.

I knew my body had transformed over the last 5 months, but I couldn’t believe my eyes when I compared it to the before and after pictures from the last challenge. I couldn’t believe that even just the 80/20 lifestyle had still produced such visible results. Even though I was feeling good, I had thought that all those extra indulgences couldn’t possibly have allowed me to progress much.  That would have been the case in my old mindset – if I let all those extra calories slip, they would add up and result in poor progress or setbacks. Another thing I had to reconcile with my old mindset – the only difference in scale since the end of the last paleo challenge was 1 POUND. Over the last 5 months, though I’ve only lost that one pound, I’ve lost so many inches and fat, and gained muscle.

I had read and heard so many discussions about how the scale doesn’t matter, muscle weighs more than fat, yadda yadda. And I kind of believed it (admittedly, with doubt), which is why I gave this lifestyle a go. But let me tell you from personal experience – ITS TRUE! IT WORKS! The weight loss between the first and second pictures is 12lbs. The weight loss between the second and third picture is 1lb. I weigh more than I did in my “skinny days,” but fit back into some of those old clothes and feel a million times better. It wasn’t an overnight fix for me, and there were days where I felt like I wasn’t making any progress at all, but I did – even when I wasn’t seeing it.This time my goals haven’t changed much, but I am focusing on my macros more and keeping an eye on portions (no sweet potatoes or sneaky high paleo carbs errrryday this time around) to find the optimal balance for me. I feel like my old self again – actually, I feel like a new person. A better person. I love that I can live a healthy lifestyle without affecting the normalcy of my life. I love all the progress I’ve experienced at the box, I love the energy I have, and I just love the overall positivity. I’m so happy I drank the kool-aid.


11 Minute AMRAP
9 Toes to bar
7 Power Cleans (155,105)
9 Burpees

Level 3 -(135,95)
Level 2- (115,75)
Level 1 –(95, 45)

Mobility Class:
Upper Body

DISCUSSION 15 Comments

  1. Ryan Gould 05/01/2014 at 3:27 pm

    Nice work Mel, very inspiring
    DL: #285
    WOD: 4+14 (t2b, #115 PCs, burpees)

  2. Joel 05/01/2014 at 1:38 am

    Nice work, Mel!
    DL: 310
    WOD: 4+5, 95#

  3. Kendra 05/01/2014 at 1:08 am

    So inspiring and kick ass!

    195 DL
    5 rounds, L2

  4. Martine 04/30/2014 at 11:30 pm

    Mel, this is SO inspiring! You look awesome and you’re kicking ass in the wods — nice work!! Makes me eager to get back on the paleo boat!

  5. Matthew Whalen 04/30/2014 at 8:30 pm

    Keep up the hard work and dedication Mel! You are looking great!

  6. Petra 04/30/2014 at 6:15 pm

    I love this post. Great job Mel!

  7. alden 04/30/2014 at 4:41 pm

    Nice work Mel!
    WOD: 6+2 had to beat Crowley

  8. Kara 04/30/2014 at 2:17 pm

    Great post, Mel! I’m really impressed with the hard work you have put in and so happy for you that you have such positive results. These pics are great reminder to not get too hung up on scale numbers and there are other ways to measure progress. You look great!
    DL: 215
    Wod: 3 + 14 couldn’t seem to find a rhythm with the cleans or the TTB today.

  9. Crowley 04/30/2014 at 2:07 pm

    Outstanding progress, Mel! Thanks for sharing with us.

    deadlift: 395×1 – deads felt really heavy this morning
    wod: 6+1rx

  10. Kelly 04/30/2014 at 1:53 pm

    Wow. That’s amazing, Mel. And physical changes aside, you’ve also become kind of a WOD beast in the last few months. It’s been so inspiring to watch your strength and conditioning improve too. Congrats!

  11. Rob Hassell 04/30/2014 at 1:29 pm

    This post is incredible. Great job.
    5+4 rx

  12. Mike Quigley 04/30/2014 at 1:27 pm

    great work Mel!
    345# DL for 3 reps, didn’t do the fourth because I felt a little something in my back and decided to end the DLs for the day and roll/stretch.
    5+10 RX on the WOD. Felt pretty good after being out for a full week (first time in 2+ years). Waiting for the soreness to creep in.

  13. amy 04/30/2014 at 1:05 pm

    Great post Mel! You truly look more and more fantastic every time I see you!

  14. Gill 04/30/2014 at 12:50 pm

    Nice job, Mel! You look amazing and your balanced approach to this lifestyle is really inspiring!

  15. Lexi D'Angelo 04/30/2014 at 3:45 am

    Thanks for sharing Mel! Congrats on all your hard work 🙂