Somewhere to Start, My Paleo Challenge

2015 Paleo Challenge Results -

Holy smokes, this month is flying by!!  Already through our 30-day Paleo Challenge.  How are you doing?  Any challenges?  Slip ups?  Insatiable cravings?  I promised some measurements and photos.  Trust me, I make good on these promises.  Seems like I have no shame for such things, but the truth is, posting them makes me feel quite anxious.  This isn't my first time blogging, my previous journey before meeting Raj and creating The Primal Desire was chronicled in a weight-loss-turned-dating blog.  I have been known to hide behind self deprecation for humor, and know all too well that knot you get in your stomach before you post a picture or write on the internet.

Because I have done this once or twice (my starting weight being just over 200Lbs, with depression, anxiety, severe hormone imbalance, and general self loathing),  I have some personal tips for maximum impact before pictures.

  • Go out the night before and eat crappy.  Salt, alcohol, and no sleep.
  • Don't wear any make up or fix your hair, obviously, the exception for this is if you still have make up on from the night before.
  • Feel terrible, and often this is a given for before pictures, the decision to make a change often comes after a “This is it”  or an “I can't take it anymore” type moment.  And a night out bingeing with little or no sleep will also leave you feeling crappy.
  • Slouch, slump, and hang your head.  Roll your shoulders forward and push out your stomach.
  • Find something completely unflattering to wear.  I have one pair of shorts that are my go-to.  They have NEVER fit right (not even at 140 lbs and hot yoga 6X per week).  They are tight and loose in all the wrong spots.  They rise to a spot on my hip that cuts my hip creating a roll, they are just the right sheen to accentuate every dimple in my ass and thigh, and they stop on my leg in a spot that takes away any shape I have.  Oh and they give me “camel toe” which is not a good look for anyone any time.
  • Find unflattering light, artificial light that washes you out or casts terrible shadows
  • Make sure to scrutinize your photos and pick out every single flaw, feel free to make a couple up.

I followed my own advice, going out on the town a couple nights before, having a great time, but I drank a few (okay bunch of) cocktails and had a late night after party junk food binge.  I dreaded taking the pictures.  I let work stress consume me and my usual 80/20 paleo was replaced with 20/80, and a whole lot of sugar.  I was already beating myself up about letting my eating habits slide, and depression creep in.  Berating myself for under eating and not exercising.  So the feeling crappy… nailed it.  Setting up my camera and rushing into focus before the timer went off, well, not much consideration was made for posture.  Excellent.  I dug out those terrible shorts and put them on.  Oh man they are truly awful, I picked a tight fitting top to leave no roll uncovered.  And when it was all over, scrolling thru the photos, I wanted to delete every single last one.

“…Don't listen to a word I say.”

I picked apart my photos: “look at that roll,” “holy, double-chin and under-eye bags,” and, “wow, great dimples… on my ass”. Funny thing is, it didn't make me feel any better about myself.  Instead of feeling hopeful and empowered to make changes I wanted to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head.  And the honest truth… they aren't that bad.

Somewhere to start

So here is the skinny: Don't listen to a word I say.  Pick out something flattering.  Something you love to wear.  Smile, do your hair, get some sleep, drink some water.  Stand up straight and I'll say it again, smile.  Think about the changes you are about to make.  You are the master of your destiny and undertaking a new eating plan, workout routine or challenge is a positive change.  But if you hit a speed bump, struggle, or slip up, that is okay.  It is okay because the focus should be placed on how you feel.  That you are bettering and healing your body.  Take those before pictures, and then scroll thru them, notice things, but not your perceived flaws.  Look at them with the attitude “This is a great place to start.”  Pick out the things you like about yourself.  Because at the end of it all.  You are IMPROVING on a you that is already FANTASTIC.

“You are improving on a you that is already FANTASTIC.”

I am guilty of not showing myself the love and compassion I deserve; I know many of you are too.  Have you had a child?  And instead of seeing an amazing body that grew another human being do you see bulges that weren't there before, paired with scars and stretch marks?  Recently gone back to school, or taken a new job and been stressed out? And simply not been able to shed weight?  Beating yourself up for not making it to the gym?

Stop it.

Somewhere to start -

It's not easy, but embrace every flaw/blemish and find a positive.  I look in the mirror and I see: my double chin.  I know as soon as I see my back up chin sneaking out from behind my regular chin, I know I have a situation.  Instead of stressing about my perceived fat face, I will focus on the change paleo makes to my face, not just to my jaw line, but the texture of my skin. The color in my cheeks is always rosy.  I have freckles sprinkled across my nose and cheeks and a birthmark/beauty mark.  A clean diet makes my skin glow, and keeps it clear.  Instead of picking apart my body: oh the love handles, my thighs touch, I have cellulite on my round ass, my boobs are enormous and steal the show.  Now I think my thighs have always touched, always.  And they always will.  They are friends, and a “thigh gap” is not in my cards.  I have boobs and hips and curves that some people would kill for. In another time and place, my exact body would be the ideal.  SO I have decided that the exact body I have now IS in fact my IDEAL.  I love every curve, and bump, and jiggly bit. Have you seen the UK campaign #thisgirlcan?  In the UK women aren't active because they are self conscious, I love the self empowerment message, that you are already amazing and only improving!  If I feel better eating paleo (like I have before) then I am winning.  I refuse to let the earths gravitational pull on my body (weight, the number on the scale) get me down.  I refuse to berate myself for not working out.  I will celebrate each day that I am enough.

“If I feel better eating paleo… then I am winning.”

At the end of 30 days I feel better.  I lost some inches, making my clothes feel better.  I took the time and made the effort to make myself nutritious paleo meals to fuel and love my body. I have been more aware of stress and letting things go. I made sure to eat and sleep enough.  And I know that regardless of what the tape measure, the scale, or those terrible shorts I own have to say, I am wonderful and amazing and absolutely good enough.

2015 Paleo Challenge Results -

**January 31st Weight: 184.5

(This is the least important number on here, in our opinion)

*Note, more pictures to follow, once I am home – been house-sitting for most of this month.  So no tripod.*


About the Author:

Real food fan. My first love is baking, and it keeps me sane. I am new to the Paleo lifestyle, but already infatuated. Recovering sugar Junkie. Love awkward situations, drunk people and ridiculously high heeled shoes, especially when they coincide. Always looking for my next great story.


  1. EP April 15, 2015 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    This post is so inspiring! Thank you, Holley! I would love to see your January 31st(ish) photos.
    I’m new to the paleo lifestyle and I’ve noticed changes already, but I always think something is great until I get too tired, or too hungry, or too lazy and quit. I’m afraid it will happen again and I will end up staying the same – overweight and unhappy.

    • Holley April 17, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      I have to admit, I have let work and stress get in the way of my good paleo eating! I will absolutely post more pics! I am inspired by you! Thank you for commenting!

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