Doctor recommends something similar to a Paleo diet -- and after six weeks' worth of drinking, eating like a sloth, and growing out of clothes around the holidays -- said nearly 40 year old somewhat begrudgingly hops on the Paleo Train.
I am that (now) 40 year old, and the Paleo Train has led to a case of Paleo T*ts, for which I'll forever be grateful.
Carb Flu and the Halo EffectThe first week on Paleo was the hardest. I'm a woman of extremes, so I didn't do cheat days; I cut out all alcohol, soda, and anything that resembled a carb, dairy, cheese, etc. I existed on eggs, grilled chicken, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, vinegar and oil dressing, and mixed berries.
I dealt with my Carb Flu like any single, Midwestern-Winterliving woman would: with a robust Netflix queue and the fantasy that I would drop 20 pounds instantly. I photojournaled like a pre-teen so that I could see how my body changed.
Once the first week passed, Paleo became a game. I started to write about it on Facebook (dubbing it the #paleochronicles), and about how I'd successfully navigated a week's worth of social events without a drop of alcohol or carb passing my lips. Restaurants became my new Halo and I hunted out grilled chicken salads with vinaigrette dressing like MasterChief hunted down targets.
|Houston, we have muscle definition.|
The week of my 40th birthday I started working out with an awesome trainer who specialized in martial arts training. Coincidentally, my FitBit suddenly started talking back to me with exciting new achievements. You've acieved this! You've eaten that! You drank this! Good job Erin!!!!! The FitBit gave me progress reports before, but suddenly it's like I was playing in a new league.
Three days after my 40th birthday, I also found my very first bona fide breast lump. At first, I thought I'd bruised something at Karate, but the more I felt it, the more concerned I was. My family tree has an entire section dedicated to breast cancer, with everyone except my mother getting it in their 30s (mom was in her 50)s. The tree, the math, the 'oh shit' moment sent me straight to my electronic medical portal and within 10 days, I was set up to see my OBGYN.
|Hourglass and obliques on fleek|
(but no boob for you).
Here I was losing weight, getting healthier, and NOW I get breast cancer? Like 'What the actual FKCU' God? With almost 2 months of no alcohol, no carbs, no cheat days Paleo, I'd convinced myself that if it was cancer, I was downing a beer and a pizza and saying sayonora to the Paleo diet.
The last few days have been a whirlwind. My OBGYN agreed that there was a definite lump. She fast tracked me to radiology, where I spent 3 1/2 hours being smooshed and scanned in diagnostic mammograms and ultrasounds. The radiologist wasn't overly concerned, but he did see some concerning spots. One referral to a breast health surgeon and an appointment later, this is what I know:
Turns out, the lump is probably just a benign mass of crud that was probably hanging around for a while, but only 'popped' out once I lost weight. The lump that scared me and got me into mammograms also uncovered a few other things that I'm getting an MRI to learn more about. I managed to hit a trifecta of good insurance, perfect time in my cycle, and a Friday morning opening....I'm going in for my MRI the day after tomorrow.
From here on out, I'm calling them my Paleo T*ts. Because had I not started Paleo, I wouldn't have lost weight, the lump wouldn't have popped out, and I would have probably just kept ingesting alcohol and other not-so-healthy stuff.
The Paleo Train, which I'd tried desperately for a long time not to hop on, wound up being a saving grace. The number of coping mechanisms and vices which I used the crap formerly known as food and cocktails for is astounding. Now, when life hands me lemons, I simply cut them up and put them in a large pitcher with water. It's been freeing to tell the doctors' offices that I don't smoke, don't drink, and oh yeah, you're right, my weight has gone down from my last visit.
When I look the mirror now, I can see a few more wrinkles on my face and neck, but I also see a svelte hourglass figure, kick-ass obliques, a smaller waist, sweet muscular arms, and a butt that makes leggings look hot.
So, thanks Paleo. You win.