Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Paleo? Me?

I have been thinking about starting to blog again. But, finding the time to write is a real challenge for me. These pictures show the overweight, struggling me... the trainig pic is over the summer, doing a 12 hour overnight training walk with some friends in Houston.

I finished my first 100 mile event January 1, 2011. I was really overwhelmed at the time, so happy and proud! This was my third attempt, the first two ended in DNF. Not that a DNF in a 100 is the end of the world. Each race has its ups and downs, and Did Not Finish is better than Did Nothing Fatal! The self portrait below is how I looked right after the race, at my heaviest weight in a long time.

Immediately after the race, as I was driving home from Phoenix, I had a huge revelation. I will never reach my goal of having my name added to the Centurion list. I was 20 to 25 pounds overweight, and yes, I did just walk 100 miles, but it took me 45 hours of a 48 hour race. The more I train for ultras, the more crap I ate. I was desperately trying to keep my energy level up. It seemed as if cookies were the answer. I also ate twice as much fruit as I did vegetables. Trapped in a low fat, high carbohydrate cycle, I just kept gaining all the weight I had lost back, a couple of pounds at a time.

The back story on the initial weight loss: I have always been a carbohydrate and sugar junkie, and after I stopped drinking alcohol to excess… sugary foods were the next logical step. I moved from one addiction to another. When I realized what had happened, I was all the way up to 215 pounds. That was in 2004. My back was such a mess; I could hardly get out of bed in the morning. I went to the doctor for one thing or another (I don’t remember the reason) and the doctor finally got through to me. He told me if I kept this yo-yoing with my weight up, I was going to kill myself. You might as well just stay fat. That was the straw that broke this camel’s back. I started walking, a little bet every day. The more I did, the better I felt. So I looked for an eating plan I could live with. I changed my carbohydrate intake to brown. I ate more fat (olive oil and peanut butter), and I ate lots of vegetables and fruit. I lost 70 pounds in about 9 months and found racewalking. I never knew I had a competitive bone in my body… now I was racing regularly and have even won a few walking competitions. The more I raced, the more I wanted to race and I did my first full marathon in 2006! Wow, that was awesome, but I know there is more. That’s how I found about the Centurion list. In order to get one’s name added to the list one must walk 100 miles or more in 24 hours or less at a judged competition. Competition meaning there are more than one person making a Centurion attempt. This is the goal I have had in mind since 2006.

Fast forward to where I am now, driving home from Phoenix on January 2, 2011. I was ready to give up on my Centurion goal because I had let my food addictions take over yet again and was back up to 170. I mulled this over and finally posted something silly on Facebook about the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon. If they would count the 20 extra pounds I am carrying around, I could just add a 15 pound pack and enter the heavy division of the marathon. A new, awesome friend saw it and sent me a private message about Paleo, and the rest is history.

January 12, I flipped the switch and removed everything containing sugar from my food intake. I already drink high quality coffee black with no cream or sugar, so I could still have my cuppa joe. It is amazing how when I set my mind to NO SUGAR, I was able to just quit, cold. I was still eating a few grains such as one slice of homemade wheat bread made in to French toast, or a serving of organic oatmeal. I talked to a couple more friends about slowly cutting the grains and they suggested that would just be self-torture, so, January 18 I flipped that switch and have had NO grains since. It took a couple of weeks to learn to eat when hungry and to stop obsessing over food logging, and I lost 6.5 pounds by January 22. It was so easy; I didn’t even feel like I was depriving myself of anything. Oh, and drinking coffee is no longer a necessity… but a pure pleasure. My energy level had increased dramatically! I didn’t start my serious training until after I had lost a total of 12 pounds, which was January 30. Can you believe it? I lost 12 pounds in 18 days with little effort, and this time, I can actually see the weight coming off my waistline. It’s like a miracle for me, as I have ALWAYS been fat, even when I was thin. I know a lot of people who read this will understand that statement.

I have been absorbing everything I can find online and recently bought the revised edition of The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet for Athletes by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. and The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. I also love reading from Mark’s Daily Apple. I am sure I will buy Mark Sisson’s book next. The folks at “Strong is the New Skinny” are also great sources on inspiration. I love to read the testimonials people send in about their amazing transformations, physical as well as emotional!

Today is February 23, 2011, and my weight this morning was 151.2. That makes my total weight loss to date 18.8 pounds. I am back to my endurance training 4 days a week, and desperate to find a way to include more strength training to my routine. I know ST is critical… maybe with a little exterior prodding, I will be encouraged enough to find a way to fit all the things I need to do into my schedule. I posted on FB the other day and will repeat here that my lumbar spine is pretty jacked up… no disc material left between L5 and S1, so there will be none of that: “Lift Heavy Things”, I will have to figure out how isometrics and resistance bands, etc can make a difference. I am stronger, but don’t want to derail my endurance training because I did something stupid with weights. Oh, and check out this calf muscle. Isn't it awesome!

Maryann, who is so happy to be where she is today, only needing to lose another 5 to 8 pounds, but ready to let the body decide what it wants to weigh!


  1. Amazing! I am so excited for you! Keep up the great work and keep inspiring those of us around you!

  2. Now THAT is a calf muscle!!!!

    You amaze me ... you have such drive and passion. I know you will make your goal and I cant wait to read all about it.

    For now though I, along with all who follow your blog, will join you in your journey and support you daily in your training and races!

    You ROCK!!!!!

  3. Thanks, K!!!

    Nyle, that is a real compliment coming from a body builder! I love to read about your racing and training, too! btw, hope your family is ok.

  4. You are such an inspiration!! I love your blog, and I'll be following you and cheering you on! Congrats on walking 100 miles!! That blows my mind, you totally rock!

  5. Thanks, Connie! I am going to link a whole bunch of the challenge blogs over the weekend... I could just sit at the computer and read them all day. But, then I would not get anything done. ;)