Melissa reflects on her 90 Day Challenge:

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Paleo found me about a year an a half ago.  I say it found me because I could not tell you how I stumbled across my first article on it.  It just seemed to suddenly appear into my life.

What I was searching for when Paleo found me was something that would help to alleviate the symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  I do have PCOS, but I wasn’t looking primarily for me.  I was looking for my sister.

Most of the symptoms of PCOS aren’t terrible.  But the worst of the symptoms include difficulties in conceiving and an increased chance of miscarriage.  I have never really been concerned with having kids, but my sister was born to be a mother and I wanted to find an easier way for her to have more kids after seeing what she went through to conceive my nephew.

I started the search after my sister was already pregnant.  It wasn’t until that time that I really understood the full extent of what she had gone through.  Hormone pills sound innocent enough, since most women take a form of them regularly (birth control).  But it really wreaked havoc on her body.  She didn’t feel like the same person. On top of that, the hormone pills were still unreliable and it took a long time before Bowen (my nephew) came to be.

As I read more about Paleo, the concept just seemed to make sense.  After all, we constantly find things in the technologies we’ve created that turn out to cause harm.  BPA in plastic is a good recent example.  Why couldn’t it be the same for the way we eat?  After all the changes we have made in the last 10,000 years have been significant.

Then I finally hit the jackpot.  Testimonials where eating Paleo cleared up PCOS or similar issues.  I had already started playing around with the diet, but now it was time to hit it full force.

I was using weight loss as my gauge of success since weight loss is difficult for those with PCOS.  After a couple months I showed little progress.  I had lost a couple of pounds, but nothing significant.  Even though I felt a lot better, my allergies had cleared up and my energy level had increased, I felt discouraged at the lack of weight loss and let myself begin to give up.

Slowly but surely all of the things I had banned from my diet started to reappear.  Not as frequently as before, but still they were there.  My allergies worsened and my energy flagged, but did a good job of ignoring both.

I continued to research and a ketogenic diet was recommended for PCOS on both Paleo forums and PCOS forums.  I tried it for a bit, but not in conjunction with Paleo.  No weight loss, and limited improvement with other issues.

I gave up on it all again, tired of making what I considered sacrifices, and let myself go hog wild around the holidays this year.  By mid-December I felt miserable.  When the 90 Day Challenge I thought this would be a great way to regain my focus and try again.  I knew Paleo was the answer.  It had cleared up so many other things for me, I just needed to figure out how I could lose weight.

I don’t really understand the why of it, but sometime during the challenge something clicked into place for me.  Abstaining from foods that are bad for me isn’t a sacrifice.  The sacrifice occurs when I break down and eat them.  And I was still sacrificing by refusing to follow a ketogenic AND Paleo diet.  I was sacrificing my health and my sister’s health.

After that realization, the challenge has been a breeze.  I no longer even think of it as a challenge.  Eating this way is a part of who I am, who I need to be.  It’s what I need to do to be the healthiest version of myself and help my sister to do the same.

I’m now following a ketogenic diet while eating Paleo and I’m seeing positive results, not just weight loss though I am experiencing that as well.  I have found a support group of amazing people who are also doing the 90 Day Challenge that make me realize that this lifestyle is far from a sacrifice.  I never really was in this challenge just to win (though I did think it would be nice) but now I’m just excited for whoever does win.  I have already found everything I need from the experience.

“Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort.” –Humphry Davy

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