January Accomplishments & February Ambitions

Is it just me, or did anyone else really enjoy the month of January?  The holiday chaos finally died down and life began to get back on a normal schedule!  Call me crazy, but I like a little bit more routine than December provided.  This past month I really enjoyed not having to do something or be somewhere every single weekend.

Another great thing about January is that it was the first month of the new year (obviously, I know) but what a perfect time to reflect, set goals, and improve the quality of one’s life, right?

As many of you know, Jon and I have been taking part in a Paleo challenge throughout all of January (We did it!!).  As a first time dieter, it has been such an eye-opening experience with many highs and lows.  I thought the best way to share these highs and lows would be in an eye-pleasing chart:

Paleo-ChallengeThere are also a couple other points I’d like to highlight as well:

  • One of the best benefits of going Paleo has been the addition of new go-to recipes and first time use of ingredients.  In other words, our culinary repertoire grew by leaps and bounds!  For example, I had never cooked with coconut/almond flour, coconut oil, dates, almond/cashew butter, or coconut milk before and now I plan to still incorporate every single one of those ingredients in the future.
  • Even though I had mentioned before that a Paleo lifestyle isn’t cheap, dollar for dollar, Jon believes we actually saved money by going Paleo.  Although our grocery bill was higher (we averaged $80-100/person per week vs. $60-80/person per week), this increased cost was offset by not going out to eat and not buying “extras” like cookies and beer.  I’m not totally convinced that we saved but I do think we broke even and considering the health benefits, I can’t complain about that!
  • If you decide you’re ready for a diet/lifestyle change, you have to be fully committed.  You can’t “kind of” or “mostly” do it because it’s too easy to slip up – Trust me, there are a million temptations.  I’m sure you’ve heard this before but if you’re going to diet, it makes all the difference in the world if you have a diet buddy going through the same stuff you are.  Jon truly kept me motivated and we both pushed each other to complete our challenge successfully.
  • Overall, I’m really happy we pursued and completed this Paleo challenge.  Not only was it beneficial to our health, but it was also a test of willpower and discipline.  I don’t know about you, but I could definitely use a little more of both.  We would both like to thank all of you that have provided words of encouragement, inspiring stories, and helpful recipes – believe it or not, you helped contribute to our success!

Going forward, Jon and I hope to maintain a 75-80% Paleo-friendly lifestyle (C’mon, we can’t give up cheese and cupcakes for the rest of our lives! ;)).  Since I’ve received such positive feedback throughout our challenge and some of you have lamented that my Paleo Updates are ending, I’ve decided to continue sharing some Paleo Updates and recipes… especially to let you know how we feel about re-incorporating foods that may not Paleo-approved.  Additionally, Jon and I plan to repeat our strict month of Paleo 2-3 more times later this year so there will be plenty of updates and recipes on the horizon!

So, after such a challenging goal in January, what do I have planned for February?  Quite honestly, nothing too elaborate (whew!).

  1. Share at least 5 more Paleo-friendly recipes.
  2. Try a Paleo-approved pizza crust.
  3. Indulge and share a really indulgent recipe that is completely not Paleo!

Okay, how it’s your turn…  Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions/Goals you’d like to share?  Do any of you have any plans to diet in the near future?  I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

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37 thoughts on “January Accomplishments & February Ambitions

  1. Congratulations!! Loved your Highs and Lows chart — well done both of you on the weight loss and increased exercise! Wow!

    Love, love that you are going to continue to post Paleo recipes. Since we made your banana pancakes (which rocked), we’re so curious about other recipes. It might be a little selfish of me, but I like to read a review of a recipe first before we try it. 🙂 And I’ll be waiting to hear about your Paleo-approved pizza crust, for I can’t imagine my life without ‘za. Ever. Happy weekend!

    • Thank you, Joan. You are and have been an AMAZING supporter!

      I absolutely agree – I love reading reviews before buying or trying anything. I like to know something has been “vouched” for before I commit to it. I’m a little nervous about a Paleo-friendly crust but there are so many options out there. I’m debating between so many versions: sweet potato, cauliflower, coconut flour, almond flour, etc! However, when I finally get around to making this, I’m definitely going to add some cheese which is not Paleo-friendly but I can’t imagine pizza (or ‘za ;)) without cheese!

  2. Woohoo!! Repeating the challenge 2-3 more times?? That’s incredible! And I can’t believe John lost 17.5 pounds!!! Is he a stick now??

    I love that chart you made–such a great way to visualize your results. I think you did a fantastic job with the paleo updates and I’m looking forward to more! And I totally feel you on enjoying January–it felt so much less frantic and I felt like I was working toward something once I started my detox! Only a week + 3 days to go!

    • Haha, I can’t believe we’re going to do it 2-3 more times! I think we’re tentatively thinking May will be our next 100% Paleo month (kick-off to summer). I know – 17lbs is crazy! You can definitely see that Jon’s lost weight (in his face and stomach) but he can also feel that he’s lost weight (arms and legs). The funny thing is, Pre-Paleo I would have never looked at him and thought he needed to lose 20lbs – it just sounds so drastic but it’s suiting him well. He’s definitely not a stick – he’s still pretty muscular haha.

      Thank you for the Paleo Updates feedback! I love reading your detox updates too! Good luck today during the Superbowl. 😉

  3. So proud of you guys Leah! Looking forward to some more Paleo inspired recipes in the future! I’ve been trying to log all the food I’ve been eating to go along with my healthy living New Years resolution. It’s definitely a challenge to bake tasty desserts and be healthy!

    • Thank you, Heather! I’m looking forward to experimenting with new Paleo-inspired recipes too. I’m so excited that they’ve gotten such great feedback with so many people. That’s a great idea logging your food – We do it too and sometimes it’s really shocking how things add up. It’s probably the number crunchers in us that makes us track it. 😉 I agree about the tasty desserts vs. healthy lifestyle challenge… but challenge accepted!! We can do it!

    • Thanks, Alex. It was definitely challenging – moreso for me than Jon but he has more willpower (and less of a sweet tooth) than me. Now the next challenge is to stick with it 75-80% of the time and remember portion control. 🙂

  4. A diet buddy really helps! My BF said he would do paleo a month with me and 2 days in I went to his house and he goes “I got you a flower!!!” it was a cookie cake with a flower made out of icing, oh and next to it doritos. BAD BF. I’m really proud of you guys and I think you will find that paleo with benefits is a great way to be, I LOVE it!

    • Lol, I’m sure he had the best of intentions! If Jon did something like that, I would NEVER have had the restraint to say no to a scrumptious cookie cake and icing! Luckily, he was all about going Paleo. I love reading about your lifestyle and how you incorporate Paleo into your every day life. Hopefully we can smoothly make that transition now!

  5. Congrats!! What a great update and I love the highs and lows! I am looking forward to hearing about this paleo pizza crust and how it turns out (we have gluten free friends that I would love to have over for homemade pizza!). So now, since you’ve done so well… go have a grapefruit margarita or blackberry citrus mimosa! I mean they are made of fruit after all.. 😉
    Kenley

    • Thanks, Kenley! I’m really hoping the Paleo-friendly pizza crust turns out well because it seems like people are always looking for a good healthy substitute. Jon and I used to make homemade pizza once a week pre-Paleo so hopefully we can incorporate a Paleo version now.

      Mmm, I would LOVE to indulge in one of your cocktails. I love that the ingredients are so simple! It’s funny because last night Jon and I had a little dinner party and one of our friends brought this fruit dessert that made me think of you! He cut up a big batch of fresh fruit (kiwis, strawberries, raspberries, honeydew melon, blueberries, etc) and poured a homemade mint simple syrup on top. Then, we scooped this fruit mixture into classes and topped it off with champagne… omg, SO amazing!

  6. Awesome! Love the chart! We’re actually doing a Daniel Fast right now, which, I think, is sort of Paleo… Anyways, it’s been an eye-opener. The first three days we were soooo tired and had headaches all day long. This is our 5th day and we feel a lot better, although I am still craving chocolate and coffee.

    I am looking forward to some Paleo recipes! 🙂

    • I’ve never heard of the Daniel Fast but I’m going to look into it. Since it’s a “fast,” is it only temporary like a cleanse? I hear you – the first 7-10 days were the hardest for us. We were super tired, slightly hungry all the time, and a little cranky. I’m glad to hear you’re starting to feel better though. Honestly, my cravings didn’t really subside that much throughout the month but I’d love to hear if yours do!

  7. That is awesome that you did the Paleo Diet or lifestyle change in my opinion this month. I like the overall concept but I am not sure it is totally for me. While I did not do the Paleo I did focus on eating more healthy and not consuming fast food and I have to say I was totally successful! My goals this month is to def work out more than I have this month and work on more baking post and completing my baking look-book for a business venture I want to pursue. I think it is inspiring what you are doing and keep up the good work!

    • Thanks, Norah! Even if you didn’t go strictly Paleo, it sounds like you made some GREAT lifestyle adjustments. Eating cleaner and not consuming fast food are huge steps – great job! 🙂 I think my biggest takeaway is portion control. I’m definitely more conscious now of how much I consume, especially in one sitting or with snacks.

      Those sound like fabulous goals. I hope to keep working out a high priority too. A baking look-book sounds so fun. I hope you share it with us. 🙂 Good luck with your goals!

      • Thanks so much for the encouraging words! I DEF will share all my baking pics with you all and hope to get great and honest feedback especially from culinary savvy bloggers like yourself! I have also learned how to portion control and bad habits like snacking on the wrong foods has def stopped. Can’t wait to read more about your accomplishments in the near future 🙂

    • Thank you, Ruthanne! It’s funny – you’re the 2nd person to mention the Daniel Fast on this post. I’ve never heard of it before but now I’m really intrigued! 2 weeks is still better than nothing! I’m sure you gained some valuable takeaways from the experience and if you attempt to do something similar in the future, you’ll already have an idea of what to expect.

      You’re right – I NEED cupcakes in my life. 😉

  8. I’ve really enjoyed following you on your Paleo journey, Leah. It’s been eye-opening. Plus I’ve appreciated your honest feedback about everything you felt, ate, planned for and endured. You should feel so proud of yourself for sticking to it!

    • Thank you! It’s so great to hear when one of my readers connects with what I’m sharing. I’m definitely proud of Jon and I for completing our challenge. I’ll be sharing more as we transition from a diet to a lifestyle. 🙂

  9. Wow –does it say that you lost 7 1/2 lbs and your boyfriend lost 17 lbs doing the Paleo diet? That is amazing! Good for you guys! I bet you feel great –not only your body but what you accomplished. It has been interesting to follow along with your recipes and see what the paleo diet entails. I have a few friends that have tried it too! I look forward to the upcoming month and see more great recipes and crafts!

    • Thanks, Julia! Yes, we’re both happy with the weight loss and the intrinsic accomplishment. To be completely honest, I was a little bummed I didn’t lose more weight but then I took my measurements and found that I lost 3 inches off my waist and 1 inch from my hips!

      It seems like Paleo is definitely gaining momentum these days. It’ll be interesting for us to transition from the diet period into the lifestyle. I can’t wait to share our experience!

  10. Wow! Congratulations! I am impressed that you and your husband both work on this challenge together and were able to support each other. Thanks for sharing your journey realistically by detailing the highs and lows. ~Thea

    • Thank you, Thea. (Jon is actually my boyfriend, not husband haha ;)). It was great having him as a dieting partner. He was so positive and motivating – If I had tried to do this by myself, I truly think I would’ve cracked and not made it the entire month.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the Paleo update. 🙂

  11. Leah..! A friend of mine gave up on her paleo diet after 1 month. But i suppose 1 month is an eternity without wheat, flour, grains etc. So I’m definitely congratulating you on your success! I still haven’t gotten up the courage to start a paleo diet, but hearing so much about it from your blog has really spiked my interest.

    Coconut oil and flour is something i definitely haven’t tried using. not sure if they even have it in Buenos Aires! will have it check it out at dietary stores when im back!!

    Have a great week dear!

    • Thank you so much. I’ve grown up on sweets and carbs so going Paleo was definitely a challenge for me. It’s great to have made it through the month and start incorporating pieces into my every day life going forward. I’m so excited to hear that you’re interest has spiked from hearing about it on I&I – even if you don’t go 100%, there are tons of small changes you could think about incorporating!

      Let me know if you find coconut flour/oil. They’re definitely different to cook with (the flour is much denser and absorbs a LOT of liquid) but they lend great subtle flavors!

  12. Congratulations on completing your month challenge!!! I won’t ever be going Paleo (as i’m a vegetarian), but LOVE the idea of a ‘food challenge’ like this. Maybe I should suggest the diet to my boyfriend? *Strongly thinking about it right now…* haha. (No really, I am… Hmm).

    My new years resolution, was just to eat well while training for the half marathon. It can be hard!! I want to make sure i’m ‘fuelling up’, and not, ‘bulking up’. You know? 😉

    I had a good January as well… it’s nice to have no weekend commitments and VEG for a while. Although, it took me a good 3 weeks to get back in the University vibe… December can be hard to recover from!! 😉

    Congrats again, to you and Jon!

    -JulieC

    • Hi, JulieC! Thanks for your encouragement. 🙂 You’re right – I don’t think a vegetarian could ever go Paleo haha. But as for your boyfriend, definitely suggest it… especially if he works out a lot. I think he’ll see and feel a big difference!

      That’s a great New Years resolution! Eating clean in general is such a huge step in the right direction. Our food challenge has really taught me the importance of portion control which is something I’ve always seemed to struggle with.

      Glad to hear you had a relaxing January! I think everyone needed a little peace and quiet after December haha. Here’s to a great February as well!

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