About Me


At 5'4 my highest recorded weight, I was 258 pounds. That was the weight taken at my annual physical with my general practitioner – who was at least 300 pounds himself. I wasn’t sure how he could help me but I felt that I had run out of options. I had been to Weight Watcher six (yes six) times. I had tried: The Blood Type, Sugar Busters, Body for Life, Fat Blocker, GI, The Maker’s, You on a diet, Scarsdale, Mayo clinic, Eat-only-grapes, Atkins… the list goes on and on. I was tired, and sick. I had to have a blood test in order to be considered for bariatric surgery. The blood test showed what I had suspected – at 31 years old, I was borderline diabetic, had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and my stroke number was more than 5 times what it should have been. I decided to have Roux N Y gastric bypass.

I had to go through a series of meetings and consultations. Had what felt like a million pre-tests run. Finally, on 4/21/ 2009, I had my surgery. Over the course of a year, I lost 90 pounds of my excess weight. I was steady at 165 pounds. I knew I needed to lose more and I had more energy than I had at 258 (who wouldn’t). I also started to watch the scale start to creep up. Instantly, I reverted back to my old ways – get thee on a diet. I counted every calorie, gram of fat, ounce of carbs. I lost a pound, gained two; I lost two pounds, gained one back. It was maddening! Had I gone through allllll of that only to gain it back? Would I be banished to a life of low fat micro-meals, protein shakes and calorie counting?? I ended up gaining almost 20 pounds back in my efforts to loose weight – again. Enter thePaleo lifestyle…

After some convincing from friend (angel) a who had switched her entire family to the Paleo lifestyle, I decided to give it a try – for 30 days then I HAD to have my protein shakes. The first week was hard. The second week was BLISS! I felt a burst of energy that I hadn’t felt in what seemed like YEARS. At the end of my 30 days, I stepped on the scale and discovered that I had lost 15 pounds! WHAT??!? You mean I feel great AND lost weight?  I had to stick to it. Among those lovely benefits are these:
  • My skin has cleared up – I was a lifelong sufferer of eczema. I have noticed that my eczema has been under control for the better of 9 months! This has to be a new record for me!
  • My hormones are back in check. Prior to being Paleo, my menstrual cycle was so out of whack that I was told that I would be on the pill for the rest of my life. NOT SO! Now it’s like clock work – and not a cramp in sight.
  • I wake up before the alarm clock daily – with energy to spare!
  • I am currently a size 2/4 and the scale says that I have successfully lost 125 pounds  – and kept it off! I am on the Paleo bandwagon for LIFE!

24 comments:

O-O said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! You're story started off just like mine! I too had the surgery. I lost 40lbs through it but then was stuck for 6 months. Thankfully, I didn't gain any weight back, but being stuck wasn't good either. January 1st, I decided to give try the Primal Blueprint 21-day challenge. I have just finished my challenge (today's the 21st) and you better believe I'm keeping it up for life! In just 3 weeks I have more energy and lost 5lbs (not much but better than being stuck). I didn't suffer at all. I have no cravings for grains and I was a pasta lover. (I rather have spaghetti squash now actually.) I tried half a dessert and felt like crap afterward. Obviously my body perceived it as poison. Like you did, I struggle with irregular menstrual cycles. I'm hoping Paleo will help cure my PCOS because I'd like to start having kids in a year or two. Your story inspires me and I hope my journey has a happy ending like yours. I also hope to serve as a good role model for the racial/ethnic minority community since diabetes is a huge epidemic for these populations. we can do it!

Orleatha Smith said...

Thank you for sharing your story! Its very comforting to know that there are other people out there who had surgery but came to the realization that it was/is NOT a silver bullet! You still need to learn to eat the right way!
I would suggest that you consider adding vitamin A, D, and K to your diet either in supplement form or via cod liver oil. That was what really made the biggest difference in regulating my hormones/cycles.
I hope you keep in touch (either here or fb) because i'd love to follow your journey as well! :)

Jean Mathes said...

Hi Orleatha, I stumbled onto your blog today and just wanted to say "Great Job Girl!" I've been grain-free for almost a year and love the changes that happened almost overnight by nothing but that one change. Well, two changes...I also eliminated most everything processed. Your recipes have inspired me to stay creative with the food I prepare. I'm going to try some of your recipes. They look mouth-watering! Stay the course! You look amazing! ~Jean, Willow, AK

Orleatha Smith said...

Thanks so much for your kind words Jean! I have a very short attention span -- especially when it comes to food -- so i must keep it fun and fresh! Glad you enjoy my labor of love :) Hope you share some of your creations as well!

~O

Minichick said...

Just found your blog and am enjoying reading through it. I love your commitment and enthusiasm. Congratulations on your hard earned success. The two of you look so happy and healthy.

I just have to say, I LOVE the after picture with your husband's hand on your butt. He probably didn't even realize it was there, but it is such a sweet, innocent moment caught on camera...LOVE IT!

Off to add you to my blog list...

Orleatha Smith said...

Thank you!! I laughed when i saw that and i was going to crop it out but he wanted to keep it! He said "i'm your husband. I can touch your butt!" lol! Thanks for the add :)

Minichick said...

You're welcome. I'm glad you didn't crop it; it really is a sweet picture. :)

Baby, Lemme Lay Dat' Funk on Ya! said...

Beautiful story. I'm really encouraged. I have been paleo for almost 3 months now and have lost about 25 pounds. I need to lose about 55 more to meet my goal. I hope I am as successful as you have been!!

Orleatha Smith said...

You will be successful! Stay the course and don't give up remembering that this is a journey - not a destination. Keep your goal in sight and you'll certainly get there! :)

darlene said...

I love these before and after pics. I have seen other pics of the effects of Paleo on families. Its awesome.

Armywifeandmom said...

Okay, so I go on to Pinterest this morning looking for a recipe for my children's breakfast and I see your face staring back at me. I simply had to check it out because I don't see many of "us" talking about being Paleo.

I must say that I think you are amazing. People like you inspire me to keep going. You really have no idea. I have had so many good days being Paleo (I have thyroid disease), but then there are set backs (just found out I possibly have thyroid cancer) that make me think is it really all worth it? Am I losing this battle, but I'm only a year out and if my diet alone has allowed me to play with my kids again, then yes, it is worth it.

Thank you for inspiring me this morning. Our stories are not the same, but the commitment is worth the better quality of life and honestly this food is so much better anyway. Thank you again.

Andrea
www.hashimotosmyjourneytogettingbacktome.blogspot.com

Liese Haley said...

Have you considered writing a book for the wls perspective of Primal/Paleo.
ex:
small pouch, vits, food tolerences...etc.

From the WLS side, where should we start?
highest: 275ish
Lowest: 185
baby weight/regain 4yrs: lets not talk about that...

Liese Haley said...

had my surgery 6yrs ago

Orleatha Smith said...

Actually I hadn't considered it but when you posted this, it gave me a LOT of ideas. Thank you so much!

April said...

I had surgery 3 years ago, and I knew it was a tool. The scales didnt start to creep up, until I stressed when they got stuck and went back into "diet" mode. I had not healed my thinking enough. After a wreck, I found out I was gluten intolerant. Gluten puts an instant 10 pounds on my body.

Due to health issues of my children, I am bringing whole family to the Paleo lifestyle.
I had many excuses on why this wouldn't work for me. But the truth is, this way of eating makes me feel the best. Now, I just have to commit to it fully, and not look back.

Thanks for your great blog, and I think a book is a great idea.

deniseregina said...

I've been looking for someone else who has had RNY surgery AND is doing paleo. My surgery was 7 years ago; lost 130 pounds and have regained 30. Have been "playing around" with Paleo for a couple of months. Reading your story, I am committed. Question? do you still do protein shakes? I will not give them up. Even with one 30 gm protein shake daily plus all the protein I eat, my protein/albumin levels stay at low-normal. I've read too many horror stores about post surgery people getting really sick without supplemental protein. Thoguhts?

Orleatha Smith said...

April - good for you for realizing that its not just about a number on the scale but about the health and well-being of your entire family!

DeniseRegina - I actually stopped using protein supplements as an experiment to see if my albumin/pre-albumin would be affected. I'm on year number 2 and my numbers are GREAT! I make it a point to eat between 50 - 100 grams of protein a day. I really wanted to see if i could get off of shakes and JERF (just eat real food) and so far so good! I'm glad you found me and more that you found this way of eating! I love it!

Philip Tucker said...

What an incredible success story! Congrats, Orleatha - truly inspiring :)

Do you have a means for people to contact you directly?

Thanks!

Phil

Orleatha Smith said...

Sure do! My email is orleatha at gmail dot com :)

Debra Wallin said...

Oh I am so happy to find your story, finally someone like me. :) I've been trying to decide about Paleo, kind of playing with it, thanks for your insight!

Debra Wallin said...

Oh I am so happy to find your story, finally someone like me. :) I've been trying to decide about Paleo, kind of playing with it, thanks for your insight!

Nozipho Khumalo said...

Hey Orleatha, Thank you so much for creating this blog im a newbie at Paleo just a few weeks in and was starting to feel a bit discouraged by my limited menu. Your recipes are so creative and just blew me over, cant wait to get home and starting cooking up a storm. Great Job :-)

AmandaB. said...

Hi there! I had gastric bypass also and I am beginning the paleo life! I would love to chat! I had surgery over two years ago!

Freedom said...

Orleatha
i am so proud of u. I know your mom, Sallie. I have been dabbling w/ paleo but you encourage me to stay committed.
Zora Thomas