Paleo / CrossFit Success Story

I love CrossFit. I love getting dirty, sweating in 105 degree heat, running on the blacktop, lifting heavy (well, it’s getting heavier…) weight, and fighting through reps with my teammates and coaches.  I love it. I can’t imagine my life without it now.

I’ve always been reasonably athletic, and I’ve worn many athlete hats over the years: varsity high-school swimmer, marathon runner, triathlete, black belt in Tae Kwon Do, Bikram yogi,  black-diamond downhill skier, and endurance runner. Out of all of it, I loved my high school swim team the most… varied workouts every day (dry-land, in the pool, in the weight room), accountability and pushing from my coach, camaraderie and solidarity with my teammates. In my adult life, I’ve hopped from sport to sport trying to recapture that environment to no avail.  Martial arts got close, but at the end of the day, it really stinks to get punched in the face. No joke.

I was introduced to CrossFit about two years ago by my younger brother Andy. He was and continues to be a dedicated CrossFitter – he’d been working out at Dallas Central while in school at SMU.  I remember the first time I saw him after he started CrossFitting – I was awed by what incredible shape he was in.  At the time, I actually thought it sounded like a great workout and a lot of fun.  However, he was pretty up front with the fact that I wasn’t going to get the results I wanted unless I was willing to fundamentally change the way I ate.  And in all honesty, I just wasn’t ready to make that kind of change yet.

Me, Before CrossFit/Paleo

The idea of eating “Paleo” sounded like an exercise in deprivation for someone who fancied herself a gourmet… I regularly cooked five-course (Italian) meals for fun, my pantry was stocked with all kinds of gluten-rich goodies (pasta! bread! cookies!), and I even owned my own successful cake design company (Wicked Cakes). I was the queen of macaroni and cheese – it was the ideal fix for a bad day, a grumbling stomach, or just a bout of boredom. Food was fun, and food was love. I told my brother it sounded great, but that it just wasn’t for me…

Fast forward to April-September 2010.  With my wedding fast approaching in November, I buckled down and managed to drop 25 pounds by running 16-25 miles/week and eating <1300 calories a day.  These calories were almost entirely processed, gluten-rich or high-sugar items like cereal bars and bananas.  Nary was a vegetable to be found.  Not surprisingly, as soon as we hit the wedding, honeymoon, and newlywed stages, I quickly returned to old habits and regained 10 pounds in about three months. Not good.

That brings us to April 2011.  I was about 30 pounds (of fat) overweight, I had constant heartburn, sleeping problems, and chronic allergies.  Despite the fact that I had an incredible husband and stepson, amazing family and friends, a great job, and a beautiful home, and I still felt bad about myself. I knew that it was time to make a real, fundamental, and lasting change. My brother came for a quick visit down to Austin, and I realized it was time to march myself into CrossFit Central and change my life.

In 2.5 months of following a strict (essentially Zoned) Paleo nutrition plan, CrossFitting 3x/week, and running 5k up to twice a week, I achieved the following:

  • Lost 23 pounds of scale weight
  • Lost 22+ body inches
  • Lost 4 dress sizes
  • Lost 12% body fat
  • Completed 5 unbroken, unassisted kipping pull-ups
  • Switched from knee push ups to Games-standard

I’m no longer on allergy medication, my heartburn has disappeared, I’m sleeping like a baby, and I feel physically better than I’ve ever felt before.  I am in the best shape of my entire life up to this point.

There were two key components to my success: a strict Paleo diet (90%) and 3x/week CrossFit plus 2x/week short runs (10%).

Let’s be clear, unless you’re willing to optimize the fuel you’re putting in your body, there’s no way you can expect it to perform or behave optimally. My weight loss was 90% about the kinds and amounts of food I was eating, and I would not have been successful without that change. Roughly, here’s what I did, under the guidance of my CrossFit Coach John Del Peral:

  • Drank 1-1.5 gallons of water a day (and nothing else)
  • Eliminated all grains, dairy, and sugars from my diet (yep, no fruit for a while)
  • Ate five smallish meals a day that consisted of about 4 oz. of high quality meat (turkey, beef, chicken, fish, etc.), a full serving of vegetables (salad, broccoli, asparagus, etc.), and 1 serving of good fat (olive oil, almonds, avocado, etc.)
  • Didn’t eat anything after 7pm.

This was a significant change for me, but it was critical in adjusting my tastes and creating a kind of “muscle memory” for making good choices. My diet is more moderate now, but I credit the discipline of the stricter food list with preparing me for a real long-term change.

This change in my diet, coupled with 3x/week indoor CrossFit classes and my 2x/week 5k easy runs helped me achieve success early and build momentum to really change how I looked at food and fitness.

I am so incredibly thankful to John Del Peral, David deLeon, and the 7:30pm MWT class at CrossFit Central for all their support, coaching, and guidance.  Thank you!

70 Comments on “Paleo / CrossFit Success Story”

  1. keely burke
    September 12, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Nicole (Betty) ;), it’s so good to read your story! Thanks for sharing. ~Keely Burke, your old high school class mate

    • September 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

      Thanks so much, Keely! 🙂 How are you doing these days? It’s great to hear from you!

  2. Blu
    January 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Outstanding! However don’t call yourself paleo if you are incorporating Zone. Why not go all out paleo and eat more fat and less frequent meals?

    • January 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      Hi there! Thanks for stopping by! I actually do find that you can incorporate both Paleo and components of the Zone, and it happens to be what works for my body. Paleo is all about defining the types of foods you eat, whereas the Zone gives guidance on the quantity. In my maintenance mode, I’m much more relaxed about the timing of meals, etc., but when trying to achieve specific physical goals, a Zoned Paleo approach can be very beneficial. (Robb Wolf agrees on this point – definitely check out his site for more info) He states, “…a Paleo (quality first) followed by Zone (proportionality) is the likely best route to optimum health and performance.”
      Certainly, it comes down to what works best for your particular engine – how much fat, carbs and protein is needed to achieve the goals you define. For me, I feel the best when eating great quality, real foods in moderation.
      Thanks so much for dropping a note!

  3. January 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    Hey Nicole, I caught your interview on CrossFit Radio last night (belatedly) and I’ve been so inspired!
    Much like you, I’ve been quite active – with Bikram, running and lots of riding making up the bulk of my exercise, but I’ve had long term struggles with food allergies and my weight – mostly because, like you, I’m a big foodie but I love all the things I know aren’t good for me Though I’m really only starting to find out about CrossFit (we’re a bit behind over here in Australia), Paleo seems a really good fit for what I’m discovering works for my body. I’m also planning to run my first marathon at the end of the year, and I’m getting married so I’m ready to have a red hot crack!
    I’m also really into sustainable food production and have just taken over 100 acres with my partner to start farming so it’s a year full of exciting changes!
    I’ll be checking in here to keep up with how you’re going with it as I go through my own transition – and hopefully my own success story!

    • February 11, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

      Hi Lara! Oh, I’m so sorry for the late reply! I’m actually expecting my first baby, and it’s been a little bit crazy around here the past month – I’ve been WAY behind on my correspondence! Thank you SO much for your sweet note and for checking out the CrossFit Radio interview – it was such a fun thing to get to do. It sounds like you’re making some great changes – how’s it going? How’s the farm? It sounds like an incredible adventure! Thank you again for your note, and I’d love to hear from you!

  4. Amy
    January 21, 2012 at 12:24 am #

    Hi Nicole, just came upon your site, and wanted to pick your brain a bit. I started crossfit in April 2011. I have done pretty well, but would really like to kick it up a notch. I eat 80-90% paleo, and crossfit 4-5x a week. My body fat is around 24%. Lost about 5% bodyfat in 6 months. I just feel that I don’t know what is best for my body, how I acheive these kind of results. When you say your diet was 90% paleo, what was the other 10%, cause it sounds pretty darn strict. 🙂 I appreciate your feedback!


    • February 11, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

      Hi Amy! Sincere apologies for the late reply! It’s been a little crazy around here lately! Congrats on all your success so far! I’m super impressed by the 4-5x/week CrossFitting – you must have had some incredible performance gains in the last year.
      For me, what it took to really lean out was to actually got 100% strict Paleo for one month, followed by a few 2-week bursts. In that 100% “strict” phase, I excluded all fruits/sugars, and really stuck to just greens/veggies, lean meats, and a handful of good fats (oils & almonds). In my normal “maintenance mode” I really do stry to stay 80-90% Paleo, but I eat more fruit and I do indulge dark chocolate and some red wine here and there.
      What I learned is that, for me, that leanness came 95% from the food that I was eating and had much less to do with my workouts. I hope that helps! Feel free to shoot me a note with more questions!

  5. January 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    Thanks for detailing your story! I hear Paleo success stories all the time, but I don’t know how they got there. Timing of foods is really the key, especially if you are trying to lose the last 15 pounds! Great blog, keep it up!

    • February 11, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

      Thanks so much for your note! I really appreciate you checking out the blog and sharing your support! 🙂

  6. CC
    February 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Hi Nicole,
    Thanks for being so open with exactly what you did to get your results. I’ve been terrified to try crossfit for months, I kept saying “it’s just not me”. Well I sucked it up and went to my first elements class this week. I’m still very intimidated but I’m going to stick with it. Your story and recipes are such a motivation to me… Thank you!!!!

    • February 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

      Hi CC! First off, so sorry for the delay in getting back to you! It’s been pretty crazy around here lately (I’m expecting my first baby!), and I’m a little slower than usual catching up on my correspondence. I’m SO, SO excited that you tried the Elements class! I was in exactly your shoes – I was super intimidated and had no idea what they were talking about when it came to the Olympic lifts. Keep it up! It’s amazing how quick you’ll start seeing performance gains. I’d love to hear how it goes as you continue on!

      • CC
        March 20, 2012 at 7:58 am #

        Just wanted to give you an update on my crossfit/paleo journey…
        I drank the koolaid!!! I love all things paleo and crossfit (except for overhead squats!). Thanks for the encouragement!! I hope the pregnancy is going good!

      • March 21, 2012 at 11:02 am #

        That’s awesome!! I’m so, so glad to hear it! And I totally understand about overhead squats… 🙂 It’s thrusters for me!
        Things with the little one are going great! 4.5 months along and still CrossFitting 2-3x/week! Keep it up!! 🙂

  7. Amy
    February 12, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    Thanks for your response. And congrats on your pregnancy!! Did you drink any coffee that first month? How did you handle social situations? I feel like something always comes up. I do great during the week, and then the weekends are hard. Did you feel hungry? I know I need to drink a lot more water. I really appreciate your help!

    • February 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

      Hi Amy! Thanks so much! 🙂 I’m actually not a coffee drinker, but on the food list that I followed, it was no coffee allowed. That said, most hard-core Paleo folks I know still do black coffee in the morning. I used to be a Diet Coke-aholic, but I quit cold turkey last April. For social situations, I really tried to eat beforehand or look at the menu online and pick my food ahead of time. That was easily the hardest part! I did feel hungry at the beginning a bit, but once my body adjusted, I actually felt really good (took about 2 weeks). I was also drinking between 1 & 2 gallons of water every day. Good luck!!

  8. Jennifer
    February 22, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Hi Amy! I’m at the 30+ pounds overweight and a foodie! I run a deli so I am always around food so “snacking” is really hard for me. My husband lives Crossfit and I am about to get started my self. I love your site as hopefully I can still eat some of the foods I love!

    • February 22, 2012 at 10:59 am #

      Hi Jennifer! Great to have you on the blog! I can totally understand snacking on the “work food”… I used to run a wedding cake design business, so it was all buttercream all the time. 🙂 So excited for you to start CrossFit – it’s been a huge life changer for me, and it’s really helped me get on board with better eating! Keep it up and let me know how it goes…

      Nicole, AKA PaleoBetty

  9. Kamiele Maynie
    February 22, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    Wow. Our stories are quite similar. My younger bro joined CrossFit in Atlanta where he attends college and actually won a Paleo challenge at age 20!!!! They said it was one of the best turn arounds they’d seen in a long time. I’m still in my fundamental stages at CrossFit DNA in Dyer, Indiana….stiff and sore as hell, but back tomorrow!!!! I’m also in my third day of paleo…huge change…what’s this fascination with BACON 😂😂!?!? I’m soooo motivated by your success and now even more excited. Your site is bookmarked!!!

    • February 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

      That’s awesome, Kamiele! So glad to have you on the CrossFit/Paleo train. 😉 How are you feeling this week? I promise, it gets better! And yes, we are all a little fascinated with bacon. It’s SOOO good! 🙂

  10. March 6, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    I just started CrossFit in February. I used to be a long distance runner so I thought this can’t be that hard — I can do it. Wow, was I humbled after my first visit with the trainer.It’s like nothing I’ve ever done in terms of working out. Reading your story is a true inspiration and like some others have noted I have your site bookmarked.

    I didn’t expect to like CrossFit so much. I am both intimidated and exhilarated about the workouts. I have committed to working out at the CrossFit gym three days a week and I’ve slowly started to incorporate some cardio on at least 2 other days. My hard part is the eating and I know that is really the key to complete success. I am 39 years old and turn 40 in late July. By the time I turn 40, it’s my goal to have shed the 30 extra pounds I’m carrying, but more than that I feel better than I ever have.

    Corri Edwards

    • March 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

      Thanks so much for your note, Corri! I’m so glad you’re coming to love CrossFit! It sounds like you’re on the right track, and a switch to Paleo should definitely help you tackle that birthday goal. Keep me posted! 🙂

  11. Amy
    March 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    One more question, do you know about how many calories you were eating, and/or grams of protein? I’m doing a zone paleo challenge at my gym and feel like my carbs are too high. Maybe I need to cut out fruit. Thanks again for your help! Hope you are feeling good in your pregnancy!

    • March 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

      Hi Amy! I actually have no idea… 😉 This is the first time in my life I haven’t counted calories. I can tell you that I was eating 4oz. meat portions (measured out), and I stuck to veggies like leafy greens, onions, and mushrooms (no sweet potatoes, etc.). Also, when I was in my “losing” phase, I had zero fruit. Fruit can be a killer – you think you’re eating healthy, but it’s got such a high sugar content that it can definitely impact the rate at which you lose. Thanks so much for the kind words, and keep it up!! 🙂

  12. Shannon Gillespie
    March 26, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    Hi there! I just wanted to know if you could give me what you ate for the day during your strict phase. It would be reallly helpful to hear your daily foods. Thanks, Shannon

    • July 11, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      Hi Shannon – I’ll be honest, I can eat the same thing every day for a month if I’m getting results, so my routine was pretty boring. Generally, I’d do my “deconstructed hamburger” for breakfast, and then 4 oz. of high quality turkey breast, chicken, or steak + a salad of greens, baby tomatoes, and shallots with olive oil for three meals, plus a snack of about 15 almonds. Pretty boring, but I wasn’t hungry, and it really did work. Obviously, could change out the veg and protein, but the key was to get about 4oz. of protein, plus a good serving of veg and a serving of healthy fat at each meal. Hope that helps!

  13. Dani
    April 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    Congrats on your new addition. I am trying to lose the last 7 lbs from baby #2 and having no luck even though I am following paleo and have been strict. However, I do eat about 4oz of a sweet potato for a post work out carb. How did you handle your PWO meals?

    • July 11, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      Thanks, Dani, and congrats to you! 🙂 Are you eating a lot of fruit/sweet potatoes? Those can be a little tricky due to the higher sugar content. I’d consider looking at a Zoned Paleo approach, where you’re focusing both on quality of food and the quantity – that’s what really helped me lean out. I work out at night, and my coach had prescribed no eating after 8pm when trying to lean out, so I rarely, if ever do a “recovery/PWO” meal. I found I wasn’t really hungry after working out – a quart of water and I was pretty good to go until bedtime. (speaking of, make sure you’re getting enough sleep! it’s a HUGE help in getting the body to lean out!) I’ve heard great things about the Advocare products (though haven’t used them myself) in terms of low/no-cal recovery products. Good luck!!

  14. April 22, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Wow! What an incredible transformation you have made, it certainly is inspiring!! I just began Crossfit 5 weeks ago. I’m an ultrarunner who is a sugar addict! I’m ready to stop running the endless miles, give up the sugar (which scares me) and become stronger!! Thanks for sharing your story.

    • July 11, 2012 at 11:16 am #

      That’s wonderful, Julie! Thanks so much for reading and for your kind comments! Hope you’re still having a blast with CrossFit!

  15. Evelia
    June 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm #


    First of all, congrats on your baby! I read your blog and I was very intrigued by the diet that you did at the beginning. I just started to do crossfit, however I would like to incorporate a diet in order to improve my weight loss results. You mentioned that you cut out all grains, dairy and sugar from your diet. I would like to know if you could explain the breakdown of your daily meals for me. Thanks for all of your help!


    • July 11, 2012 at 11:15 am #

      Thanks, Evelia! I basically just followed a “Zoned Paleo” diet… Paleo itself prescribes eliminating grains, dairy, and processed sugars from your diet. You can find lots of good resources on Paleo in general on my Resources/Links Page: From there, I basically applied some of the Zone principles to control for quantities. (Paleo is all about food quality, whereas Zone is all about food quantity.) I ate 4-5 “meals” a day, four of which were comprised of about 4 oz. of good quality meat, a veg serving, and a fat serving. Once a day, I would just have a snack of about 15 almonds (good fat), and I would drink anywhere from 1-2 gallons of water per day. I did cut out fruit for about a month, as it is quite high in sugar, though on maintenance, it’s definitely part of my diet. Hope that helps! Good luck!

      • Lisa
        April 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

        PaleoBetty, you rock! I am so glad I found this write-up. I’ve been eating paleo for 2.5 years now, but not always to lose weight. Right now I’m working to lose about 20 lbs of fat by the end of June/mid-July. My question for you is, did you follow Zone quantities strictly? I zoned when I first started Crossfitting about 3 years ago and I had great results. But it was SO MUCH FOOD! I was eating 3 blocks of p/c/f at every meal, and I ate 3-4 meals a day. Did you measure out your veggies with each meal, or just eat a ton and call it good?

        I’m eating no fruit, no sweet potato, carrots only post-WOD if I feel like I need one. Otherwise it’s just lean meats and greens. I stick to avocado, coconut oil/milk, and a few almonds if I need them throughout the day. I’m crossfitting 3-4x/week and incorporating 1000-2000m rows 1-2x/week. Thanks for any input you might have. I appreciate it.

      • May 1, 2013 at 11:54 am #

        Thanks, Lisa!! 🙂 I did weigh/measure my food (specifically the proteins and fats) while I was in “loss mode”… I find that it was just easier to prep a bunch of food at the beginning of the week and portion it out. I basically did 4oz. protein + a good fat + a lot of leafy greens (or other veggie) 4-5 times a day. I was definitely eating often (and a lot of veg), but I did find that it worked for my body. Sounds like you’re doing all the right things! I avoided fruit and starchy veg (sweet potato) while losing… I’ll admit my post-workout recovery might have been better if I’d had them in moderation, but I was laser-focused on weight loss at the time.

        Hope to hear how things are going!


  16. Ashley
    July 27, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    This is so inspiring! I am currently doing a Crossfit Bootcamp that meets 3x/week. My diet is s*** but I am starting a 21 Day Sugar Detox today so I’m hoping it will make enough of a difference in the short time for me to see results. I also would love to start running but feel like I am going to collapse after a mile, let alone 3 so props to you for doing 5k 2x/week when you started out!! Question – did you stick to just lean proteins (i.e. white meat/fish) or did you incorporate beef and pork as well?

    • August 2, 2012 at 9:07 am #

      Hi Ashley! Thanks so much for your note! How is the Sugar Detox going? I really did find that it was primarily dietary changes that helped me finally achieve my goals (both aesthetically and performance-wise). Keep it up with the running – just go a little longer each time, and take walk breaks if you need ’em! I did! I definitely ate beef and pork as well, but stayed to leaner cuts and trimmed any significant excess fat. Bison is also a really great option if you can get it. Good luck!

  17. February 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Wow, so impressed by your determination! I feel inspired by your comittment. I’m going to my first Crossfit class/session on Thursday! Hope your success keeps me motivated.

    • February 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

      Thanks, Claire! I hope you love it! 🙂

  18. February 13, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    What an amazing story! It really has planted the seed that I need to get serious about my food intake again!

    • February 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

      I’m so glad, Charlie! 🙂 I really do find that it’s the food that does it for me… And I feel SO much better!

  19. pat
    February 14, 2013 at 5:32 am #

    This has really motivated me. I am 61 years old and have been doing crossfit for almost a year. To say it has changed my life is an understatement. So I know THAT isn’t the problem. I’ve dabbled with Paleo but after reading your blog, my friend and I are committing to a solid month along with our crossfit training. Please tell me black coffee is ok…if you get all your water in.

    • February 14, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

      That’s awesome, Pat! 🙂 So glad to hear that you’re giving Paleo a go… it really has made an enormous difference for me (and made my CrossFitting that much better, too). Black coffee’s fine… just drink that water! Good luck!

      • Thomas
        March 1, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

        Paleo Betty,
        I am a soldier and helicopter pilot im 6ft 2in tall and want to get hardcore into Paleo how would you recommend i start to kick soda etc and not die ??? LOL

      • March 7, 2013 at 9:47 am #

        🙂 Definitely two good ways to start! For me, the best place to start was dropping grains, dairy, and processed sugars – that alone will get you well on your way! Good luck!

  20. Banana
    February 25, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    It’s so good to read your successful story.
    I just recently started Crossfit and also trying my best to stick to Paleo diet by
    eating lots of veggies, meat, a few almonds, no sugar, no carbs and no dairy.
    But I still have concerns. At the moment I’m crossfitting 2 times a week and on full time paleo but I’m so scared that I won’t lose weight but instead just getting stronger. I’m 20 kilo (about 40 pounds) overweight so I desperately wish to lose them.
    From your experience do squats, press and lifting weight really help me lose the fat in my body? Cause right now its all in the belly and behind 😦

    • Banana
      February 25, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

      Also I’m hoping to lose them fast. Always dreamed of being able to wear a bikini without everything falling out. So I’m hoping for weight loss and fit for summer

    • February 26, 2013 at 9:53 am #

      Great to hear that you’re starting CrossFit and Paleo! Sounds like your diet is looking good… In terms of fat loss, for me, it’s all about the diet. The way I look at it, the diet/nutrition helps you lose the fat, and the CrossFit a.) helps keep you motivated, and b.) makes the body you uncover strong and fit. The lifting in CrossFit is excellent – it will make you stronger, build muscle that burns more fat, and help shape your body (plus it’s great for keeping your sanity, too!). CrossFit will only help you achieve your weight loss goals. That said, I’ve found that no matter how hard you work out, real weight loss comes from a dialed-in diet (i.e. Paleo). So, I encourage you to keep up what you’re doing – it will work! It may take a little bit of time – typically about 2 pounds/week – but you’ll get there! 🙂

  21. April 26, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    Thank you for sharing your story! I am on day 3 of paleo and day 3 of crossfit. I did crossfit before, but didn’t have the mindset I have now. Your story is inspiring. i will let you know how it goes 🙂

  22. lexmasterflex
    July 14, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Hey! Awesome post! I really want to do paleo but did you do the grass fed meat? I’m finding it nearly impossible with the cost! Wow!

    • July 29, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      Thanks! I’ll say that I don’t do grass-fed nearly as much as I should. However, I’m big on all natural, no hormones or antibiotics (ever). It’s easier to find and it strikes a good balance for me. 🙂

  23. Antigone Oreopoulos
    July 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    Hi! I love your transformation story. May I ask how much one serving of fat is – is it a tablespoon or teaspoon of oil?

    • July 29, 2013 at 10:25 am #

      Thanks! If you’re really Zoning your portion sizes, 1 “block” of fat is 1.5 grams. A medium female needs about 11 total “blocks” of fat per day (16.5 grams), while a typical medium male needs 17 blocks. You’ll just need to check the label on the particular fat you’re using to see how much you’ll need. I’d definitely recommend checking out the Zone Diet for more details – it really helps dial in the quantity and ratios of food. Thanks!

  24. jamie
    August 2, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    I have no problem eating strictly Paleo or having the energy to workout-however I CANNOT get myself to not need to eat right before bed. I will toss and turn all night with hunger. Is it OK to eat some protein before bed or do I need to tough it out?

    • August 5, 2013 at 11:29 am #

      I feel ya! 🙂 This one was a struggle for me at times. I think it comes down to your bed time. I don’t eat after about 8pm if possible, but I’m in bed/asleep by 10:00/11:00. If you’re a 1am bedtime person, that’s probably not super realistic. I’d say you want to keep eating to a minimum for about 2 hours before bedtime – you’ll obviously have to adjust for your lifestyle. I find that the nights I go to bed starving, I sleep poorly and my performance is impacted the next day. Sometimes an emergency handful of protein or some almonds is the way to go.

  25. Chrissy
    August 28, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Hi! This is awesome, and so inspiring. I’ve never been an athlete and always been overweight, but I finally joined Crossfit about a month and a half ago… and i’m on my 3rd week of strict paleo (not Zoned though).

    Instead of doing 30 days paleo, this is making me excited to extend the strictness to 3 months! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    • September 3, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      Thanks, Chrissy! I’m so glad you’re enjoying your Paleo/CrossFit experience!

      • Stephanie
        September 19, 2013 at 12:41 am #

        Just curious did you follow an 11 block with the zone portioning?

      • March 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

        I’d have to go back and look – I think I’m a “medium” female. 11 sounds about right. I don’t strictly zone blocks today, but I do use MyFitnessPal to make sure I’m keeping the 40/30/30 ratio in my daily consumption. THanks!

  26. Christian
    October 30, 2013 at 12:31 am #

    Thats wonderful. With your strict regime, would you consider the eating plan as a framework which can be reasonably applied to a busy person’s lifestyle?

    • March 24, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

      Without a doubt… I work full-time at a demanding high-tech job and have two kids plus one on the way. 🙂 It just takes planning! Plus, you end up with much more energy feeding your body right – makes it a lot easier to tackle that busy lifestyle.

  27. November 5, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    Pretty much the same story here. I was 9 months into Crossfit and I wasn’t seeing results that I expected to see because I wasn’t changing what was going into my face. I eliminated the crap (grains, high glycemic foods, etc.) and dropped 40lbs. I got rid of alcohol, which is essentially liquid sugar, and felt great. Then, I compromised at the Games and drank a crap ton of beer. Oops. Back on track now though. Still working hard to achieve a low BFP and lean out to my genetic potential. Thanks for the post.

    • March 24, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

      That’s great, Jon! Hope it’s still going well!

  28. Andrea Timm
    February 7, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

    I really find your story inspiring. I, too, have been athletic in many areas. After reaching 50, my body started responding differently. No matter what I did. I started to pack on the pounds. I have never been a heavy person!! I finally gave in to the Crossfit craze. After 6 months of going 5 days a week, I begin to build a lot of muscle, mostly in my legs, which is no surprise since I was a long distance runner for years, but I wasn’t losing the inches I had expected to lose. I am a healthy eater, I juice raw veggies, never eat fast or fried foods, but I do eat some starches. Not a lot. Not enough to defeat my workout efforts. At the box members are always talking about Paleo. I finally decided to give it a shot after much research. I came across Paleo in a box and it finally clicked. My missing link was that I wasn’t feeding my body to reach my fitness goals. I have to share this because for me, it made all the difference. I hope it does for you and fellow crossfitters.

  29. Andrea Timm
    February 7, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

    I also want to add that supplementing with superfoods, like Spirulina and Wheatgrass, really cuts down on cravings. I have been doing this for about 3 months and really notice a difference in that AND energy levels!!

  30. Grace Anne
    March 18, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    Hi PaleoBetty,
    I just came across your blog, and I am so excited to read about your story! I am getting married in four months, and I have a few pounds to shed and would love to get in better shape. So far, diets haven’t worked for me because I love food too much! I’ve also loved being an athlete my whole life, and I am interested in doing CrossFit, But it seems kind of expensive And I already have a gym membership… But I’m not seeing the results I want yet.

    A few questions for you: where do you get your Paleo recipes? And what do you do when you are out with friends? It seems that every weekend the hard work that I did during the week to eat right and exercise is completely undone… I need some tips on how to maintain my routine during the weekend when going out with friends and eating out is a given.

    I live in Dallas and would love to try CrossFit here soon. There’s a big CrossFit culture here and it is a little bit intimidating… Any suggestions on how to begin without knowing how to do everything there? My goal is to be able to do a pull-up unassisted and to trim down and tone up all over. 🙂

    Thank you for your blog! You are an inspiration!

    Grace Anne

    • March 24, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

      Hi Grace Anne! Thanks so much for your note! And congrats on your upcoming wedding!

      I’ll definitely say that the majority of my weight loss really came from changing my food habits, rather than the working out. 😉 It’s 80-90% food, 10-20% working out when it comes to dropping pounds (the working out makes it all look a lot better, though!). I found that “Zoning” a Paleo diet was what worked best for me… controlling both the quantity and the quality of my food. I’ve recently started using MyFitnessPal to track my food (rather than a written journal) – it’s awesome for staying accountable, and it will show you your daily macronutrient breakdown (for Zone, it’s ideally 40% carb, 30% fat, 30% protein). I’m in my 2nd pregnancy now, and it’s really helping me stay accountable. 🙂

      For recipes, there’s a ton of good stuff here: And, there are some really great cookbooks on the market now – just go to I personally love Gather and Nom Nom Paleo. One more thing – I’ve found that things like can be a big help when you’re getting started… Helps you learn the portion control and mix of foods that work for you.

      For going out, I really try to plan what I’m going to eat BEFORE I go out – I’ll look up the menu online and pick my food ahead of time so I’m not tempted to cheat in the moment. The MyFitnessPal tracker helps with that, too – more accountability.

      As far as CrossFit goes, just get out there and give it a shot! Each gym (box) should have a program for new folks that walks you through the lifts (something I’d never done before) and helps you get your technique sound. Everything is scalable, and though it will be hard, go at your own pace, and you’ll be amazed at what you’ll be able to do. My brother (who got me into CrossFit) used to work out at CrossFit Dallas Central – they’re a well-known box, and I bet they’d be a great place to start.

      Good luck! Have fun!!


  31. March 20, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    Thank you, your blog really helped me. I start CrossFit on Friday and I’m a bit nervous. Your blog has really helped to ease my anxiety a bit. Thank you for being so open and candid about your experience. Congratulations on your Weightloss and newfound confidence in yourself. That’s what I hope to achieve as well.

    • March 24, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

      Happy to help! Good luck with the CrossFit – how did it go? I really appreciate you taking the time to drop me a comment, and I wish you all the best!


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