I lost 150 pounds on the paleo diet. Now I do CrossFit competitions.

  • Barbara Card was unhappy with her body and emotional state when she weighed 280 pounds.
  • She went on the paleo diet and worked a part-time cleaning job at the gym to cover her fees.
  • She lost 150 pounds and competes in CrossFit.

This essay as stated is based on a conversation with Barbara Card. Edited for length and clarity.

I’ve always been non-athletic. But when I finally caught the fitness bug at age 43, nothing stopped me from working out.

My gym membership fees were beyond my budget. But I cleaned the place, including the bathrooms in return.

My gym activity and healthy eating transformed my life. I’ve lost 150 pounds, my dress size has dropped from a 20 to a two, and I compete in CrossFit tournaments.

I have been heavy since childhood. I would fake my mom’s grades to get out of PE. “She’s on her period,” he wrote. Anything to avoid exercise. Whenever I did, I felt uncoordinated and uncomfortable.

I’ve always been an emotional eater. I turned to food when I was celebrating or upset. I was never a fan of fast food, but I used to cook huge meals. I would eat a large steak with mashed potatoes and gravy, with mac and cheese on the side. Dessert would be cheesecake.


A woman in a boat in a bikini holding a fish and a fishing rod.

Card enjoyed the vacation before starting exercise and the Paleo diet.

Courtesy of Barbara Card



Meanwhile, I became a heavy drinker and smoker. He had an addictive personality.

I joined a gym with the financial support of my boss

I became aware of my weight. My husband, Cameron, and I went to an amusement park and rode a roller coaster. The assistant could not place the bar on my stomach. Then I saw her laughing with her co-workers.

I didn’t have the willpower to diet for a long time. He was five feet tall and weighed 280 pounds. I thought it was a lost cause.

Then in 2017, the owner of the small soap company I work at motivated me to turn things around.

We talked about my attempts to lose weight. He was watching his health and had a family membership at a nearby gym. “Why don’t you take a class after work?” he suggested. “I’ll pay for you to join.”

I wasn’t offended. He was watching over me; It came from a place of love and care.

Before I went to the gym for the first time, I tried to avoid it.

“This is not the right place for me,” I thought. But I went in because I wanted to make my boss proud. I felt uncomfortable throughout the class, but I pushed through. A woman talked me into going back to a class at 5:30 in the morning two days later. I’m an early riser. “”That’s more my time,” I told him.

I was always motivated to try harder

Soon I was going to the gym almost every day. My boss paid for my membership for a year. After that, I supplemented my salary by working as a part-time cleaner there. It was the easiest way to pay the monthly fee.

I loved the adrenaline rush. As I got stronger, I started CrossFit. I lifted a 35 pound dumbbell and made it through 120 reps the first time. It motivated me to try harder.


A tattooed woman lifting a bar in a CrossFit tournament.

The card proves its strength in the gym.

Courtesy of Barbara Card.



These days I participate in CrossFit tournaments. It’s not about prizes. I compete against myself to see how far I can go. I do box jumps and pull-ups things I never dreamed I could manage.

I stopped drinking and smoking. I follow the paleo diet which is popular with high profile people like LeBron James and Peter Thiel. It consists mainly of lean proteins such as chicken and vegetables, fruits and other unprocessed foods.

Cameron is a baker and makes amazing paleo cookies. I’m going to make a paleo ice cream with cashew milk and fresh berries. It’s easier than I thought; I make homemade, healthier versions of store-bought treats.

This year I will be 50 years old. I feel and look better than I did in my 30s.

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