Sleep Love Eat

Meet the Parents: A Family Paleo Success Story

Don and Kari Williams - Paleo Parents of the Paleo Girls!!

As I sit down to write this, I feel as though I am sitting upon a Paleo Pedestal.

Jake and I began eating Paleo about a year ago – right before we joined Gravity Janes. Nine months later, my sister Shelley (co-author of the blog here) began her Paleo Diet, and I was so excited for her. One month after that, in January of this year, our parents joined the Gravity Janes 6-Week Nutrition Challenge, and are now Paleo eaters as well. We’re a rare bunch these days, but hopefully that will change.

The day that Jake told me that my parents came to the gym and signed up for the Challenge, I actually became teary eyed. My eyes watered with happiness… with relief… with stress lifting off of my shoulders. My mom had been experiencing some serious arthritis pain for a while, and my dad had recently scared us with a trip to the hospital, and I was so very excited to know they were going to begin this journey and take charge of their health. To hear this news was better than Christmas morning. Those of you on Paleo know, it’s not simply a diet, it really is a lifestyle change for the better.

Our parents have since completed the Gravity Janes Nutrition Challenge, so I thought why not have you hear about it from their point of view? I sent a few questions their way, and here are their responses. Enjoy!

  • What is the reason/are the reasons you signed up for the Gravity Janes Paleo Challenge?

MOM: To be proactive about my health and become free of aches and pains while at it.

DAD: Well I passed out last November and the doctors told me they could find nothing wrong with me.??  Plus my size 36 jeans were so tight I was thinking of upgrading to a pair of 38’s.  Then I noticed both Joey and Jake were looking pretty trim and I started wondering if maybe there was still hope for me.  And I thought with the support group from Gravity Janes and with my wife’s help that we might be able to do this.

  • Please describe how you were feeling (physically and/or emotionally) before starting the Paleo Challenge?

MOM: Lots of aches and pains all over from arthritis – about an 8 or 9 on the scale in my joints and lower back. Like most people, I just got used to it and figured it was part of “old age!”

DAD: I have always felt that I was in fair shape for my age.  I felt ok physically but was still worried about my waistline expansion.  I had 3 pair of 38 pants in my closet just in case I popped a button on my 36’s.  And I wasn’t happy about this.

  • How were your feeling first couple of weeks on the challenge? Any frustrations? Any positive observations?

MOM: I did miss some of my “bad foods” but after a week or so I realized I did not ache anymore so it was well worth it – yeah!

DAD: Well I was very frustrated.  I love sugar, cereal & dairy products.  For me to cut all this out of my diet “cold turkey” was close to committing suicide.  Plus having to eat lots of veggies just about gagged me.  However, I decided to do it if my wife would do it with me.  So we just did it.  I missed and still miss my am cereal, sugar & milk.  But things started to change so rapidly that I kept going with it.  The protein breakfasts really must have got my body working like it is supposed to.  I could actually feel my body’s metabolism churning inside of me.  It felt weird to feel this way but I had more energy than I ever remember having before any time in my life.  And then there was the weight loss.  Of course I never weighed myself because that is totally forbidden.  Had I been able to weigh in once in a while I think it would have been a positive motivator, at least for me anyway.  Who dropped 20 lbs.?  Wow at least I felt like I did.  My pants were starting to slide down my hips.  My ass shrunk and even my face got skinny.

  • What was your biggest challenge in going Paleo?

MOM: Biggest challenge was breakfast and snacks as I always had yogurt for breakfast which was quick and easy and junk food for snacks!  Oh, and you really have to plan meals ahead since there’s a lot of chopping and buying fresh veggies, etc. going on.

DAD: For me it was cutting out all the sugary and grainy snack foods and eating more veggies.

  • How were the Gravity Janes seminars?

MOM: Seminars were good – gave us lots of good information on nutrition along with recipes and shopping lists.

DAD: Informative and very good reinforcement for this nutritional way of eating.  And the book is really interesting.

  • How were the Gravity Janes weekly meetings?

MOM: They were great, too.  We got all our questions answered along with the support we desperately needed.

DAD: I attended but I’m not such a good meeting guy.  I didn’t do the food log.  But the meetings were again great support and you learn from the others who had a lot of good ideas and it’s good to hear them struggling with the same issues as yourself.

  • What physical and/or emotional changes have you noticed now that you have completed the 6-week Paleo Challenge?

MOM: Don’t feel so full or “bloated” after meals any more and don’t get as hungry in between meals like I used to get.  Emotionally, I don’t worry about cancer returning as I feel I’m doing the best I can to prevent it.

DAD: Well sometimes I miss that afternoon nap while sitting in my chair trying to get some work done. Instead I actually get some work done.  My body has shrunk.  I feel more energetic most of the time.  I don’t think I have as many highs and lows.

  • Do you plan to go back to your old way of eating, or are you sticking with Paleo?

MOM: We’ll be sticking to the Paleo diet, but know that we will go off of it occasionally (referring to an “open” meal if we go to someone’s house for dinner). At a restaurant, I will ask for extra veggies instead of potatoes, and at home I will stick to the way we’ve been eating (Paleo!).

DAD: I am trying to toe the line here!  I don’t think it will ever be easy for me.  It’s really hard going or not going out to eat I should say.  Social events are a little difficult but I think if I can keep on it for about 6 months I will get this all figured out.

  • How else has the Paleo Diet affected you?

MOM: It’s a nice feeling to know we’re eating right for a change!

DAD: I look at a lot of my friends and know they would feel better and be better off if they had better nutritional habits.  I’m starting to buy size 34 pants now.

Congratulations again, Mom & Dad!!! Shelley and I both are so happy to see you looking and feeling so good! We love you so much! Thanks for being a great example for the rest of the families out there!

***Do you have a Personal Paleo Success story? Please share it in the comments section! The more we share about our benefits from a Paleo diet, the more others will be inclined to give it a shot… so spread the word!

****Also – anyone who is outside the Seattle are an unable to attend the Gravity Janes Nutrition Challenge starting April 3rd – we may have a solution for you as well! I’ll keep you posted!! If you’re interested in becoming part of the challenge, but you’re not in the area, please drop a comment here!! Thanks!

Happy eating everyone! Joey


  1. Sara Duchesne

    Hi there my husband and I would really like to participate in your challenge. We are in Texas, is this possible? Is there some kind of online challenge we could do? Would love to hear from you.

    • Hi Sara – Gravity Janes is currently working on a way to make the seminar available live. Even if not, it will be recorded and Dave, the gym owner, would love to make it accessible to you somehow. You can contact him at for more information!

  2. How encouraging! I just started my first Whole30 seven days ago. I’m young (late 20’s) and have been having a lot of joint pain since December. I’m not overweight and have been thinking I’m “stuck” with pain the rest of my life. I’m so happy to hear that your mom’s pain has stopped and I’m hoping it will not cause me as many problems in the future either. :) Congrats to your parents!

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