I am a couple of weeks into eating Paleo and I am feeling Fab.U.Lous. My body feels cleansed and light, I have more energy, and my skin looks brighter too. When I started I wondered if I would be able to stick to a Paleo lifestyle, but now I’ve started, I don’t want to give it up.
Live and Learn
I tried Paleo once before, about a year ago. I didn’t really tell anyone which was a bit daft. I lasted a good month before bits of bread and cheese started finding their way into my mouth. The thing that triggered the end of Paleo then was my running. I found I didn’t have enough fuel in the tank and concluded I needed carbs to help me on longer runs. I didn’t really plan my meals either and found it hard to be inventive and inspiring in the kitchen. Basically I got bored making and eating the same stuff so I gave up. Another factor in hindsight was perceiving Paleo as a diet. Big mistake. I don’t like the word diet. It has associations with food restriction, hunger, and depriving myself of what I want and enjoy. I’ve always been someone who believes a bit of everything in moderation is okay so telling myself I’m on a diet is a waste of time, it suggests a temporary change. Now I am viewing things through different eyes. I am focused on what I can have rather than what I can’t and I don’t feel like I am missing out. This time around it’s a lifestyle change and there’s not much to grumble about. I have learnt from these experiences and I’m finding it a lot easier.
My recent decision to follow a Paleo lifestyle was triggered by continual sluggishness and bloatedness, and being stupid enough to step on some scales the night before a holiday. I don’t own scales and my partner got his out to weight our suitcases, otherwise I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. I was heavier than I thought, considerably so. I decided I needed to eat better to feel better and thought I would give Paleo another bash. I spent time checking out websites, reminding myself what it’s all about, and seeking out ideas and recipes. It led to me thinking about the mindless eating I do and how it was making me feel. Reading about Paleo made me question why I would want to put processed food into my body when it doesn’t make me feel particularly great. As Pete Evans says in his vids, “you owe it to your body” to give it the best you can.
So Far, So Good…
It’s been an interesting exercise so far. I am not being completely regimented and following the suggested 7 or 10 week plan to reset my body. I knew I would find that hard and would be hungry. I am eating meat, veg, fruit, seeds, and nuts. I may be breaking the rules sometimes, I’m not sure, I nibble a bit of dried fruit, have the odd cup of coffee, and probably eat a bit more fresh fruit than suggested. No more bread, grains, cereals, milk, cheese, or pasta though. Bye bye wine too*. Some of these were easier to say goodbye to than others, but I have come to the conclusion that I missed the convenience of these foods rather than their taste or what they gave me. I have discovered coconut flour, the versatility of ground almonds, become a bit obsessed with nut butters, and found I actually like some herbal teas (Archie Browns in Truro are doing quite well out of me).
I’m not going to lie, the first 3 or 4 days took persistence. Initially I was hungry which isn’t right. Thankfully a friend put me right and said I need to eat more fat (the odd spoon of nut butter or half of avocado). I made sure I had things to nibble on in the fridge – carrots, peppers, chicken thighs. Naturally I am tempted sometimes, it’s old habits. At these times, I grab something else to eat and question whether I really want that piece of bread, packet of crisps, or whatever has caught my eye. Within in seconds of pausing for thought, I find I no longer have the taste for it.
I have yet to see how it affects my running. I am recovering from an injury and haven’t ventured on a long run yet. I wonder if my body will find it hard relying on fat stores initially, like before. I hear the switch from carbs to fat isn’t easy but as I’ve started this while recovering from an injury, I wonder if it will be different. I’m hoping so.
The key to committing to the Paleo Way, for me, is motivation and dedication. I am a believer that if you really want something, are motivated and put in the effort, you will see a return. I think there is something in believing in what you are doing that promotes change and sustainability too. I am a determined person when I want to be. I am someone who goes for it once I set my mind to something. Other factors matter of course, like meal planning and being creative with food. I find work lunches the hardest and end up eating the same thing everyday but I’m getting there. I am looking more on the internet for ideas and have bought a book which has been so helpful. I am not shying away from finding the ingredients I need, like coconut oil (in Aldi of all places, organic too) and coconut flour. I am spending more money on food but certainly wasting less. I actually made it through a whole bag of spinach before it shriveled up and died – that never happens.
I don’t know how much weight I have lost, I don’t own scales. I’m trying not to pay too much attention to my size or actual weight loss. Instead I am focusing more on how I feel because that’s more important. When I reflect on this, I am kind of amazed how making some changes to what I eat has made me feel this good (just like the ladies below). Long may it continue.
*Most of the time