Taking on the Paleo Diet…
I’ve been nervous to write this post for some time. Nervous because I can assume what it must be like to read my story; my story of inconsistency. Of ups. And downs. And I’m feeling awesome. And now I’m not. To read, “today I’ll start Weight Watchers!” Only to watch it fade. Or to see me declare “Operation Skinny Jeans.” Only to never hear of it again.
But I suppose that’s who I am. Someone who consistently tries. And consistently fails. But tries again and again and again, in the hopes that one day, just maybe, it’ll work. One day I’ll figure it out. One day I’ll wake up and see how I chipped away at myself (in the weight sense) from consistently trying and trying and trying again.
And so on Monday, this Monday, November 5th, I am starting a strict Paleo challenge. Just me, myself and I. It wasn’t a light-hearted decision – I’ve been sitting on this idea for months now, hearing success stories, & seeing the results with my own two eyes from people at my CrossFit, or through stalking people like Karla on Tumblr.
I’ve told my crossfit. I’ve told my friends. I’ve told Matt & my roommates. I’ve told the girls at work. And now I’m telling my blog; this Monday, I am going to challenge myself. And this time around, I’m determined to do it, and do it properly.
It’s not quite a full 30-day challenge, more of a 27 day challenge because my 28th birthday falls on December 3rd. So that’s my deadline; my birthday. I want to lose a few pounds before then, and prove to myself I can do this. I want to wake up on my 28th feeling all va-va-voom! I want to wake up and be a happy, healthy me, not a sad, depressed, “ohmigod I weighed 20+ pounds less last year this time me.”
So, now for the dirty deets:
What is Paleo?
On paper Paleo is an easy “diet” (I don’t like calling it a diet). It’s essentially the Eat-Like-A-Caveman way of eating. (Paleo comes from words Paleolithic Era -> caveman era). Pretty much you can eat everything a caveman had access to, and nothing they didn’t.
DO NOT EAT (you just know the below list will be all the delicious things in life)
- Eat real food – meat, fish, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re natural and unprocessed. (Full shopping list here)
- Processed foods. This includes protein shakes, pre-packaged snacks/meals, protein bars, milk substitutes, sweeteners (OMIGOD WHAT ABOUT MY COFFEE?), etc.
- Alcohol, in any form.
- Grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, millet, oats, corn, rice, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.
- Legumes. This includes beans (black, kidney, lima, etc.), peas, lentils, and peanuts or peanut butter. This also includes all forms of soy.
- Dairy. This includes all cow, goat or sheep’s milk, cream, butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
- Potatoes. It’s arbitrary, but they are carbohydrate-dense and nutrient poor, and also a nightshade.
In Short: Meat + Veggies + Right Fats + Some fruits = healthy Liz
Why did I chose Paleo?
Because I’ve seen it works. Like 100% works. I’ve always been sceptical of Paleo because it is a no “portions diet” and I’ve always believed, “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.” Sure, there are ways to optimize a day’s worth of calories, but I’ve always believed 3,000 calories a day of celery or 3,000 a day of chocolate is the same.
I’m still side-eying this theory, so during this month I’ll also be tracking my calories on My Fitness Pal in the beginning to try and ensure I’m under 2,000 a day. (Note: Even 2,000 calories/day scares me!)
Also, in all my years of trying to lose weight (I swear I’ve tried everything!) I’ve never given up sugar. Paleo makes you give up sugar. I think the first week is going to be HARD, but I really need to cut back on my sugar, and this will help :)
The Ultimate Goal
I’d love to lose 4 or 5 pounds by my birthday and be in the 160s! But the ultimate goal will be to lose inches off my stomach (I need to fit into my hiking pants by January!)
I’m also going to be really strict for the first month. The ultimate goal after my birthday (Dec 3) when the challenge ends will be to maintain Paleo 80/20 and introduce it as a lifestyle change.
I also want to learn about Paleo, and see with my own two eyes how it’s about WHAT I eat, not how much.
Oh hai there. Yes. That’s right. A nutritionist is involved. Praise the good Lord people out there who were always on my case for this. I’ll be meeting the nutritionist every Wednesday throughout the challenge. She’ll also be taking full measurements, weight, and body fat before & after the challenge and helping me when need be. (Obvs I’ll post my stats)
Operation FIT-HIKING-PANTS-STAT. I’m heading to New Zealand in February to hike-hike-hike, and I need/want/am determined to fit my hiking pants.
Right now (as you can see) I can hardly walk in them.
Matt also took good, proper, before photos of me holding up today’s date with a bikini (shudder) on. Hopefully one day I’ll have a great after photo to go with them.
Example of a week of meals
The Paleo diet is effort, but I think easy effort. Most of the meals are straightforward and nearly all normal meals (burger ‘n fries) have a Paleo alternative and remember my Paleo Shepherd’s Pie? or Paleo Chipotle Chicken Bacon Cauliflower Casserole?
Also, eating out isn’t too scary either (steak & veg? yes please) but I’m a little worried about the weekends and boredom. This Tuesday (Melbourne Cup Day = Public Holiday) will be a great test for me.
My Shopping List
Questions, comments, concerns?
Would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on my eating plan - or hear great recipes, or advice for snacks! As you can see I’m not too creative in that category.