Please welcome Meg White, blogger at CavemanCravings.net! She was willing share her success with the whole Paleo thing here, despite the realization that Cranky Fitness is not exactly a paleo blog.
Unless our primal ancestors had a few packages of this stuff stashed away in their caves?
How I Lost Weight on the Paleo Diet: An Ode to My Past Love, Bread
Some rights reserved by jeffreyw
That’s right: I, along with so many other people, had a very, very lost couple of months, when turning to food seemed the only option. Backed by my sure-and-sturdy comprehension of “what we’re meant to eat” via the Food Guide Pyramid, I chased every full-tier spaghetti meal with my standard helping of … Oreos. Sometimes extra helpings; this depended on my mood and how long the television program I was watching lasted.
Clearly, I needed help.
The Paleo diet seemed like a fad diet, at first. “Eat what your ancestors ate!” seems sort of like a joke statement. Like: I personally don’t trust anything we thought, “way back when.” We thought the world was flat, for example. We thought “radioactive” drinks were healthy for rheumatoid arthritis and sold them by the bucket full, like water from the fountain of youth. Some surgeon in the fifties thought that shark cartilage was effective cancer treatment. Listen: we had no idea what we were doing for a long, long time. And I’m sure we still don’t.
(And there is plenty more information available on the science behind the Paleo Diet).
However: there’s not so much to argue about with regards to the Paleo diet. At least, I couldn’t find anything when I first started, and I’m about as argumentative as they come. Certainly, I continue to struggle with sugar cravings. (Oreos do, after all, still exist.) And I can’t pretend I actually live in the hunter-gatherer age. I still watch television, and I still wear clothes (in various states of low-tier fashion, usually). I don’t normally have to make my own fire, unless I’m camping and my boyfriend is otherwise occupied. (So, never.) I still live a very normal life here in this closing 2014 year. However, over the past two years, I’ve steadily lost weight and gotten stronger with the Paleo diet.
And here’s how it happened.
1. I canceled my gym membership.
This seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? But I wanted to understand how to live a more conscious existence, and I wanted to start running outside. It started slowly, at first. I was living in Greece at the time,--yes, Greece has seldom-used gyms--, and those hills (more like mountains) were ROUGH. But I started first with twenty minutes. And then I gradually increased to thirty. I made myself a running calendar, and I made a big red X every time I completed a day. I didn’t allow myself to have a single rest day from “being in the outdoors, testing my limits” for twenty days. And after that, I was addicted. But I was a little weak.
Note that running outside is not for everyone. Check out a few of my ideas for exercising anywhere. Some Paleo dieters don’t even run; they enhance their blood flow with jumping jacks, for example, and call “ten minutes of exercise” a day. I call it personal preference. Personally, back then, I was running for better mentality about my health. And it worked.
Comic by xkcd.
2. I stopped eating bread and pasta (and so many refined sugars).
See: the reason I was a little weak while running was because I wasn’t giving myself enough protein. The carbohydrates I was eating were, unfortunately, being stored in my body in extra layers of fat (since carbohydrates are just bits of glucose running through your body, looking for a fat cell to call home). And despite the fact that bread—oh my dear, my love!—was a mainstay in my diet, I nixed it to see what would happen. I started eating meat again—after a few months of trying “veg,” and I found myself pushing faster and stronger up those Greek hills.
Comic by xkcd.
3. I stopped counting calories.
When I began to initiate with the Paleo diet completely, I stopped counting calories. I looked at myself in the mirror and noted the way my muscles lacked their “softness” of earlier years. I was looking toned and strong, and I was tired of watching every single thing I ate. I tried my best to eat a “Paleo diet”—which is, essentially, beef, chicken, fish, vegetables, nuts, and fruits. But when I messed up, I made peace with messing up. I completely halted the guilty feelings I had had in my previous counting calorie years. It was incredible. I was finally “free” from food. I still needed it to survive, but the relationship was different. Finally, it was like food and I were compatible, on the same level.
4. I continued to follow the diet after I lost the weight.
It took a few months to lose all the weight I wanted to. (Which, at that time, was about twenty pounds. I’m only five feet tall, and twenty pounds is a good deal on my small frame.) I permitted myself to weigh myself on the same day, every two weeks. I think it was a Wednesday. After I lost the weight, I continued to follow the Plan. I continued to enhance my running game. In fact, I recently ran a Mini Marathon in a time that is, perhaps, not too embarrassing.
My snacks during this post-weight-loss time consist of dried fruit and nuts; my meals are healthy, well-rounded, and lacking in high-carbohydrate items, like breads and pastas. (I do, of course, go for the occasional starchy vegetable, like the immaculate sweet potato. Note that the Paleo diet is not low carb by nature! Low carb makes me crazy.)
Luckily, my cravings are less nagging than they’ve ever been before; I feel like I’ve finally found a “diet plan” that can fuel me with nutrition and health for a long, long time.
In fact, many doctors and proponents of the Paleo diet state that Paleo:
- Can help you lose weight.
- Can reduce your risk of gut problems, like leaky gut syndrome. Note that leaky gut syndrome can lead to an unfortunate overall immune response. Furthermore, leaky gut syndrome is linked mental health.
- Can help you gain good muscle to rev your metabolism.
- Can introduce you to some of the most delicious snacks and foods in the known universe. 80% dark chocolate is actually where it’s at—which is not anything I knew back in my nutella-by-the-spoonful days.
- Can bring you renewed vitality. With Paleo, I finally had the hope to begin exercising, understanding what was going into my body, and noting how my body felt as a result. I’ve never wanted to jump off the lifestyle. After all: Paleo is more assimilated with what “life” actually is than any other diet plan, in my opinion. It allows you to mess up; it allows you to come rolling back. It initiates well with my rough-and-tumble lifestyle of traveling around the world. And I love it!
Meg White, blogger at CavemanCravings.net, is a tried-and-true Paleo addict, running around the world, searching for the most nutritional and tasty treats in every country she finds. Follow CavemanCravings.net for Paleo diet tips, Paleo diet recipes, and Meg’s eternal zest for good food and good times.