Diet coke (for breakfast)
Hamburger and fries (with the bun and well worth it)
Pizza (it was all my kid wanted for his preschool graduation)
Cupcakes (for a friend’s birthday, all the other ladies were eating them and it was impolite to refuse)
These are examples of entries from the food diaries that come across my computer screen during each Paleo Challenge at the gym. I can’t help but to chuckle at the commentary. I understand it’s hard for some people to make changes and eating Paleo can be a significant adjustment. This is especially challenging for those eating the Standard American Diet, consisting of processed, convenience food on the run. I am not intending to kick anyone out of the Paleo club for eating a verboten food. These missteps occur during challenges, and they certainly have entertainment value. However, most people are motivated to change the way they eat in order to reach a specific goal. They might want to be able to lift heavier weights or to improve an inflammatory health condition. Having a specific goal in mind when changing a habit, encourages behavior to make that goal attainable. So for those current Paleo Challengers looking for success, here are a few tips to ensure you feel your best when making the transition to a whole foods way of eating.
Here are 5 tips for success when eating Paleo.
1) Cut out the (hidden) sugar. This includes any sweetener like honey, agave syrup, stevia, coconut crystals; as well as fruit and alcohol. Fruit and honey can be eaten in moderation on a Paleo diet, but for those who are looking to reduce sugar cravings, lose weight, or balance blood sugar it is best to avoid them.
2) Don’t be afraid to eat fat. Lower carb and low fat is not a recipe for health. If you are hungry, you are not eating enough dietary fat. In our society, people are truly afraid of fat. Mostly, because many of the fats available to us are not healthy. When adding fat, look for Omega 3 fatty acid and short chain fatty acid containing sources like avocado, coconut oil, walnut oil, macadamia oil. Adding these fats will help you feel more full and give your body the fuel it needs to be a fat burner, instead of a sugar burner.
3) Add unrefined (any color but white) sea salt to your food or to your water. It can alleviate the symptoms of feeling tired, weak or dizzy. Part of these symptoms can be attributed to adjusting from being a sugar burner to a fat burner, which can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on your body. Once the body can effectively burn the fuel it is provided with increased energy should be experienced. Dietary salt is needed because the body has become more efficient at excreting sodium. The fewer carbohydrates you eat, the more sodium you need to add to your diet to maintain a proper electrolyte balance.
4) Eat your veggies. Your Mom was right. Not only do veggies supply necessary micronutrients and fiber, they also help to fill you up and are a great vehicle to add fat into. Slice them up and bring them on the road with you. Veggies make a great snack, especially with a Paleo friendly dip like guacamole.
5) Have a plan. The most important thing you can do is plan out what you are going to eat the day before. Planning is more important than cooking. Have your meals or snacks prepared to take with you for the day. Know where you can stop for a Paleo friendly meal or snack. Also, plan what you are having for dinner the following night. Do you have all the ingredients for it? Remember to make enough for leftovers so you have food for the following day.