The Paleo Diet is quite a change for most people, and one that requires a positive mind set and determination. This is not because the diet is “hard” or because you don’t see results quickly enough to stay motivated. In fact, the Paleo Diet is extremely simple, you can eat as much of the allowed foods as you want, and results for many come in the first few days! What is difficult about eating paleo is simply the fact that most of us have not even gone one full day without eating grains, dairy, legumes, or processed sugars (the foods not permitted in the Paleo Diet). So how does one succeed at changing their diet for the better and choosing to eat paleo?
Going cold turkey with grains, dairy, legumes, and processed sugars can be too much for some people. If you are an all-or-nothing kind of person, then you won’t have as much trouble with this, and should consider doing a 30-day Paleo Challenge. However, if you know that you are going to have trouble letting go of these foods which have most likely made up the base of your diet for your entire life, taking the diet change in steps may be more effective and result in long-term success.
There are three levels in Loren Cordain’s book, The Paleo Diet. He recommends you start at Level One, which has an 85/15 ratio of paleo meals to free meals. This means you get three meals per week where you eat anything you want, and can essentially “cheat.” Don’t get carried away though. Remember that the reason we don’t eat grains, dairy, legumes, and processed sugars is not because we are trying to lose weight (although that is a natural result), but instead because our bodies cannot process them. Eating too much of these things on your free meals could set you back with weight loss progress and hurt your body.
Back to the point: at Level One you get some freedom to still enjoy your favorite foods, but are eating paleo enough to see the benefits of the diet. After eating at Level One for a month or two you may decide to move up to Level Two, which provides two free meals a week, and eventually Level Three, which allows only one free meal per week. If you are comfortable at Level One and think that moving to a stricter level will frustrate you and make you quit, just stay where you are. If weight loss is your goal or if you have a health issue, stricter compliance is recommended, and you might want to accelerate your progression through the levels.
Another trick I have found to make a world of difference when trying to stick with the Paleo Diet is having fresh fruit around at all times. Fruits are your sweet treat on the Paleo Diet. They are nature’s dessert, and after a while you will find yourself craving fruit instead of a piece of cake. When I don’t have fresh fruit around, I am much more likely to say, “screw it” and go buy a chocolate bar. Having fresh fruit around, and maybe even cleaned and ready to eat, will make satisfying your sweet tooth much easier, and will lessen your likelihood of cheating.
The Paleo Diet is probably one of the easiest diets to stick with, purely because it produces undeniable results within just the first days. You feel less hungry, more energized, don’t need your 2:00pm 5-Hour Energy shot, experience rapid weight loss, your sinuses clear, and your joints stop hurting. I can’t think of any other diets that produce that many positive results so quickly, and then continue to do so for, well, EVER. Despite these fantastic results, making this diet switch can seem impossible to some people. That’s why there are different methods to approach it with. Choose the method that best fits you and what you know about yourself. Finding a good Paleo meal plan to follow at first while you are getting used to your new diet can help a lot too. It takes the thinking out of the situation, and all you have to do is EAT! I hope this has been helpful, and you are excited to make a life-changing diet change.
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