30 Day Paleo Challenge: Ending Early
So I started the 30 Day Paleo Challenge 14 days ago.
Unfortunately, I’m cutting it off at the half way point.
I feel guilty for not committing to the full challenge, but then I remembered this is just a blog. It’s not my job. I don’t get paid to do this. My life doesn’t depend on it. It’s for fun. This challenge became more than not fun and everyone around me noticed.
My boss asked if I was depressed. My mom asked why I kept it up if I wasn’t getting positive results. My poor boyfriend. I don’t even know what he was thinking.
Ultimately, my blog is not a diet blog. It’s a food blog.
I love food. Cooking and sharing what I make is just fun, so I want to keep it that way.
But all that said, I wanted to share my thoughts on my two week attempt at Paleo:
1. Paleo is just NOT for me.
I think everyone’s body and metabolism is different and you need to find what works for you. I was hungry all the time, unsatisfied, cranky and I had strange bowel issues (that I’ve NEVER had before) that I never talked about because that seemed like TMI. If you haven’t found what works for you yet, then Paleo’s worth a try. Even if you have found what works for you, sometimes trying something new (like Paleo) is a good reminder of that.
2. Paleo was just too much meat for me.
When I say meat, I mean any animal protein (including chicken and fish, not just beef and pork). I used to be vegetarian. Even though I’m not anymore, I’m used to eating beans 3-4 times a week. Honestly, I felt disgusting eating as much meat as I did during these past few days. This is definitely not an environmentally-friendly diet. I’m ready to eat beans.
3. There are some things I’ll keep.
I don’t think I’ll go back to putting milk in my coffee, and honestly I really enjoyed the paleo pancake and green smoothie breakfast. I’ll probably keep that up instead of yogurt. I felt great in the mornings after eating that, and I would stay full for a good while. So there’s a plus!
4. I didn’t lose weight, and that’s ok.
I think I didn’t lose weight because it wasn’t that drastically different from my previous diet, and I don’t have that much weight to lose. I’m used to packing my lunch and cooking from scratch. So that wasn’t that big a change. The biggest change was the elimination of beans and tortillas (I don’t even buy bread or cereal). I think if I wanted to have the drastic results that other people talk about on paleo, I would have had to eliminated fruit and nuts. That means basically only eating meat and vegetables. That’s limiting WAYYY too much.
5. I need to make dinner.
I used to just sort of snack for dinner, and that made me want sweets. I realized that when I eat a full meal for dinner, I don’t want dessert as much. Lesson learned: cook dinner, sit down and eat it!
6. I can go without sugar for a week, no problem.
I did it for 2 weeks just now. I passed up cake at a wedding, didn’t eat chocolate chips, eliminated all added sugars, and I didn’t die! I originally wanted to give this a try because I thought I ate too much sugar. I think it’s totally feasible (and healthy) for me to stick to once a week treats. I just proved to myself that I can do it for longer than a week. I just need to stick to it. Saying NO isn’t that hard.
7. I know my body.
As someone who has maintained a 50lb weight loss (fluctuated 10-15lbs over the years but managed to keep it off), I know what works for me. Having everything in moderation keeps my happy, healthy and satisfied. It encourages me to exercise more and not overeat. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating bread, cheese, wine, cake, cookies. You just shouldn’t be eating it everyday. But like I said, that’s me and my body. Paleo might work great for others.
8. I’d rather not binge.
Last night, I had 4 and a half pieces of pizza, about 3 pieces of cake, and a bunch of flat bread with eggplant dip. More than I need to eat in a day, and while I was happy to eat carbohydrates again, I didn’t feel good eating that much. I can’t remember the last time I had a binge like that. I’d finally kept it under control and gotten by by practicing moderation. Feeling deprived makes me binge. If I had a totally normal relationship with food, then cutting out food groups probably would be fine. But let’s be honest, I don’t. But that’s just me and my issues.
Overall, Paleo was a good experiment, but it just wasn’t for me. I know what works for me.
I remember the first day I started a diet, over 10 years ago (funny the things we remember, right?), we had guests over that night. My mom made something delicious that was totally NOT diet-friendly. She said not to worry. Have dinner with everyone and continue the diet tomorrow.
That’s the best advice I ever got.
This weekend, my mom gave me a large pieces of cake that she brought from Guatemala. My aunt in Guatemala made it. I don’t know how she does it, but I swear it’s the best cake on Earth. I cut the large piece is half, put each piece in a ziploc bag and stuck them in the freezer.
The pieces are waiting for me for that moment when I really want it and it’ll taste best, not just when it’s there.
Cake in the freezer. That’s what works for me.
Thanks for following me on my Paleo experiment. It’s been fun (or something).
Now, back to normal blogging?
UPDATE: In case you’re curious… here’s an update on Life After the Paleo Challenge…