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…
35 thoughts on “30 Day Paleo Challenge: Ending Early”
I totally understand. I did gluten and dairy free for February and felt absolutely NO DIFFERENCE, I only lost about1.5 pounds and I felt constantly restricted. It wasn’t making me happy and I realized it was not the diet for me!
I did the same thing. I don’t eat meat and thought I could give Paleo a try. There are some recipes I adored but I am not strictly Paleo. I echo your sentiments and applaud you at least trying. We are in the same boat – trying Paleo and giving up halfway through! I feel yah. Good job recognizing it’s not for you. It’s hard to accept that it’s not when it seems to do good for so many people. Glad I stumbled upon your blog – love it!
Thanks so much for your comment. Paleo can definitely be tough for those not that into meat. Giving up meat was totally not an issue for me. Funny how that works out, right?
I really enjoyed following along on your journey, most all because I have a lot of the same issues with sweets and dieting as you do. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. Thank you for sharing and for sharing your feelings with us. Oh and it was very inspiring 🙂
Thanks Jenny!! We’re definitely not alone. It’s a struggle! I totally wish I didn’t want cake all the time 😀 Pinterest doesn’t help my cause haha.
I’m doing a 30-day paleo-like cleanse myself and… somewhat excited about it, somewhat low energy, drained and snappy (poor honey dude). My friend did it, too, and she is the one who set me up with it. Unlike paleo, I can’t have red meat, pork, eggs, nuts or dairy, so that means I am way sick and tired of chicken at this point, on day eight. Only 22 days left to go?! Yikes. My big break comes on the mid-way point, when I get a 24-hour free day, during which my hubby and I are going out to dinner (only restrictions: no gluten or peanuts) and then hosting a pie party the following day to celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary. I am SO looking forward to that breather! Hopefully it will give me just enough reprieve to keep going. Thanks for sharing! I’ve been sharing my own food journey, too, with recipes if you are interested. 🙂
Best of luck with your challenge!! Headed over to check it out 🙂
Good for you! Proud of you for recognizing it wasn’t right for you and not beating yourself up about stopping after 14 days. p.s. I’m going back to Rome soon and will be thinking of you!
Thanks Mara! Please tell me you’re going to meet up with Daniele and eat lots of gelato and pizza! Buon appetito!
While I never did a “challenge” like you, I had very similar feelings when trying to “be paleo” – I still incorporate paleo meals (love those pancakes) but didn’t do well with the feelings of restriction. Glad you are doing what is best for YOU!
Thanks Emily! Yeah I think the restrictive feeling is honestly the worst part. Today, I’ve eaten totally paleo without trying…
Seriously, this makes me feel so good– NOT that you “failed,” but just that you have the decency to know when something isn’t working for you. ALL I see about paleo is how much people LOVE it, but its method of eating just doesn’t appeal to me at all. I think you and I have very similar eating styles/habits (bread! veggies!), and I’m guessing I would feel just as deprived and angry (ha) on the paleo diet as you did. GOOD for you for stopping when you realized that it was doing more harm than good!
I totally agree! I see a ton of stuff on Paleo being the most awesome thing ever (same with juicing…). I’m glad I tried it, but it’s really not for me. And yeah, I think we do have similar eating styles. I think moderation is more our style.
I really enjoyed the post and the honesty. And everything. I am glad to be on this journey with you!
Thanks, Lauren!! Hope you’re doing well too!
Ah my boyfriend and I were trying something Paleo-similar and I’m pretty sure we almost broke up because we were both so unhappy. Not for me indeed.
Oh no!! Sounds like you were both as unhappy as I was. Good thing we figured out in time it wasn’t for us!
I’m sorry, you sound incredibly whiny and annoying. Why did you even try Paleo in the first place, did you read about it in Cosmo or something? Paleo isn’t necessarily for losing weight, it is a diet that is paired with a workout routine and is geared toward building and toning existing muscle.
Thanks for your mean comment. Yep, I’m incredibly whiny and annoying. But luckily, I’m not mean-spirited and condescending.
I tried Paleo, because since I started doing crossfit I heard a lot about it and wanted to get a feeling for what it was all about. I kept reading about how people felt wonderful and lost tons of weight (which if you read my earlier post on the paleo challenge, you’d see wasn’t my primary goal). That just didn’t turn out to be the case for me, but that’s ok.
Everyone’s goal are different, and I’m not discouraging anyone from trying paleo. I’m simply giving my own opinion based on my own experience.
^ Wow, gotta love the grace with which you replied to that douche! Go you! I applaud you.
Love your response to the previous one. What I don’t understand is why he seemed so offended. If he’s Paleo and that works for him then great! Why is there this common belief that the same thing needs to work for everyone. Some of us are apples, some are pears, etc…. I intend to try the 30 day Paleo diet for a variety of reasons, inflammation, fatigue, low energy…., but not really for weight loss. If it works for me, great, If not, hopefully I’ll just make some healthy changes. Right?
Enjoyed your posting very much.
Thanks Teresa. I definitely think Paleo is worth a try. I hope it works out for you! Thanks for reading! I’ll be sure to check out your blog as soon as I get a spare minute 😀
Hi. Just randomly found your blog–and just wanted to say I get it… I did a raw vegan cleanse for 1 out of the 4 weeks planned, and at the end of the week I ate a double in and out burger–lettuce wrapped, fries, and 2 classes of red wine! AND I FELT GREAT! I still eat lots of raw foods, and smoothies, but I can’t eat just that. Its good to know your body and not be miserable over restrictions. I’m currently eating a paleo diet–which is working so far because I have a severe gluten and dairy intolerance, so it feels good for me to cut out all grains- but I have to wait and see if it’s the right choice. Best of Luck. (AND TO THAT SUPER MEAN COMMENT ABOVE– LAY OFF! ALL WE CAN DO IS TRY AND IF IT DOESN’T WORK FOR US IT DOESN’T WORK! TO EACH HIS OWN AND DON’T BE A B*TCH! CRAWL BACK INTO YOUR PALEO MANCAVE)
Props to you for your raw-vegan cleanse, and I’m glad paleo is working out for you. I really do think it works for a lot of people, but like anything else, it’s not for everyone.
P.S. the last part of your comment made my day because the phrase “crawl back into your paleo mancave” gave me a great mental picture. You’re awesome!
I so appreciate coming across this blog. I have been struggling about whether to try it or not. I want a food practice that is sustainable for me and not eating dairy….I can give up a lot of things but cheese, not so sure about that.
I want to eat healthy and clean, but I wonder if Paleo is just another fad like Atkins, etc.
I definitely think it’s worth trying, because what have you got to lose, right? Paleo could be awesome for you! But I definitely think one needs to keep in mind that it doesn’t NEED to work for you. Just because it works for someone doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. But I definitely think it’s worth a try. If you haven’t found what works for you then it’s definitely worth trying for a few weeks at least. Thanks for your comment!
I was so happy to read this. I know this is an older post. I too decided to take the challenge and made it 24 days. Days 20 to 24 I started to feel extremely depressed. I didn’t want to go anywhere, didn’t even want to cook. The thought of meat made me ill. And I LOVE meat. I couldn’t put my finger on this new found depression. I had passed the hard week, the cravings were essentially gone, but I felt lonely and even disjointed from my family. I am a single mom of 3 kids. I did this challenge to see if I had food intolerances. I have no GI issues, however I have inflammation and acne that actually got worse. I attributed it to detox. Day 24 was the final straw. I was tired, sad, and even got teary. I decided I had enough. I quit that afternoon. I had a couple shredded beef tacos and no GI issues after. I actually felt happy, and wanted to do stuff. Its a weird feeling. I sort of felt like I had failed. But I really didn’t. I feel like this helped me really take a look at what I eat. No regrets. I’m eating more veggies than I ever have. I know I don’t need bread with a hearty bowl of broccoli cheddar soup. And as I write this I’m eating tuna salad with homemade mayo, fermented dill pickles on romaine boats. Its delicious. I don’t miss the bread! However, I feel good knowing how it feels to eat this way but still being able to enjoy a piece of See’s Candy that is sitting on my desk. Thanks for posting this, I needed to read it. I just reaffirmed exactly how I felt. Now I’m thinking that if I can do this, I can make other changes as well. A win win in my book.
Oh wow! Thanks for sharing your experience! I’ve been toying recently with the idea of trying again. I’m glad you brought this up because everyone’s body is so different. We all digest differently and work differently. Yay for doing what works for you! Thanks again for commenting!