About Me & What Made Me Decide to Do the Paleo Diet?
It was on the morning after Thanksgiving that I decided to do the Paleo diet. My boyfriend and I were driving around to check out the Black Friday sales like most Americans. After my bingeing the night before, I felt a little sick but knew I had to get something for breakfast, else I’d have no energy the whole day. It was at that point that I realized that I needed to go on a diet. It wasn’t because I wanted or needed to lose weight that made me do it. It was because I knew my body was crying for help.
I grew up drinking soda at least 3 times a day, regularly drizzled my food with salt and sugar, got most of my lunches and dinners from a fast food burger place, and most of all, knew nothing about being healthy. Although I wasn’t overweight, I wasn’t healthy either. I always felt sick or felt like “blah” after my meals. As for my energy levels, it was either I had too much energy for a very short period of time, or I just didn’t have the energy to do anything at all.
I, initially, heard about the Paleo diet from a co-worker and, of course, I just thought to myself, Great. Another fad diet. Out of curiosity, I decided to read about it, and to be honest, I didn’t really get the whole “weight loss” part — how Dr. Cobain broke down the percentage of protein, carb, and fiber intake. The main highlights for me about the diet was no processed food, no beans, no starches, and you don’t have to portion your food. Wait, did you say I don’t have to portion my food?? Is this really a diet?
So while driving around, I told my boyfriend, “I think I’m going to do the Paleo Diet.” Of course, he didn’t believe me. Last time I said anything about trying to do a nutritional program, which was a 3 week detox cleanse, I cheated half the time and gave up on the 2nd week and 3rd day. Can you blame him? Though, I was glad that he reacted this way because it gave me the motivation to learn everything I can about this diet and to really do it.
For me to be able to do the diet, I knew that I can’t do a 100% change overnight. I knew that I had to do a gradual change instead of an absolute one. I think that this was the main reason I failed most of my diet experiments before. It was too hard and at time, unrealistic to believe that you can give up all of your bad habits on Monday — since, I always started my diets on Mondays — and be the new healthy person I wanted to be. Instead, I’ve decided that I’ll modify 75% of my diet, then eventually to 80%, then 85% and so on. This way, I was required to do a big change yet still have the things that made me feel “safe and comfortable” in my junk food world. I think that, it was easier for me to give up one or two things at a time, get used to it and then move on to the other bad stuff.
The First Day.
Was the hardest day of the diet. I almost gave up that day. I wasn’t prepared for the diet at all. The whole day, I went to In N Out, and ordered a bunch of Double-meat, protein style, no salt. I figured that the dressing was the 25% bad stuff that I allowed myself. What I knew about the Paleo diet was just the general information. I thought that I could eat everything as long as I stayed away from processed food, salt, sugar, beans, and starches. I also didn’t know that I was going to get hungry — A LOT. No wonder I didn’t need to portion my food.
It wasn’t fun, but I felt that this was actually a good challenge for myself and it’s a win-win situation. If I can do this diet, I can prove to my boyfriend and to myself that I can be healthy. I will also learn how to cook — I’ve always wanted to learn how to cook. Most of all, I was finally going to be healthy!
What made me dedicate myself to the diet?
The first week was hard, learning about what’s good and what’s not, why they are good and why they’re not, eating the good, and avoiding the bad. I was lethargic at first. I figured that maybe my system was just going through a detox. It wasn’t really until a few days after that I started to have more energy. Donuts don’t appeal to me as much as well, which is a good thing. Saves me a lot of money.
Coincidentally, a week after deciding to do the diet, my dad was diagnosed with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It was then that I knew that this isn’t just an experiment nor a dare anymore. It needed to be my lifestyle as well as my family’s. After doing research on the Paleo diet, I’ve learned that it has a lot of benefits because it requires you to give up the food items that can cause various health issues. I knew that the Paleo diet can help with my Dad’s health issues.
Things I have learned along the way
- Don’t give up! I know it’s cliche but it will really get better on the 3rd day.
- You can always find a natural replacement for most of the things that you like, ie, honey instead of sugar.
- Buy a big bag to carry your goods around — because you will get hungry! You need to bring healthy snacks, especially at first. Fruits are great and so are Trader Joe’s Banana Chips.
- Invest in a good Paleo Diet Recipe Book – it will make your life a lot easier! Although you can find recipes online, making sure that they are Paleo-friendly can get quite exhausting sometimes. I have bought a couple of the e-books online and found that Paleo Cookbook was by far the best one. You can also find e-books for desserts and smoothies.
- Focus on the Good, not on the Bad. A lot of times, when I look at a diet plan, I become easily consumed by the things that I cannot eat. This is what initially made me a little frustrated with the diet. I was frustrated that I couldn’t have salty food, or beans, or dairy, but I didn’t bother to look at all the other items that I could eat — which is a lot! I think that when I realized how little I was giving up and how much more I was gaining, the diet become more enjoyable and lot easier.