7 Tips For Starting a Paleo Diet and Sticking With It
Over the past few years, Paleo Diets have swept the nation as the new way to hit your weight loss goals in time for that next wedding, family reunion, or vacation trip with your college friends. However, weight loss is ultimately about a lifestyle change so that you can easily integrate your new, healthier habits into your life.
Taking on a Paleo Diet can be intimidating if you’re new to Paleo, and you might be concerned about how you’re going to follow your new healthy eating habits long term. We’ve compiled all of the information that you’ll need to know so that you can stick to your Paleo Diet in the long run and arrive at that class reunion or wedding with the body that you deserve.
Slowly Integrate Paleo Diet Foods Into Your Diet
Once you decide that you’ve had enough of the side effects that come with unhealthy living (sluggishness, obesity, diabetes, heart disease), it might be tempting to storm into your kitchen and toss out all of the foods that are bad for you.
However, you’ll want to hold off on doing that because it’s not great for your body and it will make switching to a Paleo Diet more expensive than it really ought to be. When you switch to a Paleo Diet, you’re going to have to be kind to your body. If you’ve previously eaten processed foods, carbs, and foods that are high in bad fats, your body needs some time to transition.
The first step after you’ve decided that you’d like to have a Paleo lifestyle is to slowly integrate foods that our Paleolithic ancestors would have eaten. Did you run out of your favorite processed snack bars? It’s time to head to the store and get fruits to have for your midday snack instead.
Are you out of pre-made mashed potato mix? Good, on your next grocery shopping trip, buy a few sweet potatoes. While foods like sweet potatoes have been met with mixed reviews from the Paleo community, they’ll be helpful in steering you away from starchier vegetables like russet potatoes.
Prevent Burnout From The Paleo Diet By Planning Ahead
If you already consider yourself to be an experienced cook, you might be tempted to just take it day by day with your new diet. However, since the Paleo Diet is such a drastic change in your body and your lifestyle, it’s better to take a few measures to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed.
Pick one day of the week where you have a lot of downtime, preferably, the day that you usually do your grocery shopping on. You should plan or put your meals together for each day of the week if you’re going to be doing a cheat day once a week, plan a meal that won’t steer you too far away from your new diet.
Find and Stick to a Fitness Plan
While you’ve made the first step in pursuing a healthier lifestyle by eating Paleo, you’re going to need to do more work in the form of dedicating yourself to a workout regime.
If you already have a workout routine, but you don’t do it often, then you’ll want to add a few more days to your schedule. You’ll want to make sure that you’re working out at least four times a week, this will maximize your results.
If fitness has never been your thing and you’re intimidated by the idea of working out four times a week, there’s a lot of easy options that you can use to help get you started.
You can find at-home workouts on sites like YouTube, and a lot of them only require a yoga mat and some dumbbells. You could also look for gyms in your area that offer low-cost memberships for basic amenities.
Set Realistic Goals
You might think that a twenty-pound weight loss is feasible when you switch to a Paleo Diet, but every person’s body is different. It could take several weeks to see results even after you’ve been eating differently and working out. To stick with your Paleo Diet in the long-run, it’s important to set realistic weight loss goals.
If you’re going to be eating according to the Paleo Diet and working out three or four times a week, make it your goal to lose one to two pounds each week. The small improvements to your health will be exactly what you expected and keep you from getting discouraged in the long-run.
Be On The Lookout For The Post-Sugar Blues
When you begin following the Paleo Diet, you’ll be cutting a lot of your favorite freezer foods, foods that come in a box, and sweets that you’re used to eating.
Over the years, your body has become accustomed to all of the added sugars, fillers, and preservatives that are in the unhealthy foods that you’ve been eating. It’s only natural that your body is going to feel a shock from not receiving the same sugar-filled foods. You might notice that you feel like you have less energy, or even depressed.
It’s been proven that sugar is more addictive than some drugs, so be sure to give yourself some grace if you find yourself craving some of the foods that you want to give up.
Prepare Yourself For Your First Few Setbacks
This is the part where a lot of people start to feel like they can’t stick with a Paleo Diet. You might want to berate yourself for deciding to have a slice of cake at your office party, or a third martini while you’re out at dinner with friends. However, it’s important to give yourself the space to make mistakes when you don’t stick to pre-approved Paleo foods in a weak moment.
Remember to treat yourself to a nice workout when this happens, and to put it behind you. It will make it easier to focus on the Paleo Diet. However, if you’re still worried about making one too many mistakes in the beginning, it’s easier to know what kind of foods are ideal to eat when you go out so that you can prevent setbacks.
If you’re going out with friends, try to stick to these foods when you place your order:
- If you’re going out to a sushi restaurant, the different types of fish all fit under the Paleo umbrella. Additionally, you could stick with a sushi roll, but you’ll have to limit how much you’re eating.
- Steak, vegetables, and chicken that isn’t fried is always a good choice when you’re eating out and trying to stick to Paleolithic foods.
- Eggs, sausage, and bacon strips are a great way to stay on track with Paleo if you’re going on a breakfast or brunch date.
However, if none of the foods listed above is an option and you’d like to go out with your non-paleo friends, allow yourself a cheat day and get back on track for the days that follow.
Start Taking Multivitamins
If you plan on reducing your caloric intake so that you can lose two pounds per week while on the Paleo Diet, you need to supplement any nutrients that you might be missing.
While your new Paleo way of eating will provide you with foods that are free of fillers and added sugars, adding a multivitamin to your diet can help to alleviate some of the sluggishness that happens when you reduce that amount of calories that you’re eating.
It’ll be a little easier to get through the post-sugar phase with a multivitamin that’s designed to give you energy and curb your cravings.
Starting the Paleo Diet is a big life change, and you’ll need to prepare accordingly to ensure that you won’t be discouraged from sticking to healthier eating habits. If you keep the steps mentioned above in mind, it’ll be easier to focus on weight loss goals and work towards being a healthier and happier version of yourself.