Sometimes I feel like I science project. I realize that could be read incorrectly like... "I feel like frozen yogurt." No, I don't feel like doing a science project. I feel like I myself am a science project. I am always researching, reading about cool and fun new workouts, and looking for the best ways to help my clients. It is for this reason that I do a lot of the things I do. Things might make sense to me on paper, or in theory...but unless I myself have tried it and seen that it actually works, I don't recommend it to anyone else. My coworkers and I joke about if all the different things that we go through have tortured our bodies to a place where they are resistant to change, but I really hope that isn't the case. ;)
With this being said, let's flash back to a month ago when I decided to implement the Paleo way of living into my diet. I'll be honest with you...the thought of changing up my macronutrient percentages up so that my fat intake was quite a bit higher and my carbohydrate percentage was a lot lower freaked me out a bit. I am not naturally prone to eating a lot of protein because of the foods I normally like, which is why I talk about improving my protein intake a lot. It is not because I think that eating strictly protein is the healthy way of life, but it is because if left to my own cravings I'd sit down with a box of reduced fat wheat thins, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bowl of cereal, and a whole lot of fruits and veggies. Not a whole lot of protein to be had there.
I committed to sticking to the Paleo way of eating for 21 days, and then I said I would reevaluate. Well, it's been a month and I'm still at it. I had a good chunk of days in there where I was oh so blessed with the stomach flu and so all I ate was saltines and sprite zero, so I figured it was only right to go the whole month.
These are my observations:
- The first week was the toughest. I had to reprogram my way of eating, thinking, snacking, everything. However, after that first week it hasn't been hard at all. I've even been able to eat out and find options (some of which have been straight up delightful). It just takes some thinking. Heaven forbid we think about what we are eating?
- I am eating a lot of protein (in the form of chicken, turkey, eggs, and nuts), but I am eating a TON of fresh produce. I would say probably 6-8 servings a day of fruits and veggies, at least, if not more.
- I am never starving. This is the amazing thing to me. With my old habits, I would wake up so hungry for my 5 AM breakfast of oatmeal. Then, I would usually find myself absolutely ravenous by the time 9, 10, and most certainly 11 came around. With the combination of fats, protein, and fiber from my current diet I am far more aware of and amazed at my hunger cues. I don't wake up hungry. I eat my breakfast and am not hungry for lunch until 1 or 2. SO weird for me. After lunch I am not hankering for a snack or dinner at 3 PM like usual. It's crazy. I'm not used to that. It goes to show me how much the carbs we eat sometimes just go right through us, and instead of filling us up, spiking our blood sugar and leaving us looking for something else to eat.
- I have struggled with my long runs. Lifting feels awesome to me, and I can make it through my hour long lifting sessions with no problem, but my running has been more difficult. I know this is partially because I had a week of being sick (and feeling like I was breathing through a straw), and partially because I have a lower carb intake. I'm still trying to figure this one out. I need to work on proper fueling in a way that works for me with how I want to eat. My ten miler last Friday felt like a 2,000 mile run with ankle weights on.
- I did rely on the 80/20 rule. In the book the Primal Blueprint, the author talks about the 80/20 rule. He says that if you can stick pretty close to perfection 80 percent of the time, you can allow for a few slip ups with that 20 percent. In my head, I equated this to a cheat meal each week. However, I'm not one to sit down to a big ole pizza anyways...so my cheat meal actually just meant I let myself have some frozen yogurt. It kept me sane, and happy with life. I know others at The Lab have been allowing themselves a full on cheat meal once a week, and they are still seeing great results.
- I've learned that you have to be prepared with a lot of produce. You just have to. That is a GREAT problem to have though. My favorite go to snacks at the moment are fresh blackberries, my cocoa roasted almonds and my frozen banana slices.
- I am going to stick with it for now. Crazy right? As I said before, I don't think that whole grains are the root of all evil. That is not why I am doing this. I think there is a place for everything in moderation, and I'm still trying to figure out how and if I want to work those things back into my diet. For now, I'm loving the way that I feel, and it is working for me, so I am going to keep at it.
Do you have any Paleo questions for me? If you are eating this way how long have you stuck with it, and what do you think it has done for you?