Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Why I Eat Paleo?

So, I explained a little more about how I have been eating in my What is Paleo post. Now, I'll try to help you understand a little more why I eat paleo, and what started the whole process in the first place.

So...it all started back in March. A coworker and friend of mine had been eating this way for some time, and she was telling me how positive her results had been and how much better she felt. I read the book Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson, and decided to give Primal Eating a try. The thought of eliminating grains and legumes terrified me. (Remember me, the girl who ate oatmeal with peanut butter for breakfast every day, and would rather eat cereal than just about anything...any day.) I was also very nervous about increasing my fat intake, being as how I had been eating a low fat/no fat diet like the rest of America. I am not going to lie, I was afraid I was going to fail miserably, but just the opposite happened.

Along with the principles I had researched in deciding if this could work for me, there was another factor that I would be changing a great deal, my exercise. Previously I had been working out doing at least an hour of cardio a day, and three days a weeks doing weights for 45-60 minutes on top of that. Guess what? That routine was getting me nowhere. I wasn't seeing any changes. I was tired all the time, and always hungry. I decided to change up my exercise plan as well...3 days a week of 30-40 minute intervals, focusing on keeping up my intensity, REALLY busting it for that short stint of time. 3 days a week of circuit training with weights/plyometrics/intervals for 30-45 minutes. Again, working as hard as possible for that time period. Long story short, shorter workout stints, but more intense. Making the workouts worth it! Mentally, this change was probably the hardest part for me. BUT it made sense to me. I was training for the Utah Valley Marathon for part of the time, which threw off my plan a bit, but also made me excited to finish the endurance training and mix things up.

Part of the "Why" behind this way of eating just makes sense. You are getting rid of all of the processed crap that has infiltrated our diets in such a big way. By eating clean, you eliminate so much of the foods that don't do anything for us. Think of it more as filling your diet with good, whole foods instead of focusing on what you "can't" have. Many have questioned the elimination of whole grains.
The reasoning behind this principle is because of insulin regulation, and avoiding inflammation of the gut. I would also add in that so many people eat tons and TONS of empty calories via their bread/sugar/cracker/candy/processed snack addiction. The problem is, many of the "Whole grain" foods we are eating, aren't really even whole grains. Many of them are still very processed. The evolutionary process of what a whole grain is now, compared to what it was years ago is very different. Getting rid of the grains is difficult, but doable. You can read some more detailed information on why grains are removed from paleo eating HERE.

I planned on attempting to eat this way for 21 days. I wanted to see if I could do it, how I felt, and if it changed the way I looked. 6 months later, I am still eating this way. Here is the WHY behind why I have kept up with my paleo eating.
- It keeps me full. This aspect of it absolutely amazes me. I am eating good fats and protein that help to keep me full. I never feel ravenous like I used to.
- I am more intuitive about my eating. I never thought I would say this, but because I am not always hungry, I don't always feel like I have to eat. I pay attention to my hunger cues more.
- I don't count calories. I never thought I would ever say this, but it's true. I am pretty sure I could show you an online log of every single thing I have eaten for the past five years up until 6 months ago. It is crazy, but true.
- I have dropped ten pounds. Nuff said.
- I feel more condensed. I realize now that I don't eat grains and legumes that I no longer feel bloated or gross after I eat. When you are eating good foods, your body responds well.
- I am not a slave to my exercise routine. I used to mentally kick myself if I didn't get my 60-90 minutes of cardio in per day. Who wants to live like that? Not me.
- I have more energy. I love this part. I reaaallly do.
I have managed to continue to eat this way on family vacations, with friends, with a crazy schedule, and even when I have to eat out. It really isn't hard once you get into a routine. I am a big fan. I also am a firm believer in the 80/20 rule. I think that if you can do all that you possibly can to eat perfectly %80 of the time, you will be able to be a little less perfect %20. Now, this doesn't mean live for the %20. It means do all you can to live for the %80 and then when that %20 comes around again every now and then, you won't feel guilty at all.

Sure, I miss cereal and oatmeal sometimes. I miss a good PB&J every now and then. BUT I LOVE how I feel. I know this has worked for me, (and for quite a few of my clients.) So, it is worth it to me.
Any questions? Comments? Arguments? Concerns? I'd love to hear them!

15 comments:

cathcinggrasshoppers said...

I went wheat free about a month ago and I couldn't agree with you more! I was ALWAYS hungry when I ate wheat and now, I'm just not. It is unbelievable. I don't feel bloated and gross after eating, don't count calories, exercise about 30 minutes a day, and I dropped 10 pounds. It really amazes me and it is really not that hard.

Point is, everything you are saying has definitely been my experience as well :)

Nichole said...

Megan you are amazing! I am so impressed with your dedication! I need to be better at eating. i have seen what it has done for you and I believe it! Thanks for being so inspiring!

ihearteggs said...

I had to come out of my creepy lurker status to comment today... I'm not "paleo"... i'm kind of a little paleo, a little primal, a little bit of this and that, but I dont eat gluten/dairy/sugar and like you said, the changes ah-maz-ing.

I thought it woudl be so much harder, but even eating out, family dinners, dating, all of it. Once you get past the first few weeks it's really NOT that hard and the perks of it really outweigh my occassional need for a grilled cheese

Rachelle Wardle said...

Great post Megan and I am so happy that Paleo has worked for you. :) I definitely think everyone is so different and the key is finding what works for us individually. Definitely happy for you and wow 10lb loss is AMAZING!

2 Running Chix said...

Awesome post! You are the one that got me to read Primal Blueprint! Such a great book, and I'm seeing the same results. I was scared of consuming all the fat at first, too, but if you stick with it, everything he says in the book is spot on. Keep it up, love hearing about your results & progression!!!

Rene said...

You are amazing! I so admire your dedication.

Kara and Glen said...

What is the difference between paleo and clean eating? Ive thought about trying it.

kara t. said...

I am glad you posted this, and I am so happy that you have been so successful. It's funny, because I started eating paleo around the time I started blogging and discovering nutrition/fitness blogs. While I loved reading your fitness stuff, I really struggled any time you talked about food. All I saw was "fat free" and boy did I wish I could shake that out of you ;) Eating this way has truly changed my life and I love seeing it do amazing things for other people too! Are you or any of your clients participating in the Whole Life Challenge that starts next week?

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