I did it!! I made it to the end of my Paleo(ish) trial week.
And you know what? It was SO much easier than I expected, and I enjoyed it so much more than I ever thought I would. I’ll be honest, there were a few things I was worried about before I began–the time it would take to prepare the meals, whether or not the food would be gross, what the sugar & carb cravings / withdrawal would be like, and more than anything, whether or not I would get bored of it after two days.
Well, I can happily say that all my fears were completely unfounded. It was a fantastic week! Having all my meals planned out made a huge difference. I have always been notoriously bad at eating well throughout the day and I think that’s where my issues were. I have always been able to prepare healthy dinners when we eat as a family, but I tend to graze on crap or eat whatever is fast during the day, and often it wasn’t very healthy.
Starting each day out with a big, healthy breakfast made a huge difference. I ate eggs, or Greek yogurt with granola and berries almost every day, and even just on that first day, I felt like I had more energy. By Wednesday that constant slugglishness I’ve been feeling was gone, and I no longer had my usual 3pm crash where I felt like I needed to nap or I’d die.
I tried to keep my meal choices simple and easy, and it really paid off. I never felt like I was struggling to find the time to make separate meals for myself and the family–for the most part The Hubster and Ruby ate what I did and they didn’t even know they were being subjected to my Paleo(ish) trial too.
(I’m so sneaky.)
I want to begin by explaining why I’ve been calling this my Paleo(ish) Trial. I want to be upfront and tell you that the meals I planned were not purely Paleo. I did quite a bit of reading about the Paleo diet, and while I loved so much about it, I wasn’t sure I was ready to commit to a hardcore Paleo meal plan right off the bat. I’m also not sure I completely support essentially eliminating two food groups from my diet, so I decided to follow a “Paleo-inspired” meal plan instead. I occasionally ate a bit of dairy, and I still included granola and some quinoa as well. I also allowed myself two “treats” if I felt like I needed something a little more exciting. I occasionally had a small bowl of Boulder chips (my fav), or some homemade air popped popcorn. Other than that, I didn’t cheat!
The secret to success for me was first: planning. Plan, plan, plan those meals. Until it becomes second nature to reach for healthy food instead of garbage, having all my meals planned out made such a difference. I never found myself standing in my kitchen wondering what I should make or eat–each morning I woke up I knew what I would be making that day and that made a big difference.
Second, I tried to plan meals I knew I would like, and that weren’t all that different from what I usually eat. I didn’t want to spend my first week forcing myself to try a bunch of new recipes that may or may not turn out, as I knew if I failed I might just give up and go with what’s easy… and I really wanted to make it through my week! So I looked around online at sample meal plans, I put one together that worked for me. I’m hoping to get a little more adventurous this week now that I’ve seen what a Paleo(ish) diet is like–cauliflower crust pizza is on the menu for tomorrow. :)
Third, I took photos of all my meals and put them online. I’m sorry if I drove you crazy with all my food pictures, but I felt like it really held me accountable for what I was eating knowing that people were watching.
So. What were my thoughts about my Paleo(ish) week? In short, I loved it. I had more energy, and I just felt so… good. It was like my body sighed and said, “ahh. Finally”. I didn’t find that I missed any foods I had cut out, and the biggest shock to me was that I had next to no cravings.
I used to crave sugar and carbs so badly. It got to the point where I’d have a craving so intense that I would have to stop what I was doing to go find something sweet to satisfy it. It was what I was most worried about when I started this trial, but for some reason I never went through the withdrawal symptoms I had read about or expected. I think it helped that I started to ease up on sweets the week before–I cut out chocolate again a week before I started the diet so the worst was behind me. But I had virtually no cravings all week. I felt so full most of the time that my body just didn’t need it! If anything, I occasionally craved different textures that I was missing–crunchy, crispy things. But I’m working on that.
Those intense cravings were part of what motivated me to try this. I’m turning 30 this year, and one of my goals before I get there is to take better care of myself and to simply feel healthy. Now that I’m running again, I knew it was time to clean up my diet. I didn’t want to try another “fad” or restrictive diet that I couldn’t maintain long-term; I wanted to find something sustainable that I could adapt to my daily life, and this seemed like a good fit. Of course the possibility of losing weight was an attractive incentive to help motivate me, but it was not the only reason I started this trial.
That being said, I have been weighing myself throughout the week, and I can honestly say that I am shocked at the results.
(I actually made the Hubster weigh himself to make sure that my scale wasn’t broken. Seriously.)
In my seven day Paleo(ish) trial I ended up losing… 5.5lbs. (!!!) I noticed the biggest drop in the first two days I started the trial, but the number has continually moved down each day. I am beyond amazed and thrilled, and I promise I’m eating properly. The meals you saw me post were what I ate, and I was SO FULL all the time. I pretty much cut out any snacking between my meals, and I rarely felt the need to eat after dinner… and that’s where I think I dropped most of the weight.
So, in short–I’m so glad I tried this. I feel amazing, and the weight loss was such an added bonus. I can honestly say that I don’t miss the sugar or processed foods I cut out, and I’m in no rush to reintroduce them. I’m definitely ready for week two! If you are at all interested in experimenting with this, let me know! I can pass along recipes and tips that are working for me, and I am happy to test out new recipes to let you know what’s a win (and what’s gross).
Let’s do this.