I would love to say that everyone who tries Paleo never turns back and lives happily ever after in a caveman paradise, but this just isn’t the case. Some people try it once and then immediately forget about it. Others follow it to the letter for years and little by little realise that those things they had abandoned have sneaked back into their diet.
Here are just four of them along with some advice that could help to ensure that you aren’t one of these people.
One of the big selling points of this diet or say the caveman diet (hunter-gatherer diet) is that it will help you lose weight. Hopeful dieters jump on the wagon and then jump off a week later when the figure in the mirror still doesn’t look ready for the catwalk! So what went wrong? Probably nothing at all. Unless you are morbidly obese, you aren’t going to be making huge differences in a few days. In fact, I would be very wary of anything that does promise miracles in under 7 days.
If weight loss is what you want (and actually, fat loss is really what you want), it is a gradual progress. Give your new Paleo lifestyle a month and you will undoubtedly see some pretty solid results in terms of getting leaner and healthier. Give it six months and the results you achieve are often nothing short of spectacular even when you follow a modified Paleo diet.
The second point to consider is just how much you are eating. Changing to this lifestyle is great but if you are packing in those calorie dense foods like olive oil and nuts, you won’t be losing weight. Sure, it is healthier than your average fast food meal, but it can be just as high in calories as processed foods.
Carbohydrates can be a tricky affair. Some people will tell you to avoid them altogether, but lots of people won’t feel great on a very low-carb diet. This sort of diet (known as the Ketogenic diet) works for some all the time but for most it only works for occasional periods. But often getting carb-phobic is a recipe for feeling tired and flat. Don’t be scared of fruit and vegetables, even starchy vegetables. They won’t suddenly make you blow up like the Michelin man!
Fat makes you fat! (Or is it carbs? Or maybe protein?) This fear of fat is why many find this diet tough going. It can also make the diet very bland because fat is responsible for adding both taste and texture to food. It is also quite easy to fall into a historical fallacy about fat and Paleo. The logic goes that our neolithic ancestors hunted and ate animals which were very lean and so only ate lean meats with little fat.
As well as ignoring other sources of fat (like nuts) that may have been in plentiful supply during that period, this myth does not actually take into account which parts of the animal those cavemen ate. It might have fallen out of fashion today, but eating the internal organs surrounded by visceral fat was very much a part of the stone age diet and these organ meats were actually favoured over lean muscle tissue.
If, like many today, you choose to eschew these parts of the animal (and they can be hard to find too), don’t make the mistake of avoiding other sources of healthy fats which should replace them. This is especially true because things like liver and bone marrow are also extremely nutritious. So add a few such items on to your Paleo diet food list when you next go grocery shopping.
This is pretty common. Someone will read up about this diet and like what they read. They will then apply about half of what they read and wonder what the problem is! If you are still eating processed foods like white flour and sugar, you are nowhere near Paleo. Don’t expect to get results. The other problem here is that you will never actually break out of this sugar cycle and will suffer constantly from the same cravings that have always plagued you.
Look, it is perfectly possible to eat tasty food on Paleo. You can find things that will push those same buttons that you used to push with sweets (but without the negative health effects). If you are going to give it a crack then at least do it properly before making a judgement on whether the Paleo lifestyle is for you or not.