If you google ‘Paleo Diet’ you will find several million results telling you about the virtues of eating this way. One thing you won’t find so much is that Paleo shouldn’t really be considered a diet at all. Why is that ? What makes Paleo so different?
What do most of us think of when we say the word ‘diet’? What we actually mean is a short-term way of eating less that will lead to weight loss. I would guess that for 99% of the population, this is exactly what diet implies. You know the thing. “Hey, I’ll just be miserable for a few weeks eating virtually nothing and then I’ll fit into that dress again!”
There are some other reasons why this is a terrible approach to eating (and life in general.) The first is simply the fact that it doesn’t work ! Many studies show that well over 80% of people who try to lose weight in this way either don’t manage it at all or just put the weight right back on afterwards, often with a little extra as well. And yet diet and weight loss diet might be two of the most searched for terms on the net!
We all know people who have tried tens of different ways of depriving themselves to try to lose a few pounds. I bet you don’t know many who have succeeded, do you?
So what exactly is the problem? Here is where I don’t like to associate Paleo and diet. If we think of diet in terms of a short term solution to a problem, paleo is the exact opposite. So let’s substitute the word lifestyle. This is where I think people are going wrong. We should be thinking in terms of adopting a new lifestyle not suffering though something for a few weeks. Paleo is all about making changes to health (and body composition) that are there to stay.
So what we really need is to change our mindset. Stop thinking in terms of what you can’t eat. This is what makes dieting the traditional way so hard. It is underpinned by the idea of deprivation. The longer this goes on, the harder it is is resist. We are convinced that the only way to succeed is to feel hungry all the time and be obliged to refuse anything we would actually like.
Paleo couldn’t be further away from this way of doing things. The beauty of eating this way is that everything you eat is natural and healthy. It is really hard to eat too much. One fast food burger might give you 1000 calories of rubbish and leave you hungry for more. But you would have to eat a whole load of meat and veggies to get the same amount of calories and you certainly won’t want more straight away!
There is nothing wrong with eating decent quantities of food. In fact, when I switched to paleo I actually ate more than before and I still saw those love handles melt away pretty quickly. When you are nourishing your body like this, your brain stops sending those messages that you are deprived. You stop wanting to gorge on sugar and trans-fat laden rubbish.
This is where things get great. You can do this forever. Imagine, eating pretty much as much as you want of delicious, wholesome food. This is a true lifestyle change.
So try to get away from the idea of a Paleo diet. You aren’t living in some sort of deprived state that makes you suffer in order to make a small (probably temporary) change to your waistline. You are changing your lifestyle for good in order to see long term, permanent changes to your body allied to true good health for the rest of your life.