So you’re thinking of going Paleo? Well, here’s 30 truths in 30 days of Paleo and what to expect.
1. The first 3 days do not expect miracles – Do not even expect a good mood. You will be having carb-withdrawal symptoms and feeling shitty and lethargic and like it’s all not worth it. Be a bitch if you need to. Have a cry. But push through, it’s worth it. Remember you are choosing to do this, because you choose life!
2. The first week your body will detox and you will find yourself flushing out – Don’t be too worried about the frequent bathroom trips. Your body will react strangely to increased fat consumption, but no fear, it’s only temporary.You may find crushing cravings hard, but just say no! – Every day you make it through without slipping off the wagon, the easier it becomes and the stronger your ability to exercise willpower. Just do it.
3. You will not feel like exercising at all for about the first two weeks – Just do what you can. Your body is becoming fat adapted.
4. You will begin to analyse food labels and then realise, if it has a label, I shouldn’t be eating it – Shopping trips become shorter (and a bit more expensive and a bit more worth it!) as you only skim the outside of the supermarket for the fresh groceries and meat and fish supplies. You only brave going down the aisles when it’s time to top up your extra oils, herbs and spices.
5. As you begin to enter the third and fourth weeks, your energy levels begin to return to normal – In fact, you start to feel the beginning of what will become amazing, all day, constant energy. Say goodbye to three-thirty-itis!
6. Your emotions will stabilise – I haven’t really had any “low” days since I started. Not that I was prone to this particularly, but I just feel happy, all the time. I suppose no sugar influencing my state?? It’s nice.
7. Coconut was God’s gift to our Neanderthal ancestors. Seriously – The milk is delicious, to drink, to cook with, and in coffee! The meat is a great snack and so filling! And the oil?! Where do I begin…makes everything tasty, is great to eat off the spoon for a snack (amazing if you have tendencies to binge, for it completely kills all cravings after just one spoon and 15 minutes!) and it makes your hair, skin, and nails so luxurious!
8. You learn to love fat – It adds texture and flavour and will keep you full for hours. Plus it’s a fantastic energy source!
9. Your stomach knows no time/meal constraints – You eat when you’re hungry, and you stop when you’re full. All the protein and fat usually means you don’t feel like snacking and you’re not bound by the clock (so liberating!)
10. All cravings for anything artificial, sugary, overly-processed literally disappear – You may feel discomfort for a week while you actively control your eating, but then it becomes second nature, and that ice cream or bag of chips you once craved now looks more like a day or two of insane intestinal discomfort and close proximity to a bathroom.
11. You learn to become quite a whiz in the kitchen – Step aside Jamie Oliver! The fresh and natural foods mean more prep time and more meal planning, but your performance in the kitchen improves exponentially and you learn to have fun turning old neolithic recipes into paleo-friendly feasts!
12. You never get bloated. Ever. Ladies, not even when it’s ‘that time of the month.’ Bring on the six packs!!
13. You don’t have to give up your social life – Caveman liked to seek pleasure too, and I’m sure they partied. Let me introduce you to the NorCal Margarita (but be warned it will stall your weight loss or fitness efforts).
14. You realise you can make any meal at a restaurant Paleo-friendly if you just swap a few sides and ask for no dressings. Easy!
15. Can anyone else smell that? – If you having gone Very Low Carb (VLC), like I have, and have started to supplement with Fish Oil and the likes you may find that your body odour changes and your breath may smell. If you need, try chewing on some peppermint leaves.
16. You need to consume water like it’s going out of fashion – The extra protein requires more water for your body to wash out toxins and waste. VLC will also find you need tons more water just to feel hydrated and to stop your mouth from drying. Drink up!
17. Go Sleep! Trust me you need it. – Without sleep everything else is basically not worth your efforts. Shut that screen off and go get your 40 winks. If you’re doing it right, you should sleep like a log every night, and be able to wake up without an alarm clock. Did anyone order a healthy dose of rest and recovery?
18. Going VLC may disrupt your sleep due to a decrease in insulin levels, try using Vitamin D and Magnesium just before bed time. Caution: Lucid dreams at own risk! (I never used to remember my dreams, but since using Vit D and Magnesium, it seems every night I have a whole nother life going on in my dreams…kind of awesome!)
19. Expect your skin blemishes to clear up, your eyes to brighten, your hair to be shinier and to feel an all round glowing feeling!
20. You’re not fit – No matter how many miles you can run on the treadmill, or how many zumba classes you attend, or how heavy you think that 10kg bar is in pump class; until you do Crossfit, you are not fit. ‘Nuff said.
21. Forget what it is like to have a pain-free body – Crossfit will force you to work hard. You will max out at every workout. You will also probably injure yourself. Often. But big efforts return big rewards. Remember, strong is the new skinny.
22. You may feel heavy after a big protein meal, or like you’ve put on 3 kg, but you haven’t – You eat less for the same feeling of satiety and while your meals may be more calorie dense, you are still losing weight! But forget the scales, take measurements and judge by the way your clothes fit. Also keep check of how your physical performance improves. Expect to be amazed!
23. In between scheduling more time for sleep and more time for exercise, you will also need to fit in time for socializing – The Paleo/Crossfit communities are so great and supportive, and you are bound to make a whole load of new friends!
24. Your phrasebook will expand to include popular comments like “Is it Paleo?” and “I can’t. I have Crossfit.”
25. Almost everything mass media ever led you to believe about health and nutrition is false – Apart from teaching your body a new existence, the Paleo/Crossfit world will be as much a challenge for your mental space. You learn to challenge commonly accepted social ideals, and you enter a whole nother league of health and fitness knowledge. If like me, you love to get your geek on, you will spend a lot of time reading blogs/forums/articles/journals so that you can get as much information as you can to make this the best experiment/lifestyle change you have ever completed for yourself.
26. You learn to deal with a lot of shit – You will be the recipient of many, confused stares, words of mis-informed abuse, and questions from the informed, the intrigued and the ignorant. People are threatened by what they don’t know. Some will say it’s a “fad,” and some will say it’s just complete crap. Just expect when you tell others of your choices you are welcoming a variety of responses. You’ve been warned.
27. Never excuse the choices you make – You shouldn’t have to make up false illnesses (e.g. gluten/lactose intolerant) to explain your new lifestyle. When did it become more acceptable in society to have an illness than it did to decide to do this for a better you?
28-30. You don’t regret the day you decided to start –
Day 31…and it only gets better from here.
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