Most people have been conditioned to eat a certain way for several years or even their entire lifetime. So, as with any type of change there will be a bit of challenge. However, a Paleo nutritional approach presents no more of a challenge than any other nutritional approach. In fact, after experiencing the wonderful results provided only through a Paleo diet, most people embrace the experience and challenges.
With that being said here are four common challenges (and ways to steps to overcome them) that most people encounter when adopting a Paleo way of life.
#1: CARBOHYDRATE & SUGAR CRAVINGS
True, taking the Paleo approach to losing weight, being healthier, and living longer will require you to take a new look at some of your favorite food groups like grains, legumes, and dairy. If you’re a little nervous or uncertain about switching up your nutrition game from the standard American diet to a Paleo approach, then here are some suggestions:
As with many aspects of the Paleo diet, you can do one of two things:
- Ease into the Paleo as if getting into the swimming pool or water at the beach
- Jump in headfirst and start swimming.
Either way is OK.
Whether you gradually enter the water or dive in instantly, you’re moving in the right direction and the results are there waiting for you. For some people making dietary changes to mimic the way our Paleolithic ancestors ate can be a bit challenging. However, making dietary changes of any kind present at least a slight challenge for most.
Many people consume between 200 and 400 grams of processed carbohydrates and sugars each and every day. If you fall into that category and are not certain if you can make all the necessary carb changes immediately, then begin trimming back your daily carbohydrate intake by 100 grams for the first week. Then reduce your daily carb intake by another 100 grams for the following week. Continue with this approach until you are eating carbs like your ancestors, Paleo-style.
A great way to easily trim back as much as 50% of your carb intake each day is simply by making water or other zerocalorie drinks your sole beverages.
Recommended reading: Understanding carbohydrates – Everything you need to know about sugar – The definitive guide to cravings
#2: EATING MORE PROTEIN, FATS, VEGGIES, & FRUIT
Eating more fruits, vegetables, and proteins can be a slight challenge for those who don’t eat them often. The solution for this dilemma is the same as the others.
You really only have two approaches:
- Ease into it
- Kick the door down with your guns blazing.
It all depends on your situation and how eager you are for results. Easing into the Paleo Diet can be done in a few ways.
You can start by substituting a particular Paleo food for one that you currently eat on a daily or weekly basis. Clear out your cupboards and house of the old stuff. If you don’t, you’ll shoot yourself in the foot before the race has even begun. Plan that for each upcoming week that you’ll be making another substitution. Continue making these replacements, until you’re up and running, full throttle with the Paleo diet.
If you’re married, dating, or have children, then get everyone on board. Make it a competition if you have to. Create milestones with rewards – either individually or as a group.
Create accountability. These excellent motivational tools have helped many people to successfully change to a Paleo diet and also accomplish more difficult life goals.
Recommended reading: How to performa a kitchen makeover. Plus, Paleo in a pinch – Willpower… GET SOME!
#3: BUDGETING FOR GROCERIES
Trying to purchase all of your old junk food and also Paleo foods at the same time will obviously cost you more money. Some people attempt to take this road. Don’t do it. In short, it’s foolish and sabotages almost any chance that you’ll be successful. First, you’ll simply be straddling the fence. Second, you’ll not only be spending more money, but you’ll always have those old comfort foods around tempting you.
Follow the advice in the previous section to “replace” or “substitute” current foods with Paleo foods. You can replace everything at once or gradually replace and substitute current foods for Paleo foods.
YOUR CURRENT BUDGET ACTUALLY MIGHT NOT CHANGE
By following the Paleo diet, you might find, as some people have, that your monthly grocery budget hasn’t changed or has actually decreased. How is this possible? Well, the problem with junk food or the standard American Die is that it isn’t very satiating – they don’t fill you up.
So, what happens to that bag of chips? You polish off the entire bag before you know it.
What happens to that supersized meal at your local fast food restaurant? You demolish it and wish that you had ordered more or you simply eat something else right after it.
Taking the Paleo approach to eating satisfies your appetite while providing real nourishment. The result is that although some foods might cost a little more, you eat less.
JUNK FOOD AND HEALTH CARE IS EXPENSIVE
Junk food and fast food is really no longer cheap as it once was. If you eat out a lot or buy convenience foods (chips, etc) then you can make the switch to Paleo and probably save money. Depending upon how closely your diet reflects the typical American diet, you might find yourself spending no additional money on healthier Paleo foods.
Many people spend hundreds of dollars each month for doctor’s visits, pharmaceutical drugs, and over-the-counter (OTC) meds. They are sick often or all the time. For those with spouses and/or children, the cost and expense of being unhealthy increases exponentially. The truth is you can’t afford NOT to go Paleo. It’s probably costing you a fortune eating the typical American diet. More importantly, it’s costing you health, vigor, life, and longevity. Who wants their life cut short by 10 or more years because of a few dollars?
Recommended reading: How to eat on the cheap: Healthier groceries for pennies – The dining out guide: Paleo styleeeeee!
#4: GETTING ADEQUATE REST AND RELAXATION
With the fast pace of society and the ridiculous demands placed on us, sleeping is something we’ve somehow managed to due without. Because of the pressures, obligations, and responsibilities in life, some people find it a challenge to sleep enough and get adequate rest. Here’s a few ways to integrate the resting and sleeping aspect of the Paleo diet into your life:
Create a set time to go to bed each night and stick to it. Most of us simply get to bed whenever life tells us we can, which is usually too late. For some, that’s whatever time allows for 4 to 6 hours before they have to be at work. Get to bed with enough time so you can enjoy 8 or more hours of sleep before the next workday. You can ease into this by simply adding an additional half-hour or full hour of rest each night to however much your currently get.
Say “no.” At some point, you have to reject additional obligations and responsibilities. In fact, it’ll probably be a good idea for you to remove a few from your plate right now. If you choose not to cut your current obligations right now, then once their time is up simply take a “time out” and don’t replace them with more obligations.
For better quality sleep and rest, make sure the room you’re sleeping in is entirely black – that means no light or television playing in the background.
Recommended reading: Sleep hacking: How to hibernate like a bear – Do you even need sleep: How to get your sleep game right
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ARE ANY OF YOU “GOING PALEO?” ALL-IN OR ONE STEP AT A TIME?