Whenever you make a lifestyle change, and the Paleo Diet is a lifestyle change, there are always a few lessons to be learned along the way. So, to shorten the learning curve for anyone who is just getting started or struggling to keep it up, here are 4 common things the Paleo Diet will teach you.
- You’ll realize that calories hardly matter
Calories are a measurement of energy, and while extreme cases of over or under consumption result in changes in weight, you would have to be very precise to change anything if you are following a healthy diet. Think about it this way, have you ever started dieting or started a new workout plan and weighed a week later and nothing happened? Well, something happened, you got stronger or leaner but that didn’t translate to the scale, so counting calories is truly unnecessary if you eat healthy foods until satiation. No one ever ate too much kale or grass-fed beef to gain 5 pounds without really trying.
- You’ll learn to listen to your body – aka how to eat mindfully
When you are first transitioning from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to the Paleo diet, you may be tempted to continue eating the same way you were, just with Paleo alternatives. You can scout Pinterest or other recipe sites for hours looking at Paleo cookies or Paleo brownies, but these are not a regular part of a healthy diet and should only be ate as an occasional treat. After ditching the sugar you’ll also start to realize when you’re hungry and when you’re just craving. A craving usually subsides in a few minutes or hours whereas if you’re truly hungry you’ll be just as happy opting for some protein + fat + vegetables than a stack of cookies and a glass of milk.
- You’ll stop fearing fat
Hopefully by now we’re all aware of the misinformation that has been thrown at us for the last 50 years about fat causing heart disease. Fat in fact DOES NOT cause heart disease and it’s more likely a culprit of the obscene amounts of refined foods that are packed full of sugar and refined carbohydrates. When you ditch the sugar and refined carbs on a Paleo diet you’ll naturally add in high quality fats like avocados, nuts, coconut oil, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon. In return you’ll probably have more sustained energy, less highs and lows due to your blood sugar fluctuating, and less cravings.
- You’ll realize when it’s time to switch things up
Finally, what may be Paleo for you may not be considered Paleo by someone else. Take the great Paleo potato controversy as an example, if you google “are potatoes Paleo” you’ll get hundreds, if not thousands, of varying opinions. It doesn’t matter what the internet says though, all of our ancestors came from different parts of the world, and therefore each individual’s idea of the Paleo Diet should reflect their individuality. Eat what makes you feel your best, and fuel your body properly, because a cross-fitter, a runner, and someone just getting started on Paleo to lose weight can all follow the same principles, but they all have different nutritional needs. Think of the Paleo Diet as a template, rather than a strict end all.