Is the paleo diet for you?

Is the paleo diet for you?

Everything is “primal” and “paleo” at the moment!

Having struggled with my weight for all of my adulthood I long ago gave up going on a “diet” to fix the problem. It’s not worth it. I lose 20kg only to gain 25kg some time later.

It was like that since a long-ago boyfriend told me I was fat. Really? Even my doctor told me I had to lose weight. When I look at photos of myself then, I think I look perfectly fine. I stayed at the same weight for years until I started dieting. Since then, my weight has gone significantly up and down but overall up!

Last year, my husband and I joined an online program called “Wildfit“, run by Eric Edmeades. Wildfit is based on paleo. This program started gently. In fact in the beginning, we added things to what we normally ate! Over a few weeks we added water, fresh fruit and vegetables. Then we began subtracting things. All the usual culprits – dairy, grain, sugar. When I say sugar, I mean ALL sugar! That means we had no added and very little natural sugar, including carrots, beetroot, capsicum, fruit, etc. In the most intense phase of this program we were down to what I called “meat and leaves with nuts on the side”. It sounds hard to do but the only hard part really, was the weeks we were in the strictest phase.

My husband thrived on this program! He lost loads of weight, looked amazing, felt pretty good and all his blood test results showed a great improvement.

Of the 1000 people on the program, about 100 of us, me included, didn’t lose the weight we had hoped to lose.

I did lose some weight, my skin glowed, my stiff knees and sore back disappeared, my blood test results showed big improvements. Why was I disappointed? For the hard work I put in, I didn’t think I’d lost enough weight!

It turned out that in the 100 or so of us who were a bit disappointed, a lot of us were peri-menopausal women with thyroid issues.

That made me wonder if the completely no-carb diet was actually a good fit for me.

Now I should have gone to see a nutritionist or naturopath and found out for sure. But I didn’t.

I’ve been experimenting.

Hard-core Wildfit is not for me. I definitely do better with a little bit of carb – some fruit, coloured veggies and even some sweet potato and dried fruit I’ve found has not made me gain weight. I need to be a bit careful with nuts (I definitely love them too much!) I’m not as strict as I was at the moment and it does slow down the weight loss, but it doesn’t seem to make me gain much (so far!).

The benefits for me in eating mostly paleo and modifying the Wildfit regime have, so far, included:

  • no sore knees after sitting for long periods
  • no sore back most of the time
  • blood test results are improving all the time (my doctor checks them every three months)
  • my skin is great
  • my eyes are clear
  • more clarity of thought
  • better sleep
  • eating less generally and almost zero cravings
  • much better diet, full of fresh, whole fruits, vegetables and meat
  • very little processed, packaged food
  • new favourite recipes that feel indulgent and are really healthy
  • recipes that are quicker and easier to make
  • food is more flavourful than it used to be

The drawbacks so far for me include:

  • increased cost in my food bills
  • generally much more time taken to prepare and cook food (I could be more organised and mass-produce more meals to freeze and serve later)
  • a lot of head space is taken up with thinking about food
  • a bit too much meat for me (I’m experimenting with significantly reducing animal products and being more creative with vegetables)
  • A lot of nuts and seeds!
  • My picky children don’t always like what I’ve made so I sometimes end up making 2-3 meals at once

I have a lot to learn yet and a lot of weight to lose still.

The Paleo diet isn’t for everyone! I’ve modified it a bit and will continue to tweak until I find what works best for me.

I’d be interested to know if you’ve tried it, and what you discovered for yourself!

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