Making the decision to “go paleo” is huge. Not only does it mean that your diet will completely change but your lifestyle will be affected as well. You will look at dining options, dinner parties, and vacations a little differently. Preparing food will take up more time and energy, and the grocery stores you are used to shopping at may no longer have everything you need.
But in the midst of all these changes and new inconveniences you may start to notice something new. Happiness! Happiness with the decision to change your life and to start on a new journey that will not only help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight, but more importantly increase your abundance for health. If you are not feeling elated or excited about these changes then this may not be right for you right now. You may need to take a step back and re-evaluate if this is the right time to overhaul your lifestyle.
Making this choice can be a hard one especially if your diet includes a lot of fast food, processed snack foods, dairy, and grains. When I decided to take this step I was already gluten-free (which means I had already given up grain: wheat/pasta/bread). I had been in the habit of doing 2-4 cleanses/detoxification programs per year. I had removed most of the poor choices from my diet for a few years and that helped lay the ground work for my success. When starting on this path, it is important to know what works for you personally, some people do great with big changes all at once and others do well with small steps towards a larger goal. It is important you stay as true to yourself as possible so that you set yourself up for success, not failure.
It may be best to start slowly transitioning to Paleo in order to avoid overwhelming yourself and having to stop out of frustration. I would suggest starting at 50% Paleo and 50% a healthy “normal” diet. Try to eat 1-2 meals per day as Paleo. Try to substitute your old snacks for fruit, veggies, nuts, and seeds. Once you are ready, slowly work your way up to a full Paleo diet (full is considered 90%-100% of Paleo friendly dining).
When you are ready to eat primarily Paleo, it’s time to clean out the kitchen. Get rid of everything that could tempt you. If the rest of your family isn’t ready to join you, move your food to a different space in the kitchen so at least you aren’t looking at their food all the time. Prepare for sugar cravings in advance by making yourself some Paleo friendly treats (check out anytime cookies or 2 hours applesauce). Just remember, a craving almost always wins. It is strong and relentless so it is much easier to have something sweet on hand than to spend time agonizing over it.
I also suggest opening up some freezer space and making things in bulk so that your week goes by much easier. I like to make a bunch of my protein pancakes at once and freeze them by putting a piece of parchment paper in between each one. This way in the mornings I just heat them quickly and I am on my way! I like to cook my weekly baked goods on Sundays. I also do my grocery shopping on Sundays and plan our meals for the week. My husband and I have an agreement that when I am in the kitchen baking he takes our daughter to the park or plays in a different part of the house. I put a podcast on, make a pot of tea, and just relax while I cook. In a lot of ways cooking and preparing meals has become therapeutic for me. If I have a crazy week or a hard few days I know that I will have my personal down time.
Overall, I just want you to know that I am so excited for you! Congratulations on considering Paleo. It has changed my life in a million ways and I am so thankful I gave it a try!