Starting the Paleo Diet is one of the best things that you can do for yourself and your health. Many people loose dramatic amounts of weight when they first make the change, and more importantly they feel better through out the day and have more energy to do the things that they love.
The benefits of eating a paleo diet are definitely worth it, but the change is hard. Here are ten things that I wish someone told me before I switched over to a Paleo lifestyle.
1. The Transition Is Hard
You might have heard about sugar addictions and carb additions and discounted it, telling yourself something like “I’m not addicted to cookies, I just like to eat them.” That is what I thought too. I thought that I didn’t have a physical addiction to crappy foods, and that all of the talk about addictions wasn’t true.
However, when I started to transition away from eating processed, grain-based foods, I found myself having intense cravings. When I say intense, I mean it in every sense of the word!
This wasn’t just a fleeting thought that a cookie would taste good, it was more like a feeling that if I didn’t have the desired snack I would die. It was crazy!
Know that strong cravings and emotions will come up. Use all of the willpower that you can summon, but also be ready to forgive yourself when you make a mistake.
2. Making The Change Is Worth It
When I was going through that rough transition to eating foods allowed on the Paleo Diet, I wish someone told me that it was going to be 100% worth it. It is!
After your body gets used to eating whole, unprocessed vegetables, meat, fresh fruit, nuts and eggs you will stop having the intense cravings, and you will feel much lighter and energized.
3. Your Grocery Bill Might Go Up
Be prepared to spend more at the grocery store, especially if you are used to eating lots of cheap “filler foods” like rice, bread, crackers, and processed snacks.
Those staples will be replaced by foods that might cost more, like raw cashews, grass-fed beef, almond flour and organic raspberries. Yes, your bill might go up, but you will spend less in other areas, like buying items you don’t need because you don’t feel good about yourself.
4. Social Situations Will Seem Intimidating At First
When you first start the Paleo Diet, it might be intimidating to say no to the office birthday cake, or to speak up about your diet at a dinner party. When I first started eating Paleo, I was very intimidated about not eating food that other people prepared for me. I didn’t want to offend anyone or seem rude.
However, as time went on I became more comfortable with my lifestyle and saying no got easier. Be prepared to go through some uncomfortable social situations, and know that it is okay to prioritize your needs. Doing so will give other people permission to do the same.
5. Get Up When You Get Knocked Down
It is vitally important to learn how to fail. You won’t become a perfect Paleo eater over night. When you start the Paleo Diet, you will fail multiple times. That is perfectly find!
It is okay to fall off of the Paleo Diet wagon as long as you know how to brush yourself off and get back on it as soon as possible. Bouncing back from an off day will be your biggest strength if you want the change to Paleo to last for a lifetime, not just a month or two.
6. Schedule In A Prep Day
If you are used to eating processed foods, you will need to find time in your schedule for preparing food. On the Paleo Diet, you will be eating unprocessed foods, which means that you need to take the time to peel, core, chop, cook, and package your own food.
Schedule in at least four hours for this, once a week, and you will be off to a great start.
7. Celebrate Your Weight Loss
Take time to acknowledge your hard work. Celebrate your weight loss by patting yourself on the back. Give yourself a non-food based treat, like a new pair of jeans or a luxurious bubble bath.
8. How To Deal With Emotions
Sometimes people stuff emotions with food so that they don’t have to feel them. In this way, food is like a drug that numbs the emotional body.
When you move to a Paleo Diet, you’ll notice that it is much harder to cover up emotions. Get a journal before you start the diet, so that you are ready to process the feelings that come up.
9. Food And Social Bonding
Food has many social bonding qualities. If you are in a relationship and your partner isn’t going Paleo, you will need to find new ways of bonding.
Instead of sharing a piece of pie at the diner you’ve gone to for years, try sharing a laugh over a funny movie. You can do the same with friendships. Don’t let your Paleo lifestyle isolate you. Instead be creative as you find new and fresh ways to fuel social bonding.
10. The Work Of Going Paleo Is 50% Mental
Going Paleo is just as much about your inner thoughts as it is about your outer actions. If you catch yourself thinking things about the foods you wish you could be eating, or about how you are suffering or lacking in any way, try replacing them with positive thoughts.
Remind yourself of the massive gift you are giving yourself by going Paleo. Think about the love that you have for yourself that initiated your dietary change.
Start the Paleo Diet with these ten things in mind and you are sure to be off to a successful beginning! I am exciting that you are making the change over to a healthy lifestyle. Be kind to yourself, be creative in your relationships, and enjoy your new, vibrant way of being in the world.
Dennis Scott Caruthers is a foodie who is passionate about sharing his interest in the culinary arts. He majored in English as an undergraduate, and started a successful food blog during his college years.
This led to a regular column in the local paper, and the production of a well-received cook book.