My Experience With The Paleo Movement

Hey boys and girls =)

Happy Monday! Did you have a good weekend? Speaking of such, I read a humorous article, ( while I was off relaxing)  that is driving todays post.

It got me to thinking I’d share my experience with the whole Paleo movement. Yes, that’s what the article was on and her thoughts about it… so funny… but best read while you’re not eating or drinking 😉

But first, the weekend. I did a quick little field trip up to The Woodlands and while there decided to go check out their not so little mall. Lots to see and do… lot’s to buy if you’re in the mood. I was such a good girl and only came back with this fun little denim jacket that I can hardly wait for fall to break it out.

The bonus? it was only 12.00 on the clearance rack.  Score.

Add some jeans,  a tank, and Converse, and it will be perfect for my lazy rocker chick look kinda days 😉 Fashion… my other hobby 😉

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This jacket…. yeah I’m fully aware it’s loaded with holes…. I love fun clothes =)

Now on with the show….

I do get asked if I know things about certain trending “diets” or food plans. I like it when I do and I can share my insights and hopefully that guides the person making that choice.

A few years ago I was invited to be a part of a local fitness challenge. I was excited ’cause for 90 days in the challenge we would do Crossfit so I’d have a new experience to add to my list. On that topic, in brief, I did enjoy it, I learned how to take things home and put my own “WOD” (work out of the day) together. I learned how to handle weights more, and a lot of them. I learned that my glutes really let me know they were there the day I back squatted over 200 lbs…several times 😉

I met some cool people, made a friend that I still have a close friendship with, oh, and I was doing this while I was also a couple months out from my third half marathon… extra calorie burn 😉

Did I continue ? No. I found it to be very pricey especially since I’m a pretty self motivated person who could go back to her routine and add what she had learned into it. I couldn’t justify the $$$.

Part of the fitness challenge that they had given us a heads up on, was in our last 30 days everyone would participate in this “whole 30/paleo” eating plan. We would weigh in and have body fat assessed and then do it at the end to check our losses.

Ok… I wasn’t crazy about what was coming… all the “Not haves” associated with it. But hey, I’m a team player, I had signed on for this, and figured I could do anything for 30 days. And as usual, I looked at it as a learning experience.

The day came, we did our weigh-ins, got our numbers and were given a list of “no” foods.

It was huge. It was daunting. I thought… “omg I’m gonna starve”

If you don’t know, major food groups are left out. No dairy products, no grains/pasta/rice/breads/bagels, no legumes, beans, peas, no sugars etc.

You do get unlimited veggies, meat, (bacon is heavily promoted?) some fruit, nuts and oils.

In my opinion, after a few days, this isn’t a lot.

I traveled with my own “natural” trail mix of raw almonds/cashews and some craisins thrown in (to ward off starvation)

I missed my Greek yogurts.

Yeah and I did mention I was also half marathon training….one day out on a 7 mile run I felt so fuzzy and light headed I wondered if I’d be able to make it home. It was later suggested to me to eat a sweet potato before I ran.  I’m not sure what my daily caloric intake was, but between Crossfit, running, and  greatly reduced dietary options, let’s say, it was easy to drop a few pounds.

I remember at one point walking in my pantry and thinking… ” I cannot have the majority of what’s in here” 😦

Ok so I’ll cut to the chase and give you my “pros/cons” on this food movement.

At the end of 30 days I had lost 9 lbs and dropped 2% body fat. On an already lean physique, I was definitely a well cut athlete.

I already enjoyed veggies but when they are what you can eat wheelbarrow loads of, you learn to eat them at ALL meals, and snacks (to prevent total death and starvation) This definitely carried over with me and it’s something I still do…. I eat tons of veggies and that’s not a bad thing. It taught me how to implement that into my daily nutritional plan.

I did learn, some foods, I didn’t miss. Some carb foods left me feeling bloated and I realized I felt better and it definitely kept my tummy flatter.

Abs truly are made by what and how you eat. A diet high in veggies, fruits and lean protein will help drop body fat revealing them more. When I want to really have them look more defined… I stay away from most breads/pastas etc.

I did do a new PR with my half marathon, but was that from my increased running training? Crossfit? Less body to haul down the road? A combination of all? Not sure….

The not so positive …

I don’t ever think entire food groups should be eliminated from your daily food plan unless you have health reasons to do so. It’s never cool to follow “a trend” ’cause someone tells you to do something. Women need calcium and in my opinion to toss dairy, is foolishness. Yes, you can get calcium from certain foods, but most probably won’t eat like that.

It’s all a bit cultic and has a high following…something which I couldn’t get completely comfy with.

Pricey: they encourage buying grass fed beef, butter, bacon etc. I still have a house payment so I had to make do with other fed beef and butter.

What defines Paleo is as broad and changing as the sunset at night. Some think one thing, others another. What’s the reality ?

Baking… I attempted Paleo “baking”. Sorry, nothing compares to a real cookie made with flour, sugar and other tasty ingredients. I grew up on total made from scratch baked goods so this was a super hard sell for me. My take? If I make real cookies and have a couple, I will really be ok. Even with Paleo “cookies” anything eaten in excess has calories and will contribute to weigh gain.

It puts you into this rigid diet category which, as you know, I’m not down for.

I didn’t understand the “eat in the Paleo way” then go have a day of “back to old eating” for fun…like why ? if the new way is awesome, why go back to pizza and beer ?

I do have concerns with the “eat lots of butter and bacon” thing that’s promoted.

Overall, what I took away was, I can handle a lot of weight(lifting) and I know what to do with it. I can do without some foods and its ok, especially if I feel better. An over load of veggies has tons of good benefits so that’s a big win. Maintaining a diet that is high in fruits, veggies, lean protein and healthy carbs is a good way for me to cut body fat, stay lean and feel good and energetic.  Some sugar in moderation won’t send me off the edge. Coffee should never have butter in it.

So to each their own. I know there are huge supporters of the movement. I tried it, made my own educated decision on it, and have found a happy medium.

That’s what it’s about friends, right? A happy place we can sustain, be healthy, not starve, and live our lives to the fullest.

So tell me… have you ever tried out or participated in the Paleo movement ? What are your thoughts ?