To be honest, I am so sick of fad diets.
From Atkins to Keto and all of these other diets in between, we are inundated with meal plans and restrictions, all aimed at helping us lose weight FAST. The anxiety we have created surrounding our weight and more importantly, our waist size, has grown to a sickening level. I spent many years obsessing over the next diet that promised to give me the figure I desired, but my fitness journey has led me to the final decision to focus on a more realistic and reasonable health goal… Less deprivation, more balance.
I believe that everyone should take a more personal approach when deciding how they want to pursue a more healthy lifestyle. With so many “facts” and studies and documentaries out there pulling you in a hundred different directions, it can be tough. But what I feel is the most important thing to remember when changing your lifestyle is that a temporary, radical, unpersonalized diet may help you drop weight fast if you really stick with it, but the vast majority are unreasonable and impossible to maintain forever. So truly listening to your body and choosing a lifestyle that you can feel comfortable, confident, and happy with forever is the most important piece of the health puzzle.
I follow a Paleo lifestyle on most days, but allow myself to indulge in carb-loaded, cheesy, sugary goodness every so often. Because, let’s be honest, we all need a good pizza and ice cream binge every once in a while. But the reality is that in the past, when I would constantly eat greasy, unhealthy food, I felt horrible… My sleep routine becomes tiring and frustrating, my stomach bloats and I’m constantly gassy and in pain, my usual acne becomes much more angry and stubborn, and occasional headaches turn into a daily struggle. Basically… misery.
So why Paleo?
I love meat, but I’m by no means a carnivore… because, let’s be real, I couldn’t survive without cheese and chocolate. But when I first began experimenting with different diets and alternative food options, I landed on Paleo and thought I would never be able to stick with this. After trying and failing at completing my first Whole 30, I forgot about Paleo completely. At this point in my life, I wasn’t the healthiest emotionally or physically, and I found myself on a diet roller coaster that lasted for a few years. I couldn’t commit to any lifestyle change because all of it felt unnatural and unreasonable. I simply wasn’t ready.
Fast forward three years or so… I made a decision to start listening to my body. I found a new outlook on life and a motivation to achieve my dream physique. I was so exhausted with the way the food I was eating made me feel and look, and I finally reached my breaking point. As I began weight training, paleo snuck back into my life. I came to realize that the paleo lifestyle is a great fit for me personally because I am intolerant to both lactose and gluten, so I thought I’d give it my best effort this time around. Best decision ever!
Without dairy or grain, I started feeling so much better overall. I saw improvements in my sleep, my energy levels, and even noticed improvements in my skin (no more breakouts!) So today, I focus on staying Paleo and if not, I avoid gluten and opt for grains like rice. I still have the occasional pizza, pasta, ice cream fiascoes, but I don’t allow myself to fall out of balance too often. Now, I value the feeling of physical, emotional, and mental balance more than anything, so it has become easier for me to make smart decisions when it comes to my health and wellness. Finding a balance between the foods that make me feel physically comfortable and the foods that taste better than they should is paramount.
I highly suggest that anyone give Paleo a try, and if it’s not for you, experiment with other options and find the right fit for you, because you deserve balance, health, and happiness!
Want to learn more about Paleo?
Here are a few resources that were helpful for me at the beginning of my Paleo journey. Pinterest is also a great tool for tons of recipes and inspiration!