As I was struggling to lose the last few pounds of baby weight, I kept hearing about the Paleo Diet. Being pregnant and living with a new baby had allowed bad eating habits to creep into my everyday life. I use to be very disciplined about what I ate, but somehow bringing a baby into the equation left me a little lax when it came to food choices… Dessert use to be a bite of dark chocolate after dinner, but recently I found myself eating half a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Fo-Yo at the end of the day. Because I am still breastfeeding, I needed help refocusing in a way that would not restrict my calorie consumption drastically. I don’t believe in “fad diets” anyway, so the Paleo “lifestyle” sounded like a safe way to set some guidelines for myself.
Here are the rules-
You CAN eat:
Meat and Fish
Nuts and Seed
Fruits and Veggies
You CANNOT Eat:
Beans and Legumes
The idea is to get back to the basics, eating only the foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate. When we take out all the junk we don’t need, it ends up being a menu full of protein, fiber, vitamins, and Omega-3 and 6 fats.
By eliminating foods high in carbs (which create spikes in insulin levels and promote weight gain) we are able to improve our overall health. Studies have shown that people who live the Paleo lifestyle are less likely to develop diabetes and heart disease, and they are able to maintain a healthy weight.
I loved the sound of this! It is not very far off from my regular pre-baby diet, so I didn’t think it would be too difficult to stick to the guidelines. I try to avoid bread and pasta on a regular basis anyway, and my diet is loaded with fruits and veggies. I eat meat in moderation, but I like it, so not a problem to add a little more to the menu. I decided to try it just for a week thinking it would be a piece of cake! Mmmm….cake….
After a few days I realized caveman eating was not as easy as I thought it would be. I definitely missed the sweets, and after a long day of taking care of baby I SO wanted that Ben and Jerry’s… But surprisingly, I missed the legumes and dairy more than the sweets. I am a big fan (and I mean FAN with capital letters) of Greek yogurt. I was eating it all the time for breakfast. Beans, soy, tofu, peanut butter and cashews were also staples in our house. I didn’t think I would miss them as much as I did.
I stuck with it though, reassuring myself that if by the end of the week I could forgo the Paleo eating if I wanted. It was just a week! Plus, some of the recipes we used were not only a welcomed change from our usual meals, but they were also super delish. I was excited to plan dinner every day. A few of our favorites were Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Marinara and Mustard Lime Chicken….YUM.
After that first week the results were in -- I felt great AND I lost the last of my baby weight! Granted, it was only a couple of pounds, but the diet change helped it come off when exercise alone was not doing the trick.
My energy was up, and so was my confidence. I was able to stay disciplined and see results because of it. That’s an awesome feeling!
The hard part will be keeping the lbs off. As soon as I go back to my late night fo-yo binges I will put that weight back on, so I decided to adopt some of the Paleo rules into my lifestyle without being super crazy about it.
I want to be able have my Greek yogurt and put tofu on my salad every now and then. Do I need to do it every day? No. So here are the rules that I set up for myself:
Meghan’s Paleo influenced Guidelines:
1. I will eat strictly Paleo Monday through Thursday
2. Friday, Saturday, Sunday I will add in some healthy carbs (beans, whole grains, and yogurt to the mix)
3. ONE weekend day I will not worry about what I eat. If I want to have pizza or a burger I will.
(I will probably take an extra long run the next day, but we all need a little splurge sometimes.)
So far it’s working great! Give it a try! Here are some great sites I used to find my recipes: