Parting with Paleo: It’s just not working out.

I’m sorry for the delay in posting, but I’ve been going through a breakup.

Yes, that’s right, after a measly two weeks I broke up with paleo. It was hot, heavy and full of meat—and I came out a few pounds heavier and more frustrated. As a result, I’ve been wandering in diet purgatory, consulting with successful dieters and trying to figure out what I need from my diet.

Now, this isn’t the paleo diet’s fault. It really IS me. The idea started when I noticed that the scale was creeping up, rather than down, despite cutting out all simple carbs (bread, bread, and bread) and grains (corn, hummus, even quinoa) during the week. Then, I stumbled across this US News study, which ranked the best and worst diets of 2014—with the paleo diet coming in almost dead last. 

It made me realize that, along with many other diets, the paleo diet is more of a fad than an nutritionally beneficial lifestyle. I’m not going to go into the science of it all, but your body needs grains just like it needs protein and vegetables. And at the end of the day, I’m really trying to set myself up to have a healthy lifestyle that balances the food I love (hello pizza!) with the stuff I don’t like (you know what that is).

But, before you go trashing paleo, you have to understand that I made a few mistakes. 

1. I was eating lots of meat, but not watching the fat content of that meat. Instead, I was happily eating full fat bacon, pork, and other meats with almost every meal, instead of chowing down on lean meats like chicken and turkey.

2. I drank. A lot. This is the part I’m having the hardest time with, paleo or not—while I’ve narrowed down my drinking habits to once or twice during the week, I like to think I have an active social life on the weekends which usually entails having a drink or 5 with my friends. Now, I do need to work on moderating how much I drink on these weekends, so I don’t end up puking my guts into the snow. Not that that happened last weekend.

3. I wasn’t watching my calories. One of the main “perks” of the paleo diet is that, because you’re eating only natural, healthy foods, you don’t need to watch how MUCH of this food you’re inhaling. I was all “YAY!” and proceeded to eat way too much of everything. This may work for avid cross-fitters or the girls I see flailing away on the elliptical every single freaking day, but for me it meant weight gain.

SO, I’ve decided to go back to the basics. Paleo wasn’t all bad—it taught me that eating whole foods does make me feel better, that I won’t actually die if I don’t eat bread during the week, AND it forced me to start using my very neglected kitchen. Now that I have good habits started, I want to keep them up, and focus on just trying clean but tasty recipes that feature lean protein and veggies but still fill me up! I’m a naturally more creative person, and I’ve learned that cooking is an incredibly creative activity—so sticking to a diet that limits your creativity just didn’t work for who I am and what I’m trying to accomplish.

As I train for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC this April, I’m logging my calories with My Fitness Pal and attempting to stay at around the 1200 calorie mark. That’s it! My new diet is way more laid-back. And honestly, I don’t even like the word diet because that implies something temporary—I’m looking to make a permanent change in how I eat that means less frozen pizzas and ice cream and more conscious eating.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m not struggling and am totally acing my new plan. Today, for instance, I ran a very slow 8 miles with a friend—and then proceeded to binge on all the snack food I just picked up from Trader Joe’s. BUT, if I had prepared a dinner beforehand or made sure to have more calorie-free snacks, I probably wouldn’t have found myself face-deep in a bowl of popcorn. Baby steps.

I still really haven’t lost any of the weight I’d like to lose. BUT, what I’ve gained in the process has entirely outweighed this. I’m cooking, running again, and really starting to focus on what the heck I’m doing to my body on a daily basis.

Plus, I’m doing a quick Valentine’s foodie post for Virginia is for Bloggers later this week, so make sure to look out for that!

Apologies for the excessively long post, but I wanted to re-orient this blog and be clear about the direction I’m trying to go. Please feel free to disagree or agree away, but I’m finished with paleo and, in the words of T.Swift, we’re never, ever, ever getting back together.

– Broccoli H8er fo lyfe

PS – my friend Anna totally gets food and runs a really awesome blog and just made some really awesome mushroom burgers. WITH BUNS. FU paleo! Go check it out: http://agjeon.wordpress.com/ 

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2 thoughts on “Parting with Paleo: It’s just not working out.

  1. Good for you Kate! I’m glad you’re keeping the positive aspects of paleo and moving towards a lifestyle that best fits your tastes and creativity 🙂

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