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30 Days to Change Your Life


J
anuary is a time to cast off all the physical and emotional baggage of an entire year and give yourself a chance to start fresh. I’m usually not one for resolutions, but this year, I’m supporting the CrossFit Love 30-Day Paleo Challenge. There’s no better time than now to make a lifestyle change so that you can start feeling better today. And if you think for a second that it’s OK to keep living like a sack of potatoes, just think about all the folks out there who are struggling with serious diseases like cancer or AIDS that would happily trade you for the body you continually abuse. Don’t you owe it to yourself and them to make the most of your health?

So how do you start? Well, first read about what Paleo is in my previous post here: Is The Paleo Lifestyle Right For Me?

Understand what we’re trying to do here? Good. Next comes the implementation.

1. Go to your pantry/refrigerator.

Remove everything that contains the words wheat, flour, sugar, corn, partially hydrogenated, soy, syrup, vegetable/palm kernel oil, rice, lentil, or milk/cheese/whey/casein. Here’s the hard part: throw it out. Don’t give it to a shelter or food drive or anything. I can already hear you say “You’re a jerk! These people are starving, they’re better off eating something rather than nothing.” Think about it this way, do you really want to hand them things that are poisonous to humans? Cause that’s what grains and sugar are. If you want to pay penance for this, go buy some canned meats and donate them instead.

2. Now that your cupboards are bare, it’s time to go shopping!

Here are some excellent resources for planning your Paleo adventure

Robb Wolf’s Quick Start Guide and Food Matrix

Robb is the freaking man, and don’t you ever forget it. His Paleo Solution book is my Bible, and the weekly podcast is an amazing source of fresh information.

Whole 9′s Guide to Seasonal Eating
I love Dallas and Melissa’s no B.S. approach to the Paleo lifestyle, and they are the original folks who started challenging folks to strive for better with their Whole 30 Program.

Balanced Bites’ Priorities for Eating Paleo On A Budget

This is one of my favorite posts of Diane’s as it highlights the biggest concern that most folks struggle with while trying to make significant lifestyle changes. I highly recommend her new book, Practical Paleo Nutrition and you can even get a sneak preview here.

Everyday Paleo

Sarah has put together some amazing meals for her large family. If she has the time to do that and personal training, you can take the time to cook too.

I recommend cooking with coconut oil. Olive oil oxidizes at high temperature and loses much of its benefits. You can find coconut oil at Whole Foods or online.

A fish oil supplement will help you along quite a bit in the early stages of Paleo as well as being great for greasing your joints and helping you combat inflammation. I use this supplement from Stronger, Faster, Healthier. It is certainly not cheap, but it is the highest quality product I’ve come across. If you can’t afford it, no worries, go to Costco and pick up their Kirkland Signature brand. Just be warned that you will be slamming a lot of pills since it’s pretty low dose. Use the Robb Wolf Fish Oil Calculator to figure out how much you need. Ease in to the fish oil, as that much fat at one time can have a laxative effect.

3. Eat!

And don’t stop eating until you’re satisfied. You’re going to be altering your body’s basic chemistry here by switching it from a primarily carb-burning machine to a fat-burning machine. With this may come some side effects. You may experience sluggishness, lack of clarity, headaches, body aches, and maybe some minor digestive issues. But none of them are too severe, and shouldn’t last too long. Whatever you do, don’t quit.

If fat loss is your primary goal, you should probably go easy on the fruit and nuts. When I first started Paleo, I found that my body didn’t really switch over to burning fat until I got rid of the apple a day.

4. Destroy your scale.

The scale is the biggest source of mental anguish that will derail you in no time. Weigh yourself once at the beginning of 30 days, and once at the end. Or not at all. Who cares how much you weigh? I don’t, for one. I would much rather see improved blood work, progress pictures, and increased exercise capacity. Your clothes will fit better, your mood will be elevated. That should be your measure of success, not some stupid number that can change drastically for random reasons.

5. Move

I’m a CrossFitter. I love it, but it’s not for everyone. I will say this about Paleo plus exercise: fat loss is 10% exercise, 10% genetics, and 80% what’s on your plate. I’m making these numbers up, but it conveys the point that you will lose fat on Paleo even if you don’t exercise. I don’t recommend that you stop exercising, but if you see your energy dip, take it easy at the gym and get some rest. Your body is going through serious change and it’s important to take the time to listen to what it is telling you.

6. Sleep

At least 8 hours in a pitch black room. This is going to be really challenging for most people as our society is one that prides itself on being as productive as possible and that any hour not working is an hour wasted. Lack of sleep causes a rise in cortisol, a crucial hormone that is linked to fat loss and stress. Makes sense right? The more you sleep and the less you stress, the easier it will be to lose fat and function at a higher level.

Lastly, try doing this challenge with a friend. Peer pressure is an incredible motivator, and having a support system in place will make your 30 days a breeze.

As the month progresses, I’ll be writing more about pitfalls, good recipes, and deeper explanations of some of the reasons behind the return to a Paleo lifestyle. If you have questions about implementation, confused about a certain food, or just want to add your own story, please leave a comment or email me at contact at thelazycaveman.com.

The Lazy Caveman
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  • Oso

    Diggin' the blog, Bear. Still… I'm not jumping ship on Eat to Live just yet, despite the catchy 30-day challenge! D:

    -Oso

  • Erin

    Hi Badier,

    My name is Erin and I just joined CFPA. I am loving it. I really appreciate your site. I am trying to get back into the Paleo lifestyle and finding it hard. Your site is helping a lot. I think my problem is that I'm not incorporating enough fats. To be quite honest with you, fats scare me. If there is anything Tim is trying to brake me of at CFPA , is that diet mentality. I'm sure your familiar with it. Eat less and exercise more. Cardio, cardio, cardio. I hate cardio. I love lifting. This is why I joined CFPA. Thanks again for all your knowledge. Hope to see you around the box.

    Erin

  • Dana

    I LOVE YOU. I keep telling people not to donate that crap to food pantries. I've *been* the poor person who got other people's carb castoffs. It helped to wreck my health and I already didn't have a whole lot going for me. It's not nice to look at a person who's in a bad situation in life and think to yourself, "They should be grateful that I am giving them this utter crap to eat." They're poor, not serial killers. Sheesh.

    • http://www.thelazycaveman.com The Lazy Caveman

      Thanks for your comment Dana! Truth be told, I still have all the junk I cleared out from my pantry the first time in the trunk of my car….it's been there for almost a year…and none of it's gone bad…

  • Laura Gilbert

    Hi,

    I've been at CFPA for a week and a half now and also started the 30Day challenge at the same time. I'm on day 10. My only concern is that I am trying to get pregnant and talked to my acupuncturist about the diet and she said I should be eating a bowl of brown rice a day, otherwise she fully agreed with the diet. She mentioned the acidity of the meat and how the rice should balance that out. So I added it. Otherwise nothing else has changed. As you know this diet is so different from the accepted prescribed diet plans for pregnant people. I've read Good Calories Bad Calories and therefore fully agree with this diet based on the research therein. I just have the concern about pregnancy.

    What do you think?

    Laura

    • http://www.thelazycaveman.com The Lazy Caveman

      Hi Laura,

      I'm glad that your acupuncturist is on board, however she has made a mistake in prescribing brown rice to you. All grains are acidifying in the body, which is a large part of the reason so many folks eating a Standard American Diet are having nutrients literally leeched out of their bones. Please refer to this table from Dr. Cordain: http://thepaleodiet.com/nutritional-tools/acid-ba… .You'll see that meats, fish and eggs are acidifying, where fruits and veggies are alkaline-producing. This natural balance will help your vitamins and minerals stay where they are and also help new ones get where they need to go.

      Another fun fact about rice: white rice is actually preferred to brown rice from a Paleo perspective because the outer skin of the grain is removed in processing, and that's where the majority of anti-nutrients are housed. So if you do want to have a little white rice once in a while, go ahead (it's mostly glucose), so long as it doesn't negatively impact your blood sugar and insulin sensitivity.

      And lastly, the Paleo lifestyle has been shown time and time again to aid in fertility and produce healthy, strong babies. I strongly recommend you look at the work of Chris Kresser, and his websiteThe Healthy Skeptic. He's been teaching a class on growing a healthy baby for a while now in the Bay Area and he really knows his stuff. Check out this podcast he did recently: http://thehealthyskeptic.org/the-healthy-skeptic-
      He's also making the class available as a video lecture: http://healthybabycode.com/signup

      Cheers,

      TLC

  • Laura Gilbert

    Hi Again,

    Thank you so much for your thorough quick answer. I will listen to that podcast asap! I also have read The Healthy Skeptic and thought it was great! So it will be good to hear what he says regarding babies. Also, will nix the brown rice :)

    Laura

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