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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.