So I did it. Went Paleo, made a lot of jokes and then somewhere during the challenge, totally amazed myself.
Six weeks of eating like a caveman. And all I have to show for it are these six-pack abs.
(No seriously. Pictures coming soon.)
Take the following for what it is…the ravings of a carb-depleted chest-thumping kettleball-swinging CrossFit “It’s totally not a cult” member. Yes seriously.
- It’s the little things. When eating like this, the small things matter even more. Like finding bacon made without sugar. In a small mountain town. When you haven’t had bacon in 5 weeks. Yes, it was orgasmic.
- Variety is clutch. During this last week, I got really tired of eating the same stuff. Not necessarily craving something that I couldn’t eat, just craving something different that I could. When you’re on a limited diet, you have to be constantly looking for new ways of cooking the same things. Thank heaven for food bloggers.
- When the cat’s away, the mouse doesn’t eat as well. Also this last week, my personal chef husband has been out of town. This challenge was made much more difficult by that fact. It’s not that I’m a bad cook, I just hate cooking for one. I’ve been forced to do just that the entire last week of the Paleo challenge and am extremely grateful that I didn’t have to do that the entire time.
- Favorite game to play during this challenge…the “What do you miss?” game which consists of taking turns talking about the foods that you miss eating the most. Played this with the husband, played this with Andrew Hyde, and played this with just about everyone else in the challenge. Even played it with people who weren’t taking part in the challenge. Not as much fun.
- What now? Isn’t this the big question? It’s what everyone asks and it’s the question I don’t have an answer for. The hubs and I have to discuss our options, but the fact that his GI issues have virtually cleared up says a lot for this diet. Perhaps we go gluten-free? After what we just did, it doesn’t seem all that difficult and is made easier by the many GF choices out there these days. I’ll be honest and say that adding sugar back in seems problematic. But that’s just because I think that adding any drug back into my body might be a bad call. And I’m really proud to have kicked it. (All that being said, I probably won’t stop myself from taking a hit of the dark chocolate every now and then.)
- On the other hand…french fries! Beer! French fries! Beer! French fries! Beer! French fries! Beer!
- Mindfulness matters. This is never more apparent than dealing with a restricted diet. Many American meals lack any sort of forethought beyond deciding on value meal #1 or #2. It’s all about how fast you can get your food into your mouth. When eating Paleo, you’re dealing with fresh and real foods that need preparation. The real foods I speak of will go bad if not used and since there are no boxes of anything sitting on your shelves, you must put thought into your meals. If you want to eat anyway. And not have a refrigerator full of rotting produce.
- Speaking of rotting produce…eat more vegetables. Your body will thank you. That is all.
- No more crash & burn. I love that my energy levels have stabilized and that I’m not prone to the afternoon lethargic state that I once suffered. Something about my insulin levels normalizing, something about my blood sugar remaining constant…all I know is how I feel. Much more even-keeled and no carb comas.
- But while we’re on the topic…Carb much, America? Maybe it’s just because I’m sensitive to it, or maybe it’s because everywhere I look, there are carbs, but holy shit, everywhere I look, there are carbs. Skiing this past weekend, I went into the cafeteria/diner up at a mid-mountain lodge (to get some water) when I saw something I couldn’t believe. Macaroni & cheese in a bread bowl. Yeah, Winter Park, I’m looking at you. I mean, really? You people think you’re burning THAT many calories on the slopes. Gah.
- It’s all in your head. You can say what you want about the power of thought but this challenge was definitely made harder and easier by my mental state. When I told myself that I didn’t want a cupcake, it became truth. When I told myself that the Paleo-friendly almond muffin I baked was a cupcake, it almost became truth. But the point is…whatever you commit to is what you’ll accomplish. And it might just be necessary to play mind games with yourself in order to make that commitment happen. Anyone who has ever done any endurance event will tell you the same.
- Birthdays don’t require cake. I celebrated my birthday during the Paleo challenge and made a good go of things. Fruit with coconut milk and a psuedo-baked good (almond muffins w/ no flour or sugar) were wonderful stand-ins for cake and ice cream. All that you really need for a successful birthday are feelings of love showered upon you by family and friends. This I had in abundance.
- First thing to eat after the challenge is over? This is the one I agonized about for quite some time. Take a look for yourself. I waited until dinner to indulge, but below you can see both my appetizer and my dessert:
So there you have it. The story of how I survived six weeks of no carbs, no grains, no sugars and no dairy.
Well, almost. I owe you pictures and will be posting them as soon as I get them from my coach. Because the proof is not in how strong and lean I feel. The proof is in how I’ll be rocking my bikini in six days. And to really wrap the story up, pictures are a must.
**And because I’m nothing if not transparent, I did cheat one time during the Paleo challenge. Early on, in the beginning of the second week, my company celebrated a big milestone and we celebrated, like we normally do, at a near-by bar. To commemorate said milestone, our CEO likes us to do a shot together. Normally a kamikaze. I only had one glass of wine at our company happy hour, and when the time came to do a shot, I had decided I was going to turn it down. Until my CEO started to guilt and peer pressure me into drinking the shot with everyone. And was successful. So that means that I wasn’t completely without sugar and hard alcohol for six weeks. But it does mean that I’m a complete sucker when it comes to authority figures ordering me to drink.