This last week was an extremely stressful time for me. I own a natural health retail store. We carry bulk herbs, organic skin care, eco-style gifts and more~ brick and mortar style. We have about 24 employees. We just completed inventory of our stock which was about 67,000 items. It takes about six weeks to prepare for this event. Our inventory manager did a great job and thanks to Holy Basil tea, I was the least stressed I think I have ever been for inventory. But none the less- it was inventory for gods sakes! And we counted 67,000 items!!
As I was navigating the week I found myself reviving some old habits. I would not eat breakfast, which I now realize (although I kinda already knew it) is a cardinal sin for me. Then I would drink coffee which would take the place of breakfast until about 11:30. Low and behold, hunger would hit me like a train, I would be starving. I recognized this immediately as an old problem. I used to get famished like this all the time. And years and years ago I would go and eat fast food. Now I find it trickle through my thoughts but I don't actually give fast food real consideration, thank god. It was good to remember and I am sad I had to suffer the reminder. Thankfully through all of this I have managed to stay gluten-free. That is super important for my joints. I get really sore if I eat gluten.
I also found that by not feeding myself good foods throughout the day, at night I was wanting to munch more. And when I do this I can never find the food I am searching for. So I end up eating a bunch of unsatisfying foods that are likely high calories or more importantly high in carbohydrates. It's a terrible cycle. Those foods make me more hungry and that in turn makes me eat more. And then I am more hungry. I am so glad that Paleo eating has allowed me to get out of this uncomfortable cycle. I get hungry on Paleo but I don't feel like I will eat the arm off the person next to me. I get to experience a gentle hunger that allows me time to figure out the best way to feed myself. I think part of this is the good fats I am eating. I have lost 35 lbs eating bacon and avocados. I feel so nourished eating Paleo.
I have been Paleo for about 8 months. And clearly, I love it. But it is definately a challenge. Whenever I fall off the wagon I know I want to be back in the arms of a Paleo life style. My old ways are distructive and very unsatifying. But I think I need to remind myself sometimes. I also try to remember that this is a grand experiment. I don't believe there is one way for people to feed themselves. The idea that one eating style or "diet" works for everyone is just crazy to me. So even the boxed versions a Paleo plan isn't neccassarily perfect for me. I am constantly adjusting. That is one reason I am seeing a nauturopath during this process. She guides me and helps me stay on plan. She helps me make adjustments that are both intuitive and science based. A perfect combination in my opinion. A perfect combination for me.
So let me share some things that are certain for my success:
1. I must be gluten-free at all times. My body hurts when I eat gluten. I get an immediate reminder. It is a very clear message. I also feel foggy in my mind. And no gluten-free substitutes. These options are often not Paleo. Ok I will give myself the occasional gluten free pizza with pesto of course (like once a month, tops.)
2. I must stay nightshade free. Tomatoes, Potatoes, and peppers. Those also contribute to my achy joints and sore body.
3. I must eat protein for breakfast. Eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. And with Kale or other veggies is even better.
4. I must prepare my food for the day in advance. I must bring snacks with me in the car. Nuts, dried fruit, and beef jerky. I am happiest when I eat a sweet potato everyday for lunch or dinner. I love to bring my lunch to work everyday. I love left-overs ( I'm a weirdo, I know.)
5. I must remove sugar from my diet. No chocolate, and limit dried fruit. No cream in my coffee. Even that much sugar can throw me off track. Manage fruits carefully. And Boo, NO ICE CREAM even the homemade kind.
6. I must manage my carb intake. I can eat about 80 carbs a day, max. A min of about 40.
7. I must use a program like Sparkpeople (it's free) to record my food choices daily. I need to be able to not go unconscious about food. It is easy for me to make good choices when I have the data in front of me. I do not consider calories or fat when making food choices. Carb intake is my driver for food choices as well as a desire for high intake of vegetables and good meats and saturated fats.
8. I must consume about 120 ounces of water a day. I must consume my first 32 ounces before lunch. Lemon water is super good for me.
9. I must exercise. I must sweat. Swimming and land workouts with my partner and trainer are essential.
10. I must be gentle with myself. I must remember I am in so much better condition than I was eight months ago. I must remember that I am doing great. I must remember that reminding myself of old ways can be good. It can solidify the new better way of living. It is not failure.
Now that being said I am up about 7lbs from my lowest weight. Which was about 3 weeks ago. Which is not the end of the world but it is frustrating because it takes a ton of more energy for me to loose 7 lbs then it does to gain it. I am sure the gluten-free coffee cake my sweet sister made for me contributed to my gain as well as numerous bad food choices. And the homemade ice cream, I have been making with my son. With whole cream of course.It's good and natural but full of carbs and sugar.
So this plan I have laid out for myself is what I have come to realize is what works for me to lose weight. Eventually I will have to change this plan to accommodate weight maintenance. But I am a ways off from that. Again I am happy to have my naturopath to help me create a healthy holistic plan.
Let me know if this entry was helpful for you. What things have you come to realize about your Paleo journey?