“You want me to eat butter? I’m trying to lose weight! Why are you asking me to eat fat?” Those were my first questions about the paleo diet. Every diet I had been on always emphasized low-fat foods: rice cakes, veggie-garnished bowls of pasta, whole-wheat crackers. I could not fathom how I could eat steak with a helping of veggies topped with butter and not gain five pounds? I’m glad I was proved wrong. Here’s my success story with the paleo diet:
What is the paleo diet?
In a nutshell, it’s the way our grandparents ate. It’s an emphasis on meat, veggies, and good fats like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado. Add in a little bit of fruit, nuts, and good starches like sweet potatoes. Sugar has no place in the diet. Sugar not only includes chocolate and caramel lattes, but the foods that metabolize into sugar like pasta and bread. It’s also a no grain diet.
Instant weight loss
The first couple of weeks, the weight fell off. I lost a pound a day. I didn’t exercise at first because I felt sluggish without my constant sugar fix. Around week 3, my energy levels came back. It was then I began walking for exercise and slowly incorporated some hills to get my heart rate up.
To build your meal portions, look at your hand. Your protein will be the size of your palm, the carb will be the size of your fist, then add a thumb-sized portion of fat. Still hungry? Add another portion of protein. If you’re eating leafy greens as your carb, you can eat 2-3 servings. Eat this way for your main meals and add a snack in between. Snack ideas include a small portion of nuts, good quality beef jerky, or roasted kale chips.
Always have a go-to protein or healthy snack
In my pantry, I have cans of tuna. In my purse, I carry a bag of roasted, unsalted almonds. In my freezer, I have pre-cooked chicken breast. In my fridge is a defrost bowl where some cut of meat is thawing out for the next meal. When I have no time to cook, I microwave the pre-cooked chicken from the freezer and put it on top of some leafy greens for a quick meal. I top the salad with 3-4 avocado slices, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar for a healthy dressing. The temptation to cheat on fast food is minimized when you have no excuses.
The true goal
Everyone wants to look good and feel good. With a whole-foods approach to your diet, you will undoubtedly have the benefit of both!