The hardest part is getting started. That goes for any goal you're trying to achieve in life. This is especially true when starting the paleo diet.
How many books have you read about the paleo diet in the last year? If you've read one book then you are ready to get started. It's very easy to convince yourself that you need more information before you start. I suffer from analysis paralysis on a daily basis. I'm trying to improve.
When it came to finally getting healthy and changing my habits I found that there was a point where I had to stop learning and I had to start doing.
Maybe you're at the point of starting the paleo diet. You've been following the blogs, reading the books and checking out all the success stories and now you're finally ready to start doing.
If you reached this point of taking action I want to congratulate you. Many people do not get to this point. They get stuck in a constant state of analysis and never make a decision to take control of their health. I want to make the process of starting the paleo diet as simple as possible, especially in the beginning stages.
3.5 Easy Steps for Starting the Paleo Diet
Through my personal transformation and seeing others go through the same challenges of starting the paleo diet, I've found these three easy steps can help you get off to a great start with the paleo diet and lifestyle.
Step 1: Get a long-term mindset. This is a little bit high level but it's absolutely critical to achieving your weight loss or health goals.
If you focus only on short-term results you will fail. I wish I would have learned this lesson a long time ago. This doesn't mean you can't have short-term goals it just means you can't solely focus on the short-term.
Let's say you want to lose 10 pounds before the 4th of July holiday. You could beat the crap out of yourself for the next five weeks trying to lose the 10 pounds and you might even achieve your goal. But what happens after the 4th of July? If you're like most people it's very likely you'll lose some of that motivation and you'll gain some of that 10 pounds back. You may even gain more back because you never did the work to change your long-term habits.
Now instead of just crash dieting and beating yourself up to lose that 10 pounds you take a more long-term approach and concentrate on changing your eating habits and adopting a healthy mindset that will ensure you succeed long-term. This is what I call the "winning the war" strategy.
Sure, you could win a battle here and there but you set yourself up for disappointment and heartache long-term. Instead, adopt the mindset of "winning the war" when it comes to your health and fitness. The results are lasting and will pay dividends for the rest of your life.
Just in case you're not convinced there is a bonus to adopting this long-term mindset. When you focus on the long-term I find that you'll actually achieve your short-term goal or at least you'll come darn close.
Step 2: Quit eating high processed grains and foods immediately. I wish there was an easy way to stop eating foods that are keeping you unhealthy and overweight. The best method I've found is to quit these foods cold turkey.
The main culprits are the following:
5. Junk Food Snacks (chips, cookies, etc.)
There are a ton of other foods that could be added to this list but these are the main foods that are the toughest to eliminate.
The cool thing about starting the paleo diet is that are plenty of paleo recipes that will fit cravings you might have early on for some of these foods. The best thing you can do is use these substitutions as insurance and strive to do your best to let your body adjust to enjoying whole, unprocessed food like it's designed to do.
During this step it's best to go ahead and empty the house and desk drawers of all these temptations. Give them away or trash them. You don't have to let these foods control you anymore. You are the one that's in control.
Step 3: Increase your intake of green leafy veggies, good fats and quality protein. This step is just as important as cutting out the processed garbage and grains.
The biggest question people starting the paleo diet ask is, "What can I eat on the paleo diet?"
The answer is that you can eat pretty much anything as long as it's unprocessed and not loaded with a bunch of sugar.
You'll need to fill the spots on your plate that used to be filled with mounds of pasta and replace the bran flakes and bagels you used to eat for breakfast. The best thing you can do is add more green veggies, healthy fats and quality protein to your plate. Not only do these types of foods keep you full and less likely to binge but they're also delicious and pack a host of health benefits.
Over time, your body will get back to it's natural state of even energy levels and you'll start to burn excess bodyfat for fuel.
It's now a good time to mention that the paleo diet is not an extreme low carb diet like Atkins. Paleo is one of the most balanced nutritional strategies that I have come across. You just need to be a little bit more strategic with your carb choices and intake.
There are a variety of carb sources you can eat without an issue on the paleo diet. Things like yams are heavily used in paleo recipes. If your goal is to lose weight it may be a good strategy to eat a majority of your carbs after you workout. It might also be beneficial to keep your average daily carbohydrate intake to 100 grams or less. Everyone is different so you'll have to test what works best for you.
Step 3.5: You have to plan. I have to add this one to the list. I once tried to hack and wing my way to getting healthy and losing the 33 pounds that I was carrying on my frame. After a lot of frustration from my lack of results I learned that I had to have a plan and I had to work my plan.
There was no tool like PrimalPal when I started living a paleo lifestyle. All my planning was done by hand. This is not the most fun and it can be hard to hold yourself to creating a plan every week. If you're not creating a plan it becomes very easy to start eating the same meals over and over again. I can't even begin to imagine how many chicken breasts I ate. This no longer has to be the case if you have a tool like PrimalPal in your arsenal.
Achieving your goals takes hard work and perseverance. If you follow these 3.5 easy steps when starting the paleo diet you will increase your ability to not only achieve your short-term goals but you'll set yourself up to live healthy and disease free for the rest of your life. To quote good ol' Charlie Sheen, "Winning!"
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