Hive Health Media

Three Simple Steps to Surviving the Paleo Diet

Here’s the thing about diets: diets don’t work. Weight loss is a mere matter of calories in verses calories out, and if you’re looking to lose weight as quickly as possible with as little fitness as possible, immediately close out of this article and register with MyFitnessPal.com to help you track your daily caloric intake.

paleo diet flowchart Three Simple Steps to Surviving the Paleo Diet

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Paleo Diet Food List

Yes, that is the #1 best solution for weight loss.

But for those of you who are looking for something beyond weight loss, such as improved health, higher energy, increased athletic performance, clearer skin, and/or easier digestion, the Paleo diet is the answer to all of your health and fitness needs.

To put it short: the Paleo diet includes eating like our ancestors – the caveman, our primal selves. The diet excludes gluten, dairy, legumes (beans and peanuts), processed foods, and most sugars in favor of organic meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, natural sugars (honey and agave), and healthy oils. Since there is already an endless wealth of free Paleo resources on the web, relating to what the diet is, how and why the plan works, as well as recipes and shopping lists, I’m here to address another common concern with the Paleo diet: sticking with it.

1. Paleo Is Not a Burden

Here’s my personal insight on following the Paleo diet: don’t make it a burden.  Following it as much as you can rather than 100% of the time will make the transition easier and the habit more likely to stick. If you have dinner plans with friends, order what you want from the menu. If you forgot to pack a chicken and veggies lunch, grab a sandwich at work. If you want a cupcake after dinner, go ahead and indulge. By thinking of Paleo as something to incorporate into your diet rather than a make-it-or-break-it plan, you’ll reap the healthy benefits without ever feeling like your “cheating,” “craving,” or “bingeing.”

2. You’ll Learn to Love Paleo

Wouldn’t it be great if you could learn to love traffic? Learn to love taxes? Learn to love your boss? The great thing about Paleo is you learn to love it – a miracle in the diet world. After following Paleo for only one week, a single non-Paleo meal will feel – for lack of better terminology – just plain gross. Begin Paleo by incorporating it as only 50% of your diet, you’ll be amazed at how quickly 50% becomes 60% becomes 70% and so on. Many Paleo-followers can only go a day or two off the plan without desperately wanting to get back on track (and feeling great). That’s right ladies and gentlemen, a diet you’ll actually miss when you’re off it.

3. Eat Fruit

Nothing bums me out more than low-carbers knocking fruit. Sure the sugar in fruit may prevent your body from going into weight-dropping ketosis, but if we learned anything from the Atkins diet, ketosis is not sustainable, and frankly, makes your breath stink. No one has ever gotten fat eating fruit. Fruit will cut your sugar cravings while you’re on the Paleo diet, making you less inclined towards unhealthy sweets (pastries, ice cream, oreos, etc). Eat a big bowl of watermelon after dinner, and tell me if you’re still craving chocolate.

Paleo is not for weight loss. I repeat: Paleo is NOT for weight loss. Weight loss is often a pleasant side effect, but it is slow coming, and there are much better plans for shedding a few for bikini season. Paleo is a service to your body, your health, your mind, and your skin; it’s an embrace of the beautiful foods produced solely from our earth. Welcome it into your life, and enjoy the many benefits.

[box]Lynn Maleh is a professional health/nutrition writer, Paleo follower, and CrossFit enthusiast.  She is writing on behalf of Gynecologists.com, a directory in which women can find the best gynecologist in their location. [/box]

This post was written by contributing author at Hive Health Media. If you would like to write for us about health, fitness, or blogging topics, click here.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004973371531 Robert Smith

    Fantastic article, really a great way of eating.

  • http://morehealth.ws Rita Nagy

    Definitely a great way of eating, but as the Mediterranean diet, the Paleo diet may be a tad too pricy for most people, who don’t have sufficient income to purchase unprocessed food, and grass fed animal meat, organic veggies, etc.  Otherwise, I fully agree with the health benefits of this way of eating like our prehistoric ancestors, who were though much more physically active than us today.

  • http://twitter.com/AndeeD Not a Paleontologist (@AndeeD)

    Here’s what I can tell you about me and Paleo: as a Type II diabetic, it’s fantastic. My blood sugar is so much more in control, I’m dropping weight slowly and the right kind (my fat middle is much less so) I’m not having GERD symptoms, I’m not feeling as worn out. I am sleeping so much better. This is easy, too, for me because it’s “eat from this list, not this list” which I prefer to counting carbs or whatever. I encourage anyone to find the list of what to eat (love the graphic above) and just do it.

  • http://www.ambitionfitness.com Jeff Murray

    At our clinic we use a primal or paleo diet with our clients and patients with fat loss of between 5-10kg always achieved over a 3 month period. We educate our people to understand how to control insulin production and blood sugar levels. Paleo diet is an excellent an super healthy way to she’s fat.

  • Reshma

    So what do you do for weight loss as a paleo eater?

    • http://www.healthhabits.ca Douglas Robb

      More greens & less starchy veg
      Less fruits & more greens
      Occasional 16 hr fasts (incl 8 hrs sleep time)

  • SV

    This is a great to the point article about Paleo. I especially like the picture!

    I definitely agree you will reap the benefits more if you go 100% Paleo at first to see what a difference it makes in your day to day life. From there do what works for you.

  • Bill R

    I think you do a disservice when you repeat the ” calories in and calories out” mantra which we now know is not true. Low carb diets inhance fat metabolism in ketosis. The type and percentage of calories from protein carbohydrate and fat make a huge difference which has been demonstrated over and over. So it’s much more than calories in and calories out.

    • Zack Domike

      “So much more than calories in and ” . . . . cleansing out. One of the lessons from Kindergarten is that flour and water make a solid paste. Paleo removes that flour paste from the gut, no bread, no pasta, just clean running gut.
      The Paleo Diet Flowchart at the top of the page is cute, but missing sprouts. All those grains are valid in Paleo diet if they get sprouted – no cooking needed – and modern machines make it easy to replace bread with dehydrated crackers, not just cabbage leaves.
      Raw calories are so much more than cooked calories!

    • http://www.jarretmorrow.com Jarret Morrow M.D.

      I think you’re doing our readers a disservice by suggesting that the “calories in and calories out” mantra isn’t true. The reason developed nations are facing an obesity epidemic is an imbalance between the two. I agree that there has been some interesting studies on the benefits of low carb diets for those with pre-diabetes as well as promoting weight loss, but it doesn’t discount the independent benefits of caloric restriction on the metabolic syndrome.
      People tend to mysticize weight loss when it really isn’t necessary to obfuscate things. Even leading obesity experts like Dr. Sharma (http://www.drsharma.ca/) still talk about basics like calories in/out. Others propagate myths like that caloric intake doesn’t matter at all as long as you eat some special ratio of nutrient intake which simply isn’t true.

  • HenryLeeCT

    Great article, and by the way, I follow a Paleo diet (1.5 years now) AND use MyFitnessPal to track calories and nutrient breakdown. I happen to be in weight loss mode (already lost 45), but I am in no rush. I will track calories for a week, lose a few, and then maintain simply using Paleo.

    You are exactly right about your paleo percentage increasing slowly over time. Initially it was tough to be paleo 75% of the time, but now it’s easy to be 85-90% of the time, and I do miss it when I slip off.

    One thing I would recommend to people is to go 100% Paleo for the first two weeks, using several servings of fruit per day if you are jonesing for more carbs/sugars. I find half the people who try paleo fail after a week or two because they cave to the processed carb withdrawal symptoms (carb flu). You need to power through that for 2 weeks, and then you will be on the road to hapiness, healthier skin, more energy, and fewer digestive problems.

    • http://www.healthhabits.ca Douglas Robb

      Agree 100%

      Go strict at the beginning when excitement/willpower is highest and then find your own personal Paleo comfort zone