I have been following the Paleo diet for close to a month now, so I thought it was time to give an honest review.
Overall, I am pleased with how my body has responded. I still stand by the belief I held when I first started this experiment in that the diet is too restrictive for most people. Unless there is a medical reason why you should be avoiding dairy, grains, legumes, etc then I don’t think you should. Without further ado, here is what I like and dislike about the diet.
- My favourite part of the whole experiment has been eating just three or four times a day, instead of six or seven. This isn’t a Paleo recommendation but rather a technique to control insulin secretion. It is SO much better eating less frequently. I can go out and not worry about carting tupperware containers with me, I don’t have to stress about organising eating around clients and training, and I don’t have to do as many dishes. It’s nice to actually feel hungry for a change as well!
- I have lost five kilograms (11lbs) since starting Paleo, but I regained one this week. I don’t think I look any different so I think most of this was water weight. I do feel lighter and leaner, and it’s even helping my workouts.
- My skin! The main reason I wanted to try Paleo was to improve my skin. Over the past few months my acne has gotten incredibly bad and I reached my wit’s end. I’ve been taking medication for eight weeks, but I didn’t see any real changes until I began Paleo. My skin has not cleared up completely but it is much, much better than it was just a month ago. I had two breakouts over the month, whereas before it seemed to be happening every other day. I’m quietly optimistic that my skin will continue to improve if I continue to avoid dairy especially.
- I have only been bloated once this month. Normally I get bloated three or four times per week, so this is a huge improvement! I’m loving feeling like a normal person who doesn’t look pregnant by mid-afternoon.
- Dining out is easier than I expected on Paleo. The challenge is finding places that serve potatoes, but all the English pubs are serving me well. Bangers and mash, anyone? I’m sure I’m ‘cheating’ when I eat out, as most of the sauces and other extras probably aren’t Paleo, but I don’t stress about it.
- The downside about eating less often is that you have to eat more in one sitting. I’ve never had a problem with putting away a lot of food in a single meal, but trying to eat my weight in potatoes isn’t the most fun.
- Although my bloating has almost disappeared, my overall digestion hasn’t been great. Without venturing into TMI territory, let’s just say what I’m eating seems to go straight through me.
- I don’t know if I can blame this one on Paleo but I have been sleeping terribly lately. For the past two weeks or so, I keep waking at around 4-5am and can’t go back to sleep. This past weekend I was a night owl and was awake between 3-7am. I have never ever had trouble sleeping before so I’m not digging this change.
- Following on from my insomnia, I have been dragging ass during the day. I’m fine during my workouts – but probably only because I train early in the morning. For the rest of the day, I have little energy and I’m feeling pretty useless.
- Being one of ‘those’ people. I hate telling people I “can’t” have this or that. I ordered a burger without the bun on the weekend and I felt like such a silly low-carber. I wanted to give a disclaimer so that the waitress wouldn’t judge me!
- I miss bread more than anything. Oatmeal was surprisingly easy to say goodbye to, but I still salivate thinking about bread and pasta. I honestly don’t see how eating bread would aggravate my skin, so I don’t plan on cutting it out forever.
- One thing that has been hard for me to deal with is knowing whether or not I am truly doing the right thing for my body. It is hard cutting down on my meals, not having protein shakes anymore and reducing my carb intake – these things go against everything I have learnt and preached over the past couple of years. I am trying to keep an open mind and focus on the positive benefits I’m seeing because of Paleo, but I don’t know if I will ever be a full advocate of this lifestyle.
I originally planned to strictly following this diet for the full 30 days, but that idea quickly went out the window. I didn’t think being restrictive would help my stress levels so I have indulged in a few non-Paleo meals over the course of the month.
Once a week, I have been having bread at breakfast and twice a week I have been having three squares of dark chocolate. I have also had french fries three times throughout the month and I think three glasses of wine in total. None of these things seemed to negatively affect me.
However, last weekend I had a cupcake and a hot chocolate and I paid the price – I felt incredibly bloated the next day, and I had a mini breakout. Another sign that my body’s nemesis is dairy.
Going forward, I plan on following the Paleo diet as closely as I feel comfortable with. I will never be a diehard meat and veggies-only kind of girl, and I wouldn’t wish that kind of restriction on anyone. We are going to Berlin next week and I fully intend on enjoying their famous bread and chocolate without guilt! Berlin is actually home of the first Paleo restaurant in Europe, which I’ll be dragging Rob to.
When we get back I will resume my modified Paleo way of eating, but I plan on re-introducing certain foods starting with protein powder and peanut butter.
Please let me know if you have any questions about anything, or if you have any tips for me to improve my energy! I will be completely unplugging from technology at the end of this week, so you won’t see any posts from me for a while. I wish everyone a happy and safe Christmas, and I’ll see you all in the new year!