Happy 2011! Now that the holiday season is over… I imagine many of us have New Year’s resolutions related to health and fitness to get started on. I am usually not one to create New Year’s resolutuions, but I was feeling in dire need of one this year, after my Christmas eating bender. I was so proud of myself, I made it through Thanksgiving just fine. But, Christmas was a tough one, as we spent the weekend at a beach house with both of our families, and 2 moms = lots of trouble. I did keep it gluten-free, but other than that it was all fair game. So much cheese, and gluten-free cookies! I always feel the effects of falling off the paleo wagon, my body truly hates me when I do this. I don’t know why in the moment, I can’t remember this and every once in awhile like Christmas or a bestie’s wedding in Mexico, I lose all self-control. Once I start the “cheating”, it’s all downhill from there. So, this year I am ready for the change, and I am looking forward to feeling healthy and energized again, and hopefully next holiday season, I will make better choices. My resolution is to be more committed to a paleo lifestyle over the next couple of months, with much fewer gluten-free cheats, as well as being more committed to my workout routine. The holidays were so fun, but I am ready to buckle down, and focus on reaching optimum health. I put together some tips recently for a couple of friends that I thought I would share, as many of you are re-committing to your old paleo ways too.
Depending on how you ate before, the first 1-3 weeks of eating a paleo diet can be difficult, as your body is adapting to the dietary change. You might even feel tired and you will probably have cravings for the foods you cut out. Stick to it, and around week 3, you should have tons of energy and feel really great. At first, since you are already making such a big change, my recommendation is to eat when you are hungry, and eat as much as you need to be full, as long as you are eating paleo foods. You will see that if you are truly sticking to a paleo diet, over consuming will prove to be difficult. Especially in the beginning, don’t allow yourself to get too hungry, as this is when you will most likely make bad choices and fall off the wagon. Click here for a reminder of which foods you should and should not eat.
After a week or two, when your body is more adapted to this way of eating, make the following modifications to optimize weight loss and general health.
• Limit fruit intake :: Although, fruits have tons of vitamins, they are high in sugar and carbs compared to other paleo foods. You can find all the same nutrients plus more in vegetables. I would recommend limiting your fruit intake to 1-2 pieces a day and stick to low sugar, low carb fruits. Berries are the best. Apples, pears, and peaches are all pretty good too. Mark’s Daily Apple has a great list of the best and worst fruits – http://www.marksdailyapple.com/best-and-worst-fruits/
• Limit nut intake :: 1.5 to 2 ounces a day (= to about 1 of those individually packaged Trader Joe’s trail mix or almond packs). Nuts are a healthy source of fat, and nutritious. However, they pack a lot of calories, so they are not so great for weight loss. Most of them are also high in Omega-6 fatty acids.
• Snacks :: At first you will probably need to snack more. I recommend having high protein, leaner snacks. For example: A few slices of sliced sandwich meat (if possible, get the stuff that is antibiotic, hormone, and nitrate free), a few slices of avocado, and some cherry tomatoes. You probably noticed in my 30 day meal plan, I was snacking on fruit and nuts a lot, again that is not great for weight loss, and I am also working on modifying my own diet to be healthier.
• Protein :: Protein is a very important aspect of this diet. Protein is what keeps us full, triggers are brain that we are satisfied, and helps increase our metabolism. Include protein in every meal. A good rule of thumb, according to the Paleo Solution podcast, is for each lb of body weight, eat ½ gram to 1gram of protein. So, if you are 100 lbs, eat between 50-100g of protein. I recommend something in the middle. I eat about .72grams per a lb of body weight. If you don’t know how much protein is in something like a chicken breast or steak, you can look it up on sites such as calorieking and caloriecount.
On average, I eat about 72 grams of protein.
Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs for breakfast ~ 16g
Lunch: 4 ounces of chicken ~ 24g
Dinner: 4ounces of steak or fish ~ 30g
Eat larger meals and less snacks :: It is easy to load up on calories when we snack. Plus, the snacks are what we want to overeat. Some celery sticks with 1 or 2 Tablespoons of almond butter isn’t too bad, but I personally tend to eat much more than 2 Tablespoons. Eat as much protein and veggies that you need during your meals to fill up.
Eat balanced meals :: Include healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, etc), protein, and carbs (mostly veggies) as part of every meal.
Here is to a healthy 2011! Happy New Year!