The PCF Summer Paleo Challenge reinforced a couple of big lessons:
Everything’s easier when you do it as a team.
People want to change their diet, but diet is habit, and habits are hard to break
Some people are going to stay 99% Paleo for the rest of their lives…some people aren’t.
Here are the main things you need to keep in mind once you’ve gotten past your first 30 Day Challenge:
Everything affects everything. Food, Stress, Sleep, Stress, Exercise, and Stress, all affect each other. If one spirals out of control, chances are it’s going to pull something else out of whack. Control what you can control. Fix what you can fix. Don’t beat the shit out of yourself if you have some chocolate after your cat dies.
Have a buddy or a community that you can vent to and who can pick you up when you’re down, give you some advice, or just say “yeah, that happened to me too.”
Look to excel, not to survive. Those that get excited about the Paleo lifestyle stick with it. Those that look at it as a prison sentence are going to spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out ways to break out.
“Enough bullshit self-helpy stuff Brian, tell me what I can eat.”
Here’s a list, in descending order of harm, of foods that you can probably reintroduce. I’ll warn you now: look at inputs and outputs. If you eat chocolate, and your head explodes, make a note of that data point:
Speaking of chocolate….
#1 Dark Chocolate, at least 85%
#2 That’s it, there is no number 2.
Grains, dairy and legumes will mess you up, period. Sugar will mess you up, period.
Remember: Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash, Fruit, and Nuts are all technically Paleo to start with. I’ll just tell you the same thing now as I said at the beginning of the Paleo Challenge: if you want to lose weight limit them.
Now if you are still feeling tired after 30 days, you need to look at two things:
Increase overall caloric intake
Increase post-workout carbs in the form of sweet potato or winter squash
If you need to “cheat” though and want to dose yourself with carbs, hit a GOOD Tex-Mex restaurant. Some corn chips and salsa (thoroughly tested after the recommendation from Robb Wolf), a corn tortilla burrito with no beans, and a NorCal Margarita (or 5) makes for a good night with minimal GI issues the next day.
Speaking of margaritas….
“OK Brian, I am a believer and hence lean, strong, and super sexy. I need the proper venue to display said sexiness and not have people think I’m an alcoholic or pregnant.”
First off, enjoy it. You can deadlift your bodyweight multiple times, and you’ve come close to meeting pukie multiple times. However, if you want to be this guy, just don’t do it in one of my t-shirts.
Booze is actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it. As mentioned previously, the NorCal Margarita is good to go. However, generally low-carb booze has little affect when drank in “social” quantities.
Mark’s Daily Apple sums it up nicely here, I’ll just add the addendum that if you are going to drink beer, I’d highly recommend either gluten-free beer or low-gluten beer.
That’s it! Enjoy your new, totally livable, totally fun, Paleo lifestyle!