I thought maybe if I didn’t say anything, no one would ask how the Paleo thing was going. And if no one asked, then I wouldn’t have to tell, and all would soon be forgotten. But no such luck.
I admit, I didn’t just slip off the Paleo diet….I fell face first. I didn’t mean for that happen. I stuck with it for a week. It was a struggle, but I lost a few pounds (how could you not on mostly fruit and veggies?!). Then I had a wedding to go to. Not just any wedding, a wedding for my Vietnamese cousin, complete with Asian cuisine. Uh, no way I was missing out on that! But that was just going to be my one cheat day. Just one.
Then it became “just the weekend”. Then I was closing in on my first charity golf tournament (more on that in a separate post) and had no time to plan meals. So now we’re at a week of being off Paleo. Then I got a sinus infection and I had no energy to plan meals, plus all I wanted was comfort foods. Do you see where this is going?
Sure I omitted carbs here and there at dinner and even made a couple recipes for Paleo muffins to eat for breakfast, but if I wanted chips, I ate chips. If I wanted some pasta, I ate pasta. Just last night we had rice…white rice (gasp). So it hasn’t been pretty. I’m either all the way in or all the way out it seems.
Here is what made it hard staying Paleo:
It takes planning. There is no throwing together a one-dish pasta meal. You can’t make a quick sandwich for lunch. And if you’re hungry for a snack, you need to have fruits and nuts and veggies around the house or you will starve. Between the golf tournament and being sick, I didn’t have the time or energy to plan.
I never felt satisfied. I think because I wasn’t planning my food out as well as I should have, I was constantly scrambling to eat something that didn’t break the rules and if I couldn’t find anything I just wouldn’t eat at all. And that left me hungry (duh) and just not satisfied. I needed more hearty meals but I didn’t prepare well enough for them.
Too many unsure rules. This was probably the biggest frustration for me. I’ve always been a rule-follower. I was a goody-goody and teacher’s pet growing up (do not mistake this with being a kiss-ass….I was just a good student 🙂 ). I’ve never received a traffic ticket in my life (watch me get one tomorrow). I obey the speed limit within 5 or 10 mph. I’m just a good citizen. So if I have to follow rules for a “diet” I need to know them well, know WHY they exist and I don’t like to deter.
So I’m at book club one day during my one week on the diet and my girlfriends start asking me questions. Can you eat this? Why can’t you eat that? And I struggled answering their questions. It made me realize I didn’t know what I was doing and I hated that feeling. I felt like a poser. Top that off with me coaching a kids running program in our neighborhood and one day at practice lecturing the kids about how they should fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water. This falls into the category of do as I say and not as I do. Sigh.
So here’s my conclusion for myself. Paleo has a great premise for me to follow. I need to eat more fruits and vegetables with a protein on the side. Cutting out processed foods, especially refined sugars, should be something I strive toward on a daily basis. But I also don’t want to feel like I am on a diet. So I’ll still drink my coffee in the morning with a touch of agave. I’ll still eat quinoa which some people say is paleo and some say is not. I’ll still use my oil-based salad dressing because at least I’m eating a salad. And if every once in a while I’d like to throw in a healthy carb, I’ll throw in a healthy carb. But I don’t want to restrict myself to the point of feeling “trapped”.
So I’d like to consider myself part of a pseudo-Paleo lifestyle and maybe that’s something I can live with….hopefully live longer with, right? But right now I’m taking my youngest to Sweet Frog and I just may have myself some Dulche de Leche with chocolate chips. I did say pseudo, didn’t I?