I struggled for over a year and a half to get consistent on the paleo diet. Like you, it seemed no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t fit paleo consistently into my lifestyle — we live in a world of carbs!
I kept at it…
What I learned during that time guided me to the sweet spot I now enjoy with the paleo diet. Let it refocus you too!
1. Vividly picture why you want to succeed.
Take a moment and think about why you want to eat a paleo diet. What about it inspired you to even try it? Perhaps to gain more energy, more restful sleep, clearer thinking…write them down and be as detailed and specific as you can. The more compelling you can be in your description, the better.
When I first started I made a visual inspiration board. As a visual thinker that worked best for me. I kept it where I could see it every day because I knew I needed to keep my eyes on the prize. It is so easy to be distracted by the urgent that we forget what is important. I knew changing my eating habits to paleo was crucial to my well-being. It was time to look to the future and leave the past in the past.
As examples for you, here is my initial vision board and a simple list:
Whether it’s a graphic like mine, pictures or words from a magazine or a simple list, this will help you stay focused. Please take the time to do this — you are worth it!
2. Be selfish — it’s okay.
Just before the plane takes off a flight attendant gives some safety instructions. One of them is about the oxygen masks that will fall from a compartment over your head. It is stressed that if you are traveling with a small child or someone that will need assistance you should put your mask on first and then help someone else.
Words to live by.
We aren’t much good to others if we don’t take care of ourselves first! Sometimes that’s hard to do and it can feel selfish. But you must advocate for yourself just as strongly as you would for a loved one or a friend. You are your greatest asset!
The paleo diet is one way you have considered investing in your health. Being in the best health you can be gives you the greatest chance to live your life to the fullest.
Everything we eat or drink impacts our health — good or bad. We know it. Part of your investment will be eating against the mainstream American diet. Sugar, grains and dairy are everywhere and seem to be in everything! Sabotage lurks around every corner, the worse of which might be in our own mind.
3. Dare to send your inner critic back to where it came from!
I’m thinking the pit of hell sounds about right.
You know that voice I’m talking about. The one that not only points out our failures, but draws a big red circle around them. That voice that likes to remind us of ways we haven’t met the mark. We all have one, to one degree or another. (I am not going to address why the voice is there — that’s a different post entirely, for a another day.)
You are struggling to change your dietary lifestyle or maybe just starting out. There is a learning curve whenever we start something new. Isn’t that part of the adventure of making changes and learning? Perfection is not how we learn or grow. Have you ever watched a baby as they are starting to walk? They spend more time wobbling and falling on their puffy diapered bum than they do actually walking. They are learning and instinctively know it is a process of trial and error.
As adults, many of us have lost the “trial and error” mindset and expect perfection right out of the gate. We often give it the label “fail” when we are not perfect. Imagine if babies, after about a dozen attempts to walk, considered that a failure and gave up. I suspect we’d have a society of crawling adults.
We were all babies once and went through a lot of relentless trial and error to take those first steps. There was no judgment on how many falls and restarts needed to happen — we just knew we wanted to walk. Consider being that gracious to yourself once again and realize that restarts are not fails!
4. Eat like there’s no tomorrow.
It’s hard for most of us to stay fully present to today. It is much easier to live in the past or dream about the future than be present in this moment. There are no guarantees there will be a tomorrow for any of us and the past is just that — passed. The only time we are actively living is right now.
This new eating plan is a marathon, not a sprint. We eat every day and will continue to eat every day until we no longer can — that is a marathon! You are not attempting a 12 week fad diet, you are changing your eating habits for the long-haul. But it all starts with focusing on what you will do and what you will eat today. Focus only on today. Tomorrow is another story…
5. Insanity…you might want to avoid that.
We all live pretty fast-paced life styles. Many times we need to eat “grab and go”. You will find the more prepared you are for those situations the more likely you are to succeed. I found that when I was first eating paleo those were my most difficult moments — let’s not forget that logic and reason can go out the window if we are hungry enough! I learned that doing some prep ahead of time saved me from myself and more importantly from losing my mind. You will benefit from doing the same.
Here are a few things I do:
- I prep my vegetables as soon as I get home from the grocery store. Put them in easy access containers that make it easy to grab or throw a salad together. It also helps to make weeknight meal prep less daunting.
- I keep some cooked protein on hand. Whether it is cooked chicken (could be rotisserie from the grocery store), hard-boiled eggs or favorite canned tuna — it doesn’t matter what as long as it is cooked and ready to go.
- I make a meal plan every week and shop from a list. I don’t assign the meals to a particular day so I can be flexible.
Taking just a small amount of time every few days can proactively save you from choices you really don’t want to make and the frustrations that will follow.
Victory is sweet, and now it’s sugar-free!
Your mind is feeling clearer. Your energy doesn’t drop mid-day because you are no longer addicted to sugar. You are sleeping through the night. You have more energy then you have had in a very long time. You are in control of what goes in your body. Yes!
It is in your power, one meal at a time, to choose how you will fuel your body. There is great reward in caring for yourself enough to nourish your body well with whole, fresh foods. YOU CAN DO THIS!
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Originally published at medium.com