Sunday 8 September 2013

First week of Paleo

As I mentioned in my goals post last week, I am giving the Paleo diet a go. I decided earlier this year that I had better have a proper crack at losing weight again since it was becoming an irritation in a variety of ways, hampering or even preventing me from doing the things I like to do. I did a couple of detox weeks and gave up sugar for Lent, and both of these things taught me quite a lot about how I feel when I exclude certain foods and, probably more importantly, increase certain others.

I have a book on Paleo but I haven't read it yet, so mostly this week I have been following the food list my trainer Jenny gave me, reading about the theory and pinching recipes from Paleo websites. I don't think I'll ever be doing it 100% correctly because I'm not eating grassfed meat - it's just a step too far because I have to order that stuff online or drive quite a long distance to get it, so it's not perfect, but, meh.

Basically, I have this week cut out all grains - wheat, rice etc; beans; dairy; sugar, except fruit, of which I eat 1 or 2 portions a day; alcohol; and most caffeine - just one cup of coffee a day. The idea seems to be to cut out things from which one's body might create sugar. Hence, I have eaten meat, fish, salad, vegetables and lots of nuts. I've also been tracking my calories on Sparkpeople which isn't really Paleo but I love nuts and could eat them by the barrowful so I thought this seemed like a good idea.

Thoughts? It's OK, actually. The first day was KILLER because at 4pm when I was falling asleep driving home (first day back, no sugar, no caffeine....argh!) I couldn't stop for fruit or chocolate or a little piece of cake or whatever else I might have to keep me awake. Instead I had....roast chicken. And even that had some sugar in it in the form of lactose. But then I read the list again and discovered one cup of coffee was OK, went to the gym, got a good night's sleep and Tuesday was easier.

Giving up dairy is not a problem - I limit it anyway because it makes me feel quite bloated. Giving up grains wasn't a problem except at dinner time, when the plate looked a little sparse with no rice or potatoes on it. Sugar was OK as well, even on Monday when my new head of year passed around the home made scones and jam. I'm well weaned off caffeine now so didn't get a headache or anything.

In fact, it was not as hard as it sounded like it would be. I was hungry quite a lot but that was mainly because I didn't really have anything to hand that I could eat; I have solved this in the short term by keeping nuts in the car and have bought lots more veg for this week. The biggest problem was the fruit; Jenny said one piece a day but I've been having 3 servings. Also I've been having pea protein in my morning smoothie, but it needs using up and I can't face whizzing a raw egg up in there instead. I'll have to build up to that one. Finally, I was away this weekend and packed mini chicken fillets and walnuts to eat on Saturday during the conference I went to, and that got really boring.

  • Better quality sleep
  • Less tired during the day - in spite of it being the first week back
  • More energy for workouts: on Wednesday I managed both a session with Jenny and an Aquafit class, thanks to a timetabling mix up; although when I got out of the pool it did feel like a giant hand was pressing me down into the floor and I slept like a log that night
  • No food cravings (other than craving food when I was hungry)
  • No bloated feelings after any meals
  • Not much different to how I usually eat during the day - evening meals have been the only puzzle
  • Some weight loss
The recommendation is that you should try and stick to it for 85% of the time which roughly equates to having three meals "off" a week. Since I had a whole weekend away, which included a Tesco takeaway curry, a Chinese, a healthy helping of wine and a latte for breakfast today, this made me feel much more cheerful because I knew I wasn't really cheating. It also stopped me from that "Oh, well, it's ruined now so...." mentality that would have had me troughing down the free mini pastries at the event all day, like there was no tomorrow. And when I ate the meals, I turned down the dessert, and I didn't feel rotten afterwards.

There might be something in it. I'll let you know.

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