After having spent a week at my parents’, I’ve decided to start a 30 Day Paleo challenge tomorrow. The main reason why I’m starting tomorrow is that my fridge is empty after having been gone for a week anyway, so I might as well start now and not tomorrow (or the day after or the day after). Another reason is that my childhood BFFs are coming to visit at the end of the month and I want to be done with the first 30 (rather restrictive) days of the cleansing period before they come to town.
What does the 30 Day challenge mean for me?
For the next 30 days, I’ll be eliminating grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, processed oils, basically anything processed, alcohol and, ugh, coffee. Depending on what kind of literature you read, generally, coffee is allowed in the Paleo diet, alcohol in very, very small quantities. However, for a 30 Day cleansing period, you’re supposed to cut those out too and slowly reintroduce them into your diet if you feel you need them. Dairy is generally discouraged, though again, there are Paleo books that include them, post-cleanse.
Right now I can see myself forgoing dairy more easily than coffee and alcohol. But ultimately, I’ll make that decision at the end of the 30 Day period.
For the next month my diet will contain: vegetables, meat, good fats, (little) fruit, nuts & seeds, water & tea. I’ll keep a log of how I feel and a weekly weigh in to document my progress.
But… why do this to myself?
During the last 6 months, my weight has steadily crept up and while I do believe that some of it is additional muscle, I know not all of it is. I can see and feel the squishiness (especially around my midsection) and I don’t like it.
I generally feel that my diet quality has suffered too. I’ve been eating too many low-quality foods, too much processed food (mainly thinking about bread here) and I’ve been drinking too much. I constantly feel hungry, my sweet tooth has become worse and so has my nightly binge eating. Despite working hard at eating at a calorie deficit each day, I’m not losing any weight. I’m tired a lot. And I wonder whether my poor skin and mood swings are worsened by my diet.
I very much like the basic idea of Paleo: eat natural foods that still look like food. The extent of restriction that I need to feel good will have to be found out now.
What am I hoping to get out of this?
I’m not going to lie: I’d like to lose about 5 kilos and lean up some. I want to have some more room in clothes again. I want to get rid of my problem areas. But it’s more than physical aspects. As I mentioned, I’d like to increase my well-being. Feel more energized. Have better skin. Binge less. Sleep better. Encourage muscle growth to become a stronger CrossFitter and runner.
What are foreseeable challenges?
I’m headed on vacation for a handful of days in November. I’ll be eating out quite a bit – and I don’t want to be an entire party pooper and make the friend I’m going on vacation with miserable by making her feeling she’s on a diet too. I’m hoping that by the time I leave, I’ll be over my worst cravings and will be comfortable enough with Paleo that I know how to play well with others who don’t eat Paleo.
Speaking of – cravings. I expect the first few days in particular to be tough. I know I have a sugar and carb and coffee addiction problem. It’s going to be tough. Thankfully, I’m used to cooking a lot from scratch, so I’m hoping that eliminating hidden sugars and wheat will not be that much of an issue.
Wish me luck!