"We are born to be fit, strong, and healthy." Robb Wolf

September 16, 2010

Two Weeks To Go

After reading the Paleo/Primal Challenge rules, you may be thinking to yourself, “Why aren’t we weighing ourselves like last time? Why aren’t we determining body fat like last time?” Simple answer… This is a different challenge.

This challenge is designed to reward people who remain dedicated for the 6 weeks. Maintaining a healthy eating habit, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly will help with your daily and future health. This challenge is not meant to be a weight loss challenge. This challenge is set up so that your body can minimize the “poisons/toxins” that we normally consume in the Western diet (i.e. grains, legumes, dairy on a daily basis, sugar, processed foods, etc.) and focus on real foods that our bodies were intended to run on (i.e. meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds).

If you would like, you can weigh and measure yourself prior to and after the challenge but these numbers will not be considered at the end. These numbers will be for you and you only. This way you have a record of your success. But the best way to determine your success is taking before and after pictures. Your body composition should change whereas your weight may not (remember muscle weighs more than fat).

Since we live in such a hectic world, our bodies are always being pushed to its limits. Adopting the premise of Paleo and Primal lifestyles will help the body heal itself and make it run more efficiently. The Paleo lifestyle has been incorporated over millions of years. The hunter/gatherer has relied on the earth to provide nourishment. And there is no reason why we can’t do the same. Focusing on lean meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and a moderate amount of nuts and seeds will bring us back to our Paleolithic roots. This means that dairy, legumes, alcohol, grains, processed foods, anything with sugar must be avoided. The Primal lifestyle is similar to the Paleo lifestyle but has some leniencies. While it’s main focus is on the same types of foods as Paleo, it does allow a small amount of foods not allowed with Paleo - full-fat/raw dairy, high-fat diet, and small intake of alcohol.

By eliminating certain foods you will be able to determine if you actually have a food sensitivity or allergy if you ever to choose to reintroduce them into your diet.

So, if you want to be successful during this challenge, follow these rules:

  • Eat a variety of lean meat, fatty meat, organ meats, seafood, and eggs
  • Focus on non-starchy vegetables. Especially kale, collard greens, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, spinach, chard, and peppers to name a few. In order to avoid “boredom” with eating the same vegetables all of the time, experiment with different spices and herbs
  • Eat moderate amounts of starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, roots, tubers, squashes). Save these for post-workout meal options
  • Some fruit. Since fruit is higher in sugar, some have the tendency to increase your blood sugar levels quickly
  • Consume nuts and seeds (walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds, sesame seeds)
  • Drink plenty of water. The idea is 8 8-ounces glasses of water per day. However, if you workout you must increase that to 12+ glasses per day
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night

  • When going out to eat…
    • Most restaurants have menus online these days. So check it out so you can have a game plan for when you get to the restaurant. Always ask for fixing, dressings, etc on the side. A lot of these products contain wheat, sugar, soy, etc that do not correspond with this challenge. And ask how stuff is cooked. Broiled, poached or baked are your best options. Try to avoid sautéed, fried, deep fried. Who knows how old the oil is that is being used and too much heat kills important enzymes in food.
  • When going to a party…
    • Bring a dish that benefits you. As well, eat a full meal before heading to a party. That way you will minimize the chance of grazing on the unfavorable stuff.
  • Week to week preparation…
    • Usually there is one day in the week that you can go grocery shopping. Use this day to get your food and prepare it for the upcoming week. This means washing and cutting bulkier vegetables, cooking and freezing meats, and putting together grab and go packages in those moments where you are running a little behind schedule.

                                        (Food pyramid from Mark’s Daily Apple)

The following are some common pitfalls seen with these types of challenges:

  • Completely falling off of the bandwagon
  • Not eating enough protein
  • Not eating enough fat
  • Eating too many fruit, including dried fruit, fruit bars (Fruit-2-Go, Larabar) which worsen sugar cravings
  • Eating too many nuts or nut butters and high-salt convenience foods
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Poor cheat choices. Choosing gut-irritating grains, legumes, stuff with added sugar. Or too much of a cheat food

A combination of anything mentioned above can, and probably will, lead to binge eating.