Gave the Paleo Diet a Try

Hello Fello L-Wackos,

How’s everyone doing on the fat front?  Scott’s been eating quite a bit o’ fish lately.

 

2013-05-20 20.06.33 - Scott Arnel caught seabass

 

Scott and I are doing pretty well, thanks to the Paleo Diet we followed for a month… and only a month… and I really didn’t follow it closely, though Scott did… and we’re not following it any more… never!

So here’s how it went down. Beginning of August, Scott calls me and says he has ballooned at least 15 pounds over his target weight since the July 4 weigh-in and he needs to take drastic measures, so he started the Paleo Diet and asked if I would join him for a month.

 

I, myself, had gained about 10 pounds since the July 4th weigh-in and was getting ready to start cutting down on my calorie intake as I normally do about 6 weeks before my quarterly weigh-in. Keep in mind that when I cut down on calories, I do so without regard to the “quality” of those calories. So, for example, if I want a slice of chocolate cake and have reached a point in the day where I can only consume 500 more calories for the day, then my only dinner would be a slice of chocolate cake. Most nutritionists would say that is not a healthy way to diet, but I rationalize my choice of calorie vehicle by referring to the study by a professor of nutrition at Kansas State who went on a Twinkie diet (supplemented with a daily salad and vitamins) and lost 27 pounds in two months, while his “bad” cholesterol level dropped by 20% and his “good” cholesterol level improved 20% (here’s a link to the article:  Twinkie Diet

 

Mark Haub_nutrition professor_Twinkie Diet

 

I was uninterested in going Paleo because I am not a believer in eating a lot of meat, primarily because I don’t like the idea of killing a living being who feels pain and especially if the species cares for its young. I believe that if Man can survive eating food other than meat, which he can, then he should. Unfortunately, I do not currently have the willpower to eliminate all meat from my diet (or, should I say, I have not yet chosen to apply my willpower to stop eating meat), but I have cut down over the years. And it makes little sense to me to eliminate beans from my diet as the Paleo Diet requires.

But, I thought Scott needed a Paleo buddy, and I figured that the part of the Paleo Diet that requires the elimination of bread and sweets would help me make my quarterly target weight, so I agreed. I told him, however, that I wasn’t going to strictly adhere to the diet, especially when it came to eating locally grown, organic, etc., etc. I didn’t want to invest the time and mental energy it would take to strictly follow the Paleo Diet. Basically, I would eliminate bread, sweets, and dairy. I also told him I would need to cheat on occasion by having something sweet about 3 times a day (Did I say “day?” I meant 3 times a week. 🙂 )

So we went on the diet. Scott was crying. He couldn’t believe how much willpower it took to strictly adhere to the Paleo Diet. I think cutting out bread, cereal, beer, and ice cream killed him. He counted down the days until the month-long diet was over. It was hard for me, but my cheats helped me get through it unscathed. One thing I realized, however, was that the quality of the calories I was consuming really did affect my health. Let me explain.

I’ve been pretty healthy the past three years that I have been on my Done for the Day Diet (by which I eat anything I want, but once I hit my pre-set daily calorie limit, which varies depending upon how far away my target weigh-in date is, I’m done consuming calories for the day). I find this reduces the amount of willpower I must expend to stick to my diet because instead of going cold turkey on brownies, for example, and having to exert my willpower for months at a time (until I give up and start eating brownies again), all I have to do is deny myself the pleasure of a brownie from the time of day at which I am “done,” until the next morning, when, if I still have a hankering for a brownie, it may very well be my breakfast. And most of the hours between the time I’m done for the day and the next morning, I’m sleeping, and it doesn’t take any willpower to resist the temptation to eat a brownie while I’m sleeping (I can just dream that I’m eating a brownie and I’m cool). Capish?

But, when I did my pseudo Paleo Diet, I found that my energy level was higher and my skin (I suffer from a mild case of eczema), was much better. And I don’t believe these improvements were due to eating more meat. I believe they were a result of reducing my consumption of bread and sweets (especially sweets that combine sugar with flour such as brownies, cakes, and cookies). So, now that I am off the Paleo Diet, I have cut way down on my consumption of bread and sweets (not counting dark chocolate – I actually eat more dark chocolate now than in the past to make up for my reduced consumption of other sweets). So, as much as I disliked the Paleo Diet, I must admit it has helped me realize that the quality of the calories one consumes is important.

Meanwhile, Scott and I exerted so much willpower sticking to the Paleo Diet, that we didn’t make our Sept. 30 quarterly weigh-in (though we were only about 3-5 pounds from it). I’ve done a pretty good job reducing my consumption of bread and brownies, cookies and cakes (still eating ice cream and chocolate), which has not only helped me stay within 5-7 pounds of my December target weight, but it has also improved my skin and increased my energy level. So thanks Paleo, but no thanks.

Anyone care to comment on how they are sticking to their diet (or not?). Be my guest.

Willna Out

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