My daily paleo posts stopped just as abruptly as they started. I quickly realized that eating paleo on vacation (or at least, starting paleo on vacation) is hard. I don’t yet have the knowledge that paleo is truly the right thing for my body, which makes having the willpower to say no to things (especially dessert and alcohol) really difficult.
So, I’m revising my paleo guidelines. I will eat paleo as much as I can. That means, I will eat meats, vegetables, and some fruits for as many of my meals as feels possible without being depriving. I will cut out processed carbs (bread, oatmeal, rice, etc). I will continue to eat potatoes (mostly because I’m traveling in Ireland right now, and I’ll be studying abroad in Germany. Potatoes are a big deal. And honestly, to me, they fall under the root vegetable category more than the grains category).
As for sugar, I will continue to eliminate diet sugar (I’ve been clean of the fake stuff for over a week now) and reduce my sugar intake. This means saying no to most desserts. I won’t eliminate them entirely, though I expect it will happen naturally if paleo really works as it says it does.
And the most important thing, alcohol. I’m traveling in Ireland right now. On Monday, I fly to Germany to study abroad for six months. Alcohol is part of the culture and something I enjoy. I do not plan on abstaining. However, I plan to drink my alcohol plain (undiluted with sugary drinks), which means I will mainly be sticking with wine/beer/cider. These drinks are lower in alcohol content than vodka/rum, which means you get to drink more for the same amount of calories, not even counting the calories of the mixer for the hard alcohols. Overall, I plan to limit drinking to 1-2 nights a week. We’ll see how that goes.
Love! She has the same HW, GW, and height as me. I hope I look like her after picture.
Example schedule of HIIT cardio. It works!
My second day of “mostly Paleo” started off to a great start. I had 2 poached eggs and 2 cumberland sausages for breakfast at 8am and stayed full until a late lunch at 1:30pm. For lunch, I really wanted soup, and luckily, the soup of the day was paleo friendly: roasted red pepper and tomato. It was an appetizer, so I also ordered a grilled portabella mushroom with lettuce and warm goat cheese. I know that cheese is not technically paleo, but I think I’ve decided that I’m going to continue eating dairy, but I’m going to be more conscious of it. I’ll eat dairy when I want to, not just because it’s there.
Now, my day was great until dinner. I’m in London with my family because my grandfather received a physics award (he’s a physicist, obviously). Today was his 75th birthday, so my aunt planned a dinner for him. It was at a Spanish tapas restaurant. There were 14 of us, so the food was preordered and just seemed to keep coming. At first, I tried really hard to stick to paleo principles (I skipped the bread and alcohol and went right for the salad, aged beef, and lamb stew). However, as the meal progressed, I started to lose my willpower. People kept telling me how amazing the black rice and calamari was (black due to cuttlefish ink). So, I tried it. And it was good. So I had some more. And then a bit more.
Dessert was also part of the preordered food; an almond tart with clotted cream and currants on the side. By the time dessert arrived (a good 2 hours after we sat down), I had no further self-control. So I ate it. And it was good. And then, when my aunt didn’t finish her piece, she offered it to me, and I ate that as well.
At the end of the day, I went over my calories and deviated from the plan a bit. And I feel overly full. And I’m disappointed in myself. But, it’s only Day 2. Tomorrow is a new day and I will eat better, cleaner, fresher. Just watch me.
I’ve finished my first day of paleo. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even make it one day strictly following the plan. I had dim sum for lunch and potatoes with dinner. Dim sum contains grains (the dumpling wrappers and outsides of buns). However, I still consider the day a success. By keeping paleo in mind, I made healthy choices and easily said no to the bread basket at dinner and turned down dessert afterwards. I even navigated an awards reception without having any wine!
I’m most impressed with my ratios. I haven’t hit my protein target in a long time. And I don’t remember the last time that I came close to my dietary fat target. Instead, I’ve been over my carbs goal pretty much every day for the last month or so (maybe longer, if I’m honest).
So, I’m going to keep up my “mostly paleo” diet. I don’t think it’s possible for me to eliminate all grains and grain-like foods. I also won’t completely eliminate dairy, though I’m going to limit it substantially. Instead, I’m going to eat with paleo in mind and choose protein and vegetables over processed carbs whenever possible.
So, my international experience has begun. My parents and I arrived in London on Wednesday morning. We’ll be in London until Tuesday and then we will spend 5 days in Dublin. After that, I fly directly to Germany for my semester abroad!
On the eating/exercise front, it’s definitely a mixed bag. While I was home for winter break, I did an amazing job exercising and a decent job eating. My weight loss has definitely stalled out and it’s getting hard to keep my motivation, since I’m pushing myself hard in the gym and on the pavement.
However, looking back at my food logs on MFP, I’m noticing that I’m not getting enough vegetables or protein. My days looks like one big carb-fest after another. Even though I’m usually hitting my calorie goals, I’m not eating well. Therefore, I’ve decided to make a change.
I’ve been doing lots of research on the paleo diet and it seems like a fantastic idea. It’s based on some strong science, and beyond that, it’s basically just a low carb, high protein, high vegetable eating plan. Kind of like Atkins, but without the restrictions on carbs from fruits and vegetables. To me, it seems easy to follow (at least in theory) and easy to understand. I’m a bit unsure where I stand on the dairy debate, but otherwise, I agree wholeheartedly with the entire premise.
So, I’ve decided to get started, even though I’m on vacation. If I can do while traveling, I can do it anywhere. I’m going to be following the Whole 30 plan, which aims to clear your body of all toxins (especially from carbs and sugar) in 30 days.
I started with breakfast. I had the hotel breakfast buffet, but instead of hitting up the yogurt and granola, like I would at home, I had 2 poached eggs, 2 cumberland sausages (so good!) and a half cup of watermelon. I also had a pot of tea, since I can drink it without cream or sugar, unlike coffee. It totaled 407 calories, which is a lot more than my usual breakfast, but it was also incredibly filling and enjoyable, which I can’t say for much of the “healthy” food I’ve eaten lately.
To keep myself accountable, I’m going to post all my meals on Tumblr. I’ll let you know how the transition goes, what troubles I encounter, and how it affects my body. I’ll also post links to paleo resources, since I don’t have all the answers.
By Rachel Cosgrove, CSCS, WH Exercise Science Expert
“I’ll come in tomorrow for an extra workout.” “I jog three miles every day.” “I’ve been doing five sets of 20 crunches every night before bed.”
These are all real quotes I have heard from women who, despite having the best of intentions, are sabotaging their fitness with bad (and common!) workout strategies.
Don’t make the same mistakes! Here, the three most common workout mistakes women make—and how to avoid them:
1. Thinking more is better
Many women actually work out too much. By completing workout after workout without allowing for recovery, your body never gets a chance to reboot and your workouts start to suffer in intensity as the week goes on, which leads to overtraining and lacking results. After as little as three consistent weeks without a break, burn out, staleness, and symptoms of overtraining will appear, leading to decreased results from your efforts, according to a study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.
Instead, work out three to five days a week (performing two to three strength workouts and one to two cardio workouts). Give yourself at least one complete rest day, and switch up your workout between “hard” and “easy” days. That will help your body recover so you get the most from every workout. Work out less, recover, and get results. Done.
2. Staying in your comfort zone
Performing lots of repetitions with light weights and cardio at a steady, comfortable pace tends to be the exercise preference of most women. The problem is that your body will only change if you put a demand on it, taking it out of its comfort zone. Your body is a master adapter. When it gets used to a routine, it becomes more efficient, so it uses less energy. Translation: You burn fewer calories and build less muscle.
Learn to push harder, lift heavier, sprint at a max effort, and dig deep to really push your potential. Don’t be afraid to sweat.
3. Doing the same thing for too long
Your body is smart and is constantly figuring out what you are doing, adapting to whatever demands you put on it in about four to six weeks. So change things up! Studies have shown that doing the same workout over and over can lead to adaptation and, eventually, a plateau in results. Strength training scientists refer to this as the principle of diminishing returns, whereby the nervous system is no longer challenged to adapt.
If you have been running a lot, completely stop running and start lifting weights. If you have been taking spinning, stop spinning and run sprints at the track. Whatever you are doing, stop and do something your body isn’t used to. It is good to take a break from an activity so you can come back to it later as a new, challenging demand.photo: Stockbyte/Thinkstock
Went to the movies with my family (fulfilling the Jewish Christmas Day tradition) and didn’t have any popcorn. I didn’t even miss it!