Sustaining Dietary Changes: Adopting the Paleo Lifestyle at Your Own Speed

If you’re just beginning to adopt the Paleo lifestyle it’s important not to try to do too much too soon. Like any elimination diet, starting off slowly can make it much easier to sustain. A good place to begin is the Internet. Read as much as you can about the Paleo lifestyle so that you know exactly how your life is about to change. When you’re ready to start, take it slowly, eliminating a few things at a time.

The main principles of the Paleo Diet are:

Eliminate the bad guys: Don’t eat rice, corn, wheat and other grains. Cut out sugar and artificial sweeteners. Say goodbye to processed foods and fast food. Don’t use cooking oil made from vegetables. Avoid beans and legumes.

Enjoy the good stuff: Eat high quality meat from grass-fed animals.  Only buy eggs that are free-range. Fish and shellfish should be from the wild rather than farm raised. Always eat organic vegetables. You can eat organic fruit but sparingly, because of the sugar content. Eat dairy occasionally if it’s raw or fermented. Enjoy nuts and seeds.

Exercise right: Instead of the standard cardio sessions, do short, high-intensity workouts. Bursts of ten minute exercise, crossfit or weight training are recommended. Move around a lot during the day, even when you’re at work. If you’re attempting to lose weight, lower your carb intake to 50 grams per day.

You can still eat many of the things you love; it’s just a matter of switching some of the ingredients. For example, if you’re craving delicious, moist banana bread, but can’t buy it from the store because it’s made with wheat flour, make your own at home. Simply replace the wheat flour with coconut flour and arrowroot. You can find a tasty recipe at Paleohacks blog post on banana bread.

Curb The Cravings

If you find your mouth watering for grain products, the key is to crowd out your cravings with meat and healthy fresh veggies. Avoid feeling deprived as much as you can, otherwise you will lose your willpower and go back to grains. Don’t beat yourself up though if you do succumb now and again, just start back over with your Paleo regime.

Eat What You Love 

Whatever your favorite meat is, find a source that is high-quality and organic and enjoy it often. Don’t worry about the fat content. Fat alone will not make you gain weight, it’s actually excess carbohydrates and sugars in conjunction with fat that makes you pile on the pounds. So ditch the low-fat foods.

Mistakes that Paleo Newbies Often Make

There are a number of common traps that people transitioning to the Paleo diet often fall into. These are:

Eating too much meat: Limit your meat consumption to around 6-12 ounces a day. Avoid factory-farmed meat that’s loaded with antibiotics, and growth hormones. Eat only organic, grass-fed meat.

Eating too few vegetables: Veggies are an important source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They promote good genes and reduce the risk of many diseases including heart disease, diabetes and cancer as well as mental health problems. You should be eating 6-8 cups of veggies each day.

Not eating organ meat: Organ meats were highly prized in traditional societies. Liver and other organs meat is loaded with vitamin and minerals as well as essential fats. Organ meat should account for a third of the meat protein you consume.

Not eating seaweeds: Seaweed is rich in selenium, iodine and other essential trace minerals. Having these in your diet boosts your immune function and help balance your hormone levels.

Falling for portion distortion: Calories still count, so don’t over indulge. If you’re gaining weight on the Paleo diet, you’re not doing it right.

Not getting enough sleep: Sleep is a vital part of your healthy lifestyle and you need to get a restful night’s sleep every night. Even if you’re eating the perfect Paleo diet and exercising regularly, your body won’t function optimally on too little sleep.

Most people need a few weeks to transition to the Paleo diet. You can expect to feel a little lethargic as your body adjusts to using fat rather than carbs as its main energy source. But if you take your time and stick with it, you’ll soon have much more energy and you will look and feel great. It’s also good to get support, if you don’t have family or friends who are adopting the Paleo lifestyle, look for support online and in social media.


Lily Thorpe started on the paleo diet four years ago, it now being a way of life for her and her family. She writes about must-know tricks as well as shares some delicious meal ideas online.