Ah! I missed my paleo-versary! See, when you go paleo (diet, lifestyle, whatever) you have to celebrate every year by roasting a whole pig, dancing naked on the beach, and scrubbing your teeth with a stick. Wait, no, that’s a different party entirely…
I did go for a hike. That counts, right? 😛
I started eating paleo three years ago, shortly after starting Crossfit and running across the Whole30. I did the 30-day challenge on a lark ’cause vegetarianism just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore and my weight kept inching up and up every year. Within those 30 days I did something I hadn’t been able to do in over four years: I actually lost weight. Not just weight, but whole inches. That plus how much better I was feeling throughout the day was enough to convince me to keep going with it. I never really looked back.
I haven’t been strict paleo for these past three years, not in the slightest. I also don’t have an ounce of guilt about it, which is something else I love about paleo. Except for a 30-day intro, it’s never assumed that you’ll eat just paleo, which gives you room to live and experiment and explore. There’s a lot of emphasis on finding a version that’s right for you, and tweaking your macros and micros for your optimal results, which I think is rad. It’s taken me three years, three Whole30’s, and one Autoimmune Protocol to really figure it out for myself, but now that I’m there (here?) it’s pretty good.
Actually, to be honest, I’m still figuring things out. But I am close to 95% there, and the tweaking I’m doing at this point is for fairly small stuff. I don’t think I will ever be 100%, because bodies are constantly changing and so is life, but I love that paleo gives me that flexibility.
My thoughts on the diet have remained largely unchanged since the first year. Although some of the “caveman” reasoning behind the diet seems off, the science is mostly spot on and it’s hard to argue against a whole foods, nutritionally dense diet. Sure, grains probably aren’t the devil paleo proselytizers make them out to be, but I, personally, do better without them. That said, I have a friend who has discovered she does much better with grains, so it really depends on the person.
I’m still (mostly) anxiety and depression free, which is why this last bout has me so befuddled. I used to get depressed like that on a far more regular basis and was up to a panic attack every few days by the time I went paleo. Since then I can count on one hand all the attacks I’ve had in the past three years, which is fantastic. I’d been put on muscle relaxers for my headaches, which were anxiety-related, at one point, and popped Excedrin almost daily. Again, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve taken Excedrin over the last few years, which is also awesome because that shit is expensive.
Weight-wise, I’ve found it is very easy to maintain. I struggled a lot before with calorie counting and restriction and running myself ragged, only to still gain pound upon pound, year after year. Now, if I notice my clothes fitting tighter – I rarely, if ever, get on the scale anymore – I take a critical look at my diet. Typically, I’m either much more sedentary and skipping lifting workouts or I’ve started eating more gluten-free bread and treats. Both are easy to remedy.
I don’t have much criticism for the diet, except that sometimes the paleofication of desserts can make them even worse than the original, more nutrients or not, and that a certain something being “paleo” does not automatically make it okay to eat all the time. I also, personally, had a problem with the sudden influx of eggs. Eggs are super cheap and full of good things, so it makes sense that they’d be emphasized, but unfortunately I exacerbated a sensitivity I had to eggs and went from maybe being able to eat them sometimes to having to cut them out entirely.
That said, paleo has still done more for me than any other diet and I’m going to keep at it. It’s hard to remember just how bad the depression and anxiety had been before, but last week sure reminded me, even if it was only a fraction of the intensity it had been. I don’t ever want to go back to that, thankyouverymuch.