Sunday, September 18, 2011

30 Day Paleo Challenge

For the most part, I have been eating paleo for the past few weeks and I have been feeling wonderful physically.  I notice that after eating grains, I definitely feel more sluggish and drowsy but about 20% of the time, though, I indulge in non-paleo foods such as popcorn (my weakness), sugar (in the form of dark chocolate and sometimes going overboard on fruits), and dairy (a treat for myself has been non-fat plain yogurt with blueberries and a tiny bit of gluten-free granola).  So I really wanted to challenge myself to go whole-hog for a month and see how I feel.  And I'm finally ready to start. 

There's will probably be a challenge thread going on Nappturality so if you're a member there, look for it.  One of my favorite members on Nappturality, swingbolder, suggested that the challenge start on Friday, September 23, 2011.  It's the fall equinox, the first day of autumn so it presents a great way for us to "really get in touch with our paleolithic ancestors  by aligning our actions and intent with the cycles of the sun, just as they did thousands of years ago."  That just made so much sense to me.  

I'm taking this 30 day challenge as an opportunity to make some other changes in my life. I've fallen into the habit of just vegging out in front of the computer after dinner.  The kids watch their show and I watch mine while having a cup of tea, dark chocolate and coconut flakes.  I've been telling myself it's just a way to unwind but really, it's just a way to disconnect which is sometimes all I want to do at the end of a long day with the kids.  My plan for this 30 days is to not use the computer at all after dinner (at least not to watch Netflix or check e-mail or Facebook or do anything internet related).  I want to get back into the habit of chanting or meditating after dinner and then doing something to connect with my children.  A walk around the neighborhood.  Board games.  Reading stories or listening to audiobooks.  Even practicing our French with Byki.  These are things that I've been claiming I don't have time for but really, I do.  All I have to do is choose to do those things and not other things.  

Also, as fate or luck or whatever would have it, I picked up the August issue of Yoga Journal at the library and in it was an article about how to use yoga with one's kids as a nighttime relaxation/de-stressing technique.  I have not found any convenient ways to consistently practice yoga with the kids and have it as a real part of their lives so this article was timely.  Because I'm nixing the television watching, we won't spill over into the 8 o'clock "start getting ready for bed" time trying to finish a show and we should have more time between 8 and 9 to read stories and practice just a bit of yoga.  It's just such a better way to get ready for bed: relaxed and happy not stressed, rushed and upset.

And lastly, for these 30 days, I am committed to not tracking what I eat or what I weigh on Weight Watchers.  As a matter of fact, I'm going to get the kids winter clothes down from the attic (since it's been so cold these past few days) and I am going to take the bathroom scale up there.  I could write a whole post about how tracking has become borderline neurotic for me but I'll spare you the gory details.  I'm going to work hard to eat when I'm hungry, stop when I'm full and take the time to figure out why I want to eat when I'm not even hungry and why the scale means so much to me (control issues).

I am looking forward to this wonderful opportunity to break some really addictive behaviors that have become part and parcel of my life and that really sap my energy and joy.   And I invite you to join me.   

Not sure how to eat paleo?  Over at Mark's Daily Apple, a 30 day challenge started a few days ago.  Mark provided some great guidance.  While I'm doing a paleo challenge (which is just slightly different from primal in that paleo eliminates the sugar and the dairy), it's a great place to get an overview of what to eat and what not to eat during these 30 days.  (I actually think that after the 30 days I will probably re-incorporate dark chocolate but not as an every day thing and I want to eat yogurt again, albeit yogurt that I make at home.)  

What are some changes you'd like to make?  Are you ready to make them?

1 comment:

Magda said...

I'm excited to try this. It will be difficult because my family still wants (DH) and needs (DS) to eat carbs. I have really gotten derailed from eating what I want and need to eat because there are foods in the house that I wouldn't choose myself...not junk food at all, by far it's healthy whole grains, not so much gluten, etc, but still not what I feel best eating.

And when I'm tired or can't make two meals I what's there. I do think my son needs some grains for energy, since the only starchy veggies he'll eat are potatoes (no fruit...early allergies led to a strong sensitivity to fruit smells, I guess).

So my issue for the last three years has been how to eat well for me with all that other stuff around. Now that I have more time because my son is in school full day I notice that I feel less stress and crave carbs less, too, though I never gave into it too much except for dairy (lactose is a sugar) and fruit.

I would also like to lose weight, but my metabolism has really been damaged by adrenal exhaustion. So it's not an issue of calories in and calories out because my level of stress the last three years has been such that it doesn't really matter what or how much I eat...I hold onto weight. During stressful months I've gained 10 lbs without eating or doing anything different. I eat healthfully, but it's like being on steroids that bulk me up...constantly high levels of cortisol is basically like being on steroids. Weight gain for many people with high stress (like me) has a lot to do with hormones.

So I hope a paleo challenge will basically kick me into high gear with almost eliminating grains and dairy. I'd like to see how I feel with it. At the same time I should be in a place where I can commit to doing more de-stressing techniques, like yoga, meditation, chanting, walking, being in nature, and being with friends. With my son in school I can get off the treadmill of running and doing every waking (and some non-waking) minute of the day,which was a huge stress. Also lunchtime is my own and I am enjoying cooking simple things for myself then.

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