Paleo/Primal Lifestyle Challenges

It’s been a little under two weeks since I started paleo/primal eating.  I had some goals with starting this new way of eating.

    1. sleep better – I don’t sleep well.  I can hear pretty much everything in my sleep and I usually don’t get enough time in bed.
    2. lose weight – I gained a few pesky pounds that I want to lose.
    3. improve my mood – I’m sure some of my mood is personality, but I want to be happier overall.  I tend to be somewhat gloomier at baseline than most people.
    4. have more energy – In the last couple of years, especially in the last year, I’ve noticed that I have less energy and that I’m constantly feeling like I’m dragging and blah.

With those goals in mind, I have been checking in with myself constantly to see if any of these things are happening.  It’s hard to wait for these changes to appear because when you read people’s stories of their transformations eating this way, it sounds like the changes magically appeared by eating paleo/primal.

So far, I have noticed that I sleep better.  I seem to be sleeping more deeply.  However, I am still not spending enough time in bed.  The last two nights, I have managed to go to sleep by 9 PM and have been waking up well after 6 AM.  I don’t know if that means I actually need that much sleep or if I am so backlogged on rest that my body is trying to regain some equilibrium.  Either way, I’m going to try and stick to this getting to sleep at 9 PM and see if my body will adjust and wake up sometime around 5 or 5:30 AM.  My goal is to get to a point where I feel refreshed after I sleep.  I haven’t felt that way in years.  Probably, not since high school.

Sleeping is a big challenge for me.  I am staying with my parents temporarily and this means that going to sleep early is an issue.  Typically, we’re a family of night owls.  Not only that, when I’m on my own, I tend to numb myself with Internet surfing and online television.  It’s all very bad, I know.  My parents just canceled television service altogether, so that should help with the television watching part.

Other challenges:

    1. being patient – I am not the most patient person in the world.  I want things to be done and I want them to be done now.  (Actually, I want them to be done yesterday…)  I think that because I had already cut out almost all added sugar before and had a policy of not eating processed foods, the changes are slower in developing.  Plus, I’m not a very big person to begin with, so I imagine that it takes a while for the weight loss to become apparent.
    2. protein sourcing – I don’t like meat.  It’s just the way I am.  I don’t like the way it smells.  Well, it turns out that if the meat is fresh enough, it won’t smell.  Same goes for seafood.  This makes finding and buying sources of protein challenging.  A few days ago I ended up tossing a whole batch of chicken and vegetables because the chicken just smelled icky.  My mom hauled the whole package back to the store for a refund.  So sourcing protein and eating it with every meal is a bit difficult.  Without tofu and some vegetarian protein options gone, it’s been a challenge.
    3. cooking protein – I don’t like cooking meat or fish even.  Lucky for me, right now most of the protein part of the meal is getting handled by my mom.  (I usually handle breakfast…I love my eggs.)  This means that while it’s fine now, I am going to have to figure out how to cook my protein when I go back to life on my own.
    4. eating out and snacks – we don’t usually eat out, which is fine.  However, when we’re gone from the house for extended periods of time or on vacation, it’s hard to find things to eat.  I’ve come up with some ideas for things to keep on hand while I’m out – beef jerky, nuts, fruit.  The snack part and packing meals is something I have to figure out before I’m back on my own and have to handle cooking for the week in advance and making sure to bring food with me.  The whole granola/protein bar method of filling in the gaps isn’t going to work anymore.
    5. managing stress – I have a lot of stress.  Not only do I have a lot of stressful things going on in my life, but I am easily stressed.  I am trying to learn how to be calmer and less stressed out.  I think that effectively managing my stress will have a huge impact on my lifestyle and on how this diet impacts my body.
I think that eating paleo/primal and changing your lifestyle accordingly has a lot of challenges and requires completely relearning old habits.  I am excited about seeing the changes, but they aren’t as forthcoming as I had hoped.  This is the part that you don’t see or hear about necessarily.  Those before and after pictures can really sucker you into thinking that the pounds will just drop off.  It’s a mental thing.  I think it’s important to share that this whole thing is a lot more challenging than you might think at first glance.  We’re still adjusting and I just have to be patient, but I’ll keep you in the loop.
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