Recently I’ve been eating a Paleo based diet which has been working out pretty well for me.
When I say Paleo based I don’t mean strict Paleo. I’ve tried that previously and never found it sustainable.
The ‘strict’ way I managed 21 days. I ate only meat or eggs, veg and fat in the forms of nuts, oils and avacados. No dairy, fruit, carbs – even potatoes. It worked well – I lost weight, body fat, looked super lean. But it was hell. I was grumpy, craved everything and felt dizzy and weak frequently. It actually put me off trying a more relaxed form after the 21 days were up. But after trying IM fasting and deciding that wasn’t for me my trainer suggested I give Paleo another go, but this time trying his more flexible version.
I did and now I’ve settled into eating a Paleo based diet for four days a week and then just eating sensibly the other three days.
Generally I eat Paleo Monday to Friday as my job means I’m office based these days and then I can have treats over the weekend when I’m out and about.
This Paleo means I eat:
- Potatoes in small quantities
- Almond or coconut milk
I also drink protein shakes to hit my protein targets.
I don’t eat:
- Refined sugar
- Honey or syrups
- Processed foods
The three main benefits of this are:
- It’s easy to hit your protein target for the day
- It’s hard to over eat and end up in a calories surpluss (in fact I frequently end up in a large deficit on these days)
- It makes me feel less bloated and more energetic
On the other three days I still try and eat Paleo around 80% of the time but I will add in some other carbs and some treats to satisfy my sweet tooth. I still make sure I hit my protein target.
- Mentally I don’t feel like binging as much as I used to because I know I am ‘allowed’ foods I like every week
- I make up some of the deficit built up earlier in the week whilst still not ruining my progress
I use this system to hit a 15-20% calorie deficit accross the week (a safe deficit) and to hit my protein target of 160g a day (2g protein per 1kg of body weight) without having to count calories or track macros obsessively.
It allows me to eat A LOT (my workmates will attest to how much I eat) and to eat a lot of good quality, tasty food with lots of colour and variety. I don’t need to rely on meal replacements or processed foods so much any more (which can make me feel sluggish). Added to drinking lots of water its an eating system that has left me feeling good (and lean).
It’s also a flexible enough system that if someone brings in Cosco Carrott cake (my drug of choice – one word – sugar!!!) to work on a Tuesday I can swap my Paleo days -enjoy some cake and just eat Paleo on Friday instead.
It won’t work for everyone and there’s lots if other ways of managing your eating out there that work for others but this is a flexible, safe and healthy option that is working well for me.