I’m getting my sexy back…starting with my energy, my mood and my health!
About a month ago I started my venture down the road of Paleo. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Paleo, it’s essentially eating like our ancestors did. Some even call it the Caveman Diet. It’s a low carb, high protein, high fruit and veggie diet – but different from the ever famous Atkins that actually places restrictions on your fruit and vegetable intake. I actually don’t like to refer to Paleo eating as a diet though, because I really view it as a lifestyle. There’s a great blog that I recently started following, Mark’s Daily Apple, which walks through the Paleo lifestyle, with a bunch of useful tools and resources if you’re interested (and he’s written a few great books too, most notably The Primal Blueprint).
Basically, I’ve vowed off all white starches – yup, that’s right, I said it…no bread, rice or pasta. I also don’t eat any beans or legumes. I try to eat very little dairy, however I haven’t completely given it up. A little cheese won’t kill me! I don’t drink cow’s milk however. I actually haven’t for a few years now, even before embarking on this new Paleo journey. I’ve been serving my kid’s cereal with Almond or Coconut milk for a while now, and they don’t even know the difference anymore!
I eat ABSOLUTELY NO added sugar, and no processed foods. So that means nothing that comes in a box, a bag, a can or a jar. Now of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Some things are simply unavoidable. Like for example – I eat my tuna out of a can, and I do buy the pre-washed, pre- bagged veggies sometimes for convenience. If I’m feeling tired of basic oil and vinegar on my salads, I admit I do splash a little bottled dressing from time to time. My basic principle is, if it’s pre-packaged, the label should only have one ingredient on it. And if there’s more than one ingredient listed, the ingredients must be food – not chemicals and other additives that I can’t spell or pronounce.
I tend to practice the 80/20 rule – 80% of the time I practice strict, clean eating. This leaves 20% wiggle room for those unavoidable things and even a little cheating here and there. Which is why I like to say I am a Paleo-ish eater 🙂
I truly cringe at the word ‘diet’, because I intend for this to evolve into an actual lifestyle. Diets end up eventually DIE-ing. I fully intend for the Paleo way of life to bring me LIFE, an abundant life!
I’m proud to report that after a month, it’s really stuck. From the day I decided to embark on this journey, until this very moment, I can honestly say that I have not back tracked at all.
I’ve had to give up a bunch of foods that I really used to love, like pizza, sandwiches and subs, chips and desserts. But I’ve gained one very important thing in return: ENERGY! And that’s really the main reason why I decided to make this lifestyle change. My husband used to call me a terrorist in the morning (no seriously, it was that bad.) But now, I am able to wake up without hitting snooze several times, and I’m way more energetic throughout the day. I used to feel like I was walking in a hazy fog; it took tremendous effort and will for me to be active, and when I finally made it home after a long, coffee fueled day, I resigned to the couch or my bed. Now I am able to spend more quality time with my kids in the evenings and on the weekends, and I am in a much better mood. I also have more energy for my husband, which I know he appreciates 😉
Yes, of course, the reality that this new way of eating turns your body into a fat burning machine is a motivator for sure – but losing weight is not my end all be all.
I’m doing this for my family – I want to be a sexy and glowing wife for my husband, an active mother for my children, and I certainly want to live long enough and be able-bodied enough to run around after my grand-kids. I come from a large extended family riddled with obesity and disease – namely diabetes and cancer – and I have decided to be more proactive in the preventative care of myself and my immediate family.
I’m also doing this for me! When I look in the mirror, I want to be pleased with the person staring back at me – mind, BODY, and spirit.
More importantly, I’m doing this for the Lord. I know that He has placed a great purpose on my life – just as he has placed wonderful purposes on all of our lives – and as He continues to reveal this purpose to me, it’s becoming more and more apparent that I need to become a more health conscious person. I realize I can’t achieve anything for the Kingdom if I am tired, sick and nearly dead.
I used to be all about fitness and healthy eating…and then I married my soul mate, who coincidentally is a junk food junkie! I say that affectionately though, and in case you are wondering, no my hubby is not over weight – he’s actually a hottie (that’s right, MY hottie), and I have no idea how he manages to stay that way considering the way he eats. I always tell him, if I ate like he did, I’d be as big as a house! Literally.
But on a serious note, I can’t even shift the blame on him. It begins and ends with me. While lying in bed, sharing a pint of ice cream was so cute and comfortable at the time, he certainly didn’t have a gun pointed at me as he passed me the spoon! As a blissfully in love newly wed, I ate things I knew I shouldn’t eat, and I exercised way less than I know I should have. I’ve finally hit my personal rock bottom and decided enough is enough. I’m just trying to get my sexy back…starting with my energy, my mood and my health!
I should also give my hubby some credit here, because he too has made tremendous strides over the past few weeks to cut down on his sugar intake, and to make better choices when it comes to his snacking. And as it always goes, he’s seeing more rapid results then I am already. Why is it that men lose weight so much faster than women? I could starve myself and spend 24/7 at the gym and barely move the needle on the scale, yet my husband can eat a salad and take a light jog around the block and drop two belt holes!!! WTHeck??
But anyway, moving on…
I mentioned earlier what I don’t eat, but let me tell you about what I do eat: lean meats (preferably free-range, grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone free), seafood, fruits, vegetables and nuts. This may sound boring, but let me assure you, it’s absolutely delicious. I’ve discovered that roasting vegetables with a little olive oil and sea salt creates the tastiest side dishes, that a portion of well-seasoned, nicely cooked meat is way more satiating than any bowl of pasta, and that a hand full of almonds and a piece of fruit as a snack can go a long way to get you through to your next meal.
If you’re reading this and still thinking that there’s no way possible that you could ever give up bread, pasta and white rice, let me say this much, I used to feel the same way! I never would have imagined that it could be so easy though. And it’s really simple once you realize that it’s not the bread, pasta and rice that taste’s so good, it’s the stuff that we put on it (or eat with it), most of which you still will be able to enjoy – simply in a different way. On their own, bread, pasta and rice are actually the blandest tasting foods out there! They are simply fillers, and after you get used to the idea, you will learn that you can definitely live without them. (I admit though, the smell of fresh-baked bread is not easy – so when you are at a restaurant, don’t even let them bring the basket over!)
I also make a conscious effort to drink way more water than I used to. When I think back, there were days in the past where I wouldn’t drink a single sip of water all day! Just coffee, juice and soda – yuck! Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy my morning cup of Joe, but I don’t use any sugar or sweetened creamers. I usually just use coconut milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I admit, I do use half & half if that’s all that’s available – say for example if I’m at a meeting or someone else’s home.
I want to make one important statement here though: everything isn’t for everybody! We are all individuals with different body chemistry’s and needs. God created us this way, so I would never suggest that what I chose to do is what others should do also. I’m simply sharing my personal choices, so like my 91 year old grandfather used to say (May the Lord rest his precious soul): “Take it or leave it!”
So here are some key Paleo-ish tips that I’ve acquired over the past month, take them or leave them!
- Don’t count calories, count carbs instead!
- Focus on quality sources of protein (all forms of meat, fowl, fish), lots of colorful vegetables, fruits (mostly berries), and healthy fats (nuts, avocados, olive oil).
- Low-level aerobic activity and strength training is necessary (especially if you find yourself chained to a desk every day). Getting on a treadmill and running 10 miles a day and spending 3+ hours a day at the gym pounding out weights is not necessary. (ok, I’m exaggerating, but you get my point!)
- Good old fashioned Calisthenics (jumping, squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, twisting, etc.) are a great way to increase strength, burn fat, increase flexibility and improve cardiovascular health. (My go-to’s are push- ups for the arms, planks for the abs, and squats for the legs and booty, and I love Zumba class for a good sweat and great fun 🙂 )
- Get plenty of quality sleep.
- Get some direct sunlight every day.
- Avoid poisonous things like pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals. I would argue that this includes fast food joints like McDonalds, and enemy #1 : SUGAR!
And I leave you with this…Our bodies are sacred temples for God’s Spirit. Therefore, I encourage you to Honor your body as exactly that — a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. — 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. — 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Peace and Blessings,
Here is a pic of my husband and I, taken this past September. This was before our Paleo journey started, but since I mention my hottie hubby, I figured I’d share a pic of us! In a few months I’ll post another pic to show our progress 🙂
Linked up on: