On paper, it makes sense: Eat like a caveman.
The almighty meat, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and oils. High in fat, low in carbohydrates, and eat until you are full. I think that makes a lot of sense.
But what it has really come to mean is “eat as much bacon, on as many things as possible, as often as possible.” Additionally, find ways to recreate processed foods as “paleo”:
- “Paleo Cookies”
- “Paleo Bread”
- “Paleo Pizza”
- “Paleo Muffins”
Is this the fitness industry at work again? Are they finding a successful trend and making as many products as possible to label as “paleo” just to sell something?
Paleo = Bacon, Right?
What Paleo Did Right
Let’s get one thing straight, I am not bashing Paleo here. Paleo did something very important for American nutrition: it exposed the poor quality of food in the typical American diet.
Your average American simply eats too many highly processed foods. Eating these foods has caused diseases like type II diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, as well as a variety of food allergies and intolerances to skyrocket.
This poor quality of food is literally killing Americans. In 2012, we had 86 million people diagnosed as pre-diabetic in this country, up 10% from 2 years prior and the highest in recorded history. Heart disease and diabetes kill more people than cancer, strokes, suicide, accidents and violence PUT TOGETHER.
This is scary shit people.
Paleo has gone Kanye crazy
Where Paleo went Kanye
The interpretation of Paleo has gone completely off the rails. Your average Paleo eater probably was intrigued by Paleo to lose weight. And the first 30 days were awesome:
- Lots and Lots of Bacon
- Ribs and Steak
- Fruits and Veggies
- Avocados Galore
- Almonds and Cashews in between every feeding
And the energy starts coming back and a few pounds come off.
Holy Shit! I LOVE PALEO. Can this get any better?
Then the routine sets in and it's only a few weeks before old habits creep back in. And slowly, but surely, you are back to where you started.
And then… The YOYO.
2 days of Paleo, 2 days of kinda Paleo, 3 days of Doritos. Repeat.
Do you really think this will help you lose weight or improve your health? Or is this just like any other diet you have started in the past?
If you are asking yourself this type of question, you are on the wrong diet.
Ummm, is Water Paleo?
The reason is why Paleo is making you fat is because, like many other diets that preceded it, is too restrictive. For your average person, not being able to eat dairy, grains, legumes, and starch is not realistic. Every supermarket, convenience store, and restaurant is predominantly stocked with the things you can’t eat if you are “Paleo”.
The likelihood that you won't have bread, cheese, or a cocktail is a big fat ZERO.
And what does every diet do?
Restrict the very foods you love. At some point or another, you will crave them and end up on a “french fries,” “chips,” or “oreo” bender and erasing some to all the progress you made on the diet.
Let’s Get Real
Let’s get real for a minute. Dieting doesn’t work.
And it has nothing to do with the merits of the diet. Paleo has great merit. It is intelligent and has a lot of very real science behind it. But it means jack shit if you can’t stick to it.
What happens when:
- Your co-workers are going to happy hour?
- You’re at a party or a wedding?
- You had a rough day at work?
- You didn’t prepare your food?
- You are traveling for work or pleasure?
These were the exact reasons I ran into trouble with every time I tried a diet. I didn’t want to be out to dinner and be the only one ordering a grilled chicken salad or leaving happy hour early to avoid temptation. At some point, I either gave in, or even worse, went home and had the very food I was avoiding so nobody would see me eating it.
My diet was creating a destructive relationship with food.
So, can I have pizza and still lose weight?
Fuck YEA! When I built Strengthlete Nutribuild, I knew that restrictive dieting doesn't work. I did not want to build a list of restrictions, I wanted to build flexible guidelines that allowed me to eat stuff I liked while being dynamic to my lifestyle.
Let’s get one thing straight before you internet gnomes go crazy, our clients eat good, whole foods most of the time. 80% of the time in fact. They eat foods that they like 20% of time.
This is for very good reason: this is not a quick fix program. Nutribuild teaches you how to eat for the next 30 years, instead of 30 days. It did not take 30 days to develop your current eating habits and you can not fix them in 30 days. Restrictions only make this worse.
At some point you will have to learn how to deal with cookies, cake, and chips. These foods are all around us, and if you can not learn to control yourself around them, you will never succeed on any diet. Period.
One of our clients, Roshni, is a OBGYN medical resident who has some of the craziest hours I have ever seen. After delivering babies all day, sleeping a few hours, and going back to deliver more babies, her lifestyle was not conducive to “dieting”.
And although she worked in a hospital, she did not always have access to “clean foods.” She was at the mercy of her cafeteria. And preparing foods was not always going to happen after working 14 hours, sleeping 4 hours, and going back to work for another 14 hours.
So instead of creating an unrealistic program that she would only be able to follow for a month, we designed something that worked with her schedule and the food in her cafeteria at work. We then gave her the tools to succeed.
Here is what future of American medicine had to say:
“We all know that we should eat healthy, drink water and move around as much as we can. But with my hectic work life, I found it hard to plan ahead and often I'd get frustrated.
Through this program, I learned to focus on what type of macronutrients I needed most. I would gear towards eating more proteins and the rest started falling into place. I was reluctant to incorporate protein shakes and bars into my diet but I found that's what I needed to stay on track.
Furthermore, having a bad day occasionally didn't mean I'd have to start all over again. If my diet was off balance I'd make changes later in the week so that overall I was giving my body what I needed. This program was a great way to incorporate solid long term changes as opposed to quick fixes.”
What I love most about what she said is "the program was a great way to incorporate solid long term changes as opposed to quick fixes." She finally understood that this is not about cleanses, or "dieting," but about sustaining balance day in and day out. When she fell off the wagon, she just hopped right back on.
Whether you are trying to just be healthy, lose weight, or eating to perform, a quick fix diet will never help you make long term changes. The only diet that matters is the one you stick to. So be honest with yourself and create something you can actually manage.
To learn more about my anti-diet approach to weight loss, start with my workshop below.