As you may know from reading, I've tried (or experimented with) quite a few dietary philosophies.
I've been eating a Paleo style for probably 8-10 months, but still haven't seen the changes in my body or weight that I would like. As is usual case, the first step is not to analyze what might be wrong with the diet, but what's off-center about my discipline.
Thanks to a few friends (yes they're CrossFitters) I've come to realize that the carb intake in my diet is still too high. To fuel for the brutal CrossFit WODs, I've been eating close to 2 sweet potatoes, 1-2 bananas, an apple, and occasionally 1 cup of oatmeal on an average day. The leap of faith I've struggled to make with true low carb Paleo eating is to reduce the carb intake down to 1 fruit serving per day.
The biggest question, at least for me has been - where does my energy come from?
Low carb Paleo eating relies much more on health fats (increased volume) to re-train the body from being a sugar burner (carbs in the system become glucose in the blood stream, to be used by our active mucles) to becoming a fat burner. Most of us carry around many extra pounds of stored energy on our bodies (hips, belly, thighs, etc).
The tough part of this eating style is that it takes a while for the body to acclimate from receiving so many carbs/sugar calories for energy. One of the best metaphors I heard was to think of it much like a computer trying to download new software or a spyware virus firewall. There is a measure of time required for the system to register the update before it becomes new and improved. Typically this time period sounds like 2 weeks on average, but obviously everyone's body and metabolic system differs,
I read "Paleo Solution" by Robb Wolf on a plane trip this past week, which was a great source in trying to figure out where to begin. Robb is one of the preimenent sources on Paleo eating. He also pointed to a colleague, Charles Poliquin who advises his beginner Paleo clients to go with a "meat and nuts" breakfast (ex: deli turkey + almonds). Mostly this is to ease in simplicity of execution for beginners.
You may ask - "So what are you now eating?"
Gone (for the intermediate future) are the bananas, apples, and bowls of oatmeal. The Green Tea smoothies are also out (this is the toughest sacrifice to make).
In their place, I am eating 1-2 avocados each day (usually cut in half with each meal). I'm also trying to up the amounts of almonds, and olive oil (or similar-based dressings on salands).
There are literally hundreds of diet books and websites out there, but what does it for me is Real World application. Two of my training buddies from CrossFit Dilworth lost close to 50 and 80 pounds respectively by eating Paleo style.
There are also several others I've met who report lost pounds of body fat, in addition to having much more stable and consistent energy levels during the day (versus the energy crashes that come with insulin drops from relying on carb sugar).
The goal is to stick with this plan of relying on healthy fat calories for energy through the 2 week "download" period and analyzing how I feel. If things seem fine, the goal then becomes sticking with it for the next two months throughout the summer. I did one CrossFit WOD on this diet last week and reported a fine performance, the WOD would have been difficult with or without fruits and carbs for energy. I actually saw a few Paleo Food Trucks at the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games this weekend, which was encouraging.
If things work out as well for me as they have for my friends, I'll be sure to follow up with results. I also hope to do a separate post where my friends who have lost amazing amounts of weight share their strategies and hopefully help to inspire anyone else who isn't quite happy with what they see in the mirror, or how their clothes are fitting lately.
Until then, wish me luck every time I walk through the fruit isle at the grocery store or drive past the Smoothie shop.