Saturday, April 21, 2012

How in the hell am I going to do this? Welcome to the challenge

Today our gym starts a 30-day paleo challenge. I am not participating because I already eat primal all the time anyway. But a bunch of folks are all-in, and good for them. This post is aimed at a particular group of those people -- the total newbies to paleo eating who are starting their first 30-day paleo challenge.

If you are already a paleo or primal person, or have done (or even failed) a previous challenge, I am not worried about you for today. You *know* what you have to do to do this thing right. You have been here before. Whether your return for another challenge is because you have slipped a bit and want to tighten things up, or you just want to really take it to another level and keep it there.... Again, you know the deal. I don't want to sound too harsh about this, but, as a fellow paleo blogger once tweeted, "Harden the eff up." This isn't cancer. This is food. Just do what you need to do.

However... the first time through, especially if you are jumping straight off the ten-meter diving platform that is the Standard American Diet (SAD), can be rough.

Let's be blunt: you are going to have cravings for things you should not eat. That will suck. But, you know what? You will survive. Let's put this in context....

Without *actually* discussing my job here -- which we never do, by the way -- part of that job is attempting to persuade official-type people in positions of power that my client's point of view is correct. This is not always easy. In fact, one can encounter a hostile reaction. A friend in the same job has a good Zen perspective on the occasional unpleasantness of those proceedings: "What's the worst thing they can do to you? They can't hit you. All they can do is yell at you. Anyone can survive that. As long as there's no hitting -- and there won't be -- we'll all be fine."

Let's be clear, newbies. No one is going to hit you. No one is even going to yell at you. You'll be fine.

Now, "fine" is a relative term. You can have a vaguely miserable experience here, or not. And guess what? Most of that is up to you. A little bit of it is simple biology and chemistry, but most of it is planning.

The single most important thing you can do is make sure you have enough (paleo) food around at all times.

Let's repeat that:
The single most important thing you can do is make sure you have enough (paleo) food around at all times.

Remember, this is not a "diet" and you are not here with the principal goal of weight loss.

Wait, what?!?!?

Right. You heard me correctly. You *will* lose weight, love your body composition more, have beautiful people start conversations with you in public when they never did before....all of that *will* happen. But it is all a secondary result. The principal goal here is simple: eat real (paleo) food.

And -- imagine! -- the way to eat real paleo food is to, um, eat real paleo food.

Conversely, the way to fail and collapse into a sobbing Twinkie full of self-loathing is to, um, *not* eat paleo food.

Hmmm, you'd swear I am trying to make this easy.

So... *always* have food at hand, ready to be eaten. Yes, always. At home that's easy. Your first thought when you wake up in the morning should be, "Is there enough food in the house?" Then, it should be, "Is there *really* enough food in the house." If the answer is no, fix the damn problem by going grocery shopping. Spend a lot of money there. Buy more food than you think you should. (You can afford it because you aren't spending money on booze and french fries this month).

You might have quickly realized that home really isn't the problem. If you can't make time to buy groceries, then I don't think a paleo challenge is your biggest problem. It's when you leave the house that the potential clouds of the shitstorm begin to coalesce.

So what are you going to do about it? (really, you got this....)

Yup, make sure you have paleo food with you. A lot of it. Then a little more. I don't care what it is as long as it is paleo. Fat and protein are going to keep you full longer, so I wouldn't suggest a banana or an apple as the way to satiate yourself. Avocado, bacon, jerky, meat, veggies, olive oil.... That all works well. Even nuts. Whatever. Shove it in and keep shoving.

It is as simple as this: if you are miserable because you are hungry, EAT SOMETHING!!!!

That something just needs to be paleo.

Because if it isn't, or if you haven't eaten enough food, that Little Debbie's snack cake on the shelf at Wawa is going to start talking to you like David Berkowitz's neighbor's dog.

So, I have just spent eight zillion words, and four hundred paragraphs telling you that, yes, the way to keep from getting hungry is to eat, and the way to eat is to make sure you have food.

You could pay for this kind of high-level advice, but it's free here, kids.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad