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The Unconventional Guide to Adopting a Paleo Lifestyle

The Unconventional Guide to Adopting a Paleo Lifestyle

    While I was in Barnes and Noble last weekend I notice that there were an influx of diet books scattered throughout the center portion of the store. It makes sense with all the New Year crash dieting going on. What I thought was more interesting was that some of these were Paleo dieting books, which, until recently hasn’t been accepted by the mainstream as well as a low fat or even the low carb type of diet approach.

    This got me thinking about my slow and unconventional approach making it to the Paleo lifestyle. So, if you want to start to get lean, feel better, have more strength and vitality, you could go the traditional route by buying a good Paleo book (some recommended below), read some Paleo blogs, listen to a Paleo podcast, and turn into a caveman. Or, you could follow my long, winding path that has gotten me to a Paleo lifestyle.

    What we are moving toward

    A Paleo lifestyle is rather simple and straight forward. There is a lot of literature out there of what is good and what is bad for you when it comes to eating, but it comes down to a few simple things:

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    1. Eat quality, preferably grass-fed, meat
    2. Eat fresh vegatables
    3. Stay away from legumes and dairy as much as possible
    4. Lay off the processed sugar
    5. Don’t eat grains, don’t consume wheat gluten, and lay off of industrial seed oils
    6. Move around, lift heavy things, walk every day

    Though it seems simple, this type of lifestyle can be tough to get to.

    Trial and error

    My first foray into a low carb diet was eating Atkins about 6 years ago. I ate meat, veggies, cheese, and fats. I also started exercising three times a week. It worked. I lost around 30 pounds in all of 3 or 4 months and started to get some muscles and energy back.

    This was a great first step. It showed me that I could actually lose weight and start to get lean if I wanted to, that my genes weren’t “destined” to make me fat, and that I could keep the weight off if I followed a diet.

    At the time I still thought that whole grains and grains in general were OK for me and that I just needed to lay off of them until I reached an acceptable weight to resume eating them. Little did I know is that the whole grains were the things that were keeping me fat, as they opened my up to eating more and more starches as my body craved them more.

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    Needless to say, when I slowly put grains back into my diet I slowly started eating more of them, and slowly started to gain weight. It was all a downhill progression from there taking me back to junk foods, fast food, sweets, and the like.

    It’s important to remember that we are all human and that we can’t do everything perfectly at first. It took several attempts at a diet until I finally could keep it going. Once I found the Paleo lifestyle and decided to eat to live rather than live to eat, I haven’t had a problem falling off the diet wagon and am closer than I have ever been to my ideal weight.

    Get active!

    The next thing is that you have to get active to live the Paleo lifestyle. The nice part about this is that there is no “set regimen” when it comes to exercising. You can make it up as you go, just as long as you are active.

    I tend to walk for about an hour a day and do body weight exercises 3 to 4 times a week, but this isn’t even a hard and fast rule. Plus, I go in and out of the doing the body weight exercises. But, as long as you are moving for at least an hour a day that should be fine. I’m not talking about running the rat-race on the treadmill, I mean you can walk, hike, do pushups, pullups, whatever, for a total of an hour a day.

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    Don’t be too hard on yourself

    This is the reason that most everyone fails and decides to give-up on the Paleo approach. Most humans tend to be all or nothing creatures and if something doesn’t work or we screw something up just a little bit, we might as well not do it at all. I know that this is the case for me.

    So what if you snuck a candybar after dinner or had a few french fries? Just keep moving forward in the Paleo lifestyle. You are bound to make mistakes in this new way of life. No need to be too hard on yourself.

    Follow the 80/20 principal

    The Pareto principal has been around for a while and if you are a productivity nerd then you have definitely heard of it. But, Mark Sisson, of Mark’s Daily Apple fame, has taken this and applied it to the Paleo approach. He believes that if you follow the lifestyle 80% of the time, or do the 80% of the lifestyle that is the most important, that you will succeed without being hard on yourself.

    I’d say there are some things that you need to follow to the ‘T’, like avoiding gluten at all costs as well as the industrial seed oils, but the other things can are malleable; like eating strictly grass-fed beef or no potatoes or rice.

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    Get and stay inspired

    Below are the three things that introduced me to the Paleo lifestyle and kept me inspired when the going got tough:

    Conclusion

    So how do you make it to the Paleo lifestyle? Through trial and error, getting active, not being too hard on yourself, following the 80/20 principal, and getting inspired. Looking back, I wouldn’t have liked to get to to my Paleo lifestyle in any other way, and frankly, the traditional “buy-this-book-and-follow-this-plan-forever” kind of way probably wouldn’t have stayed with me long term.

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    1 7 Signs You’re Burnt out (And How to Bounce Back) 2 7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks 3 How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person 4 How to Be Happy in Life? 25 Ways to Make Your Life Happier 5 4 Ways to Deal With Big Life Changes in a Positive Way

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

      More Tips on Getting in Shape

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

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