I recently asked the members of our Paleo Folks Community (join our new group here) what their biggest roadblock was to starting and sticking to a paleo diet that makes them feel powerful was and the answer was almost unanimous.
"I'm too BUSY!"
- Too busy to plan out my meals
- Too busy to figure out if it's "paleo" or not.
- Too busy to make a grocery list from the meals I planned (I agree, this is my LEAST favorite part!)
- Too busy to meal prep for the week.
- Too busy to cook during the week (um, for real!)
When I first started my Paleo journey, I spent more time in the kitchen than I ever had before. While I LOVE to cook and bake, this was not fun. I wanted to play with my kids, spend time with my friends, and HELLO...I needed to work! The way (it felt like) it took over my life was not sustainable for the long haul so I made some changes pretty quick.
"Falling off the wagon" was not an option for me. Paleo made me feel powerful and strong. It made my body smaller and healthier. It made me a better mom because I was more confident and didn't struggle with sugar-driven mood swings. I was going to make Paleo work for my family in my extra busy life and (lucky for you!), I'm a pretty stubborn girl.
SO....here's thing. I figured out the 5 things that were the biggest roadblocks to me when I first started and I've broken them down for YOU and I've even added in super easy solutions. Because I love you. :) Here they are:
1) Your meals are too elaborate.
Many people go from cooking very simple meals that they have been cooking for years to 5 brand new complicated recipes each week. While Pinterest is *sometimes* your friend, it's important to be realistic about the time you have to devote to this. Pick mostly simple meals! In fact, your family's current favorite meals could probably very easily be "paleofied" with little extra effort.
2) Your meals are too boring.
This might seem like contradiction from #1, but this is SO important! I am SO NOT one of those people who feel that food is fuel and that's it. Food is an experience, a way to connect with your family at the end of a long day, a way to satisfy hunger with flavor and great texture. A new paleo friend of mine ate grilled chicken and steamed broccoli and then wondered why she couldn't "stick" to paleo. I was just impressed she lasted as long as she did with such boooooooring food! Make sure you're using herbs and spices, or my favorite easy to way liven up a meal, a great sauce! Your meals don't have to be elaborate, but don't make yourself eat boring food. If it's boring, you won't eat it and you won't be satisfied, which brings me to #3-
3) You're not eating enough.
So many new paleo friends eat considerably less when they first start paleo. While this is specific to what your particular body needs, make sure that you're eating enough to fuel your body for your busy life. Starving yourself can put your body in a state of stress, and stressed bodies don't work well. I recommend an "eat intuitively" way of figuring out if you need a little more or a little less. Ask your body how it feels, it will answer you!
4) You're expecting perfection.
There's a learning curve anytime you start something new! Give yourself a few weeks to get into the "swing of things." If you mess up or go off track because you get frustrated, no worries! Just reassess and get back on. I recommend and 80/20 plan for most people when it comes to paleo. Strive for "on plan paleo" 80% of the time ;) but enjoy Friday night pizza and movie night, too. I'm usually an all or nothing girl, so this one is hard for me. I sometimes wanted to just throw it all away instead of being okay with the fact that you just can't be 100% paleo 100% of the time. We live in the real world, and we eat in the real world too. And that's okay. 80% solid paleo will literally change every aspect of your life, it's okay to enjoy Friday night pizza.
5) You don't give yourself the tools you need.
I remember the first time I tried to make noodles using zucchini. It.was.awful! I used a julienne peeler because I didn't have a spiralizer. It was messy, I cut my finger, and the "noodles" were just sad little strands of vegetables, ugh. I went back to using corn based (paleo no no!) gluten free pasta until I received this little guy as a gift and have used ONLY veggies as pasta since then. My 2 and 4 year old love "pasta and noodles and sauce" and they eat it with sweet potato noodles.
So remember, you can't dig a hole with a teaspoon. Don't expect yourself to stick to a paleo diet when you don't have to right tools!
So, what DO you need to make your paleo life more convenient?? In perfect world, we would all have these:
- a good set of sharp knives
- this spiralizer that changed my life
- this AMAZING immersion blender
- cast iron cookware
When you commit to changing your life through changing the way you eat, the way you cook will probably require new tools to be efficient and effective.
So there you have it, Folks! The 5 big mistakes people make when starting Paleo and how to avoid them. I hope this post has been helpful to you, I know that making a big life change and committing to it can be unsettling and I want you to know that I am with you EVERY step of the way! When you start eating paleo, your life changes almost immediately for the better! And let me know how I can support you on your Paleo journey.
If you have any questions, shoot me an email here! - I'd love to hear from you! You WILL get the hang of a new way of eating and you'll be a pro in a short amount of time. And you'll enjoy all the incredible benefits that the paleo diet has to offer you and the people you love!
Our best always,