Transitioning to a Primal lifestyle is easy on the face of it. Eat only real foods from good local sources, while avoiding the processed junk, try and move more often at varying intensity and against resistance. And get outside in nature more, feel the sun on your bare skin and breath in the fresh air. However these basic guidelines can be taken out of context and mistakes can happen that can easily set you back to square one.
So today i'm going to highlight some simple mistakes that can easily happen particularly when first starting out.
Setting your expectations to high in the early stages.
You have heard of all the positive experiences that people have had from changing to a Primal lifestyle and decided that you want to feel the same way and get onboard. You set your goals and off you go, two weeks in and nothing has really changed for you and your considering giving up.
I have seen some amazing results even within the first week of transitioning but it is not always the case. Firstly it isn't magic, but more importantly everyone is different and that difference can be that it just takes longer for some people to start seeing results. Remember this is a long term lifestyle change not a quick fix and although it can happen really fast for some people this is not always the case, and it is also worth mentioning that those who do see dramatic shifts from the start will inevitably slow down as time goes by and their body gets used to the new regime.
So don't jump ship to soon, give it at least a few months before you make a decision that it's not for you.
Eating to little
Believe or not this can happen. The food you should be eating is much more nutrient dense and satiating than standard food stuffs and because of this your body is getting what it needs and no longer craves for food. This is a good thing from a nutrient perspective however because of this the diet can accidentally be lacking in calories. (This is one argument that comes from the calories in calories out point of view for weight loss into the success of low carb diets, but there is more to it than that)
It is almost self regulating from this aspect but reducing calories too much can lead to slowing of metabolism in the same way as when people choose to restrict calories (That's one reason why calorie restriction doesn't work long term).
The answer can simply be to start eating more, and add good fats to your meals, olive oil drizzled over your salad can easily up the calorie levels, or cooking your scrambled eggs in coconut oil or butter. This will let your body know your not struggling for food and that it can indeed start letting go of the extra that it is holding back.
To much of a good thing
On the flip of the last point you can also get to much of a good thing. You may be eating all the right foods but it is important to consider how much. Fruit is a good start (See last week's post for more indepth discussion) it may be natural real food but it does contain a lot of sugar, sure it's better than a bag of crisps but it can have similar down sides if overdone. Nuts are another example, it is very easy to chomp through a whole bag of almonds without thinking about it. So be aware of how much you are eating, particularly of single food types.
It is great that we can still have indulgences like cookies, cakes and biscuits made with real food ingredients but remember they may be made with real ingredients but they are still treats, many recipes call for some kind of natural sweetener, honey or maple syrup but it is still sugar going in there. It is very easy to make a batch of coconut cookies and munch the lot before they have even cooled.
There are an ever increasing number of paleo/primal friendly products coming on the market as businesses start to see a rise in this kind of lifestyle and they of course try to capitalise on it.However be very aware that many are not all that the claim to be, without mentioning companies names I have read ingredients label that really are not in keeping with this dietary approach, soy, rice flour and potato starch are all things I have come across when considering purchasing these products. So be just a careful with these products as you would any other, they may look good on the package but they could be what is holding you back.
If you do bake or buy any products still consider them a treat and not a staple of your diet.
I hope that if you are at a bit of a crossroads at the moment then looking into these factors could be what gets you back on the right track once more.