We know that living a paleo lifestyle can be beneficial for a number of reasons, but sometimes staying on track can be difficult. Long hours, cravings and lack of choices tend to get in the way. Here are eight easy tips to help you sustain a paleo lifestyle without feeling deprived, hungry or unsatisfied.
Don’t Limit Carbohydrates Too Much
Yes, on the paleo diet we do limit our simple carb intake, but some people associate every source of carbohydrates with weight gain. The truth is that the body needs some carbs, as well as fats and protein. Too much restriction of carbs can lead to increased cravings and binging on sugars or other unhealthy foods. Instead of getting your carbs from grains, legumes and refined sugars, stick to starchy vegetables and experiment with the amount until you feel satiated and energized throughout the day.
Make Sure You’re Eating Enough Fat
In an effect to lose weight, some people who are following the paleo lifestyle feel uncomfortable eating foods that contain fat. This may be due to preconceived notions about natural fats leading to weight gain. The truth is that we need fat as a source of energy, and natural saturated fats are the best way to go. Without enough of meat, liver and eggs in our diet, we will feel unsatisfied and sluggish throughout the day; plus, we won’t see the results we are looking for.
Focus on Eating Real, Clean Foods
Many people are successful when living a paleo lifestyle and this has more and more people jumping on board, but it’s important that you aren’t fooled by marketing and branding that puts the paleo label on unhealthy and processed foods. For instance, you can find paleo or gluten-free pancakes, cookies, brownies, you name it, but these foods are still loaded with additives and extra sugars. The key to success is to stick with real, clean foods, including plenty of vegetables, healthy fats and high-quality protein.
Opt for Fruit When Craving Something Sweet
Sticking to a small amount of fruit per day is ideal when following a paleo lifestyle, but fruit is always a better option than sugary or processed sweets. If you are experiencing a craving at some point during the day, reach for an apple or even some cherries or blueberries. This will satisfy your brain and give you that pick-me-up you were looking for.
Get Enough Sleep
The importance of a good night’s rest can’t be stressed enough. Getting enough sleep will minimize cravings and keep you clear headed throughout the day. When living a paleo lifestyle, you need 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night in order to feel energized and in control of your food choices.
Have a Backup Plan
Ever lose track of time and before you know it you are so hungry you’d eat anything? Busy days can turn into bad choices at night because we are too hungry and too tired to cook a healthy paleo-friendly meal. The solution is to have a backup plan. Make a big batch of bone broth or vegetable soup and keep it in the freezer for those long days. Slow cook your protein, like a whole organic chicken, on Sunday night and use it in salads, soups and entrees throughout the week. Planning ahead and having leftovers when in need will certainly help you to sustain a paleo lifestyle.
Plan an Indulgence
To eat a paleo diet without feeling like you’re on a diet, allow yourself to have a treat or “cheat meal” once a week or so. When we feel too restricted, we become discouraged and this often leads to binge eating or cheat days, even cheat weeks. Don’t let yourself get to that level. Instead, plan for your treat ahead of time. It could be pizza on Friday night or frozen yogurt after a long workday, either way you are avoiding any feelings of deprivation, which will help you to stay on track for the long haul.
8. Find Your Go-to Local Restaurants
There will be those days that you just don’t feel like cooking or you want to be served, and that’s okay, even when living a paleo lifestyle. Experiment with your local restaurants and figure out what places are the most accommodating. You will come to know the spots that make your meal to order, paleo style, so eating out doesn’t feel like you’re cheating. Checking out the menu before trying out a restaurant can be very helpful; make sure there’s something you’d be happy with before you’ve ordered your drinks.
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