Weight loss is 80% diet, 20% exercise I would say. No matter how hard you work out, it simply won’t equate to results unless you get your diet under control. For me, I am highly affected by carbohydrates and sugars, I just don’t function well with either of those high in my diet. Women especially react to higher protein, low carb diets. So, I found the paleo lifestyle through my favorite paleo writer of The Clothes Make the Girl.
What is paleo, you say? The basic idea comes from the pre-agricultural practices humans had in their daily diets. Before obesity or autoimmune disorders became a problem, we were once hunters and gatherers, lean and toned beasts. There are countless resources explaining what you can/cannot eat, in full detail, but a short answer? Unless it’s a:
- fruit (keeping your sugars under 20 grams/day)
- healthy fat (strict paleo eaters do not eat dairy. I moderate my cheese and I eat/drink whey protein, but I refuse to give that up, it doesn’t upset my stomach like some people. I absolutely stay away from milk though.)
DON’T eat it.
- How ’bout pasta or rice or beans? How bout no.
- What about some bread? What about the list above don’t you get?
- Surely you can’t be serious about no potatoes? I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley
That’s it! On top of a pretty strict paleo diet, because my goal was to cut; I also did count my calories. I used the app Myfitnesspal to make it easy. I have been around the block with calorie counting apps, and this is by far the easiest to use, and supported by all platforms. It also has easy to understand daily pie charts of your food broken down into the macronutrients protein, carbs, and fats. My goal was 1200 NET calories (obviously if I burned 800 calories that day, I allowed myself 2000 calories total); focusing on protein first. Because I worked out every day and lifted 5x/week, I shot for 1.5x my goal body weight in grams of protein (about 200 grams for me) first, then once that was satisfied, I filled the rest of my calories with fibrous vegetables (broccoli is my go to favorite), healthy fats (coconut oil for the win) and then fruits (berries mostly) as sweet treats. Does this mean I never went out with friends? Of course not, I love eating out! But I did make sure wherever we were going I could order a bunless burger or steak or grilled chicken and a salad or bushel of veggies. So many italian and mexicans restaurants weren’t options for me. I might have been butthurt at the time missing out on bread sticks and nachos, but fitting into my size 4 dress at my wedding day makes every sacrifice worth it!
Another key: don’t skip breakfast (it’s a metabolism jump starter) and eat smaller meals/snacks throughout the day instead of one or two large meals. Keep that metabolism going!