I’m usually the annoyingly energetic girl in the office, even with little sleep, but lately I’ve been feeling tired, swollen, and just kind of gross. Health and fitness experts might simply say, “Work out!” But despite the amazing health and energy benefits a quick cardio session provides, I’d rather change my eating habits than go to the gym. (Sorry, not sorry.) So what if I tried eating “clean” and cutting out all the crap? I love food, which, unfortunately in this case, means that I love all food, but in the name of journalism and paying homage to what our cavemen and cavewomen ancestors ate, I went paleo.
Paleo is about eating natural and unprocessed food, as did humans who lived in an era before machines and robots were around to wrap granola and can vegetables. It’s mostly just common-sense food choices. Think fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, seafood, and nuts. No grains, dairy, legumes (beans and peanuts—this was a tricky one) or processed foods are allowed. Full disclosure: I totally stuck to the rules except when it came to two beverages that are nonnegotiables for me at this point in life—morning lattes and occasional tequilas. Otherwise, I was committed to the challenge.
I had fruit and eggs for breakfast, packed kale and veggie salads for lunch, and chose grilled fish and chicken from dinner menus. It really wasn’t that hard, until the sugar cravings kicked in and free, gifted cookies and brownies showed up at my desk. Every once in a while, I’d take a small bite, but I’m telling you, after a week, the cravings subsided and my commitment to the plan filled the void. It was weird.
Did you know that most Mexican restaurants will provide fresh, crunchy veggies in place of chips if you ask? Or rather, in addition to chips—my friends never wanted the veggies. Though admittedly annoying, it was a great conversation topic. I refused to call it a diet; it was a lifestyle change.
It wasn’t until the end of week three that I deviated from the plan. It was a Saturday, and I ate everything I could find. It wasn’t ideal, but it happened and I moved on. The next day, I hopped right back on the plan and, oddly, wasn’t as bloated as I’d normally be. It was exactly the reinforcement I needed to keep going.