For those of you who follow me, you probably know by now that Steve and I are trying the Paleo Diet. We are on a 10 day “detox”, where we are eating strict paleo which includes no rice, potatoes, sugar, sweetener (EEK!), bread, oatmeal, milk products, beans, peanuts (yes, no peanut butter!) and many other things we love.
Although that may seem scary to some of you, the truth is, we don’t eat much of those things anyway, but to go TOTALLY without – now that’s a whole different story. But, as I go Paleo, I am learning a lot along the way. When I try knew things, I’m always thinking about my client and members. I think of what they will like about it, what they will struggle with, and how they could mess it up – to the point the diet doesn’t work well at all for them. Here’s what I mean…
Red Flag #1: Paleo doesn’t count calories
Not everyone needs to count calories, HOWEVER, if you have a problem with your weight, you should be managing calories – just like if you had a problem spending money, you should closely manage your bank account. Just because I tell you to shop at K-Mart instead of Macy’s doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll spend less money. The same goes for diet. Just because the Paleo diet is healthy and it doesn’t allow for a lot of high-calorie carbs doesn’t necessarily mean you’d lose weight on the diet if you aren’t purposeful about where you are getting your calories. It’s one thing to eat Paleo because it’s healthy, and it’s another thing to go Paleo and eat all the Paleo approved foods you want and expect to lose weight.
The reason I’m waving the red flag on calories, is to remind you that just because something is healthy doesn’t mean you can’t eat too much of it. I would suggest counting calories while on the Paleo Diet if you are trying to lose weight. Once you learn what Paleo items are higher in calories, and which ones are not, you’ll be able to snack better and eat smarter.
Red Flag #2: Paleo allows for a lot of fat
Unlike the Adkins Diet, Paleo fats are super healthy and energizing. They aren’t the kind of clog-your-artery fats that kills people. The problem with this is there are more calories in fat than there are in carbs and protein. And, if something is high in fat (even if it’s good fat), it high in calories. Now, to an athlete, those calories are likely burned up in hours of practice and/or intense CrossFit training. BUT, the common person who dabbles in training (like most gym members), and aren’t training for your best FRAN, heaviest Dead Lift or a marathon, high-calorie fats need to be rationed.
For instance, pumpkin seeds, cashews and almonds are all allowed on the Paleo Diet – BUT, if you are a heavy snacker this could be setting you up for a big FAT failure if you aren’t careful. 1 cup of Cashews (which is NOT a lot!) is a whopping 786 calories and 63 grams of fat, so you can see how easy it would be to rack up the calories. (Read my article on Beware of Going Nuts for Nuts) I’m raising the red flag to bring your attention to the dangers of not limiting your fats. Healthy fats are fantastic – in moderation.
Red Flag #3: Paleo doesn’t allow for food alternatives
100-calorie snack packs and artificially sweetened drinks are not allowed on a Paleo Diet. This is a good thing when it comes to your health, but can be a bad thing if you don’t have a go-to snack to satisfy cravings. After just 2 days on the diet, I was craving sweets like a Diabetic – and I don’t even normally care about sweets! I tried eating fruit, but that didn’t cut it. Knowing this was trouble in the making if I didn’t find a solution, I went straight to the health food store and bought all the ingredients I needed to make some Paleo snack bars. I also bought other approved foods, like plantains and sweet potato, which I knew would help satisfy my cravings for sweet carbs. After I ate my sweet potato last night I was golden.
We are so used to being able to grab a snack in a pinch, or enjoy a sweet flavored drink to fight a sweet tooth. Whether it’s a bar or a pack of pretzels, when those items aren’t there we freak. The red flag I’m waving here is to remind you that if you don’t find a solution to your craving you will fail, or quit, this diet – or any diet for that matter. It’s crucial you keep troubleshooting until you find the solution for you. Just because your favorite item is not on the list, like I’m totally crushed I can’t have corn (and POPCORN!), doesn’t mean I can’t find something else I like equally. It just may take some time to find them, and adjust my habits.
Red Flag #4: Paleo cult members can lead you astray
Like many diets groups and fitness organizations, it forms a cult-like following – and they LOVE to tell you what to do. And, if they are completely ripped and have a body of a greek god, it’s easy to want to do everything they say. I watch some of my Paleo friends woof down tons of food while still maintaining a six-pack, but is that realistic for me? We can’t all expect our bodies to respond like someone else. I know some of my friends train 3 times harder than me. Some of them have already biked 12 miles, ran 4 miles and hit a WOD before I even woke up. I also realize some people are naturally gifted with beautifully shaped physiques even before they made them more beautiful with intense training. You have to know your own body. You have to know your own cravings and weaknesses. So, the next time someone decides to tell you what to eat (even if you don’t think it’s best for you) notice the red flag, listen to them, and then do the appropriate research needed to make an intelligent decision for your body.
To sum it up, my answer to the question “Can the Paleo Diet Make You Fat?” is “Yes, BUT…“.
YES, you can get fat on almost any diet IF you aren’t eating in moderation. It would be very hard to get fat on the Paleo Diet because it limits starchy carbs and sugar, but it would be irresponsible of me to not warn you to watch your overall calories if you are trying to lose weight until you get the hang of things. So far, I am really liking eating Paleo. It’s forcing me to avoid things I know I eat too much of, so it’s good for me. It’s also hard to argue that it’s not super healthy. It totally is very healthy, improves performance, promotes recovery, balances hormone levels, reduces tissue inflammation, lowers body acidity, and increases energy. Just don’t get excited about the whole “Paleo people don’t count calories” thing, because that doesn’t mean YOU don’t need to. It just depends on your goal. If you only care about performance and health, don’t worry about it. BUT, if you care what you look like, you gotta do what you gotta do to get you closer to your goal.
Why do we look to food for entertainment? It’s nothing new. Countless Kings have held feasts that lasted for hours and even days – and honestly, we still do it. A feast like that was once in a lifetime for many, and now we dine like Kings and Queens every single day.
God gave us 5 ways to enjoy life and only one of them involves the tongue, yet we rely on the tongue to give us the majority of our daily pleasure instead of our other 4 senses. As a result, Americans have a huge obesity problem and an equally large lazy problem. We do less activity and more eating. No wonder America is getting fatter by the minute.
There’s more to life than eating. Yes, I said it. If all you think about is what you are going to have for your next meal, maybe you have an eating problem and are relying on food for more than it’s nourishment. Food’s number one purpose is to keep you alive. The quality of food greatly determines your quality of life. Food is fuel, not entertainment.
If you want to change your life, don’t neglect your other senses. You know, the ones that don’t cause weight gain?
Here are 4 ways to entertain yourself without tilting the scale.
1.) Sight: If you’re looking for entertainment, there are a ton of things to see. Movies, sights, nature, broadway, plays, zoos, amusement parks, museums, art shows, sports events and countless other things can give us hours of great entertainment without packing on the weight.
2. Hearing: Have you been to a good concert lately? How about a comedy show? Even a good podcast can be a great way to spend time you might be tempted to entertain your taste buds. Broaden your horizon and step out of your comfort-food box!
3. Touch: Besides the obvious, like good old fashioned romance, there are so many ways to be entertained by touch. Petting a dog and holding a child are not only fun but they are actually healthy. In addition, exercise stimulates and invigorates our entire body. Don’t believe me? Try exercising intensely and think of all the things you feel. Your skin tingles and sweats, your heart pounds, and your body feels different after you exercise. Another great way to entertain your touch receptors is with a massage, pedicure or facial. Even a nice long bath can be a great way to pamper yourself in place of loading up on an excess of calories.
4. Smell: Aromatherapy is proven to have amazing affects on the mind and body. If smells didn’t matter, we wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars on perfumes, bath and body products, and home fragrances. Research studies on many of the essential oils in aromatherapy show positive effects for a variety of health concerns including pain, anxiety, depression, stress and even coping with a terminal illness. That’s just how much the power of smell impacts your entire body. This is also why making time for a relaxing bath with aromatherapy is a double-whammy. Your skin and nose are both entertained, all in one awesome healing experience.
Back in the day, when Steve used to go off his diet he would say he was “taking the gloves off” – meaning, no more rules. In sports like boxing and hockey, taking the gloves off means they are about to throw down. No rules, no ref, anything goes.
Well, that’s how Steve and I used to cheat – we’d take the gloves off. However, over the years our eating has changed drastically. Although we totally still cheat on our diet here and there, even cheating is done in moderation.
Vacation or Diet Vacation?
I think too many people “take the gloves off” like we used to – especially when on vacation. They go on vacation and they don’t even try to eat healthy. On the contrary, people often cram as much crappy stuff in their body while on vacation “just because they are on vacation” – as if they’d never get the chance to cheat again.
Sure, you should be able to have some yummy meals and treats on vacation – I’m not suggesting you have to “diet”. What I’m saying is you should still practice self-control and balance. Whether it’s trying to still maintain healthy portions or mixing in healthy meals with cheat meals, eating just to eat shouldn’t be an option.
Our Dumb Rules (AKA: Lame Excuses)
We humans make some of the dumbest diet rules. We have certain occasions we “allow” ourselves to “take the gloves off”. We cheat when we celebrate. We cheat when we go out of town. We cheat when it’s a Holiday. We cheat on the weekends. We cheat when we’ve had a hard day. Honestly, sometimes we cheat our way through a whole week because of circumstances. And if that wasn’t bad enough, we continue to cheat after several days of cheating, because we’ve been so bad. Really? Is that an excuse? I’ll be bad today just because I was so bad yesterday? Yep, that’s how some of us think and act. How stupid is that?!
Going Over the Limit
We do the very same thing when with spending, especially on vacation. We buy things just to buy things. After blowing it one day, we often blow even more money (and debt) the next day – and many times it’s on stupid stuff. I mean, do you really think you’ll hang that ridiculous Mexican sombrero in your house? Probably not, but you sure will be paying for it, along with all the other junk “that you had to have”, for a lot longer than it took to buy ut. The same goes with diet. You may not be playing by they rules, but the rules still apply – and, believe me, you WILL pay.
7 Ways to Cheat Smart & Win the Fat Fight
You can splurge, taste, play and feel good to – IF you learn to cheat smart. Here are a few ways to enjoy great cuisine without losing your fight with fat.
1.) Only eat what you love. How many times have you eaten something just because it’s in front of you? How many times have you cleaned your plate and the meal wasn’t even that good? Save your cheat calories for only foods you absolutely love.
2.) Make good choices and healthy tradeoffs. Think about what you like the most. Do you want the appetizer more, or the dessert more? Instead of having every course offered, narrow down the choices to what’s most important to you.
3.) Divide your cheat meal up by cutting high-calorie foods in half. If you want to totally splurge on your favorite high calorie dish, don’t overeat too. You can enjoy that deep fried dish, or pasta swimming in alfredo, but save calories by not eating it all in one siting to avoid more calories stored as fat. The good news is you get to have your favorite meal twice!
4.) Choose one: over-eating or over-calorieing. I know, it’s not a word! What I mean is, if your idea of splurging is overeating, then eat healthy. If your idea is eating a high calorie cheat meal, then eat less of unhealthy meals.
5. Plan to cheat. One of the best things you can do is plan your cheat meals out. If you are jonesing for your favorite cheat meal for dinner, eat healthy during the day or do an extra cardio. Save calories on other snacks and meals to allow more room to cheat.
6. Eat for fuel. Remember, what you eat today is how you will feel tomorrow. So, if you’re planning to hit the beach and you want to look good in your bikini, or you want a ton of energy on vacation, you may want to eat how you want to feel – and plan your cheat meals around that. My sister learned this the hard way when we went to Busch Gardens after eating pancakes. Steve and I had a ton energy and she crashed after only 2 hours of being at the park. If you want to feel good, you may want to choose your biggest cheat day for the last day of your trip.
7. Cheating can be depressing. I don’t know about you, but I want to be happy on vacation. Cheating can really mess with your head. You can mentally feel fat and ugly, causing bad mood swings and emotions. If you want to feel confident and comfortable, limiting crappy meals can make you a much happier camper.
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Photo of Bonnie Pfiester by Misty Lundeen
I see tons of people sweating it out at the gym – sometimes twice a day, working so incredibly hard. Why? It’s not because they have some photo shoot or competition. It’s not to get shredded. No, they have this insane dedication to working out because they have no dedication to eating right.
Me? I’m too lazy for that non-sense. I’d rather eat less than workout for 3 hours a day. As I always say, I don’t live to workout. It will always be a push for me to get my workout in. So, I choose to be careful with what I eat so I don’t have to do it any more than necessary.
However, there are many people who don’t mind working it off at all. I actually believe it’s therapy for them – and not really the good kind. Since many of them live at the gym, they know good and well they shouldn’t drink a twelve pack on the weekend and eat whatever the heck they want. So, come Monday it’s punishment time. It’s time to erase their sins.
They don’t get mad, because they know they don’t deserve to get mad. In their mind, they deserve as many brutal workouts as they can squeeze in. The sweatier, the better. The workouts help them to become proud of themselves again. When they know they aren’t proud of how they eat, the can at least be proud of what they do. And even if they hold 40 extra pounds, people around them would never call them lazy – because they work so hard.
Don’t get me wrong. If this is you, you are stronger. You are healthier. You are likely more tone. BUT, think of how amazing you would look and feel if you gave your plate the workout you gave your body.
This yo-yo lifestyle is not healthy. It’s not good for you emotionally and it’s not teaching you how to live healthy long-term. You can’t continue all your life beating your body up day after day because you can’t control your eating. Moderation is key to long-term success. Don’t punish your body for your mouth’s mistakes. The mouth is what needs taming so your body can begin enjoying the reward for once.
Even with extreme workouts, remember, extreme workouts can never erase extreme eating. Food always wins.
pFIT TIP: It takes approximately 10 miles to run off one average size restaurant dinner.
We have all complained about our credit card bills. Everyone has bought stuff they couldn’t afford at the time – and now it’s time to pay it off. It’s not fun, and many times we aren’t even enjoying the purchase by the time we are paying it off, which stinks even more!
We do the same thing with food. We eat it, whether we can afford it or not, and when it comes time to pay it off we gripe, complain and act like we are the victim. Like being in debt to our eyeballs, we did it to ourselves and it’s time we start manning up, paying it off, and becoming more disciplines.
1. Pay it off (completely). Don’t just pay it down and then rack up the calories again the first chance you get. Pay it off completely. Get to the size you know you should be before you start your “spending” again. Then, if you increase your spending, remember to keep paying it down while the amount is small – never letting your fat account get that high again.
2. Practice more discipline. If you can’t afford it, you really shouldn’t eat it – especially if you know you aren’t willing to pay it off fast. Be honest with yourself. Are you REALLY going to wake up in the morning and run an extra 3 miles to erase the ice cream you’re eating tonight? Remember, when you are losing weight, you are already paying off past mistakes, so any more calories you eat will require ADDITIONAL work to erase.
3. Eat like American Express. The wonderful thing about American Express is you pay it off each month. We should treat eating that way. We should only eat what we are willing to pay off that month. Unfortunately, most people eat like a Visa card – they eat what they want and just do the bare minimum to get by – resulting in carrying a large balance that never gets paid down.
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Does food have a grip on you, or do you have a grip on food?
I can’t tell you how many people tell me they are so sick of themselves. Sick of not controlling their food intake and weight. Food clearly has a grip on their life and they are eating themselves unhappy. Today we’re going to dive deep into the seriousness of letting food control your life. Get ready, because this isn’t going to be pretty!
Gluttony: to gulp down or swallow, means over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or wealth.
You don’t have to be FAT to struggle with food
When I think of gluttony, I think of seriously overweight people like “Fat Bastard” in the Austin Powers movie. However, you don’t have to be morbidly obese to struggle with gluttony. Just ask Steve and I. We’ve seriously gulped down hideous amounts of food at times, and not once did we ever push away from the table feeling good about it. And we make a boatload of excuses to match the boatload of food we consume.
“We deserve it”. “We’ve been training so hard”. “At least it was all healthy”. But no matter what our lame excuses are, too much is too much – and it’s not healthy.
We humans like to rationalize pretty much everything. We’re the first people to judge someone else’s “sin” and then make excuses for our own. Of course, most of us don’t think of ourselves as gluttons, but if you are gulping down too much food, then you are indeed a glutton. Sorry, but it’s true.
If you can’t control it…
Sure, it would be super easy to look at someone addicted to crack and think “wow, I can’t believe someone would do that to themselves”, yet you maybe addicted to food. Just because food is legal, doesn’t mean we should abuse our bodies with it.
This is not a fun topic, but I think it’s important to address. Coming from a strong Christian home, I was taught to take care of my body – and treat it like a temple. However, I’ve treated my body like a saloon, garbage dump, and smoke stack in the past. I would have NEVER brought some of the things I put in my body into a church. Ironically, when I was the least disciplined with what went into my mouth, I was also the least disciplined in other areas of my life.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to target alcohol, cigarettes and drugs as the evil things you should get rid of – but what makes us think we can continue overeating and not practicing self-control with the rest of our life?
It’s not about Vanity
Interestingly enough, most of us know better. We know we should be working out and eating healthier, but we don’t do it. Did you know that just knowing what to do and not doing it is wrong? I’m not just suggesting it is not good for you, I’m saying it’s flat wrong.
“It is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” James 4:17
You don’t have to believe in God to benefit from scripture – and I believe most of us want to do the “right” thing. I think the problem lies in that we don’t think of eating poorly as right or wrong, but just a matter of vanity or choice. I mean, there are no food police giving out tickets for poor eating. We have the “right” to eat however we want – right? We may have that right, but that doesn’t make it right.
Maybe, if you’re struggling with self-control around food, you should treat the problem less like a vanity thing, and more as a right and wrong thing. You probably know what’s best for you, now you just need to start doing it.
1.) Decreases self esteem
2.) Increases jealousy
3.) Causes us to hide (especially from cameras)
4.) Makes us tired and lazy
5.) Makes us look and feel unattractive, which can be harmful in relationships
6.) Makes us physically ill
7.) Can be expensive (dining out/cocktails)
8.) Makes us unhappy
9.) Causes depression and added stress
10.) Makes us insecure and lack confidence in our work
If those are just a FEW things unhealthy eating habits can do to our lives, then why would even hesitate to get help and get healthy? It’s time to get healthy and happy again!
NOTE: If you think for one minute I’m judging you, or anyone struggling with eating – think again. We ALL struggle. I struggle. If you put a basket of nachos in front of me, I’ll out-eat any of you if I don’t practice self-control – and even my best self-control will still be overeating I guarantee!! The only difference is, I may go run it off. This is something I will continue to improve and manage for the rest of my life. When it comes to my body, I don’t want to look bad as much as I don’t want to disappoint God by mistreating this body he gave me. I want to be a good steward of my physical body as well as my life. When I’m done with this life, I want Him to say “Well done”. I will never be perfect, and I will always fail, but I will never stop trying – and I think that’s all He asks for. 🙂
So you want to eat healthy and lose a few pounds but you don’t have time to really look things up and see how many calories in everything you eat. Well, I’m here to help. ALTHOUGH not looking up calories while on a “eating budget” is like writing checks without looking at a price tag, I can at least give you a few “good buys” for those times you just need a go-to quick and easy snack or meal.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.
One thing I know is if I don’t shop smart, I won’t eat smart. Although I’d love to cook fresh meals and snacks, that’s not always realistic. So, it’s important to keep your needs in mind and be prepared to fuel your body when life forces you to eat on the run. Here are a few items that are always on my shopping list so I have something quick when I’m crunched for time.
This is an AMAZING amount of protein for a portable snack or meal. I also love the plain yogurt with honey, granola and blueberries as well as their fruit flavors for when I’m in a rush and on the run.
The flavor is fresh, smooth, fruity, sweet and tart – a great recovery drink right after a hot run or intense workout. You can’t even taste the protein and the texture is amazing. They offer various flavors but be sure to watch for the Protein PLUS label as not all their smoothies are high in protein.
This is one of Steve’s favorite treats when dieting. It’s sweet, packed with protein and filling. If it doesn’t stick with you long enough, try switching to the 1% Low Fat version for 240 calories, 24gms of protein & 2 gms of fat. Fat typically helps foods stick with us longer, which keeps a dieter more content and tummy satisfied.
When I’m in a total pinch and need something to throw in my purse, this is a great tasting bar that leaves me feeling satisfied to hold me over for a real meal. The great thing is this is available at most grocery stores so you don’t have to hunt down a nutrition store to get a decent snack bar. NOTE: This does not qualify as a protein bar. In my opinion, a protein bar should have at least 25gms of protein.
With 8gms of fiber, 18 whole grains, no high fructose corn syrup & 9gms of protein, you’ll feel fuller longer with this fun cereal with a nice berry kick. One thing I LOVE about Simply Smart Fat Free Milk is the expiration date is nearly two months away from the purchase date, which means less waste for people like me that don’t drink a lot of milk.
This is a easy on-the-go way to throw together a great tasting sandwich or salad. I use a whole packet on mixed greens with onion, tomatoes and Roland balsamic vinegar, with a sprinkle of olive oil to make the salad stick with me. Also try it heated or try one of the StarKist recipes like the Sweet & Spicy Tuna Wrap.
Of COURSE it’s always best to eat fresh meals but if you don’t have the time and you need something quick – this is one tasty, high-protein find! It’s 30% larger than most frozen diet meals and has DOUBLE the protein than most other pre-packaged meals. The flavors are good and it tastes pretty fresh as well. Not bad for frozen!
Edamame is an awesome side dish or snack. I love to steam it and sprinkle low-sodium soy sauce over it for a salty healthy snack. You can also add shelled edamame to salads and meals. Since they are a nice balance of fats, carbs and proteins, as well as packed with fiber, they keep you feeling full. My favorite part about them is it takes time to eat them when they are still in the shell so the snack entertains you longer.
9. Crunchmaster’s Multi-Grain Cracker
16 crackers: 120 calories, 2gms of protein, 3gms of fiber and 2gms of fat
Not only can you have 16 crackers for the same amount of calories for 6 stinkin’ Triskets, but these tasty crackers are all natural and Gluten Free. Since it doesn’t have MSG, which is normally added to boost flavors in flavored chips like Doritos, you are not only eating a healthier snack – you’ll likely eat less of them. MSG has been thought to make people want to eat more, so this is one snack you’re more likely to control. Try it with THIN slivers of low-fat pepper jack cheese and a few grapes for an awesome treat! TIP: Don’t eat them out of the bag – count them out and put them on a plate to help manage how many you eat.
10. Peanut Butter & Green Banana Wrap on Flatout Whole Grain Wrap
Calories for 1/2 of banana, 1TBS peanut butter & wrap: 250 calories, 13.5gm of protein, 7-9gms of fiber (depending on Flatout flavor) 10.8gms of fat
This is one quick, tasty and filling snack or light lunch. Add alfalfa sprouts for a fresh and unique added crunch. This wrap is PACKED with fiber, which keeps you feeling full but it also has another amazing benefit – it boost fat loss! Slightly green bananas have high amounts of resistant starch, which greatly reduce as the banana ripens. Resistant starches can’t be broken down like regular starches so your body treats it more like a fiber. In addition, experts believe they block the use of some carbohydrates, forcing our body to use stored fat as energy instead of what we ate. One Colorado University study concluded that replacing 5.7% of standard carbohydrates with resistant starches could boost fat lost over time – as much as 30%!
DON’T LIKE WATER? TRY THIS!
For those of you who just can’t STAND the thought of guzzling large doses of water and you KNOW you need to increase your water intake, this may be your answer. I personally love water but Steve loves sweet drinks but keeping pitchers of Crystal Light can be a drag. Mio is easy and can be taken on the go. Squirt it in your water bottle or add it to your glass of water from you refrigerator door. It’s easy, it’s tasty and it’s totally customizable to YOUR liking!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAV FOODS!
Share some of your favorite foods by commenting below. The more you share, the more people we can all help!!
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