look best in your genes : the paleo diet… ish

it’s not a secret that losing weight and dieting are some of the most confusing topics to conquer, let alone understand and put into action. with so many diets being shoved in our faces, does anyone know what truly works? and more importantly, what truly works for their individual body, metabolism, self, and happiness- our unique genes? with the overwhelming critique of our bodies and the desire to be, well at least for me, fit, healthy and happy, while also looking sexy and being and feeling confident, it’s incredibly difficult to find a diet (not a dieting program such as weight watchers, but an eating schedule and habits) that actually works, leaves us feeling energized and ready to take on the day is near impossible to encounter, especially with the level of craziness that is most of our lives whether you’re in college, high school, motherhood or the midst of a promising career. 

timing nutrition intake accurately in order to yield the best feeling and most productive results for health and fitness is one of the largest, most confusing challenges with which i’ve grappled in my life. 

 

in this post, i’ll share with you what’s worked surprisingly well for me in the last three months that i’ve engaged in my return to fitness, leanness, and confidence. 

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until about three months ago, i though eating and being healthy entailed filling your body with wonderful, nutritious foods such as fruits, veggies, meats, and dairies, whenever i was hungry, at whatever time of day. i knew, obviously, that candies and other foods with overloads of sugars were unhealthy and caused me to feel terrible as blood sugar highs and lows held my body hostage and caused weight gain. i thought, “hey, i’m young, i can eat whatever i want and still look like i did when i was 14. i work out, i eat well; there’s nothing more to it!” little did i know, i was far from right.

at the beginning of this summer, i decided to lean down and get back into my fitness, so i began to really educate myself on what foods were healthy to eat at certain times of day to maximize my body’s ability to function at high levels, feel healthy and energized, and accomplish my fitness goals.  to my surprise, i learned quite a few facts i’d never known before. i’d previously heard of the paleo diet, but had automatically assumed it was for older adults who couldn’t shed the last 15 pounds of belly fat. i though that if i simply continued to work out regularly that i would naturally lose weight and get back into shape. after a year of testing this hypothesis, i realized it had failed. that i’d remained static for last nine months. 

under the weight, no pun intended, of the confusion that is weight loss, i floundered for information and facts that would help me get out of my rut and found that at its very, very simplest weight loss is solely a function of calories in versus calories out. eat less and burn more calories equals weight loss. eat less, exercise more equals weight loss, muscle gain, toning, the whole bunch. 

in late may as i packed my last belongings into my boyfriend’s subaru as we began to embark upon our roadtrip home to sun valley, idaho, i realized what better time to make a change than now? why wait any longer? i’m wallowing in unhappiness and anxiety instead of doing something about it! so on my 20, i decided to dedicate myself to changing my life and moving forward to a place of confidence, happiness, and healthiness. 


 

in nutrition, it’s important to fully understand how the human body processes foods- sugars, proteins, veggies, the whole lot.

for one, fruits act like any other sugar, candy, sweet; if you eat them by themselves instead of sandwiched by protein, you’ll experience a spike in blood sugar and most likely store the calories from that food unless of course you exercise or eat a protein soon after. before i changed my diet, i’d feel hungry mid-day and eat a snack, a banana or an apple, and 20 minutes later feel even more hungry than i’d previously been. 

two- you can eat more protein than you think. the paleo diet, or for me the paleo-ish diet, is based upon eating very limited sugars like fruits, eating high amounts of protein, nuts, meats, legumes, to maximize energy, and eating very low amounts of carbohydrates, namely gluten but also general sugars. if you maximize your intake of protein and couple it with vegetables and small amounts of fruits, you’ll need to eat less as you’ll feel hungry less, and you’ll be more energized and ready to accomplish any workout or task. 

three- yes, smoothies are the f*cking best! but they’re actually not that great for you… and i know, it breaks my heart too. even protein based smoothies with tons of greek yogurt or protein powder, pick your poison, overload your body with sugars (fruits) and enable the digesting process by already having broken down the fruits and veggies so your body doesn’t have to. in other words, everything in moderation. 

four- eliminate the gluton (unless you’re michael phelps). pasta is super good, i totally feel ya. but think about it. a typical american’s eating habits in one day consist of cereal or toast for breakfast (gluten/carbohydrates), a sandwich for lunch (gluton bread), and pasta with bread for dinner (gluton/carbohydrates). why do we eat so much wheat? why is it such a giant staple of our diets? it’s more than unnecessary and, in fact, it does us no good. it causes spikes in blood sugar levels, making us feel tired and hungry again, and it is stored as fat easily. 

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five- pick and choose what you will. you don’t have to follow every specific, constricting detail of any diet. you can have your cake and eat it too!… sometimes! though the paleo diet restricts your intake of sugars, fruits, grains, and any processed food, i’ve avoided regulating myself so strictly. i let myself eat some sweets such as dark chocolate and gummies only when i’m working out or about to. i’ve eaten cake over the summer, but only three times and only for special occasions. i love fruit and refuse to cut it out entirely. therefore i eat it before, right after, or sandwiched between proteins such as chicken or fish. 

six- choose something that will stick. choose foods you love to eat. choose a plan that you’ll follow for an extended period of time, something you’re willing and that you desire to make permanent. 

seven- follow your bmi. body mass index is a key indicator of how fit and healthy you are. bmi is simply a measurement of body fat content based upon one’s height and weight.

here’s the bmi scale:

underweight = <18.5
normal weight = 18.5–24.9
overweight = 25–29.9
obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

you can calculate your bmi on an online scale; here’s the one i used for the scale above and for computing my own personal bmi: bmi calculator

eight- always, always, always, most importantly, do what is best for you, for your body, your health, your happiness, your genes. do what fits you. do what you love! if the paleo diet is the worst thing for you, if you hate it, screw it! throw it out the window and move on to something that works for you! this post and any diet are intended to make a change in your life. but if you hate it, it won’t ever work for you. 

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sources:

http://www.muscleforlife.com/the-truth-about-protein-absorption-how-often-you-should-eat-protein-to-build-muscle/

http://thepaleodiet.com/

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm


 

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