A newbie to the Paleo diet probably has a ton of questions about what you can and can’t eat as well as what to expect. The way you ate previously will determine how you adjust. If you had a diet high in sugar and carbs, this will be a big change. You probably already know that you are supposed to eat clean food, grass fed meat, organic vegetables and fruits along with nuts and seafood.
Now it’s time to learn what not to do on the Paleo diet. Paleo is not by any stretch of the imagination restrictive and you don’t need to spend your time counting calories or measuring portions. If your favorite dish is on the list of things you’re not supposed to eat, check online as there is almost always a Paleo version you can enjoy.
What You Can’t Eat
Even if you decide to transition over to Paleo slowly, the first thing you need to do is give up processed foods and sugar. That means no more frozen, boxed or microwaveable instant meals. It is time to start planning what you eat and be very mindful of what you put in your body. Learn to find alternatives for donuts in the morning. Be wary of condiments and salad dressings because sugar hides everywhere and you need to read labels on everything.
You can’t have grains or legumes, and this means no more pasta and sandwiches and lots of things that are probably staples in your diet. Pasta seems to be the thing newbies have the hardest time with giving up. Cut yourself some slack and accept that some aspects of moving to a Paleo diet are going to be challenging.
Don’t Confuse Paleo with Atkins
This is a common misconception; while meat is a big component of Paleo you are encouraged to eat vegetables and fruit. Paleo places no restrictions on the amount of fruit or vegetables you want to eat. The Paleo diet isn’t all bacon cheeseburgers without the bun, and protein is not the only nutrient you need. Yes, Paleo is low carb in comparison to other diets, but it is not “no carb.” You still need some carbohydrates in your diet.
Manage Your Expectations
Yes, with a Paleo diet you can lose weight consistently and fairly quickly, but you’re not going to wake up after a week of eating Paleo as a cross fit athlete. This is a lifestyle change and progress takes time, so cut yourself some slack and give Paleo some time to work for you. If weight loss is a goal, that’s great but you can’t rely on diet alone. You have to get up and you have to move. Paleo is a big part of a healthy lifestyle but it is not the only part exercise is also integral to weight loss and improving your overall health.
You don’t need to jump in with both feet right away. You can transition at your own pace, as long as you keep moving forward. Expect there will be times where you will fall off the proverbial wagon. Don’t dwell on it, and just move on.