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Two of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to get healthy and to lose weight, which typically means: diet change. The Paleo diet has exploded in popularity and is more mainstream, so even more people have made the resolution this year to try the Paleo diet for better health and to lose weight.
I made the resolution to get healthy way back in 2010, and after eventually finding Paleo it helped me lose 80 lbs and get off all medications in one year. You can read more about my story here.
If you are interested in reaping the numerous benefits of a Paleo diet, you need to know a few things before you get started. As a Paleo veteran of 6 years, I’m going to show you how to succeed on the Paleo diet and keep your resolutions so that this new year is your best yet!
Choose a structured plan and stick to it
There are several versions of Paleo and quite a few programs you can choose to follow. If you are brand new to this way of eating, your best chance of success is to keep it simple and choose ONE plan and stick to it – it’s hard to succeed on Paleo if you try to use blog posts alone to guide you. These are just a few popular examples, with links to their books (highly recommended): the Whole30 (book, website) (grab some Whole30 Desserts here), the Primal Blueprint (book, website), the 21-Day Sugar Detox (book, website), or if you really want a challenge, the Autoimmune Protocol (book, website). After you choose, read the book, read their site, and follow as written for the prescribed amount of time (21 or 30 days) and then go from there. Buying a cookbook or two can really help, too.
Don’t start before you’re fully educated and prepared
The biggest mistake you can make is to try to implement this kind of major change without fully preparing yourself first. Make sure you REALLY understand the ins and outs of what you can and cannot eat as well as what you need to be strict about and what you can let slide. The Primal Blueprint is much more forgiving than the other versions listed and is what I followed in the beginning. It’s OK to take your time to prepare for such a big change – I took several months! This will help you avoid a sense of overwhelm once you get started and help ensure your success.
Get into the habit of meal planning
When you are first starting out it is important to make sure you plan ahead with your meals and snacks, especially if you live with family or roommates who are not Paleo, which means there is non-Paleo food around. Keep emergency snacks and proteins on hand just in case, like meat jerky bars and sticks, nuts and seeds (and their butters – almond butter can be a lifesaver!), and coconut chips. This will help you avoid diving headfirst into a pizza or bowl of cereal. Also, being organized and planning ahead will help prevent both burnout and boredom in the kitchen.
If you want a major leg up on Paleo meal planning, consider a meal plan subscription. My favorite meal plan is Better Meal Plans, which takes all the work out of meal prep and planning, generating your shopping list and, get this, step-by-step meal prep instructions so that you’re prepping your meals in just 1 hour each week. Yes, for real.
If you’re stuck for time and just want someone to ship you prepared meals than check out this list of recommended paleo meal delivery services.
Be kind to yourself
Okay, you went to a party and caved and had some corn chips and queso. It’s not the end of the world and you shouldn’t feel guilty or punish yourself. We are all human and the Paleo diet is a huge change. Even if you don’t follow your plan 100% the first time you try it, you still deserve to pat yourself on the back for implementing such big changes in order to improve your health. You don’t want to make yourself anxious about food and develop an unhealthy relationship with it! You will still succeed on the Paleo diet even if you stumble a little starting out. It’s important to remember that any kind of change is hard, most especially a diet change, so remember to congratulate yourself often.
Make your favorite foods Paleo
These days there are countless blogs and cookbooks that have Paleo-ified just about everything, from pizza to fried chicken to biscuits and more. If you are really missing a specific food, then by golly, find a recipe and make it Paleo! This can do wonders for your mindset and help you succeed by making it easier to sustain long term.
This is my 6th year Paleo and believe me, I understand the struggle in the beginning. Hopefully these tips for getting started will help you succeed on the Paleo diet and help you achieve your health and weight loss goals this year.
Have any other great tips to add? Tell me in the comments below!