THANKS ALL FOR ENTERING! OUR WINNERS ARE RACHEL STOUDLY & ANDREA BARRETT!
Today is the first day of 2016; and nearly every person will come up with a “resolution” – of which a supposed 8% will keep. Instead of thinking of this as the day of the year where you identify your failures and resolve to “fix” them, I propose an alternative. I propose doing something different.
For those who are just finding their way to Paleo through a challenge that kicks off at the start of January, WELCOME. This community is amazing and we’re here to help you, encourage you, and guide you to finding your best self. Beginning a journey with an elimination diet can be beneficial for a lot of people, but keep in mind that others find success with more of an eased in transition (which we address below). Either way, keep an open mind and prepare to fall in love with the flavors of nature at the end of a mental battle and tantrum about the loss of your favorite processed food.
For those of you who have already found Paleo and considering a new years’ challenge, I have some news. Paleo isn’t a diet. It’s not a short-term roller-coaster you hop on and off of. It’s a lifestyle that focuses on nutritional and lifestyle factors that reduces inflammation and aims to improve your health.
You have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked.
Try approving of yourself and see what happens.
This New Year’s maybe make a resolution to love yourself enough to respect your body to make the choices that make you feel your best, and forgive yourself imperfection – instead of treating Paleo like a diet. It’s NOT Weight Watchers or a juice fast.
Paleo isn’t Weight Watchers
While perhaps this analogy is spawned by my visceral reaction to the Oprah commercials, the point is true regardless. When asked what I wanted for New Year’s my answer was, “I just don’t want to see a bajillion people treating it like a yo-yo diet come the first week of January.”
Here’s the thing. I’ve grown up with disordered eating. As a child I was so obese I went to “fat camp” two summers in a row. The year between those summers I became bulemic and didn’t get treatment and help until years later. Even then I stopped purging, but still emotionally binged. Part of the healing process these last few years has been about being honest with myself, with how food choices make me feel, and how my brain reacts to what I do to my body – and visa versa. What I’ve learned is that disordered eating affects many more people than are aware or willing to admit it.
So, my proposal to you – how about doing something different this year? How about a commitment to love yourself. To respect yourself. To forgive yourself. To only have inner monologue of things you would say to someone else’s face. Treat yourself the way you want to treat others. I’m resolved to be kind to myself, to respect myself enough to make the healthiest choices possible, and forgive myself when my plans change or I make a different choice. Because without forgiveness, that guilt and shames drives me to emotionally destructive behaviors – and since stress is the worst thing for your health, that’s just not productive.
Here’s what our family has “resolved” to do in 2016:
- Matt aims to have a date night once a week, in or out of the house. We’ll need to put away work and focus on time together; every week. Well, his goal was 50 times this year, which allows us some minimal margin of error ♥
- Stacy plans to focus on sharing knowledge specific to her professional career, likely starting a blog, seeking out speaking opportunities, and obtaining certifications – since it’s a skill she has from doing that with paleo!
- Cole wants to go 3-for-3 in a wrestling tournament.
- Finian wants to “put his love into food and bring it to the elderly people at retirement homes.” [which he came up with entirely on his own and I nearly exploded with love and pride when he shared it]
- Wesley plans to learn to read and make money. He’s not sure how to go about that last goal, yet.
You’ll notice our goals aren’t aesthetic or monetary (except our 5 year old). We’ve all set tangible, goal-oriented, realistic goals. They’re goals that fulfill us, make us feel good about ourselves, and in a number of cases even help other people. In turn, that positivity reflects itself on our lives, we feel better about who we are, which helps us to make the best choice for our happiness and health.
What can you do?
For those of you who are at a place in your journey where losing weight is necessity for your health, I want you to remember two things:
- You can still love yourself as you are, even if you want to improve.
- Focusing on making the best choices for your health will result in improved health, likely weight loss; whereas, focusing on weight loss will not necessarily improve your health.
If you want to know how to embark upon a paleo lifestyle whereby the healthiest choices are a part of your life without ruling your life, a reminder that we did write a book on exactly that. While Real Life Paleo is known for it’s award-winning recipes; it’s also the first paleo book to NOT advocate jumping into a timed paleo challenge.
Why we don’t do Paleo challenges anymore.
Because my inbox is full of messages from people asking for help and telling me how difficult transitioning off of a challenge is. It’s plagued by people who find themselves in an endless cycle of strict paleo followed by marathon binges at the pizza buffet. Falling face first into a dessert platter isn’t going to help your health, but stressing about it for weeks, emotionally eating out of shame from the so-called failure, and then starting the cycle all over again isn’t beneficial either. Those foods are emotionally and physically addictive, people need different kinds of support to break that addiction.
The good news is, there are alternatives to the all or nothing approach:
First, read this post on disordered eating and paleo challenges.
Lastly, check out Real Life Paleo. Your local library likely carries it – I’m genuinely not asking for your money. Of course, it’s also available as an e-book, it’s at Barnes & Noble, it’s on Amazon. The reason I suggest this book is because it does NOT advocate a one-size-fits-all solution to paleo. Rather, it outlines a phased approach for you to take at your own pace that highlights the foods to eliminate in order for you to feel your best. Even if you’ve been paleo for years, it covers the super-foods that promote healing when you’re ready to take that on.
Most importantly, find something that works for you.
Paleo is often portrayed by the nutritional experts negatively because it’s too difficult, unsustainable, and overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be! Have patience for yourself. Come up with a REASONABLE, ACHIEVABLE plan. Then tackle it a day at a time, week by week, month by month. Set realistic goals.
You won’t go from eating McDonald’s today to organic grass-fed liver meatballs tomorrow. There’s no scoring system to Paleo. Be proud of every step you take and forgive yourself the imperfections along the way. Moving in the general direction of health is better than when you were on the same path in the opposite direction.
Yes, a Giveaway.
To help you achieve this goal (and spread the word we sincerely wish we could have everyone hear) we’re giving away a copy of the book we wrote to help achieve this goal on all media platforms (so feel free to also enter on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter). But please keep in mind – while we strongly believe, since we gave a year of our life to writing this book (Real Life Paleo), that it will help you achieve health – we do NOT think you NEED it to succeed. All you need is your own plan, and the self love and confidence to execute it. That’s all we had when we started, and we’re so glad we did! We didn’t get here overnight, but then again we didn’t derail our health in one day either.
How to Enter
ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF REAL LIFE PALEO BY COMMENTING ON THIS POST. That’s it. Any comment you want, just let us know you’re interested in winning.
Please make sure you include a way for us to contact you, otherwise we’ll have to pick a new winner because we have not yet mastered time and space or mind reading. Giveaway closes one week from today.
I talk a lot about this topic, answering many readers’ questions in today’s episode of The Paleo View, episode 176 – if you’re looking for more on the topic. In the meantime, Happy New Year and good luck for 2016 ♥ While my mom traditionally told me that black eye peas were good luck, we’ve started a new tradition of green things and broth to ensure the year kicks off in the right direction!