Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Paradigm Shift

We have to break out of this mindset.
Photo by Grant Cochrane

One of the biggest challenges for me, and I'm guessing for a lot of people who switch to a Paleo/Primal lifestyle, is making the complete mental switch that it requires.  Coming from a good 20 years of the diet roller coaster, I've had it beaten into my head that fat = bad, whole grains = good, and every single thing that goes into my mouth should be carefully logged and tracked so that I can beat myself up over it later.

I still catch myself doing it.  "It's a good thing that egg is only 80 calories."  "Do you know how many points that would be??"  "Hmmm, that's probably about a quarter cup of almonds."  "Mmmm, bacon would be good.... oh wait, maybe I should have turkey bacon; it's lower in fat."


I wonder how long before these types of thoughts go away?  Dieting is almost a religion, isn't it?  I can recite you the gospel of Weight Watchers backwards, forwards, and inside out.  Even the whole bit about how "It's not a diet; it's a lifestyle change."  Okay, well maybe it is, but it's not a very good one.  Even when you're maintaining your weight, you're suffering from deprivation, and just ask any successful Weight Watcher about their grueling exercise routine.  Sorry, it's a diet.

When we were moving, I agonized over my digital food scale.  I remember purchasing it and how excited I was to own one.  Now I could know exactly how much food I was eating at any given time and, more importantly -- or so I thought, where I was crossing the line into too much.  Not having to weigh and measure my food is one of the strangest shifts my head has had to make.  Stop eating when I'm full?  But.... how will I know???

The digital scale went to the Goodwill.  My measuring cups and tablespoons are now only used for their original purpose:  to calculate the correct amount of ingredients to keep a recipe in proper proportion.  When I decide I would like to have a snack of almonds, I simply take a handful, and I don't fret over how many I popped in my mouth.  I chose the real bacon and enjoyed every delicious mouthful (and then saved the grease for my eggs tomorrow morning -- damn that's going to be good!).

When I start to stress or I recognize the old thoughts creeping in, I find it helpful to visit a website dedicated to the Paleo/Primal lifestyle, like Mark's Daily Apple or Balanced Bites.  They help me regain my perspective and banish the "diet" guilt that keeps trying to creep back in.  Now that's a lifestyle change.


  1. Oooh yeah. I still go through this sort of thing too.

    "HOW much cholesterol is in that? Ack! That can't be healthy!"