Not a Diet – The Paleo Lifestyle

Paleo Made Easy

I have an aversion to diets! When people talk about a diet they are rarely talking about a balanced meal plan. Most of the time when people talk about a diet they are actually talking about losing weight by deprivation of some elements of the food basket or by strict calorie control. This is why I look upon Paleo as a lifestyle not a diet.

Lifestyle

Basics

What do we mean by a lifestyle? I think that the majority of people who come to Paleo as a diet or who pursue other diets are motivated by the need or wish to practice some weight control.

The fact is that it really doesn’t matter what diet (using that word in the modern accepted sense) that an individual pursues. The reality is that food alone or the control or moderation of food intake or selection of particular foods rarely, if ever, will be effective in successful weight control.

Weight control depends on a number of factors one of which is genetic predisposition and natural metabolism about which we can do very little other than to respond to the metabolic triggers. Here I would remind anyone who decides to follow any kind of dietary regime that it makes sense to consult your doctor before you do anything radical or in contrast to what has been your normal lifestyle.

In fact, I would recommend getting your bloods done to ascertain your LDL and HDL cholesterol levels as these are great indicators of what kind of dietary regime you should contemplate or could tolerate.`

Once you have this advice then you can think about what the other components of your lifestyle might look like and what I am talking about here are elements like, meditation, regular exercise (another reason for first of all seeking some medical advice) sleep hygiene, dietary regime and even your social activity with your family and friends.

This is because lifestyle is about balance which I am going to talk about in more detail in this post.

But still the other essential ingredient for achieving sustained weight loss is physical exercise. The dietary plan needs to be complemented by the exercise plan. Now this does not mean that anyone seeking to achieve sustained weight and subsequent control needs to be or become a marathon runner or a triathlete or an Ironman competitor.

It is amazing just how a moderate amount of exercise done regularly, with healthy eating (following whatever dietary regime) will do the job. Moderate exercise could be no more than 20-30 minutes walking 4-5 times a week (but it needs to be regular and sustained)

Exercise the Balancing Factor with Diet

I personally get great results from HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Because I have lower limb injuries and osteoarthritis I am not able to do impact training so road running or treadmill stuff is a NO, NO. But I am able to very successfully practice HIIT (which is adaptable to just about any exercise) by using a stationary cycle trainer. I do this just by dialing up the resistance to get my heart rate up to around 125-130bpm for a sustained 2-3 minutes in each 10 minute phase allowing my heart rate to return to near resting in the other 7 minutes. If you only did this twice three times a week you would be on the money. (This will depend on your state of fitness and weight and resting heart rate at outset; ask the doctor).

So having said that diet and exercise are probably the two most important things what about diet. The plain simple reason I choose Paleo is because I have tried other things and it works. So I am not a Paleo bore it is not my way or the highway!

I think you need to try things and decide what works for you before making a selection which need have no other label than healthy eating. Paleo is healthy and it certainly works for me, but if you want to do Keto or Mediterranean it is doesn’t really matter as long as you get results and feel happy and not deprived.

I will tell you why I like Paleo which as actually all about my male logic LoL !

Paleo Origin

The Paleolithic diet is based on foods that humans were most likely to have been consuming during the Paleolithic age, that is about 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.(the earliest known remains of modern humans were found in Ethiopia and date back to about 200,00 years ago

It would consist mainly of lean, grass fed, meats, fresh fish, fruits and vegetables as well as nuts and seeds the latter in moderation. A paleontologist would probably identify this under the description of a hunter-gatherer dietary system. The diet specifically excludes those foodstuffs that became more common when farming started to become established from about 10,000 years ago. The ‘forbidden fruits’ are dairy products, legumes and grains. It is often referred to as the caveman diet for given the 2.5 million year time frame.

My male logic tells me that given the slow speed of evolution 10,000 years is probably not long enough for a digestive system developed over 190,000 years to have adjusted to what 10,000 years ago was the beginning of human intervention and processed foods. This is when cultivation of those Paleo ‘forbidden’ elements began.

The human intervention has become more and more sophisticated, to the point where you may not know if you are eating foods which have been subjected to genetic engineering, never mind conventional additives and other processing methods.

Balance

This is not Rocket Science! In all things that we do, we need to be seeking balance. Excessive work, excessive food consumption excessive alcohol or drug consumption, even excessive exercise is ultimately going to end in problems and difficulties. I am sure you could think of other things for instance extensive time away on work related activity that could lead to strains and stresses on relationships at home, excessive time interacting with digital media is another that springs to mind.

This is common sense. Of course there will be times when some stuff just has to get done and it is okay at times to go there at the cost of other things as long as there is a conscious move to redress once the crisis has been dealt with or the priority exorcised.

Other Information

I do hope that my readers have found this useful and particularly that you take away the message that if you are not happy and not getting results and what you are doing is not sustainable then you need to think about something else.

There is a lot of information here, on my Blog roll, about Paleo and why I chose it, and why it works for me, and why it might work for you. There also some useful book reviews for beginners that might help you to get started if you want to give it a go. There are some affiliate links on those posts which will take you to Amazon.com where you can purchase those books. I can guarantee that you will pay no more by purchasing your books via those links than if you to Amazon direct, the price is exactly the same. But I will get a small commission which is how I fund this Blog roll to provide this information for my readers. So please if you are considering buying them I would be delighted and grateful if you did so via those links.

In the meantime if you would find it useful I have provided a link here to the Paleo Food List for Beginners which is one of my Blog Posts elsewhere on this website.

Hey have fun with Paleo and eat healthy but remember balance is everything.

Hamish

 

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8 Comments

  1. Hello, I really want to first appreciate your effort in putting this great website together and writing this article. now i know that exercise holds the key to so many things in life. i have gotten to learn about the part played by ethiopia in the history of man. this is really a well researched post. thank you

    • Glad that it was of some interest to you Benny.

      Have a look at some of my other posts if you want to extend your Paleo knowledge.

      Hamish 🧐

  2. Anything in life that you really want, takes discipline. I guess that would go for the Paleo Lifestyle.We do call it a Lifestyle as it becomes your way of life.

    You must eliminate some things from your diet. Is it basically a meat, fruit and vegetable diet?

    We ate that way when I was growing up, but we had a limited amount of bread included in what we ate. We were healthy most of the time. We rarely got sick.

    • Hi Carolyn, the key is to cut out processed carbs in the main, but also dairy which is mostly processed these days.

      Even proteins are subject to issues because of the processed foods fed to animals, genetically modified grains etc.

      Its not for everyone but it works for me and a lot of others.

      Regards

      Hamish 🧐

  3. Lots of info here and I’m in total agreement with you that weight-challenged people like me need to focus on lifestyle over dieting. I don’t like HIIT much, but I did invent an acceptable version of it for myself that I called “rulking”, s combination of running and walking – run a bit – walk a bit. I actually am not doing it at the moment because the only time I had was first thing in the morning and that’s the time when my brain is at peak performance and I need to work on building my online business. So instead I’m doing commuting exercise, either walking to work or cycling. It may not be HITT but I have a business building goal for the next 5.5 months so I’ve made the choice to forsake the level of exercise I know I really need. I will try and stick some HITT into my cycle home, unfortunately tomorrow is supposed to be raining heavily so that will put the lid on that 🙂

  4. Hi Hamish – Great article.  I so much agree with your logic. As I always say: balance is the key to life!  If more of us strived for balance things would go so much smoother.  I learned the hard way that being a workaholic isn’t worth it.  In the end there isn’t much to show for it. Many have to make lifestyle changes as the result of illnesses—the ones that probably could have been prevented if balance was maintained (food, rest, exercise, etc).
    All the best and continue to enjoy the Paleo Lifestyle!!

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