My wife says that I’m the master of the mind hacks when it comes to sticking to Paleo. She says she has a harder time of it than I do (I don’t really think that’s so true; especially not anymore), and that I have some Jedi Mind Tricks to keep me at it.
I don’t know how true that is; I just don’t allow myself any room to slip. With the exception of the occasional holiday or special event, I will admit that I’m very disciplined when it comes to eating right. I have pretty good willpower the vast majority of the time.
Am I tempted? Sure, typically with something that is a special treat. For example, bread pudding is a food I have a hard time saying no to, especially if I’ve been making good progress and I haven’t had any in a long time. I will allow myself a little treat every now and then, and fortunately, it hasn’t dramatically affected my progress. Do I slow the weight loss rate down whenever I eat off-plan? Sure, but the effect is typically short-term, and I am very disciplined for months on end before I allow myself any treats.
Some things I tell myself to stay on-track:
- There is no cheating; it’s sabotage (this has been mentioned on the blog a few times before).
- Short-term gratification never outweighs the guilt and disgust in myself I feel after going off-plan.
- The goal is more important than any non-special event or non-holiday.
- I am stronger than any craving or moment of weakness.
- I concentrate on all the things I can eat, and not on what I cannot. There are so many good foods that are Paleo or Whole30 compliant. Concentrating on the positives really makes a Whole30 or going Paleo so much easier. I’ve also discovered many foods I wouldn’t have otherwise tried or eaten that I find utterly delicious.
Some things I do to help me stay on track:
- I eat protein and fat with vegetables and very little fruit. This helps fill me up and when I cut down on the fruits, my body seems to be able to lose weight more easily.
- I have nuts around at all times in case I need to eat a handful between meals if a previous meal wasn’t as filling as expected.
- I keep myself busy at all times. I find I get hungry sooner when I’m bored.
- Pre-made meals. My wife and I (mostly my wife, though) make food on Sundays to prepare for the week. This makes it easy to eat on-plan and to stick with it even when we’re tired. If we are too tired to cook dinner, we have the pre-made meals sitting in the refrigerator for us to eat within just a few minutes with very little effort.
- I drink water or iced tea without sweeteners. This is a good way to keep the stomach full and hydration is important, too.
It’s a balancing act sometimes. Keeping myself motivated, dedicated, and honest with myself can be tough at times, and while I sometimes feel tested, in the end, I’m happy to say that I’ve done a good job of sticking to the plan. On the rare occasions I haven’t, it’s because it was either a special event or a holiday. Otherwise, as my grandfather would say, “Patience, patience, patience. Worthy goals aren’t reached quickly. Hard work and persistence.”