Something many people don’t want to do is sacrifice. It’s interesting that we’ll sacrifice to buy a boat, a house, or to attain a degree or certification, but we won’t even consider it when we think about getting healthy or losing weight. People will go out of their way to find logic in not giving up certain foods. Some will even eschew finding the logic and plainly state that they refuse to give up any foods at all to get healthy or to lose weight and decide on finding an alternate path to better health.
Exercise alone will not make you healthy. Your body can only be as healthy as the food you put into it. You can exercise all you want, but if you eat bad food, your body will continue to have problems. Whether it’s high cholesterol, diabetes, or a host of other maladies, the food you eat influences your health more than exercise does.
Sacrificing certain foods or groups of foods is what people fixate on when they hear the details of the Paleo lifestyle. While it is true that I no longer eat breads, pastas, beans, rice, potatoes, and any foods with grains or added sugars, Sherry and I have found that for nearly every food that has grains in it, there is a completely healthy alternative that is just as tasty, or at least nearly analogous. Her site has a section for recipes we’ve found that we really enjoy, and many of those are for foods that, with their normal ingredients, would be off-limits.
Sacrificing food for short-term is what people normally do on the extreme diets that restrict food groups. Avoiding high-carb foods is quite easy, and it’s amazing how well I’ve adapted to it. I thought not eating breads and pasta would be hard; it hasn’t been. Being able to have delicious foods that are actually good for my body has allowed me to stick to the Paleo lifestyle and to improve my health while losing weight. I haven’t had to sacrifice nearly as much as people would think I have.
Sacrificing and replacing bad ingredients are not the same thing. If the Paleo lifestyle didn’t have the healthy alternatives, I think it would have been much harder, if not impossible, for Sherry and I to stick with. The fact that we can even have Paleo pasta and Paleo cakes and even Paleo bread really makes a huge difference. Our lives are pretty much normal now due to the grain alternatives.
With all that said, there are some things that you plain and simply cannot ever eat while you’re losing weight on Paleo or you’ll sabotage your progress for days. Anything processed with added sugar will definitely throw a monkey wrench into the works. I have found that imbibing alcohol also slows or stops my weight loss progress for days afterward. I try to avoid alcohol as much as possible right now as I make my way to my goal weight.
Once at your ideal weight, however, you can introduce treats and foods that contain grains or beans, but it’s important to monitor your weight and stick to a strict Paleo diet the rest of the time. My wife has been in a maintenance mode for the past three months, and she’s been successful at holding at her weight.
Sacrifice is a strong word for giving up foods that are bad for you and replacing them with foods that are good, especially when you can make a lot of Paleo foods that mimic the real thing but without the grains or added sugar. Yes, you are giving up certain foods, but you are gaining your health and a lower weight. For me, that’s worth it.