Beginner Tips

Here are some effective tips to help you get started the Paleo/Primal Lifestyle:

Raid your pantry
Get rid of any processed junk "food" to avoid the temptation to eat it later. Throw it away or donate it, just get it out of your home. Although, there are a few people that find it easier to ease into it by starting with one Paleo meal, then progressing two, three, until they've completely switched over. Fine tune this tip to best fit your personal habits.

Build a tribe/community
Research has shown that people are more likely to stick to a diet if they have a buddy support system. Friends are there for you when the going gets rough and to help keep you on track (and vice versa). Accountability is key for many people, which is a large component of Weight Watchers. Going up in front of a large group of people to get weighed every week is very motivating. So get a friend, spouse, sibling, or offspring on the Paleo/Primal bandwagon and start a healthy tribe. Remember to celebrate your success!

Get inspiration from new recipes
How can you start to eat in a new way if you have no recipes to go off of? I highly recommend The Everyday Paleo Cookbook, Elana’s Pantry site contains many Paleo/Primal friendly recipes, and Mark Sisson’s cookbooks. Whenever I'm uninspired to prepare meals for the week, I sit down with a cup of coffee and go through my Paleo/Primal Cookbooks. Not only does it give me a game plan at the store/market, it inspires me to try new things, experiment with my own recipes, and keeps you on track with your diet = success!

Prepare yourself mentally
This is what weeds out the yo-yo dieters, the ill-informed, and anyone not serious about fully committing to this lifestyle. You have to be mentally prepared to be on this diet. My girlfriends and I were not when we first started and we failed miserably. Paleo/Primal isn’t a quick weight loss program. It is a mindset. You must consciously choose to eat low carb, exercise, and expect others to pressure you to give in. Food tip: Think about what you can eat and not about what you can’t. Does your office receptionist have a candy jar overflowing with goodies? Ask yourself, “ Are you hungry or do you just want the sweet comfort?” Chances are you aren’t hungry. It’s amazing if you just think to yourself, “Do I really need that junk?”  Rather than “I can’t have that candy.” It gives you back the power over your pre-paleo cravings.

80/20 Rule
Remember, this is a lifestyle - not a fad diet. If someone at the office brings in non-paleo treats for Friday, have one. Having only one is the trick to this rule. As long as you are following the Primal lifestyle 80% of the time your body will be able to handle a vice occasionally. The tabloids are always digging at the celebrities for their diet secrets (a post on celebrity diets later), but the reality of it is moderation. Have a nice Italian dinner over the weekend! Just don’t go overboard by eating the complementary bread if you are going to have a heavy pasta dish followed by a decadent dessert. Eat the vice you desire the most and forgo the rest – you may even find something on the menu more delicious that you may never have ordered pre-paleo!

Ignore the bathroom scale
Are you one of those people that check the scale 3+/daily when you are on a diet? I was. Then I did some research. The scale isn’t the best tool to measure our health. This article from Everyday Paleo shows you 2 photos of the same woman at the same weight - however her body is completely transformed from one picture when compared to the other. Remember weight is broken down into water, muscle, fat, oh and we have some organs in there too – so don’t get hung up on the scale! Do before and after pictures. Take before and after measurements of your waste, arms, thighs, etc. Get your body fat percentage checked out (at the doctor/gym). Have you dropped in clothing size? I’d say that is a better measurement than a number on a scale!

Start a Journal or Blog
Like this one! It can be as simple as a food diary, a blog on your Paleo journey, or whatever strikes your fancy. Those that write about their progress, failures, ideas, and success are more likely to continue their new lifestyle. Accountability will help you maintain. Who wants to write about their failures? No one – that’s why writing it down makes it more difficult to fail. 

If you don't feel like exercising, then play or rest
We all have days where we are boggled down and that trip to the gym seems like mission impossible. Well, here is a lifestyle you don’t have to clock in certain amount of hours of “gym time.” Need to work in some sort of activity to feel like you did something physical? Try to get a walk in over your lunch break, take the dog for a walk (has to be done anyway), play with your children or pets (chase, hide-n-seek, soccer, basketball, etc. This depends on ages and your particular situation). Warning, this tip may cause enjoyment.

Get plenty of rest
Rest is vital to the Paleo/Primal lifestyle and we probably don't get enough - or as much as we would like. Our lives are jam packed – with a full-time job (sometimes two or three jobs), caring for the kids or pets, keeping the house in order, holidays, family functions, etc. What do we cut back on when life is so busy? Our sleep. Our bodies need 7-8 hours of sleep every night to receive these benefits: release of human growth hormone (cell regeneration), enhance memory and creativity, boost your mood and athletic performance, handle stress better, not to mention you’ll have increased energy to tackle your busy schedule!