One problem that many Paleo Diet beginners, and beginners in almost anything for that matter, have is the tendency to fall into the habit of waiting until the timing is absolutely perfect before they take the first step into something new. It’s natural; people are afraid of change. How often have you heard yourself or others say things like: “I’m going to wait until after the holidays are over, then I’ll start working out and eating right.” Or another one of my favorites: “Eating healthy costs way too much, I’m going to wait until I can afford it”.
The trouble with that mentality, is that there’s no deadline for getting anything done. The timing will never be perfect. The planets will never align and present you with the sign you’re looking for. The best way to get started is to do exactly that, get started! The most effective approach will always be to jump in and get both feet wet right off the bat. Don’t worry so much about being perfect. We all know that perfection is unattainable anyway. Below are a couple of simple steps that you can take today to set yourself up for success and lasting change with the paleo diet.
Clean out the refrigerator and pantry – When I first started the paleo diet I was a starving and broke college student. So naturally I found this step to absolutely suck! I tried to find reasons to hang on to everything, thinking that it would be a waste of money if I threw away my sandwich fixings, hot pockets, canned soups, ramen, and peanut butter, all breakfasts of champions! (not really) My initial thought was to finish out all the unhealthy food I had and then I would start. Well, the problem with that line of thinking is that it doesn’t provide the shock to your system (metaphorically speaking) that can really signify this change in your life. You can even look at it as a symbolic gesture. By clearing the house of all things not aligned with the paleo philosophy you effectively tell yourself, “That’s it! I’m done putting all of that crap in my body!” Go ahead and yank off the bandaid. Don’t ease into it, just nut up and do it! By diving in and experiencing the growing pains now you’ll set yourself up for a much better transition later. Remember, the hard way is usually the easy way. Here is a simple list of foods to keep and foods to throw away to help you get started:
Foods to keep
- grass fed meats
- fish and seafood
- nuts and seeds
- healthful organic oils (olive, coconut, macadamia, avocado)
Foods to Throw Away
- cereal grains
- refined sugar
- white potatoes
- processed foods
- refined vegetable oils
Now that you’ve cleared the house of everything not on the approved foods list, make a quick trip to the store and fill in any gaps you now see that you have in your refrigerator and pantry. Realized that you’re low on fish and seafood? or fruits and healthy oils? Fix it now. Don’t overthink things too much at this point. Many paleo diet beginners do too much thinking and not enough doing. You can always make further adjustments later on. This is just about taking the first step.
So there you have it, two steps to get you underway when starting the paleo diet. You’ve cleaned out all the bad stuff, and replaced it with really good stuff. Of course this is a little simplistic, but it truly is all you need to just get started.