I hope all your holidays were fantastic and that you enjoyed some much-deserved time off to be with your families and friends. Seth and I went to his parents’ house and spent a few relaxing days playing Catch Phrase, eating good food, putting together an entire winter scene (that’s what’s in the picture), and opening fun presents. Our dinner wasn’t anything too ornate, since we went nutso on Thanksgiving with cooking.
Our Simple Christmas Dinner
We bought a couple three-pound raw, unsmoked hams (those are very cheap cuts by the way) and put them in the smoker for 25 hours after brining them for 18 hours in salt, herb, and sugar water. I don’t like store-bought ham, but this… this was amazing. We served it with cauliflower mashers and steamed asparagus, and had my husband’s famous carob chip mint ice cream made with coconut milk for dessert. Pretty simple, but really delicious.
Thankfully for us, Seth’s whole family is Paleo.
But I know that some of you don’t have that luxury. Most of you went somewhere for Christmas and ate at the whim of whomever was cooking. I wrote a blog post about how you might make any non-Paleo dinner more Paleo here, but sometimes the grain and sugar force is strong within us and we just break down. Now, 10 pounds later, you may be wondering what happened to your good sense and how you can shed the holiday chub.
Here are five tips for you to get back on the Paleo train and lose that weight without having an anxiety attack about your newer, bigger love handles.
1. The Power of Now
Seriously, I just started reading that book by Eckhart Tolle and it’s pretty *powerful* stuff. I’ve had some moments lately when I’ve been consumed by worries and anticipation of what terrors I think the future holds. No, there’s no impending doom in my life; I’m just a worrier. But the first 15 pages of that book taught me how to bring myself into the present, and why I’d want to do that. It’s like magic. I’m worrying, worrying, worrying, and then I look around the room and notice the walls, the smells, the sounds, the feel of the couch or bed or floor, or the taste of my food… and I’m calm.
So if you’re worried that you’ll never lose the 5-25 pounds you gained in the last two holiday months, take a breath and look around. And then remind yourself that you have the strength and power to lose it if you want to.
2. Find Your Motivation
You will not change unless you’re motivated. Motivation can be positive or negative (I will feel so much better if I lose this weight! vs. If I don’t lose this weight I will hate myself!), but you have to have some motive or objective in order to change. I suggest you go with the positive stuff.
This is what I see my clients struggle with the most: they’re scared that they won’t be able to control themselves on Paleo. That their addicted brains and taste buds will get the best of them and they won’t be able to stay true to the diet. First of all, it’s fine if you don’t eat completely Paleo all the time. But in general, you are totally capable of making conscious choices about the foods you eat, as opposed to just doing what you normally would. And the longer you eat Paleo, the easier it will get.
When you’re holding two food options in your hand (or your mind) – one naughty and one nice – allow your health goals to guide your decision. For instance, “I really want that entire loaf of bread right now, but will that help me lose weight and feel healthy? Sure, it’ll taste really good, but I’ll feel terrible later today and it’ll put weight on me almost immediately… I’ll buy some ingredients and make some Paleo bread instead.” That is a perfectly adult, rational conversation to have with yourself. One that you are capable of.
What is your motivation for eating differently for the rest of your life? The rest of your life is a long time, so you’ll need a really good reason, belief, or even faith to make it happen.
3. It’s Not A “Diet”
My grandma just said to me today that she thinks “dieting” is harder than quitting smoking because nobody’s shoving cigarettes in your face all day, while food is everywhere. Well, she may be right. And that’s why you can no longer think of Paleo as a “diet”. It’s a way of living. Foods that make you sick, fat, and uncomfortable should be as off limits and out of mind to you as cigarettes are to a non-smoker.
This is possible, by the way. You may think it’s not, but I can tell you without a doubt that I don’t yearn for grains or dairy almost ever. I certainly don’t ever get a hankering for beans. With time, better health, and the occasional slip-up that reminds you why you eat Paleo in the first place, you’ll lose your cravings.
4. Remember There Are Paleo Sweet Treats
Paleo doesn’t mean you can’t ever have anything sweet again. I think that’s a major misconception that inhibits people from trying it. Eating Paleo just means that when you do want something sweet, you make different choices. Honestly, you’d be way better off eating a Paleo sweet treat every single day for the rest of your life than being on a standard American diet (unless you’re diabetic, of course). So stop thinking that you’re in sweets jail. There are entire cookbooks now written on grain-free sweet treats.
Note: Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that you eat Blueberry and Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding every day…
5. Accept That You’re Different.
We walk around thinking that we need to follow the rules of society: eat conventional pizza, cookies, bread, cake, pesticide sprayed produce (if you ever eat produce at all), and factory farmed meat because if you don’t, you’re weird. In fact, you’re a damn hippie if you don’t. You’re weird… even if it means you have to be on multiple medications to tolerate eating those “normal” foods.
Look, it’s hard to be the odd person out – harder for some than for others. It’s hard being the person at the restaurant who orders funny foods. But if you are actually uncomfortable in your body, sick, or fat, then it’s your responsibility to do something about it if you want to feel or look better. No one else will change for you, and you are worth changing for. In fact, the anticipation of the change is probably harder than the change itself, in which case you should refer back to tip #1.
So I wish you the courage and self worth to be different… for the rest of your life. Hopefully the rest of the world will catch onto eating better soon so you won’t be “different” for very long :)