A common response to the idea of eating a paleo diet, is that surely it must be so difficult to stick to. All the changes, all the cooking – it seems impossible to keep up, long term, right?
Well, I think once you’ve established a few habits and patterns, it would be harder not to stick to it.
Here’s six ways to make sure it’s not hard to stick to a paleo diet, but becomes an easy part of your life
1. Know why it makes sense
If you’ve researched and read about paleo and why it works, it becomes so much easier to stick to
2. Try it, properly
If you can stick to a strict version of a paleo diet religiously, for 30 days you’ll have the chance to see what difference it makes to you. You’ll observe how differently you feel in terms of energy, skin, sleep, mood and specific health issues. Knowing that eating paleo can significantly improve your health will make it much, much harder to go back to your old way of eating.
Support can make the world of difference. Paleo has got so popular, you’ll hopefully have someone in your life following it too. But as time goes by and people see the changes in you, they’re more likely to give it a try too. If you don’t have any real life support, check out meetups in your area, you’ll find local support and encouragement will make all the difference to your sticking power.
A lot of people waiver from their paleo diet due to lack of organisation. You overslept and missed breakfast, or got home too late to cook. One non-paleo meal becomes two, then before you know it you’re more 20/80, than 80/20. I find batch cooking at the weekend helps a lot with this, making sure my freezer is stocked with paleo meals that just need to be reheated. A paleo emergency stash at work (of nuts, jerky and even tinned fish) can ensure you’re not caught hungry with no options. If you know you’re going to a social function that’s likely to have poor food choices, plan in advance and either take something along, or even eat before you go – this way it won't be hard to stick to paleo.
5. Work out alternatives
You’re not going to be eating bread, or pasta on your paleo diet. But if you can come up with alternatives and substitutions, you’ll be ready to deal with situations where you’d have eaten those foods. Used to take sandwiches to work? Try taking wraps instead (made with lettuce, or nori). Used to have spaghetti Bolognese every Friday? Try it with zucchini noodles instead. Not so hard to stick to anymore!
6. Be realistic
It’s important to avoid being too “all or nothing”. It’s easy to slip and have one small non-paleo thing, then tell yourself it’s all ruined, you might as well write the day/ week off. Instead, take a more flexible approach. Maybe agree with yourself to be 80/20 paleo. That is 80% of your diet is paleo, and you’re ok with up to 20% “not paleo”. If you strive for 100%, but achieve 80% you won’t be disappointed with yourself.
How easy do you find it to stick to paleo? What tips would you give to others finding it hard to stick to a paleo diet?