My Non-Paleo Week in Review

Since I really enjoy writing my “What I’m Eating This Week” post almost every week, I was going to name this post “What I’m Eating This Week– Junk.”  Then I was going to go into detail about all the “junk” I’ve been eating and how it’s made me feel physically and emotionally.

But when I really thought about what I’ve eaten this week, I realized that I haven’t eaten what you’d typically call “junk.”  No deep fried food, no pizza, etc. etc.  I’ve been eating relatively healthily.  Not 100% clean, but not 100% “dirty” either.  I just haven’t been eating Paleo.  And it’s really made a difference in how I feel.

If you follow my posts at all, you’ll know that I meal prep for the entire week on Sundays and have been following a Paleo-style diet for a few months now.  Since I’ve started eating Paleo, I’ve noticed so many positive changes in my body– I have more energy, I stay fuller and more satisfied for longer, my athletic abilities seem to have improved, my skin is clearer, my hair has grown in slightly thicker, my moods have stabilized, and my clothes have been fitting much better with no increase in my physical activity levels.

Well, with the half marathon in Pittsburgh pretty much consuming my life last weekend, I didn’t have time to shop for groceries, much less meal prep.  I told myself that for just this one week, I’d revert back to my “old” eating habits– no planning, no meal prep, no Paleo.  I’d wing it throughout the week, getting by on the healthiest options I could find.  That’s something I’ve wanted to try for a while now that I have been eating Paleo consistently– just for comparison’s sake.  I figured with the half marathon last weekend, this would be the perfect week to do it.

Even though I’ve let myself off the proverbial-Paleo hook this week, I still can’t bring myself to eat dairy.  I just don’t want it.  The thought of eating a cup of yogurt makes my nose wrinkle up in disgust.  This is coming from a girl who used to eat yogurt each and every morning.  It’s funny how your body becomes accustomed to new habits and has a very distinct way of telling you what it wants & needs.

My non-Paleo week really started last Saturday when I was carbo-loading for my race.  I’ve found that I don’t perform as well in endurance events if I don’t use grains as fuel.  My weekend was full of bagels and pasta!  And a few celebratory beers, of course.

Here’s a brief recap of what I’ve been eating this week.  Like I said, most of these things can be found on “healthy” eaters’ menus.  Each morning, I’ve been eating two slices of Ezekiel toast with almond butter.  I eat almonds mid-morning as a snack.  I’ve been eating a 6-inch sub from Subway each and every day for lunch with a bag of apple slices (I always order off of Subway’s “6 grams of fat or less” menu).  During the afternoon, I eat a sweet potato topped with a large dollup of almond butter.  My dinners have varied– from grilled chicken salads + beer to steak & potato meals.  Furthermore, I’ve been guzzling Diet Pepsi with lunch and dinner each day.

You know the saying “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail?”  Well, it’s true.  Not only have I been eating non-Paleo, but I have no idea where my macros or calories are.  The numbers have to be all over the place.  Over the course of one week, I’m sure it’s not enough to make me gain weight– but it sure has made a difference in the way my body feels.

It’s Thursday, so I’ve been eating this way for almost a week now.  In that short period of time, here are the changes I’ve noticed:

  • I’m tired.  Like, really tired.  When I leave work, I just want to crash on the couch and spend my entire night there.  My motivation levels are much lower, and I find it difficult to be active in the evenings.  I’m going to bed earlier than usual and I’m not able to drag myself out of bed for my morning workouts.  I haven’t gone for a run or gone spinning this week, so I’m not sure how my athletic performance would fare– but I’m guessing my workouts would be suffering right now, too.
  • My body shape has changed.  I don’t weigh myself, so I don’t think I’ve gained any permanent weight.  But I can tell differences in my body.  My stomach is bloated.  I feel wider.  I feel like I jiggle more.  I can tell that I’m retaining water in all areas of my body.  I just feel gross!
  • My acne is back.  Over the past few months, my skin has been clearing up.  I wasn’t sure what the exact cause has been for that– I started using a Clarisonic, I switched birth control pills, and I started eating Paleo all around the same time.  But now that my breakouts have flared up with a vengeance over the past few days, there’s no doubt in my mind that eating Paleo was {finally} solving my decade-long acne problems.  My skin is also much more oily than usual.
  • My hair seems to be thinning again.  Before I started eating Paleo, my hair would go through thin and thick phases.  I’d develop embarrassing thin patches for months at a time, and then they would thicken up with no rhyme or reason.  I’m not sure if the drastic change in my diet or the fact that I’ve re-incorporated diet soda into my daily life is the culprit, but I feel like my hair health has gone downhill over the past few days.
  • I’m grumpy.  Whether this is a standalone symptom or if it’s the result of the combination of everything above, one thing is for certain– I’ve been much more moody this week than I have been lately.

Overall, after a week of not eating Paleo, I’m feeling like my old self again.  And I don’t like it.  I’ve known that I’ve felt a lot better since starting to eat Paleo, but I didn’t really realize how much better I’ve felt until this week.  They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.  And following a healthy diet is no exception.  This week makes me realize that I want to be a Paleo lifer– that all the planning and prepping are without a doubt worth the benefits of following a healthy lifestyle.

Paleo might not work for everyone, but Paleo does work for me.  I encourage all of you to research and experiment to find out what works for you– and stick to it!!  Your body will definitely thank you for it!!

Does anyone here follow a Paleo lifestyle?  How does it make you feel??  

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5 thoughts on “My Non-Paleo Week in Review

  1. Good post. It is really nice to see some of the benefits that you have experienced from eating paleo that are outside of the normal body shape/composition stuff. I mean, yes, there is that too, but it seems like you have much more than that!

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    • Thanks!! I’ve been really pleased/surprised with my Paleo experience– a lot of the reason I started eating Paleo in the first place was to try to improve my acne & hair texture, and it seems to be working. I wanted to share my experiences in the hopes that others could benefit, too! =)

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  2. Having read a lot about paleo it was interesting to read about your experience. I personally think that different ‘diets’ work differently for different body types and it is great that you’ve found your fit! I definitely agree that when I’m not eating foods which ‘suit me’ I end up exhausted, listless and perpetually exhausted. Diet soda drinks particularly seem to do that to me 😉 Good luck with getting back on track!

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    • Thank you!! It’s amazing to see how big of a role nutrition plays in our health, well being, and happiness levels- it’s so important for everyone to do what’s best for their bodies. Congrats on finding what works for you, as well!! =)

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  3. Pingback: What I’m Eating This Week (5.13.2013) | Cristi Rae

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