Paleo Fail-eo

So remember when I mentioned the Paleo lifestyle.
How I was so intrigued by the book and all the positive things I’d heard about it?
well… I kind of suck at it.
I binged worse when I was doing Paleo than I have in a long time.
When I read the book, the author, Robb Wolf, mentioned a situation when a client got frustrated that they couldn’t find grass-fed, organic beef, so they just ate a turkey sandwich and chips (or something like that… I’m paraphrasing.)
this, my friends, is how I reacted.
I did really well for the first week or two.
and then I fell off the wagon.
then the wagon ran me over.
and then backed up over me.
total Paleo FAIL.
Perhaps I should back up a little bit.
{{I rarely mention my diet/eating lifestyle on here, mainly because I have co-workers and family who read this and sometimes I don’t feel like opening up 100% about EVERYTHING going on in my life, but today… I’m going there.}}
approximately 5 years ago, when Diz and I were still dating and started talking marriage, I remember going to a bridal fair with my Mom and looking at wedding dresses. I realized I how much weight I had gained.
 I decided I had to start doing something because I was not going to walk down the aisle, toeing the scale at near-200lbs. I started running 5-6 days a week and eating better. I lost 40lbs by the time Diz and I got engaged in December of 2007.
After we got married, I started to gain weight. I blamed everything but my diet. I was still running (and training for the St George Marathon) but my diet had completely taken a turn for the worse. I had thyroid labs done (don’t we all want to blame our weight gain on something? our poor thyroid gets such a shitty reputation) – Which came back normal, as well as other labs I had drawn.   My weight gain was my fault. I decided to join Weight Watchers a few months after I got married. I learned SO much about foods. I started looking at labels. Counting fiber, fat and calories. I learned that food journaling was a valuable tool. I earned activity points for running. Weekly weigh-ins and meetings kept me accountable. I lost the weight and have since become a Lifetime member.

my lifetime keychain – which has since been lost. boo!

and back to the present time…
Here is why I think I had such a hard time with Paleo.
WW (Weight Watchers) preaches some basic principals.
There are ‘power foods’ – basically lean meat/protein, fruits & vegetables, whole grains, fat free (or low fat) dairy, and healthy oils. You are assigned a daily point target (designated by current weight, height, activity level, and sex). And you can earn activity points by working out. Points are calculated by some algorithym of fat, fiber, carbs, and proteins. This has been so ingrained into my thought processes about food that I struggle when something challenges that. I know the point values of a lot of food. I know how to get the biggest bang for my buck – point wise for a meal. Foods that are high in fiber, low in carbs and fat, tend to be lower points. Foods that are high fat, regardless of fiber or protein or even carbs, are higher points.
so when Paleo preaches high fat foods – like nuts, bacon, avocados – you see my dilemma.
Not that I couldn’t eat nuts, bacon and avocados on WW. But lets say I get 26 points in a day. For reference – 23 almonds (raw) are 5 points. 1/4 avocado is 2 points. I don’t even know the points for bacon, because I never checked, but I can assure you it’s high, because of the fat content.
Now, to be honest… there are a lot of similarities between Paleo and WW.
Both like lean protein and fruits (though Paleo limits these) and vegetables and (to a certain extent) healthy, fats (WW suggests 1-2 tsp of healthy oils, like EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), per day, where Paleo seems to love coconut oil and bacon fat). And with the somewhat recent change in the point system (no longer ‘points’, but ‘points plus’) it seems as though more processed foods, and carb-rich foods are even higher in points.
Now… WW still suggests eating whole grains, like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat, etc.
I’m pretty sure in Paleo-world, those are all blasphemy-foods.
oh… and in Paleo – no dairy. (I missed yogurt and cottage cheese…)
When I first started Paleo I decided I still wanted to track points and see if I could stay within my daily point target, or see if it evened out. But I gotta tell you, it was really depressing when I’d eat a handful of almonds and realize that my point target was almost gone. And salads with olive oil & lemon juice for salad dressing simply suck. sorry.
Some of my frustration with Paleo is that there is SO much info out there and some of seems to conflict.
Some people say it’s not worth it if you don’t do Paleo 100%. Some say to shoot for 80/20.
Some people don’t eat ANY dairy. Some say that dairy is okay. Or that it’s okay if it’s full fat.
Some people eat peanut butter. But I was told peanuts are legumes and legumes are BAD.
Some people drink protein shakes… Um… did cavemen have protein shakes?
Some say only get organic and/or grassfed proteins. WTF?! do you know how much that shiz costs?! Diz and I don’t have money trees in the backyard.
oh… and I’m not supposed to have my beloved Peppermint Mocha creamer on Paleo. That’s just not right. NOT. RIGHT.
So where does that leave me? (besides being utterly frustrated and confused as shit)
I’m currently 7-10 lbs heavier than I need to be. (and quite frankly, I’m pissed about it)
and let me be very clear, I’m not blaming Paleo for the weight gain. My incessant binging made me gain weight.
and I NEED to lose that weight or Ogden will be even harder than it needs to be.
And as much as I’d like to think I’m just a bad-ass Crossfitter and that the weight gain is all muscle, it’s not. I’ll be glad to strip down to my skivvies and bra and show you where those 7-10 lbs are sitting (or jiggling).
So the plan is to go back to what has worked in the past. I’m going back to WW and getting back on that wagon. I’m going back to meetings and starting to track my daily food intake.
To be completely honest, I’m not ‘head-over-heels’ in love with WW like I was when I first joined.
There are some things that are preached by WW that don’t always sit well with me.
Sometimes going to meetings is frustrating. Other members tell us ‘success stories’ about getting the kids meals from McD’s instead of the regular combo meals to ‘save points’ and I want to bang my head against the wall. Or ‘did you know that a slice of Domino’s pizza is only XX points?’ Or we’re told to do arm curls with our water bottles during commercials when we watch TV. Umm.. No thanks, I’ll go back squat and clean and jerk at Elevated CrossFit or run a half marathon.
Bitchiness aside, the fundamentals of the program do work for me. A healthy, balanced diet with lots of activity. Nothing wrong with that. I probably do need to find a better meeting time, though. I will try to eat “clean” and cut back on the processed, carb-y shit foods. Lots of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, dairy (cottage cheese & yogurt), sweet potatoes (before long runs), some healthy fats and lots of water. (still Diet Coke sober since 10/31/11 – I deserve a gold star for that).
I have about 7 weeks til Ogden Marathon. And I’m definitely going to work hard to get the extra weight off.
because I really want to make Ogden my bitch this year. 😉

22 thoughts on “Paleo Fail-eo

  1. Sweet and Savory by Sarah says:

    You know, you put it well. It is confusing to look at different eating lifestyles and pick which one is best. They all have different rules. Has Paleo been working for you thus far? If it hasn’t done anything for you, maybe go back to WW? Not every diet works for everyone and it’s hard to find one that does.


  2. Running With Sass says:

    i have never been a fan of any type of “diet”. When I started eating more healthy almost 3 years ago, I slowly introduced “lifestyle changes” into my life one at a time (to make sure they stuck) things like only dirnking water except for a splurge on the weekend, cutting out a lot of processed stuff, eating organic, eating red meat only once a week, etc. and for the most part they have stuck! (also I DID have low thyroid and once I got on meds my weight has stabilized!)


  3. Ann says:

    I know exactly what you are talking about. I was a WW member 7 years ago, during the era of “low-calorie = good” and everybody ALWAYS talked about 100-calorie packs (only 2 points!) and there wasn’t as much of an emphasis as there is now on “healthy” foods – fruits, veggies, whole grains.I, too, struggle with what to eat – especially as I train for the half-marathon and the full later this fall. I just don’t know WHAT and HOW MUCH and WHEN. And it’s like, no ONE PLAN is the 100% right answer for everybody. It’s like a horrible game of trial-and-error.But I love your honesty and the fact that we can have a conversation about the differences in plans, instead of “this diet sucks.” / “this diet rulz.” Like, here’s how they are different and why, and here’s what I think will work for me.Love this, love you.


  4. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama says:

    There’s tons of recommendations on what you should be eating but the best plan is one that works for you. The basics are still the tried and true way to lose. Eat more whole foods, less processed and get more activity. Hope you find the right balance for you!


  5. Rochelle says:

    You are awesome!! I have gained twenty lbs in a year….regardless off my running and its totally my binging. I run so I should be able to eat whatever I want…lol and I wish I could lose 10 lbs before ogden cause this will be my fattest weight while running and my longest distance…doesn’t make sense! lol& great job on no soda…I went ten days and quit..does that count?


  6. Revved Runner says:

    I struggle(d) with the whole Paleo thing as my box was having a challenge. I, too, gained weight while trying to sort it out. I need whole grains and I am not so much of a meat eater. So, back to just eating lean and clean and tracking my eats on My Fitness Pal. I’m down 3 pounds and feel better (not because of the weight loss, my tummy actually feels better!).Good luck to you!


  7. dareyouto says:

    Loved reading this. Thank you for sharing your story, the good and the bad, frustrating parts. (And, congrats on all that weight you did lose!)Last month, I ate strictly paleo for the month (although I didn’t give up my Greek yogurt; I agree that there is so much conflicting info!). I didn’t lose the extra 10 lbs my body’s been hanging onto, but I did feel great eating almost exclusively natural foods. I get way more energy from vegetables and fish than I do from processed junk, so I do like the emphasis on eating real foods. It also greatly improved my digestion! The question is where to go forward from here. I never did WW, and I don’t think I’d be very good at tracking and counting my eats. I’d like to continue the paleo way of eating, but more of an 80/20 thing, giving myself a little flexibility when necessary or desired. I can’t believe those people who say (as you say) that it has to be ALL or nothing. I think I’d still benefit from eating MOSTLY that way, rather than just letting loose and eating whatever I want. This all gave me lots to think about. Thanks for sharing your experience! Good luck getting back on WW and hope it helps you reach your goal weight.


  8. Carrie says:

    I’ll be honest and say that I think Paleo may help people lose weight, but will not keep a “healthy” body. Diet is one of the number one ways to keep yourself disease-free and a diet high in meat (even lean meat) will lead down a bad path even if you are in tip-top physical condition. I could go on and on, but I won’t. I also have frustrations with WW, although I do think that the promotion of fruits and veggies they have been doing the last couple of years is great. I think they cater to the people who have absolutely no idea how to lose weight, and need to get started somewhere, which makes it frustrating at times for the people who know how to lose weight, but just lack execution. I loved this post and I hope that going back to basics works for you! Ogden will be your bitch!


  9. Maureen says:

    I hear you, girl! Such a great post and very honest. I too have the luke warm appreciation for WW but I also recently joined for very similar reasons. Good luck!!


  10. Julia says:

    i feel like we are in similar points in our lives right now or sometihng. we should definitely start working together and holding each other accountable. man oh man. the competition i just did plain sucked. i started it because i thought it would be the KEY to getting back down to my UV marathon weight from last year. then i decided to blame not running for 5 weeks for not losing any weight. i lost one measly pound from the start which is still +1 from before Christmas. BLAH. it was all me. my diet. no excuses. i found ways to get around all the rules…like billions of jars of PB, soda and sugar packed dried fruit. i dont think following a specific plan is best for me because i efel too restricted and want to “rebel” but i do feel like that by summer i want to get back down a few pounds and feel better about my diet and my body. you will rock ogden this year friend! you are so determined! i just know you will do great!


  11. Rachelle Wardle says:

    Ash I freaking love you. I love how honest you are. Losing weight is not easy at all and you have to stick to a plan that works for you. I could never freaking do Paleo. No way in Hell!I think eating clean and trying your best to keep things in balance is definitely the way to go. I know for a fact that you can do this and that Ogden will indeed be your freaking bitch!! I’m totally coming up to watch you guys and will run you in if you want me to. P.S. I never got my e-mail for the free code for Color me rad? It may have just been my e-mail address so try my other one if you can.


  12. Stephanie says:

    I think this Paleo business is CRAZY!! Whenever you cut out an entire food group (grains)something is wrong. And as a runner you NEED carbs, sorry but you do. Plus eating bacon aka FAT is not only bad for your cholesterol but it’s disgusting. I think you can be a bad A crossfitter without following that crazy diet. You are smart to go back to what has worked for you in the past. Clean eating is where it’s at 🙂 Good luck get back to where you want to be, I know you can do it!!


  13. Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb says:

    This is a honest post that I find truly fantastic. Although I live a vegan lifestyle I am very upfront with people and say you need to find what works for YOU. I’m also all about experimenting to see what gets you there. Good for you for trying something new and learning along the way. =)


  14. Amylee says:

    This post was oozing with awesomeness. Do it. I want to see you slap that msrathon around. And you’re smart. You know what’s good for you. You don’t need a book to tell you how to eat.


  15. Sabrina says:

    Honestly, I had never heard of Paleo before now. In many ways I can totally relate. My scale is higher than its ever been, but I’m more active than I have ever been. Emotionally, and physically, it’s a hard place to be. Thanks for being so open and honest. Now go kick some marathon ass!


  16. Jess's Journey to the Land Of Skinny says:

    I just ended my Paleo challenge at the CrossFit I go to and while it definitely helped me clean up my diet I am not sure I could ever be 100% strict the whole time. I like a little flexibility. You look fabulous and you will get where you want to be and that sub-4 marathon will be yours!


  17. Amber says:

    I too tried Paleo and gained weight. I was strict for 30 days. I maybe should have done longer, but I am with you. It was against everything I had ever been taught and I was obsessing. I think all of them have good principles, but you have to choose what foods work best with YOUR body. Everyone has foods they feel great on and foods that make them feel sluggish and bloated. Make your own diet! You’re amazing and look great btw!


  18. Stefanie D. says:

    Dang! I’m sad to hear that it didn’t work for you. I’ve heard mixed arguments about Paleo also which is why I haven’t jumped on the band wagon. I kind of have this thing for bread and cheese too…so there is that.


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