"Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason." --Jerry Seinfeld
That’s gotta be some sort of Paleo heresy.
I read countless blogs about how easy and manageable and fun Paleo is. Sure, there’s an element to that, and as I read these posts lauding the glories of Paleo (which I also write), it’s really simple for me to forget the hard logistics of the lifestyle.
Until I get into the kitchen.
Or the grocery store.
Or the play group for my two Littles.
Or pre-school. Or the family birthday parties. Or the social gatherings.
Paleo was my last resort. Like many people, I appreciate efficiency. I see no problem with doing the bare minimum to get max results. That should not be confused with laziness; I work hard (much of the time). If I can get a job done in 3 hours or in 5 hours, unless the company is good or I’m trying to teach my kids a lesson, I’m likely going to choose the 3-hour option.
I have several friends who maintain the health, energy, and vigor they desire by doing significantly less than our family requires. I’ve tried what they do and it doesn’t work for me. Perhaps my body isn’t as strong as theirs, perhaps I have different goals. The reasons are irrelevant to me since it doesn’t change the outcome.
USDA Food Guide. I did that. I gained weight. I got sick.
Vegetarianism. I did that. I gained weight. I got sick.
Calories In/Calories Out. I did that. I gained weight. I got sick.
Weight Watchers. Running. Aerobics/pilates/yoga. Exercising more. Eating less. Eating disorder. South Beach. Turbo Jam. I did those. I gained weight. I got sick.
In the fall fitness challenge, someone on our facebook page mentioned her husband lost 25 pounds. Whitney, the one with the rockin’ bod, cited a 12-pound loss.
I’ve been following most of the guidelines for a long time and the challenge wasn’t nearly as strict as my regular life. I loosened my Paleo standards a bit during those 8 weeks, falling well within the limits of the challenge. I gained 2 pounds. For me, taking candy out of my diet 6 days per week simply isn’t enough.
Paleo doesn’t bother me. On most days, I am fine knowing I have no in-town Paleo friends, no Paleo family, no Paleo restaurants, and few Paleo convenience foods.
I don’t love missing parties because I get tired of assuming people will be uncomfortable if I don’t eat (if I actually make them uncomfortable remains to be seen). Play group at McDonald’s would be more convenient if we didn’t have to bring our own lunch. Special cultural days at pre-school would be easier if the potluck section were gone, and therefore the gluten removed. But it’s not that way and that’s totally okay.
If I could maintain the body and health standards I want by eating low-fat dairy, whole grains, and juice (all part of the healthy, standard American diet), I would. But I tried that. I gained weight. I got sick.
Paleo? I’m doing that. I lost weight. I regained my health.
So Paleo it is. The choice is pretty clear for me. I still think a Paleo variation is the solution for a great majority of people seeking optimal health. But optimal health is subjective and not everyone is striving for my same brand of optimal health.
For me, optimal health means no more PCOS symptoms. No more chronic fatigue, body hair, acne, floaters, male-pattern baldness, depression, infertility…. Paleo or PCOS. Not everyone has to make that choice, but for me, this lifestyle is the bare minimum. If I could get by on less, I probably would.
Paleo is wonderful to me and makes me feel like a million bucks.
But it sure wasn’t my first choice.