There are definitely ways to fail while on a Paleo/Primal/wheat-free plan:
If you’re just going wheat-free, you’re on the right track. Primal and you’ve made a few more food adjustments and probably added some movement. Paleo and you’re probably the most strict of these options from a dietary standpoint.
Especially from a “Wheat-free” standpoint, here are 5 ways to fall short of your goals and revert back to your old ways.
1) Substituting over-the-counter “gluten-free” foods. Breads, baked goods, and things of this kind might seem like a good substitute, but the truth is they are not much better for you than the non-gluten-free foods. Blood sugar and insulin will still increase, you will continue to store fat, and eventually you will be convinced that going “wheat-free” isn’t effective for you.
2) Not substituting enough food or calories from another source. If you can’t or shouldn’t have the “gluten-free” substitutes, and you’ve decided to forgo bread and other wheat options, what should you have? Simply stated, eat some vegetables and salads, eat a little more protein and some more good fat. And yes, there is such a thing as good fat. Animal and saturated fat, olive oil, avocado, nuts (peanuts are not nuts), seeds, coconut, coconut oil, butter. All good options. Vegetable oil, not a good option. I know it seems backwards, but remember, we’re here to challenge Conventional Wisdom.
3) Not being fairly strict for the first few weeks. The first few weeks are usually the hardest, depending on your old habits. If candy and bread and other sweet treats were a regular part of your old diet, then the transition will be harder. Your will power will be challenged, and having a cheat meal or cheat snack won’t seem like a big deal. In fact, the cheat meal might seem like your only chance to survive.
4) Stressing out about what to eat for breakfast. Two thoughts here. The first one is the simplest. Try skipping breakfast. It’s not as bad for you as you’ve been led to believe, it won’t slow down your metabolism, and you won’t die if you miss this meal. If you can’t bring yourself to skip breakfast entirely have something pretty simple like eggs and bacon, or some leftover protein from last night’s dinner with a handful of almonds. Remember, cereal and oatmeal and toast are only a part of breakfast because they’ve been marketed that way.
5) Failing to plan. This is probably the most obvious point, but should still be mentioned. Your choice to make this dietary change will involve some planning on your part. If you’re like me and lots of other people, picking up something on the way home, or while you’re out, or at lunchtime with your friends at work is the norm. If you want to have long term success, you’ll have to plan some meals ahead of time, cook some extra meals on a Sunday afternoon, and learn to say no when other people try to offer you treats. Don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings by politely refusing whatever treats they have made at home, or picked up on the way to work which will sabotage your gameplan. “Just one bite” is a big deal, and has the potential to get you off track pretty quickly.
For those of you that have tried wheat-free, Primal, or Paleo, what were your stumbling blocks when you got started? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments and any additions you may have to this list.