About a year and a half ago I figured it was time to give the whole Paleo Diet a try to see what all the fuss was about. I was already gluten and dairy free, I just had to cut out sugars, additional grains and legumes. As with most Of my nutrition challenges, I was going to try this out for a month and see how I felt.
Well, almost three months later I dug into a glorious piece of gluten-free pumpkin bread and right then and there I decided to quit the Paleo Lifestyle and head back to the way I was eating before. For me, with the level of activity I had, I just could not handle the lack of carbohydrates, and my energy levels not only plummeted, but stayed down for the entirety of the experiment. Total bummer man! And what annoyed me so much about this not working for me, was that I had known SO many people who had this plan work absolute miracles for them. Oh well I thought, and I was back to minimal grains and legumes, along with higher energy levels and an overall better sense of self.
Now, pushing two years later, I began a program that has worked these miracles on me. Losing 15 pounds of fat, seeing dramatic gains in my lifts, having hoards of energy all day long, and sleeping deeper and better than I have in years. And here's the catch of this post: about three months in (last week sometime) I all of a sudden realized I was eating completely and totally Paleo.
How the hell could this be? How could something completely NOT work for me at one time, then, out of the blue work so damn well? Real quickly (because this post is not about this phenomenon), it's because I was not focused enough on the meal plan. My meals were not balanced, I doubted the plan while doing it, there was no pattern to how I was doing it, and I ate out WAY too much. But how does this tie in to what I am talking abut here? Well, it's the approach. This time around I had a totally different approach in how I decided I would eat to fuel my life. I would eat because needed fuel, not because I craved and desired certain foods. This effected my results dramatically from a psychological standpoint because I was focused on the foods direct impact on my well being rather then if I liked it or not. I wasn't dieting, I was changing my life.
When the dust settled I found that shifting the way I viewed what I was doing completely altered the outcome. For almost two months now (except for around 4-6 meals) I have eaten only food that I could have eaten in the complete wild. Almost all of these meals I have made myself, seasoning to my liking with natural herbs and spices. I have cooked it all by either grilling it, sticking it in the oven, steaming it, or eating it raw. To keep this up while taking on a full client and training schedule, I have found wonderful comfort in spending a few hours every four days or so in the kitchen and out at the grill. I cook up 4-8 chicken breasts, turkey, fish, and bacon (turkey and pork), pounds of broccoli, asparagus and spinach and I hard boil dozens of eggs. They all get stored in glass containers in the fridge, and when it's meal time, I'm ready no matter what! The best part is, I've shared my meals with a handful of people and all have been blown away by the simplicity and taste. Point being, I have yet to even hint at being bored with what I am making.
To add to this new fueling pattern, I have been keeping up with my typical workout schedule. Plenty of gym work for sure, but more often then not, I am outside. I am using the great outdoors more and more as my playground to stay active. Shirtless, drenched with sweat, wielding a sledge hammer and a sandbag in the woods. I then head home to a feast of grilled chicken, mixed nuts and a plate full of leafy and cruciferous greens. It's days like these (most days out of the week) where I have the same thing always running through my mind: I feel like a Warrior; I am alive, I am happy.
I have decided that I am NOT on the Paleo diet, I am not on any diet. I simply live the life that is closest to what I believe we as humans should live. I spend my time outside as often as possible, I eat foods that are found only in nature, and I constantly challenge myself to be fitter, stronger, healthier and happier each and every day. If I had less responsibility I would probably be living in the woods somewhere, wearing little clothing and spending my days just surviving. Warriors were the original athletes. If they wanted to live, if they wanted their communities to thrive, they had to be able to overcome all sorts of physical and mental challenges. They pushed themselves each and every day to not only survive, but to support survival in the people around them.
Eat, train, sleep/recover, socialize, prepare. Let's look at that in a little more detail. Eat (food. Real, good food). Train (get outside and run, climb, crawl, lift, push, pull, swim, throw and slam). Sleep/recover (relax, let muscles and mind regenerate). Socialize (be part of a community that you love and support and that loves and supports you). Prepare (know your surroundings, know yourself, prepare for the unknown and know what to do if you are not prepared).
Become a Warrior.
Never Stop,GET FIT.
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