Ok so here's the thing.
You know how like a month ago I was all I can't wait to be in my kitchen all the time cooking! I can't wait to try new recipes and blah blah blah! Yeah, clearly I had some rose-colored glasses on. Grmph!
Paleo is wearing me out. Whatever energy I'm gaining by not ingesting things that are taxing my digestive system, I am using in the kitchen, all the time. On Monday, I ran the dishwasher three times. THREE. TIMES. I don't have enough cutting boards or dishwashers for the Paleo Plan I set forth weeks ago.
Let me share with you some more lessons learned.
What I did: Found a ton of new recipes to try, thinking it would make Paleo more exciting.
What I should have done: I should have gone through my own recipe collection to find recipes that I'm used to making that were already Paleo-friendly. This, I'm sure, would have drastically cut down on cost, time, and effort.
What I did: Not allow myself any wiggle room.
What I should have done: Allowed myself wiggle room. I had some backup recipes on hand, but there were just times they didn't work out. Or we went out to dinner and I didn't want to eat rabbit food with oil and vinegar. Instead of going into this thinking I AM GOING TO BE 100% PALEO FOR 30 DAYS, I should have lowered the bar just a teensy bit and said, I am going to do the best I can for 30 days in the situations I'm in. With the exception of two occasions, I do feel as though I've done the best I can in the situations I was in. Twice I purposely cheated. And I enjoyed it.... and I paid for it later, trust me. Cheating has definitely showed me what food groups I tolerate fine when added back to my diet, and what food groups I don't tolerate at all.
What I did: Stopped working out.
What I should have done: Just friggin' gone to the gym even though I haven't felt like it. Honestly, I've been losing weight, and good amounts of it, just from changing my diet, so I've been thinking I don't need to go to the gym. If I can continue at this rate, I really don't need to go, but I WANT to. The struggle now is getting back there. I've let it go too long. And the longer I wait, the harder that first day back is going to be. Ugh I should just go tomorrow. In fact -- I will. Tomorrow is the perfect day to go back. So I will.
What I did: Planned for a whole month in advance.
What I should have done: Planned for two weeks in advance, at max. Why? Because after about a week and a half, two weeks in, I started to realize what recipes I liked and what recipes I didn't, and I ended up having to re-plan the rest of the month anyway.
Ok, /rant. My bad. I'm just frustrated. I'm very close to the end. I wasn't expecting to struggle as much as I have - and if Paleo wasn't working for me, I would have abandoned it totally weeks ago. But I am just about a week away from being done. I can finish this.
Moving forward, beyond January 31st, my plan is to stay on the Paleo train as much as possible. I have made some changes that I like -- I have eliminated grains almost entirely from my diet (the ONLY time I've consumed grains of any kind this month were on my two cheats), and I really like this change. I really think this change has been the most beneficial to me. I have also practically eliminated dairy from my life, except for the random pats of butter here and there used when cooking, or salad dressings. This whole month, I've had tacos without sour cream and cheese (or shells!), chili without sour cream and cheese (or tortilla chips!), pancakes and waffles without flour, and smoothies without traditional yogurt. I don't even *really* miss any of those things. But like I've mentioned before, there is one occasion when I know I will not be able to exclude dairy, and that's with salads. If I have a salad, there will be dairy salad dressing on it.
As for sugar, well I haven't really had much of that either. I had a couple cookies with Maraea the other night, but other than that, not one cup of hot chocolate, not one bite of candy or chocolate, no artificially-sweetened anything. I have a whole bag of chocolates from Christmas waiting to be devoured, and a whole box too. I haven't touched them, and I haven't even been tempted. Clearly, sugar is no longer an issue for me anymore. (I haven't even cheated with sugar - how remarkable is that?? Well except for those cookies. But that's it.)
So. With these changes I've made, I think that I can probably move forward with being about 80% Paleo. That's pretty darn awesome. In fact, I did already start planning for next month, but I'm taking a much simpler approach. Every week we will have chicken + vegetable, pork chops + vegetable, steak + vegetable, and a couple more involved recipes that are still protein + vegetable focused. I'm going to continue to limit grains, dairy, and sugar. But, when we go out to eat, I am not going to limit myself. I'm going to eat what I want, but be reasonable about it. I think that I should be allowed to do that if I'm being "good" the rest of the time.
Haha. With all that said, I still want to do a Whole 30. Might take me a little bit to get there though.