[Update: Download my new FREE ebook]
I have bacon and eggs for breakfast all the time. And steak for dinner is good for me.
I have heard so many people say, “it’s hard to lose weight when you get older.” I say cockamamie to that. Maybe a bit harder than it was when you were 21, but I’ve lost 35 pounds relatively quickly (still losing) – and it wasn’t that damn hard. It does take a bit of discipline, but if you make a serious commitment to yourself and don’t give yourself the option to break it – you will be successful.
I use the Paleo diet as a platform. This is a hard subject to go into because many folks get freaked out right off the bat or are uneducated on the subject and end up doing it very very wrong. I’m sad to say that I have seen people post on forums that the Paleo diet wasn’t working for them and they were not seeing the results they anticipated. That’s because they were doing wrong! Paleo will work every freakin’ time when done correctly. We will come back to this.
To be successful, we need to take a look at what the Paleo diet is at a high level. And I am not going to go into any ancestry or primal caveman stuff – it is impossible to mimic exactly how our early ancestors ate, I think the whole schtick probably turns more people off than on. And frankly we just don’t have to worry about it. However, the Paleo diet is a SOLID base to a clean and sustainable diet. I am not going to go into tons of detail, again high level, but I will leave you with many sources that helped guide me at the end. No need to reinvent the wheel.
What is the Paleo diet? It’s clean eating so your digestive system works the way nature intended. Think about it, our body was not made to consume all this processed crap.. Aside from obviously omitting junk food, Paleo basically removes all grain, legumes, and dairy out of your diet. These are known and documented irritants to your gut. If your gut is irritated, nothing works right. Paleo really is an anti-inflammatory diet that allows your GI to work as it was intended. Your digestive systems, endocrine system, neural system, etc, are more complex than you think – and there are so many things that happen within all these systems the second you place food in your mouth, including hormone releases, insulin responses, etc. Put the wrong things in your mouth and your gut can become inflamed, celiac, or create intestinal permeability – you develop insulin resistance and ultimately become metabolically deranged – and things just start to fall apart. We don’t want that to happen to us, right? Heck no. Think about it, your body truly doesn’t want this overly processed crap, it needs the good stuff.
Eat Clean: no boxed or processed foods, avoid added nitrates, eat natural, whole foods.
With that said, you can have a multitude of goals on the Paleo diet that are literally opposite ends off the spectrum. You can be Paleo and go for weight gain, or you can be Paleo looking to lean out. Simply being Paleo does not guarantee you will automatically and quickly lose weight. You have to be smart, understand your goals, and tweak the diet accordingly.
I highly recommend getting some literature from Robb Wolf. This is where it all started for me. He is the brains behind it all, I am only a testimonial. This is far more complex than you can imagine, which is why it’s so hard to educate the folks on this. But you have to find an experts opinion you can trust and Robb breaks it down scientifically, clinically, and makes it easy.
So what about that person that posted they were not seeing results on the Paleo diet? Well, with a little more prying, I found crazy things going on (slightly exaggerated):
Q: What have you had to eat today? (time of question is just after lunch)
A: 3 oranges, 2 bananas, a bucket of almonds, and 2 protein shakes.
Sounds technically Paleo, right? If you are wanting to gain 20 pounds for your competitive weight lifting, sure.
Another issue I find how people failing at Paleo is how honest they are with themselves – like they want to cheat the system.
Q: Are you Paleo 100% of the time?
A: Almost strictly Paleo, about 85% aside from the milk, oh a Twinkie a night, pizza every other day, and gallons of diet soda – but diet soda is ok, right?
No. Diet soda is not ok. At all. And when most people say they are 85% Paleo, it really ends up being 50%… which is probably more/less a normal bad diet. Artificial sweeteners jack your ass up. Your body senses sweet, triggers an insulin response to tackle the sugar that doesn’t exist, and further screws you up. Your body basically says, “What the heck man, I aint doing this no more”. If you want results with weight loss, go all in. Then you can reintroduce some things and see how it goes.
Goal – Losing Weight:
Our goal is to lean out, and we need to learn a few simple things:
- We are going to go low-carb during lean out
- Remove all fruit in the initial lean out phase – your body will get all the nutrients it needs
- Cut down high carb foods like yams, sweet potatoes – unless you are doing a high demanding metabolic work out (Cross Fit) and then use them post work out for carb replenishment
- No beer – its best not to have any alcohol during this initial phase
- No sweeteners, real or fake. They’re all bad
- No juices or liquid foods such as “healthy” shakes.
Here is a snapshot of my diet while I am leaning out:
Staples to my diet:
- Grass fed meat
- Wild caught fish
- Bacon (natural uncured)
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Coffee (two cups in morning)
- Cauliflower (steamed, mashed in place of rice)
- Salt (story about how I am using less)
I “cheat” with these sparingly, approximately once a week, BUT I really recommend going 30 days with no cheating:
- Pastured butter (Kerrygold or from a farm) – put it on your broccoli
- Sweet potato / yams (lots of carbs, typically post work out)
- Ketchup :-/
- 85% Dark chocolate (tiny bit at a time) – has to be 85% or higher.
- Heavy cream for coffee
- Red wine – though better results without
Things I don’t consume at all:
- Grains /cereals
- Refined sugars (leaning out, I am avoiding all sweets aside from my dark chocolate)
- Refined vegetable oils, really stay away from all except coconut and olive oil
- Dairy (with a couple exceptions)
- Artificial sweetners
Things I am really laying off of while leaning out:
- Nuts / seeds
Oh, and the internet is also full of silly Paleo hacks… Paleo cookies, brownies, blah blah – its still not smart on the lean out.
Here is a common day for me:
Breakfast – 2 eggs, 3 pieces of organic uncured bacon (cut this back if you are not getting exercise in)
Lunch – hamburger patty, half avocado for fat , pico de gallo (like a little salad)
Dinner – grilled salmon or steak, grilled asparagus or steamed broccoli
Gluten. It’s a protein found in grains that your body basically can’t take or break down very well – an anti-nutrient that leads to intestinal permeability. Avoid gluten at all costs. Paleo works because it gets your system working correctly and gluten jacks it up.
Be aware, you may get a bit stupid and even fatigued at first. Your body is going to change gears and start burning other fuel sources other than carbs. This can be quite an adjustment and may take an initial toll on the body.
To take the next step, you have to sit down and have a conversation with yourself. “Self, we are going to make a commitment to do this – for real. I am not going to have moments of weakness and eat a whole row of Oreo’s. I have had my last Bon Bon. Let’s do this. I am done, no exceptions or options.” Make a commitment, tell yourself you are putting all “bad things” aside. Set an obtainable goal that you can be successful: 30 days – anyone can do it for 30 days.
Exercise is not the contributing factor to fat loss, it’s 99% nutrition. Check out Robb Wolfs podcast number 73 (listen to number 1 and 2 podcasts as well) It gives a good overview of whats going on with this and a few other subjects. You may not understand everything said, but you will get it.
I lightly touched on everything, but you will have more questions and maybe even want the technical details. I started by simply downloading Robb Wolf’s transformation pack one night and I was hooked from there. This pack is the easiest and quickest way to jump right in.
Resources that Helped Me:
- Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation <– Best way to get started quickly
- The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet <– GET THIS, It’s the bible to everything I touched on.
- Robbwolf.com (listen to the 1st few podcasts, or all of them)
- Lorain Cordain’s, The Paleo Diet
- Paleo Grilling. My cousin (Chef James Phelan) helped write this book, he’s a bad ass.
Nightshades – You may hear or read about these soon (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers). I am not worried about nightshades for myself – though that may not be the case for you. If you are celiac or have another auto-immune thing going on, best to take it out for 30 days and see what happens.
Nuts – I don’t do nuts. I might after I hit my goal weight. Robb Wolf would tell you to shell them yourself to help meter your intake.
Grass fed – Its really freakin’ important to eat grass fed beef. This opens up a new door of complexity, but trust me for now. This will be a whole other blog.
If you have success or questions, I want to hear from you. Shoot me an email or leave a comment below.
Be my Instagram friend!