My 30 (technically 31) Day Paleo Challenge is finally over and I ended up losing seven pounds while improving my five-mile and kettlebell circuit time. While I didn’t end up achieving my weight loss goal of 12 lbs, I still feel a lot leaner than I did before and could honestly care less about the result. Many factors could have contributed to the reason that I missed my mark like exhaustion from work (missed a few runs/workouts) and extended cheat days on the weekend, but I won’t justify these excuses. I could have easily controlled what I had eaten at weekend BBQ’s and worked out before work, but I didn’t and that’s that. I mentioned these excuses because the average person attempting this challenge for the first time will experience similar urges and limitations, and I want to show that it’s a very common occurrence.
Reflecting back on my diet, I feel like I could have diversified my food choices. Instead of looking at food in an enjoyable way, I looked at it as a substance that gave me enough energy to last throughout the day. After two weeks of having eggs every morning and a dressing-less salad at lunch, I definitely felt like I was going crazy and badly wanted to devour a pizza. There are a lot of good Paleo Diet food recipes that I posted in my previous Paleo post, but it was rare that I had the motivation to cook these meals after a full day of work and a workout at night.
Since finishing this challenge, I have learned from this mistake and have started to experiment with paleo recipes, as well as cook food in bulk. This has provided me with enough food to last the week and has allowed me to avoid these situations from happening again. Instead of giving up on a run or giving into unhealthy snack urges, I find myself with plenty of energy and always with a healthy snack on hand.
Advice for New Challengers
The 30-Day Paleo Challenge is more mentally challenging than anything else. This was my second experience with the challenge and during both experiences I had a three-day mental hurdle of avoiding carbs and dairy. The time it takes for a challenger to get over this hurdle will be different from person to person, but once passed, you will notice that your crappy food urges will be replaced with cravings for Paleolithic foods like sweet potatoes and egg whites.
This is not to say that it will be easy to get over this hurdle, but by finding some type of motivation when the challenge gets difficult, there should be no doubt in your mind that you will prevail. My motivation was blogging about my challenge and noticing how many people had read my posts. The thought of embarrassment if I put on weight at the end of challenge motivated me to stick with the challenge until the end. My advice to new challengers is that you find a motivation and then to think of that motivation whenever you feel like giving up and want to devour a tub of Snickers’ bars. Motivation is what will not only get you through this diet challenge, but will also get you through the toughest challenges you will face in life.