15 Paleo Diet Mistakes Holding You Back
The Paleo Diet is still the most popular choice within the community today - and with good reason. On the whole, it’s a healthy approach to food. The Paleo Diet prioritises natural foods that keep your healthy and full of energy to keep hitting those WODs.
But there’s another side to the diet too. When taken to the extremes, it can actually hinder your performance in the box - and beyond. Are you making any of these mistakes?
1. You’re trying to cut carbs
Contrary to popular opinion, the Paleo Diet is not a low carb diet. Granted, you’ll probably reduce your carbohydrate intake dramatically when you cut out processed foods and grains - but that isn’t necessarily the goal here.
If you follow the Paleo Diet, you’ll need to think carefully about how many carbs you’re eating - and where you’re getting them from. There’s only so much sweet potato one person can take
2. You’re either on the wagon, or you’re off it
Many people who follow this diet take an all-or-nothing approach. If you’re not following the rules to a tee, you might as well ditch all common sense and inhale everything within sight. Right?
It doesn’t matter how “good” you are when you’re on it, this type of approach won’t do your body many favours in the long run. Instead, try to treat yourself regularly to food you enjoy - and keep it consistent.
3. You don’t tailor the diet to your own requirements
When it comes to food and nutrition, we all have different requirements. The optimal diet will depend upon your body type, goals and activity levels. So, just because the Paleo Diet works well for your mates at the box, it doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you.
If something’s not working for you, don’t be afraid to change it - even if the Paleo Police are telling you otherwise.
4. You restrict entire food groups
Although there are plenty of foods you can eat on the Paleo Diet, there’s also a lot of restriction going on too.
For example, hardcore Paleo enthusiasts recommend cutting out all grains and dairy - especially the dreaded gluten. Many people are sensitive to these food groups - but not all of us. Unless you have a known intolerance, it might be better for you to keep a little of these foods in your diet.
5. Your diet is too acidic
If you’re eating a lot of meat, it’s likely your diet is too acidic. This topic has been widely debated within the community, with some experts claiming it’s a myth. However, if this is something you’re concerned about, try increasing your intake of alkalising foods. These include:
Almonds and almond milk,
6. You’re eating too much
Although you’re eating healthy, natural food, it’s still important to be mindful about how much you’re eating. It’s so easy to overeat on high fat foods, like nuts and baked Paleo treats. If your goal is to build mass and strength, this might not be too much of a problem. But if your goal is fat loss, make sure you consider portion control too.
7. You’re not eating enough
When you switch to a Paleo Diet, you’ll be removing a lot of traditional foods from your diet (e.g. bread, processed foods, dairy, and many snacks). If you replace these foods with fruit, vegetables and meat - there will probably be a huge drop in calories.
Even if you want to lose weight, make sure you’re eating enough to support your daily life and training goals. If you feel really tired or lethargic, eat more!
8. You look down on other people’s choices
Just because you’ve changed your diet, it doesn’t mean you’re entitled to judge others for theirs - even if you think they’re making the wrong ones.
If someone asks for your advice, share your experiences with them. But don’t try to force them into making changes they’re not interested in. As we’ve already mentioned, the Paleo Diet might be a good fit for you - it doesn’t mean it will be for everyone else you know.
9. You don’t eat enough vegetables
It doesn’t matter which approach to nutrition you decide to take, vegetables are a must! If you’ve removed grains from your diet, and still want to have energy for your next WOD, you’re going to need a lot of vegetables to make up for the carbohydrates you’ve lost.
10. You’re trying to eat a low fat diet
It’s almost impossible to eat a low fat diet, and still get enough food, if you’re following the Paleo Diet. Try to eat plenty of healthy fats, such as avocados, coconut oil and nuts.
Contrary to what you might have been told in the past, you don’t need to fear fat. As long as the fat comes from a healthy source, rather than processed foods, it will contribute to your health and performance. This is especially important if you’re following a low carb version of the Paleo Diet.
11. You get lost in the theory
Originally, the Paleo Diet was based on assumptions made about the diets of our ancient ancestors, There are plenty of holes in this theory, and it doesn’t always stack up to what we actually know to be true about our distant relatives, the hunter gatherers.
Food has changed a lot since then, and it’s easy to get lost in the theory. Just make sure you’re eating a wide variety of healthy foods - and you can’t go far wrong!
12. You think it’s all about the protein
Protein is pretty awesome, isn’t it? It helps us get big and strong, repairing our muscles after a tough workout. But it isn’t the be-all-and-end-all.
It is possible to eat too much protein - and you probably don’t need as much as you think! Learn your serving sizes, and try not to go overboard. If you think you’re eating too much protein, try adding more vegetables to your plate instead.
13. You’re too scared to break the rules
Food shouldn’t cause anxiety. We spend a lot of time eating - it’s an essential process, we couldn’t survive long without food! If you regularly feel anxious about meal times, this isn’t a good sign.
Sometimes life gets in the way, and we need to stray from the rules. It’s much better to eat a meal that doesn’t quite conform to the standards of the Paleo Police, than to skip a meal altogether. When this happens, or you decide to indulge in a pizza with your buddies, don’t beat yourself up about it!
14. You demonise “unclean” foods
Sugar is not the devil. Bread won’t kill you. And dairy isn’t necessarily going to get you fat. All food can be enjoyed in moderation - even those we know aren’t the healthiest.
If you struggle with the whole “moderation” aspect - try to work on your relationship with food, instead of telling yourself you can’t have it. This will help you create a more balanced mindset around food.
15. You’re not enjoying your food/life
There’s more to food than its function - even though this is important too. If you’re not enjoying your food, or preparing it feels like a chore, change something.
You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen each day to be healthy, and you shouldn’t feel miserable each time you sit down to eat. If this is happening, or you're turning down social events because you’re worried about food, it’s time to reassess what’s working for you!