*Note from Sarah. Here’s another great post by Jason Seib, helping all of us to reflect, and stay on track! Thank you Jason!
I hope by now most of you have come to understand that I write these posts because I want to help you, and when my tone sometimes sounds a little harsh it’s because I truly believe a clear and concise point that needs to be made. This might be one of those posts.
Occasionally people pull me aside, call me, and email me to ask why this paleo and exercise thing isn’t working. Please understand that I don’t always have all the answers, but there a few common problems that create these situations. Let’s go over them and see if we can save you some frustration.
The first of these common problems is denial. If you cheat every couple of days, you can not expect amazing results. You are also remiss if you are in denial over one thing, as if it isn’t cheating if you only overlook one specific cheat. If your diet is perfect except for that Starbucks Carmel Macchiato that you absolutely must suck down in order to make it to work in the morning, then you already know why you aren’t getting results. No matter how loud you cry, “I don’t like black coffee!”, you will never get your fat cells to feel sorry for you, and insulin will not take the morning off. Yes, I understand some things are REALLY hard to give up, but I can’t change biochemistry for you. If this is you, you just need to come to terms with the cold hard fact and stop trying to pretend that you will get the results you want as long as your intentions are good. I don’t mean to sound cold hearted – I definitely have my own temptations – but cheating is cheating.
The second common problem is a lack of information. You may be assuming you’re doing everything correctly when you haven’t really looked close enough at all the inputs. For example, when I get emails from people who swear they are in complete compliance with perfect paleo and not getting anywhere, the first thing I always do is ask for a 3 day food log, a list of all liquids consumed other than water, sleep patterns, workout schedule and type of exercise performed, perceived stress level, all medications including birth control, all supplements, and anything else they put in their mouth, even gum and mints. Most people never respond. If I do hear from them again, they usually explain that they weren’t quite as compliant as they thought they were. There’s always a chance that this could be you. Sit down and write out all the information I listed here and take a long hard look to see if there is something you have been missing. And remember, for all of human history except the last few hundred years exercise has been inextricably linked to eating, and therefore surviving. In my opinion, if you aren’t exercising in a manner befitting your species, you aren’t compliant.
The third problem is just simply a lack of knowledge and/or misinformation. One common example is eating out too often and not factoring in all the vegetable oils you are consuming. Or making the assumption that diet soda is fine because it doesn’t contain sugar. Or drinking fruit juice because it’s “all natural”. These situations imply that you still have some learning to do and you just need to find a little help or do a little research. A mistake is only made when you assume you are compliant without asking all the questions.
Now for some good news. There are solutions to all of these problems. If you are currently in denial, get your head right and face your demons head on. You absolutely have the power to overcome these flavor-related obstacles. Be aggressive and it won’t even take you very long to break these bad habits. If you think maybe you need more data about your situation, write everything down for a few days and see if there is anything you missed. I would venture to guess that most people would be surprised with what they find when they can see all the facts at once. If you just lack knowledge you simply need to not jump to anymore conclusions and get educated. My own book, The Paleo Coach, or The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf will answer all your “why” questions.
Even more good news – this blog has evolved into a community of people who all have goals similar to yours and many of them may have already traversed the precarious stages in which you might now find yourself. Post your questions in the comments, just don’t ask anyone to recite Robb’s book for you from cover to cover.
Now go forth and succeed! (okay, that was a little cheesy. :P)