As the wannabe health nut who actually loves fast food, I have searched far and wide for the elusive perfect diet. The diet where I could eat anything I wanted and magically lose weight, because that’s totally how biology works.
My most recent adventure was the Paleo diet. Essentially, the diet centers around the idea that you have to eat what the cavemen ate, giving it the colloquial nickname “the caveman diet.” Fresh meats that were raised naturally, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and fungi consist of 99% of the diet. This diet pushes the body to entirely new places, and I have very mixed opinions on its effects on one’s health.
My first day of Paleo left me in a truly sad state of desperation and loneliness, in the most pathetic way possible. I couldn’t stop thinking about the burger station at the Deece. Really, the Deece. That’s how bad it was. You don’t really realize how much you don’t like vegetables until all you have on your plate are vegetables.
And growing up in a family that didn’t eat a lot of them, I was quite annoyed. By the end of day one, I was sitting in my Jewett common room, complaining about the world to my freshmen and just making everyone who had the misfortune of coming into contact with me and my new diet mad with my whining. It certainly was not the best day I have ever had.
The second day brought out the best part of the adventure. The amount of energy I had was outstanding, and the feeling was extremely foreign to my body. I felt really healthy, and was very alert and plugged in during my classes. And the eating began to become a little bit easier too. I experimented with new vegetables and fruits, and started to add all different colors to my plate, a stark contrast to my previous 50 shades of brown.
I felt on top of world, and that I could do Paleo forever.
That feeling lasted for about three days. And then came the darkest part of my dietary journey.
I started to feel so tired. It was due to a lack of nutrition, the result of a lack of knowledge on my part. Although my consumption of healthier foods had definitely expanded, I still was not getting the basic nutrients and vitamins that I got when I was eating a wider variety of foods, unhealthy though they were, before the Paleo diet. My body was starting to function at a significantly slower rate, trying to conserve all of the pitifully small amount of energy it had left in it.
I was confused how my body could go from feeling so good to feeling like I could collapse within two minutes of walking. I tried to continue the diet, but I knew I was doing myself a lot more harm then good. I stopped Paleo at that moment. Time of death, three week later.
Paleo is certainly and clearly not for the faint of heart. If you are planning on doing Paleo, or something like it, you need to put yourself into it 100%. You have to research your foods and know healthy yet nutritional alternatives.
Eating a salad everyday with only lettuce on it is not going to cut it in the slightest. And even then, I would stray away from suggesting it to anyone. Paleo will put your body in a completely different state, and that does not mean good state for a lot of people.
I found that the fatigue I got by eating less than 1000 calories a day outweighed the joy I got from feeling healthy. More importantly, however, I learned that diets are not for me, and that’s perfectly fine.
Anyone can maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle without feeling like they need to be the skinniest person in the room. It’s about how comfortable you feel with the choices you make with your body and spirit.