A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Why I Chose the Paleo Diet to Help Minimize My Butt

Welcome to Day 22 of the Minimize Yo’ Butt Fitness Challenge.

Life isn’t always simple, but making food choices can be.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m not a dietician or a fitness guru. I just know what works for me and what doesn’t.

Here’s what hasn’t worked for me in the past:

  • Counting calories (this makes me feel obsessed with food)
  • Counting carbs (the first stages of Atkins nearly killed me)
  • Eating 6 small meals a day (I can’t make myself eat when I’m not hungry)
  • Getting up an hour early to exercise (I’m so not a morning person)
  • Finding an hour or more to exercise (I’m lucky to get 30 minutes of uninterrupted time)

As a homeschooling, work-at-home mom of three kids, I have to keep life as simple as I can. If planning menus and deciding what I can eat isn’t simple, it just doesn’t work for me. Switching to eating Paleo has made life as simple as it can be.

What is Paleo?

The Paleo diet comes from the term “Paleolithic” otherwise known as the cavemen times. My quick description of the Paleo diet is eating natural foods that would have been available to cavemen. That includes things like meat, veggies, fruit, and nuts.

It’s a pretty basic description but it helps me make good food choices. I can simply ask myself “Would a caveman have that?” and if the answer is no, it probably means it’s not the healthiest option for me. I don’t think there were too many potato chips or macaroni and cheese floating around any caves all those years ago.

I won’t be focusing on all the health benefits of Paleo today. You’ll have to check back for more about that. I just realized the more I talked about Paleo during the Minimize Yo Butt challenge, that not everyone was familiar with what it was.

Why Paleo Appealed to Me

I have been a carb addict for some time now. I didn’t just focus on junk food carbs, but I certainly ate plenty of them. I am a lover of all breads, pretzels, and every other carb in between. I knew it was something I wanted to get control over so I tried going cold turkey and I tried the Atkins diet. The problem I had with the Atkins diet was that it limited even healthy carbs found in fruit and other foods.

Paleo appealed to me because it had many similar elements of Atkins like focusing on proteins and limiting carbs. It won me over when I realized I could have all the fruits and veggies I wanted and just needed to get rid of the carbs found in breads and grains. Choosing a more natural diet has made me feel better overall.

I have found fruit to be a new found treat. I always loved fruit and I really missed it when I tried Atkins. It has surprised me how I don’t miss the constant snacking of pretzels or crackers because I feel more full and satisfied with my diet made up of natural food choices.

Honestly, I think I fell in love with the simplicity of Paleo. I don’t count calories. I don’t count carbs. I don’t even pay much attention to portion sizes. I have found that a lot of it just takes care of itself. I get fuller faster so my portions stay smaller. It’s also a lot harder to eat too many calories when you’re eating naturally.

I really feel like this is a way of eating that I can live with long term. For me, that is the biggest reason that Paleo is so appealing.

I’ll be sharing more details about what we eat as a Paleo family this week as well as a preview of one of the Minimize Yo Butt prizes.

So tell me about your diet. What have found works for you? Do you have any questions about the Paleo diet?

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  1. I have not read in depth about the Paleo diet, so I’m wondering why grains are not considered to be natural foods. Staying away from highly processed grains makes sense, but what about simpler whole grains? Do you also have to avoid dried beans?

  2. Linda Sand says

    I’ve been gradually moving towards Paleo for a couple of months now. Breads, rice and pastas are gone. Potatoes are showing up less often. Now I need to widen the range of fruits and vegetables I eat. I’m preparing to do a Whole 30 to get the rest of the bad stuff out of my system but I already feel much better and have been losing weight. Yay!

  3. Marcia Wilwerding says

    Just wondering if there is a B vitamin deficiency problem with this diet. I thought we had to have grains in order to get the B vitamins. If so, do you supplement with a B complex?

    • Faith Janes says

      I read this today about B vitamins and Paleo:

      “On a calorie-by-calorie basis, the lean meats, seafood, vegetables and fruits promoted by the Paleo diet are better sources of fiber, B vitamins and minerals when compared to whole grains, as explained by Dr. Loren Cordain, author of “The Paleo Diet.” Cordain states that “an average 1,000-calorie serving of mixed vegetables contain 19 times more folate, five times more vitamin B-6, six times more vitamin B-2 and two times more vitamin B-1 than a comparable serving of eight mixed whole grains.”

  4. Faith,
    Paleo has appealed to us as well. We have done the Atkins in the past as well, and acutally lost some weight on it. Like you though, I don’t really like the limits of no fruits. I have liked the Paleo plan fairly well so far. The problem has been trying to replace grains with more veggies. It has gotten old really fast, cutting up vegetables. I feel like I have spent the last week doing nothing but cutting and cooking. Trying to find a happy medium and some convenience products that will make this easier!
    I like the way you phrase it “Could a caveman have eaten it?” I look forward to more about your experience with the Paleo Diet!
    How to finally do what you REALLY want to do

  5. I haven’t been following a certain plan or diet, but have been restricting my carbs the past couple months. I haven’t noticed any significant weight loss, but I haven’t been overly strict about it either.

    I like your simplified explanation….would a cave man have this? I’ll look into this more – it sounds like the way I’m trying to go.

  6. I switched to Paleo (Primal) also. You linked out to Mark’s Daily Apple site, this is where i get my recipes and inspiration from. His book is great.

  7. This is so interesting Faith. Do you have your kids eating paleo too? I always wonder how something like this would fit into family life.

    I still eat brown rice and GF oats. Now I’m questioning whether I should…

    • Faith Janes says

      We are switching the kids over to Paleo, but we’re doing it a little slower than the adults took the plunge. The main meals were pretty easy to switch over, but the snacks are still a little challenging for the kids. I’ll be talking more about our menus and food choices on Friday too.

      They love the beef jerky and have always liked fruit, but it still feels like a pretty drastic from donuts and Doritos. For now I’m still allowing things like pretzels but we also brought in a wide selection of trail mixes and dried fruits as well.

  8. I switched to Primal eating in February for all the reasons you outlined above…we didn’t go Paleo per se because I didn’t give up cheese or butter (but we cook with ghee, which means we use far less butter than we used to). I cannot believe a) how grains based our diet had been and b) how much better we all feel and look on the primal diet. My kids look and feel and act fantastic, my hormones evened out, and we all lost weight without trying. This was one of the best things I have ever done for my family by far.

    • Faith Janes says

      That’s so good to hear, Erin. This is the most hopeful I’ve been that the whole family will be able to make this a long lasting change. It IS crazy to analyze our diet and see all the grains and starches that we used as filler foods in our diet.

  9. I also have been striving to eat Paleo-“like” for a while. With excercise-I am down about 12 lbs. Mainly I am attempting to restrict myself to REAL foods-if that makes sense. portion control and calorie “watching” is big for me too.

  10. I love eating Paleo. I’ve been off and on this way of eating for a while now because it’s so hard to commit completely with two very picky eater kids. It took this MYB project to really get me to kick the carb habit and throw myself into all that meat, fat, and veggies. I’ve discovered just how easy it is, and in the process, I’ve lost 5 pounds over the past week and a half. Now, to get the “becoming more active” part of the program!

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