I have been Paleo for a couple of weeks now, and I am still having a problem with reprogramming my brain. I keep feeling restricted. It could be because subconsciously, I regard food as an indulgence, and not as a requirement for life. I need to start thinking about food in terms of "eating to live" and not "living to eat". Can anyone help me out with ways to reprogram my thought process at the subconscious level?
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The simple fact that I could eat all the bacon I wanted was enough for me to stick with it at first. Now I thoroughly enjoy eating real foods and would never go back to eating worthless empty food. For me paleo was my in to actually making food for myself instead of buying prepackaged frozen crap. Just change things up now and again and stick with it.
Food IS an indulgence, and indulgences are good for us. Food is also a basic staple of life, and one needs to eat mindfully to be healthy. I urge you to not be so black and white in your thinking and to try and find the range in between the two binaries you have set up for yourself. Start cooking more. Try different foods. Don't eliminate foods that you don't have problems with. You don't need to think of this as a restrictive diet! It actually isn't. You are allowed to find the right way of eating for you - whatever makes you feel healthy and energetic and happy. Restricting doesn't do that, only opening up and allowing yourself to find out what works for YOU does that! Happy journey!
My favorite book, Perfect Health Diet, is 450 pages explaining what your cells need to eat for good health. Give it a read, and I'll bet you'll feel reprogrammed about how you view food.
It's totally okay to have a partial mindset of "living to eat'...food is supposed to be enjoyable. But then again, eating to survive is important, and in regards to processed foods, I always tell myself it's not worth it to get attached to fake foods that I wouldn't find in nature or that I can't make myself. Pretend that you live in a remote place or you go back in time and that every [paleo] food you can get is precious.
Think about what foods are available, and not what's no longer available. Maybe you are leaving out too many food groups like fruits, nuts, and tubers? These foods can totally be made into enjoyable, occasional indulgences. Or maybe you need a larger variety of meal ideas...sauce dishes and soups with bone broth are especially satisfying. I think Paleo meals can be amazingly tasty, and I personally have included more variety of foods since going Paleo (okay, I'm coming from a partial vegetarian, low-fat background, so that helps).
When I first went Paleo a year ago I had a really difficult time and felt very restricted and was overwhelmed with the planning. Now I am so used to it that I don't even think about it any more. You just get used to modifying recipes and trying new things and it just becomes easier. Plus, once you are fat adapted you feel so much better that it is very motivating to stick with it.
My advice is to focus on the meal template the whole 30 provides for most of your meals (half your plate veggies, half your plate protein, plus a healthy fat), three meals a day, no snacking. Make that your go to and then paleofy a few recipes here and there, and get on with it. It really will become easier as time goes on. Just go on pinterest and type "paleo hummus" or "paleo chili" or whatever it is that you want.