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Paleo lifestyle changes, all at once or phase-in?

Answered on January 12, 2015
Created February 13, 2010 at 9:48 PM

Is it better to make changes in your diet, exercise and lifestyle all at once, or phase them in one at a time?

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on February 16, 2010
at 12:16 AM

Thanks, Paleo Dave. I especially like the "time limit" idea. Cheers,

Fa47fe5368e66325865f60a928609145

(961)

on February 14, 2010
at 09:20 AM

You could do it one meal at a time.

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13 Answers

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3
5cd18bfcafadc56292971e59f2f1faf6

on February 13, 2010
at 10:28 PM

This is just my opinion based on my personal experience...

It's best to do it all at once if you can. This not only maximizes the benefits but also makes it obvious that paleo is making a real difference in your life. The motivational aspect of doing it this way is phenomenal.

If you wish, set a time limit. Say that you're going to do all out paleo for 4 weeks. This makes it easier to adapt psychologically because you know there's an end date. Once you get to that end date, the benefits will likely be so clear that there will be no going back to your pre-paleo habits.

If you wish to do a phase-in, start with diet. This has the biggest impact by far. You can get started just by avoiding grains and not fearing fat. Once you see the benefits of those changes, you'll start integrating the other aspects.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on February 16, 2010
at 12:16 AM

Thanks, Paleo Dave. I especially like the "time limit" idea. Cheers,

4
2163280ace0d40b8dc64947afcbfcb15

(100)

on February 14, 2010
at 05:44 PM

Good answers, all.

A useful guide can be found at Dr Kurt Harris' PaNu blog at http://www.paleonu.com/get-started

4
65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

on February 14, 2010
at 12:08 AM

I think it is OK to phase in the changes to a Paleo style diet. You can gain about half of the benefits by just cutting our refined sugars, sugary drinks, fruit juices, candy etc. from your diet. For some people the initial cravings may be overwhelming, so taking a few types of food out of your diet over a several month period may be more manageable. As well, it may be difficult to deal with a completely new diet if you make a dramatic overnight change. What to cook? What else can I eat? By making small consistent changes it might not seem so daunting.

Now, if somebody is suffering from some significant health issues, and they need to make drastic changes just to stay alive, then that may be plenty of impetus to get them to make a complete overhaul. Without the kind of shadow looming overhead, it might be difficult for some people to give up pleasure food and such.

Finally, when living with somebody who is not participating in this dietary change, it may be difficult to go "cold turkey" and institute broad sweeping changes. Grocery bills could go up dramatically if you are buying completely separate foods for several people. Getting the family on board could help this, but it may require gradual change for stubborn adopters.

Fa47fe5368e66325865f60a928609145

(961)

on February 14, 2010
at 09:20 AM

You could do it one meal at a time.

2
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on April 21, 2010
at 10:47 AM

I would generally prefer a more gradual approch to any dietary change, however of course this varies depending on your personallity type and health. Trying to change diet, exercise and lifestyle all at once it quite a major change to undertake.

Choosing healthier foods for individual meals can be more of an interesting problem to solve as you find new recipes and foods to try. Then when you have a normal meal or snack you haven't failed in your diet, just find some more paleo food for your next meal. In this way healthy food gradually displaces unhealthy food from your diet rather than denying yourself everything your normally eat and then trying to fill the gap with unfamiliar food.

Tastes including things like for salt and sweetness change gradually over time. You learn to like more foods over time if you eat less sugar, fruits and vegetables taste sweeter. It is likely you will start to lose taste for some previous foods. There are many sweet fatty foods I just cannot stomach anymore.

Our intestines become adapted to our habitual way of eating, including factors like fibre and meal times. The commensual bacteria are also partly shaped by our diet. Abrupt changes in diet of any kind can cause issues.

It takes time to learn to shop for and cook new and possibly unfamiliar foods. This could be less stressful if done a little more gradually.

Focus on big factors at first, don't obsess about small details. Cutting out refined carbohydrates and sugar will have far greater impact than a bit of peanut butter.

In order to become a long-term change your lifestyle and good food has to become an interesting hobby that you enjoy.

The above are just my opinons.

2
F61a34e084b6e8c3e5b68ecab7a3f6d6

(110)

on April 21, 2010
at 03:12 AM

The trick for me was to not worry about calories the first week, and eat whatever I wanted, when I wanted it, as long as it was primal. I found that it was easier to do without the grains and sugar if I had bacon, eggs, and avocado for breakfast, huge salads with nuts, oil, and berries for lunch, and steak, veggies, and a big bowl of fruit for dinner. I was probably over 3000 calories a day for that first week, but it worked wonders because I was always full so carb cravings were minimized! I still lost a few pounds, and once my body adjust I found myself eating less without thinking about it.

1
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on April 21, 2010
at 04:38 PM

You should do whatever feels easiest, whether it be cold turkey or one step at a time. I personally found it trivial to go cold turkey on bread, but I psychologically needed to know that I could eat sweets. As I read more and more and genuinely internalized what the sweets were doing to me, it became easier and easier to avoid them. But that's just me. You should so whatever you are most likely to stick with, whatever suits your particular psychology.

1
Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d

on April 21, 2010
at 03:31 AM

I did it pretty much cold turkey. I was highly motivated to do so, though, due to a Type II diabetes diagnosis. Six weeks after I started my blood glucose levels were normal, which is one heck of a motivation to continue.

1
Df11e66ec4dd4f749eca409633b6a3fb

(595)

on February 15, 2010
at 05:01 PM

Since we (the husband and I) didn't have the cash to totally restock our kitchen and pantry all at once, we made the decision to stop buying SAD foods and use up what we had in the house while only buying paleo (non-SAD = happy?) foods from then on. That meant the canola and soybean oil have just recently been used up, but we've got a pretty solidly paleo kitchen now. I think it may have also helped us avoid cravings as the carb content of our diet dropped gradually as we used up the "old" foods. It didn't take as long as you might think, only a couple of weeks. At this point, there's a few SAD foods lurking in the freezer, but that's about it. (I'm making an exception for the edamame, as it is delicious, unprocessed and I grew it myself last summer.)

Once the transistion was done, it's been really easy to avoid temptation, as the icky stuff simply isn't there any more to be tempting!

1
Fa47fe5368e66325865f60a928609145

(961)

on February 14, 2010
at 09:20 AM

You could do it one meal at a time.

0
Medium avatar

(167)

on January 12, 2015
at 07:38 AM

You won't be able to make the changes all at once. I don't say this because it's hard - on the contrary, it was the easiest way for me. But you do have to take into account how much there is to learn and discover. 

I made the choice to eat paleo and made the switch right away, or so I thought. But over the last two years, I've been always researching, always introducing new things to my diet, trying ancestral recipes and eating different foods, and my diet has shifted continually. That will probably happen to you no matter what. 

0
C53665c3f012fa1ede91033b08a8a6e7

(2269)

on February 13, 2010
at 11:51 PM

Well, "all at once" is a bit misleading. I'm still discovering new things to trash and avoid e.g. canola and others to embrace e.g. coconut oil & coconut milk/water.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 13, 2010
at 10:41 PM

The key is to start somewhere. If by changing diet you feel better enough to start being more active, then everything should fall into place eventually.

And please make that good fat, not just any fat Paleo Dave.

0
93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on February 13, 2010
at 09:58 PM

Cold turkey is what worked for me.

First thing I did was go through fridge and throw out all the SAD sh*t.

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