I don't know about you, but when I first started learning about Paleo, I thought there was NO possible way I could make it work for me. (Unsure what Paleo means? check out my last post here)
At the time, I was addicted to diet coke, eating Kashi-go lean cereal for most meals, and using Splenda to "cure" my sugar cravings. Eating real food seemed like a novel concept to me, and as much as I wanted to try it out and remove all of the fake crap from my diet, I was scared.
I had so many misconceptions about what eating Paleo meant, that it kept me from successfully improving my diet for years. If I would have been able to change my perfectionistic view, give myself some grace, and do a little research, I not only would have felt much more empowered in my decisions, but I would have realized that I was making it much more difficult than it needed to be.
Myth #1: Paleo means Whole-30ing for the rest of your life
Whole-30 is a month long eating plan that excludes dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, alcohol, and processed/artificial foods. Basically, a strict Paleo diet. Doing a Whole-30 can be an awesome way to re-set taste buds, discover food sensitivities, and improve energy. For all-or-nothing-ers like myself, 30 days is okay - but what if I could do this strict Paleo plan for 60 or 90 or 360 days?! Certainly that would give me perfect skin, hormones, and soaring energy...right?
Unfortunately, having a perfectionistic and dogmatic view about any way of eating, including Paleo, is what sets us up for failure. It's also the reason why "diets" don't work long term. Allowing yourself a treat that you love that has no negative consequences is the best way to stay satisfied, sane, and motivated to continue to nourish your body with nutrient dense foods.
Myth#2: If you're not cooking all of your own meals, you're doing it wrong
Bone broth, meal prep, homemade everything...these were the things I believed were non-negotiable if I wanted to eat Paleo. Look, if you do all of these things, I honestly think you are amazing! (Come cook for me?) But I personally have about 100 other things i'd rather be doing in a day than slaving away in the kitchen. Luckily, Paleo eating has become a lot more mainstream in the past few years and it is SUPER easy to get pre-prepped and nutrient dense snack options no matter where you live. Here are some of my favorite resources:
Epic Bars, Rx bars
Coconut butter (my newest obsession)
Costco has TONS of Paleo friendly options too, like:
Aidell's chicken sausage, grass-fed beef burgers, organic frozen fruit and veggies, Coconut oil, Love Beets, Hope Hummus (Not techincally "Paleo" but a great example of eating foods that work for you whether they are "Paleo" or not)
Obviously, these options require that you pay a little more for the convenience factor. So decide what works best for you! Do you have extra time to dedicate to planning and prepping? Or would you rather pay a few extra bucks so you can spend your weekends dancing, surfing, brunching, etc?
Myth #3 Paleo is just another diet
I'm gonna be super honest...when I first started eating Paleo, I told myself it was because my health was declining, and I felt like shit. This was true, but at the time I was still very stuck in the "diet" mentality, and my hope was that Paleo would finally be the answer to my personal war with food. At first, I treated Paleo like it was "just another diet" (albeit a waaaaay healthier version of what I was previously eating) but I made sure I counted every calorie and didn't eat too much fat.
Despite treating it as "just another diet", some crazy shit started happening after only a few short months. My acid reflux went away, my bloating decreased, my hair stopped falling out, and my depression nearly vanished. I even put on some muscle that I had lost (yay for nutrients) and actually stopped obsessing about my body so much. (Improving mental health is one of the GREATEST benefits of a paleo diet, in my opinion)
This is not to say that I didn't do a lot of work around mindset as well, but I do believe that being properly nourished was a key factor in my ability to do this.
As I started to obsess less about food and my body, I also become much less perfectionistic around my "Paleo diet" and started incorporating things that, although banned by the Paleo police, worked well for me and my body. (I.e: hummus, legumes, rice, gluten-free treats and the occasional tequila shot ;))
I also stopped viewing food as "good" or "bad" and simply started viewing certain things as more nutrient dense, or less nutrient dense. Both are totally fine, and I know that days or even weeks worth of less nutrient dense foods will always leave me craving more nutrient dense options, because...#balance.
For these reasons, modifying a Paleo style of eating to fit YOUR needs is the farthest thing from "just another diet." This truly requires a mindset shift, especially for those people who have been on the dieting bandwagon for many years.