I think one of the hardest parts about the Paleo diet, is that whilst your body starts to understand when it is full and when it is hungry, your mind has been programmed to think we need 3 square meals a day or 6 mini-meals, or that we need to be eating at certain times or to a certain schedule.
Apart from the re-wiring that you have to do to unlearn that fats are bad, what are some ways people were able to train their brains not to think that just because it's lunch time they have to eat. I still think I have to eat according to the clock and it's programmed into me that I need breakfast/lunch/dinner...I know it's going to cause a bit of discomfort/anxiety to unlearn this process but did it come naturally to anyone? Or did you have to make a concerted effort to just learn to think differently? If so, how?
For me, and I know I'm not the only one, the biggest single change was experimenting with fasting. I was already open to different patterns from experiences in other cultures where there were just 2 main meals - before and after work out in the fields. Through that I also got used to eating a great variety of foods for breakfast, changing my fixed ideas about that meal forever. But it wasn't until I first started going a whole day without eating anything that I realised how enslaved we are to our upbringing.
In fairness I think things still developed naturally as my changing diet meant I wasn't driven to eat every few hours by either food addictions or low blood sugar or energy. It still took time, but I learned that I didn't need to eat if I wasn't hungry, and I learned to better understanded whether I was actually hungry at all. Longer fasts have since made the idea that I need to eat at any given time laughable to me. It's still difficult in some ways, because I try to eat according to my needs, but am not always in a position to do so if the timing doesn't work out (that's a big part of why people set regular mealtimes in the first place). But I've decided that the authentic thing to do is suffer a little and feel hungry until I can get food if necessary and am comfortable with that.
For me this was one of the most liberating things about this lifestyle. I can eat nothing for a meal, I can eat a monomeal (think just a steak, nothing else, or just broccoli, nothing else), or I can have a feast if I'm really hungray and in the mood to cook and eat. When you let go of the rules around "mealtime" and listen to what you really feel like eating, I think you satisfy what your body is looking for and you feel better for it.
The one thing I still hold to is the evening meal, for social reasons. It's the one time of day our family gathers together and that's important to me. But sometimes, if I'm not that hungry, I only eat a monomeal or a salad then, even when the others are eating a more "complete" meal.
At some point it just hits you that you are in charge of your own life, and you don't have to obey someone pounding on the table yelling "Eat! Eat! EAT!" I never liked that even when I was a kid and never heard of Paleo.
My advice from my own experience would be simply to not make a big deal about food anymore. At the bare minimum, eating a proper diet is what's necessary to keep our body running efficiently. That's it.
Treat it as an afterthought, almost like filling up your car with gas. Even though we all have to "re-fuel" to keep our vehicles running, nobody I know gets excited about going to the gas station.
I'm not saying food has to be boring, just keep it in perspective and don't let it dominate your life.
I have not eaten much fruit for the last decade on and off due to low carb. I have stayed away from potatoes and rice too. Previously I had done food combining and ate fruit by itself for about the first 5 hours of the day (including bananas.) My body responded great and I had great energy for lifting. I had no heartburn during that time either.
Lately I've felt liberated by the whole reward/vlc/safe starches discussion. I still have got a problem with rewarding foods intruding upon my paleo foods. I had rationalized before to...rely on low carb to curb my appetite so I don't have to rely on willpower.
However, fruit and potatoes...unlike their counterpart the Reese's Peanut Butter cup don't fulfill the reward "definition" of making me come back for more after I'm full. Chocolate calls to me like a forbidden mistress.
My strategy right now is to incorporate the safe starches and fruit in an effort to stay away from the cheetoe and the peanut butter cup. I hope it will work and I'm hoping to recapture some of that completely hydrated, energetic feeling I had years ago when I was food combining. I'm tracking/limiting my calories on fitday too. I've seen some people say calorie tracking is helpful if they are prone to food binge. I don't really binge but I do feel like the food takes a control over me--and then I eat too much of it. I'm still exploring that.
That is what I love about Paleo...real food is the base and then we are debating within that framework. And...I get my strawberries back. Yay!!!!!
I think what you are talking about could be akin to the smoker having to dissociate his or herself from the rituals of smoking, the smell of a cigarette, the physical sensation smoking. As opposed to separating themselves from nicotine.
This also butts up against the mind/body problem. How do you separate the habit of breakfast or lunch from being unable to access fat stores?
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