I've been on a Paleo diet for almost 4 months now. By far, the Paleo diet has been the easiest to stick to. I've lost 17 lbs., have all sorts of energy, and just had the best lipid panel of my life. As many of you know, 90% of diets fail and according to what I have researched the Paleo diet is no exception when it comes to falling off the wagon. I really don't need to lose much more weight now. My goal is to build some more muscle and work on taking a few stubborn pounds off the old midsection. My fear is; will I be able to stick with this long term and if so what words of wisdom do the long term Paleo's have for me? I just want to make sure I can sustain this new way of life. I feel I'm in a real good place now and I want to keep it that way...
Yes, it is easy.
If you want some corn tortillas, eat 'em. If gluten doesn't wreck you have a piece of cake now and again.
The point is not perfection. I like the 90/10, 80/20 rule. I know that even though I'm trying to lose weight when Christmas comes around I'm gonna drink lots of Apple Cider (hard), eat lots of chocolate and love every second. January 1st I'll be back on it with no regrets.
It's just an unplanned lil cheat.
I'll say this...I ate a few pounds of cheese over Christmas last year, probably 20-30 truffles, a few cookies (gluten free) a bag of Pistachios, lots of rice and nut crackers and several large feast type meals with friends. At the end of the two week period I'd lost 1lb. So...YMMV
Yes, the paleo diet is sustainable. First, as @PhysiqueRescue said, we've been doing it for a while, it's only relatively very recently that we haven't. But beyond the that, let's think about the history of "diets". Diets in recent history (as long as I can remember) have always been about restricting "fatty" foods. The reason they always fail is that your body NEEDS fat to survive, so no matter how hard you try to restrict yourself, at some point your brain wins and you "give in" to "temptation" and quit the diet.
The paleo diet, on the other hand, cuts out the things that are physically addictive, but not necessary for life (sugars, grains, etc). So the transition is hard, and that's why you're probably thinking about sustainability. It's like a drug addict in rehab, you think you can't live without your fix. However, once you break those addictions, you will be properly nourishing your body, so you'll feel better and it'll be sustainable because all of the "allowed" foods on the "diet" provide you with everything you need.
Edited to add: I've been doing this 4 years with no "cheats" (I hate the word cheat, but I'll avoid the rant right now), and have no intention of ever quitting. I've never felt or performed better than I have eating paleo.
If you're in a good place now, keep doing what you're doing! I avoid all grains and tend not to look for substitutes, while my other half makes bread now and again, but he rarely gets to eat it as I keep him full on meat, veg and fruit! This is a totally sustainable way of life but don't obsess about it or think you can 'fail'.
Just do it!
I've only been at this for about 10 months. But for me, I have first hand knowledge about the physical and mental benefits of eating and living this way. I've done lots of diets, and the grey area always would get me confused, and lead me to cheating. With paleo-style it is easy, eat food that has not been processed. I've experienced the benefits of loosing weight, increased energy, better sleep...
I don't even really think about cheating, sure I drink beer and wine and not everything is grass-fed organic, but the real cheating I just don't think it's worth it. I'm much happier with how my body works now -- why risk it. Plus a medium-rare rib eye with asparagus hot off the grill is so much better than a cheap pizza.
I heard Jimmy Moore interview Mark Sisson about three years ago, and I've stuck with it. I'm not 8% body fat like some around here, but now I'm at a good healthy weight, and it's almost effortless.
Almost effortless. What I mean is that my addictions are broken. I see candy and I couldn't be less interested. I see bread and am not tempted in the least. I see a glass of tequila and soda and I drink it :-), but I'm moderate about it. I still do find that I begin to go off the rails at times. It can be short term, like when I go to a party where I'm starving and there's a gigantic supply of almonds and thirty minutes later I've eaten a pound and a half of them without even realizing it. Or it can be longer term, where I try a Christmas cookie one day, two the next, three the next, etc. But at this point I've learned to catch myself quickly and regroup and it's completely not a big deal. Almost effortless.
It did take a while to get to this point. Probably the first year I was paleo, there were any number of times where I went really off the rails and had to reign myself in after a week or two. That part was not "almost effortless". In fact, it took a lot of discipline. The next year was easier. This year really easy.
So my point is that though you'll probably encounter bumps, they'll be fewer and more manageable over time. This is in stark contrast to traditional dieting, where since you don't deal with the underlying hormonal issues, your body will just get hungrier and hungrier, so the bumps in the road get harder and harder to handle and as you point out 90% of the time it at some point becomes too much to bear.
I've been Paleo/Primal for a year and a half now, and I still love it! Coming off the damage of a grain-heavy 16 year stint of vegetarianism, I have a lot of gut healing to do. The diet/lifestyle is working for me. I feel better and haven't looked back. I'd says it's sustainable as long as you stay motivated and honest with yourself, and stick to it!
Paleodude, you are mixing up carbohydrate restriction and eating a paleo diet. The two may overlap but they don't have to.
I like to eat lower on the carb scale than many people but that is because I have found a level of them that makes me feel good. You do not have to restrict carbohydrates on this diet. It's helpful for you to test yourself to see if you have any carbohydrate intolerance, and if you do, you should determine the level of carbohydrates you should not exceed. If you do not have carbohydrate intolerance, than you don't have to restrict them and you can just eat all the paleo foods you like.
I have been eating this way for over a year. I have lost 30lbs and feel better than I ever have in my entire life, including childhood. What makes this diet sustainable for me is looking at my partner and seeing how sick he is eating like I used to and knowing that if I stay the course, I won't end up like him.
In the past, when I've dieted, I often thought about how I would eat this or that "when I lose the weight". I don't think that way any more. The way I'm eating today is the way I intend to eat always. I love what I eat and I feel great. I don't have any secret plans to start having regular servings of cake and cookies after I "lose the weight". I have a vague weight loss goal, but once I get there I just plan to see what happens, if it's possible to go lower I might. But otherwise I'll just stick to what I'm doing, perhaps tweaking when I decide I don't want anymore weightloss (but I have a feeling that my body will decide that on its own).
Paleodude, you've answered your own question:
"By far, the Paleo diet has been the easiest to stick to. I've lost 17 lbs., have all sorts of energy, and just had the best lipid panel of my life."
That is what makes this sustainable. Why would you want to go back to what you were eating and/or how you were living that didn't have you feeling this positive?
(And if it's just a matter of having a treat now and then because you just really love x, y, or z foods and want to indulge once in a while, you'll find differing opinions on that. Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with that, barring specific allergies or medical conditions, of course.)
The proof is in the pudding -- you feel great, you're dropping weight, and your health is improving, as indicated by non-subjective markers. Results are the best motivation and encouragement!