I would assume as Paleo dieters health comes first for most, but are any of you more concerned with looking great and maintaining decent health over being not as ripped/cut/lean and getting to optimal health. I guess i'm asking, does anyone here have a bodybuilder or superficial mindset? Of course this will be different for those with major gut problems allergies etc. who can't eat many non Paleo foods.
In the long term, looking good and being healthy are the same thing.
My experience suggests that health arrives first, while looking good naked arrives more slowly.
That said, looking good occurs in two ways: weight loss and muscle gain.
Losing weight can occur quickly. At 6ft I went from 200lb to 175lb in a few months. Though I stopped looking like the early stages of overweight, I certainly didn't look good naked.
Looking good naked takes longer. With steady strength training (531) for 10 months I've climbed back up to 192lb.
A combined 12 months in, and 2 weeks into Crossfit Football, I'm just now starting to see an athletic, muscular form emerge from an body that had been neglected and abused for 29 years.
I learned two unexpected things from this experience:
Some beginners might think that they merely want to lose weight. However, in my experience, one of the odd things about becoming thinner and healthier is that you start to crave or desire physical activity.
Humans are especially prone to overconfidence bias when it comes to estimating how long we expect weight loss and muscle gain to occur. These things take more time than we expect. The paradigm of diets or fixes doesn't make sense here given the required timelines. The right paradigm is one that entails a total and permanent shift. This is why the weight loss and diet buzzword lifestyle change has purchase. Interestingly, though, I probably would haver never gone paleo if I'd known this. I was expecting to look cut in 6 months - for once, being stupid and unrealistic was a good thing.
I started Paleo mainly because it just made sense to me after stumbling upon Mark's Daily Apple. And then when I tried it out and noticed an immediate improvement in my acne, I figured I did have underlying gluten problems that were causing some type of inflammation. Since then, I went from eating every 2-3 hours, to having two big meals a day and also doing IF and LC, and I had a horrible "wheat belly" before and have noticed that it has flattened out a little. Mind you, this is from very little exercise (some walking/hiking, some weight lifting, some bodyweight exercises but nothing that you would classify as high intensity) and so I'm figuring my flattened tummy has mostly to do with my diet. However, I have only been on Paleo for about 3 months so I'm definitely giving it more time to see more improvement. So adopting Paleo at first was about being healthy but now, it's shifting a bit towards looking good naked ;) But regardless of whether or not I get abs like Megan Fox, I'm learning to love my body no matter what it looks like.
For me, it's not so much "looking good naked" as much as "feeling good naked", and by that I mean not being bloated with gastric reflux, acne, etc. It's hard to head to bed at the end of the day when your stomach is swollen and you feel so gross. Though my appearance hasn't changed much since changing my diet- I am at a slightly higher weight than I was as an athlete, but I like the way I've filled out so my goal isn't to lose weight- I certainly feel better when I am naked, which goes a long way!
I used to be 25 lbs heavier and feel bloated and crappy every day. If forced to choose, I'd rather look the way I used to and feel how I do now, than look the way I do now, and feel the way I used to. Glad I don't have to choose though!
Naked. :) Or even just "strategically dressed". I want to be healthy, and as I am so unhealthy/overweight my naked appearance should improve with my health :).
But yeah, I want to look good naked.
For me, being healthy while also looking good is the awesomeness of paleo. I'm a model, and I need to stay trim. I used to do that through rigourous calorie counting, killing myself with endless cardio, and I was anything but healthy. Now I can maintain my figure without a stressful lifestyle.
HOWEVER - a lot of paleo/primal advocates also advocate programmes like CrossFit, and have slogans such as 'strong is the new skinny'. Now I do the occasional WOD, and I do not by any means say a bag of bones is the ideal figure. But I must limit any heavy lifting in order not to look bulky. I must stress that I am not saying crossfit women are 'bulky' in the same way that women on steroids in bodybuilding are; but they are still too muscular for me. I try to have a good strength to bodyweight ratio, and I can do a full pull-up, push-up, etc., but I still have to maintain a body frame which is much smaller than that of some women doing crossfit. Even if my job didn't depend on it, I wouldn't want to look that muscular, even if it's healthy. Call it vanity, but I'm just being honest about my personal view of aesthetics - for me. Just my opinion, feel free to disagree.
LOL LOL LOL
I'm a 64-year-old woman who started at least 70 pounds overweight, so forgive me for collapsing with laughter at your question.
In my mind, my overall goal is to go from hippo-to-rhino-to-bloodhound because there's no way my poor skin is going to shrink that much at my age. It can only do so much.
So, for me it's about health but I admit if I had found this lifestyle at 25 it might have been the mirror too. Clothes are my best friends these days and it's just nice to feel great and have tons of energy so I can live an active, playful life.
So if you're still young enough to LOOK good in a mirror, go for it!
I have to admit, I was really hoping that VLC Paleo with IF would be the thing that finally conquered the flab monster. It may very well turn out to be that, but if going by pounds is the metric, my progress is slow, about 5 pounds every 3 months. (clothing size, however, is a more charitable metric)
So instead I'm focusing on the health impacts, because they're more immediate: elimination of reflux, for example. Reduced severity of colds since I started supplementing Mg and K2. Consistent energy during the day, instead of the doldrums. Finally coming to understand that corn has no place in my diet, and having fewer lower GI issues as a result. There are more but these are the ones off the top of my head.
Then there's the faith I have that, even though I can't prove it, I'm doing the best that I can for longevity and good health into old age.
But yeah, I'm still hoping for abs someday. :)