Far and away the most popular New Years Resolution is that to lose weight. Most Americans tend to gorge themselves over the holidays. The thought process is simple. They say “It’s OK for me to have this extra ‘insert dessert of choice’ because come January 1 I’m going to start a diet and lose all the weight.
Part of the reason for the difficulty with maintaining any sort of diet is that they rely upon calorie restriction. Calorie restriction simply means that you eat less food than what your body is used to getting by on. It’s sounds completely logical, but there is something within every human being that works against this logic.
Our bodies are designed to survive. When we starve our bodies they go into conservation mode. This causes us to lose weight, but if you’re not eating the right kinds of foods, you’re going to lose the wrong kind of weight. And then once you’ve lost some weight and decide to start eating normally again guess what, you’re going to gain all that weight right back again.
At no other point in our history has food been so abundant. And if you take a quick look around you or at the statistics, the human race has never been fatter either. This stems from several circumstances. The first is an overabundance of food. The second is that so much of the food we eat is highly processed carbohydrates that our bodies don’t need.
Another problem with dieting is that most modern diets have you cut out the macro-nutrients your body needs to actually lose fat. Most diets tell you to cut out fat, eat more carbohydrates and proteins. That’s all well and good, but when you cut out fats, your body notices and it switches gears so that it can hold onto this energy source.
Why do our bodies hang onto fat when we diet? Fat is the most efficient source of natural energy that we can eat. Every gram of fat contains 9 calories. In contrast every gram of carbs and protein contain 4 calories. Our bodies instinctively hold onto this efficient fuel source when we restrict calories because it wants to conserve them until they are most needed.
If you’re pumping yourself full of carbohydrates, your body will use these first. On the flip side, if you eat a diet high in healthy fats such as coconut oil and nut butters, your body will see that it has an abundance of fat coming in. This in turn will cause your body to begin using your stored fat for energy.
This is where the Paleo diet comes into play. Unlike other diets, the Paleo diet refers to the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors. They ate whole foods. Meats, vegetables, tubers (sweet potatoes and parsnips), and nuts such as animal fat and nuts. Their diet consisted of very few carbohydrates. And as a result, they were very lean.
It also cuts out foods such as wheat and other grains, legumes, and dairy. All of these foods contain more carbohydrates than our bodies need to thrive. That’s not to say that you can’t have anything sweet however. There are some creative companies out there such as Gourmet Paleo, that have developed paleo chocolate chip cookies and other treats that adhere to the Paleo lifestyle. As with any treat, they should be eaten in moderation, but they won’t cause the same sugar spike you get from eating a few Oreo’s. These gluten free cookies are also available on Amazon.com. There are two varieties and you can find them here.
For more information check out gourmet-paleo.com. Check out this great video on paleo cookies.