The Zone vs. Paleo Journey

Yesterday I wrote about how I found Paleo and why I still follow this way of eating. I’ve found that it’s truly a lifestyle and I love the way it makes me feel.

While it may have sounded like an all too easy transition to cut grains, gluten, and processed foods, I wanted to share a bit more about why I was miserable on The Zone (Enter The Zone: A Dietary Road map), how it affected me psychologically, and how I made the transition to Paleo.

When I read the book, and I mean I poured over the book and wanted to understand the science behind it, it made me believe on some level that the Zone might work for me. Blocks seemed to make sense and depending on your goal (gain, maintain, or lose) there was a formula for it.

So off I went to buy my groceries and meal prep for the upcoming week.

A few weeks into it I actually started to gain weight, didn’t want to finish all my food, and worse of all I was stressed out like crazy over every meal trying to figure out whether or not I had included all my blocks. Questions that swirled in my head included, “Is this too many blocks? Wait, that was 1 block not 2 right? Shoot, I couldn’t finish my lunch, should I eat it as a snack? But I don’t want to eat it as a snack…” and so on and on it went.

Surprise, Surprise, The Zone and I aren’t a match. At the time I didn’t realize I actually had a streak of perfectionism in me that would cause me to get anxious and feel shameful if I didn’t follow the diet to the T. And worst of all, I felt restricted to blocks! The way I looked at food was in blocks and it drove me nuts 🙁

Thankfully through more research via Dr. Google I found Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf. The way they described Paleo gave me my connection back to a deeper, wiser self that knew food was more than something to calculate via blocks (at least for me).

Finding Paleo helped to dial in my nutrition in the way that fit my everyday lifestyle and needs, and I want to note that it wasn’t an overnight transition. This change was a journey and with any big change in your lifestyle – especially if you have a background of strict dieting and from my experience perfectionism(!) – it’s easy to get carried away.

What I’ve come to realize is whether it’s paleo, raw, vegan, or fill in the blank, it all comes down to who you are, where you are in your life, how you like to apply new habits, and why you want to change. All important questions to ask yourself.

Paleo isn’t the magic bullet, YOU ARE.

It’s in recognizing what choices you want to make, it’s in recognizing what you have been through and where you want to be, it’s in recognizing where you are today, it’s recognizing your strengths and areas of growth, it’s in recognizing what to apply and what not to apply given where you are today, and most importantly it’s in recognizing that any change is a journey.

Ah yes, let’s talk about the journey. I’ve come a long way in realizing that everything is a journey and the beauty of the moment is what we will remember one far day when we look back at our lives.

Will we look back and cringe at how hard we wanted to make something change? Or will we look back and smile remembering the times we took to enjoy the progress, the small changes, and moments we took to play and enjoy life through it all?

So going back to the transition to Paleo… Yes, paleo was and still is awesome for me. No, it wasn’t an overnight transition.

If there’s anything I learned from this experience alone it’s that:

  • Change takes time
  • Enjoy the journey
  • Celebrate the small wins
  • It is critical to allow yourself room to fail
  • Make Paleo (or other lifestyle) fit YOUR needs.


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