You make thousands of small decisions every day.
And if they aren’t in sync with your paleo goals, you have a problem. You don’t make progress, and worse, you get depressed and down on yourself.
A key thing to changing your habits is to do something different.
Pretty obvious when it’s spelled out, huh?
But in order to do something different, we have to know what to do. And then do them.
I systematically analyze my own behavior and have amassed a collection of hundreds of small tactics I utilize to keep me showing up on the paleo path.
Here are 56 of them.
Strategies for you to manage yourself…
1. Know whether you are an abstainer or a moderator. Will one bite lead to eating the whole dessert?
2. Identify your trigger foods. These are the foods that you can’t control once you’ve taken a couple of bites.
3. Normalize paleo in your life. Surround yourself with it as much as possible. Foods, people, books, lifestyle.
4. Gather a support group. Find a buddy, preferably in real life but if not, online.
5. Educate yourself – keep reading paleo blogs, books, etc.
6. Keep your paleo secret to yourself. Don’t evangelize.
7. Learn these words and say them often. ‘No. Thank you.’ You’ll get better and more confident with practice.
8. Thank the cook. No matter what food is cooked. Keep respect as a core value in your relationships.
9. Don’t beat yourself up when you have a fail. Even if it’s a massive one.
10. Don’t just get up and carry on either. Relive the experience, identify the trigger point and strategize to avoid it happening next time.
11. Take a different route to avoid paleo pitfalls. Avoid your co-workers candy bowl, the fast food places on the way to work, the staff kitchen by going a different way round.
12. Develop an attitude of progress not perfection. Are you doing better than a month or a year ago? Take a long-term view.
13. Be a warrior. Every time you walk into a situation, assess the danger. Do this first.
14. Work out your options. Be prepared with strategies to defend your food boundaries.
15. Avoid computer screens for the last hour before bedtime. Turn off the lights and read by torchlight to help the production of melatonin that will help you sleep.
16. Be confident in your choices. Don’t complain, explain, or apologize.
17. To beat inertia, set yourself a ridiculously easy goal. Procrastinating on making dinner? Get out the recipe book. Working too hard? Play for five minutes. Something small to get you started. Try it. You’ll see.
18. Find something to measure your progress. Test results, a piece of clothing, reps.
19. Choose a measurement that reflects your goal. If you want to get stronger, track weight or reps. If you want to lower the amount of insulin you need to take, monitor that.
20. Toss the scale. If the scale sabotages you or makes you feel bad, toss it or make it inaccessible. It is an unreliable measurement of progress, anyway.
21. Weigh yourself daily. When you are at maintenance or it doesn’t make you feel bad, keep weighing. The scale can act as an early warning system if bad habits start to creep back in.
22. If your goal is to get smaller, measure weekly.
23. Find other reinforcement strategies. Keep a food journal, try on an item of clothing you want to fit in again, maintain checklists of your workouts. Whatever works for you to track your progress and make you feel proud.
24. Find as many two-fers as possible. Exercise with a facemask on, walk with a friend, find a physical activity the whole family can enjoy, moisturize with coconut oil.
25. Take baby steps.
26. Pin reminders to your fridge.
27. Focus where you have the most control. You. Manage your own eating behaviors before worrying about anyone else’s.
28. Experiment with living without modern conveniences for a day or even hour. See what it’s like and what you learn. I tried it for 5 days once.
29. Record your favorite TV programs and fast forward through the ads to avoid ones for restaurants and food. And definitely don’t watch the Food Network except under carefully controlled (paleo) circumstances!
30. If you can’t control it, don’t buy it.
Strategies to help you deal with other people
31. Watch nature programs with your family. Discuss what you’re watching, the food chain, the animal behaviors, the different terrain. Get them interested in the world as it works naturally.
32. Teach your kids to cook (paleo, of course!) As someone who could barely boil an egg when she left home and spent 25 years playing catchup, I can attest to the usefulness of that.
33. Grow seeds with your kids. Any kind. Just get them involved in the dirt. This is probably a fiver-fer – exercise, play, education, bonding, and food if you grow vegetables!
34. When someone asks, say you eat ‘meat and veg.’ No-one argues with that.
35. Make your home paleo-friendly for visiting non-paleos. Have a sweet paleo(ish) snack available for when kids (or adults, for that matter) come over. I batch cook pumpkin muffins or banana bread and store them in the outside freezer.
36. If you and your spouse are having fights over paleo, you have problems beyond paleo. Address the underlying issues. Don’t make paleo the excuse.
37. Be polite. If Auntie May has baked your favorite apple pie, please eat it. It is the kind thing to do.
38. But if you will come down with some massive allergic reaction or similar, don’t. Know your priorities. Your health is more important than Auntie’s disappointment.
39. Ask for what you want. Ask that coffee room leftovers don’t get brought home. Or chocolates from that overseas business trip. Say you’d prefer a scarf or flowers, or simply nothing. Tell him you’d rather have a kiss.
40. Eat your child’s offering of love. Go on. Eat it. Sometimes there are more important things than your waistline. Or focus on his effort, make a big fuss of him, take a photo of his creation, put it on display.
41. If someone shows a respectful interest in your lifestyle, pace them. Don’t be over-zealous (hard I know, we’re starving, if not for food, for validation.) Answer their questions and offer to be available for further discussion. Let them take the lead.
42. Be respectful to others who don’t lead the paleo lifestyle. Their choice is their choice. As is yours.
43. Don’t attend every argument you’re invited to. It raises stress levels and if it’s about eating paleo, it won’t help. At all.
44. Understand that others around you go through a transition too when you go paleo. Be gentle with them.
45. Brainstorm creative solutions to paleo/non-paleo problems. Aim for a win-win situation. Have the sauce with vegetables while he has it with pasta. That kind of thing.
46. Don’t enable non-paleo eating. Don’t buy the food, don’t cook the food. Explain others can eat it but they have to get it themselves. From dirt, or more likely the store, to dinner.
47. Send ahead. Let people know what you do and don’t eat.
48. But don’t make a big deal out of it. Don’t stress your hosts.
49. Remember you control less and less of what your kid eats (and does) as they get older.
50. Lead by example but accept everyone’s rights.
51. Don’t automatically assume your child will follow your lifestyle as they get older.
52. Know that teens and pre-teens have many developmental tasks to work through. And following your eating practices is not one of them.
53. Decide where you will draw the line with eating non-paleo in your family. Will you cook separate meals? Eat off-paleo when outside the home? How will you handle celebrations? Brainstorm together and come up with a line that everyone is happy with.
54. Make a donation to the sweet little girls’s Girl Scouts troop. When she comes to your door selling cookies instead of buying them, give her money either for her troop or for Operation Thin Mint or the Gift of Caring which sends the cookies to troops overseas.
55. Thank people who are being respectful and considerate of your choices. Hug them if feel like it!
56. Don’t despair, know that ‘life’s a trip with bumps and dips.’ There will be times, perhaps extended times, when you will fall off the paleo wagon. In the words of Flylady, ‘start where you are.’ Baby steps, baby.
Paleo success is about behavior, not science or history
Being successful with Paleo takes work. But hey, that’s OK. It’s your life, your health, your body. Don’t they deserve some attention?
My advice? Take a long, hard look at your behaviors especially when you fail. Keep what’s working, invert the rest. Continue showing up on the paleo path and see success, one simple strategy at a time.
What works for you? Let us know in the comments.
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