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The One Reason Your New Year’s Resolution Should Be To Go Paleo (And When It Shouldn’t)

The One Reason Your New Year’s Resolution Should Be To Go Paleo (And When It Shouldn’t)

 

Let’s be very clear… this is a click-bait title. There isn’t really One Single Reason Your New Year’s Resolution Should Be to Go Paleo…

Choosing to follow a dietary approach is based entirely upon whether you feel you need to do something about the way you eat, your desire to change your intake or your the way your body feels, your motivation for shaking up your habits etc. etc. It shouldn’t really ever just arise because it’s New Year and you’re “supposed” to make resolutions…

So we wanted to do something slightly different to the usual “start this diet as part of your New Year’s “I’m going to do better this year” plan”…

When everyone else is flogging the latest diet plan, fitness regimen, nutritional approach…

Or when the “non-diet” advocates are getting ranty at the propaganda which vaguely (or overtly) suggests that no-one is good enough as they are, everyone has behaved appallingly (subjectively speaking, of course) over Christmas and weight-loss is the only thing that you should want for the New Year…

We thought we’d just pause for a minute and state a couple of things that should be obvious, but possibly aren’t, about the whole concept of making resolutions which have anything to do with your body, your weight, your health or your behaviour:

  1. No-one should be able to (or has the right to) shame you into changing your behaviour – not by commenting on your weight, your appearance, your ethical shopping habits (or otherwise), the upbringing of your children or for any other reason. Shame is not a great motivation… FOR ANYTHING – whether that shame is mediated by someone else or brought about by your own internal self-evaluation.
  2. New Years Resolutions don’t actually have to be all or nothing affairs. Instead of “This year I will …” , you can replace this with “This year I will make a concerted effort to…”, which neatly avoids you being marked on a success/fail metric. This helps because it stops the tendency to completely abandon something if you go slightly off-course.
  3. There isn’t a course anyway… so you can’t fall off it… there is only the direction you’re trying to move in. Straight lines are boring – feel free to deviate!
  4. No-one is marking you – you are in this for your own benefits and in your own world. If others are evaluating you (your worth, your merit, you as a person) based on your commitment to any changes that you said you wanted to make on January 1st, then you may need to assess whether they’re the best people to surround yourself with (see point 1).
  5. Getting healthy is as much about mindset as the food on your plate. We’ll take self-acceptance and lack of guilt and shame over any prescriptive diet any day – and if this means that you can’t attempt to follow a ‘way of eating’ because it throws you into spaces of guilt, shame, conflict and paranoia… then DON’T.

 

All of which bring us onto the people who should NOT make it their New Year’s Resolution to go Paleo:

 

  1. If you have failed a lot of other restrictive diets and are trying a new one (this time Paleo!) because you just want to lose weight and think that cutting out carbs is the way to go and that’s clearly what Paleo is… DON’T GO PALEO. (If this is you, read our Paleo Purpose, Macronutrients & Weight Loss Page)
  2. If you have a history of eating disorders which you have not sought help for and are switching to Paleo because you think this legitimises your food restrictions… DON’T GO PALEO. (If this is you, reach out to us for help and we will offer you the assistance and direction you need if you would like to make this your year for change)
  3. If you are an ethical Vegan, DON’T GO PALEO – because this diet is tough to do if you’re a vegan, and we may recommend some broader reading first to help you understand a different way of thinking about food and nutrition – such as our Deeper Science article here, or Chris Kresser’s article here, check out the host of information on Chris Kresser’s overview of rebuttals to the “What the Health” “documentary”, or the latest offering from Diana Rodgers on Kale vs. Cow here – and join in the crowdfunding for this campaign here
  4. If you have tried Paleo before and done it accurately but still feel rubbish or unwell. If this is the case there is no point in just “Paleo-ing” harder… you may need some further assistance, a different approach, or some professional help. If this is you – reach out to us today and we will be happy to point you in the direction of getting that help.
  5. If you feel like controlling the food you/your family eats is the only way you are going to be/become/stay healthy and safe – then Paleo might be a good choice. But it is not a panacea and it is not a guarantee. Food and nutrition is one tool – of many – that influence health outcomes. Invest in your nutrition, certainly – but be sure to pay good attention to the mindset, attitude, lifestyle, emotional fulfilment and socialisation parts too. Health does not come through controlling all the variables – it comes through fulfilment and senses of wellbeing. Nutrition is just one thing that provides such a sense – and there are others.

 

For Everyone Else…

 

So if none of the above describe you… why should you make going Paleo your New Year’s Resolution? Well, we tried to come up with some perhaps unexpected reasons that might intrigue people… but they were neither amusing nor particularly compelling. We’re not here to convince anyone and we highly suspect that if you’re reading this then you are either already pretty sold on the whole Paleo idea or you’re at least pretty sure of why you would or would not go this way.

 

So the One Single Reason that we could find in our collective brains that made total sense for why your New Year’s Resolution might want to be to go Paleo is…

(and it’s nothing to do with weight or body or health or anything…)

BECAUSE IT IS AN EXPERIMENT WORTH TRYING…

No guarantees, no goals, no end results, no ‘perfection’, nothing that you’re aiming for…

But just because the investigative journey and what you will come to learn about yourself, your body and the nutritional landscape whilst you attempt to follow Paleo will be absolutely worth it.

 

 

It might (stressing the ‘might’) just be the best thing you’ve ever done… and even if it’s NOT quite a perfect nutritional approach for you, if you do Paleo in the way we recommend here on Paleo In The UK you will LEARN an enormous amount – about yourself, your body, about nutrient-density, about foods, about cooking, about sourcing great foodstuffs, about animal husbandry, about your local food suppliers, about your local farmers and butchers. You’ll discover creativity and inventiveness because you’ll be cooking from scratch. You’ll be working on time management (because you’ll be cooking from scratch!). You’ll likely be saving money because you’ll find ways to use up ingredients you would previously have thrown away, you’ll eat much more of an animal than you ever have before and you’ll realise that there’s more to food and flavour than what your palate has been used to.

 

You may hate it. But then again… how will you know if you don’t try?

 

If you saw our recent Instagram post you’ll know that we became very jaded towards the end of 2017 with the nutritional in-fighting and the diet debates. No matter what side you were on there was some horrific mud-slinging. And no-one wanted to back down – criticism of lack of evidence, experience, data, trials or a PhD was met with vitriol from people with all those qualifications who stated that they didn’t think certain diets were healthy (but failed to cite evidence to back that up either). Then there were the well qualified who slammed certain diets but in their comments about said diets demonstrated a complete ignorance of what those diets were actually about. It was tiring, senseless – and it just confused anyone who stayed around long enough to listen.

So this New Year, instead of listening to endless promotional campaigns in January which flog you certain approaches to health, fitness, weight loss and eating… and instead of committing to a diet, or a weight goal, or a weight-loss goal, or a body shape/physique, or an “I just want to be a bit healthier” ambition…

 

We want to recommend that you just commit to ONE thing: SELF-EXPERIMENTATION.

 

Paleo may or may not be something that is right for you. But we want everyone to become their own ‘n of 1’ and actually work that out for themselves! The beauty of Paleo is that in the process of paying this much attention to your nutrition, cooking, lifestyle, stress and exercise… well it’s a journey that really helps you to tune into to what suits you and what doesn’t. That journey of self-discovery is one that we are privileged to be able to take in our relatively civilised, Western affluence. Our recommendation isn’t promoting being (and staying) Paleo. What we’re recommending is that you experiment to see if focusing for a while on nutrient-density and lowering inflammation is a strategy that can work for you, in your life. And the only way you’re going to know this is not by having a twitter war with a Vegan dietician or a Ketosis-for-Cancer advocate…

Instead – try it for yourself. Commit not to a diet with a target end result, not to a time limit and not to a guilt-motivated “I regret my Christmas indulgences” diet. Instead, make a commitment to understanding how your body feels when you cut out some of the more processed, nutrient-poor foods in the Western Diet. Include tons of veggies and nutrient-filled foods. And see how you feel. Armed with your own personal data bank of information about how you feel (not whether you’re eating what the latest celeb is eating) you will be empowered to make your own decision about whether this way of eating is right for you.

 

And ultimately, whether you try Paleo or not, we want to say cheers to a 2018 which is less opinionated, less aggravation-filled, more self-reflective and respects the sovereignty of the individual and their own, independent decision making… (ah well, we can dream, can’t we?!)

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