Monday, May 14, 2012

Why Do a "Paleo Challenge"?!

Seems like any time you google Paleo you get a bazillion links to gyms and blogs tracking people's experiences with a Paleo Challenge. Our box is even doing a Paleo Challenge: 6 weeks of clean eating for anyone who wants to submit a food diary to one of our coaches. Why do we bother to bug you about what you eat? Are we coaches trying to make you feel like shit? Do we think you need more "character" and so got together and devised this deprivation diet just to piss you off? Are we seeing just how much you'll let us get away with? Very simply put, you joined this gym in order to get healthy and we promised to give you the tools to do so.

Tool #1: Moving, has been addressed. Now comes Tool #2: Nutrition

Sometimes I wonder if you really understand the purpose of the challenge, of having to dedicate yourself to eating according to Paleo-food rules for four-six weeks. The idea is that we've all been on a junk food diet our entire lives. We really have NO clue how our bodies feel if it could be fueled by the purest fuel. This is our chance to find out. Cut out all the junk, see what happens. You have got absolutely NOTHING to lose and everything to gain.

Do you remember being young and being distinctly TOLD something like, "honey, the stove is hot." Words are nice and all but we didn't really KNOW the stove was hot till we touched it and got burned. Some learning needs to be experiential in order to sink in and make an impact. These Paleo Challenges are your learning experiences. All the testimonials in the world won't mean jack until you experience the goodness for yourself.

You know to eat vegetables, meat, some fruit, some nuts, some seeds. Already, if you're new to Paleo, you're starting to panic because that list looks awfully short. I assure you, it isn't! If potatoes, peas, carrots & the occasional leaf of iceburg sums up your knowledge of the produce department you have got ALOT to learn (hint: it's all good stuff). So you see this seemingly short list and start to panic and start to devise clever "paleo" alternatives. I can hear you musing, "there must be paleo-french toast, there must be."  It's similar to vegeterians eating soy-bologna sandwiches with vegenaise. Yup I'm sure you, at some point, thought it was funny that vegetarians eat things manufactured to resemble the very foods they strive to avoid, meat. Foods like Tofu-rkey, TVP "bologna" and other lunch meats made of soy & gluten, no-tuna salad and so on. So how is it any different for a Paleoterian to make meals out of Paleo-ified muffins, paleo-ifiedpastas and breads?

I've heard "because I miss those foods" as reasoning for eating this stuff each day. What is the point? What are you gaining by pretending? Think about it this way; isn't it hard to forget about eating cookies if you have your hand in the cookie jar? Carrots will never get a fair chance if you eat them always wishing they were pizza. You’re not about to throw your husband away because he isn’t Rich Froning right? So let’s be mature about this and not throw a fit about faux-bread not being on the menu J

The things I want the most for you to learn:
·         You CAN free yourself from your lifelong junk food diet & all the cravings if you dare to embrace Paleo completely.
·         The grass IS indeed greener (& not treated with RoundUp) on the Paleo side of the fence.

Take these six weeks and go unapologetically head first into eating Paleo and dare to be be the healthiest you've ever been. Don't eat clean just so you can feel better about an all out Cheat Day. Don't eat Paleo because you want to justify pizza and cake. Don't apply conventional ideas (ie: no fat is good fat) to your Paleo-challenge. Don't Paleo-ize foods to mimic junk food. Don't eat Paleo and wish you were eating "normal”. THIS is normal, eating PALEO is normal!

Bon appetit,


  1. Great article! My only question: Who the heck is Rich Froning?

  2. Very nice explanation of what can be gained from a Paleo challenge now and then.

  3. Thank you. What great advice. When one does start eating clean, it just tastes better.
    I still have a hard time not loving my dark chocolate. :)