One Doesn’t Work for All

This post is not about jeans.

Today I wanted to share a lesson I have learned recently. Well, actually, its sort of a lesson I keep having to relearn and remind myself about. This whole Paleo thing? Turns out its not so black and white, and it sure as heck is not a one size fits all approach.

Everyone knows I will endorse a Paleo lifestyle until the day I die. I owe so much to the lifestyle and I cannot begin to express the ways it has changed my life. But sometimes I worry about fitting into the ideal Paleo lifestyle and being perfect.

Yeah.

Since school has started up, my schedule has completely changed (you can read about how it gives me a weekly meltdown, here!). My classes are at night, and I usually get home between 9pm-10pm. Typically, this is my decompress time before going to bed around 10pm. Well, thanks to school, by the time I get home, my mind is racing and engaged and I need to wind down. So naturally, my bedtime is now somewhere around 12am. Therefore, I also wake up later than I am used to. I dont like this, but there is not anything I can really do about it. What was sticking out in my head and causing me so much stress was that I know how important it is to get enough sleep, but I also know how important it is to get the right hours. So, I was thinking since these hours are not my ideal hours, that they would derail my entire experience and throw me off track. I was also thinking, well, there go my stellar cortisol/melatonin levels!

I know the importance of sleep. So many people dont factor sleep into a healthy lifestyle. Big mistake, yall. When you sleep, you grow. You heal. You recuperate. Its good for you! Just like spinach and fat. My dear friend Pam helped (once again) to bring me back in touch with reality. She pointed out that everything else in my life is on point, and although I have changed my sleep hours, the more important thing is that I am getting enough sleep. So essentially, stop trying to mimic our hunter-gatherer ancestors and live by their sleep patterns. Life happens. I am a grad student, and a 10pm bedtime just isnt in the cards for me right now. And thats okay!

Aside from relating this lesson to sleep, I thought of other aspects of the Paleo lifestyle that I am, or have been trying to mimic and represent in my own life. Lets see. Well, theres the whole striving for fat loss thing (read about how I let go of the fat loss goal, here!). You see, there is no set template to achieve sustainable fat loss. I mean, sure, you can do the Paleo diet and follow the rules for a while and probably see some great results, but that really isnt encompassing the entire lifestyle. Its more than just a set list of rules to follow.

When people first begin implementing a Paleo lifestyle, you have no idea where they are coming from. Most likely, the Standard American Diet (aint it SAD?) is how they ate, and you have no idea how many times they have yo-yo dieted, and what sort of damage they have done to their bodies. Paleo is about a personalized journey seeking optimal health through basic nutrition and fitness. I think furthermore, it is tweaking the specifics around to suit your personal goals, while still incorporating the overall principles.

How does this all translate? Well, there are aspects of Paleo eating that work for some, and not for others. Check out the whole autoimmune protocol, for example. Not all Paleo food sits well with everyone. I had to give up avocado for a long time because it hurt my stomach, and you know what?. I have no idea why. I eliminated it for a while, and now I can eat it. (Dear, Great Fat Source: I am so glad you are back in my life! Never leave me again!) The point is, everyone is going to have variations on what sort of Paleo diet they eat. Someones level of activity may require that person to eat more carbohydrates than others (but dont go counting your macronutrients, seriously), and maybe others sleep schedule looks different from yours.

Its all okay.

Do the best you can, and listen to your body. You know, our bodies are pretty amazing, and if we stop to listen to them, they could tell us a lot. I mean, a lot! Dont sweat the small stuff, and do what works well for you. Do what makes you feel good. Ill tell you, after I let go of the perfect sleep hours thing and just recognized that I was allowing my body the sleep it needed, a lot of stress was released, and I felt 5 million times better.

To sum it up, Paleo looks different to everyone, which is cool, as long as youre not saying, I eat pizza and ice cream every day. Im so Paleo! Thats just silly, and I will punch you. Not really.Maybe.

As for me? I am going to work on being less literal and looking at the overall big picture. There, I bolded it. Now I really have to pull through! My reality is that school is a huge priority and I am working very hard. If that means I go to bed a little later, and sleep in later, cool. If that means I no longer lift 4x a week and can only make it 2x a week, cool. All I can do is manage my time in a healthy way. There is no template set in stone, and I have to remember that tweaks and changes are not necessarily bad, and they sure as heck dont mean Im weak.

I hope this helped anyone that may be struggling with similar issues.

Stay tuned and join me on my adventure!