Progress, Not Perfection with Diet, Diabetes, and Paleo Living
I've been hesitant to share my experiences with the Paleo diet since my first (and last) Paleo post. Not because they've been negative (they've been very positive), but because *I* haven't been perfect. I had pizza and a beer Superbowl weekend. I've eaten ice-cream. And yes, put creamer in my coffee. I know it's silly to think I can never have these things again. As soon as I do that, I've already lost! As we all know, living with diabetes is tough enough without beating myself up for not being perfect about following a Paleo diet 24/7.
Thing is, I *have* followed a much healthier diet for many months. I've cut way back on my carbs, especially pastas, breads, sweets. I've been eating a lot of healthy salads and seafood and all that yummy good stuff. But I know myself. After nearly 25 years with Type 1 diabetes, I *still* remember what it felt like to have to go without so many of the things other kids were eating without worry. I still remember shamefully eating sweets in my room when no one was looking. Those feelings are with me still.
And as soon as someone (even myself) convinces me I shouldn't be eating something, I'm going to want to eat that thing. Even if I didn't really love it in the first place. It's just how my brain works sometimes. Tell me I can't have vegetables and I'll be craving salad and raw broccoli like never before. Tell me I can't have cheese and dairy and my Wisconsin roots begin to show, big time (don't even listen to me say "baaaag"). Tell me I can't have gluten or white flour and, well, suddenly I'm craving a turkey sandwich on white bread WITH mayo AND cheese for lunch. Ah, the joys of being human.
Here's are three things I really *like* about the Paleo lifestyle (I hesitate to call it a "diet"). This applies not just to Paleo, but to other "diets" that share some similarities (Atkins, Bernstein, or gluten-free, for example):
- I need less insulin and my bloodsugar is a lot more stable.
Actually, this one point is really a three-in-one win: LESS insulin (like half as much). FEWER high blood sugars. And fewer low bloodsugars. There is peace of mind and freedom that comes from this that I haven't felt consistently in a long time.
- I am rarely hungry.
I eat a lot of food this way, but it's whole foods. Lots of my favorite veggies. Healthy proteins. Salmon. Scallops. Chicken. Earthgrown stuff. It's filling. And healthy. And it makes me feel good.
- Weight loss
Even though I'm eating more, I'm consuming waaay fewer useless carbs and I have lost some weight. I'm no overnight sensation. The pounds are not melting away, but they're steadily coming off (which for me is a good thing).
I do let myself have treats and indulge in some non-Paleo foods at least once a week so I keep going without feeling like my life is too restrictive, but let's face it, no one ever got fat eating vegetables and drinking lots of water. I eat healthy fats and I still eat meat and burgers and steak, but a big bonus has been WANTING to opt for healthier choices instead of feeling forced. Lots of turkey burgers. Organic chicken. Grass-fed beef. You get the idea.
I'm not advocating everyone go Paleo or Primal or Gluten-Free or Low-Carb. I just know for myself that allowing myelf to try this Paleo lifestyle out without demanding perfection has been a positive step in the right direction. Once I stopped having to be "perfect" at it and allowed myself to be human and crave what I crave and planned for occassional treats and bumps in the road it became a lot more fun and a lot easier to embrace the fundamentals of moving in a healthier direction.
And I feel good about that.