I'm sure you've heard of the 80/20 rule. Make 80 per cent of your food intake super healthy, and you can have fun with the other 20 per cent. Your fun might be pizza, pasta or pinot (OK, maybe that's my fun). But what I learned over the course of my pre-wedding shred is that for serious results, you really have to tip the scales closer to 90% and sometimes even 95 per cent if you want to see results when you step on the scale. So I turned decided to try the Paleo Diet. Why? My boyfriend (I know, it's fiancé, but you can't get me to say it—would rather skip over it and go straight from BF to husband) started doing it when he joined CrossFit a few months ago. The CrossFit and Paleo community go hand-in-hand, so it was a natural fit; he makes most of my meals so I figured, why not? Everything's easier when you have a buddy. What appealed to me about the Paleo Diet:
- I met people who tried it, loved it and had great results beyond the scale. Things like improved sleep, focus and mood. One friend banished bloating and swelling for good.
- The diet is more of a lifestyle, with a heavy focus on eating REAL FOOD. Fruit, veggies, meats, nuts and seeds. No chemically-laden, pre-packaged grossness that we've all become addicted and accustomed to eating every day.
- There's no calorie counting, food charting or weighing, no portion control (and the latter is to a degree—you can't expect to eat a 32 oz steak every single night and see your jeans fall off) or any weird "must-eat" foods.
- There's an emphasis on health. You're eating less processed food, less sugar—less garbage, really. The whole idea that you can ward off a handful of diseases by eating better was equally as appealing as the vanity aspect; because yeah, I want to look good in my wedding dress but I'd also like to live a long and healthy life with my new husband.
- The initial cravings for sugar and wheat that took at least three weeks to subside. Severing the post-dinner sweet tradition was insanely difficult.
- The temptation of working extremely close to the Canadian Living Test Kitchen and smelling/seeing/hearing people discuss the most delicious food on the daily.
- Cutting dairy, particularly milk and cheese. I used to be a huge latte lover, and stripping down to black coffee was incredibly trying. I coped by ordered flavoured brews from Second Cup, like Belgian Chocolate, Caramelo and Butter Pecan.
- Prepping my food. Chopping became a monotonous chore.
- Finding "Paleo 'Propriate" foods to eat in restaurants, particularly when it came to ordering take out. I stuck to salmon sashimi and noodle soups with the noodles removed.