Sunday, April 10, 2011

Different Goals Require Different Eating Approaches Part I

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photo courtesy of Norcal Strength & Conditioning (8 week Paleo Challenge)

Eating the way our bodies were designed to eat enables our digestive system to function properly and enhances vitamin and mineral absoprtion.

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photo courtesy of Norcal Strength & Conditioning (8week Paleo Challenge)

Although the focus on eating this way should not be on weight/fat loss and body composition, those are two inevitable improvements as we shift our priorities from processed, insulin-spiking foods like grains, legumes and refined sugars to lean meats, a variety of vegetables and healthy fats.

Everyone begins the same way, but once on board and transitioned through a 30-40 day cycle, our goals will differ from one person to the next, from one athlete to the other.  We all have differing needs which will require differing approaches.


This goal is basic in terms of what to eat.
  • 4-8oz. of lean meat (turkey, beef, chicken or seafood).
  • a varied selection of vegetables
  • avocado, olive oil for cold food prep, coconut oil for cooking, nuts and seeds
  • eat 3-4 meals in this fashion for a minimum of 30 days and for the first 30 days, eliminate what other people call "cheat meals", you will literally be cheating a crucial transition period.  Once you have finished the first 30 days, the "cheat meal" approach is entirely up to you.
  • limit fruit intake to 1-2 servings during the first 30 days and make berries/melons your fruit of choice.  This will retrain your metabolism to burn fat and make fat loss the most effective.
In future post:
Part II - Eating for Athletic Performance



  1. Is there a general rule of thumb or unwritten rule, per se, when it comes to how many carbs or how much fat to go with each meal? I know you mentioned Paleo isn't Zone, but I'm having a hard time straying from counting since I'd probably end up eating a lot more protein than carbs & fat and I don't know if that would be bad or not.

  2. Paleo shouldn't be about counting, weighing, measuring. The food is real, quality food that is not gut inflammatory and promotes mineral absorption. Therefore you should eat plenty of it.
    If you are having a difficult time not counting calories, check out my post "By the Numbers - A Daily Prescription". There are numerical formulas that you can follow.
    Your life will be less stressful and easier to deal with if you simply eat when you're hungry, keeping the protein atleast 3-4 oz., filling up rest of plate with veggies, using oils for food prep or eating some avocado or grabbing a handful of nuts.
    No muss no fuss. :)

  3. I've been reading and researching everything I can find on Paleo eating for almost a year, and I have to say I'm a little concerned about one main aspect: The before and after pictures of men are nothing short of amazing. They seem to go from muscled with a layer of fat to lean and long and ripped. However, the pictures I usually see of women aren't nearly as dramatic and they often lack the cut and defined look of the men, or furthermore, of some women I've seen who eat low-fat.

    Do you think this is the case? This is obviously just my impression, and I mean no insult to the women everywhere who've obviously achieved many gains. I just wonder if for women, a high fat diet somehow prohibits a lot of fat loss. (I could be just looking at all the wrong pictures, too!)

  4. There are SO many variables to before and after photos, it is certainly not objective to make assumptions or deductions just from the photos, if that makes sense.
    Each person that eats Paleo-style might have different goals and, hence might be eating differently than the next. One may be eating higher carb, higher fat or lower carb, higher fat, or lower fat, higher carb (when I say "lower fat", I certainly do NOT mean "low fat"!)...these variables also include protein as well! The training aspect of paleo folks can also have many variables. Top that off with the fact that men and women have different physical and biological functions to begin with and you have yourself a bag of mixed inputs and outputs.

    One thing is always the same with both men and women, however - Paleo works no matter how you slice and dice it. :)