If only it were easy to overhaul your lifetime eating habits….
This got me thinking about my own approach to going “Paleo”, which we’ll jump into in a minute.
Honestly, if you’re serious about adopting the Paleo way of eating, you need to be very systematic and methodical about transitioning away from typical western fare to eating Paleo meals.
Otherwise you’re simply taking the “yo-yo approach”: trying a bunch of different diets; losing a little weight and gaining it ALL back (plus some) when you fall off the wagon.
Today I’m going to show you a technique that almost guarantees that you transition successfully into eating Paleo meals.
Keep reading to learn more…
The Pyramid Technique: (Paleo Diet Meal Plans for Beginners )
Two years ago I was in my thirties and struggling with my weight like many others and just generally not feeling well.
That’s when I found out about the Paleo Diet and it piqued my interest. As I researched Paleo more, the diet just made sense to me and I decided to give it the old college try.
I wanted to get started; so I began to read various blogs, forums and articles. All of which focused on the end result; eat this and don’t eat that.
However, none of the items that I read told me (in detail) how to get from where I was (unhealthy diets and crazily overweight) to Paleo success.
To be brutally honest, the lack of guidance out there was insanely disappointing. So I decided to create my own path forward.
Over the years, I have worked hard, researched heavily and experimented even more with Paleo diets. After some trial and error, I have devised the ‘Pyramid Technique’ for the Paleo Diet, which has helped me adopt the Paleo diet in a better and faster way, and I am here to share this technique with you all. After executing ‘The Pyramid Technique’ successfully walked away from the standard American diet (SAD) and never looked back.
My weight came down 15 pounds (and I hadn’t even gone full Paleo, yet!!) in the 1st 30 days and this was just the beginning…
More importantly, I began to feel better. That constant bloated feeling – GONE. The sluggish feeling that I woke up with each morning – GONE.
As a nice bonus, the people around me started to notice that the Paleo meals were not only helping me decrease my weight; but improving my mood too.
I have to be honest; the pre-Paleo-me, was always in a sour mood. When you don’t feel good, it’s hard to be upbeat, you know what I mean?
The BEST part of all of this?
You can do the same thing for your health and your weight…even if you have tried and failed before, you must give it one more shot.
Let’s jump right into the details…
The 5-Steps, 5-Weeks of the “The Pyramid Technique” = Transition to Easy Paleo Meals, Weight Loss and a Healthier You
Here’s the deal;
There are 5 basic steps to the Pyramid Technique (to cover over the course of 5 weeks):
Step #1: Evaluate Current Eating Habits (prep week)
Step #2: Each week (4 weight losing weeks) select 1 non-Paleo food group to eliminate
Step #3: Perform a kitchen overhaul (for the food group selected in Step 2)
Step #4: Plan your meals for the week
Step #5: Rinse & Repeat until all non-Paleo food groups are eliminated
Here’s why this technique works so well (and what it has to do with a pyramid):
Have you ever tried to quit something or change a habit cold turkey? Only to relapse.
Of course you have…It’s human nature.
What you’re doing here to mitigate the risk of relapsing, is slowly and methodically removing foods from your diet, that are BAD for you. Week 1: You’re at the base of the pyramid with a lot of both unhealthy and healthy food available to you.
Each week you move further up the pyramid until you have successfully eliminated all the non-Paleo foods that don’t work for you and make your way to the peak, the ultimate top (where only the good stuff remains).
Once YOU are at the top of the pyramid eating easy Paleo meals without a 2nd thought and you’ve built healthy eating habits along the way.
Step #1: Evaluate Current Eating Habits
The first step on my journey to eating easy Paleo meals was to evaluate my eating habits at the time. How could I change my diet without knowing specifically what my trouble areas were?
This was one of the hardest steps, because I was forced to look at my food choices honestly without changing them.
So how did I perform an assessment of my diet?
It was easy (no, really it was EASY) – here’s how I did it…
I pulled out the old manila folder and labeled it ‘Food Assessment.’ Then I surfed the web, printed and completed a nutrition assessment like this one from Essential Nutrition.
Then I created a VERY basic food log, printed it out and threw it in my bag so I could fill it out while I was out and about.
Here’s what it looked like:
I carried the food log around for 1 week and filled it out as I ate. Once I was done, I reviewed it to determine my problem areas and which order I would eliminate the non-Paleo food groups.
If you’re interested, some of my takeaways from my personal food log were:
– Sugar made me happy. With many of my meals I was unhappy before and happy after I loaded up on sugar.
– Dairy, sugar and carbs dominated my meals; which led me to eliminate those food groups in the first.
– I was spending tons of money on eating unhealthy foods and this led me into feeling bad in general.
– I was not getting the essential nutrients (read – fruit and vegetables) that I should have been getting from my food.
– I was going too long between meals at times and not eating consistently, which drove me to many bad and possibly worst food choices, in many cases.
This food log was a true wake up call. I knew that I was not eating well, but seeing it in black & white, crystallized it for me and made the obvious much more clear. I knew I had to do better.
Step #2: Eliminate 1 Non-Paleo Food Group Weekly
So what does it really mean to eat Paleo?
Well, the ultimate goal of Paleo meals is to eliminate dairy, legumes, grains as well as refined sugar & processed foods from your diet, for good.
Note: I group the refined sugar and processed foods together because so many processed food have a high sugar content.
Using the Pyramid Technique I transitioned to Paleo meals by eliminating 1 group per week, which you can do too.
If you stick with your personal elimination plan; you’ll be eating easy Paleo meals by week 4.
And trust me; if I can do it, so can YOU!
You get to decide which food group you want to eliminate each week.
Here’s how you decide – Very simply, take a look at your food journal and identify your biggest trouble areas, BE very HONEST and start there.
As you can see in my completed food log above; my big problem was sugar. I think I had this in common with a BUNCH of people. I was consuming sweets at every chance I got and it had to stop if I was going to succeed.
Looking over my food journal – There it was in black and white…Sugar was a big culprit.
I dove right in and eliminated refined sugar and processed foods within my first week.
I did it by cooking my own meals using fresh ingredients and resisting the urge to add sugar to my morning tea or anything else.
I started on Sunday and I was down 3 pounds by Saturday.
Week 2 I got rid of dairy; it was actually pretty easy to switch over to almond milk and coconut milk for me, but the cheese cravings haunted me.
I powered through with sheer commitment and creating meals that I didn’t add cheese to normally. That was the week that I started to lose that perma-bloat feeling that constantly plagued me. Dairy was not my friend; so I was glad to see it go.
Freefromharm.org put together a nice guide for getting rid of dairy here. It doesn’t completely line up with all things that Paleo is about, but it gives some nice and more importantly healthier ideas for some great dairy hacks (even my beloved cheese).
By the end of week 2, I had eliminated both sugar and dairy.
I had dropped another 3.5 pounds and gave myself a pat on the back. This going ‘Paleo’ thing was really working for me.
Week 3 was grain week, ugh.
I found some basic Paleo approved staples and started building my meals around them. I created an infographic with the staples that were the basis of my easy Paleo meals, which you can view to the right:
Each day I chose a basic Paleo staple from the graphic, added a protein (such as seafood or chicken) and a vegetable and….
VOILA!…I had an easy Paleo meal.
Eliminating the grains took the remaining bloat away and whisked another 4 pounds away.
I’m not sure if you’re counting, but I was down 10.5 pounds at the end of week 3.
Week 4 I eliminated legumes. This wasn’t so hard considering I had embraced the Paleo staples as the base of my meals.
So at the end of week 4, I was a full-fledged, card carrying (there’s no real card to carry, lol) Paleo eater.
And another 4.5 pounds had melted away.
Many people asked me if I was exercising at this time and the answer was a resounding NO (although that has since changed). I was simply detoxing and getting rid of foods that weren’t serving me well.
My success was in my commitment to the Pyramid Technique.
Step #3: Kitchen and Pantry Overhaul
After you’ve selected a non-Paleo food group to remove, it’s time to clean house.
You probably have tons of foods in your refrigerator that aren’t Paleo meal approved.
It’s best to get rid of the items as you eliminate at the start of each week so you don’t “forget” and end up reaching for some crackers or staring at a box of cookies that’s too tempting to resist.
The kitchen overhaul was pretty challenging at first, but as the weeks went on and I got in the groove of removing things; it became easier to purge non-Paleo stuff.
Here’s how I did it….
I started with the freezer; most of the non-Paleo items in the deep freezer weren’t appetizing anyway. I ditched the frozen desserts, like ice cream or microwaveable cookies and meals.
Next came the refrigerator…
I threw out condiments, like salad dressings, ketchup, butter, cheese spreads and pasta sauces. As much as it pained me, I also got rid of the bread, cheese and milk.
The pantry was the toughest, but I did it.
The pantry usually houses the largest stock of non-Paleo foods since any food that doesn’t turn after a few days generally needs a lot of processing and preservatives.
I got rid of the cookies, pastas, rice, flour, sugars and cake mixes that I was storing in my pantry. Everything had to go.
I purged items each week based on what I was eliminating that week.
Step #4: Plan Your Meals
The more I focused on the foods that I could eat instead of the foods that I couldn’t eat; the easier going Paleo seemed.
Every Sunday I set aside 30 minutes and had a simple meal planning session for myself.
It was as simple as sitting down with a Paleo cookbook or surfing the best Paleo recipes on your favorite Paleo websites to create a list of the meals you’d like for the week.
Additionally, many Paleo websites will give you a week (or more) meal plan in exchange for your email address.
Most come with the recipes you’ll need to jumpstart your Paleo efforts. You can sign up for our 7 day meal plan here.
I included snacks on my list during my meal planning efforts.
There are plenty of easy Paleo snacks for you to enjoy on the go…
I tried fresh fruit, chopped veggies, boiled eggs, nuts and seeds. My fav was dried apple chips dipped in almond butter.
I found that pre-planning my meals reduced my food budget and the time I spent preparing meals during the week
Taking this approach also eased my Paleo anxiety, as I didn’t worry about or wonder what I was going to eat for dinner.I saved at least 5 hours per week by with my pre-planning efforts. I no longer wasted an hour each day just deciding what I was going to eat that evening. Additionally, I must have saved a minimum of $25 per week on my groceries because I was no longer buying items that I wasn’t eating. Those weekly savings added up to a whopping $100 per month. You can use an extra $100 per month, right? Of course, you can.
Step #5: Rinse & Repeat
Once you’ve spent a week flushing your system of one non-Paleo food group, start on another food group.
It’s best to introduce new foods into your diet to replace the foods you’re giving up on any given week.
If you’re giving up dairy, incorporate some nuts and meats into your diet that week. The healthy fats and protein in the nuts will help you forget about the fat in the dairy you might be missing.
The week you give up sugar and processed foods, chop up plenty of fruit for snacks. The sugar will help you forget about the sugar you’re missing from cookies and cakes, while the convenience of reaching for a container of fresh cut fruit will help you forget about the convenience of frozen foods or boxed foods.
A Paleo diet plan should help you maintain your new eating routine—not make it more difficult.
Amy Lost 11 Pounds in 30 Days with This Technique – So it doesn’t work just for me?
A few weeks ago I received the following email from Amy….
“I want to go on the Paleo Diet to get healthier and lose some weight, but I have no clue how to get started. I feel so overwhelmed. Any advice?”
– Thanks Amy
Needless to say, I have seen and heard this many times before in forums, blog comments and talking to friends (and friends of friends) as there is too little information about how exactly to adopt a Paleo diet.
Curious as to whether my Pyramid Technique would work for someone else; I reached out to Amy.
I gave Amy the rundown of The Pyramid Technique, she agreed to try it to see if the technique would work for her. She began her prep work in late December and began step 2 of the Pyramid technique on January 2nd.
I answered a few questions along the way via email and I followed up with her at the end of the 5 week period.
She reported GREAT results; here’s her feedback at the end of the process (in her own words):
“Hey there! I wanted to share my progress photos week by week of my first month of going Paleo. I feel great, my energy is steady, and I’ve lost 11 pounds! Paleo has been such a great lifestyle change and I can’t wait for many more months to come!
Thanks for your help.”
Not too shabby, if you ask me. Amy was also kind enough to send in a photo collage of her AWESOME Paleo weight loss. Check it out!
I spoke to Amy once again in March (about 4 or 5 weeks after the last photo) and she reports that she has not looked back. She’s Still All Paleo All the Time!
Now It’s Your Turn
I hope you can see the potential of The Pyramid Technique to help you accomplish your Paleo goals.
Yes, it takes hard work to do something great for yourself. However, you DESERVE it!
With this strategy you already know ahead of time that your hard work is going to pay off (unlike using the yo-yo strategy and hoping that something works).
Ready to get started?
Click the pyramid below and enter your email to download the Pyramid Technique 4 Week Meal Plan & Shopping List PDF.