I suspect I'm going to end up cutting this Paleo experiment short. Not in an "I'm done, forget this, give me a cookie RIGHT NOW!" kind of way. Just perhaps halving it to two weeks, so I finish next Sunday evening. There are obviously plenty of reasons.
First, I feel pretty awful. Well, right now, as I sit on the couch, I feel fine. But when I start exerting, whether it's just walking my dog, or scaling more than one flight of stairs at a time, I feel dragged down immediately. I noticed it right away on my couple of elliptical workouts last week. And then, goodness, this weekend I tried to go for a run. I guess, technically, I succeeded, but whereas a week prior I had run 5.5 miles at a 9:14 pace and felt like I was flying, Saturday I ran 2.7 miles at a 9:20 pace and felt like I was dying. Granted, for part of that run, I had a 25mph headwind - but that means I had a 25mph tailwind for part of it too, and that honestly didn't feel much better. This isn't a real reason for quitting, because I expected this. Most people go through a "Paleo flu" period of a week or a month or so. I had a fairly high-carb diet before, so mine may be worse than average. So I can't really use this. But, you know, just noting. It sucks.
Second, I feel like I've already learned a lot. Through diet analyses, I've seen just how healthy this diet really can be. I've learned some tricks for using low-carb ingredients. I've learned that I should probably treat beans as a carb, and that pita chips and hummus is really just a carb-bomb snack. I've learned that apparently, inexplicably, after years of being a hater, I can now eat a banana straight. Even if I quit, I've already had great success in that I've gained knowledge from the experience.
But here's the kicker:
I hate it.
I hate it so, so much. I have spent pretty much every free waking minute thinking about what I'm going to eat next, or what I'm going to eat May 1. I spend too much time cooking. I spend too much time eating, because I'm hungry all the time. And it's interfering with my life. Like I said, my workouts have been stalled. I found myself crumbling the crust off a quiche and picking fruit out a parfait this weekend. I felt ridiculous. Keith and I have an important celebratory dinner we need to have soon, and waiting 'til May to do it makes it feel an awful lot less celebratory. Oh, hey!
I will now interrupt this blog post to inform you that, as of last night, I was matched to the OSF Saint Francis Dietetic Internship, not only a fantastic program in my hometown, but my first choice!
Steak and green beans with a juicy pear for dessert is not the celebratory dinner I have in mind.
And, anyway, I only made this commitment to myself. I'm only failing myself if I choose to alter it.
But the last argument, the "interfering with my life" bit, that really gets to me. It really rubs me the wrong way. Because you know what else interferes with your life? Food allergies. Going gluten-free for Celiac. Carb counting for diabetes. My clients will have to make these changes in their lives, and it will interfere and make things difficult, and they will not be saying, "Let's see if I can do this for a month!" or, "Yuck, I'm gonna stop this after two weeks." They're stuck with it for the rest of their lives.
I guess, when I think back, part of my reason for embarking on this experiment really was so I would have the experience of having new, challenging, and completely different limitations placed on my diet, so I could have a better grasp of what that challenge really entails. And I do - I have a much better grasp than I did a week ago. But I think halving the challenge cheapens it a little bit.
We'll see. I did stock up on enough Paleo foodstuffs to last way beyond next Sunday. At this point, though, I'm giving myself permission to reevaluate everything after two weeks and see if I want to continue, or possibly modify the challenge. Of course, I'll let you know!