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Paleo Diet Week 4: Celebrating Success and Preparing for What's Next

During the fourth week of your Paleo diet, you're probably feeling pretty excited, and you may experience some anxiety. How closely you follow the Paleo rules after this week is up to you.

Your body now is healed and your habits are reset, so you have an opportunity to decide how often you'll stray from "perfect Paleo," what your treats will be, and how you'll move forward with eating, exercise, and rest to create your optimal lifestyle.

That should be both exhilarating and, possibly, a little daunting, but you're up to it. After 30 days of clean eating, you're ready for just about anything.

What happens during the fourth week

Your body is probably feeling great right now. Insulin is rising and falling properly to manage your blood sugar, and your sleep is sound and restful, which adds up to consistent energy and mood throughout the day.

Now that you're comfortable eating Paleo foods, you're probably enjoying your meals more than ever. And you're probably also increasing your muscle mass, shedding body fat, and noticing that your clothes fit better than before.

You're on the threshold of your new Paleo lifestyle, and you can look forward to the benefits of the 30-Day Reset stretching far beyond this month, as long as you continue to treat yourself well. You can expect your high, consistent energy levels to continue, along with your upbeat, optimistic attitude.

Sleep will continue to be restful and restorative, and the glow of your skin, eyes, teeth, hair, and nails will make you look like a pampered celebrity.

At this point, it's even okay to hop on the scale if you're curious about weight loss, but remember that the scale doesn't indicate increased muscle or decreased body fat, so its numbers can be misleading. It's far better to judge your success against factors like how good you feel and how your clothing fits.

Tasks and assignments during Paleo week 4

The final week of the 30-Day Reset is all about preparing for what's next: your on-going Paleo lifestyle. Revisit your allies to make sure they're ready to act as your support system, expand your collection of Paleo recipes, and decide on your personal philosophy for the when-why-how-what of Paleo treats.

  • Gather your troops. During Week 2, you recruited allies to help you if you were tempted to stray from your Paleo path. Now is a great time to recharge your support system and remind them that you're about to make another tricky transition from the 30-Day Reset to living Paleo.

  • Make a meal plan. Now that you're free of the rules of the 30-Day Reset, you may be tempted to eat out more often or loosen up the "no non-Paleo foods in the house" rule. A meal plan for the week can help you avoid overdoing it on indulgences and help you make the behaviors of the last 30 days become lifelong habits.

    Plan which meals you'll eat in restaurants and when you may enjoy an occasional treat — write them on the calendar or in your journal — and stick to your plan.

  • Define your treats philosophy. Recognize the difference between a "cheat" and a "treat." You can indulge in treats so you feel good, mentally and physically.

  • Review your journal. If you keep a journal during your 30-Day Reset, you have a valuable weapon in your arsenal against backsliding into old habits. Go back to Week 1 and remember how lousy you felt at the start of the transition from sugar-burning to fat-burning.

    Relive the triumph of Weeks 2 and 3, when you started to feel energized and more motivated than ever. Nothing is a more powerful motivator than your own experience and recollections of your 30-Day Reset.

Troubleshooting Paleo challenges

When you've eaten strict Paleo for four full weeks, the transition to fat burning and Paleo living is almost complete, and you're probably telling yourself and others that you'll never go back to your old ways. But sometimes life throws curveballs, and good intentions are overwhelmed by everyday stresses and surprises. Here are a few tips to help you if you start to lose your way.

  • Not feeling the "magic:" A month of strict Paleo may not be enough for you to revamp lifelong eating patterns or heal systemic inflammation. That doesn't mean you've failed. Instead, it means you just need to dig in a little deeper and give your body — and your mind — more time to adapt to new Paleo habits.

    Consider extending your 30-Day Reset for an additional two weeks. Keep a journal and make it your mission to understand how your body works and how you can use the Paleo framework to reach your optimal health and well-being.

  • Too many treats: If you reach the end of your 30-Day Reset and "fall off the wagon," rest assured that you're not the first or only person to get free of the rules and go a little bit wild. The good news is that you can quickly, easily recover from indulging in too many treats; simply follow the rules of the 30-Day Reset for three to seven days.

    How long you need to do the mini reset depends on how you feel. You want to follow the strict Paleo rules — with no treats — until you feel healthy and balanced again. How do you know when you've had too many treats? Your body tells you, loud and clear!

    Digestive distress, blemishes, interrupted sleep, moodiness, and lethargy are all common symptoms when you overindulge in gluten, sugar, grains, dairy, and alcohol. The effects of eating too many non-Paleo foods are similar to a hangover and just as unpleasant. The fastest remedy? High-quality Paleo food, water, and rest.

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