Common Roadblocks to Living Paleo and How to Overcome Them

By Kellyann Petrucci, Melissa Joulwan, Patrick Flynn, Adriana Harlan

The roadblocks to a Paleo lifestyle are the frustrations you may go through when you know what you have to do but are apprehensive about accelerating. They’re the fears you have when you know change is closing in. They’re the stories you tell yourself that make eating Paleo difficult to endure.

The Paleo lifestyle is about you. It’s about changing your life for the better and saying good-bye to illness, weight gain, and fatigue. If there was ever a time when you needed to be in charge of what you allow yourself to buy into, it’s now.

“It’s just too hard”

Have you ever had to recover from surgery? Heal from a disease? Been through the treatment or recovery process with someone with cancer? Or tried to deal with a progressive disease that no one can diagnose, and you feel hopeless that you’ll ever return to “the real you” again? Now that’s hard. Real hard.

Don’t think of living Paleo as being hard but rather liberating! Finally, you’re getting a road map to a healthy you that actually works. For many, it means thinking differently, behaving differently, and changing a lot of patterns. Don’t let yourself think it’s too hard. Without question, you’re capable of living Paleo.

“I’m too busy; I don’t have time for this”

Preparing whole foods from scratch definitely takes some time. But when you face this roadblock, you have to be honest about your time and time management. Do you have time sucks throughout the day? You know, things you do that you can give up or do less of. TV and social media are big ones for most.

When you get down to the nitty-gritty of the matter, the issue is more about your organization than your time. Organize your time and your meals so eating Paleo isn’t a big deal. When you organize, you get in and out of the grocery store faster, make your meals faster, and don’t spend time fumbling around aimlessly.

The more access you have to real foods, the better you’ll feel and the more you’ll get done regardless of time crunches. Also, the more you practice Paleo meal planning, shopping, and food prep, the easier it will become.

“I’m not losing any weight”

If you’re eating a true Paleo diet, it’s nearly impossible for your weight not to shift. You’re introducing so many benefits to your health that your weight should naturally normalize. If you’re not getting results, it may be attributed to one of these causes:

  • Eating too much fruit, which contains fructose and creates an insulin response that causes your body to lay down fat.

  • Not getting enough sleep.

  • Not getting organized, which can lead to grabbing convenience foods or other non-Paleo options.

  • Expecting results too quickly.

  • Eating too many nuts or seeds. (A handful is plenty.)

  • Indulging too often in Paleo treats.

  • Skipping the fat; having the right quantities of fat (not too much, not too little!) actually helps you lose fat.

  • Not measuring your food properly. Make sure you know what a portion is and how it looks on your plate.

  • Falling into old eating habits.

  • Not managing stress.

“I feel like I can’t eat anything on this diet”

For almost every SAD (Standard American Diet) food, some kind of Paleo conversion exists, maybe not spot-on but close. The Paleo diet includes enough meats, vegetables, fruits, fats, nuts, and spices to make thousands of meals. Investigate your produce aisles and talk to your butcher or fishmonger. Get creative with pantry items. Consult cookbooks, websites, and chefs. Loads of resources and options are available within the Paleo framework.

Be patient, use references, step outside your comfort zone, get creative, and acquaint yourself with as many spices as you can to put some zing in your meals.

“My friends and family think I’ve gone mad”

Everyone wants support from family and friends. Some people will support you unconditionally. Others will give their support after they see you transform. But some people may despise your enthusiasm, efforts, or transformation and won’t give you an inch of support. Just be prepared for the different ways people may react and let yourself be okay with it. It’s about you and your health, anyway.

“I can’t afford to eat Paleo”

You can do Paleo on a budget. Having said that, if you’re used to buying nutritionally void, supersized junk foods and eating fast food a couple times a week, eating Paleo will cost a little more. In the long run, though, you end up spending money on the health care you will most certainly need in the future. Eating Paleo can be done on a budget and keep your engine going far longer and stronger than supersized French fries.

“I can’t find healthy meats or vegetables where I live”

You don’t have to have a gourmet grocer or Whole Foods nearby to eat Paleo. Eating Paleo doesn’t require following hyper-specific rules. You just need to find meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and some good oil. If you don’t have a Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or a gourmet grocer nearby, no big deal whatsoever.

In fact, the large national grocery chains, like Sam’s Club, Costco, and Wal-Mart, and any of your local grocery chains, farmers’ markets, CSAs, and local butcher shops have most of what you need. For some of the pantry items, like coconut oil or almond flour, you may have to seek out a natural foods store or an online source, but every year, conventional stores are expanding their stock to healthier, more natural foods.

“I don’t know how to cook”

Cooking Paleo is about the easiest way to prepare meals that you can possibly imagine. You’re working with basic foods, and you can access an overwhelming number of amazing resources to get started. The best part is you can create super nutritious, wonderfully easy dishes in a snap.