At first, I decided to adhere to a diet that I had entitled, the "Don't Eat So Damn Much" diet. Inspired by the work of Martin Berkhan over at Leangains.com and Brad Pilon, author of "Eat Stop Eat," I decided to eat lunch and dinner five days per week, and just dinner on two days per week. It didn't start out as an Ancestral Diet per se (I ate plenty of non-paleo foods), but my carbohydrate totals each day were below 50g just as function of "less food."
Not Eating So Damn Much worked GREAT. Everything afterwards was just adjustment. For example, I found that increasing my protein intake kept me fuller for longer. Similarly, upping my saturated fat intake also kept me fuller for longer (thanks to Tom Naughton for teaching me that saturated fat is good for you).
Although I didn't specifically set out to limit my intake of carbohydrates in either variety or amount, they ended up as a minuscule part of my daily diet just because I was emphasizing protein and fat. Now, though, I realize that what I discovered through trial and error was what the Paleo and Ancestral Health crowd has been advising for years.
Nowadays, I won't eat any grains. Once per week or so, usually after a weight-lifting workout, I'll have some starchy veggies like potatoes or yams. I never get hungry before 1pm. I am a voracious drinker and find that whiskey does not cause the same water retention and ill feelings as beer. Plus, a dinner of steak, bacon, and whiskey is badass. Incidentally, that's one of the only good uses for grains: whiskey. Luckily we don't have to EAT grains; that's what animals are for.
Meet Jim Today.
The biggest challenge was finally letting go of all the BS that you hear from "experts." First, you don't need to eat every few hours; in fact, your body is VERY well equipped to function in the absence of food. Second, there is no such thing as an Essential Carbohydrate; your body is well equipped to function without them. Third, but really most important, natural fats are good for you; they do not cause heart disease.
The biggest challenge was ridding myself of the crippling GUILT of skipping meals, skipping carbohydrates, and eating delicious animal fat.
What advice (if any) would you give to someone interested in trying a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet? Were there any obstacles that you overcame that could help future dieters?
Don't treat this as a diet. All diets end. Therefore, when you get to the "end" of eating in this way, you'll go back to eating the way you used to. This is not a diet. This is a correction. This is how you eat now. Just like brushing your teeth, showering, putting your right foot into your pants first, stopping at stop signs, etc., this is not a temporary thing. Eating grains and other modern manufacturing marvels will no longer seem like a palatable option for you.
Also, be flexible. I still have coffee, whiskey, and other "non-Paleo-approved" things from time to time. Since this isn't a diet, I don't see it as cheating, and I don't feel the need to "atone" for anything. I just select meat and vegetables most of the time with some other stuff thrown in as a treat.