Please Don’t Cut The Calories Too Low; Paleo Mistake #6
Every once in a while, I’ll get an inquiry for a plan that is lower in calories than the lowest download plan I offer, which is roughly 1,600 per day. I just received an email the other day, asking for a 1,200 calorie/day plan. Sounds rather 1950’s to me, not unlike the chart above.
Of course, my first response is always, ‘Why’? Generally speaking, 1,200 calories per day is pretty low, unless you’re:
- really, really short
- really inactive
So how can you tell how many calories you really need?
My favorite method is actually not the most scientific (that would involve going to an exercise physiology lab and having hard data collected which would enable the technician to give you a number).
What’s my recommendation, then?
Listen to your body. (Imagine that!)
Once you remove everything that’s not Paleo, and follow true Paleo as it’s intended, you’ll start to notice a better energy level, less, then no cravings, better sleep and better performance both mentally and physically.
If you serve yourself a lovely Paleo meal balanced with plenty of fresh veg, some wild protein, topped off with some healthy fat, then eat it and still feel a bit hungry when you’re done, simply give it 10-15 minutes. Have some water, relax and let the fact that you’ve just eaten have time to register.
Then, if you’re truly still hungry, have a bit more of every item in your meal, in order to maintain the Paleo macro nutrient ratio.
Sooner than later, you’ll begin to see what portion sizes you need, as well as what your personal eating interval needs to be.
Restricting calories, walking around lightheaded and dizzy and feeling irritable from not eating in a balanced fashion is not only not the way Paleo is meant to be applied, it’s simply not good for you.
Yes, there is a transition period to be expected when you’re new to Paleo, during which you may feel a little bit low-energy for a few days, but you need to eat. It’s not just about “taking out” (the grains, dairy and legumes), it’s also equally important to “add in” plenty of fresh veg, and protein and fat and some fruit.
Allowing yourself to walk around starving is not the idea.
Have the courage to let your body guide you. No one knows how you feel besides you!