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Newbie to Paleo... Questions on fat loss!

by (55)
Updated October 30, 2014 at 3:59 AM
Created February 26, 2012 at 7:35 PM

Hello! I just discovered the Paleo Diet within the past two days, and I have been doing a considerable amount of research on it. I found it while looking into the Wheat Belly diet, and I have been coming to like the ideas of the Paleo Diet the most. I feel sort of bombarded with information, though, and have a few questions!

First off, I am a 20 year old college student (aka I don't have a large amount of money that I can spend on food), I'm a female, and I am very active. I do HIIT (with bodyrock) usually about 4 days a week, 2 days a week I do about an hour of various things (either running, or intervals, etc), and once a week I do an hour and a half of Krav Maga. I am about 5'5" and 120 lbs, and I am definitely not looking to do some serious weight loss. My main goal is to get rid of some extra fat and tone up. I have some pretty good muscle definition, but I've hit a sort of plateau and stopped seeing results, so I have been trying to experiment with my diet so I can hopefully see some change. The thing is, I eat healthy usually (and by healthy I mean what I thought was healthy before, like big bowl of oatmeal in the morning etc) but I do like to give myself splurges a couple times a week (I'll go out to eat with friends and get something less than healthy). I am also a complete dessert addict. This is unlikely to change :) .

My first question is this: Will switching to a Mainly Paleo diet (like eliminating grains, eating more meat and vegetables, etc) still give me results if I am not perfect with it? Since I am not looking to lose much weight, just a little bit of fat, I don't feel like it is worth it for me to give up the things that I love doing (eating dessert, splurging on something "bad" with my friends). Will I actually GAIN weight if I try switching to Paleo most of the time?

My second question: Most of the stuff I have been reading says it's ok to eat stuff like nuts and coconut... I am a little worried that if I start to eat more of these I will actually gain weight. Is this likely to happen? Or am I just paranoid because I have been taught to avoid fats? How much of these things should I aim for, so I'm not getting too much of them?

Last one! : I eat a lot of fruit... is this likely to make me gain weight on this diet?

Any other tips on toning up on this diet would be greatly appreciated, as well as some cheaper options for food! Thanks so much, and sorry about the length!

00449518f8c762919823012518e19bf5
0 · September 07, 2013 at 1:28 AM

Remember, any thing worth while takes time

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e
1002 · April 13, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Nance, your answers are so wise and comforting to read. So appreciated!

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f
55 · February 28, 2012 at 12:13 PM

I'm definitely going to look into buying some high(ish) quality beef, because I am basically only eating fish right now. It's daunting to me how to cook it though, so thanks for the advice!

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f
55 · February 28, 2012 at 3:47 AM

I only had 1/2 a sweet potato, so my main source of veggies were spinach, a frozen mix of stir fry veggies (onions, broccoli, etc) and mushrooms. Are these considered high density/tubers? Thanks for the advice on the fruits, I will try to cut down on the sugary ones. I just had some grapes leftover and didn't want to throw them away! I think that I added too much fat in the form of coconut butter and nuts (walnuts and pecans). Should these be things I should limit also? Thanks!!!

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa
2417 · February 28, 2012 at 3:39 AM

I have been loving cooking up ground beef with some coconut aminos, garlic, fish sauce, maybe some lime juice, maybe some hot sauce, and dumping it on top of salad. Sometimes I go more Thai-ish, other times more Vietnamese, sometimes Mexican flavors. It's all about the condiments and seasoning. I get decent ground beef by waiting for the one day a week my local food coop marks down the meat for quick sale.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa
2417 · February 28, 2012 at 3:35 AM

Another sugar addict. You should see my baking closet. I've been gluten free for years and I still baked up a storm. But since I weaned myself off of the grains, I don't even really miss the cookies and cakes and such. I'm actually making about a pan of brownies a month and NOT FINISHING THEM. They're just kind of cloying and sweet, even though they're paleo-ized. So Ceebs42, guess my point is - maybe you'll surprise yourself. But if I was as lean as you, I'd expect to have less dramatic results.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · February 28, 2012 at 3:35 AM

I forgot to say, the purpose of starting with low-density foods is to moderate your appetite for the dense foods without having to weight and measure or feel deprived.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · February 28, 2012 at 3:34 AM

I try to start my meals with low-density foods--celery, leaf lettuce, romaine, etc. With the fruits, I'd say either the banana or grapes but not both--pair a high-sugar fruit with grapefruit or berries. I wouldn't limit veggies like cauliflower or asparagus but moderate portions are best for dense tubers like sweet potatoes. Don't worry about fat in meat, but you can definitely overdo added fats. I butter my veggies but I don't drown them, and I try to keep the olive oil on my salad a reasonable amount rather than dowsing them. Hope all that helps.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f
55 · February 28, 2012 at 3:11 AM

I actually did the intermittent fast today, where I "fasted" from 9pm-11am. It wasn't as bad as I had expected! I still managed to freak myself out on my food intake, however. :/

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · February 27, 2012 at 7:28 AM

@ceebs, the frequent hunger and light head will more than likely go away. I used to experience just the same thing before going paleo. I was also very grumpy when the hunger set in. What has worked best for me is high fat paleo.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · February 26, 2012 at 8:54 PM

@ceebs42, exactly! Those frequent cravings are normal for grain addiction. You can learn to distinguish between withdrawal cravings and true hunger. At the moment I go 40-44 hours between meals and I have no cravings at all. And no lags in energy either.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · February 26, 2012 at 8:52 PM

@gydle, it's NICE to be missed so thanks much--it's also great to feel (mentally) up to wade back into the action. :-))

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab
5043 · February 26, 2012 at 8:49 PM

There you are Nance. Welcome back.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f
20353 · February 26, 2012 at 8:45 PM

You are very welcome!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · February 26, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Good luck ceebs42- you don't have far to go.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f
55 · February 26, 2012 at 8:38 PM

I have read about Intermittent Fasting from seeing it in some Paleo blogs and such. I want to try it, I just am skeptical because I usually have to eat every couple hours or so, or I get really hungry and sometimes light headed. Maybe once I cut out grains that will go away. Thanks for the advice!

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f
55 · February 26, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Thanks, this was a very helpful link!

A97493548bc1daae6e477bfd66b593c8
120 · February 26, 2012 at 8:24 PM

Nance is right, make it fun and not regimented. When you cut out grains, sugar, dairy and refined carbs it won't take too long and you will lose cravings and hunger for processed treats. Believe me, I am a cookie monster and love nuts. I have not even desired a cookie in three months. I don't eat very many nuts now, just a couple of walnuts a day, usually in my lunch salad. You will love it and lean out the way you want.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f
55 · February 26, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Thanks! I will definitely look into Paleo desserts, and I am going to try to implement a lot more ground beef. I sort of cut that out before because I thought it was unhealthy!

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f
55 · February 26, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Thanks so much for the quick response and great advice! This helps a lot :)

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96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
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37187 · February 26, 2012 at 7:46 PM

Strict rule: have fun with this! That's actually pretty important. It's not supposed to be a new academic challenge or source of anxiety.

The good news: switching from an eating regimen high in processed foods/grains/sugars to one with only a few is likely to support the "leaning out" no matter which whole foods you eat.

Now, a dose of reality. Switching to an 80% whole foods diet (see what I did there? I left room for a few of your favorite foods/desserts) won't produce immediate results since you're pretty close to an optimal weight already. If you have any true gut issues and need to heal, 80% may not be enough to heal fully in a reasonable time.

I strongly believe in a relaxed, comfortable relationship with food. If you're thriving and you're in a weight-neutral or slow-loss mode that's perfect.

After a few months, you may find yourself less hungry for processed treats and more hungry for whole-food, "paleo-friendly" treats and that's a good thing.

If I were going to suggest you avoid 2 things completely it would be wheat and HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup.)

Regarding your fruit, some here on PH will recommend you ditch it--personally, I would ditch the lifestyle before I'd ditch fruit but I do try to average no more than 2 whole pieces (such as a banana and a grapefruit) per day and I rotate from week to week so I don't over-consume any one fruit.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · February 26, 2012 at 8:52 PM

@gydle, it's NICE to be missed so thanks much--it's also great to feel (mentally) up to wade back into the action. :-))

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f
55 · February 26, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Thanks so much for the quick response and great advice! This helps a lot :)

A97493548bc1daae6e477bfd66b593c8
120 · February 26, 2012 at 8:24 PM

Nance is right, make it fun and not regimented. When you cut out grains, sugar, dairy and refined carbs it won't take too long and you will lose cravings and hunger for processed treats. Believe me, I am a cookie monster and love nuts. I have not even desired a cookie in three months. I don't eat very many nuts now, just a couple of walnuts a day, usually in my lunch salad. You will love it and lean out the way you want.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab
5043 · February 26, 2012 at 8:49 PM

There you are Nance. Welcome back.

00449518f8c762919823012518e19bf5
0 · September 07, 2013 at 1:28 AM

Remember, any thing worth while takes time

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa
2417 · February 28, 2012 at 3:35 AM

Another sugar addict. You should see my baking closet. I've been gluten free for years and I still baked up a storm. But since I weaned myself off of the grains, I don't even really miss the cookies and cakes and such. I'm actually making about a pan of brownies a month and NOT FINISHING THEM. They're just kind of cloying and sweet, even though they're paleo-ized. So Ceebs42, guess my point is - maybe you'll surprise yourself. But if I was as lean as you, I'd expect to have less dramatic results.

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e
1002 · April 13, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Nance, your answers are so wise and comforting to read. So appreciated!

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f
4
20353 · February 26, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Start here:

http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

Do what is easy and skip/modify those things which are more difficult. There will be benifits to starting. You will want to add soem weight lifting. It won't bulk you up but it may be the thing you need to get to the next level.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f
55 · February 26, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Thanks, this was a very helpful link!

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f
20353 · February 26, 2012 at 8:45 PM

You are very welcome!

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f
1
55 · February 28, 2012 at 3:09 AM

So I am probably still overanalyzing this, but that's sort of my nature... So I have another question! :/

Today I stuck to all Paleo (Aside from the meat I ate, I don't think it was Paleo approved but when I run out of it I will buy some kind that is better). I tracked my foods online, and came up with these results:

1809 calories 141g carbs (30% of calories) 98g fat (49%) 75g protien (17%) 55g sugar (12%)

From what I was looking up, I should try to eat less carbs, more protein, a lot less sugar, and I'm not quite sure on the fat (I feel like that is really high!).

The thing is, I mainly got the sugar from fruits or veggies (I had no other carb source (I had a banana, a few grapes and a few blueberries ... and a half a sweet potato). I was very excited and thought I was doing so well by not having the Ben and Jerry's in the freezer (haha)... But looking at the high amount of sugar I still managed to consume, I am very frustrated.

Also, the main source of carbs I had was vegetables and the aforementioned fruit... I thought that veggies were more or less "unlimited," but according to the things I have been reading, I should push for 50-100g if I want to lose weight.

Tomorrow I am going to push for eating more meat, and hopefully get more protein. Do you recommend trying to cut down on some vegetables and limit my fruit even more (I only had about 2-2.5 servings today)? Should I try to cut down on fat?

Or do these numbers look OK for my goals (getting toned and losing a little bit of fat) and I am overanalyzing this like my pre-Paleo mindset thought I needed to?

Thanks in advance! :)

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · February 28, 2012 at 3:35 AM

I forgot to say, the purpose of starting with low-density foods is to moderate your appetite for the dense foods without having to weight and measure or feel deprived.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f
55 · February 28, 2012 at 3:47 AM

I only had 1/2 a sweet potato, so my main source of veggies were spinach, a frozen mix of stir fry veggies (onions, broccoli, etc) and mushrooms. Are these considered high density/tubers? Thanks for the advice on the fruits, I will try to cut down on the sugary ones. I just had some grapes leftover and didn't want to throw them away! I think that I added too much fat in the form of coconut butter and nuts (walnuts and pecans). Should these be things I should limit also? Thanks!!!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · February 28, 2012 at 3:34 AM

I try to start my meals with low-density foods--celery, leaf lettuce, romaine, etc. With the fruits, I'd say either the banana or grapes but not both--pair a high-sugar fruit with grapefruit or berries. I wouldn't limit veggies like cauliflower or asparagus but moderate portions are best for dense tubers like sweet potatoes. Don't worry about fat in meat, but you can definitely overdo added fats. I butter my veggies but I don't drown them, and I try to keep the olive oil on my salad a reasonable amount rather than dowsing them. Hope all that helps.

Cd94a899106115be390cf12816d30a25
1
80 · February 26, 2012 at 8:26 PM

I strongly recommend doing paleo. I have seen a lot of women in you same boat totally tone up after even just one month of following paleo. I have been pretty good paleo for about 8 months now and was also looking into toning up and found that some fasting also works for me and has helped me tone up a lot. Not to mention its great for someone on a budget and with a busy schedule. You can find more information about that on www.leangains.com. Hope this helps

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · February 26, 2012 at 8:54 PM

@ceebs42, exactly! Those frequent cravings are normal for grain addiction. You can learn to distinguish between withdrawal cravings and true hunger. At the moment I go 40-44 hours between meals and I have no cravings at all. And no lags in energy either.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f
55 · February 26, 2012 at 8:38 PM

I have read about Intermittent Fasting from seeing it in some Paleo blogs and such. I want to try it, I just am skeptical because I usually have to eat every couple hours or so, or I get really hungry and sometimes light headed. Maybe once I cut out grains that will go away. Thanks for the advice!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · February 27, 2012 at 7:28 AM

@ceebs, the frequent hunger and light head will more than likely go away. I used to experience just the same thing before going paleo. I was also very grumpy when the hunger set in. What has worked best for me is high fat paleo.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f
55 · February 28, 2012 at 3:11 AM

I actually did the intermittent fast today, where I "fasted" from 9pm-11am. It wasn't as bad as I had expected! I still managed to freak myself out on my food intake, however. :/

Dd5542e28e49547484ea4fc98afff83a
0
0 · January 28, 2014 at 7:06 AM

Nice to read all information. It is really awesome.

Paleo Diet

E765ddf54a176a0c6ad74ba9bcf200ff
0
0 · April 13, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Nice blog...I love Food Lovers Fat Loss Diet Plan since it helps to maintain my health while having all my favorite food,without any compromise and without any exercise doing. Have a blasting life, without any compromise in food,with Food Lovers Fat Loss program!!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
0
78422 · February 26, 2012 at 7:52 PM

If you have been eating fruits and desserts and are a healthy weight you can likely just scale that back a bit and get results.

Try to eat more 'Paleo approved' desserts with whipping cream and less with pie crusts and cakes.

A lot of things can be made with ground meats and they cost less than steaks and roasts. And liver and heart are also inexpensive options.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · February 26, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Good luck ceebs42- you don't have far to go.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f
55 · February 26, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Thanks! I will definitely look into Paleo desserts, and I am going to try to implement a lot more ground beef. I sort of cut that out before because I thought it was unhealthy!

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa
2417 · February 28, 2012 at 3:39 AM

I have been loving cooking up ground beef with some coconut aminos, garlic, fish sauce, maybe some lime juice, maybe some hot sauce, and dumping it on top of salad. Sometimes I go more Thai-ish, other times more Vietnamese, sometimes Mexican flavors. It's all about the condiments and seasoning. I get decent ground beef by waiting for the one day a week my local food coop marks down the meat for quick sale.

4aa8b1861f1a3bd881ba45d52462c81f
55 · February 28, 2012 at 12:13 PM

I'm definitely going to look into buying some high(ish) quality beef, because I am basically only eating fish right now. It's daunting to me how to cook it though, so thanks for the advice!

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