4 weeks, strict Paleo and not an ounce lost. Seriously? Seriously.

by (20) Updated May 10, 2011 at 4:40 PM Created May 10, 2011 at 4:21 AM

I could REALLY use some help, Paleo friends! I am 33, 5'2, 125 lbs and used to be comfortably (not watching what I eat...) at about 118. I would exercise a bit, eat a little less and drop down to 115 easily. But in the last 8 or so months, I haven't been able to lose these 10 lbs by doing anything I used to (like hmm, eat less, exercise more...).

Then, I found Crossfit! Now, go 3-4x/week (LOVE LOVE LOVE this) and decided to go pretty strict Paleo 4 weeks ago. (The only non-strict items are caffeinated black coffee with 2 splenda packets and a splenda or two in a smoothie.) I love eating "clean" and don't feel the icky bloatiness of grains. I am averaging about 120g Protein, under 100g Carbs, and fats varied from 60g-100g and staying under 1300 calories. For the last week, I stayed under 50 carbs which put me right about 1100 calories... I AM having a bit of almond butter as a snack and little to NO fruit at all. But it's all accounted for in the food tracker.

I have literally not lost an ounce. NOT ONE OUNCE. According to the same metabolic scale, I haven't even lost an ounce of body fat.

And no, I didn't do measurements like I should have, BUT, my clothes aren't fitting any better and I'm not seeing any significant improvements in my naked self. ;) I am getting stronger though - yay! But I want to be leaner.

I get decent sleep 7-8 hours and it's not usually interrupted, so I don't feel like that's the problem.

On paper, it looks like I should be a fat burning MACHINE!!! But clearly, I'm not.

So... thoughts? Too much protein? Too many calories? Not enough calories? Splenda? Caffeine?

Oh one more thought, I'm supplementing with Trader Joe's soy protein (aack! I know! Soy!) for my morning smoothie before working out and having a Progenex whey protein shake after my WOD. BAD??? Terrible?

I'm SOOOOO FRUSTRATED! :::Shaking fists at heavens!:::

Any comments and suggestions will be extremely welcomed!

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17816 · May 10, 2011 at 4:34 AM

My first thought is cortisol issues from very low calorie diets + exercise. Does anyone agree that this post is telling of stress?

Soy and splenda...not paleo. Robb Wolf has mentioned many times that the artificial sweeteners are one major thingw that hold people back. Soy? Soy is highly goitrogenic. That means that it blocks iodine uptake in the thyroid (needed to make thyroid hormone and stimulate energy oxidation). If you are already eating an iodine-deficient diet you're going to cause yourself hypothyroid. Ensure plenty of iodine and get rid of the soy.

Micronutrients? Low calorie diets make you deficient in many nutrients if you don't supplement heavily. I suggest you join fitday or get chron o meter and track your nutrient intake. Supplement with what you might be missing.

It takes a while for leptin resistance (breakdown in energy-availability signaling. Major factor in fat accumulation) to heal, and that's with knowing how to fix it in the first place. My last point is to be patient and strive for health. Study what is healthy and do that. What is healthy? I'm sure you know a lot about what is healthy, well learn more. We're kidding ourselves if we think that we can maintain excellent body comp long-term without being optimally healthy.

1047 · May 10, 2011 at 4:41 AM

Absolutely you are under-eating. And as stabby already covered the soy - cut that out immediately. I'd stop using any liquid protein supplements, as they will all spike your insulin. Whey protein is not a good idea for trying to lose weight.

I'd also cut out the splenda, and I'd get your caffeine in pure form.

What kind of food are you getting your carbs from?

Make sure you're getting enough sleep - 7 is not generally enough. 8 is the bare minimum. Are you sleeping in a pitch black room? Not being woken by an alarm clock? Check out Lights Out by TS Wiley for more info on sleep.

Main problem, though, you're definitely under-eating. Losing the last couple pounds is rough. Everything has to be right on. Don't get discouraged, though, you shouldn't have any problems if you're willing to be diligent and fine-tune.

1609 · May 10, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Couple of things I noticed...and yeah, I think some (or all) of it's been covered =)

Crossfit is intense. You need to recover. Sleep at LEAST 8-9 hours a night, in a pitch black room. Eat to satiety, and don't worry about calories. At least, not for the beginning period. I would say that with your level of activity you aren't eating enough. Just strive for protein + veggies + cook in fat = awesomeness. I know that I at least go for 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight, but that's all I worry about as far as how much food to eat.

As far as the food, I would say you're not quite as strict as you say on the whole paleo thing. Soy is bad, as is the whey protein. Eat real food! I cut out the protein shakes and dropped 10 pounds nearly overnight. I'd say check the coffee intake just because of possible adrenal stuff, but that's just me. Definitely cut out the splenda too, it's viewed as sugar from your brain's standpoint. Also, excessive amounts of nuts can cause issues with omega-6 stuff. Also, if you're too low on carbs, you might have some issues there. You might try a sweet potato as part of your after workout meal and see how that goes.

I would also suggest reading Robb Wolf's "the paleo solution" appendix about supplements, and add stuff as needed. Have you done any omega 3 supp's to fix any omega 6/3 imbalance? You might want to talk to your doc about the thyroid stuff, since you mention that. Iodine works well, but if you have an actual deficiency in production you'll want a t3/t4 replacement.

Oh, and go buy a tape measure and do some measurements. Then you can tell if anything changed. A photo taken every 3-4 weeks can be helpful too.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

4073 · May 10, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Upvote for Stabby. Stepho, your posted question is me! I started CF after being paleo for approx a year. 39 f 142 lbs plenty of body fat to lose. I used to drop ten pounds just by diet alone and now I can't. Moral of the story: give it a little more time, on May 1st I had been doing CF for 60 days and all of a sudden 4 pounds gone :) Just be patient, you are surely gaining muscle.

I also supplement with 4000 vit D, natural calm at night and have worked up to 12.5 mg Lugol's solution (2 drops) over the last 75 days by following The Perfect Health Diet iodine recommendations (I started with 500 mcg).

15261 · May 10, 2011 at 1:40 PM

I try to keep it simple. I am no expert in these matters, but something that unfailingly causes me to start losing weight is to go very low carb or no carb. Try it for a week. It can be a bit uncomfortable/weird at first, but just suck it up and do it, and figure out how to make it delicious later.

It sounds like you love your smoothies, but if they are full of fruit and soy, you are probably consuming a lot of sugar and carbs.

Try something like:

Breakfast: 2 eggs plus something micronutrient-rich and very low in carbs and high in fat (i.e. blueberries and almonds with fresh whipped cream)

Lunch: Salad from a salad bar with only protein, fat, and non-starchy veg items, full-fat e.v. olive oil and vinegar for dressing.

Dinner: Meat and salad/veg with something with a lot of fat but no carbs

Figure out a menu like this with maybe 1500-1700 calories and stick to it religiously for a week.

When I eat like this I almost always end the week 4-5 pounds lighter, and I use this as a way to jump-start a new diet/exercise plan.

8753 · May 10, 2011 at 1:36 PM

I'd suggest making sure that no matter what your calories are (since they are low) to keep an eye on the fitday graph, I found (for me ) that if I am 55%+ fat, no more than 25% protein and around 25% carbs I am always in a state of ketosis (I use the stix).....no matter what my calories are (always under 2000)

I use whey protein (2tb) day to make a pancake for breakfast but everything else is pure foods. (no dairy or legumes, maybe 1/2 oz soaked dried nuts day).

466 · May 10, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Eat more, a lot more! Ditch the processed protein powders and shakes and eat MEAT. Grass fed if possible. Wild caught seafood is also good. Consider not counting calories. Eat all the GOOD food you want. I stop losing weight when I cut back to 3 BIG meals a day. It seems crazy but if my body isn't getting enough food and/or rest it does the cortisol thing. Miss a meal or catch a nighttime fire (I'm a fireman) and I will gain weight. Eat like a PIG and sleep through the night (especially after an intense workout) and I'll be 2-3lbs lighter in the morning. It's crazy but it works???

The smoothie is fine without the soy. Buy a bag of frozen fruit, put some in a blender with juice, fresh blueberries and a banana and mix until the desired consistency (too thick? add juice. too runny add frozen) Snack on raw nuts. Sleep more,in a cool DARK room. "Decent" doesn't cut it. Make sleep as big a priority as crossfit. Make sure you're not overdoing the crossfit: are you resting (stretching, rolling, yoga, massage) on the off days? GOOD! Are you doing some other sport/exercise on the off days? not so good.

300 · May 10, 2011 at 4:57 AM

Great answers already, so I'll just repeat them. Basically, you're doing CF (very intense) and not eating enough to fuel or sleeping enough to recover from it. Definitely read T.S. Wiley's Lights Out book, its a real eye opener. I'd also try to go down to about 60 max carbs a day, at least until you've leaned out.

To answer your question up there, iodine supplementation is standard 150mcg (thats *micro*grams) a day. I like to use the liquid kelp form in the dropper. four drops in a glass of water a day and done... one less pill to take! I got mine from WholeFoods and it's made by World Organic... there may be better on the internet, but this is the best i've found so far.

1025 · May 10, 2011 at 4:40 PM

Stop counting calories. If anything look at the percentages of food from macronutrients but don't worry about total calories. Eat if you're hungry, don't if you're not.

You found Crossfit 4 weeks ago? I would guess you're gaining muscle then. Stop using the scale - keep an eye on your pants/waste measurements. Are you getting enough sleep?

Besides, what does it matter what you weigh? How do you feel? How do you look? Also look into fasted training. I'm not an expert on that one, but there's plenty of info out there.

9983 · May 10, 2011 at 5:30 AM

This posting about plateau has a couple of subthreads on why people do not lose weight.


1064 · May 10, 2011 at 4:38 AM

Ditto to what Stabby said - he/she/it said it better than I could have. Thanks, Stabby

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