My husband and I started on paleo/primal about two months ago and we've been about 90% compliant. For me, the entire motivation for this lifestyle has nothing to do with weight and everything to do with general health. I feel great on the diet and it makes tons of sense to us, so we're definitely on board. Also, my husband has high BP and high-ish cholesterol as well as a history of weight problems in his family (we're both 28 now). He carries a bit of extra weight around the mid-section (although he's in amazing cardio shape) but we were both worried about the future, so decided to nip his issues in the bud.
Anyway, on to my question. I've never (save for the few years I was on hormonal BCP) had an issue with weight. I'm 5'2" about 106 and I can eat basically whatever I want and my weight seems to stay steady with tiny fluctuations (which I now actually believe were due to water retention from carbs). I also tend to put on muscle pretty easily and have never had to work hard to get definition. Trust me, I'm not complaining about this!
But so much of the literature out there seems to be focused on weight loss and I haven't seen much guidance out there for paleo meal plans for a female with my body type and size. I work out 2-3 times a week with cardio and light weight lifting and sometimes yoga. Should I be targeting a certain number of calories per day? What about ratio of carbs and protein? What about full-fat dairy? I tolerate small amounts of dairy pretty well. Should I be eating less fat due to my size? More carbs or less?
Another issue I've run into is low BP. I'm usually about 100/60 (sometimes less) and when we started on paleo we cut out most all salt (because of my husband's issues with high BP). I started to notice pretty quickly that I was "seeing stars" and blacking out briefly every time I stood up. I read somewhere this is connected to salt intake, so I went back to liberally salting my food and haven't had an issue since. Is this a good fix for this though? Should I be worried about too much salt?
Just curious to know if there are any other petite ladies out there and what your paleo meal plans/caloric intake looks like? Just looking to compare notes!
I wasn't nearly as small as you when I started paleo (5'5, 125 pounds, 25 year old female), but I was certainly not looking to lose weight. I have settled at around 120 now, but that's mostly due to incorporating more HIIT, walking and heavy lifting into my routine instead of the chronic cardio I was used to.
Calorically, I didn't change at all. I'm like you in that when I was on SAD, I don't think I fluctuated more than five pounds in the past six or seven years. I tend to eat between 1600-2000 calories per day depending on my activity level and that allows me to maintain very well. I definitely eat higher carb than a lot of paleo folks, but I've learned that I do much better on moderate to high carb than on low carb (thanks to some failed experiments). I eat a good amount of eggs thanks to my backyard chickens, lots of grassfed beef, LOTS of veggies, sweet potatoes, some fruit, lots of good fats, and small amounts of white rice a few times a month. Raw milk cheese is a nice treat for me.
The short answer is that you just need to figure out what works best for you. The beauty of paleo is that it's endlessly customizable and there's no one-size-fits-all approach. If you can tolerate full fat (and raw, if you can access it) dairy, then go for it! If you perform best on high carb, carb it up! Try out some different things to find out what you feel best with.
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