OK I've been Paleo/Primal for about 3 months, lost about 10lbs in the first 4-6 weeks and feel wonderful eating this way. Have another 30 to go to not be 'overweight'. Have been stuck on a plateau for 6 weeks but can't work out what to do to break it. Have tried a few things, as follows, but can't find one to work to break the plateau..
Still stalling. Scales haven't budged at all for some weeks.
I do 2-3 short resistance training sessions a week and 2 HIIT sessions. I want to get the eating right as I should be able to lose weight regardless of exercise activity.
What am I doing wrong?
I am 5ft4" weighing 173lbs. Typical day's food might be:
Breakfast 2 eggs (fried in coconut oil), 2 cups coffee (admittedly with some milk, it's the only dairy I have). I don't naturally like breakfast so the 2 egg breakfast feels MASSIVE for me - I think it would be a struggle to fit more in in the morning.
Lunch Tuna and salad - avocado included a couple of times a week. Dressing made with olive oil. Lots different veg mainly green eg. spinach, broccoli and some cabbage. Or instead I might have a prawn cocktail made with prawns plus tablespoon of mayo/ketchup/lemon juice with salad/lettuce. One cup of coffee with milk.
Chicken breast roasted with skin on, some salad or steamed veg. Or chicken soup with coconut milk and greens.
Drinking water all day. Red wine 2-3 nights a week.
IF and Mastering Leptin I tried IF for a few weeks, made me very cold (!) and I still didn't lose weight... Also, I found it hard not to eat loads when fast finished... AFter reading 'mastering leptin' I now make a point of eating regularly (3 meals a day with 5 hours in between, no snacks) - but not so good at the 3-4 hours clear before going to bed (I eat around 7-8 an and go to bed around 10). Take a good multivitamin and Omega 3s daily. I looked at the Dr Kruse option for Leptin resistance but was a bit skeptical to be honest. Tried it for about 10 days and put on weight and totally lost my bottle on that one, preferring to stick with the 'mastering leptin' version of events...
Has anyone been in this situation and successfully resolved the problem? Can anyone see the glaring mistakes I am making? Would cutting coffee milk really transform the problem? I don't think I am massively over-eating am I? I don't feel hungry with what I am eating either.
Suggestions please? I am willing to try anything but if I don't see success soon I am worried I will start to lose my bottle. Am trying to stay determined to make this work... Really grateful for any support you can offer. Thank you.
If you've read other threads, you probably know this but I want to make sure.
Albert Einstein said, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
From week to week, make sure you vary both what/how much you eat and what/how much you exercise. Eat more for a few days, including rich things as long you as tolerate them well, to see if that "unlocks" your metabolism for fat loss. I lost weight over the holidays even though I splurged on sugary things. Then, eat "normally" for a week or so and then eat a little less than usual for a few days to see what happens. If you've been exercising a lot, take a few days off and get lots of sleep.
IF shouldn't be as you described. It has to be natural and not forced. It should start by eating a LARGE satisfying meal and then you simply don't eat until you are good and hungry again. If the interval between the meal and hunger naturally grows longer, then you are IF-ing. If you're always hungry you're either suffering emotional cravings (stress) or IF isn't working for you right now.
BTW, feeling cold on the IR protocol can be a good sign as I understand it and lost fat is sometimes disguised for a while by water retention in the newly emptied adipose cells.
Your description sounds more like over-training and stress than a problem with your foods. I'd suggest just trying to relax and enjoy your life--getting lots of sleep--and see what happens. As a final note, I sincerely believe that after some amount of weight loss our bodies need to rest and stabilize before naturally releasing more fat. Too much intensity in forcing fat loss is a pretty good formula for rebounding the fat right back on. I have times when I lose fairly quickly and months when I don't really change at all and that's okay. Like you, I still have 25-30 to lose but I figure taking 6 months or so to do it would be about right if I want it to be gone forever.
Paleo is like a marriage. Being married is great, but you don't get all the benefits in the first few months or even years. At first it is heady and exciting, then it takes some perseverance. Pace your expectations.
Weight loss is ultimately about a calorie deficit. If you are eating 250 calories less a day, on paper that means you should lose 1 extra pound in 14 days (assuming 3,500 cal for a pound of fat). There are, however, powerful hormonal and physiologic mechanisms at play which result resistence to weight loss below a certain point. The farther you try to go, the more vigorous the resistence. Like pulling a balloon underwater.
These tips may help:
1)Exercise. Consider progressive resistence. That means writing down your workouts and adding weight or reps every single time. I also train fasted, but take 10gm of branched chain amino acids and 5gm of creatine 10 minutes prior to my session.
2) Sleep. Poor or inadequate sleep sabotages fat loss. Robb Wolf says you needs to sleep for at least 8 hours in pitch black dark.
3) IF. Sort of...I used to do IF and hated every freaking minute of it. I was cold, hungry, and felt hollowed out. Then I discovered Bulletproof Coffee (500ml of superb coffee beans mixed with 2-3 tablespoons of grass-fed butter and a table spoon of coconut oil, Truvia), and not eating has never been easier. Do not get me wrong. I am not saying that this is fasting. Heck, I am probably consuming 300+ calories in fat, but it works for me. Boundless energy, thermogenesis, mental clarity, and no hunger pangs. Go here for more info: http://www.bulletproofexec.com/how-to-make-your-coffee-bulletproof-and-your-morning-too/
4) Paleohacks. There are a ton of links related to this topic, so do some diggin and maybe you'll find something that really works best for you.
Or, it's the obvious. You may have a medical condition; low thyroid, estrogen imbalance, leaky gut, the list is endless. Before you beat yourself up and quit, go see a doctor and get a full set of labs. You may be enlightened.
Try a little bit longer on the leptin reset before you give up on it completely. Try it while also getting rid of common allergy foods may help. Most women on the reset haven't lost weight and have even gained by the end of 10 days. The fact that you were "very cold" on IF indicates that you are not an optimal fat-burner. You might look into Dr. Rosedale's plan to kickstart that process.
Try cutting out the coffee, at least the one at lunch. I can't remember where I was reading about adrenal glands and weight loss, but coffee can be a culprit in stalling weight loss because it stresses the adrenals, which somehow then prevent weight loss. Sorry for such a half-baked answer, but it's so late and I just wanted to give you something to go on.
I hit a similar plateau and recently broke through it while traveling, and lost 5 pounds in 5 days. Didn't realize it until I got home.
All week, I'd been eating a late breakfast and an early dinner, mostly eggs and steak, and some vegetables. Also, I started eating several teaspoons of coconut oil throughout the day, every day. This speeds up your metabolism.
If your forcing yourself to eat and your trying to lose weight. Fail.
There are a number of things you can do to restart your fat loss. Lift weights. Go for walks. Eat less. Have protein only days (which should be no weight lifting days), skipping breakfast (fasting 18/6), eliminating things like nuts or butters, dairy and or cream. Upping your veggie intake. Consuming paleo carbs post workout only. Doing PSMF once a week. Fasting once a week for most of the day (1 meal in evening 500 cals).
Try dropping the coffee and getting more sleep, sun (if possible) and Vitamin D.
You might move to something like this:
Breakfast 3 eggs hard boild or poached. Without the coffee / coconut oil you can eat more...
Lunch remove the oil, coffee and condiments. Stick with vinegar and lemon juice. Sub egg yolks for avocado.
Dinner: Keep the chicken breast and steamed broccoli. Drop the other option...
Additional step: you might try steamed broccoli in place of salad for lunch.
Hi - I think it's about balance. It sounds like you're doing everything very well - so if you want to have a coffee in the morning, have it. And if you're not so hungry, don't force yourself to eat something you don't enjoy. The key is to eat regularly so you don't get famished, and eat things you like within the parameters - around 50% protein with each meal, little/no fruit to accelerate weight loss. And if you're eating late at night, you probably aren't eating enough during the day to satisfy you physically or emotionally. It should not feel austere or it won't work.
Do you cook for yourself? I find the best breakfast is a small portion of meat/fish and veggies left over from the previous nights dinner - I like eggs but I get tired of them. And if you don't cook for yourself, you might consider it because restaurant food is going to be high in sugar and salt, both of which will prevent your metabolism from adjusting sufficiently.
I look at it this way... And I'm in a plateau, too. But I lost 12 pounds in 6 weeks. I'm paleo about 80% of the time and I drink coffee, red wine, and occasionally eat a bit of dark chocolate. I've been trying to lose weight counting calories, exercising, eating vegetarian, for YEARS! I can wait a few more months.
Hang in there and ENJOY!!
So a few things: coffee is not necessarily bad, too much of it can cause issues. If you suspect adrenal fatigue, either from coffee or too much IF, mix in some decaf into your coffee beans and see how you feel. I tend to do terrible with all decaf, so for me, about half regular coffee beans and half decaf beans works nicely.
Caffeine is very useful when you work out. It seems to open up the fat cells so you can burn more - but this only works while you're exercising and fasted. If you have an insulin spike at that time, you're just going to shunt all the glycogen/triglycerides into your fat cells.
On the other hand, too much IF will cause a cortisol response as you glycogen levels go down, so this initiates gluconeogenesis. When this happens, you may feel a rapid pulse and a bit anxious. Don't let your IF get to that point, as the stress from the cortisol will absolutely stall fat loss.
Coconut oil is very good - it stops hunger and provides a quick source of ketones and thus helps you adapt to a VLC diet. You do sound like you're not adapted to burning fat, so going lower on carbs and eating more fat will help. Coconut oil will help you get there. It also shuts down hunger almost immediately. I mix it in with cocoa powder and then pour hot coffee over it. If you're doing bullet proof coffee, maybe switch from butter to ghee, and go heavier on the coconut oil instead of on the butter.
Careful with how much you eat, too much coconut oil will cause you diarrhea. Start off with a small amount, say one teaspoon and work your way up to a tablespoon or two.
Butter can cause insulin spikes. This will stall fat loss as insulin is the signal to store nutrients into fat and muscle cells. I suspect this is because of the milk solids in butter. So if you're doing 2-3 tablespoons of butter in coffee, that's probably not a great idea. Ghee, which is clarified butter, has the milk solids removed, so it's almost all fat, so it shouldn't cause this effect. If you get ghee from grassfed cows, it's even better as it contains n3's, so your n6:n3 ratio is slightly better.
When you do IF, as Nance mentioned, you shouldn't feel cold, you shouldn't feel starved. You're not yet a fat burner. So stick to coconut oil first.
Too much protein can also cause insulin spikes (though they're ameliorated by glucagon). So if you're trying to lose fat, eat more fat, some protein, and only a little bit of carbs.
At first you should eat more fat than you need so you get adapted to burning fat instead of carbs, then once you're adapted, you can pull back on the fat a little bit, so you burn from your own stores instead. But go by your hunger. Eat until you're not hungry anymore. When you eat enough fat (and aren't addicted to carbs), you'll feel full once you get enough calories from fat.
Weirdly enough if you eat too many carbs, you'll start getting hungrier and start craving more carbs, where as with fat, that effect doesn't happen.
When you work out, try to work out during your IF, and work do resistance training with weights, not cardio. Don't eat immediately after your work out, but rather about an hour or so after. This will do two things: reset insulin resistance, and kick in autophagy which will get rid of marginal cells and mitochondria as well as debris inside cells.
If it was a particularly hard work out, eat some carbs with your meal to replenish glycogn stores - something like half of a sweet potato or a yam. You'll know if you didn't get enough carbs because you'll feel very tired until the next day if you don't get enough. If you worked out with weights as you should, you'll need some protein as well.
Dairy, wine, fruit, nuts can all lead to stalls (especially avoid the first two). Nuts can be ok, but are high in n6 PUFAs, and so is chicken fat. So go easy on those, and maybe eat some fish, or shellfish instead to get the n3's. Make sure to get some liver as well.
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