I'm a 30 year old female and started off at around 340lbs. I've been on Paleo for one month now, very strict. No fruit, no soda, no chemicals, low carb (approx 30-40g a day), I'm eating meat at every meal and getting fat from animal fat, Coconut Oil, butter, ghee, and olive oil. Most of this comes from the cooking process. I feel good. I am getting 8-9 hours of sleep a night, I have more energy during the day and I'm not hungry all the time anymore. I'm just getting frustrated with the lack of progress on the scale (or in my measurements/photos). I lost 5-6 lbs the first week (water weight) but nothing since. I will lose 3 pounds one day and then gain 5 the next. I've been hovering around the same range for 3 weeks. I'm committed to a lifestyle change and can stick through this if it is a plateau etc., but as I'm still just getting started, if I'm doing something wrong or something, I'd like to get some suggestions/directions so that I can start to see some results. As for exercise, I have a job that is 90% sedentary. I have a broken foot right now, so it is hard to do a lot of exercise or even walking.
Any help you can provide would be appreciated. I can provide additional information if you need more detail.
Hi TD, As a man that was once as heavy as 430lbs, but now much lighter, I can tell you that Paleo works.
There are a few things I would suggest, and this last time around I've incorporated them into my own plan with some great success.
First - Log your intake through fitday, cronometer.com, or PaleoTracker. This allows you to see "Oh, I weigh X pounds more today, and day before yesterday I ate Y". It also helps you keep your calories in check. I find it useful as well when I get any sort of gastric upset, I can look back and see exactly what triggered it. By this same token I strongly suggest you keep your carbs low initially, under 10% or so of your daily intake... as you progress you can try a little more carbs.
Second - Be aware of binge impulses, and avoid even the "Paleo" foods that you eat that trigger binges (for example, I no longer eat nuts besides as an occasional salad topping, and I rarely eat Plantains anymore). If you are anything like I am, starches might trigger you to overeat. Anyone can eat a pound of potatoes in one sitting, but it takes a bit more to eat that much pot roast.
Third - Get outside and get plenty of sunlight. Your body needs to repair itself, and it sounds like you are well on your way given the improved sleep and other things. The extra vitamin D from sunlight will improve your mood which will help your quality of life, and it plays a bigger part than most people understand.
Four - I understand that you have a broken foot, but this works out well for the purpose of exercise. Too many people see a stall and then add insult to injury by being excessive in their play and gym. I suggest you clear off some space in your floor, work on flexibility and maybe some yoga. Take it small, 20min at a time, and gradually improve your mobility and flexibility. As your foot heals, you will be able to get outside and get some real playtime in, taking advantage of this newfound flexibility. As far as the sedentary job goes, try and make sure you are getting a standing-break every hour or so, just to stand and stretch. I am a IT engineer, so I might spend 12 hours a day sitting at a desk. I do my best to get up on a regular basis, even with my headset on (conference call hell), and stretch my legs. I also sit on an exercise ball at work, but I don't suggest this until your foot is healed.
Good luck! It's a hard journey, and it's not as short as say, surgery, but it does work. With these little "hacks" I feel you will be well on your way.
My number one recommendation is to QUIT weighting all the damn time. Once a month is plenty at first. I'm down to 215 from 324. It will work if you quit watching the scales like a crazy person. Let it go!
Welcome to the world of being an outlier. Anyway there is no single prescription for paleo. You could be high carb low fat or low carb high fat. or anywhere in between.
Now the important point is to experiment.
And calories do matter.
Try out different ways of eating that are sustainable, and still result in reduced consumption without effort. Maybe fat is very rewarding for you, and maybe potatoes will not be so rewarding. You have tried high fat low carb, try low fat high carb, with only paleo foods, including potatoes, squash and other starchy vegetables.
Try to find what makes you an outlier. Any hormonal problems, in particular Thyroid, Cortisol. Or maybe the problem of being post menopausal.
Paleo isn't about losing weight. It's about healing your broken body. If you weigh 300+, it means to me that you've been overweight for a while. Which also means that you're body is in poor health and malnourished. It's going to take a while for your body to heal, and for a while it's going to hold on to all of that good food that you give to it. So just try to be patient with it.
A few other things you can look at is the quality and type of paleo food you are eating. Where is your protein coming from? Your best source of healthy protein is either fatty fish or grass-fed beef. Believe it or not, grass-fed beef is much better than chicken. If you're having trouble losing, it can mean that your omega3/omega6 is out of balance. Grass-fed beef has a very good ratio, while chicken (skin and fat mainly) is way out of balance on the omega6 side. Also, try sticking with just coconut oil for a while and see if that helps.
Another tip. If you eat a gargantuan breakfast (something like 4 eggs cooked in CO along with a pound of grass-fed beef), it's likely that you won't be hungry for lunch until later in the day. Eat your veggies at this time, along with more CO and protein. The fat should sustain you into the evening. Then for dinner just have something small. Like maybe a blueberry smoothie made with berries and almond or coconut milk and a shot of liquid stevia.
Heavy food in the morning, very light in the evening. If you're thinking about nothing but eating at night, go to bed early. And while you're in bed think about the great breakfast you're going to have in the morning.
You're really doing a fantastic job, and you shouldn't let that damned scale dictate your mood for you. Ignore the lack of weight loss and enjoy the new found freedom of being able to eat until you're full.
You have gotten a lot of answers so far, so sorry to repeat anything...
But first let me say YOUR ARE AMAZING! For taking the first step, for trying something different. Hang in there.
It will take your body time (maybe many months) to adjust and get on track. Your hormones and metabolism are shifting.
I also think your fat/oil intake does not sound excessive, especially if you are just using it for cooking and feeling well after you eat. The danger of decreasing your fat to much is that you wont feel satiated, so you over eat or fall of completely.
There is some disagrement about protein, what makes the most sense to me is to eat the amount of protein that your IDEAL body weight would require, since the extra fat we carry does not need protein, only our muscles do.
And definitely don't weigh daily, that will make you crazy. Your weight can change by a pound depending on if you weigh before or after going to the bathroom, or drinking a big glass of water, or skipping a meal. So daily weigh ins are not reliable. Go by how your clothes feel. Find a tight pair of pants, try them on every few weeks to see how they feel.
If nothing else, I am guessing that your Paleo diet is much better then the diet you were eating (that is the case with me!) so you are headed in the right direction even if you do make some tweaks here and there in the future.
You can do it!
The posts in this thread so far have given you a lot of good recommendations of things to try. Let me first say that I lost no weight on paleo for the first few months. I've only gone from 285 to 265 in a year and still have a paunch. So believe me, I understand your frustration. But some things you can do to perhaps help you out:
You don't mention your age. I found that in my 50s and also being very sedentary that I required far less calories than I thought. I was over your weight when I started and was barely losing 2 lbs a week on a 1200-1400 calorie diet.
I'd experiment with cutting back on the fat. My approach is to eat healthy fats for their nutrients (e.g., pastured egg yolks, liver) and go pretty sparingly on the added fats as long as I want my body to use up its stores. I'd also use FitDay or SparkPeople or NutritionData and actually see how much you're eating.
And I would cut out the weighing every day. Or if you're going to do that, you need to plot it and do a rolling average so you stop paying so much attention to water weight swings.
Re exercise, I have had major back issues so walking was hard for me too. I was able to find a pool and started doing water walking (aka aqua jogging). If the thought of wearing a bathing suit in public is frightening, Junonia sells rash guards and swim shorts for plus sized women. They are pricey, but well made. I love mine!
I am just throwing this out there, Are you taking any medications?
I recently started coaching a woman who had been eating a strict paleo diet for months. She felt great but wasn't seeing the typical body composition changes you normally see when going strict paleo. She was taking multiple medications, I cross referenced the foods she was eating with her meds and it turned out she was eating foods that inhibited her body's ability to absorb her thyroid meds. I tweaked her food intake accordingly and the following week she lost 3.5 lbs and is having continued success. (A good reason to keep food logs, they are very helpful in troubleshooting dietary issues and triggers)
Just a thought- maybe you are eating too much fat? If you can get into ketosis, which you should from the amount of carbs you are eating, your body will end up using some of your own fat instead of fat you have just eaten.
With you getting lots of good sleep you are ahead of a lot of people. Once your foot is healed, walk as much as possible before and after work.
And the scale will make you crazy- try to only weigh yourself once a week or even for a month like Whole 30 recommends.
Are you drinking lots of water? Sometimes that gets things going.
Hi, TD! Good sleep is a sign you have some good things going on.
I agree that once your foot allows it you should walk as much as possible; that's good for both overall health and back trouble. I also agree that if you're taking any meds they could be part of your problem. They're chemicals, just like the food additives we're all trying to avoid, so even if they're needed they can have side effects and weight gain is a common one. You might check with your doctor to see if a dosage or med change is possible.
I don't use a scale and frankly I don't think we need one at all. I can tell you that t-shirts and pants that were too tight to wear last April hang loosely now. Last night, I zipped a demin jacket that had about a 4 inch gap last spring and I could flap all the extra cloth. So it can and will happen if you hang in there.
If you like to track your progress, why not use a tape measure? On the first of every month I measure my waist and hips so I know I lost abotu 6" off my waist since November. I actually measure 2 days in a row when I first get up and average the 2.
As others have mentioned, it's all about energy balance. There may be some guys who can eat vast quantities of meat/fat and lose but I doubt there are many women who can. And let's face it we didn't become 50 or more pounds overweight because we are picky eaters. I plan my meals very carefully, starting with a piece of fruit and a large leafy salad so my stomach can feel nice and full. Then I have some cooked vegetables and 4-6 oz of meat. I don't avoid fat--I butter my vegetables, use olive oil on my salad and eat any fat that comes with the meat--but I don't drown in it either. I also vary the meats so it's not always the same thing; one day I'll have beef but the next time fish. I eat little poultry or pork.
My best strategy of all is fasting. You may not be ready for that yet and that's okay. But my best way to break through any hint of weight loss plateau is a fast. Sometimes it's just eating one meal per day which means you go 20 hours or so between meals. As I'm nearly a year in and very well adapted to fasting I also use ADF (alternate day fasting) going 40 hours or more without solid foods. I then eat a nice large meal on the eating day and feel wonderful.
Keep experimenting and about every 2 or 3 weeks feel free to try different rotations of foods, different meal times and different portion sizes. Try to monitor and even write down what you eat and how you react so you can watch for deficiencies and excesses while you learn to find your best balance of foods.