I have doing the primal blueprint for 3 weeks. And while I feel better, I have not dropped any weight. I am a 39year old female. I workout 5 days a week. I am having a hard time just getting to 1200 calories a day. Am I consuming to little? I am 5'8"" and 165 pounds. 24 % bf. I have been an athlete for 25 ears, and competed in college. Now I couldn't drop a pound to save my life..... Help!
Stop counting calories.
Really. IMHO, the biggest mistake paleo-newbies make is they insist on counting calories, which means you aren't listening to your body. Your body has a mechanism for regulating your weight (the hormone leptin), but the typical SAD diet makes most people insensitive to leptin.
After a while on paleo, you will become more sensitive to leptin (or I should say return to a normal leptin sensitivity level), and your body will start regulating your weight as it was designed to do. If you are carrying too much fat, your body will suppress your hunger. Conversly if you need to add some fat, your body will increase your appetite.
Eat when you are hungry. If you aren't hungry, don't eat (even if it is "meal time'). Listen to your body, don't blindly follow some calorie chart.
BTW, the reason you aren't losing weight is you are putting your body into starvation mode by not eating enough. It thinks you are in the middle of a famine, so it slows your metabolism and holds onto every calorie/pound as tightly as it can. This is a common when people count calories--so stop it.
I might have missed it, but why do you need to lose weight? The body fat % for obesity in women begins at 32%. A BF% of 24% is healthy for a man or woman.
Something to consider...you stated that you were a college athlete, 5'8", and 165 pounds. I'm 5'8", 165 pounds at 22-24% BF on any given day. So we are similar in size. I strength train regularly (The Starting Strength template 3 times weekly). Considering your athletic background, I imagine that you regularly strength train as well. If you are maintaining your heavy lifts, you are telling your body to keep the lean mass you have built through the years. Since you are already at a healthy BF%, you don't have 'excess' fat to lose. That may be one of the reasons you are not seeing the weight loss you desire. If reducing your overall size is such a high priority (and I am not in a position to comment if it is a good one or not), you may consider suspending your strength training/reducing your heavy lifts. This will decrease your lean mass, overall size, and weight.
I am uneasy to recommend this though. You seem to be at a healthy size and BF%. Why mess with it?
You are seriously undereating. I get what you mean though. Eating this way is so satisfying it can be hard to reach a certain number of calories on a day to day basis. considering you work out 5 days a week you most likely have had a drop in metabolism. What amount of carbs are you eating? What are you consuming on a daily basis? Sorry to ponder you with so many questions but we have to have more specific information so we can evaluate and help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Paleo is designed as a long term lifestyle. 1200 calories is not a long term lifestyle. If you're that active you are probably well shy of enough calories to maintain your body (it could be 1000 calories more you need) and you may be overworking and undereating. Try eating more and working out at lower heart rates to see what effect it has.
Don't fully agree with not counting your calories. The end goal of course is to not count and hopefully be in harmony from mind to belly. Unfortunately for a lot of us, this does not always work. This could be due to a number of factors. Just listening to your body after years of SAD, might not always work, as your body might be sending cravings or signals for what it's familiar foods/timing/social cues etc.
How are you counting calories. Are you winging it? Or using a food scale. A lot of people underestimate what they are eating. You could be eating more than 1200.
I do agree that if you really really are eating only 1200 calories, than that is way too low and could be putting your body in starvation mode which in turn is lowering your metabolism. Still surprised that you have not lost any weight.
Don't underestimate other factors like stress, sleep, and recovery. You say you workout 5 days a week... what type of workout? How is your sleep? etc.
You do have to have a deficit to lose weight, but when you're eating Paleo, it doesn't count quite as much as say Weight Watchers (thank god I don't have to struggle with THAT one anymore!). I thought I only had 10 pounds left to lose, but turns out I had 18 to go because that's how much I've lost -while eating a strict Paleo, 50% fat ratio and a lot of fruit. Everyone is different - my calories are probably around 3000 for maintenance and around 2,300 for weight loss - so I think that 1,200 is just too low. I think you should up your fat intake and exclude all dairy for 30 days and see where that gets you.