Hi! First post :P
I've been doing paleo nearly 3 months now, and am having trouble seeing significant weight-loss. I'll give you lot all the info I can think of to help sort this out for me, but it's been boggling (and frustrating) me.
My diet: Fresh or canned wild fish, grass-fed beef and lamb (including offal), seaweed, coconut oil, coconut flour, salad greens, mushrooms, brazil and mac nuts. Macronutrient ratio(FPC): 70/20/10. I'm 5'5, 102kg, so like 100 pounds overweight. I've been consistently eating this way for 27 days, and have stayed in the 1200-1300 calorie range with carbs under 20g and protein between 50-60g. I'm taking bovine thyroid and occasionally Vit E. I do about 30 minutes to an hour of sprinting intervals (speed 2, 10), and an hour of yoga everyday, as well as two hour-long martial arts classes per week.
To date I've lost 6 kilos (13ish pounds). In the first month I tried raising carbs (to about 60-70g, with berries, veg, and tubers), and calories (to about 1600-1800, mostly added fat), and then both. I gained weight slowly when I raised carbs, quickly when I raised calories, and piled it on when I raised both. But would, regardless, gain weight - not lose.
The 1200 calorie range is pretty much the only point at which I'll lose rather than maintain, and even then I lose slowly (compared to others who are dieting and a similar weight) while being hungry much of the time.
So what the hell am I doing wrong? I feel like I'm following most of the advice straight on but still don't see a significant and consistent reduction in weight.
That said I do feel other aspects of my health have improved from paleo, specifically digestive issues and energy levels... But I'll admit to my primary interest in paleo is the weight-loss factor, especially since I have so much to lose.
It doesn't look like you're doing anything "wrong" per se. My main advice would be to be patient and continue experimenting.
How long have you been overweight? It may take more time (months, maybe even years) for your metabolism to repair itself. Please see my response on this previous thread:
Robb Wolf says that for some people, it takes a LONG time to turn the ship around, so to speak. The analogy is of a big oil tanker -- if it is going in one direction, and has a lot of inertia, it will take some time to turn it around. The longer you have been obese, the more damaged your metabolism is. It may take you a long time to repair it, which means you may not see rapid results. Be patient and stick with it. Even if you don't experience extremely rapid weight loss, you are getting healthier.
A few random thoughts:
I second gilliebean's recommendation to drop the coconut flour and nuts.
There may be other issues going on, like thyroid issues, magnesium, iodine, etc. etc. etc. It is hard to find a good doctor who will understand and work with you on all these issues, but it's worth looking for one. Magnesium is available OTC so you may want to experiment with that.
Are you getting plenty of sun/vitamin D supplements? Have you had levels tested?
How much sleep do you get? What is the level of stress in your daily life? What is your occupation (do you sit in a chair all day)?
Although Dr. Harris is right on regarding macronutrient ratios in my opinion, due to your extremely low caloric intake, you may be getting inadequate protein. This is not an exact science, and recommendations will vary, but you may want to increase protein 2-4x and see how that goes.
In theory I think the standard answer here is "you're not eating enough; eat more, and especially more protein" but as you indicated, maybe that won't work for you. Keep tinkering.
If you are hungry all the time, I would eat more. If you don't lose weight right now, don't panic. You may be shooting yourself in the foot re: long-term, sustainable fat loss if you are semi-starving yourself now. You do not want to shut down your metabolism. Again, this is theory... in general I think people on low-carb Paleoish diets are able to lose weight without significant and constant hunger, but I guess there are always exceptions.
This may seem unorthodox, but you may also want to consider taking up strength training (squat, deadlift, press, bench press) and reducing/eliminating your hour-long workouts. This apparently works to boost muscle, burn fat, and boost metabolism in many people. No more than 2 short (less than 15 mins) interval workouts per week. (Depending on how strenuous your MA class is, you prob. don't have to cut that out.) Google Starting Strength or search PaleoHacks for it.
Try dropping the coconut flour, brazil nuts, berries and tubers and see if you notice a change.
And make sure you give your body time (a whole day) to rest with all that activity. That much activity might be stressing your cortisol levels.
Make sure you get good regular sleep too.
Katie, It is possible that you are gaining some muscle and burning fat at the same time. a pound is a pound is a pound no matter what it is made of.
Have you taken measurements on your body? Are those changing?
Are you drinking sufficient water?
When you are 100 pounds overweight, there is a likelihood (depending on your body composition to start) that you may take a little longer to drop weight, because you already have fairly good muscle mass. Your whole body has to shrink, not just your fat stores.
You might also be taking in too few calories. I know you tried bumping it up, try bumping it by having a salad AFTER your protein and veg portion. The extra fiber and fat may help move some things along and in a week or two, some bloating (if due to water or gas) may show up as pounds lost on the scale. 4 pounds a month might seem slow, remember that the best approach is 1-2 pounds per week. You might be on target.
you have provided part of the answer. I had knee surgery last fall, and only recently began exercising in earnest. I thought because i'm now active, the pounds would start rolling off. not so. My orthopedist, who is an active triathlete, told me that most people following surgery and recovery are still partially in recovery mode, so the body is busy repairing, NOT tearing down. Ya gotta be patient, and maybe swap some of the yoga for more active cardio, like long walks of 1-2 hours (not chronic, high intensity cardio, but steady walking). THAT will help with insulin resistance more so than yoga. As you become more fit, depending on the type of yoga you do, you may see more benefit from it.
The gallon of water may be replenishing some lost fluids and not actually flushing out waste. How often are you urinating? Might want to do a 24hr urine capture to see. check the color. clear/pale yellow = good, cloudy or orange-ish not so good (if you're taking in extra B vitamins, you will have very bright yellow urine).
Everyone who's saying "tinker and figure out what works for you" is right on the money. From everything I've seen and heard, weight loss is a very individual process and what works for some won't work for others.
If you're already counting calories and that's helpful to you, perhaps think about getting the bodybugg or another device like it that will count how many calories you're burning each day to about a 90% accuracy. At least, that would be helpful if you choose to stick to the conventional calories in / calories out way of thinking. I have no idea if that's the right way to think about weight loss or if the bodybugg could register changes in your metabolism due to diet or a different training regimen.
But I also agree with those who say that the slow and steady approach is better for long-term weight loss. Your skin has more time to firm up rather than hanging there in its sad saggy way. And (pure speculation on my part) you get less toxins released into your system all at once from the fat "burning away." I suspect that's what must happen, since fat is a place the body likes to store toxins. But correct me if I'm thinking about it wrong...
I was in this exact situation until a few weeks ago. I started at 210 lbs at 5'2". It had been 6 months, and I was only down 15 lbs. Very frustrating!! Went on vacation (honeymoon) and gained a bit (about 5 lbs), but not too bad, considering. Then, in only the last three weeks, I've lost another 10 pounds!
Two things changed that I think jump-started things: First, I've been getting treatment for PCOS and stage III endometriosis. My surgery for the latter happened just when the weight-loss started, so I'm pretty sure it helped. The metformin for the PCOS is also helping, now that the endo is under control. Given your weight, PCOS may be a culprit worth checking. If your cycles are terrible, endo may be an issue as well, and the surgery is super-simple. Endo doesn't trigger weight-gain directly, like PCOS does, but the inflammation it causes can NOT be helpful.
Second, As the summer gets under way, the veggie options are expanding rapidly in the farmer's markets. I notice you're eating greens and seaweed, but not much else in the "plant-ish" category. I have a feeling the boost in nutrition I'm getting from fresh veggies is helping my body heal itself better. I'm not talking about loading up on potatoes or anything, but rather squash, greens for cooking, turnips, kohlrabi, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, etc. Nothing starchy, but all with lots of nutrients per serving.
Good luck! P.S. I should also mention I've got Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, but it has been well controlled for a while. If you haven't been checked, you should be. It's very easy to control with very cheap medication.
Dr. Kurt Harris' post on Losing Weight might be of interest:
and Peter Dobromylskyj's on Weight Loss When It's Hard:
I have found these most helpful.
All the best to you.
Cardio raises cortisol levels which inhibit fat burning. It also increases your appetite and makes you want to eat more. I also agree about reducing coconut flour, brazil nuts, berries and tubers. With some people calories do count and you may have to keep it low to lose--that's the way it is with me. Walking (and not fast walking--just walking) promotes weight loss. I know people who ate garbage and lost weight walking. Also try drinking green tea.
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