Hi all! I've been utilizing the Paleo/Primal principles for about 6 months. I am a 46 year old female, currently carrying about 32% fat (ugh, I hate to even type it).
My issue is that I have done exceptionally well maintaining my current weight/size, but I've yet to move the scale downwards at all. I Crossfit about 4 times a week and occasionally have another training run thrown in during the week. I've been a Crossfitter for over 3 years, so I doubt I have put on much additional muscle in the last 6 months. I'm just unsure if I'm applying the principles as well as I could, if I'm not eating enough calories (or too many calories), if I should go even lower carb (per PaNu/Dr. Harris), or if my metabolism is just all broke to hell from a lifetime of dieting and the best I could ever hope for is equilibrium.
For the past 6 months, I've tracked my intake using Fitday and I generally hit about 1700 cals per day, trying to stay between 50-70g carbs, about 100-110g protein, and then the rest fat. And on that, I've been able to stay within a 2 pound tolerance of the same weight. In general, I have a good level of satiety being off grains/fructose and having increased fat. I've started looking at Harris' approach of going to about 80% fat and <5% carbs, having one-two major meals in a day to satiety, and then engaging in intermittent fasting. I've only just started this, so can't tell how successful I will be yet.
Basically, I have a lot of faith in my ability to maintain weight, I just don't have a lot of confidence in losing fat/weight at the moment. So my major questions would be:
has anyone else experienced good success on the Paleo/Primal/PaNu approach and if so, what did you do to be successful? Was the loss incredibly gradual and was super-strict compliance required to achieve success? (i.e., am I just being impatient)
is there a way I can tell whether I'm hitting the sweet spot on calories? I'm not sure I trust my satiety switch any longer.
is there a way I can tell if my metabolism is just totally wonky and I should just give up on the dream of losing 9% of body fat? :(
my 105 lb loss really skyrocketed when I did a protein sparing modified fast.
basically limited calories, mostly protein, and high intensity exercise to reprogram what my body thinks I need for energy.
1000-1500 calories, mostly meat.
3-4 days of 20min worth of sprint or resistance exercise work.
doubled the speed at which i was losing weight, went from 2-4lbs a week to 8-10lbs a week.
This was NOT comfortable until after I was in Ketosis. Let me repeat that.
This was a very bad idea outside of ketosis, my body rebelled, once I was in a fat burning mode in my body, it was very easy.
I drank Green Tea, Black Tea, or water whenever I got hungry, sometimes it went away, if not then, I ate my meal for that day then.
I focused on 1 large meal a day mostly meat. It came when I was still ravashed after drinking copious liquid and waiting 20+ minutes. No matter what time of day, when I was hungry, that was when I took my 1 meal.
Generally it fell during evening, dinner time. But some days it was Breakfast. somedays lunch.
Now that the weight is off, its incredibly easy to maintain my weight... I just had to program myself to this lower setpoint. Ive been here a very breezy 1.5 years now.
Best of luck in your journey.
Maintaining is 10000% easier than losing :)
Work hard to lose, then love life after.
This is coming from a young male (albeit a formerly overweight SAD one), so take this advice with that in mind.
1) Eat protein for hormonal satiety and vegetables for physical satiety. I found this kept me from feeling hungry even in a fairly deep caloric deficit. I only went high-fat paleo after burning off my extra bodily fat, but I find that much better now. Maybe I would have lost weight even faster going high-fat instead of high-protein from the beginning? Definitely go VLC and just-enough protein if you're metabolically damaged.
2) Intermittent fasting. I do once/day on average, with days of 0-2 meals. Richard at Free The Animal does two-day fasts each week to spur his weight loss. In my experience, the single large meal can stop thyroid down-regulation even in caloric deficit, but I would keep a close eye on this. I would not fast longer than 2 days, since muscle starts to play a bigger role from then on.
3) Fasted HIT. HIT is the best HGH releaser, and training fasted will greatly increase that release. I've heard sprints are the best for this, but don't remember the source. Strength training (esp. squats) to build muscle and provide HIT stimulus is also good. Recovery is important, so I would only do this a couple times/week, and drop CrossFit. You don't want cortisol issues to get in the way.
Long, slow distance work primarily burns fat (esp. when insulin is low), but you have to do quite a bit to make a significant difference. I am an avid hiker, and a day of hiking can burn thousands of calories, so that is something to consider. It depends how much time you have on your hands, and if you enjoy doing it!
This combination should keep insulin low, and norepinephrine and HGH high, which are the major keys to fat mobilization. I can reliably lose a couple lbs/week with this combination. But again, this is coming from a young male now in mostly good health (high thyroid and testosterone), so YMMV.
Go to the diabetic section of your drug store (where they sell the glucometers) and buy some ketosis urinalysis strips. They're branded as "Ketostix" sometimes. Keep cutting back on carbs until the strips indicate that you're in ketosis. You might have to go below 50g to get there. If you can stay in ketosis for a couple of weeks, I can almost guarantee you'll see fat loss.
I also agree with Melissa that that is a lot of protein. It might even be enough to prevent you from getting into ketosis, so keep that in mind if you decide to try. Good luck.
I agree that it's best not to think too much about the scale.
But, if you insist on doing a weigh-in every day and you're going to do it anyway, then you can prevent a lot of swings in mood by taking ten-day averages of the daily figure. I know, I know, everyone will say that this is just adding extra obsessiveness about weight, but it's not: that number will change a lot less than your daily number and you will be less prone to demoralization from an increase in weight relative to the day before. And day-to-day changes in weight don't mean much anyway. So take your daily weight, but ignore it, and look at a longer-term figure instead.
What is your height? That's quite a lot of protein. I would definitely decrease that and up the fat. That will mean more energy for you, less stress on your body.
I would also recommend getting your thyroid checked.
My parents are around your age doing primal for weightloss and I do think it can be much harder for women. My father lost dramatic amounts quickly, my mother took a longer time.
Hi Melissa! I'm 5'4 1/2" tall.
Is there a specific thyroid test I should request? I did have a basic blood panel done about the time I started Paleo in ernest (not a fasting panel though) and all the major indicators came back within normal tolerance.
I have also added an Omega-3 supplement, a D3 supplement, and even a kelp supplement recently.
Your plan sounds optimal to me.
I didn't successfully lose weight until I went to a diet of only meat, although in my 20's, staying under 30g/day was sufficient (I'm 37 now). I'm almost at goal, and I do lose faster when I IF.
I wouldn't worry about your protein levels at all, unless you're going over about 30-35%. Even 110g at 4 Kcals/g is only about 25% of your calories.
I'm 5' 9", 31, female, 150 lbs. I eat about 1200 to 1500 cal / day. I eat about 60% cal from fat, 30% cal from protein, and 10% cal from carbs.
I got myself from 185 (41% body fat) to 165 by following Weight Watchers' Good Health Guidelines (limited calories, increased movement and decreased insulin production from my meals). I could go into detail about why I think WW works for a good head start... But WW stalled me out at 165. No kidding, right? Anyway, the first 20 lbs took me one year.
Then, I followed the zero starches, grains, sugars, and fruit approach for six weeks and got down to 155. Then after a period of "rest," I powered down again with the no sugar, no grains, no legumes and no starches (carbs under 50g) and got myself to 145 (23% body fat). Yay! That all took about nine months.
Right now I'm at about 150, and I eat pretty liberal paleo. I include dairy and eat some naturally fermented grains (a la WAPF) from time to time. But I'm maintaining this weight! Yay! And have done so for a year or so.
I should mention that I'm pretty active. I've run a marathon and a half-marathon and last year I did a sprint triathlon. So movement (long slow movement) is very helpful. As well as strength training.
For you... I think you should be happy with one to two lbs per week of weight loss. I think guys can handle faster weight loss but I think super quick weight loss can mess with women's hormones in a worse way. I don't have research on that. It's just a gut feeling.
And as I said in a comment, only weigh yourself once per day AT THE SAME TIME EACH DAY. That's it. No more.
Also, I think perhaps you could tinker with eating less calories (but upping the fat percentage).
And finally, are you doing any long slow moment? Are you walking? Hiking? Biking? Doing a long walk twice a week or once a day may help.
I do paleo/zone. started this year at the beginning, i have lost over 50#. My wife has done the same, and her weight loss is identical to mine. we are pretty strict on the paleo with 2-4 cheat meals a week. we also crossfit on M-W F&S. sometimes we do a WOD on sunday (the typical 3-1 pattern). I have been doing CF for roughly 3 years, wasnt losing much weight, and my performance blew, but since we started eating right everything has just fallen in line. we do not fast at all, stick to the 30/30/40 (protein, fat, carb) model following the paleo rules (no salt[except on workout days very lite salt], no dairy, no vinegar, no legumes, no sweetners, no paleoized deserts[like almond flour pancakes]). when we cheat it is open season, anything goes. our biggest downfall is probably too much fruit, but as you can see we are losing weight and becoming athletes. I am 41 (lifetime of abuse), and my wife is 31 (been over weight her whole life). I eat 18-21 blocks per day and my wife eats 14 blocks. thats it, i dont know how many calories that is, but i have a feeling that is is around 1500-1600. some reasons for our continued success is that we are not dieting, we arent doing tricks, we are changing the way we eat, and making it something that is realistic. when we arent cheating we are eating things that we like and enjoy eating. I also like pizza and cheeseburgers, so i get to eat some of that too (cheat meal). I used to like to eat cookies, cake, and ice cream, but for some reason i dont really crave cookies and ice cream anymore, . . . cake yes, i like a piece of cake from time to time (a cheat meal includes a desert as part of the meal). anyway, . . . my advice would be to just try and change your diet, and eat to real satisfaction, and not over eating. you can do it
I think it's different for everybody. Back when I was doing Atkins, mild ketosis was plenty for me to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week. I ate about 40g carbs per day.
Right now, I am doing the same but this time I am eating fruit and am around 100g carb per day. The previous time, I just assumed lower carb was better than moderate carb for weight loss. But maybe that wasn't particularly true for me as I am noticing the same levels of nonaddictive eating, good satiation, and natural lessening of calorie intake as I did on the lower carb technique. Time will tell I guess. The other difference this time is I am eating more paleo, which means less fabricated foods. Before, the litmus test was only that it be lowcarb, but now I am paying a lot more attention to the healthfulness of the food as well and making more effort to eat saturated fat (yum!).
Anyway, right now, I am eating healthy and losing weight so I figure I will see how far that goes before making any changes. I am also feeling very good and recovering quickly from strain. Our company where I work is moving to a new location and this morning I picked up a rather heavy power drill and started unscrewing wall board to take with us to the new place. I kept thinking I would eventually get too tired to continue holding out the drill, climbing up and down the ladder, and dragging heavy wall board around, but the guys are short handed and overloaded so I decided I would help out as long as I could. I really surprised myself today because I found out I was able to continue for nine hours! The drill actually began to feel lighter as the day passed and I got used to handling it. Heh, some of the guys couldn't even keep up! ;-P Tonight I feel tired, but not too tired to continue tomorrow. -Eva
How should I get my vegetables? 5 Answers
Paleo diet critique 4 Answers
Do anthropologists eat paleo? 11 Answers