I'm getting the distinct impression that the weight loss results on a paleo diet are much more consistent for men than they are for women. For the other paleo ladies out there, what has been your experience? If merely restricting your diet to paleo-approved foods alone did not seem to help in weight loss, what further modifications worked for you? Did the diet just not work initially, or was it working, but then it stalled?
Weight is such a pain to track, which is why I've stopped :) I think I'm around 150 lbs, around 5"4, but I feel 100% better than when I was in my "normal" BMI at 125 lbs. At 125 lbs, I stopped getting my period and starting losing my hair (it was crazy thin). Sure, I was really fit (lightweight rower in university), but it was uncomfortable to sit and I had to nap twice a day (noon and 4pm). I was eating so many calories to keep up with my workouts, but I just couldn't get on top of it. It sucked, because I didn't look that "thin" (rowing once a day every day of the week, then weights 6 days a week on top of that) and never had a completely flat stomach, but everything just wasn't working properly. My body fat was at 18% when we got tested, which isn't even that low, but for me it was low enough to stop the period and feel terrible. I became quite depressed, and was abruptly taken off the team after the coach found out about some surgeries (apparently if you've had more than one heart surgery you aren't supposed to compete at a varsity level for any sport in my university). I quickly gained weight, and settled to where I am now. Allowing myself to gain weight was the nicest thing, it was like going through puberty all over again, just in my 20's- my boobs got waaaaay bigger, my hips expanded, my period came back, my skin improved, my hair was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay (way way) thicker, and my mood improved leaps and bounds!!!! During that time when I was gaining weight was some of my best moods ever, and my mood remains very stable to this day.
My weight has gone up and down over the years- up when I was on SSRIs, down when I was rowing, and up when I stopped rowing, and I always feel better when I ere on the side of a "larger" me- I like having big hips, a little waist, and thick hair. I'm petite as is, and have always admired little, curvy, strong women (like my fit little mother). So many of my friends struggle to get themselves into that healthy BMI range, but never ask themselves if they feel better once they are there. Are they able to do more and feel better? Great, then keep that weight!! Do they feel weaker and less energetic? Maybe a few pounds could help with that. There is no "ideal" weight mold that fits for everyone, and you as long as you feel healthy, than as far as I'm concerned you ARE healthy. Having a good body image and feeling comfortable in your own skin, whatever the weight, will give you a longer and fuller life than losing those "last 10 lbs" ever will.
I will say (and this echos others' contributions) that while I FEEL loads better sans grains or sugar, to lose weight steadily I need to:
When I don't do either of these, I stall or, worse, regain.
I feel compelled to say, while giving up wheat generally represented one day of pain for me last summer, in the months since, giving up sugars, starches, and fructose remains a daily battle that sometimes I win, and sometimes I lose.
It's not just Paleo. In general, women have a notoriously harder time losing weight on any kind of diet. I think it's a matter of hormones.
I began Paleo at 125 lbs in December of 2009 but by April of 2010 I lost 25% of my body weight and weighed in at 107 lbs. By May I was at 103, and at my lowest I weighed in at 97 lbs. I'm a 5'1ish girl who has always been athletic, however what kicked up my weight loss was by eliminating dairy, gluten, legumes, and introducing paleo-friendly meals such as boiled chicken and steamed broccoli, grilled bison steaks etc. Also, I began moving more (walking more, cross fitting, yoga) - just added movement to my day in tandem with eating clean and wholesome foods ignited and has kept the furnace of a burning metabolism going strong.
At my lowest (98 lbs) I was at around 8% body fat which by all means was too thin for my frame. I did not feel at my best, so I stopped myself from potentially entering the "faileo" diet zone by getting over the fear of 'fat' and enjoying the delicious taste of chicken thighs, nitrate-free bacon, avocados, full fat coconut milk, etc. Currently, I'm at 100-101 lbs with an average body fat of 12% which has put me at my best. I have great energy, clear skin, mental clarity, greater endurance, and a solid and muscular physique! I rarely get sick and if I do, it is a result of some gastro-irritants but that's mainly because I just can't get enough of broccoli.
I also practice a solid routine of Intermittent Fasting (IF) - sometimes going a full 24 hours without food, but once the fast is broken I eat and I eat well! When I workout, I do so in a fasted state and once I'm done, I typically ride out the post workout high for an hour or 2 before re-feeding. I don't eat breakfast, but do enjoy a nice hearty lunch and smaller dinner.
When I felt the need to "up" my fat loss, I cut back on eating high sugar foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, fruits, etc. I don't eat much fruit now nor do I eat carrots, but if I am out dining with friends or family I won't shy away from indulging the sweet treat. Speaking of sweets - no sugar, no chocolate, and nuts. Nuts to me are 'dangerous' because I could and have gone to town on a whole container of them in one sitting. To avoid this pitfall, I simply don't eat them.
I supplement with 4 fish oils a day (2 at each meal) and if I am out and eat high Omega 6 rich foods, I will take a teaspoon of Carlson's Cod liver oil post mealtime. For feminine issues like bloating, PMS, and all that jazz associated with hormones I take an evening primrose oil supplement daily. That little gem has helped dealing with the monthly side effects of being a lady a lot.
All in all weight loss is not concrete - it fluctuates like the temperature outside. Like temperature it is just a number. Seriously, try not to sweat it. What you should be focusing on is how you feel and how you're clothes fit - stuff like that. Numbers will only drive you insane. Go out there and get wild! :)
I had to drop all the carbs from my diet to start seeing steady significant loss. I was paleo starting Feb '10, and it took me all that year to get off 20 pounds. I would constantly be going up and down, and I still had some appetite issues even strict no dairy paleo. I thought the zero carb people were nutters, but I went full carni in January and I've lost another 12 since then.
I'm essentially ZC or VLC, I don't count calories or weigh anything, but I try to estimate to 75% fat. I eat eggs, bacon, grassfed butter and cheese, heavy cream, beef, lamb... The only plants I eat are herbs. I'm just one of those weirdos who stops losing weight even with a bit of green veg.
Mind, I was vegetarian for 5 years, raw vegan 2 years, and fruitarian 1 year. And I'm not yet 21. I essentially went from 115lbs to 230 eating tofu and broccoli, and then tried to shift that weight starving myself with watermelon and lettuce with no avail, so I'm betting my body is still reeling a bit.
I lost the last 10lbs I needed to lose once I switched to Paleo and dropped by body fat by about 7% in just a month. I am 5'2" and 136lbs with approximately 24% body fat. This puts me just in the "normal" range for my height. I am extremely happy with my fitness and body composition right now.
I did watch my calories and ratios as well as eating lacto-Paleo. I kept my calories to 1200 and keep my fat at around 50% and my carbs and protein at 75 grams each.
As I switched to maintenance I raised my calories to 1350, then up to 1500 while keeping my ratios the same. I have been able to maintain my 110lb weight loss for the last 3 months while keeping this protocol.
I do 20/30 minutes of HIIT intervals/CrossFit three days a week. I've been doing this amount of exercise for the last year.
I have to cut out carbs, nuts and fruit to loose weight. To loose effectively, I have to be in a state similar to the Atkins induction phase. Its really annoying but I've come to terms with it. The moment I start drinking alcohol, eating fruit or carbs it all piles back on. I haven't gotten down to my goal weight yet so I can't go into a maintenance phase yet.
I did not lose weight initially, but of course my husband did, and he didn't need to! Now he is struggling to gain the weight back and hasn't had any luck so far.
Even though I did not lose weight, I didn't gain anything and it was great not to be hungry and not to count calories at all. To lose weight on Paleo, I had to restrict my carbs Atkins Induction Style (but strict Paleo diet) by limiting myself to under 20 net carbs per day (no nuts or fruit). That's when I finally started losing. It really sucks to go Paleo and not lose weight, but now I am looking forward to the day when I can eat nuts and fruit again without gaining.
I lost 50lbs by going low-carb/paleo...it was amazing because the weight just fell off of me without exercise...and it took about 1 year for the weight to come off. Now that I am back near my best weight, I have added exercise into the mix. At this point I am not really interested in losing more weight, although that might happen...I am more interested in building muscle and firming up. I am 54 years old, 5'8" tall and wear a size 8 jeans. Going paleo/low-carb is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
I lost 30lbs this past year, went from a size 16 to 6. I'm 5'8" and now weigh 135lbs. I followed the paleo/primal meal plan along with exercise a minimum of 3 days a week. I lost my last 5lbs by kicking up the cardio ... for me that was learning how to run. I've been able to maintain my weight and also reduce medications for diabetes, blood pressure, cholesteral and migraines by 85%. :)