From leangains to IFing there are so many examples of men losing fat/gaining muscle, but as women's bodies are playing a different game (or so it seems), I'd love to compile the successful strategies that have worked for Paleo females.
What fat-loss strategy do you swear by? How did you lose weight? How did you get those abs? Which way is the beach?
In my personal experience I had success prioritizing exercise in the following way:
Intervals - sprints
Bodyweight circuit training
lots of walking and hiking with my kids
Things that helped with diet:
no booze - yes water, yes coffee, yes green tea
no snacking - yes three distinct meals
no fasting - except when I sleep of course.
carbs - yup, very low carb as a "lifestyle" doesn't work for me. The time that carbs work best for me is at night.
Again, this is what works for me personally.
I got my BF% down where I want it by concentrating on eating clean food and doing HIIT bootcamp style workouts.
I keep my calories right around 1200 calories per day. The ratios that work for me is Fat 50%, Protein 25/30%, Carb 20/25%. Also, no booze. Yes. None. That was when I was truly concentrating on a goal. For day to day maintenance, it's fine.
The HIIT work was mostly body weight type exercises, tabata style, along with some kettlebells thrown in occasionally. I did this 3 days a week for 20 minutes. You have to really believe in the HIGH INTENSITY part though and DO IT. You have to be exhausted when you are done and truly push yourself.
Women's bodies and their response to exercise and food and not ENTIRELY different from men, but they do indeed differ. Having at once been over 300 pounds and now sitting at 150, I know that it took a lot of hit and miss to determine the right balance. I myself, had totally screwed up my adrenals/insulin and now to stay lean I have to take in protein at least every 3-4 hours, stay away from ANY simple carbs, and (like Melissa) no alcohol and I too keep my kcals at 1200 or under. For the fitness side, I vary my workouts, but always run (because I love it) 3 times per week. Interval (HIIT) cycle three times a week and lift (also interval) five days per week. Abs will show, but it does take effort.... Biggest thing to remember though, is that there is no ONE PERFECT WAY... you can read the advice, but you have to do the work and find what suits you.....
I think that men and women can be very different in terms of weight loss strategy. No, not always, but frequently. For instance, my husband has to eat at least 100 carbs per day in order to maintain his weight. I have to VLC in order to lose weight and not go over VLC by too much in order to maintain. For the women and men in my family, this rule of thumb has been consistent.
What works for me:
VLC (under 20 net carbs per day)
70/25/5 fat, protein, carbs
I don't have to worry much about calories. I eat until I'm full and land around 1700-2200 per day. If I cut calories, even upping fat, I will get hungry.
IF several days per week
Maintain muscle by lifting light weights
Disclaimer: I have never been obese and am probably pretty genetically blessed when it comes to my weight. Having said that, this is what works for me:
More carbs, less fat. I eat a lot of sweet potatoes.
Lower calories, like 17/800 would be a very active day's intake. If I don't do much exercise I only eat around 1300. I'm only 5'2 and pretty small-framed so that's not as low as it would seem. I've heard that 30 years ago, the average woman ate 1500 kcal a day, which strikes me as reasonable.
Lots of walking, minimal sitting. I also have a fairly physical job right now.
Two meals a day most days. Large high-carb breakfast and a smaller dinner.
This is paleo sacrilege but regular cardio- I love it and it doesn't make me ravenous. No screwing around on the elliptical at level 1 though, stuff like 7-mile hill runs and speed intervals where my tongue is hanging out of my mouth at the end. Also fasted cardio a few times a week. Yes, I know I really really should do some lifting or at least bodyweight stuff, also.
I have to be really low carb to lose fat. I eat lots of animal fats, no dairy except a little butter, rarely nuts and seeds, rarely fruit, lots of low sugar veggies, plenty of animal protein. If I start adding in too much fruit and/or nuts and seeds, I gain weight. When I have occasionally tracked what I eat, I'm always surprised at how few calories I consume(average of around 1,000). When I'm eating vlc, I'm just not as hungry as when I add more carbs. The largest I've ever been was when I'd been low fat/vegan while pregnant and then breastfeeding...I was so hungry all the time, and never satisfied. My metabolism is very slow from years of eating disorder and vegan/vegetarianism/low fat eating; and having done the higher carb paleo thing randomly interspersed with vlc over the past ten years and ballooning out every time, I imagine I will always need to eat vlc with a very occasional fruit/nut indulgence.
The basic stuff that works for guys should work for females.
I wouldn't get to concerned with trying to have Abs as having that low of a BF as a female isn't that healthy.