Appetite unabated

by (10) Updated August 03, 2010 at 1:16 PM Created August 02, 2010 at 4:29 PM


I'm a committed Paleo practictioner for several months now. My main purpose is to lose weight, but also to be generally more healthy. I'm 6ft and weigh 230 lbs, so I'm probably about 50lbs over-weight (which is quite shocking to write that down!). As well as all the other benefits Paleo will bring, I really think my weight is my biggest health issue currently and it's not only affecting my health but also my energy levels and mood.

I find Paleo a very satisfying way to eat and relatively easy to stick to. However, I'm not losing weight! In fact, I've put 5 pounds on. My diet is quite strictly paleo and getting stricter. A typical day's menu is this:

Breakfast - none

Lunch at 12pm - big salad: halloumi, egg, avacado, peppers, chicken, bacon, olive oil dressing

Dinner - at 8ish: usually a hunk of high-quality meat, grass-fed, such as rib-eye steak, plus sauteed vegetables such as peppers and mushroom

I haven't really counted my calories in-depth but my guess would be 900-1000 at lunchtime, and the same for dinner. My problems begin after dinner, however. Usually around 10pm I'm hungry again, and not just peckish but hungry enough to eat a whole meal. And therefore I usually do :)

A couple of other possibly relevant points:

  • Alcohol - I drink on average twice a week. This is down from 3-4 times a week a few months ago. When I drink I drink only Gin and diet tonic.

  • Soda - I reduced my caffeine intake by 75% over the past month. I was on 2 litres of diet coke a day and was keen to remove both the sweetener and the caffeine

  • Dairy - motivated by Kurt Harris' fabulous blog I decided to try experimenting by getting 80% of my calories from fat, usually through cream and butter. Result: not for me. I think this is the main reason for my weight gain. It didn't abate my hunger at all and only made me feel extremely bloated and, as i said, put weight on.

Any thoughts on my situation would be appreciated.

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10 Replies

22684 · August 02, 2010 at 4:39 PM

1800 calories is low, hence the later craving...

How long since stopping dairy?

How much exercise do you get? What kind of exercise is it?

How is your sleep?

Healing a damaged gut takes time. I'd look at super-enzymes and/or probiotics to help

I'd Try to manage stress as that's the only way I gain weight that's not muscle

I'd look at body comp, I gained 15lbs when I went to a heavy grassfed beef diet, 10 of it was muscle and the 5 extra peeled off fast with some IF Muscle is easy to gain when you're eating right and exercising, don't just look at the scale

55320 · August 02, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Um, so this "Breakfast - none" is a red flag. I too once thought that intermittent fasting was a great way to avoid my least favorite meal of the day. But intermittent fasting is for healthy people who don't have problems with satiety. For those struggling with weight-related or other health problems, IF can increase stress hormones and mess with the thyroid. I would suggest eating more in the morning. Once you have beaten your satiety issues, you can try IF again. The first rule of IF should be: 1. If you feel hungry, you aren't ready for IF.

I also don't do so awesome of a very high fat diet. I know this is unpopular with many paleos, but why not try upping fiber consumption from vegetables? Maybe do a mess of greens and other fibrous vegetables with every meal.

I also have had a problem with dairy making me hungrier. I know this doesn't happen to everyone, but it did with me.

2557 · August 03, 2010 at 4:22 AM

"Dairy - motivated by Kurt Harris' fabulous blog I decided to try experimenting by getting 80% of my calories from fat, usually through cream and butter. Result: not for me. I think this is the main reason for my weight gain. It didn't abate my hunger at all and only made me feel extremely bloated and, as i said, put weight on."

This is exactly what I was trying to say in the other thread about butter. Some people seem to blame carbs on weight gain but if you talk about high amounts of butter making people fat they take it personally.

At least with fatty cuts of meat you also get protein and lots of nutrition. Butter has very little calcium compared to milk and cheese and you would have to eat a whole cup of butter to get 100% Vitamin A (and even then, you'd only get 5% calcium.) And a cup of butter has only 1 gram of protein. Need I say more? All that empty calories consumed by so many just to satisfy some low-carb dogma.

Edit: going to add more info. sorry for the butter rant. My best advice is to eat foods high in fiber and protein. In the paleo context that would be meat and fruits and vegetables. The idea is to become full on a lower amount of calories. That means you should fill up your stomach. Fullness is more about how full your stomach is. Butter will slide right through you....that's why you're not feeling full.

20469 · August 03, 2010 at 3:38 AM

A few years ago, I did lowcarb ala the original Atkins using all real foods (very little processed stuff). I ate a lot of meat and salads and lost a lot of weight. Later I fell off the wagon and then recenly went back to lowcarb ala mostly paleo. At first on paleo, I felt great and healthy, but just was not losing any weight at all. Two months passed with no weight loss so I started thinking about what i was doing differently and realized it was definitely low carb ice cream and diary shakes which I did not drink the first time. I cut those totally out and after a few days, I began to lose weight and it's moving along nicely now. I didn't change anything at all except for the removal of those shakes with lowcarb ice cream and cream. I still eat cheese and other fermented diary with no probs. That low carb ice cream was singlehandedly doing me in! It was stopping weight loss and also driving hunger. I actually still drink diet soda which is probably my worst nonpaleo cheat, but it has never seemed to affect my weightloss. And ironically, I find my taste for it getting less and less thus making it easier for me to drink less as time goes on. I also still drinks shakes once in a while, but I subbed coconut milk for the diary. Yum!

I may be biased because it worked for me, but I'd say try ditching any unfermented diary. Then look at any items that are borderline that you might crave, like fermented diary, tons of fruit, etc. Also, sometimes large amounts of nut intake can stall weight loss. I actually don't make nuts a normal part of my meals. I save them for emergency snacks on the go and for baking with nut butters or almost meal. Because I don't want it to be that I am getting a huge chunk of my calories from just one source. -Eva

77338 · August 02, 2010 at 6:28 PM

I had a similar problem earlier in the year too with satiety. The problem was mostly a mental one for me, though. I could be super-stuffed after a meal and still be thinking about food and feeling very uneasy about it.

I fixed it by just toughing it out after eating. I'd just walk away and try to do something productive. Eg. Work, mini-workout, a good ole stroll in the park, etc while making a point to not think about that tub of sour cream or all those juicy lamb chops waiting in the fridge.

It was pretty tough at first, but after a couple of days, it passed and I could eat a normal meal, feel satiated and not feel like eating anymore.

Regardless, it can be difficult to separate what you desire and what your body is telling you.

1658 · August 02, 2010 at 6:19 PM

You may not be eating enough calories. Or getting enough nutrition. To find out for sure (about nutrition), input 1-2 weeks worth of meals into fitday.com and see what the result is. You didn't say what your life or workout schedule is, how you are sleeping, water intake, etc. All these factors matter.

just because you're eating off of the paleo menu doesn't mean you're healthy! I think the weight loss is a great start! and the first commenter made a very good point about IF. I'd ditch that immediately.

If you're not completely off the diet soda, that should be the next thing to go. (If you really need carbonated sugar, try Izze-esque if it is available in your area). Time to let go of the caffeine too.

If this were my situation, I'd try the following: -in bed by 9:30, with all electronics (except for a few lamps) off by 8:30p. -have at least 8oz of water every 90 minutes from waking to bedtime. -take a walk after dinner -get up at 6, do some exercise, have food at 7 or 7:30am -monitor my intake with fitday.com, with no judgment or editing, just do what I do, and write it all down for 1-2 weeks AND keep a journal about how you're feeling (tired, energetic, -make sure I get 15 minutes of direct sun exposure between 10 am and 2pm, accompanied by a walk if possible -strength train alternating body parts 5-6 days per week -eat same foods you've been eating, just prepare with new recipes

if you're willing, try this for up to 3 weeks, then report back on your observations. I'm confident you might pinpoint the issue. Not being hungry for breakfast is not unusual. If you're trying to lose weight though, IF isn't going to work, nor is eating on the pattern you currently have -- for the long run.

602 · August 02, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Losing weight can be a rather non-linear affair. I've lost about 55-60 pounds in a little over 2 years. Nice, but a bit slow if you ask me.

From the end of June '09 thru Thanksgiving '09 I gained about 13 pounds, despite a regimen that was slowly but surely becoming more paleo. And then from that point last fall very abruptly I lost 20 lbs in 7 weeks and 35 lbs in 5 months. I wasn't really doing too much that was different.

Your diet does seem a bit spare to me. Are you really eating the same stuff every day?

Definitely see if giving up the alcohol helps.

And certainly give up the soda, or as we Michiganders call it, "pop". That stuff could hardly be less Paleo.

And don't stress too much about the weight loss. The stress itself won't help.

2231 · September 07, 2013 at 12:44 AM

I have recently added extra virgin coconut oil to my diet. I am NOT trying to lose weight but I just dropped 8 pounds. I think this is because I seriously am not hungry. So, I can understand the not eating breakfast. I am not hungry for breakfast but I eat my eggs anyway---with some veggies like mushrooms & onions.

Just wondering also about your comment about SODA. You said you have reduced your caffeine intake. Have you eliminated the Soda 100%??

I agree with Stephen about your body composition could actually have changed adding muscle weight.

10 · August 03, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Lots of things to think about it here, thanks all for your answers.

2525 · August 02, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Suggestions so far sound sensible. However, one other suggestion from me - make lunch later, perhaps 4pm. Your circumstances sound very similar to how I was. Eating lunch late takes a while to get used to, but means after dinner you feel like you can't eat anything else. Worth a shot.

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