Why am I not losing weight?

by (0) Updated October 01, 2013 at 9:47 AM Created January 17, 2012 at 11:35 PM

So I'm on day 16 of following a very strict paleo diet and yet I'm not losing any weight. I'm frustrated and need advice as to what I am doing wrong...here some details about myself and my diet to this point;

I'm a 31 year old female, 5'8 145lbs who is highly active, 3 x per week training with a trainer cross fit, and 3 x per week various high intensity cardio (rowing, spinning class, running and sprinting) I recently had my BMI tested with a bod pod and I was 25 percent body fat.

I have never eaten so to say poorly but have tweaked my diet substantially to go full paleo. After the first ten days of not losing weight I limited my nuts and fruit intake and I am willing to cut those fully out. I generally eat, 2 hardboiled eggs in the morning, salad with grilled chicken breast and avocado for lunch with balsamic oil dressing I make, dinner is usually fish and or some type of meat and some type of veggie, and 2-3 x per week I have some sweet potato

I drink maybe once a week but only wine.

With regards to how I feel or my clothes fit, I feel fine and my clothes fit fine...I know that the scale should not be the deciding factor but I can say I feel like I have physically looked better at my lower weight....bottom line it doesn't seem possible that I'm not losing weight with the removal of the certain foods I have taken out

My goal weight is 135 and I have been able to carry that weight on a much more unhealthy diet so I just don't get what I am doing wrong.

edit: typos

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19 Replies

514 · January 17, 2012 at 11:43 PM

Because you are at a perfectly normal, healthy (and likely good-looking) weight for your height. Your body likes to stay normal. There are about a million feedback loops to keep you steady. Weight stability is actually a sign of good health. We are not all destined to some arbitrarily chosen ideal weight, or visible abs, or whatever.

9796 · January 18, 2012 at 2:33 PM

At 5'8" and 145, I don't think you are doing anything "wrong" because that seems like a perfectly healthy weight. That may just be the weight your body likes to be at, and it looks like you are eating good foods. If you want to lose ten lbs, you can certainly do that by trying the tips provided by the other folks on here, but it may be tough to maintain. I'd like to be 135 also (I'm 5'5") but it just doesn't seem sustainable for me. Either way, I hope you stick with paleo, and good luck :)

305 · January 18, 2012 at 12:36 PM

I don't know why everyone here is saying that you're likely "eating too much". For your activity level and height/weight I would actually say that you are likely not eating ENOUGH! It doesn't say what your exact portions are but i'm willing to bet that you don't clear 1200 calories/day eating like that. Effectively losing body fat does not necessarily mean eat as little as you can manage..it just stresses your body out, and with all the exercise your body is probably under enough stress as it is. eat more protein. eat more fat.

also i have read that some people don't do too well with virtually no carbohydrates - perhaps try some berries and eat sweet potatoes more often.

623 · January 18, 2012 at 3:54 AM

I would cut down on working out. I bet your cortisol levels are really out of wack. Another option is an intermittent fasting (16 hours with no food). This is a bad idea if its your cortisol issue though.

So in my opinion i would cut down to no more then 3 really hard days of working out for about a month and see what happens.

Just my thoughts, Matt

2487 · January 18, 2012 at 12:35 AM

Your diet looks pretty fine to me...what sticks out is six punishing workouts a week. Yikes! How's your recovery? Energy? Sleep? Anytime I do more than 4 seriously intense workouts in a week, my cortisol shoots up, I get a bit pudgy, and I gain four pounds that don't leave for a week. If you're open to it, you might try just the three crossfit workouts, focusing on lifting heavy, and trade the spinning for walks and yoga, or just making sure you get enough sleep.

Hormones are another things to consider, and trying (not simultaneously) bringing carbs to 100-150 g/day as well as IF...some people do great on the former, some thrive on the latter. You'll know within a week which is for you.

5111 · April 24, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Well, it's a little late now, but I'm willing to bet the OP's problem was severe overtraining combined with not enough calories causing her body to go into lockdown. When I hear of some people's workout regimens they just sound like pure punishment.

It would have been nice to hear a followup report.

5115 · January 18, 2012 at 12:29 AM

Depending on how you feel, I'd say you're either training too much for what you're eating or you're eating more than you need. But in my experience, two weeks is the minimum to establish an average weight and I'd rather take a month if possible to establish a 'base' weight for a significant change in diet. That also gives more time to judge if you're recovering well or whether you're actually putting your body under too much stress. It may just take a 'refeed' day once a week to support your body - and if you combine it with a fasting day then you can maintain the calorie control that will encourage fat loss.

Also, it might be worth trying a bigger breakfast, and judging the rest of your meals based on need. There's a lot to learn and adjust to, so just be confident that you are doing good things for your body, concentrate on other measures and goals.

1700 · January 18, 2012 at 12:06 AM

I've asked a similar question a few days ago - my problem was that I was actually gaining on paleo, even though I wasn't eating any more calories than before - http://paleohacks.com/questions/90250/has-paleo-permanently-lowered-my-metabolism#axzz1jNP06Lyy

The answers came to down to either (a) your body becomes more efficient at converting food, therefore you need fewer calories than before or (b) carb intake is too low, especially if you work out a lot.

I am currently experimenting to see if (b) is true, by increasing my net carb intake to about 130 grams a day.

37013 · January 17, 2012 at 11:52 PM

Hi, JC, and welcome!

I know 2 weeks can feel like forever when you're working with your foods. I have to say a few things that I believe to be accurate but may not necessarily what you want to hear.

If you are absolutely determined to lose weight, you probably can do it. However, you'll need to relax and be well-rested and not stressed. Are you sleeping good and getting enough rest? Could you be too active and in need of a rest day or two?

I'm not sure how much you've already changed up what you're eating, but about once per week I'd change again--some days eat more, not less, and eat at different times, etc. One week eat fish, another week beef, etc., to see how you react.

Have you tried intermittent fasting (IF) at all? Most people don't try it until they've been eating this way a little longer than you have but since you're active and already at a relatively normal weight you may need to do some weekly experiments to find a food program that works the way you want.

Is your waist lean or do you tend to carry body fat there? I'm assuming it's lean given the height and weight you described, but if it isn't you could have some leptin resistance going on and you'd want to check out the leptin RX.

If you haven't yet and there's no obstacle, I'd start each day for a week or so with fatty beef. That should definitely convince your body that times are good and it's okay to release any stored fat you're trying to get rid of.

Just keep trying different things at weekly intervals and see what happens. And above all, relax!

25 · January 18, 2012 at 2:50 PM

This may be a silly question, but have you been measuring yourself on a weekly basis? I have many times been stuck at a number (or seen it go up), only to measure and find out I traded some fat for muscle and lost inches. Sometimes it's a good backup to keep track of, as it can show you progress that the scale won't.

That said, if you have been and still stuck, I would be patient. Keep a daily log for a week and track what's going in each day (you may find something that is stalling you that you never thought of before), and don't give up staying active! If you feel like maybe too much exercise is a problem, cut down to 2x a week if your Crossfit allows, and walk instead (or something).

Experiment with what you're doing, but hang in there. Bodies can be picky and stubborn. Sometimes they just need time to accept a new lifestyle before they let go!

871 · January 18, 2012 at 2:21 AM

@ JC...your weight, height and goals are shockingly identical to mine, I am truly completely lost for myself, I wish I could offer more advice...but I have been doing 24-48hr fasts for the last week or so...dont know if it will help, i feel like an IF just depletes your glycogen so you appear like you have lost, but the minute you eat anything, you appearance goes back...so I am very confused myself. Please do post your progress if you can...I'd love to feed off!

115 · January 18, 2012 at 1:26 AM

I agree with the workouts. Whenever I workout too much I never lose weight. Once I sit on my butt and do nothing, it falls off. I am not sure why because usually I eat the same. Your meals look similar to mine but I don't eat breakfast. I am losing 3 lbs per week and I only have 6 vanity lbs to lose.

0 · September 30, 2013 at 8:58 AM

It is dream of every person to look slim and smart, but they often find it difficult to stop their craving for food. Would not it be better for them to start taking saffron extract as it helps suppressing appetite, which automatically helps reducing body weight?

0 · September 30, 2013 at 8:24 AM

It is dream of every person to look slim and smart, but they often find it difficult to stop their craving for food. Would not it be better for them to start taking saffron extract as it helps suppressing appetite, which automatically helps reducing body weight?

0 · September 30, 2013 at 8:23 AM

It is dream of every person to look slim and smart, but they often find it difficult to stop their craving for food. Would not it be better for them to start taking saffron extract as it helps suppressing appetite, which automatically helps reducing body weight?

384 · June 29, 2013 at 8:58 PM

"So I'm on day 16"

That's your first problem. Give it time :)

0 · June 29, 2013 at 8:01 PM

I've been on the paleo diet before (2007-2009) and only quit when my kidney function became low. Since then, my kidney function has improved, though it remains low, but I decided to go back to the paleo diet to lose weight that I regained after stopping the diet in late 2009.

So far, my experience, after one week back on the paleo diet, has been nothing like what I experienced in 2007-2008. At that time, I lost 37 lbs within the first two weeks and a total of 75 lbs by about eight months. I also completely cured my type II diabetes (within five months).

The differences are that I was 55 then and I'm almost 61 now, and then I weighed 233 and had a higher body fat percentage when I began. This time, I'm a little bit leaner (though I still have a lot of body fat) and I weighed 209 when I began last Friday. I've dropped 4 lbs since then. Given my somewhat leaner body mass (most of the fat is on my torso, especially my gut. My face, neck, arms and legs are normal) and being 24 lbs lighter than I was the first time I went on the diet, I suppose losing only 4 lbs the first week (without any exercise, I might add) is nothing to be disappointed with, right?


0 · April 24, 2012 at 6:08 PM

I asked a similar question yesterday ...the advice I was given was to cut out the chicken, nuts, and wine.

0 · April 24, 2012 at 5:11 PM

Have you been tested for hypothyroidism - no matter what you do if you have this condition you wont lose weight until it is being treated. I was in a similar situation to you, no matter how well I ate or exercised I couldn't shift excess weight. It was only when I was diagnosed and treated for hypothyroidism that the weight problems went away.

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