I'm looking for a little guidance. I am about 80 lbs overweight and started Paleo about 5 weeks ago. I am not 100% pure paleo but pretty close I feel much better. I lost 8 lbs the first week. Since then my weight loss has stalled. Excercise is a problem - I can usually fit it in once a week. There are no cross fit gyms in my area. My job requires a lit of sitting. I eat lots of fruit and veges, have been cooking in coconut oil and have been dairy free (a few times a week I have a little cheese). I have not been monitoring portions - could that be the problem?
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How much fruit are you eating? When I first started Paleo I was eating about 4 pieces of fruit a day, but in the past few months I might eat about a piece every few days. The weight didn't really come off that quick, but I could tell my shape was changing. Since cutting back on the fruit, I've seen the weight loss pick up a bit. And, I did go back to counting calories and looking at my fat:carb:protein ratios...
Sleep! Don't forget to get some sleep!
You don't have to be a crossfitter to lose weight on Paleo! I do light cardio 2 times a week, free weights 1 or 2 times a week, yoga once a week, and a ton of walking all the time. Sure, I'm not ripped but I'm seeing more toning and building strength.
And like said before, you have to find what works for you. A lot of it seems to be trial and error and lots of tinkering for each person. Stick with it!
Congratulations on taking the first step, and sorry to hear of the frustrating plateau.
It would probably be really helpful to others answering this thread if you could post a typical day's food, if that's possible.
There are a few different things that could be going on so here are some open ended questions for you to think about. (I am not a nutritionist, just an amateur Paleo chick who reads a ton about the subject.)
- What's making up the "not 100%"? Are you eating something that's still causing inflammation or other adverse reactions? Ditching the cheese could (sadly) be one option.
- How much fruit do you eat per day? More than 1-2 pieces can stall weight loss for some people. Stick to berries and low-sugar fruits if possible, not bananas/mango/etc.
- Portion size and potentially total intake could be the issue, as you point out. Some paleo-ites on here eat 1lb of meat at one sitting, others among us have to be more restrained. As you have a lot to lose, and you're not actively strength training, I'd recommend keeping protein portions in the 6-8oz (palm size) range and not eating any starchy vegetables.
- On the flipside perhaps you are eating too few calories. Track a couple days' worth of food, and use a Basal Metabolic Rate calculator to see where you're at relatively speaking.
- How much water are you drinking per day? Are you using artificial sweeteners or drinking diet soda?
- How is your fat intake? Are you getting it from places other than the coconut oil? Paradoxically, increasing fat intake may give you a boost.
- Have you noticed any positive changes e.g. inches lost (measure yourself now if you haven't), clothes fitting differently, more energy, better sleep?
- Could hormones be a factor here? (Depending on your birth control or any history of hormonal problems/PCOS. No need to answer publicly, but I personally had some issues with hormonal birth control and weight retention, so flagging it for you just in case.)
So much about paleo is about what works for your particular body -- sorry I can't give a simple answer!
I hear you on the exercise front, but perhaps try reframing the way you think about it. If you don't have time, you're really saying "Exercise is not a priority". That's easily the case in today's hectic world. How about trying to fit in a 20 minute walk three times a week and going from there?
Lowering your carb intake let you lose 8 lbs of water weight. At that point it does come down to calorie reduction. The big advantage of going low carb is that it keeps you satisfied longer when you eat a high protein, high fat meal than if you eat the same amount of calories but with more carbs. That way you don't want to eat/snack as often and your overall calorie intake goes down. It helps a lot to eat a large high protein breakfast.
You also need to forgo any snacking related to emotional issues or habit. This gets into recognizing true hunger. The Whole30 people define this as feeling like you'd happily eat plain steamed fish and broccoli.
Eat only until hunger has been satisfied. Learn to recognize when you're still eating because it tastes good or you feel like you need to clear your plate. Stop eating at that point and store or toss the extra food. So you toss a couple dollars worth of food at a restaurant. Would you pay $2 every now and then to get better health?
Conversely, don't let yourself get too hungry. If you're really hungry, eat. Favor protein and fats. If you get hungry too early, learn to make your meals a bit bigger. Excess hunger leads to uncontrolled eating of crap.
As for exercise - It really doesn't take long. 20-30 minutes 3 times a week with some dumbbells and body weight exercises. You don't need to join a gym with all the expense and travel time. Keep the dumbbells by your desk. Get to work ten minutes early, exercise. Ten minutes at lunch, exercise. Ten minutes while on the phone, do some squats. Every other day. Concentrate on muscles rather than cardio. Watch 30 minutes less tv or computer time per night and go for a walk. Not to burn calories but because it helps your metabolism. (and mood) For us overweight people, it's effectively weight lifting as we move our own weight.
If you decide to try low carb...