3

votes

Do you strive to be as lean as possible?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 17, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Something I don't get in the paleo community is the fact that everyone wants to be extremely lean. I personally have been very lean my whole life, abs showing and all, but I have almost always felt miserable. The little time I have packed on some pounds (rarely) I felt much happier and energetic; My sports performance improved and my libido was high. I think there has also been studies that have shown that a bit heavier people are healthier than very lean people, I just can't bother to search for them right now.

So what say you paleohackers? Do you want to be extremely lean? Or have you been there and felt miserable? Better?

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:46 PM

*Applause!!* :)

1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448

(2934)

on June 19, 2012
at 12:09 AM

I do (I've seen plenty of them), but it takes time and dedication which I've only just started putting in.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on June 18, 2012
at 08:34 PM

That's true, but even as a teen, I had a pretty good muscle development, especially in my legs. I wasn't skinny. I did have disordered eating, but I never got skinny.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 08:08 PM

Victoria Beckham is skinny. Lolo Jones is lean.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 08:06 PM

Durianrider is skinny. Gregg Avedon is lean.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 08:06 PM

Durianrider is skinny, Gregg avedon is lean

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 08:05 PM

skinny and lean are not synonymous.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 07:11 PM

You don't think you can be a competitive rower wit abs and set PRs?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 07:10 PM

skinny and lean are not synonymous.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 18, 2012
at 07:03 PM

My goal is to get down to the weight and fitness level at which I felt healthiest, or at which I feel healthiest at this age. IMO people look best when they feel best.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 07:02 PM

I think you're confusing lean with skinny. These are different things.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 07:02 PM

As a competitive rower, I'd rather have the energy to train and perform at a high level than be an ab-having slug. A new PR feels better than a 6-pack any day. ^ really?

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on June 18, 2012
at 04:10 PM

We have to work with the material we've been given so there is no one ideal for everybody--just what is ideal for you.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 12:22 AM

LOL. Of course you're somewhat orthorexic, you're on paleohacks!

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on June 17, 2012
at 11:50 PM

That's the thing. I am never sure if I am eating enough. I get in close to 3500 calories almost daily but still haven't gained. When I did gain weight I decided to stop counting and slobber pounds of sweet potatoes with 5-6 tablespoons of coconut oil a couple times a day, but I am somewhat orthorexic so I stopped for fear of "eating huge quantities of fat with carbs."

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on June 17, 2012
at 11:41 PM

Your weight is perfect. Women look better with a higher body fat.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 17, 2012
at 11:35 PM

Are you sure you were eating enough when you were "very lean"? If you can pack on pounds when cutting loose, it may be a sign that being the constitution you were before was going against your body's set point.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 17, 2012
at 10:40 PM

3% feels too fragile. 8% feels god like.

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11 Answers

12
Medium avatar

(10663)

on June 17, 2012
at 11:07 PM

I was extremely lean once; this time last year I was anorexic, depressed, malnourished, had zero sex drive and my hair was falling out. Then I adopted Paleo and gained weight. I have boobs and an ass now. My arm is not the width of a celery stick and I have nicely shaped legs that my girlfriends are envious of.

I no longer strive to be "extremely lean" because that will just result in a downward spiral towards a relapse in having an eating disorder and excessive exercising and being miserable. It took me a very long time to accept my new body and I now love my curves.

I know a majority of people on Paleo want to lose weight and be as lean as possible in order to look good. But for me, the reverse is true: I gained weight and I think I look better now. I adopted Paleo because when I made the decision to be healthy, I wanted to do it right.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:46 PM

*Applause!!* :)

6
3ab5e1b9eba22a071f653330b7fc9579

on June 17, 2012
at 11:14 PM

I strove to be extremely lean on paleo, even got there for a minute, but I realized that enough was enough, women are supposed to have a little but of fat, it is necessary for fertility, and there really is no better indicator of female health than fertility. I finally gave up being athletically lean for generally healthy. I was emotionally happy with my looks but was not really enjoying my life, I was stressing out over every little carb that passed my lips. I am much happier with a couple extra pounds back on my hips (the look more feminine and curvy that way too).

I would also like to add that as an athletic 5'7 girl, being 144 is not by any means overweight, so it is not an excuse to eat nothing but paleo-fied desserts, but still there are better things in life than just being lean.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on June 17, 2012
at 11:41 PM

Your weight is perfect. Women look better with a higher body fat.

2
3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on June 18, 2012
at 12:18 PM

I would like to be as lean as I can healthily be for my gender/height/genetics, but if that's a size 12 woman with an amazonian-like figure then that's ok with me :) I wouldn't want to be leaner than what's healthy!

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on June 18, 2012
at 04:10 PM

We have to work with the material we've been given so there is no one ideal for everybody--just what is ideal for you.

2
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on June 18, 2012
at 02:32 AM

I was a fat kid, starved myself as a teen to leanness, than was a fat adult, and now am on my way down again. However, this time I strive to be healthy and in excellent shape, rather than just lean.

Other factors really influenced my happiness level, more than body weight, but I do have to say that my relationship with my body has improved.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 07:02 PM

I think you're confusing lean with skinny. These are different things.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 07:10 PM

skinny and lean are not synonymous.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on June 18, 2012
at 08:34 PM

That's true, but even as a teen, I had a pretty good muscle development, especially in my legs. I wasn't skinny. I did have disordered eating, but I never got skinny.

2
782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

on June 18, 2012
at 12:27 AM

I don't want to be extremely lean. When I have been I've usually also been depressed. Right now I am slightly underweight, probably, but unlike many others here it seems, I have never had a serious weight problem. I have a small frame (except for my ribs which stick out further than other, ahem, parts) and I don't look that great with more weight on. I'm 5'3" and between 112 to 115 lbs usually.

Biggest problem for me is getting in enough protein to build muscle. I calculated, though, that in the last 3.5 years I've lost about 12lbs of fat and added over 5lbs of muscle. I'm much stronger than I was so I'm pretty happy.

BTW, I thought that slightly underweight people tend to have a greater longevity over heavier people.

1
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on June 18, 2012
at 06:55 PM

I'd have to say that yes, I do strive to be lean. I like the way I feel - agile and lighter on my feet. I like the way my clothes fit. That said, I have never been overweight in my life. I have a naturally "ectomorphic" build (tall and thin). I took it a little too far as a teenager to the point where I had no energy, lost my period, etc etc etc. I have no interest in going back there again, but after 25 years of slow steady recovery I think I know where my ideal weight is, and it's probably on the lean side, BMI-wise. So be it. I don't really have to go to herculean efforts to reach it (I don't do low carb, and I eat dairy) and I never stray more than 10 pounds over or I freak out and start visiting sites like Paleohacks. It's just the weight where I feel the most like "me."

1
2336245491a87ee15d4fb8f8f8283909

(1173)

on June 18, 2012
at 02:32 AM

I'm the leanest I've ever been and I feel just fine. Since I've been intermittent fasting I don't have to strive to be lean.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 08:05 PM

skinny and lean are not synonymous.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 08:08 PM

Victoria Beckham is skinny. Lolo Jones is lean.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 08:06 PM

Durianrider is skinny. Gregg Avedon is lean.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 08:06 PM

Durianrider is skinny, Gregg avedon is lean

1
F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 18, 2012
at 02:10 AM

I cannot attain very lean. I have never in my life been lean. Not as far back into childhood as I can go. If there's a bell-curve for normal weight, I'm at the 99th percentile when I'm at my leanest. I would love to be leaner but as I try new things to get there, I'm not filled with much hope I will actually ever get there. I think there is a limit for some people and I'm quite in awe of those who can just decide they're going to reach super-human leanness and then do it.

0
485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

on June 21, 2012
at 12:54 PM

Many in the paleo community arrived there because of being overweight and that's why you might perceive that pattern. I have struggled with weight ever since puberty and find that the leaner I am, the better I feel.

0
1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448

(2934)

on June 18, 2012
at 05:46 PM

I would love to be lean, but I'm realizing more and more that it doesn't align with my more important goals. I've never been extremely overweight, but I've always had a little extra abdominal fat. It's starting to go away now, from a combination of paleo and increased training, but I haven't yet dipped into the full 6- or 8-pack region.

When I get close to that level, I have very little energy, and usually haven't eaten enough in the past few days. I look okay (still not perfect), but I don't want to do anything. As a competitive rower, I'd rather have the energy to train and perform at a high level than be an ab-having slug. A new PR feels better than a 6-pack any day.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 07:02 PM

As a competitive rower, I'd rather have the energy to train and perform at a high level than be an ab-having slug. A new PR feels better than a 6-pack any day. ^ really?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 18, 2012
at 07:11 PM

You don't think you can be a competitive rower wit abs and set PRs?

1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448

(2934)

on June 19, 2012
at 12:09 AM

I do (I've seen plenty of them), but it takes time and dedication which I've only just started putting in.

0
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on June 17, 2012
at 11:27 PM

If you're able to pack on pounds when cutting loose on your diet, you're diet is probably not sufficient and that's why you feel miserable. Like April said, she felt bad being very lean because she was experiencing all the symptoms of anorexia. Have you tried to not restrict carbs/calories for few months and seeing where your body ends up? If you gain a lot of weight then maybe "very lean" is not where your body is comfortable.

Personally, I think there is a difference between anorexic and very lean and athletic lean. Anorexia requires a strong calorie deficit to the point of a adverse health effects- and it is unnatural and unsustainable to stay that way. Being "very lean" and not an highly requires a consistent calorie deficit and some activity. Since you are still restricting calories to get this way, it probably doesn't feel so great long term. Being athletically lean requires a high level of calories- even consistent surpluses- and a desirable level of body fat is still achieved with ease. I'd say if you fall into the first or second category it's not healthy and you should give your body a break and feed it ample carbs and calories. If you can literally eat all you want still maintain a lean composition, then you probably actually won't feel miserable.

I also think that women certainly need more body fat for fertility. I don't think the same goes for men. I mean, sure 3%bf is probably going to result in a decline in hormones, but in the range of 8-12% is very healthy if that's where you naturally sit at.

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