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NOT Paleo: eating more to lose weight

Answered on May 08, 2014
Created May 07, 2014 at 8:28 PM

An n=1 for you...

I know the kindly paleo folk here are going to understand this better than I. There HAS to be a scientific reason. I've always assumed it was that 'starvation mode' thing people talk about but nowadays (I'm old), it appears we've decided that's an urban myth.

There is the setup for the question of 'how did this happen?!?' I'd like to understand! I went from Healthy Nature Girl to skinny to skinnier weakling academic to porking up to skinniest girl (my family accused me of being anorexic and I was eating MORE). I'd rather be Healthy Nature Girl, don't get me wrong, and I don't care what the scale says as long as I fit in a size 4 or 6. I'm a HAPPY OLD LADY but...what's with this thing in my past not being 'starvation mode?' if it was just eating more of the same? Because I hear that starvation mode thing used all the time STILL. If it's not that, what is it?

Wayback Machine:

I grew up on a paleo dream come true working ranch where we raised everything (plant and animal or hunted). I had to swing 70lb bales of hay and goodness knows what other chores daily -- as a GIRL. When I moved away, my diet went to the SAD and I only carried textbooks. I got TINY. I lost my muscles (of course!) and had a 20" waist. I was small.

In my early 20s, I was fit by society's standards. I was putting on a little 'I don't have to be hungry now that I'm no longer paying my way through uni' weight and wanted to shift it. I started attending WW and tracking my food, measuring and writing it all down. I kept under 1400 calories a day and (you'll love this) ate VEGETARIAN (had already been vegetarian a few years cos drs told me to eat whole grains and no red meat, just saying I was doing what I was told).

After about 18 months, I gave up. I was tired of restricting calories and ate however much I wanted but tracked, 1800-2000 calories a day. I went down to 112lb from 122lb doing the SAME workouts, again your standard prescription of the day: running 3mi, 3x/wk and girlie weight ST. My only change was EATING MORE and it was the vegetarian foods I was already eating. This is not an argument for vegetarian eating, I have to state it because there may be a reason...hence the question with rambling details.

AND this level of leanness (skinny, really) lasted a few years til I stopped working out, deciding I was in my 30s and didn't have to anymore. Ha! Hey, I was stupid.

Maybe this is something I'll never understand but you hear it from other people all the time!

Kind Regards!

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on May 08, 2014
at 06:29 AM

It's all about hormone balance, and one of those is cortisol. You were working out to the point of high stress, and probably didn't get enough rest to compensate, despite the great farm food. Once you took the stressor away, the weight came off.

When you then, later on, ate too little, the weight came back on because that too is a stressor. Once you ate a bit more, the stressor went away, and so did the weight.

As weird as it may sound, this is fairly common because the calories-in-calories-out theory is deeply flawed, and our bodies adapt to our environment and react to it.

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