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Gaining fat starting paleo... Help!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 17, 2012 at 9:30 PM

I have been attempting Paleo (somewhat modified) for about 3 weeks now. The middle week, I was on spring break, so it was really hard to follow but I tried my best. Now that I have been back home, though, I have been doing pretty well. I have not decided to cut out dairy, but I have limited it to only cream in my coffee and greek yogurt and cheese on occasion. I have basically cut out all grains and extra sugar and legumes, etc.

I am trying to lose some body fat, but I am currently 5'5" about 120 lbs and 18 percent body fat, so I really don't have much to lose. Before trying Paleo, I usually tried to watch what I ate and make healthy choices, but I really was not strict at all and usually had dessert daily, and ate something bad like pizza or something weekly.

The thing is, I feel like I have started to actually GAIN body fat, especially around my belly (where I wanted to lose it in the first place). I have probably been eating too much sugar (in the form of paleo desserts) and too many nuts (but I ate peanut butter A LOT before Paleo), but I don't see how I am gaining weight considering how I was able to eat before. I also loove coconut butter and have been eating that quite a bit. However, I've been tracking my calories somewhat, and they have not increased, just the macronutrients have changed.

This is very discouraging to me, since I was pretty sold on the idea that Paleo is better, and it made a lot of sense to me. I am starting to think that the whole "eating fat will make you fat" thing actually has some logic to it.

Any ideas? Help? Advice? Am I better off just going back to what I was eating, grains and all?

(I have also been doing IF... with a 14 hr fasting period daily)

D3495cd9e3e7173f24e1dbee40774573

on March 19, 2012
at 01:17 PM

Well, I'm just talking from experience as a girl with similar body composition. IFing in particular was very tough on me. I think for lean women especially, it's very hard. I was hungry, very stressed and gained weight. Men store fat in a way that makes it more easily mobilised for lean times.

Ddb51a33b296f29918d3c50fcaf58359

on March 18, 2012
at 09:23 PM

Wondering what sweeteners you are using to make the Paleo desserts. I am again thinking carbs are the culprit and not fats. @go_paleo

Ddb51a33b296f29918d3c50fcaf58359

on March 18, 2012
at 09:21 PM

You didn't mention fruit? I would be curious to know if you are overdoing the fruit. It may very well be the opposite of what this poster says. I think that too many carbs would be more likely to lead to belly fat that too much fat. @go_paleo

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 18, 2012
at 03:27 PM

Jenny J, that is exactly right. I just really want to tone up, not necessarily lose body weight or fat. I worded it wrong. This is a pretty normal weight for me, so I'm not in an unhealthy region and don't want to get skinnier, just want more definition etc.

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 18, 2012
at 03:23 PM

Haha, I never really looked at it like that... I just came across paleo, got really excited about trying it, and tried to throw it all in at once. Just yesterday I was planning on adding in some weight lifting and sprints a couple times a week too, to hopefully see some better results. Maybe I SHOULD chill out a bit. :) Thanks for the advice!

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 18, 2012
at 03:19 PM

That is true, I was worried about the use of those flours anyways. I have only made one or two things with almond flour, so I think I will stop doing that for a while. I just love to cook and bake, and dessert will always be my weak point :)

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 18, 2012
at 03:16 PM

Well the interval training I do 2x a week isn't very high intensity, it is for a program I am in. I probably am doing too much though, now that I look at it. It's my stress reliever though, I suppose!

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 18, 2012
at 08:09 AM

So you're doing high intensity workouts five times a week??? I'd say that's about three times too many? SOunds intense to me. maybe you need to chill a little...

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 18, 2012
at 08:07 AM

remember that coconut is very high in calories, and paleo "desserts" that use almond and coconut flour will also be very high calorie.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 18, 2012
at 02:44 AM

For a female, 18% body fat is usually plenty low enough. Thought about maybe gaining muscle by toning instead of losing fat? Can put your menses in jeopardy, totally depending on the person however, if you go below 20% BF.

22fcea5ec4415ff2238c663324aca40f

(556)

on March 17, 2012
at 11:17 PM

The people I know who have easy success eating this way do not approach it with a normal diet attitude. Typically resulting in looking for ways to eat foods that mimic what used to eat. You need to look at it as what a hunter-gather might have eaten. How might they have eaten. When. ect.. That is the life that is parallel to our evolution and yields the best results.

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 17, 2012
at 11:02 PM

Female. Also, josh, the reason I am asking/worried about this is because I feel like I have been noticing differences... it's just belly-fat gain and unwanted differences!

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 17, 2012
at 11:01 PM

Do bodyweight exercises not really count as weight training? Do I need to be adding actual resistance weights in with that? Also, I have heard the cortisol thing mentioned on this site a lot, but I don't really know much about it. Would you mind expanding? Thanks!

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 17, 2012
at 10:59 PM

I was trying to limit carbs to around or under 100g/day, because I read that is ideal for weight loss. I have very high stress and very little sleep (I am in college in a very difficult and time consuming major, as well as in a program that requires me to be up at 5:20 twice a week), but again, this has not changed since I have started Paleo. I try to drink a lot of water, and usually I run about 2-5 miles (which I have no control over, it is mandatory). I do bodyrock, which is HIIT and a lot of strength exercises using body-weights.

22fcea5ec4415ff2238c663324aca40f

(556)

on March 17, 2012
at 10:59 PM

haha..wow.. sorry about the bad grammar.

22fcea5ec4415ff2238c663324aca40f

(556)

on March 17, 2012
at 10:56 PM

It is better. You need to reset your body though. Go 20-30 days eating very clean, no cheats, getting sleep, moving like a human animal. Then when you're body feels it's natural state you can make better judgments and eat what you feel is good for you. This is subjective you your goals. The 20-30 days is a must to start noticing differences.

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 17, 2012
at 10:54 PM

I think I will try that. I have been trying to limit carbs because of many things I read about Paleo and weight loss, but I think that might not be the best thing for me. Thanks!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 17, 2012
at 10:50 PM

Are you male or female?

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 17, 2012
at 10:24 PM

I could be mistaken on my calorie intake, but like I said, I had been tracking my calories before and recently started tracking them again and they are consistent. ( I used myfitnesspal.com)

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 17, 2012
at 10:23 PM

But since I was eating the same before (I ate almonds a lot, as well as peanut butter daily. I also ate a lot of sweets) why would that suddenly make me gain weight? I do bodyrock, which is HIIT, about 3 times a week, as well as run at least 2x a week and do some sort of interval training 2x a week.

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6 Answers

best answer

5
25819079a9264c10bcba7cd592e16216

(446)

on March 18, 2012
at 03:57 AM

It seems like you are doing lots of things at once... Paleo-ish diet, IF, lots of nuts, AND HIIT, AND poor sleep and that you are really STRESSING YOUR BODY OUT with this regimen.

So how do these interventions align with your goals? How about one intervention at a time, so you can see what's working and what's not?

I personally never recommend a new client to play with IF until AFTER we have set a solid baseline with a clean high quality diet to see what results we get from that. I really think IF is an advanced tool to be used wisely.

You're also probably in need of more high quality carb sources with your HIIT. And are spot on to reduce your nut intake.

What I would do with your schedule and program and mandatory requirements is lay off the HIIT and IF and FOCUS ONLY on eating high quality foods for the next month. Do your runs, study hard, sleep as much as possible in a solid dark room, and see what happens.

Then come back and tell us if Paleo works or not. With your current lifestyle, I don't think it's possible to pin your belly fat on the diet. Hope this helps! :)

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 18, 2012
at 03:23 PM

Haha, I never really looked at it like that... I just came across paleo, got really excited about trying it, and tried to throw it all in at once. Just yesterday I was planning on adding in some weight lifting and sprints a couple times a week too, to hopefully see some better results. Maybe I SHOULD chill out a bit. :) Thanks for the advice!

5
D3495cd9e3e7173f24e1dbee40774573

on March 17, 2012
at 10:38 PM

Belly fat could be cortisol related- too much exercise and not enough fuel for it. Maybe you should try eating a little less fat and more carbohydrate. Just a thought for experimenting with.

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 17, 2012
at 10:54 PM

I think I will try that. I have been trying to limit carbs because of many things I read about Paleo and weight loss, but I think that might not be the best thing for me. Thanks!

Ddb51a33b296f29918d3c50fcaf58359

on March 18, 2012
at 09:21 PM

You didn't mention fruit? I would be curious to know if you are overdoing the fruit. It may very well be the opposite of what this poster says. I think that too many carbs would be more likely to lead to belly fat that too much fat. @go_paleo

D3495cd9e3e7173f24e1dbee40774573

on March 19, 2012
at 01:17 PM

Well, I'm just talking from experience as a girl with similar body composition. IFing in particular was very tough on me. I think for lean women especially, it's very hard. I was hungry, very stressed and gained weight. Men store fat in a way that makes it more easily mobilised for lean times.

0
Ddb51a33b296f29918d3c50fcaf58359

on March 18, 2012
at 09:26 PM

Limiting carbs to 100 per day is best for everyone, not just dieters. I find that to lose weight when you are a carb sensitive individual, you may need to limit them further. Did you know that our ancient ancestors, particularly those in colder climates, had extremely low carbohydrate intakes for many months at a time?

@go_paleo

0
C152c2de5fc2b254c819d781fef7fdab

on March 17, 2012
at 10:47 PM

Are you eating a higher carb-type Paleo diet? You get into trouble when you eat bacon, coconut oil, coconut butter, nuts, etc. and also "cheat" with starchy carbs... that combination can be a pound-packer. Also sounds like it might be cortisol-related... What are your stress levels like? Sleep? drinking a lot of water? Are you running long distances or doing extended workouts on the elliptical at the gym as your main source of exercise? Sounds like some strength training might be helpful?

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 17, 2012
at 10:59 PM

I was trying to limit carbs to around or under 100g/day, because I read that is ideal for weight loss. I have very high stress and very little sleep (I am in college in a very difficult and time consuming major, as well as in a program that requires me to be up at 5:20 twice a week), but again, this has not changed since I have started Paleo. I try to drink a lot of water, and usually I run about 2-5 miles (which I have no control over, it is mandatory). I do bodyrock, which is HIIT and a lot of strength exercises using body-weights.

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 17, 2012
at 11:01 PM

Do bodyweight exercises not really count as weight training? Do I need to be adding actual resistance weights in with that? Also, I have heard the cortisol thing mentioned on this site a lot, but I don't really know much about it. Would you mind expanding? Thanks!

0
Cb508bbcea59e2c9c0d2ac7a6479f5b7

on March 17, 2012
at 10:19 PM

I would say stop paleo treats and nuts for a month and see what happens! Coconut butter is addicting and maybe a culprit. However eating healthy fat wont make you fat. What kind of workouts are you doing?

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 17, 2012
at 10:23 PM

But since I was eating the same before (I ate almonds a lot, as well as peanut butter daily. I also ate a lot of sweets) why would that suddenly make me gain weight? I do bodyrock, which is HIIT, about 3 times a week, as well as run at least 2x a week and do some sort of interval training 2x a week.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 18, 2012
at 08:09 AM

So you're doing high intensity workouts five times a week??? I'd say that's about three times too many? SOunds intense to me. maybe you need to chill a little...

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 18, 2012
at 03:16 PM

Well the interval training I do 2x a week isn't very high intensity, it is for a program I am in. I probably am doing too much though, now that I look at it. It's my stress reliever though, I suppose!

0
6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on March 17, 2012
at 09:52 PM

I dont think that you can judge based on 3 weeks, with a week in the middle that you weren't strict. If you are gaining weight, I would guess that you may have been overestimating your calories before, and underestimating them now. Eating fat wont make you fat, eating too many calories will.

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 17, 2012
at 10:24 PM

I could be mistaken on my calorie intake, but like I said, I had been tracking my calories before and recently started tracking them again and they are consistent. ( I used myfitnesspal.com)

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 18, 2012
at 08:07 AM

remember that coconut is very high in calories, and paleo "desserts" that use almond and coconut flour will also be very high calorie.

Ddb51a33b296f29918d3c50fcaf58359

on March 18, 2012
at 09:23 PM

Wondering what sweeteners you are using to make the Paleo desserts. I am again thinking carbs are the culprit and not fats. @go_paleo

Bffe67e478b9996186ed311969b8bce6

(5)

on March 18, 2012
at 03:19 PM

That is true, I was worried about the use of those flours anyways. I have only made one or two things with almond flour, so I think I will stop doing that for a while. I just love to cook and bake, and dessert will always be my weak point :)

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