4

votes

Body Fat Percentage- women

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 02, 2013 at 3:21 AM

Hi everyone,

I am wondering the effect of the Paleo lifestyle on body fat percentage, particularly for females. Personally, I am finding it difficult to reach a low body fat percentage on the Paleo lifestyle. I've read that women are not meant to be thin (I do not mean emaciated, but around 18-22& BF), and that a layer of fat is a good buffer in case of hard times and is also good for reproductive purposes. As the Paleo diet promotes health, I'm curious if women following it maintain body fat percentages in the high teens and low 20s, or they are around 30% / keep an "extra" 5, 10, 20 lbs of fat.

So women, if you're willing, could you post your body fat percentages (or weights and measurements, anything to indicate fitness/thinness), the amount of time you have been Paleo, and what percentage of the time you stay Paleo? Additionally, if you turned to anything method to lose weight (cutting fruit, cutting nuts, caloric restriction, etc.) could you please share that as well?

While my question is geared towards women, I have no opposition to men responding, as well. Share away.

Medium avatar

(10663)

on June 20, 2013
at 12:11 AM

Amazing answer.

95d2de21d91895ab15a35f8bb8f40b87

(10)

on June 19, 2013
at 04:09 PM

oh and I know I am thin, I've just always had a thin build. I dont like being too thin, I am actually trying to put on muscle to gain weight.

68655ec9711d207d69a63ebf96b37573

on April 20, 2013
at 09:08 PM

I think it's reasonably easy to get you fertility back - you just eat more carbs and calories. Mine resolved in less than 2 months of just 50g extra carbs and 300 extra cals a day! The real issue is the osteoporosis risk (which is very significant, especially if you restrict when under 25)

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on April 20, 2013
at 05:47 PM

Upvote for being happy with your body and listening to its cues! You are right - not everyone is meant to be uber thin. Health is more important. I worry that many of the younger paleo eating women who restrict to get low BF %'s will have the same fertility issues that vegan eaters have once they want to have babies.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on April 20, 2013
at 05:37 PM

Hormonal issues in women often make weight loss a bit more complicated than "calories in, calories out", especially as they age. To me, the paleo lifestyle fairly debunks the whole c in / c out notion - why do we focus on high quality meats, fats, and fresh produce if a calorie of a wheat product would end up producing the same weight loss effect?

Medium avatar

(39831)

on April 02, 2013
at 05:49 PM

RK: Heh, I just edited the formatting; this is Sydney's question.

4f828fd11d2d1d595a1653baa5e3e77b

(421)

on April 02, 2013
at 12:27 PM

Yep, def the indents- thought maybe my computer was just displaying weird. Whoops

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on April 02, 2013
at 11:56 AM

Travis- great questions. On behalf of women I thank you. I'm having mine measured this month and I'll come back to this....

Medium avatar

(39831)

on April 02, 2013
at 04:38 AM

I think it was the indents

800e726cb5dff569fd8edf604c3e2793

(1655)

on April 02, 2013
at 03:45 AM

What's up with the weird formatting and colors?

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12 Answers

2
68655ec9711d207d69a63ebf96b37573

on April 20, 2013
at 01:36 PM

I'm 5'1", 115lbs and about 22% body fat. I measure 35"bust, 27" ribs, 25" waist, 38"hips. DD boobs and bubble butt, decent amount of muscle, no flab. I'm not fat or thin. I can see my ribs easily when I raise my arms and have a flat stomach, but no visible abs.

I think it's very subjective and very genetic. Other women here my height are 100lbs, 105lbs - fine for them, but it's not healthy for me to be this small. I stop having periods at about 110 and there is no way that my hips would ever go below about 34 or 35", because they're bone.

For me to lose weight I would have to cut calories by 500, and eat no more than 1000 cals a day for several months. I'd be starving and miserable so I don't bother. I need a minimum of 70g carbs a day to prevent hypothalamia (low thyroid). I have been paleo for 2 and a half years, and spent 1 year as VLC, 1200cals/day, which wasn't good for me at all. I am strict when alone but struggle with self control when eating out with others :( I eat about 1500 cals a day, not much fruit or nuts.

Some women aren't meant to be thin and have to settle for slimmish. I'm one of them, and I'm ok with it, because my health is more important than some arbitrary beauty standard. I will never look thin because of the tits and ass. It's fine with me. If your body doesn't "want" to be thin, and you do, then unfortunately you'll probably need to commit to significant calorie restriction day in, day out.

68655ec9711d207d69a63ebf96b37573

on April 20, 2013
at 09:08 PM

I think it's reasonably easy to get you fertility back - you just eat more carbs and calories. Mine resolved in less than 2 months of just 50g extra carbs and 300 extra cals a day! The real issue is the osteoporosis risk (which is very significant, especially if you restrict when under 25)

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on April 20, 2013
at 05:47 PM

Upvote for being happy with your body and listening to its cues! You are right - not everyone is meant to be uber thin. Health is more important. I worry that many of the younger paleo eating women who restrict to get low BF %'s will have the same fertility issues that vegan eaters have once they want to have babies.

Medium avatar

(10663)

on June 20, 2013
at 12:11 AM

Amazing answer.

2
0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

on April 20, 2013
at 02:06 AM

I don't know my body fat percentage but I weighed 101 pounds this morning, down from a high three years ago of 125. I'm five foot five inches tall.

I've been a Paleo eater for five years, as of this month. Once a week "cheats" with 100% dark chocolate and careful sips of whiskey, that's about it. I eat grass-fed butter and no other dairy. The few "neolithic" foods I sometimes eat probably classify me as a 95-99 percenter.

When I decided to lose weight just over a year ago, I cut starches, eliminated fruits entirely, as well as nuts and all coconut products. I haven't (knowingly) been near a grain in years. I'm firmly VLC.

My carb restriction isn't intentional, but it's there. After a few years of tracking what I ate, I have a pretty good ballpark idea how much I consume in a day, but I don't fret about it. I am one of those middle-aged females lucky enough to do very well on regular, daily intermittent fasting and some days, I'm just not hungry, feel great, and don't eat.

Diet is only part of the equation, however.

2
23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on April 06, 2013
at 12:39 AM

I'm 5'1'', female and 26 years old, was around 104 lbs, wore a size 0. I worked out everyday. I wasn't fat, but I didn't have the muscle definition I wanted. Still had a tummy.

I started paleo about 2 years ago, and ate an average of 1500 calories a day, keeping my carbs around 90-120g a day and the rest in protein and fat. My workouts were HIIT and sandbag and bodyweight workouts, with dumbbell weight training once a week. I ate pretty much 100% paleo. I lost a bit of body fat and had a bit more muscle definition, but it still fluctuated because I would have binge sessions here and there.

In the last 10 months I started DB training exclusively, 2 rest days a week. I also lowered my food intake, eating until I'm satisfied and staying around 1100 calories a day, 2 meals a day. A couple days a week I'll exceed that to about 1500 calories. I'm also a lot less strict with paleo, allowing myself froyo a few times a week.

Changes I saw in the last 10 months: I fluctuate around 98-101 lbs, my measurements are waist 22.5'', hips 31''. My body fat has definitely decreased, and I'm a lot stronger. My muscles and abs are bigger and very visible.

My conclusion? For me, it was lowering calories that mattered (and keeping a good workout routine), not necessarily carb or fat or protein intake. I feel a lot more bloated the next day when I have ice cream or a piece of cake, but if I overeat on paleo foods I still will gain fat. If I have a couple days in a row where my carb intake exceeds 150g, I'll see it in my lower tummy. Now, I currently have two fried eggs and a piece of 90% dark chocolate in the morning for breakfast, and a second meal of meat and veggies in the late afternoon / evening after my workout.

1
463e09e6e28c4f2591aaca88bf0c3cef

(248)

on June 19, 2013
at 06:43 PM

I've been Paleo since the beginning of March. I'm 24, 5'5" and weigh 128 lbs. I estimate my body fat at about 23-24% (based on this: http://www.builtlean.com/2012/09/24/body-fat-percentage-men-women/). My measurements are: natural waist - 25 in., lower abs - 32.5 in (my trouble spot!), hips - 38 in.

I'd like to see more ab definition and maybe get down to about 20% BF (again, based on that picture - maybe I don't really want that for me) and have cut out 99% of my fruit and have been trying to keep my carb/pro/fat ratios around 15/25/60.

Before, I was eating about 1500-1800 cals per day. Since adjusting my macros, I naturally eat between 1000-1400 calories per day, without getting hungry. I think I was just eating out of habit most of the time.

So far I have lost a centimeter around my thighs and a lot of abdominal bloat (bloat I didn't even know I still had!) and it's only been a week.

Buuuut, all that aside, I, finally, for the first time in my life, am working on IMPROVING a body that I love and am proud of - I am no longer fighting against something that makes me feel horrible about myself! I've finally found a happy spot I can easily stay at :)

1
7c09a44d334ef8a8c7c2644b0b7e1383

on June 19, 2013
at 05:02 PM

I'm 23 years old, 5'4, 135 pounds, with measurements of chest: 31.5, waist: 27, hips: 38. I didn't lose hardly any weight going paleo, but my body shape has totally changed. I used to carry a lot of weight in my belly.

1
95d2de21d91895ab15a35f8bb8f40b87

on June 19, 2013
at 04:05 PM

I have been paleo/primal for 1 1/2 years with an 80/20% dedication. I eat lots of meat, vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, fruits, seeds and occasionally cheese. I have just recently started working out on a consistent (3 times a week) basis. I am 5' 4", 114 LBS, and 14% body fat. I've never felt better!!!

95d2de21d91895ab15a35f8bb8f40b87

(10)

on June 19, 2013
at 04:09 PM

oh and I know I am thin, I've just always had a thin build. I dont like being too thin, I am actually trying to put on muscle to gain weight.

1
Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on April 20, 2013
at 02:06 AM

5'3", 120#, and last I had it measured I was sitting at 16-17% body fat, but this is according to the dudebro trainer at my globo gym who measured it with calipers, so I'm taking it with a very large grain of salt. I'm assuming it's pretty low though, since I have visible abs. I wear around a size 2, on the very rare occasions when I'm not wearing workout shorts.

A little over 1 year on Paleo, mostly very strict although not low-carb; I usually eat 1 sweet potato a day, and oodles of non-starchy veggies. I have binge eating issues and occasionally go spectacularly off the rails to the tune of 5,000+ calories in a day, but that's rare. I don't eat nuts or fruit because those foods trigger my binge issues but I would eat them otherwise. I don't count calories and I'm not trying to lose weight (actually struggling to gain). Didn't lose or gain any weight when I started eating Paleo, and have maintained quite a stable weight since; I think this is just where my body likes to be, much to my irritation because I want another 5-10lbs of muscle on my legs and arms.

1
A003a0e704118f11b86a6e1fbbb13cd7

on April 02, 2013
at 03:40 PM

I have always been fit, very muscular legs, with a little bit of extra fat around my torso. I'm 5'5" and I typically weighed around 155. When I started making changes in my diet I wasn't very strict at all so I lost a few lbs but nothing drastic. Then I decided to do a Whole30 (I actually only did a Whole21) and I lost 12 lbs in 21 days and went down to my lowest weight since junior high!

0
Medium avatar

on June 19, 2013
at 06:17 PM

Interesting answers here. I've been primal off and on since last October. I've lost ~50 lbs since then (had lost 40 lbs before that doing about 40/50 primal/SAD. I hadn't shaken the subway yet.) and recently weight loss has been really slow now that I'm in my last 20 lbs until I get into the normal weight range.

I gain in the chest, gut, and butt. Almost nothing in the arms and legs (though with a bmi over 40 I inevitably had some fat in the upper arms and thighs to lose, but compared to my torso it was minimal). I still have a good 4-5 lbs of fat on my stomach that's starting to look really pronounced because my boobs keep losing weight without them. Bleh. But, anyway, I think I'm currently around 27-28% body fat, 5'7", ~160 lbs. Would like to get to 150 to see where I'm at. I calorie restrict and keep my protein and fat up so I'm not obsessively hungry.

0
29518a2572c5fe3a851170a9b1c315f3

on April 20, 2013
at 04:16 PM

I have no idea what my body percent is, but my abs are starting to become visible lately so I guess its pretty low. I not sure what my body weight are either, but I think its around 123 lb.I am 4,5 feet. BEfore I was very skinny, but more like skinny fat. After going paleo I have more muscles, but I think I've lost a lot of the skinny fat- fat since I never had abs before. I eat mostly proteins like fish, lamb, beef, chicken, liver, gelantin, bone-broth, lamb hearts. Low carb. Maybe maximum 50 g carb per day. I don't count calories, but I keep an eye on it. For example I have noticed how easy it is to overeat fat, because it tastes sooo f&$#"/ good. So lately I have tried to eat not too much fat per day. I think proteins fill me up more. Eat a lot of vegetables like carrots, kale, salad. Almost no nuts,no fruit.

I also notice that when I exercise a lot per week I also loose some body fat pretty fast. I think sprints every week help my bodyfat to become low, and lifting weights.

0
272a5e9f1381bea33265440bc8aacfa1

on April 05, 2013
at 08:33 PM

I'm a guy but hear me out. Both of my parents and I went paleo 35 days ago. (funny because the 30th day was Easter... but anyways all three of us did the 30 day challenge with 0 cheats 0 sugars 0 butter gains wheat dairy etc.. and here’s a basic summary of what happened: Oh yes I am 23 years old and both my parents are 49. I lost 0-5lbs in the 30 days. I believe the weight I had lost was water weight due to the fact that I stopped creatine (body building supplement) I work out hard 5 days a week with a rest day at the middle and end of the week. I ate as much as I wanted of any paleo food while concentrating with carbs and proteins after workouts. My father lost 19lbs in the 30 days..I’m not exactly sure what he ate because I don’t live in the same house as my parents but he has great self control and probably ate eggs, chicken breast, broccoli, zucchini, almonds, and MAYBE some more lean meats. I won’t talk more about him because from what I read you don’t sound all that concerned with the MALE version on the paleo diet. My MOTHER lost ten pounds on the dot. Sucks because I know she worked a whole lot harder than my dad. You had asked if she excluded anything from her diet to lose the weight and the answer is yes. BEFORE I GET deeper into what she ate, I know all this because I read her weekly food logs. Okay back to her food. She rarely ate a whole piece of fruit at one time. I know she also limited her nuts and almond butter. Anything other than paleo pancakes for breakfast grossed her out (I could eat salmon with applesauce with nuts all in mustard bc nothing together bothers me) Her paleo pancakes were: one egg, and half a banana. Holy cow that’s easy huh!? Sometimes she has flex, cinnamon, and little frozen blueberries. They are so good btw. I think you are missing the big picture about weight loss…. ITS SIMPLE calories in vs calories out. Find out how many calories your body needs to maintain it’s weight and ate less than that number.. after a 3,500 calorie deficit, you would have lost one pound. It doesn’t matter if the calories come from paleo foods or not. If you don’t ate at a caloric deficit than how could you possibly believe that health natural paleo food would help you lose weight… So with all that being said, I hope I didn’t upset anyone that thought paleo would be their magic pill for weight loss… and for an update: I am still 100% paleo but I’ve added 72% chocolate, honey, etc. My mother is going to stay at 80% paleo 20% other. I’m sure if she gains any weight then shell go back 100%. Ask me a question. P.s. This is the first question I’ve answered on here.. also I’m not oing to proofread so I’m sorry for that. edit:p.s.s. my parernts did/do no sort of exercise.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on April 20, 2013
at 05:37 PM

Hormonal issues in women often make weight loss a bit more complicated than "calories in, calories out", especially as they age. To me, the paleo lifestyle fairly debunks the whole c in / c out notion - why do we focus on high quality meats, fats, and fresh produce if a calorie of a wheat product would end up producing the same weight loss effect?

0
A515009821106cb5f5f1230db7cd6254

on April 02, 2013
at 05:47 PM

I had always been overweight. Tried a thousand different and useless diets. Begun reducing my carbs about half a year ago, been eating paleo for two months. I'm 5'5" and have lost 23 pounds and stay at 136 right now. My body fat went from something near 30% to 17,7% right now, which I thing it's pretty good but would like to go down a little bit more.

AmberKat's comment made me laugh, when I was in junior high I was too big to fit in the pants I'm wearing right now!! I think the last time I was wearing something that size it was my mum buying my clothes ;)

Right now I try to stay paleo all the time. Might try to change/restrict something in the future to get rid of that annoying resisting fat that concentrates mainly in my belly. But right now I believe it's probably to early to change things again, I'll just let my body keep healing and adapting to this diet.

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