major weight loss with paleo? (450lbs)

Answered on February 13, 2015
Created December 31, 2014 at 6:48 AM

hi everyone! 

been lurking for the past few days, but this will be my first post. what a great site/community this is- i've learned a lot in such a short time. 

a bit about me... i'm a 25 year old male currently weighing 450 lbs. last week, i decided it was time for a serious change so after some exploration, i decided (and settled) on the paleo diet. i had an epiphany where i realized that food was nothing more than fuel and i was done turning to it for happiness/fulfillment. once i realized it was JUST food, i had absolutely no trouble going cold turkey and cutting all the "bad stuff" from my life. 

it used to be that i'd eat anything anytime i wanted in large quantities without any concern for my health. being the holidays now, my house is chock-full of amazing foods that i would of scarfed down in one sitting in my past life, but i have zero desire to consume them now with my new outlook on food. 

so i'm currently on my fifth day of the "diet" (though i cringe at that word; it really is a lifestyle) and while i've been doing well, i feel like it's all a bit too loose- i'd like some more order. 

what are some paleo foods i should completely cut out while i start my epic weight-loss journey? i love nuts and fruits, but feel i shouldn't be consuming any at this point perhaps. 

is calorie counting necessarry for my situation specifically?

what are some foods i should really be consuming more of? 

fish and organ foods don't appeal to me whatsoever; am i doomed? 

i'm honestly willing to do anything to drop this weight and be healthy. my body has gone through 25 years of consuming junk-- with the results to show-- and now i'm on a mission to show it the opposite. 

i want to do this completely without the help of any doctors/nutritionists, but really want to understand what i need to do better. i've cut out the dairy, sugar, processed foods and carbs completely- something i would of thought impossible a week ago-, but still feel like there's much more to it. i don't know how much of what i should be consuming day to day.

any help/guidelines/specifics/etc. would be great appreciated. 

i think i need a meal plan catered specifically to my weight/needs, but don't know how to start with planning one. i know it's a lot of work, but i will put in time and a half. 

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5 Answers


on December 31, 2014
at 07:14 AM

There are lots and lots of people who have lost hundreds of pounds and regained their health switching to a Paleo diet.

Keep it simple, for 3 weeks vow to stop eating all grains and sugars, and avoid all artificial sweeteners. Eat meat, eggs, vegetables, and moderate fruit and nuts (no more than once per day each). Drink nothing but water, coffee, and tea (no sugar). No bread, pasta, sweets, processed foods.

Eat as much of everything that fits this criteria as you like.

Extra credit, eat protein within an hour of waking up every morning.

Go for a brisk walk of at least 15 minutes at least once per day.

I can almost guarantee that if you stick to ths for 3 weeks (21 days) you will notice remarkable improvements in your health. Report back and let us know!


on February 13, 2015
at 06:03 AM

You should like into aip. Autoimmune Paleo cookbook. It's very organized cookbook with shopping list and your whole meal plan. I have never been into cooking but this had opened my eyes to hire much better it is and taste. I heard something today that I kind of liked "A hot body starts in a hot kitchen"lol 


on January 05, 2015
at 11:01 PM

Hey markom, I just want to tell you that the really great thing about 'real food' dieting is the lack of need to restrict yourself a lot in calories or the amount of food that you eat.  I saw that you are just starting out on this journey and I think it's great that you know this about lifestyle not diet.  I am about your same age and grew up big myself, when seeing doctors who tell you you're fat and you need less calories and blah blah blah all our life it can be difficult to let go of the idea that you have to do extreme stuff to lose the amount of weight that you want to lose.  I have been an obese young woman addicted to the kinds of foods I'm sure you're familiar with - and really being ADDICTED to them, I have been an anorexic eating only the same kind of junky foods and feeling awful, and ultimately found out that when only eating unprocessed, nutrient-rich foods, my body actually has the ability to tell how much I need on its own.  This is actually a big deal because it means that you have to learn to trust your body to actually tell you what it needs.   When I ate junk foods, especially ones with MSG and its friends, I couldn't do this.  I think as you get more time and experience with eating real foods you'll find this as well.  So I don't think it's really necessary for you to worry about cutting out more foods, as much as it is for you to solidify the good habits you are making now. 

The other thing you asked about, with not liking certain new Paleo foods, I can guarantee that this will change in time as well.  Your taste buds are affected by the high amounts of sugar, fats, salt, and MSG in processed foods.  You can't expect to like cabbage and sardines right off the bat but I promise you if you give it enough time you'll find yourself craving foods that used to gross you out big time.  I suggest you just make it a habit to try new things and experiment with new healthy foods all the time, while giving yourself permission not to like them.  Anyway, good luck!



on December 31, 2014
at 06:25 PM

Since you want to do this for the long haul, I recommend the principles of the Perfect Health Diet (a version of Paleo) in order to avoid nutrient deficiencies and maximize your ability to burn fat.

The basics of the PHD, as it is commonly called, are actually fairly simple. Every day, eat the following:

  • Up to 1 lb meat (preferably grass-fed, pastured, or wild)
  • Up to 1 lb healthy starches (2 cups of cooked rice, potatoes, other roots and tubers; this is still low-carb but not zero-carb. Extremely low carb will result in health problems--like gut microflora disruption--and be far more difficult to maintain over the long term. I haven't had a single friend or family member who tried extremely low-carb actually succeed.)
  • Up to 4 servings total of fruit and sugary veggies like beets and onions
  • As many green vegetables as you can eat
  • Eggs, unless you are sensitive to them
  • Some red palm oil or just a few almonds (for vitamin E)

Every week, eat the following:

  • 1/4 lb liver (I know you don't like it, but a tiny serving once a week is something you can surely adapt to--there are tasty ways to eat it)
  • 05.-1 lb cold-water wild fish, like salmon or sardines (again, I know it's not your thing, but a little bit can go a long way)
  • Several dishes with some kind of broth

Needless to say, continue to avoid grain, sugar, and legumes, among other Paleo prohibitions. However, if you are not sensitive to it, some dairy products (especially fermented ones) may not be a problem--so they're worth trying once you've been on this diet for a bit.


on December 31, 2014
at 06:05 PM


i've already completely kicked grains, sugars, processes foods, dairy and carbs from my diet cold turkey and am having no withdrawls/temptations. water is all i'm drinking. 

have also been walking about 30 min/day. 

re: "eat as much of everything that fits this criteria as you like": i feel like that wouldn't be condusive to weightloss, regardless of how good what i'd be eating is? 



on January 06, 2015
at 12:27 AM

My guess is you've done the calorie restriction thing many times, and yet here you are, at 450 lbs.  Stop beating your head against the wall.  Any way of eating is unsustainable if it doesn't give you a sense of satiety, and meet your nutritional requirements.  So throw couning calories out the window, at least for now.  It only makes you hungry.    Later, as you lose the weight, you will not be able to continue losing if you eat the same volume of food that satisfies you now, but if you pay attention to your body instead of calorie counting, you should be able to dial down your appetite along with your weight and consume fewer calories without having to think about it.  Too few calories ultimately sabotages weight loss because it slows your metabolism.  If you are truly hungry, EAT.

Try to limit the carbs.  Even the Jaminets who are the Perfect Health Diet people (see Curt's post above) recognize that when an individual has insulin resistance the carbs must be more limited.  I don't see how you could possibly be the weight you are and have the appetite you described you used to have with normal insulin metabolism.  Too many carbs will trigger hunger.  At this point you don't have to get down to Atkins type levels, but certainly try to keep your carbs in the form of above ground veggies.  Use fruits and starchy veggies very sparingly and pull back if they are increasing your feelings of hunger. 

And don't fear fat as long as it's natural fat (not industrially processed)--e.g. butter or ghee, olive oil, avocado and macademia oil, coconut oil, and animal fats from pastured animals.  One reason for eating fish is that the fat from cold water fish is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids.  Eat fat to satiety.  It's hard to overeat fat, and it will help you actually dial down the calories naturally, withoout counting. 

Here's a trick.  When you're feeling hungry but you know you've eaten well, ask yourself if you could eat a can of sardines.  If you really don't want to eat the sardines, your hunger may not be true, physiological hunger, it may be emotional hunger.  If you were really, truly hungry, the sardines wouldn't sound so bad. 

It's good that you are doing so well, but expect harder days and plateaus.  They happen and if you don't have a strategy to deal with them, they will derail all your hard work.  So come up with some strategies adhead of time to set yourself up for success instead of falling into despair. 

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