3

votes

Not sure if I am losing weight on Paleo

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 29, 2012 at 4:46 AM

Hi all,

I'm pretty sure I am simply not eating enough but wanted to run my situation by those of you in the know. I'm 34, 5'9'' and at around 320lbs right now. I've been on Paleo for 12 days now and have lost 15 lbs now so I am plenty happy about that. The problem is the majority of that weight loss took place in the first few days (water weight I'd guess?) The last few days I've probably only lost one pound total and while I am happy to be moving in the right direction, I would rather not have to wait a year plus to see myself in the body I've dreamed of.

My daily meal plan consist of 4-5 meals (I want to work up to 6 but am having trouble fitting another meal in)

5 eggs for breakfast Protein shake for lunch 8oz of Ground Chuck (cooked with olive oil) a couple hours after lunch 8oz of Salmon (cooked with olive oil and a fourth of lemon squeezed for flavor) for dinner 5oz of Chicken (cooked with olive oil) a couple hours after dinner

When I did the math, it ended up being only 1200 calories a day. I am thinking my body is probably in starvation mode.

At the moment I am not taking in any carbs in hopes of developing the ability to burn fat as a main fuel source. I am planning on slowing introducing vegetables and later fruits as time goes on.

I just started going to the gym (about 5 times a week) last week doing very light crossfit and swimming.

Do you all think once I start to introduce more carbs (or more importatnly more nutrients) that the weight loss should come at a faster rate?

Thanks for your time.

5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on May 29, 2012
at 09:52 AM

Years ago, doing Atkins, I had to eat frequently lest I got the hypoglycemic shakes. Eventually, I'd keto-adapt and be able to go all day without eating. These days, I do great on VLC/HF, with IF, eating only one big meal a day. I think trying to cram a 6th meal into the day when 4-5 is hard enough is kind of ridiculous, but at this early stage, while switching to fat-burning? Frequent meals can be a big help. But I seriously doubt their necessity for fat loss.

5759bd89db5f73cabe0a6e8f8e6e1cb9

(1467)

on May 29, 2012
at 09:39 AM

It is. I have to say that I was at my lowest bodyfat for years when I was eating very frequently. As soon as I started eating less often and fasting the weight piled on.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on May 29, 2012
at 06:15 AM

+1 for diving in and putting your question out there with some adequate detail!

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on May 29, 2012
at 06:13 AM

I think meal frequency is very dependent on the person and individual issues. At this weight, it is highly likely that there are significant metabolic issues. When I started, I HAD to do the every few hour eating gig or be hypoglycemic. But, that all changed. :) Going slowly and time can really be our friends.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on May 29, 2012
at 06:11 AM

@Sol: Hey, the dtails matter too, and how! I think your calorie caculations are particularly important. Combine our responses and I think our questioner gets alot to "chew" on. Good job! :)

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on May 29, 2012
at 06:01 AM

Congratulations on making this change and taking charge of your health. 12 days is a great start, but you need to really relax. Your body is going though a ton of changes and you are going to need a lot of patience. Don't be constantly tweaking your diet if you don't see a fast enough weight loss every week. Your body needs time to adjust to any changes you make. Impatience will lead to discouragement. Remember weight loss is a result of increasing health. Let your body get there.

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on May 29, 2012
at 05:59 AM

Great answer. I see that I missed the big picture in my answer.

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on May 29, 2012
at 05:00 AM

Oh, and whether 5 or 6 meals a days is better for burning fat than 2 or 3 meals a day is controversial. I don't think it matters.

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6 Answers

7
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on May 29, 2012
at 11:19 AM

I would rather not have to wait a year plus to see myself in the body I've dreamed of.

Sorry, but Paleo isn't bariatric surgery. It isn't a magic pill. If you decide to follow this lifestyle for 6 months to lose weight, then you revert back to a "normal" diet, you will gain every single bit back and will have nothing to show for it.

I am not trying to be mean, but you really need to update your expectations.

I speak from experience here - 8 years ago, I went Paleo (med-carb - 1.0 paleo courtesy of Ray Audette's book) . I lost around 100lbs in a years time (starting weight was 430lbs). After reverting back to a standard diet, I very quickly shot back up to 380lbs. Two years ago I started Paleo again, and I am just now getting back to where I was before. I will admit that I am a "diet junkie" and always have been since my mid-teens where I was harassed for being the "husky kid", and I've tried everything shy of surgery (including drugs) to lose weight. I've experienced first-hand what works and what doesn't.

So why am I Paleo now as opposed to something that could more rapidly reduce my weight?

Because I firmly believe that following an ancestral diet is the key to holistic health, and "dieting" for weightloss is simply treating a symptom of a broken body (hormonal, digestive, immune).

But fixing the broken body MUST be your primary concern. Fix that, and your weight situation will improve gradually. You didn't gain that weight overnight, and you cannot lose it overnight either.

5
Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on May 29, 2012
at 05:53 AM

Take a look and listen to Steve Phinney a low carb expert MD for some 25years. Pay particular attention to his description of what nutritional ketosis or keto adaptation is, and the description of your body's ability to have ready and easy access to your fat to burn and have plenty of fuel, even if you are only taking in 1200 cals though your mouth. I am not suggesting that you could not or should not eat more calories (I am not a calorie counter). That is up to you.

I would suggest that you slow your expectations down and begin to look at this change as a learning experience that you need to learn very, very well. Radical weight maintainers, of which I am one, are a very rare breed. Only up to 5% of all weight losers of any amount, keep it off. Of the 95% who regain, 50% or more gain it all back plus MORE. This is a very, very common pattern, so common as to be the norm.

Among radical losers, only 1-maybe 3% of us manage to keep it off. Those are heavy odds. They imply to me that something goes wrong ALOT post weight loss; that there is much that is highly unrealistic and poorly understood. One such thing is that a generalized statement can be made that there is "no going back." It is a myth to think that you diet can change much at all post weight loss. This is a strong argument in my opinion to take it more slowly and not drive your calories down too far in the beginning. You are essentially training your body about what energy (food) level to expect. You body will quickly adapt to that depressed calorie level. The beat goes on. It is a lifelong endeavor. Your body becomes more efficient at energy use, your gut bugs become wizards at nutrient extraction and the endocrine system reacts to radical weight loss in such as way as to constantly relate to your brain that you are now starving which leads to HUNGER. There is much to learn. Perhaps start here and look at being ok with slowing down a bit and over time, slowly finding out just exactly what will work for you and most importantly, what you can sustain for the rest of your life.

I am a ketogenic low carber who met initial goal in 2002 after starting in 99 (down from 240lbs to 145-148lbs, who lost additional weight for a current weight of 128-130 in 2010-2011.) ALL low carbrs and low carb paleos start out believing they will progress on the carb curve over time. In my experience, for some FEW people this is true. For many, especially radical losers and those who developed obesity at a young age, carb progression often does NOT work. Or, it works because weight gain happens and techniques like protein sparing modified fasts (to the tune of 500- less than 1000 cals) are used cyclically for a week or two at at a time, to whack the accumulated pounds off, over and over and over. (What this may do, in and of itself, long term, to your metabolism is a subject for another discussion.)

You must become your own objective science project, gathering as much quality information along the way as you can. What you get here will not always be quality information, sometimes because the person giving the information buys into alot of myths of obesity/maintenance and because perhaps their own knowledge base is very limited and they are parroting generic info.

You can do this. And you can maintain your loss. It is possible too that you may need to adjust your goal to what your body settles into as your best sustainable weight rather than an ideal weight that is not sustainable. Until I was able to sufficiently de=stress my life and give up being on call 24 hours and all shiftwork, 130lbs was a totally unsustainable weight for me. My life has changed now and it is quite sustainable. Stress matters too. There are alot of factors that go into this. Check out Arya Sharma's blog for just one for excellent info in many areas.

Welcome, good luck, and hang in there. And perhaps when you ask questions, specifically address them to those who have been in your "shoes"( big losers!) and have successfully lost and MAINTAINED that loss, preferably for 3 years or longer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkdFkPxxDG8

http://www.ketotic.org/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8dWNbEscOw

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on May 29, 2012
at 05:59 AM

Great answer. I see that I missed the big picture in my answer.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on May 29, 2012
at 06:11 AM

@Sol: Hey, the dtails matter too, and how! I think your calorie caculations are particularly important. Combine our responses and I think our questioner gets alot to "chew" on. Good job! :)

3
5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on May 29, 2012
at 09:41 AM

It probably took you a lot longer than a year to get to 340 lbs. If you really want to lose all the excess weight--and keep it off--patience, and the ability to keep going through periods when you don't seem to be losing anything at all will be crucial.

As others have said, your body is undergoing a tremendous adjustment right now. If your metabolism is as screwed up as mine (and I suspect it is), it may take several weeks before you're fully keto-adapted. That doesn't mean you won't lose weight, but don't expect it to be as drastic or steady as you'd like.

I lost 10 lbs. right off the bat, then took four months to lose another 5 lbs, and only in the last month or so (since I started intermittent fasting) has weight loss picked up steam again. I've lost 10 lbs in the last two months--respectable, but hardly dramatic. I started at 220, and think I might be back to my ideal size by the end of the year (after a full year of LC paleo), but I also accept that it may be longer.

Would I like to be at my ideal size right now? Oh, hell yes. Do I wish I was losing weight faster? Sure. But I didn't get myself in this situation overnight, and accepting that I'm not going to undo it at top speed makes it a lot easier to stay in it for the long haul.

3
A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081

on May 29, 2012
at 06:26 AM

Manage expectations. 1% or so of body weight as loss per week has been shown to be a good rate. Don't "crash diet" and you'll be less likely to gain it back later or do harm now. If it takes a year or so to get where you need, slowly and healthfully, you'll be better off for it.

As you move to a healthier diet, and it seems you're chasing low-carb, eat if you're hungry and abstain if you're not. The pounds will come off steadily. Slow and Steady wins the race!

3
35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on May 29, 2012
at 04:58 AM

Welcome to Paleohacks.

I'd cook in butter or coconut oil rather than olive oil.

You don't state your gender but 1,200 calories a day is really low, especially if you're exercising 5 days a week. If your workouts leave you feeling worn out I'd add some carbs. Even if you added 500 calories a day (where some of those are carbs) to your diet at 320 pounds you'd still be in a deficit.

Are your clothes feeling looser? You could be gaining muscle, losing fat, and not experience a change of weight even though you're getting leaner.

I would keep a detailed food journal for a couple of weeks before deciding what changes, if any, to make. I'd also record various body measurements (e.g. chest, arms, waist) and see how they change over time.

Update: I just reread your list of foods and I think you're eating way more than 1200 calories. Here are my calculations:

  • 5 eggs: 350 calories
  • 8 oz. ground chuck: 400 calories if it's 90/10 chuck, more if it's not as lean.
  • 8 oz. salmon: 400 calories
  • 5 oz. chicken: 200 calories if it's boneless skinless chicken breast, more otherwise

If my calculations are correct you're eating 1,350 calories plus the calories in your shake plus the calories in the olive oil (about 100 calories per tablespoon.) So, you might be eating 1700-1800 calories or more.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on May 29, 2012
at 06:13 AM

I think meal frequency is very dependent on the person and individual issues. At this weight, it is highly likely that there are significant metabolic issues. When I started, I HAD to do the every few hour eating gig or be hypoglycemic. But, that all changed. :) Going slowly and time can really be our friends.

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on May 29, 2012
at 05:00 AM

Oh, and whether 5 or 6 meals a days is better for burning fat than 2 or 3 meals a day is controversial. I don't think it matters.

5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on May 29, 2012
at 09:52 AM

Years ago, doing Atkins, I had to eat frequently lest I got the hypoglycemic shakes. Eventually, I'd keto-adapt and be able to go all day without eating. These days, I do great on VLC/HF, with IF, eating only one big meal a day. I think trying to cram a 6th meal into the day when 4-5 is hard enough is kind of ridiculous, but at this early stage, while switching to fat-burning? Frequent meals can be a big help. But I seriously doubt their necessity for fat loss.

5759bd89db5f73cabe0a6e8f8e6e1cb9

(1467)

on May 29, 2012
at 09:39 AM

It is. I have to say that I was at my lowest bodyfat for years when I was eating very frequently. As soon as I started eating less often and fasting the weight piled on.

2
5af4bc9d2c390b0bcad9524f149c1b4f

(1101)

on May 29, 2012
at 05:29 AM

Kurt Harris (Archevore) has emphasized minimizing the number of meals to 2 or 3 a day. I'm with him on that, otherwise it's too easy to overeat. We're not grazing herbivores after all.

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