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Plateau after 6 months of paleo

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 16, 2013 at 2:16 AM

Hi all... I'm a 27 year old female and initially went paleo back in January with a 45 day challenge at my box. I started out weighing 147 lbs. at 5'4". After the 45 days, I was down about 10 lbs. and 7% body fat. Since then, I maintained a steady weight loss and currently sit at 130 lbs. This was my high school weight, for what it's worth. In the last month, I've noticed a plateau, with no weight loss and hovering between 130- 131 lbs. consistently with no change in my eating habits.

I do track calories, eating about ~1300 calories daily. A typical day would start with an egg, usually boiled for time-sake, with some almonds and maybe an apple. On the weekends, bacon instead of the nuts/fruit (I also do a workout both Saturday and Sunday). Lunch is the same almost daily, consisting of roasted chicken, mixed greens with onions and tomatoes (no dressing), half an avocado, and some jalape??os. Dinner, when homemade, is usually some sort of meat with a side of veggies. We do eat out maybe 3x a week, but I always make sure to look at the menu ahead and pick the most paleo choices. I will have 1 square of 85% dark chocolate most days as well. I drink mainly water, sometimes a vita-coco, but admittedly do have red wine or an angry orchard a few times a week. I don't have a cheat day.

I do about 3 WODs on average per week, sometimes 4, plus yoga once a week. My goat, by far, is anything involving running and I plan to begin 5k training (which, once succeeded, would be a big step for me).

I really don't feel like I'm over eating at all, and wonder if it is my activity level that needs to change. I could be completely off base though. My eating habits and typical meals haven't changed whatsoever, but neither has my activity level for that matter.

Any ideas on what might be going on? I know I shouldn't focus on the scale, but would ideally like to drop another 5 lbs. I'm definitely more satisfied with how I look and feel overall, which is why I've kept it up, but still not at my ideal yet.

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Can you give me an example of how you'd up your carbs on WOD days? Thanks for the 5K plan! I will definitely keep that on hand. I'm both excited and nervous to begin that journey. Running is something I struggle with.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 18, 2013
at 02:05 PM

Eating carbs post workout is good, but not to the tune of 100g. Most people over estimate how many calories they actually burn in activity. 20-30g will replenish glycogen.

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 18, 2013
at 01:01 PM

This is the most definitely the route I'm going to try... I am very low on the carb front and have noticed increased soreness after WODs recently. This may be the answer. Thanks again.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 17, 2013
at 10:57 PM

Unless you are in ketosis, fat burns through the Krebs cycle in the flames of carbs. That is why many need to either be super low, but do not replenish glycogen, or a little higher (by paleo standards).

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 17, 2013
at 06:02 PM

Yes, I've been thinking that the nuts and fruits can be a cause based on responses to other plateau questions. I eat very small amounts, but will give it a shot. That and upping my carbs (white rice isn't paleo, is it?). Thanks for the tips! Being hardly ever sore would be a major bonus as well... had a few heavy leg days this week and am really feeling it.

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 17, 2013
at 05:42 PM

The carbs suggestions seems to be a common theme. I guess it's just counter-intuitive to think I need to up how much I eat to lose weight, so it's a little daunting. I will certainly give that a shot on WOD days, adding in sweet potato, plantain, etc. Thanks!

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 17, 2013
at 02:26 PM

As a compromise, I'd just focus on getting weightlifting (body weight or free weights) and sprinting into your routine occasionally. Cross-training won't hurt your long distance progress (and may even help it) and should help with body comp.

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 17, 2013
at 01:35 PM

This is a tough one. I definitely won't be giving up any WODs, I plan on keeping up the same amount as I'm doing now. I just want to work on my running; I really struggle with it. The 5K plan wasn't for weight loss, just overall physical improvement since I have such a hard time with it. I'm wondering if there is some sort of compromise so I can meet both my goals. Thanks for link, very helpful.

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 17, 2013
at 01:33 PM

Ah, understood. That's helpful. Good luck with your journey!

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 17, 2013
at 01:33 PM

Thanks! I will definitely look into adding the additional carbs on WOD days and see if that help me out.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 16, 2013
at 05:16 PM

Usually hash, eggs, and sausage for breakfast. And a baked potato with dinner. Sushi is another good option -- also a reward for workin hard. Also my amino energy drink has some carbs, and I take that pre-workout. Re:5k. I like this one because it is a mix of slow distance running and fast running. No chronic cardio here. Also 3 workouts a week allow for a couple of wod in the training plan.

6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

(1169)

on July 16, 2013
at 03:51 PM

I've never been 112 pounds but it is I think the lowest healty weight in a healtht BMI range for our height, 18.5 I think. I was just above that once. I've never measured my BF%. It's probably very high but less when I'm lighter. What I have found at the moment eating only meat/veg/fish/eggs and the veg are only low carb ones is I am not hungry so I suppose in theory I must be eating fewer calories. It's working fine at the moment. Wnat to get under 140 pounds first and then 7 pounds off a month if possible.

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 16, 2013
at 01:23 PM

Thanks! I'd love to be around 125-126 lbs. I can't recall ever being at 112 lbs; what was your BF% when you were that weight? I've heard mixed things on calories. I never was counting, but whenever I looked up overcoming paleo plateaus, the first responses were almost always to watch the calories. I do know that exercise is not the main factor within weight loss, but it seemed strange, as my diet hasn't changed at all this year. I will take into account your tips, thank you! I know my weight isn't high, but like you, for visual reasons, I want to drop a bit more.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 16, 2013
at 03:05 AM

up your carbs. Upping my carbs broke my plateau. The type of workouts you are doing could definitely use a carb meal on your WOD days. BTW, here's a great 5k plan -- http://tampatriteam.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/furman-1st-5k-program.pdf

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 16, 2013
at 02:54 AM

Sorry, that was total to last month. Sitting at just over ~24% (still high)... Down about 3% after the challenge though.

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 16, 2013
at 02:53 AM

Sorry 7% was total, sitting at ~24% (still high)... About 3.5% after the 45 days).

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6 Answers

2
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 16, 2013
at 03:08 PM

It sounds like you do not eat enough for your activity level, so your body is trying to hold on to fat stores because of higher cortisol consentrations. Up your carbs a bit, and your total calories for a few weeks and watch the weight come off.

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 17, 2013
at 05:42 PM

The carbs suggestions seems to be a common theme. I guess it's just counter-intuitive to think I need to up how much I eat to lose weight, so it's a little daunting. I will certainly give that a shot on WOD days, adding in sweet potato, plantain, etc. Thanks!

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 17, 2013
at 10:57 PM

Unless you are in ketosis, fat burns through the Krebs cycle in the flames of carbs. That is why many need to either be super low, but do not replenish glycogen, or a little higher (by paleo standards).

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 18, 2013
at 01:01 PM

This is the most definitely the route I'm going to try... I am very low on the carb front and have noticed increased soreness after WODs recently. This may be the answer. Thanks again.

1
Af679502f1e31c0c59c79bd08f324b35

on July 16, 2013
at 03:03 PM

Eat carbs post workout... Some white rice, sweet potato, plantain etc. After o started adding 50-100 grams of carbs post workout I am hardly ever sore and I can go so much harder while working out, to the point that I have endurance and stamina I have never had on low carb. I would cut out nuts and fruit completely but that's me.

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 17, 2013
at 06:02 PM

Yes, I've been thinking that the nuts and fruits can be a cause based on responses to other plateau questions. I eat very small amounts, but will give it a shot. That and upping my carbs (white rice isn't paleo, is it?). Thanks for the tips! Being hardly ever sore would be a major bonus as well... had a few heavy leg days this week and am really feeling it.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 18, 2013
at 02:05 PM

Eating carbs post workout is good, but not to the tune of 100g. Most people over estimate how many calories they actually burn in activity. 20-30g will replenish glycogen.

0
Cb893ff469fdc4aa38e031dcf9d5a8a5

on August 06, 2013
at 10:44 PM

In addition to the other answers, your typical food for the week seems to be heavily loaded with n-6 fats. Daily nuts and roast chicken is going to be heavy in n-6 and very low in n-3. Also you didn't mention the oils that you use but it is probably safe to assume you use coconut oil, butter etc which are low in n-6 and high in SFA.

Red meat and fatty fish are better alternatives to chicken and keep adding lots of butter and coconut oil to your veggies, so that your overall fat intake is high enough so that you are not being calorie deficient.

So, basic idea would be (1) increase sfa, n-3 fats and reduce n-6 consumption (2) move carbs to post-wod and (3) keep overall calorie deficits at a weekly or bi-weekly level and not on a daily schedule.

0
C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

on July 16, 2013
at 03:39 PM

Actually, at your stage, exercise is going to have a bigger effect on your body comp than those who are just starting to lose weight and can definitely make or break the loss of those last few pounds. You're mainly just trying to drop body fat, which is influenced in part by hormonal changes. Honestly, the long distance running you're trying to do is probably hurting your chances on losing that fat; endurance cardio does not encourage your body to liberate stored body fat, as that body fat is actually an excellent source of energy over those longer distances :\ You're much better off doing weight lifting and high-intensity interval exercise to take off those last few percentages of body fat.

Actually came across a study while researching this that applies pretty well to you: 45 women in their 20s, 15 of which did HIIT for 15 weeks, 15 which did steady state (i.e. distance running) cardio, and 15 controls. Only the HIIT saw improvements in total body mass, total body fat, and fasting insulin levels. http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v32/n4/full/0803781a.html

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 17, 2013
at 02:26 PM

As a compromise, I'd just focus on getting weightlifting (body weight or free weights) and sprinting into your routine occasionally. Cross-training won't hurt your long distance progress (and may even help it) and should help with body comp.

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 17, 2013
at 01:35 PM

This is a tough one. I definitely won't be giving up any WODs, I plan on keeping up the same amount as I'm doing now. I just want to work on my running; I really struggle with it. The 5K plan wasn't for weight loss, just overall physical improvement since I have such a hard time with it. I'm wondering if there is some sort of compromise so I can meet both my goals. Thanks for link, very helpful.

0
6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

on July 16, 2013
at 06:34 AM

You're my height and about the weights I have been at various times, although I do look better nearer 112 pounds than 126 (I am more than that now though although I am losing weight).

If I were you I would give up the chocolate. Give up all fruit. Eat more meat. Don't worry about calories at all. Eat just meat/fish/eggs and veg. Make sure the veg is lower carb 3 or under per 100 g so eg I think butter nut squash is 7, onions are fairly high, beansprouts are 12 and carrots highish. Cucumber celery green peppers are much lower.

My view is that although exercise is great for you it is food which is 80% of the reason for weight loss.

Whilst as said above your current weight is perfectly healthy for your height and gives a decent BMI I have tended to feel 126 pounds is the most I ever want to be (for visual reasons) and prefer to stick under that where possible. However as most people who try to put weight on gain it you might be better stablising than messing around with it and putting more on.

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 16, 2013
at 01:23 PM

Thanks! I'd love to be around 125-126 lbs. I can't recall ever being at 112 lbs; what was your BF% when you were that weight? I've heard mixed things on calories. I never was counting, but whenever I looked up overcoming paleo plateaus, the first responses were almost always to watch the calories. I do know that exercise is not the main factor within weight loss, but it seemed strange, as my diet hasn't changed at all this year. I will take into account your tips, thank you! I know my weight isn't high, but like you, for visual reasons, I want to drop a bit more.

6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

(1169)

on July 16, 2013
at 03:51 PM

I've never been 112 pounds but it is I think the lowest healty weight in a healtht BMI range for our height, 18.5 I think. I was just above that once. I've never measured my BF%. It's probably very high but less when I'm lighter. What I have found at the moment eating only meat/veg/fish/eggs and the veg are only low carb ones is I am not hungry so I suppose in theory I must be eating fewer calories. It's working fine at the moment. Wnat to get under 140 pounds first and then 7 pounds off a month if possible.

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 17, 2013
at 01:33 PM

Ah, understood. That's helpful. Good luck with your journey!

0
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 16, 2013
at 02:48 AM

Sounds like a good weight for your height. and dropping 7% body fat in 45 days is almost unheard of.

Whats your current bodyfat?

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 16, 2013
at 02:54 AM

Sorry, that was total to last month. Sitting at just over ~24% (still high)... Down about 3% after the challenge though.

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Can you give me an example of how you'd up your carbs on WOD days? Thanks for the 5K plan! I will definitely keep that on hand. I'm both excited and nervous to begin that journey. Running is something I struggle with.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 16, 2013
at 05:16 PM

Usually hash, eggs, and sausage for breakfast. And a baked potato with dinner. Sushi is another good option -- also a reward for workin hard. Also my amino energy drink has some carbs, and I take that pre-workout. Re:5k. I like this one because it is a mix of slow distance running and fast running. No chronic cardio here. Also 3 workouts a week allow for a couple of wod in the training plan.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 16, 2013
at 03:05 AM

up your carbs. Upping my carbs broke my plateau. The type of workouts you are doing could definitely use a carb meal on your WOD days. BTW, here's a great 5k plan -- http://tampatriteam.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/furman-1st-5k-program.pdf

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 16, 2013
at 02:53 AM

Sorry 7% was total, sitting at ~24% (still high)... About 3.5% after the 45 days).

0ef753832a44d1465db61b4f7609eef3

(0)

on July 17, 2013
at 01:33 PM

Thanks! I will definitely look into adding the additional carbs on WOD days and see if that help me out.

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