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Help!! I gained 15 lbs in one month!!

Answered on March 28, 2015
Created June 05, 2013 at 11:14 PM

I'm hoping that someone out there may have some insight into what is going on with my weight plateau/fluctuations over the past several months. I am a female, 5'11 and 30 years old. My body shape is hourglass/pear.

I first went Paleo/Primal back in August 2011 and immediately lost around 20 lbs, with steady weight loss continuing until I reached a weight of 155 sometime in the spring of 2012 (I weighed around 190 when I first started). During that time, I was probably 80/20 Paleo and included raw milk in my diet. I probably had an average of 1 cheat meal/day per week. The times that I binged for more than a few days I immediately could tell the difference on the scale as well as in how swollen I looked/felt, but as soon as I switched back to being more compliant, the weight would come right off.

Last June, I moved and started cheating a bit more frequently, mostly in the form of baked goods from the coffee shop across the street from my apartment. My weight fluctuated maybe 5 lbs in total (up to 160ish) until December. That's when I packed up my things and moved cross-country. The holidays, coupled with a week on the road, led to many poor food choices on my part. I'm not sure what my weight got up to during this time frame, but my clothes fit tighter and I felt uncomfortably bloated. Mid-January, I decided to get strict and lost the extra water weight I had been holding onto fairly quickly. A few weeks after this, I got a new scale and my weight was back between 157-160ish. I also measured my body composition and noticed that I was carrying around 1.5 inches extra on each thigh and a few inches in the hips.

Between now and then, I've eaten pretty cleanly, although I've continued to typically have at least one cheat day/week. I experimented going pretty LC, getting around or under 50 carbs per day. Based on what I tracked online, my macronutrient breakdown was typically 70% fat (mostly in the form of coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed butter, and avocado), 10% carb (leafy/cruciferous veggies), and 20% protein (grass-fed beef, trout, some pastured chicken, lots of pastured eggs). I also regularly consumed bone broth and almost always got a minimum of 8 glasses of water daily. My calories fluctuated daily, but on average they were between 1500-2000. My weight generally fluctuated a few pounds per week, but I could never get down past the 157 mark. I also did not see any reduction in my body measurements.

For the past month, my eating habits have gone a bit off the rails. I got on the scale today and I am up 15 lbs since the last time I weighed myself, around a month ago! I haven't been eating exorbitant amounts of crap, but have been having more fruit than normal, more beer, more sweets, etc. I'm hoping that a good portion of that is water weight, but needless to say, I feel SO discouraged right now, especially since the way that I've been eating the last 5-6 months had me at a plateau that I couldn't seem to break. I just want to be able to get back down to where I was last month and then lose those last few stubborn pounds (150ish is around what I'm aiming for), but the approach I've been using does not seem to be working.

I've tried to pinpoint what has changed in my diet since I was the most successful, and the only two major things I can think of are that I no longer drink raw milk (it's prohibitively expensive here in Seattle) and that I've started drinking alcohol occasionally during social events, whereas I rarely if ever drank during the time period that I lost the majority of my weight. However, I can't imagine that explains everything.

I get plenty of sleep most nights (I take 5-HTP), although I do have issues feeling rested, even after 8+ hours. I am also fairly sedentary, and have been since I first started Paleo. I strongly suspect that I suffer from adrenal fatigue, as I have almost every symptom, which is why I have avoided more strenuous exercise other than walking. I know that I need to go to a Dr. to actually confirm this is the case, but am currently uninsured. I've given up coffee and typically sleep in later as part of my self-treatment.

Does anyone have any insight into why it seems to be getting harder for me to lose weight? I'll be the first to admit that I have not been 100% Paleo compliant for more than a week at a time, so that is the first thing that I am addressing. Lately, I can't even have a single cheat meal without seeing and feeling the ill effects for at least 3-4 days after, so I am planning to start either a Whole30 or 21DSD in the next few days. Anything I else I should consider/do? Any major red flags anyone can see in what I've described? I honestly appreciate any and all suggestions, since I feel that what I'm doing just isn't working anymore, and it's stressing me out, which I know is just making it harder for me to lose.

Sorry for the long post; I wanted to put as much detail as possible out there in the hopes that someone can offer some pearls of wisdom.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on June 06, 2013
at 03:44 PM

this is probably the most reasonable advice I have ever seen.

4610451431ec7155c87a5698be682a95

(1122)

on June 06, 2013
at 01:39 AM

^This. Quit beer and fruit/sweets for a month and see where you land.

899639da58bf10853e5610d65af2a4db

(0)

on June 06, 2013
at 12:03 AM

That's a great point, Kirill. I should definitely do a better job tracking what I eat and how I feel.

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6 Answers

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3
2d5221fa80d04a3d8ac6f471f9feae81

(894)

on June 05, 2013
at 11:43 PM

I think you're simply going off the rails on a regular basis, indiscriminately.

Instead, why don't you figure out which foods you can and can't cheat with? Just regular trial and error. If wheat bloats you up, then don't eat it - ever. Switch to something else and always keep an eye on the ingredients. If it's dairy, same deal. Omit and find alternatives. Try omitting either one during a cheat session and see how you look and feel afterwards.

You don't have to be 100%, or moon crystal pure, or anything like that to drop the weight and be in great shape. But you MUST figure out what works with your body and what doesn't. Once you do, you can be clear on which ingredients to be super strict with, and what you can be more loose with during your cheats.

899639da58bf10853e5610d65af2a4db

(0)

on June 06, 2013
at 12:03 AM

That's a great point, Kirill. I should definitely do a better job tracking what I eat and how I feel.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on June 06, 2013
at 03:44 PM

this is probably the most reasonable advice I have ever seen.

1
197651282ddd8d675b974ee811d2269e

on June 05, 2013
at 11:36 PM

To start I would try cutting out beer, most fruits, and all sweets for a month while incorporating exercise. Also go lower fat.

It could be that age is finally catching up with you. Now that you are 30, you can't get away with half the bad habits as when you were in your 20's. This was true for me. More discipline is required as you get older, unfortunately. In my 20's I would cut out junk food and do sit ups for 2 weeks and be ready for a bikini. In my 30's it took longer. Now in my 40's it's taking months. But you do gain patience and the sense that a little improvement, no matter how small, is better than none at all. It helps to have kids and a challenging career so you don't have so much time to obsess about your body, in a way.

Anyway, you will get your slim figure back, it may just take longer.

4610451431ec7155c87a5698be682a95

(1122)

on June 06, 2013
at 01:39 AM

^This. Quit beer and fruit/sweets for a month and see where you land.

0
B14a6c936de55a50632f87b63377f451

on March 28, 2015
at 12:21 AM

I know this thread is old but I wanted to add that eating refined sugar and carbs while on any type of high protein / fat diet is worse that eating that stuff while on a regular low calorie / low fat diet. Our bodies seem to use carbs / sugar as energy or, if on a low carb plan, they use fat. Sugar and carbs, while on a low carb diet, will be turned into body fat and stored. On a regular diet, some of that baked good would have be burnt as the body uses it's preferred energy source (I.e. sugar /carbs).??

Also, I noticed that when I start a no / low carb plan, I drop 10-15lb of water weight in the first 2-3 days. As soon as I slip and eat carbs or sugar, my body stores back that water weight almost instantly. It can feel very uncomfortable when you gain weight that quickly. I feel like my face is swollen and that I am almost drowning in my own cheeks.??

Whoever came up with the concept of "cheat days" for diets was an idiot. Refined sugar is very addictive for some people (like me). One taste is enough to trigger the pleasure center in my brain and then I am compelled to stuff my face until my stumach hurts. Each time I eat sugar, it is harder to stop. Despite my intentions, I can never eat it in moderation or for just one day. It also sends your body out of fat burning mode and back to carb burning so you need to go for three days without carbs and sugar to get back where you were. During that time I get terrible cravings for sugar and I gain tons of weight.??

15 lb in a month is nothing for that kind of baked goods "slip up". If one is going to fall off the no carbs wagon, it is better to have been on a low calorie / low fat diet in my opinion. The impact of a slip up on a regular diet is far less severe.

0
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on June 06, 2013
at 01:18 AM

What is your D3 blood level? Deficiency will make it hard to drop fat.

Iron? Eating enough red meat?

You also sound pretty carb-intolerant, so dropping the carbs down below 50 g/day could be very helpful. If you are sedentary, it's really easy to run off fat.

0
618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on June 06, 2013
at 01:18 AM

157 might be your weight. Is it a problem for you to be about 5lbs over what you want? That really throws you into fits of non-compliance? Hmmm. The idea of "cheats" might not be good for you - it doesn't seem like you can handle that kind of freedom. What if you allow yourself to eat more avocado, or coconut oil, when you feel like you are going out of control? Maybe your nervous system is shot - you might need more magnesium to calm your nerves and more fish oils to help stabilize your endocrine system. Then maybe you won't get so freaked out over an extra few pounds. You are almost 6 ft tall, lady! 157 must look amazing on you! I'll bet you are a total Warrior Princess! Don't let yourself down! Best of luck

0
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on June 06, 2013
at 12:15 AM

Eating SAD, I weighed sustantially more than I do now. I'm not 100% paleo, but maybe 90%. I've done just enough cheating to know that if I drop to say 70% compliant, I'll gain another 10-15 lbs just like that. If I go 100% compliant, I will drop below where I am now, not by a lot but definitely by some. For me, it's almost like the setpoint theory, except with higher setpoints if I'm less compliant. For better or worse, the fact is that I have to be quite compliant period. You may be the same. For better or for worse, you may just have the choice of being very compliant and being happy with your weight, or being non-compliant and having your weight skyrocket. Alas, being compliant for a long time doesn't necessarily mean you can go off the rails with minimal consequence. Of course, that may be a good thing, since it provides extra motivation to be compliant, which helps your health as well as your weight.

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