9

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Ladies: How hard is it for you to maintain your svelte new figure on Paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 17, 2011 at 2:02 AM

Hi there, I was wondering how easy it is for everyone to maintain their weight. I have been losing weight slowly for the last 2 years, and now that the finish line is clear on the horizon, I am terrified at the prospect of maintenance.

Now the big question is - what do I do when I reach 20% ish bodyfat percent, with the intention of staying there? In your experience, do you have to restrict what you eat forever? Do you always have to stop short of eating until you are full?

I feel that if I'm not hyper vigilant about the amount of food I eat, that I will gain the body fat back! Will it be easier for me to maintain because I was never super obese? It seems that "naturally skinny" people aren't naturally skinny at all, they just eat less if you really observe them.

Of course when I get to goal I will try a freestyle paleo way of eating with a wider variety of foods, but it would also be nice just to hear your post weight loss experience :)

My background -

~ Always had a relatively high bodyfat percent since childhood - skinny arms/extremeties with a lot of belly fat. My highest weight was about 164 pounds on a very light 5.4 frame (tiny wrists, very narrow shoulders, most glasses are too big for my head)

~ Started Paleo at the end of 2009, and my weight has slowly come down to 120 pounds presently (along with the obliteration of my life long Acne and IBS, yay!). I am aiming for 20% bodyfat - I don't know what weight this will bring me down to, its more a certain look that I'm after. Im guessing that 20% ish bodyfat will bring me to about 115 pounds as I don't have much lean body mass. I plan to work on body comp in the long run.

~ ALong the way, the only thing that has really caused fat loss was restricting calories. I would do this for about 1 month, then take a couple of months off. Rinse and repeat - have tried high fat, intermittent fasting, no carbs, high carbs - doesn't matter, it boils down to caloric restriction for me. This is probably because my job is so sedentary (artist)

~ In order to get these last few percentages of bodyfat off, I have been restricting calories to about 900~1100 a day. This is done by eating plenty of vegetables, lean proteins and coconut oil. I do a high calorie day every couple of weeks. Interestingly I am not hungry restricting this much, and have never craved junky food since going paleo. Its easy for me to be grain/legume/dairy free and I honestly never "need" to "cheat" . No food issues other than a few days during the good old luteal phase where my appetite ramps up, for more quantity of food (steak, lamb chops, liver etc)

~ The calorie restriction is working and I am liking what's happening in the mirror, and very happy at nearing the end of my weight loss phase. Next year I want to put on more lean body mass.

~ exercise is walking a few kilometers every day (don't own a car) and Bodyweight stuff 2~3 times a week. Sleep is great, in bed early, wake up without alarm clock.

183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

(1716)

on November 17, 2011
at 11:13 PM

We are lucky to have access to so much seafood and grass fed ruminant here in NZ :) We also just slaughtered one of my in-law's cows for the summer, I got first dibs on the organ meats! Will try to throw in a kumara here and there for refeed.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 17, 2011
at 10:47 PM

Sounds like an excellent, highly nutritious diet to me. For your re-feed days, up carbs instead of fat and you'll reach your goal faster. The hypothalamus doesn't care how much fat you eat today, only how much glucose is available and how much body fat you have in general.

183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

(1716)

on November 17, 2011
at 10:42 PM

Melissa- huntgatherlove's comment below also highlights that these are always going to just be estimations of calories, even if you weigh and track everything. I believe that there will always be a few hundred calories deviation due to the nature of whole foods. For what its worth, I truly never feel hungry on my lower calorie days which I feel is tied to the amount of nutrients in the foods I choose to eat - eating some oysters, mussels, little bit of liver, eggs, lamb, sardines, coconut products etc, and about 70g carbs from veggies.

183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

(1716)

on November 17, 2011
at 10:37 PM

Interesting! What is your level of activity?

183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

(1716)

on November 17, 2011
at 10:37 PM

Great analogy for the Way of Life aspect of Paleo!

183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

(1716)

on November 17, 2011
at 10:36 PM

+1 for the difficulty of "counting" calories - its always going to be an estimation, never a true "count" I think that the only thing you can be sure about is eating "more" quantity or "less" quantity.

183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

(1716)

on November 17, 2011
at 10:33 PM

Thanks! I think that nuts are highly inflammatory. Unfortunately I can't eat them because they flare up my IBS - the feel sharp and pointy in my intestines :(

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 17, 2011
at 07:12 PM

Renee: I couldn't disagree more with your sentiment that daily calorie intake is an indication of starvation in the absence of hunger signals. What Grottenolm is describing is perfectly healthy and sustainable for the fat loss phase of her journey. Why pursue calories in diet when you have a bunch of stored calories in bodyfat that you want to get rid of? It'd probably be better to up carbs a bit, but pursuing calories from fat is ludicrous.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:06 PM

This is an excellent answer. :)

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on November 17, 2011
at 08:29 AM

Well done with your progress Grottenolm.

183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

(1716)

on November 17, 2011
at 03:47 AM

During rest months, my intake would be about 1700~1800 a day. Didn't always monitor amounts specifically during "off" months but decided to punch in the numbers just out of curiosity for a few days. Always ate to satiate.

673f7ad6052448d51496f177395416b7

(344)

on November 17, 2011
at 03:22 AM

Okay, so would you say you average about 1100 calories a day in your "diet" month? What is your caloric intake during your "rest" months? Actually sounds okay for a small framed woman at your height. just make sure you're hitting all your nutrients and supplementing during those low calorie days.

183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

(1716)

on November 17, 2011
at 02:36 AM

Hi Renee, my height is 5.4 - I realise that this is extremely low calorie, hence never doing this for prolonged periods of time, only short bursts. On my excess days I reach about 2000~2500 cals with the help of plenty of fatty meat and coconut milk.

Cd2d1fcf77345c9b2889ab56ecf5c842

(250)

on November 17, 2011
at 02:34 AM

She said she is 5'4" but that still seems like a starvation diet.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on November 17, 2011
at 02:28 AM

900-1000 calories is a starvation diet. I hope you truly are eating in excess of that every few days, as you say. Because such a low calorie diet is unhealthy and unsustainable, in the long run. How tall are you? (So I can comment on your weight goal)

183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

(1716)

on November 17, 2011
at 02:09 AM

I think the reason for my paranoia is that I have never weighed this little in my adult life, but I want to keep it that way....

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7 Answers

best answer

13
0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

on November 17, 2011
at 02:49 PM

I met my weight loss goal (and then some) on Paleo, once I observed calories and found the right combination of exercise and intermittent fasting. I flew past my initial 'goal' weight with the speed of a full-blown eating disorder but that's besides the point -- to your question, maintenance is not an issue if you stop thinking about Paleo as a diet but as your new way of eating. There's a significant difference. When I started to treat Paleo like a way of life instead of a quick lift to the next town I lost my fear of failure, I stopped looking over my shoulder and was no longer devastated when I slipped up for a meal here or there. There's no wagon to fall off of if you just walk the road.

I also don't think that periods of lower calorie eating, what some are calling 'starvation diet' is necessarily bad or even un-Paleo. Just make sure you know what you need for optimal health overall, over time, and make sure that you get it.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:06 PM

This is an excellent answer. :)

183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

(1716)

on November 17, 2011
at 10:37 PM

Great analogy for the Way of Life aspect of Paleo!

best answer

4
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on November 17, 2011
at 05:19 PM

I think we are highlighting one of the issues with calorie-counting, which is that it isn't even accurate most of the time. If you were truly that low in calories, you would probably feel some symptoms of starvation. It reminds me of 8th grade science Olympiad when the guy who did the estimation event got sick and I had to compete in it. Estimation is HARD. Even if you have a scale and are weighing food, calorie values on Fitday or whatever are the average for that food and they can vary pretty highly in whole foods.

I got to a pretty low weight on paleo after a year at it (100) and now I'm at a slightly higher weight at four years (107), which I feel and look better at. I don't count calories, I do use an Android app called task:life to track cheats. I set a goal for the cheat like sugar on no more than 10% of days in a month, and try to meet it. Otherwise, I eat whole in-season paleo foods.

183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

(1716)

on November 17, 2011
at 10:36 PM

+1 for the difficulty of "counting" calories - its always going to be an estimation, never a true "count" I think that the only thing you can be sure about is eating "more" quantity or "less" quantity.

5
3e26ec19100b9daae4a5ec3335ed2a6e

(115)

on November 17, 2011
at 12:16 PM

I am 5'4" also and weigh 117. I too have to eat between 900-1100 calories in order to lose weight. And this is to lose 2 lbs per week so I don't think it's a starvation diet. As long as you are not hungry. My problem is I restrict for a week not realizing I am hungry and then figure it out on the weekend :>

I plan to up calories to 1400 once I have reached 110 for maintenance and not go carb crazy but add some back in.

183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

(1716)

on November 17, 2011
at 10:37 PM

Interesting! What is your level of activity?

2
0e2772604bdb3627525b42d77340538b

on November 17, 2011
at 08:15 PM

I lost about 35 lbs and maintain it relatively easily. I'm 5'5" and weigh ~128.

I eat twice a day, paleo foods + dairy.

I don't count calories.

1
0511b69b133556de6e7ef12d4ae262bc

(399)

on November 17, 2011
at 05:57 PM

I am 5'4" and weigh 114. I eat whenever I am hungry. I dont restrict myself any calories because I am only wanting to maintain now. It fluxuates between 114 and 115, but it generally stays around the same. The only advice that I have is to stay away from too many nuts.They are my downfall! On days that I snack on nuts consistently, I will gain a pound. But then I find that if I just cut out the nuts the next day and still eat whenever I am hungry, it drops almost immediately. Just make sure that what you are eating are the right things for you. Then maintaining becomes easy :) congrats on your weight loss!

183f5c49a7a9548b6f5238d1f33cb35e

(1716)

on November 17, 2011
at 10:33 PM

Thanks! I think that nuts are highly inflammatory. Unfortunately I can't eat them because they flare up my IBS - the feel sharp and pointy in my intestines :(

0
724ba4f39f7bbea7f74b45c0a79615f2

on November 18, 2011
at 07:35 PM

If you actually are eating that little, I think there's a good chance you're not getting enough of something you need. If you are, though, I think you definitely can maintain your weight the way everyone else here has mentioned, by eating enough nourishing foods when you're hungry and not eating when you're full, and not over eating foods that are not filling but calorie dense (e.g., nut butter).

I ate essentially 800 calories a day for two years, and I thought I was doing fine, and was convinced I could keep it up forever, and then my body just rebelled and force-fed me until I was eating about 6,000 calories a day, literally eating until I was sick. I think my body was just trying to make up for a massive nutrient deficiency I'd forced on it.

Given, I was a vegetarian at the time and wasn't eating enough fat, and I got better by being paleo, but I don't think being paleo is a guarantee that you're getting enough nutrients. So, make sure you're eating enough of all your vitamins, and taking supplements, and whatever else you need to do to ensure that you're healthy, and then I think maintaining will just be a question of not over-indulging.

0
8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

on November 18, 2011
at 05:16 AM

I had been low-carb, low grain for about a year before going Paleo. It has been just over the 1 year anniversary of Paleo. My body comp has been stable in this year, even with a lot of travel.

At home (which is again 90% of the time): I follow a 80-90% Perfect Health Diet Paleo (safe starches like plantain, potato, white rice, sweet potatoes, with pastured dairy).

I DO Not count calories or weigh food. I eat to satiation and I follow my cravings for non-processed whole foods.

I do weight training 1 hour for 1-2 times a week and walk about 4-8 miles a week.

My 10-20% cheats (close to 20% when travelling) are gluten free grains and sweets.

I will bloat, get constipated, and gain possibly 5 pounds with about a week of eating legumes added to this.

I get acne on vegetable oils.

I don't get carbohydrate cravings if I stick to this.

50% calories from pastured fat - (pastured meat and wild seafood), butter, ghee, coconut oil, etc.

15-25% from animal protein (pastured meat and wild seafood, some eggs)

25-35% from safer starches (sweet potatoes, plantains, potatoes, and smaller amounts of white rice on occasion)

The higher end of protein on gym and weight training days.

By weight:

About 0.75-1 pound/daily of animal meats, seafood, eggs/day

About 1.5-2.2 pounds/daily of plant matter from mostly vegetables, starches, fruit, (0-2 servings of fruit a day)

You have to find what works for you.

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