4

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Six months of paleo and struggling

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 12, 2012 at 2:38 PM

I'm a 28 year old male, and I've been doing paleo for since November. I've gained about 8 lbs in that time. I used to be around 210, I lost most of that on weight watchers and with cardio, but I was always ravenous and I felt crummy. On Paleo, I'm never really that hungry, and I feel better overall. I'm now about 160. My real goal is to bring my body fat down. I was at about 18% after weight watchers, but it's gone up a little, and my muscle mass hasn't increased. My clothes are starting to fit more tightly, especially around the middle.

The problem is, I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. I usually do eggs for breakfast, a salad with olive oil and chicken or shrimp for lunch, and often vegetables and some meat for dinner. I try and eat fish about twice a week. I do sometimes eat dairy (cheese and greek yogurt, never very much), I eat fruit (berries or an apple a few times a week, I've struggled with constipation so I have a hard time cutting fruit out entirely) and my vice is a handful or two of nuts in the evening. I almost never eat wheat, grains, sugar, or processed foods, although I drink diet coke a few times a week. I keep close track of what I eat, and I usually eat about 70~ grams of carbohydrates a day, and in the neighbourhood of 2000 calories. The ratio of what I eat is around 15% carbs, 55% fat and 30% protein.

I have a desk job during the day, and my hobbies tend towards those that have me sitting down, but I try and walk every day, I also practice parkour 1-2 a week, and I do some bodyweight conditioning 2-3 times a week (usually Mark Sisson's exercise routine.) I get about 7-7.5 hours of sleep, and I feel okay on that. I take a bunch of supplements (magnesium, fish oil, gluclosamine, multivitamin, probiotic and a few others). I'm getting into IF, but I feel like I should be seeing some movement on the scale, or at least not going in the wrong direction.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!

4929a87e3f7438f18a0afbdde291ed5e

(752)

on June 13, 2012
at 01:57 AM

I know, right? No comment back? *crickets chirping*

35c8f0c35da258ac54165ef14195e0b8

(167)

on June 13, 2012
at 01:21 AM

Whoa. I think you're on the wrong website.

35c8f0c35da258ac54165ef14195e0b8

(167)

on June 13, 2012
at 01:19 AM

I work in a doctor's office and she always tells her patients to take magnesium on an empty stomach. Otherwise, it binds to the fiber and moves out through the intestines doing little good.

35c8f0c35da258ac54165ef14195e0b8

(167)

on June 12, 2012
at 11:59 PM

Constipation was a big problem for both me and my boyfriend. So we started to make veggie smoothies in the morning (kale, carrots, coconut milk and sometimes apple) and added a tablespoon of flax seeds. That helped a lot.

Cc49234f065a33c763ab09fa234d08eb

(292)

on June 12, 2012
at 09:47 PM

This is the funniest thing I've seen all day. Thanks for the laugh!

5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on June 12, 2012
at 09:43 PM

@Mark: I do IF, and it's helped me avoid all the "cookies" placed in front of me. If it's not time for me to eat yet, I simply don't eat--setting apart "eating" from "the rest of my day" turned out to be a very useful mental tool for dealing with temptation and social pressures. As for social pressures, I've found that asking, "Why is it so important to you that I eat this, when you know I'm trying to lose weight and get my health back?" is a pretty effective way of shutting it down.

3ca0cfaf130e4374608b4fda72c31c2c

(20)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:49 PM

Thank you for the comments! Parkour is a pretty intense sport, and I do practice sprinting and some heavy lifting, so I don't feel like I'm lacking intensity. Thanks to the comments here I am going to try and ditch dairy and cut way back on the nuts.

3ca0cfaf130e4374608b4fda72c31c2c

(20)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:48 PM

I did not know about dairy spiking insulin. I will make an effort to avoid it. I have been trying IF, mostly in the range of 16 hour fasts, but I find myself pretty hungry near the end of it. I hope that its something that i'll get used to as time goes on. I do cook with coconut oil and butter, but I will try ghee. Thank you for the comments!

3ca0cfaf130e4374608b4fda72c31c2c

(20)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:45 PM

I lost about 50 lbs doing cardio and weight watchers, eating high carb and low fat, but I was perpetually hungry and it too me the better part of four years. Thanks for the comment!

3ca0cfaf130e4374608b4fda72c31c2c

(20)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:44 PM

I do take magnesium pills, and I eat spinach every time I eat a salad, which is most days. I'm not a coffee drinker, but I do take coconut oil from time to time (and I cook with it). I still suffer pretty regularly from constipation. I have been meaning to try the squatting position and I will make a note to do so. Thank you!

3ca0cfaf130e4374608b4fda72c31c2c

(20)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:42 PM

Occasionally my co-workers catch me on a day with low willpower and convince me that a cookie can't hurt, even though I know its full of things I'm trying to avoid. I plan to try and be more strict about them. My job is the most stressful thing in my life, and it isn't too bad. Life is stressful in general, but learning to deal with that is a challenge we all face. I do feel like I suffer from slow transit of food, but I have never been diagnosed with any digestive problems. Thank you!

3ca0cfaf130e4374608b4fda72c31c2c

(20)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:39 PM

I do like soda, and I'm down from 2-3 cans a day of regular pop to a few times a week of diet. I feel like I'll miss it, but then, I felt the same way about grains. I did not know it could still spark an insulin response, so I will try cutting it out and watching my cut consumption. Thank you!

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on June 12, 2012
at 07:59 PM

and squatting is great for constipation. I sit in a squat position for a while after breakfast to stimulate the gut and get things going. I squat on the toilet, too - requires a little balance.

149eb695f7c398511e0da3e592558fd1

(134)

on June 12, 2012
at 07:53 PM

try ghee - 100% dairy free

8dbe73235f73c615f20d3d0f34b4852a

(1365)

on June 12, 2012
at 07:19 PM

Lol @Cheryl. Right? haha. This is a joke -__- hopefully.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:47 PM

Keep the berries, but every other day (for constipation) but ditch the nuts - definitely. NO DAIRY!!! Don't worry, you will get there!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:45 PM

what about a little butter?

4929a87e3f7438f18a0afbdde291ed5e

(752)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:43 PM

I'm sorry, but this does NOT sound like a Paleo menu whatsoever. Brown Rice? Rice cakes? Oatmeal? No fat dressing? No fat plain yogurt? Is this a joke of some kind? Did I miss April Fool's??

C116f7e54620c6003b67cd4450a298cd

on June 12, 2012
at 05:12 PM

for a "quick fix" on constipation, try some coconut oil in your coffee in the morn. Works every time for me.

81cf1892bafcdfa38779f4b9b488198d

(606)

on June 12, 2012
at 03:39 PM

Paleo is not a diet, it's a lifestyle of eating healthy...just eating healthy isn't going to help you lose weight. To lose weight you need to put out more calories than you take in, but I guess you know that right? You need to put some INTENSITY into your workouts.

81cf1892bafcdfa38779f4b9b488198d

(606)

on June 12, 2012
at 03:39 PM

Paleo is not a diet, it's a lifestyle of eating healthy...just eating healthy isn't going to help you lose weight. To lose weight you need to put out more calories than you take in, but I guesee you know that right? You need to put some INTENSITY into your workouts.

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7 Answers

7
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on June 12, 2012
at 03:08 PM

There's a lot of possibilities here, but let me start off by saying ... welcome to the beginning of middle age. :-) I'm going to be 32 in about 3 weeks, and I started noticing my body "slowing down" (even though I was still as active as I could be or had been) around 28 years old. For some, it doesn't happen until 40 (if ever). For me, it began early. I still have most of my hair, thankfully -- /me crosses fingers!

While both trying to lose general weight (as well as the gain that started more recently), I found a few things to be most helpful: getting enough carbohydrates (~30% of calories), being active daily, and IF. I take eating cleanly (and hopefully paleo!) as a given.

Having been "nearly paleo" for years, as I figured out digestive issues, discovering the paleo community was great, and I dove in hardcore a couple years ago. LC and VLC was very, very tempting. Lowering carbs to <50g a day just did not work for me, however. I plateaud indefinitely (about 3 months) on LC. I find the combination of ~150g (or less) of carbs a day coupled with daily activity to help me continue to evenly shed pounds while remaining sane and energized. On LC/VLC everything "slowed down". I wasn't extra hungry, but I didn't have a lot of energy either.

Not being active everyday seems to stagnate my progress nearly instantly. I don't "work out" everyday -- maybe just 3 times a week -- but I make sure I "get out there" and play, run around, bike, or walk every day. I find a little goes a long way, especially when it's everyday. I also have a desk job, and I treasure my time doing something fun outside in the morning.

IF was the final component that I feel helps greatly. Fasting from evening until noon the next day keeps me very energized; keeping a shorter eating window helps me to keep desiring extremely nutritiously dense, satiating food.

I don't have the luxury of deviating from my diet -- 2000C a day seems to actually be ideal for me to maintain. When I was greatly shedding weight, I stuck to around 1500-1750C gross intake -- regardless of my activity levels (granted, I would alter the substance of my meals, based on planned activity -- e.g long bike ride the next day? Sweet potato tonight!)

Your positive stuff sounds great, so I specifically have a few suggestions for things to cut out or change.

"my vice is a handful or two of nuts in the evening" This is going to be approximately 200-400 extra Calories a day. Granted, nuts are a fairly nutritious food even if not completely optimal. However, 400 calories a day of "extra" food will add up quickly.

"I drink diet coke a few times a week." Sweet flavors, even if devoid of sugar, will still trigger an insulin response in the body. Granted, it'll be less than a sugary soda, but any extra insulin produced, among other reactions, will encourage energy to be stored as fat. Also, really ask yourself: doesn't soda make you feel gross and bloated?

Good luck!

3ca0cfaf130e4374608b4fda72c31c2c

(20)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:39 PM

I do like soda, and I'm down from 2-3 cans a day of regular pop to a few times a week of diet. I feel like I'll miss it, but then, I felt the same way about grains. I did not know it could still spark an insulin response, so I will try cutting it out and watching my cut consumption. Thank you!

4
E12ead3bf63c94b5b619b03722ef554f

on June 12, 2012
at 03:10 PM

"almost never eat wheat, grains, sugar, or processed foods, although I drink diet coke a few times a week"

----> cut them out completely for a couple of months and see what happens!

Also, do you have any stress in your life? Any digestive problems?

3ca0cfaf130e4374608b4fda72c31c2c

(20)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:42 PM

Occasionally my co-workers catch me on a day with low willpower and convince me that a cookie can't hurt, even though I know its full of things I'm trying to avoid. I plan to try and be more strict about them. My job is the most stressful thing in my life, and it isn't too bad. Life is stressful in general, but learning to deal with that is a challenge we all face. I do feel like I suffer from slow transit of food, but I have never been diagnosed with any digestive problems. Thank you!

5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on June 12, 2012
at 09:43 PM

@Mark: I do IF, and it's helped me avoid all the "cookies" placed in front of me. If it's not time for me to eat yet, I simply don't eat--setting apart "eating" from "the rest of my day" turned out to be a very useful mental tool for dealing with temptation and social pressures. As for social pressures, I've found that asking, "Why is it so important to you that I eat this, when you know I'm trying to lose weight and get my health back?" is a pretty effective way of shutting it down.

1
F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on June 12, 2012
at 04:19 PM

Watch the nuts. A couple handfuls of nuts can be like 500 cals in 30 seconds.

And you don't need fruit for constipation. Eat a big spinach salad with pumpkin seeds every day - both are rich in magnesium which helps things move.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on June 12, 2012
at 07:59 PM

and squatting is great for constipation. I sit in a squat position for a while after breakfast to stimulate the gut and get things going. I squat on the toilet, too - requires a little balance.

35c8f0c35da258ac54165ef14195e0b8

(167)

on June 13, 2012
at 01:19 AM

I work in a doctor's office and she always tells her patients to take magnesium on an empty stomach. Otherwise, it binds to the fiber and moves out through the intestines doing little good.

3ca0cfaf130e4374608b4fda72c31c2c

(20)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:44 PM

I do take magnesium pills, and I eat spinach every time I eat a salad, which is most days. I'm not a coffee drinker, but I do take coconut oil from time to time (and I cook with it). I still suffer pretty regularly from constipation. I have been meaning to try the squatting position and I will make a note to do so. Thank you!

C116f7e54620c6003b67cd4450a298cd

on June 12, 2012
at 05:12 PM

for a "quick fix" on constipation, try some coconut oil in your coffee in the morn. Works every time for me.

0
5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on June 12, 2012
at 09:36 PM

As others have already suggested, ditch the diet sodas. If you need a cold, fizzy drink, you can get cans of carbonated water and add lemon wedges to them, or get the canned/bottled fizzywater with lemon, lime, or orange essence (not juice). Unsweetened iced tea is great if you need a caffeine hit.

Nuts...oh, man. So delicious, yet such a killer for me (and lots of other people). I can have a handful (about 1/4c) 2-3 times a week, but much more than that and my weight loss stalls out. So try laying off the nuts for a while and see what happens.

The equivalent of an apple a day isn't a big deal for most people, but it may be for you. Ditto, dairy (I can have a little bit of cheese or heavy whipping cream and lose weight, but not milk or yogurt). So you might want to see what happens if you cut one or both of them.

And maybe just go ahead and give VLC a shot, and see if that works. If you're consuming enough fat, constipation likely won't be an issue--its sort of, um, greases the chute, if you will.

For me, VLC/HF (~20g net/day), plus IF was the thing that finally kicked my weight loss into gear. Granted, it's chugging along in a very low gear, but given my age and wrecked metabolism, I'll take what I can get.

Part of why this is effective is because I can only eat so much during my 6-hour "window," so even with high fat consumption I'm still consuming fewer calories than before--I average ~1400/day, and have no real problems with hunger outside the eating window.

Good luck to you; I know just how frustrating it is when you're trying to do everything "right" and it's not bloody working.

0
149eb695f7c398511e0da3e592558fd1

(134)

on June 12, 2012
at 03:51 PM

I agree with Aglaee (no soda!!), also, NO dairy at all! It spikes insulin and makes it hard for you to lose weight. If you really want to lose weight and gain muscle mass, try Inte Intermittent Fasting. Go 20 hours without eating. NO eating before bed what-so-ever and ditch the nuts for coconut and some fattier meats to satiate your hunger/cravings.

149eb695f7c398511e0da3e592558fd1

(134)

on June 12, 2012
at 07:53 PM

try ghee - 100% dairy free

3ca0cfaf130e4374608b4fda72c31c2c

(20)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:48 PM

I did not know about dairy spiking insulin. I will make an effort to avoid it. I have been trying IF, mostly in the range of 16 hour fasts, but I find myself pretty hungry near the end of it. I hope that its something that i'll get used to as time goes on. I do cook with coconut oil and butter, but I will try ghee. Thank you for the comments!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:45 PM

what about a little butter?

0
B9673e4701dbf7017da7d75e9a44da6d

on June 12, 2012
at 03:23 PM

I used to be a cardio junky (4-5 times a week) and never saw any results (improved muscle mass, reduced body fat) like what I've seen from doing CrossFit for the past two months (1-2 times a week).

3ca0cfaf130e4374608b4fda72c31c2c

(20)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:45 PM

I lost about 50 lbs doing cardio and weight watchers, eating high carb and low fat, but I was perpetually hungry and it too me the better part of four years. Thanks for the comment!

-5
44f0901d5b0e85d8b00315c892d00f8a

on June 12, 2012
at 06:16 PM

Use this guide to set up a meal plan, here is a sample fat burning meal plan:

Breakfast - oatmeal and 3 egg whites with a small banana

Snack 1 - no fat plain yogurt with ?? cup mixed nuts and berries

Lunch - chicken breast or fish fillet with 2 cups greens and no fat dressing along with ?? cup brown rice.

Snack 2 - 2 plain rice cakes with a tsp almond butter per pc and ?? cup to a cup chopped broccoli

Dinner - large fish fillet of cod or snapper steamed with 1 cup (measured cooked) mustard greens and spinach plus a small potato or yam

Snack 3 - protein drink

This will help you with some serious fat loss!!! Keep it strict and you can expect an average of 2 lbs per week or 8-10lbs in a month.

35c8f0c35da258ac54165ef14195e0b8

(167)

on June 13, 2012
at 01:21 AM

Whoa. I think you're on the wrong website.

4929a87e3f7438f18a0afbdde291ed5e

(752)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:43 PM

I'm sorry, but this does NOT sound like a Paleo menu whatsoever. Brown Rice? Rice cakes? Oatmeal? No fat dressing? No fat plain yogurt? Is this a joke of some kind? Did I miss April Fool's??

8dbe73235f73c615f20d3d0f34b4852a

(1365)

on June 12, 2012
at 07:19 PM

Lol @Cheryl. Right? haha. This is a joke -__- hopefully.

Cc49234f065a33c763ab09fa234d08eb

(292)

on June 12, 2012
at 09:47 PM

This is the funniest thing I've seen all day. Thanks for the laugh!

4929a87e3f7438f18a0afbdde291ed5e

(752)

on June 13, 2012
at 01:57 AM

I know, right? No comment back? *crickets chirping*

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