5

votes

Slowly losing weight on Paleo, but constantly hungry!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 25, 2011 at 5:36 PM

I started eating Paleo and doing crossfit about 2 months ago and have been slowly losing weight - around a pound per week. At first I wasnt hungry at all after switching to Paleo, but have found my hunger slowly creeping back the last few weeks, but I think that Im eating enough so have been wary of eating any more - I dont want to stop losing weight as its going slow enough as it is!

My daily food intake consists of the following:

Crossfit workout 4-5 days/week - I dont eat before the class as Im not hungry.

After workout 8am ish - Protein shake with small amount of coconut milk and water, 3 eggs and cabbage scrambled in ghee

12pm - 3 chicken thighs, loads of veg - brocolli, cauliflower, zuchini, onion, sometimes some sweet potato

3pm - Tablespoon of each of almond flour, coconut flour, protein powder, some cocoa, cinnamon and coconut milk to mix.

7pm - 200g Fish/meat or chicken with more vegetables - cabbage/cauliflower/red pepper/tomatoes, or a Mexican salad with gaucamole

Once a week I usually have a cheat meal, but tend to always stay away from grains. I might have a glass or 2 of wine 1 day per week.

I also drink lots of water and about 3 green teas per day.

Does it look like Im eating too much, enough or not enough? Ive always listened to my body and eat when Im hungry, but Im cautious of being an excessive snacker on carbs in the last and gaining weight, so Im paranoid this will happen again!

FYI - Im a 29 year old woman and my body fat is around 17% but Im aiming to get to around 13%.

Thanks for your help!

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on May 04, 2012
at 09:41 AM

Yup, butter/ghee/heavy cream, coconut oil, beef/bison/lamb fat is the way to go. Chicken skin should be avoided or at least limited - it's mostly n6-PUFAs.

5662d1262516ccbd70249e7aeaf58901

(681)

on May 04, 2012
at 09:39 AM

That seems to be a common pattern around here: women going ultra low carb, eating only chicken, going low fat, and overtraining.

5662d1262516ccbd70249e7aeaf58901

(681)

on May 04, 2012
at 09:39 AM

That seems to be a common pattern around here: women going ultra low carb, eating only chicken, going low fat, and overtraining.

5662d1262516ccbd70249e7aeaf58901

(681)

on May 04, 2012
at 09:35 AM

That seems to be a fairly common pattern around here: women going ultra low carb, low fat, and overtraining.

324bf94d3d6f9322d6e4dba4becfaab1

on May 04, 2012
at 03:02 AM

You need to stop eating so many vegetables. Competitive eaters eat large amounts of vegetables to enlarge their stomach so they can eat more food. If you're trying to eat less, not more, then you should do the opposite.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 04, 2012
at 12:07 AM

What research demonstrates that SFAs are more saturating than MUFA or PUFA?

44349dd8bf3bc226731d2f6bd42e8124

(318)

on May 03, 2012
at 11:34 PM

If you are hungry eat! :) And I agree with Daniel & Katherine. You'll drive yourself crazy with measuring everything and having expectations on how much you should lose...

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on December 26, 2011
at 02:06 PM

@Daniel, I would question who funded those studies. Sure, eating more protein will result in better body comp than say, eating nothing or carbs, but the whole myth of a protein shake before a workout and another after and another every few hours comes from the body building magazines, which make money by selling protein powders. I would suspect that eating more meat instead of powder is far more beneficial - it might not result in larger muscles, but it will probably result in better health. If your goal is to bulk up and you're skinny, powder is fine. If it's to slim down, it's not.

25b139cc1954456d9ea469e40f984cd3

on December 25, 2011
at 01:27 AM

Whey protein, when added to the diet, results in better body comp in the studies I've seen.

B8592e62f9804ddabae73c1103d6bcb9

(1956)

on December 24, 2011
at 11:19 PM

Double agree with the last bit, I'll go maybe a month without losing anything then loose a stone overnight!!

0f32ad570e3bf419432429d3ac842405

(235)

on December 01, 2011
at 07:57 AM

jess is making a valid point here to which I would add that - in my relationship - I (male) like to be the only one with washboard abs... dunno about your boyfriend, but the majority of men are not particularly keen on bone + muscle, only ;)

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on November 29, 2011
at 04:48 AM

Agree with the last comment, when I was losing weight, I had no loss for a week or two and then lost about a pound a day for a week. That is probably not really physically possible, so must be something strange going on -- the fat converting to fluids, which are retained, then suddenly dropped, for example, or something like that.

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on November 27, 2011
at 07:09 AM

@NicoleRM, too much exercise is a very real consideration given your schedule and intensity!

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on November 27, 2011
at 07:06 AM

Loosing a pound per week is not considered slow by any estimate.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on November 27, 2011
at 07:01 AM

Nice one, Dr. Cate. Thanks!

0f32ad570e3bf419432429d3ac842405

(235)

on November 27, 2011
at 05:54 AM

certainly a possibility. 4-5x training a week is generally possible, if you are completely beating the crab out of you, you can however not "outeat" the overtraining... that being said,I stick to the "too little energy" (i.e. too few overal calories and especially too little carbs) for your training volume hypothesis

1820e2a8a435da2339593485379bb50d

(333)

on November 26, 2011
at 09:30 PM

Thanks Carina - I have actually had some pain in my abdomen, so will check this out!

1820e2a8a435da2339593485379bb50d

(333)

on November 26, 2011
at 09:28 PM

Thanks raydawg - I will definitely try some of the things you suggested!

1820e2a8a435da2339593485379bb50d

(333)

on November 26, 2011
at 09:26 PM

Thanks - I do eat a lot of salt, and my diet is probably 50% fats from organic chicken skin, ghee and fish...Im starting to think I may be doing too much exercise.

1820e2a8a435da2339593485379bb50d

(333)

on November 26, 2011
at 09:23 PM

Thanks Wisper - all valid points.

0f32ad570e3bf419432429d3ac842405

(235)

on November 26, 2011
at 01:35 PM

just a brief note on ketosis < this won't happen as long as you eat a high protein diet (as the OP does)

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on November 25, 2011
at 11:25 PM

You need to decide whether gaining muscle and losing fat is more important than socializing. As Brent said, you need good recovery and rest to gain muscle, and 4-5 times a week of HIIT is probably too much for that. This is especially true for women who have lower testosterone than men.

25b139cc1954456d9ea469e40f984cd3

on November 25, 2011
at 10:29 PM

Eat more. And stop measuring everything.

1820e2a8a435da2339593485379bb50d

(333)

on November 25, 2011
at 07:59 PM

Hi Brent, thanks. I love Crossfit as its a real social thing for me, so I enjoy going most days of the week. Maybe I'll focus more on recovery though and see how I go with that.

1820e2a8a435da2339593485379bb50d

(333)

on November 25, 2011
at 07:57 PM

Thanks Beth - I have absolutely no desire to be a waif - I do actually want to put on muscle and be fit and strong. I think I need to stop worrying about hunger and weight loss and just listen to my body and train hard to be strong.

1820e2a8a435da2339593485379bb50d

(333)

on November 25, 2011
at 06:25 PM

Thanks - yes, Im definitely getting stronger and feel lighter, so perhaps my body is asking for more food to build muscle.

  • 1820e2a8a435da2339593485379bb50d

    asked by

    (333)
  • Views
    5K
  • Last Activity
    1285D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

15 Answers

best answer

8
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on November 26, 2011
at 02:34 PM

Cut the whey protein, it's insulogenic, which means it's a signal to store glucose as fat. Eat meat instead. If you want something portable, bring beef jerky with you, or better yet pemmican.

If you're doing crossfit, you'll need a lot of calories. If you're eating too little your body will get highly adapted to keeping whatever it can.

Switch some of the chicken away for grassfed beef or bison or fish. That won't affect weight loss much by itself, but chicken is high in n6 PUFAs, but the grassfed beef or bison is high in CLA which helps with some fat loss.

You might be loosing more weight than you think, but gaining muscle, which won't show up on a scale. Get a fat loss scale instead, one that measures percentage of body fat, muscle, hydration and bone - but note that these things can be off by as much as 10-20%.

Also fat does weird things, it gets less dense and filled with water, so it holds the same space and weight for a long time, then almost overnight it just vanishes and you show 3-4lbs loss on a scale.

1820e2a8a435da2339593485379bb50d

(333)

on November 26, 2011
at 09:28 PM

Thanks raydawg - I will definitely try some of the things you suggested!

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on November 29, 2011
at 04:48 AM

Agree with the last comment, when I was losing weight, I had no loss for a week or two and then lost about a pound a day for a week. That is probably not really physically possible, so must be something strange going on -- the fat converting to fluids, which are retained, then suddenly dropped, for example, or something like that.

25b139cc1954456d9ea469e40f984cd3

on December 25, 2011
at 01:27 AM

Whey protein, when added to the diet, results in better body comp in the studies I've seen.

B8592e62f9804ddabae73c1103d6bcb9

(1956)

on December 24, 2011
at 11:19 PM

Double agree with the last bit, I'll go maybe a month without losing anything then loose a stone overnight!!

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on December 26, 2011
at 02:06 PM

@Daniel, I would question who funded those studies. Sure, eating more protein will result in better body comp than say, eating nothing or carbs, but the whole myth of a protein shake before a workout and another after and another every few hours comes from the body building magazines, which make money by selling protein powders. I would suspect that eating more meat instead of powder is far more beneficial - it might not result in larger muscles, but it will probably result in better health. If your goal is to bulk up and you're skinny, powder is fine. If it's to slim down, it's not.

9
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 25, 2011
at 06:17 PM

See this thread (especially the first answer). Getting to 13% bodyfat (a very, very low BF for a woman) is not something you'll likely do simply by eating paleo.

My suggestion is to stop worrying about your weight, eat enough to avoid hunger, and reduce your bodyfat % by increasing your lean body mass. See SuppVersity's recommendations for Anorexic Dad, Stanley Smith. Or check out Martin Berkhan's Leangains.

1820e2a8a435da2339593485379bb50d

(333)

on November 25, 2011
at 07:57 PM

Thanks Beth - I have absolutely no desire to be a waif - I do actually want to put on muscle and be fit and strong. I think I need to stop worrying about hunger and weight loss and just listen to my body and train hard to be strong.

8
8e5a53df514e078421eb8c7cf89d3ca5

(466)

on November 25, 2011
at 07:14 PM

A side effect of exercise is hunger.

IMO, CrossFit 4-5 times a week is excessive. Check out the book "Body by Science" - they recommend one high-intensity workout per week. Recovery time is critical to muscle growth.

How about playing more often, instead of exercising per se? Indoor climbing is fun, for example.

1820e2a8a435da2339593485379bb50d

(333)

on November 26, 2011
at 09:23 PM

Thanks Wisper - all valid points.

1820e2a8a435da2339593485379bb50d

(333)

on November 25, 2011
at 07:59 PM

Hi Brent, thanks. I love Crossfit as its a real social thing for me, so I enjoy going most days of the week. Maybe I'll focus more on recovery though and see how I go with that.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on November 25, 2011
at 11:25 PM

You need to decide whether gaining muscle and losing fat is more important than socializing. As Brent said, you need good recovery and rest to gain muscle, and 4-5 times a week of HIIT is probably too much for that. This is especially true for women who have lower testosterone than men.

5662d1262516ccbd70249e7aeaf58901

(681)

on May 04, 2012
at 09:35 AM

That seems to be a fairly common pattern around here: women going ultra low carb, low fat, and overtraining.

5662d1262516ccbd70249e7aeaf58901

(681)

on May 04, 2012
at 09:39 AM

That seems to be a common pattern around here: women going ultra low carb, eating only chicken, going low fat, and overtraining.

5662d1262516ccbd70249e7aeaf58901

(681)

on May 04, 2012
at 09:39 AM

That seems to be a common pattern around here: women going ultra low carb, eating only chicken, going low fat, and overtraining.

6
C687adb6aeab5d10b73ae1e272bc348f

(664)

on November 25, 2011
at 08:30 PM

I've noticed when people eat lots of protein, they get hungry a few hours after their last meal and I've blamed it on not being keto-adapted. Being keto-adapted is the best appetite suppressant I know of. And it helps you lose weight rapidly.

To become keto-adapted, you have to be able to quickly switch from sugar burn to fat burn. Right now, with your regular protein ingestion, you always have the ability to easily convert those amino acids into sugar. So you are still a sugar burner. Being primarily a sugar burner also slows weight loss.

Personally, I noticed that when I cut my carbs to less than 50 and went for 7-9 or even 10 hours between meals, I could feel when I was switching over to ketones and the fat just melted away. BTW, I rarely do any kind of intense exercise. Plus I'm old. And my mom and sister are overweight so I don't have any sort of super genetic endowment.

Below is a graph I posted with a blog I did to explain why carbs make us hungry and can contribute to fatigue especially on a low-nutrient diet. Absent the adrenal fatigue issue, the graph may apply to anyone consuming lots of protein because by doing so you are offering your body the opportunity to continue to burn sugar rather than fat for energy. Whether or not your body will do so probably depends in part on where you are in your hormone cycle, how much sleep you get, and other factors including congenitally preset genetic switches. slowly-losing-weight-on-paleo,-but-constantly-hungry!

0f32ad570e3bf419432429d3ac842405

(235)

on November 26, 2011
at 01:35 PM

just a brief note on ketosis < this won't happen as long as you eat a high protein diet (as the OP does)

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on November 27, 2011
at 07:01 AM

Nice one, Dr. Cate. Thanks!

6
93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on November 25, 2011
at 05:45 PM

Eat more saturated fats. That's the appetite suppressant. And stop trying to meter yourself.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 04, 2012
at 12:07 AM

What research demonstrates that SFAs are more saturating than MUFA or PUFA?

5
306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on November 28, 2011
at 06:13 PM

Please consider whether 13% is really an appropriate goal from a long-term health perspective - that's lower than the body fat percentage of most female athletes. 17% is well within an appropriate body fat range for athletic females.

This is especially true if you have any possible intention of reproducing within the next few years.

0f32ad570e3bf419432429d3ac842405

(235)

on December 01, 2011
at 07:57 AM

jess is making a valid point here to which I would add that - in my relationship - I (male) like to be the only one with washboard abs... dunno about your boyfriend, but the majority of men are not particularly keen on bone + muscle, only ;)

3
0f32ad570e3bf419432429d3ac842405

(235)

on November 26, 2011
at 08:23 AM

1) 4-5x per week crossfit (=sustained glycolitic activity) = carbohydrate above baseline (100g) NECESSARY if you do not want to run into endocrine problems... so if you insist on going "paleo" instead of just "eating reasonable and healthy" you add in some tubers with your first meal post workout to get up into the "at least 150-200g of carbs per day zone"

2) drinking a ton of liquid I just hope that you do not restrict salt, if you do, do not wonder that you feel like a wreck... (no carbs = already difficult to retain salt, heavy training = salt lass, tons of water = salt loss < no salt = blood sugar problems and "adrenal fatigue" rofl I love this term)

3) you eat a high protein, low fat almost no carb diet. that is not sustainable for someone with a decent degree of leanness. If you want low carbs, you need high fat moderate protein,... if you increase your carbs you still have to add some fat... where do you think your body is going to get its energy from? Not only is it (in the long run not possible) to run on protein alone (as an energy source) the gluconeogenic mashinery is fired by cortisol and cortisol + glucneogensis + low energy diet = muscle loss + fat gain

1820e2a8a435da2339593485379bb50d

(333)

on November 26, 2011
at 09:26 PM

Thanks - I do eat a lot of salt, and my diet is probably 50% fats from organic chicken skin, ghee and fish...Im starting to think I may be doing too much exercise.

0f32ad570e3bf419432429d3ac842405

(235)

on November 27, 2011
at 05:54 AM

certainly a possibility. 4-5x training a week is generally possible, if you are completely beating the crab out of you, you can however not "outeat" the overtraining... that being said,I stick to the "too little energy" (i.e. too few overal calories and especially too little carbs) for your training volume hypothesis

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on November 27, 2011
at 07:09 AM

@NicoleRM, too much exercise is a very real consideration given your schedule and intensity!

2
Eb5ad630bb366c5f7dcf656810aa3f95

(506)

on May 04, 2012
at 03:03 AM

Yeah, I would 3rd the call for more saturated fats. Personally Nicole I disagree with you when you suggest that your calories are "50% fats" at the moment, from a few bits of chicken skin and a teaspoon or two of ghee. You are eating large amounts of protein which is not an ideal long term fuel.

I think in order for you to feel healthier and less hungry, I would add in more butter, animal fat, coconut oil etc - saturated rather than polyunsaturated all the time from the chicken. But as others have mentioned, you are already lean, so no tweaks that remain within normal healthy limits are going to give you the arguably unhealthy results that it seems you may be after...

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on May 04, 2012
at 09:41 AM

Yup, butter/ghee/heavy cream, coconut oil, beef/bison/lamb fat is the way to go. Chicken skin should be avoided or at least limited - it's mostly n6-PUFAs.

2
95cfab9e014d3fa94b651b9142a35115

(20)

on May 03, 2012
at 10:54 PM

Women are NOT supposed to have 13% body fat -- you will become ill. Stop worrying about body fat percentage and just eat healthy. If you have body image disorder get help from a qualified professional.

1
Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

on December 24, 2011
at 09:11 PM

you do know that the blender that makes the protein shakes and chews the food for you adds additional caloric value to the food just as cooking your meats and vegetables does the same thing. i do the same thing and it probably doubles the caloric values and doubles the insulin response we get when we eat it. my blender broke yesterday so i will do a experiment. for one month no more paleo smoothies and puree squash soup i will just eat the food like a cave man and see if i start to loose weight again. i have been unable to crash through the 231 lbs barrier for a month now. everybody wish me luck. life is just one grand old experiment after another.

1
244e1f82efb3fd15d2da39397488fb24

(549)

on November 25, 2011
at 10:26 PM

I was always hungry when I got very serious about paleo (I didn't care what I ate as long as it was low-carb). At first I thought it was my blood sugar going out of control, but then I started getting bowel pain and my hunger was unreasonably unsatiable - I would snack on walnuts all day (I take really strong omega-3 pills) and still be hungry despite the fiber and fats. I read a pamphlet about parasites and realized I had all the symptoms, including the bowel pain that felt like an appendix bursting, but on both sides (one pain near each hip) and on either side of my navel. I'm doing a parasite cleanse now, and the hunger is gone.

Hunger can also be a sign of thirst (see The Body's Many Cries For Water), or some other health issue. Also, it's more paleo-style for us to eat after we've "earned our food" - that is to say, that before we were "civilized," we had to hunt and gather before we ate. So it's part of our history as humans to eat after exercise, not necessarily before it. We expend energy, our muscles break down for energy, and then we eat to replenish that energy, and to rebuild damaged tissues.

1820e2a8a435da2339593485379bb50d

(333)

on November 26, 2011
at 09:30 PM

Thanks Carina - I have actually had some pain in my abdomen, so will check this out!

1
559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

on November 25, 2011
at 06:09 PM

Could you be putting on muscle? Do you look and feel like you are getting thinner? Are you feeling healthier? If so, I would not worry too much about what the scales say.

Actually, 1lb/week sounds like a good rate of fat loss, if kept up steadily. You can lose a lot of water weight quickly in the first few days, but after that, fat has to be burned and this takes a little more time.

1820e2a8a435da2339593485379bb50d

(333)

on November 25, 2011
at 06:25 PM

Thanks - yes, Im definitely getting stronger and feel lighter, so perhaps my body is asking for more food to build muscle.

0
E12ead3bf63c94b5b619b03722ef554f

on May 04, 2012
at 09:34 AM

If you still have cravings/hunger after following all the very good recommendations outlined above (decreasing exercise, eating less chicken and more meat, eliminating protein powders, cutting out coconut flour, eating more fat, etc), you may want to look into experimenting with Jack Kruse's leptin reset protocol.

0
5662d1262516ccbd70249e7aeaf58901

(681)

on May 04, 2012
at 09:27 AM

Your three favorite vegetables (cabbage, brocolli, cauliflower) are goitrogenic. That is, they contain substances that suppress thyroid function. I don't believe these vegetables are bad in and of themselves, in fact they are good, but maybe eating large quantities of them every day could cause problems.

Also, you are very low carb. That can also cause thyroid problems. (Do a web search for "low carb" and "thyroid". You will find loads of stuff.)

Hypothyroidism can cause problems losing weight and it can cause hunger.

This is just an idea. You could investigate to see if you have any symptoms of low thyroid function.

0
71af3866ba45915e06061a627b40f31d

(235)

on May 04, 2012
at 02:40 AM

To add my $0.02 to already good answers...

I personally never feel satisfied after eating chicken, even a lot of it. I would eat more saturated fat as Huey said, especially beef.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!