So many questions from a 275lb newbie

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 03, 2013 at 2:59 AM

Hi All,

I'm a newbie to this forum and Paleo in general. Trying to make a strong go at this diet after reading Robb Wolfs Paleo Solution. Im 29 years old, 5'8, and 275lbs. Probably not a common occurencearound here. I try to eat lots of greens and lean, grass-fed meat. Eggs on weekends and the occasional sweet potato. The girlfriend and I are pretty social people, so scaling back on going out is/has/will be tough, but we both have a strong desire to lose weight and be healthy, so we are determined to stick with it. A few questions I have of you hardcore Paleo people:

  • what do you recommend cutting out / minimizing from the Paleo diet approved foods list if the goal is to see some significant weight loss for additional motivation? I assume minimizing carb intake is advisable (ie. those sweet potatoes, avocados, what else?)
  • I've started talking some high quality fish oil (Carlson) and am curious to know your thoughts on it. Seems Wolf suggested it in his book but has since sort of changed his mind of its importance/ benefit. I'd love to not take 10+ pills / day if there is no real benefit.
  • also been eating chia seeds with breakfast and lunch, as I've read it's healthy and curbs appetite some. Realize the omega in chia is ALA and not the better kind (hence the fish oil). What do you al, think about chia?

Anyone other questions you think I should be asking/ seeking answers to given my situation?

Greatly appreciate your help!

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5 Answers


on April 03, 2013
at 04:23 AM

I just finished week 7 as a paleo guy, and I'm physically in the same position as you. I'm 5'10 and when I started I was 282. I ate all day long and most nights too, and went from 0 to 60 on the paleo thing over night. Here is some advice from my experience making the transition:

  • The first month was hell due to the hunger pangs. This group was very helpful, and went into explaining the reasoning I was hungry all day long. (My hormones being all over the place due to the sudden change.) I didn't think it would get better, but it does. I eat 2 to 3 times a day, and if I'm hungry at all between that, I have some sauerkraut.

  • I am a very low carb guy, but that is because I figured as long as I am going through the whole misery of losing the crap, I may as well try to start completely clean. I try to have 1 to 2 servings of fruit a day, but the rest is meat or fish, green veggies, and cheese. (The one thing I won't give up.) It also helps with the weight loss.

  • My wife is in the female equivalent of our situation, needing to lose the same percentage of weight. She has chocolate, orange juice, etc... multiple times a week. She's losing weight though and very happy, so its a personal preference. I couldn't do what she does.

  • Eating out is hard at first, but we've kind of gotten the hang of it. Grilled things are your friends. I'm not crazy over the grass-fed stuff, only due to cost. But if we go to a lower end restaurant, we have salad. Grilled chicken (or not) over a house salad (pro paleo, no croutons, corn, etc...) Olive oil and lemon juice and you're in business! When we got to a nicer place, which isn't often, we get steak and steamed veggies. Hamburgers are great too. No bread (make sure no breading in the mixture either) and I get veggies or a salad. (Wife gets a baked sweet potato.) Again, this is if you're willing to not have 100% grass fed. 90% of the time we eat at home because its just healthier.

    • After seven weeks, I'm down 23 pounds, my stomach is literally no where near as puffed out as it was, i sleep better, I have no more heartburn and I don't get lethargic during the day.

    • I want a donut. (I won't eat it because I'm happier without it...but that doesn't mean I don't want one. A lot.)

Good luck!


on April 03, 2013
at 03:41 AM

I wouldn't say I'm a 'hardcore paleo' person (what is that?) but here a a few points I though of after reading your post.

Sticking with basic principles of eating nourishing food, wanting to learn will probably mean you can lose weight and be healthier. I would emphasise being patient also (you didn't get to 275lb in a day...) Things depend then of course on where you've come from in terms of. Definitely doable though, you seems to have a conducive attitude.

By the way I am not speaking from personal weight loss experience. I am speaking from position of reading and learning in myself and from others..I'm sure many will come here and provide great answers from such standpoints, as well as many more, as can be a great thing about this site... Lots of great looking answers here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/189040/what-did-you-do-to-lose-weight#axzz2PMtfe46T



on April 03, 2013
at 06:53 AM

Here's my advice:

  1. Don't buy anything that markets itself as "health food", chia included. It is just a profitable rebranding of birdseed for humans. Eat things that ate chia. My exception to this rule, is ground psyllium seed and a silly expensive supplement I got myself kinda hooked on called Vitamineral Earth. Not that I buy into the whole "detox" thing the way it is normally explained, but as far as I can tell a little supplemental soluble and insoluble fiber is not a bad idea when trying to lose weight, and get what makes it out of your system and into your colon to not get reabsorbed, as long as you drink extra water with it to keep the fiber from becoming binding.

  2. Fish oil. I could take it or leave it. Treat yourself to shellfish, sashimi, sardines and/or ocean fish a few times per week and you'll probably have your bases covered. If you don't like eating fish, fish oil isn't a terrible idea. I have tried it both ways, and personally feel better when I have some Carlson's Cod Liver Oil most days in addition to eating fish a few times per week. I tried the fermented Cod Liver Oil, and didn't care for it (I'm still not sure why it would be better for you after significant oxidization anyway, isn't that what we are trying to avoid).

  3. If you are trying to lose weight stay away from "paleo baked goods", and try not to go crazy on nuts, fruit, and cheese. Think of those last 3 in terms of a dessert plate, have them in small artfully arranged doses.

  4. Mind your minerals. It is easy to lose too many electrolytes if you go low carb paleo. Don't be stingy with the salt or magnesium. Get in the habit of drinking mineral water and/or broth. If you have a juicer, veggie juices are good for electrolytes too.

  5. Forget about the "lean meats" deal, I'll save you some time and a painful learning curve. That is often referred to as the "faileo" diet, because going high on protein and low on fat will likely make you feel like dookie after a while. Don't live on bacon, but fatty things like bone marrow, liver, fish eggs, lamb chops with the fat left on, and coconut oil are awesome for you, and will keep you full for much longer than lean meats. There are many different preferences for what feels good from a macro nutrient standpoint, but I feel best, and least hungry at 60-70% fat, 20-25% protein, and the remainder carbohydrate.

  6. Cravings and constant hunger are signs of malnutrition, and possibly fungal infections. If you have a little voice in your head that is constantly asking for baked goods or candy, you might have to do battle with candida to get them to shut up. If you are plagued by cravings during the day in spite of eating to satiety you are probably deficient in something. Eat nutrient dense foods like organ meats, shellfish, roots, mushrooms, sea weed, or fish eggs at least a few times per week to help the cravings calm down. If you have damage to your gut, it might take a while of abstaining from foods that caused you problems before start to really benefit from the good food.

  7. Meal spacing is key for getting a handle on insulin resistance. Try to stick to 2-3 square meals per day, no snacking. If you find yourself getting hungry at night, you need a bigger breakfast or lunch, or just need more sleep. Never underestimate the power of a good steak for breakfast.

  8. If you snore, get an in home sleep test done. Sleep apnea can have as much to do with an expanding waistline as Taco Bell. Make sure you sleep enough to keep your appetite under control.

  9. Do not let eating well destroy your social life. I know this sounds ridiculous, but until you get to the point where you can skip a meal easily, or sit down in a restaurant and not be tempted by food on the menu if you haven't eaten, eat right before you go out. You can still get a glass of wine, sashimi, salad with oil and vinegar, veggies cooked in butter, or something along those lines at the restaurant later to participate in the communal dining experience. Don't let this make you a shut in.

  10. Go outside, even just to sit in the sun, but walking before and after eating is even better. Sunlight exposure is often overlooked in terms of resetting the circadian clock and getting your hormones balanced so you are hungry or sleepy when you should be, and not when you shouldn't be.

  11. Don't forget there is no one size fits all diet, even for you, finding the right diet is a moving target, stay flexible. But don't sweat the small stuff or over-scrutinize either. Try to stay in touch with your intuition about what you should be eating, the lizard brain often does a better job than the higher brain when it comes to healthy eating. I try to shop like a grown up, but eat like a kid.

  12. Veggies, eat some. But don't feel like you have to stuff yourself silly with them. I've found that overfilling myself with vegetables just stretches out my stomach, making me hungrier later. Not to mention the digestive distress of trying to break down all that green stuff.

Good luck, and happy trails.


on April 03, 2013
at 09:41 AM

I'd lean towards the low-carb side to begin with which might "reset" your metabolism and help the weight loss. This doesn't mean to cut carbs out completely but make at least one meal a day low- or no-carb.

Buying and preparing your own foods is really the best way to do the diet (any diet) successfully because you can know what goes into what you eat and don't have the hassle of having to special order in a restaurant.

I would avoid Paleo-friendly substitutes for non-Paleo foods (i.e. gluten free pasta, gluten free muffins, etc) because they aren't any better for you. Replace those foods with fruits, nuts, vegetables, etc. You'll probably need some kind of "crutch" food initially to get you over the hump. For me it was roasted, salted nuts. I ate maybe a little bit too much of them initially but eventually gave those up. You will probably have the munchies initially as you change diets and having some kind of snack helps to avoid worse cheats.

What are you doing for exercise? This is at least as important as the diet (for me exercise is much more important than diet). You should be doing lots of walking, and some kind of brief, intense exercise 2 or 3 times per week. Each exercise session can be as short as 15 minutes but you need to do something. There are lots of exercises you can do at home alone, with or without equipment, or you can join a class. Classes are full of people of all levels and abilities so you should feel comfortable joining them.

Good luck!


on April 03, 2013
at 07:56 AM

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