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Weight loss plateau

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 07, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Hello all,

I've been a fan of Paleohacks for a long time, but have yet to make any posts. So, here it goes:

My girlfriend and I have been Paleo for just under a year now. It's absolutely amazing for both of us, but she is having some issues and I would love to hear your thoughts on possible solutions.

Part of the reason she went Paleo was not only to feel better, but to improve her body composition - in a word, lose weight. To be clear, she's not planning on 'abandoning' Paleo when she reaches her goal. However, while she has lost some weight, she is (in her own words) far from reaching her goal weight, about 15lbs lighter (my approximation - I have no idea as to her weight).

We're both eating really well (see sample diet of hers below) and I'm really confused as to why this is happening/what to do next. I've been big into training for a long time, and she used to swim competitively before, but we're both studying at a very intense university and barely have time for daily training in addition to work. I wonder if this might be an issue?

Any ideas as to why she might not be losing weight? Just to clarify, this isn't any sort of relationship issue - frankly, as long as she's healthy, I'm fine. But this gets her down quite a bit, and I'm at a loss as to what to say/advise.

Here's a sample of what she eats daily - no tubers or grains, very rarely any nuts or fruit:

Breakfast: 3 egg omelet, with onion, tomato, mushrooms, and spinach sauteed in coconut oil or butter. Lately because of our schedules she's been having only coffee in the morning and IF'ing until lunch, about 1-ish.

Lunch: 4 egg frittata/omelet with peas, onions, spinach, tomato, lots of veggies, sauteed in coconut oil/butter etc.

Dinner: 4oz of salmon baked or sauteed in coconut oil with a 1-2 fried eggs, a bunch of steamed broccoli, bok choy, gai choy, or other random greens. Mostly with butter, coconut, or olive oil, and occasionally sesame oil.

518986dd6efbaedf24b0d1106b910c17

(60)

on February 08, 2013
at 06:34 PM

RK: +1 for your kind and well thought out answer. I think those sources provide an excellent starting point! In the meantime, I'll continue making Paleo food and telling her she's gorgeous :)

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32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on February 07, 2013
at 05:49 PM

CM, I wish I had an answer for you, but there seem to be a lot of us girls out there with this issue. We eat awesome, we may or may not train (and are strong and fast if we do), we feel amazing, have tons of energy ... but still feel we have an extra 15-20 lbs that could go. Here are my thoughts.

(1) Possible food allergies, or SIBO, or FODMAPS. I have been tracking this down for a while. There is one protocol that I always seem to lose weight following. However, it is very restrictive, and I can't do it for long: http://www.eat-real-food-paleodietitian.com/paleo-diet-and-SIBO.html

(2) Hormone issues. Even eating real food, grassfed, whatever, there is still an element of hormone disruption in our day and time that we have no control over. Maybe this is contributing to our body storing fat. One could spend a lot of time trying to minimize exposure; may or may not be worth it.

(3) Plentiful food supply. Compared to our paleolithic ancestors, I think that we have too much food available. I know there are people that disagree with this, but at the very least they were having to expend more energy to get the food they ate. Or just to walk to the creek for water. Maybe our bodies are doing what they naturally do, which is store up a little extra fat in preparation for the lean days. I don't think daily calorie counting works very well for all women .. it seems to make no difference for me, beyond a certain point. I ate no more than 1500 cal a day for years, and slowly gained weight. Prolonged fasting may be an interesting tangent, but I've always been wary of it for fear of disrupting hormones further.

(4) Cultural norms. Maybe this really is the healthiest weight for us. It's hard to get the "skinny" girl out of our heads. Even the "strong skinny" girl. Heck, I would settle even for "not so skinny but ripped like Beyonce" look.

Lately, I have decided to take the long term view. Put up the scale for a while, really focus on staying 100% paleo, enjoying what I eat, playing when I can, training when it works. And revisit in a year. I think her eating plan looks fine. It's hard when you are doing EVERYTHING RIGHT and still not getting the results you want.

One other thing you might want to look into is Paleo Zone: http://www.crossfitcharlotte.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/cfjissue21_May04.pdf

Basically, combining paleo with the ideas of The Zone. It's pretty high carb, mainly geared to those who are training heavy. A lot of people swear by it for leaning out. Hasn't really worked for me ... I actually gained a few lbs on it! But we were doing a lot of max lifts at the gym during that time. And I can pack on muscle like a man.

So there you go, some rabbit trails. :)

518986dd6efbaedf24b0d1106b910c17

(60)

on February 08, 2013
at 06:34 PM

RK: +1 for your kind and well thought out answer. I think those sources provide an excellent starting point! In the meantime, I'll continue making Paleo food and telling her she's gorgeous :)

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