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What was your experience as an obese person with the Paleo diet?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 24, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Hi all,

So I'm a 25 year old obese female who just started the Paleo diet two days ago. I started to drastically cut down my intake of grains about four or five months ago, but I would eat bread or other baked goods several times a week. I was also eating plenty of nutrient-dense foods, organic free-range chicken and eggs, beef, turkey, veggies, berries and other fruits. I was a vegetarian for several years before I started eating meat again about 6 months ago, but I never felt satisfied on a vegetarian diet that was so centered on grains. I did spend all of those years more or less avoiding processed foods, however, and eating my veggies too. I also ate sweets, like cookies and brownies on a regular basis. Sometimes I'd even break down to buy peanut M&Ms or pizza. I always felt terrible, guilty and sick after indulging in these though.

For the last few days, I've eaten meat, veggies, nuts and seeds, coconut milk, chicken eggs, and berries,(I love berries!), and unsweetened home-brewed iced black tea. I feel pretty darn good right now, but I've heard rumors about the Paleo flu.

Before I started this diet, I weighed 270 pounds, but I haven't weighed myself again since starting. My heaviest weight ever was about a year ago at 285. I lost 30 pounds, but then gained 15 back. I'm 5' 7".

I've been extremely lucky so far, because I don't have any of the diseases or health problems that people at my weight usually have. No skin difficulties, no joint problems, no diabetes, nothing like that. I'm a student, and while I rarely get over to the gym, I live a ten minute walk from campus, and I walk to and from class every day. I avoid elevators and take the stairs, even when I really don't want to.

I would really love to hear from other obese or formerly obese people in the Paleo lifestyle. What was your experience with Paleo? How quickly or slowly did you lose weight? What made Paleo successful for you? If you've reached your target weight, how did you change your lifestyle so that your diet maintained your weight? What did you do at the beginning of your lifestyle change that made your habits sustainable? Did you give up or restrict your intake of fruit at any point? I'm going to be honest, sometimes the thought of a big bowl of berries is the only thing that gets me through the day. Seriously, if strawberries were people, I would make sweet, sweet love to each and every one of them.

Thanks so much for any advice and/or encouragement you might have for me! xo

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 26, 2013
at 12:08 AM

Even just 2 or 3 HIIT sessions per week will do wonders. Good luck!

0f2b59c894995a85d0711a9383c044ce

(25)

on July 25, 2013
at 09:11 PM

Wow! Thanks! I do hope to cut back on berries gradually, especially as their growing season comes to an end. When I talk about a "big bowl" I really mean about a cup of blueberries and 5 or 6 nice juicy strawberries. When I lost 30 pounds last year (on a vegetarian diet) I was hitting the gym 4 or 5 times a week for a pretty intense hour-long work out. I would warm up on an elliptical and then alternate jogging a lap around the track (1/8 mile) with jump-roping, squats, and weights. I loved it, but fell out of that habit of going. I'll get back to it after a while. One thing at a time, lol.

0f2b59c894995a85d0711a9383c044ce

(25)

on July 25, 2013
at 09:04 PM

Whoops! I meant until dinner. Silly me.

0f2b59c894995a85d0711a9383c044ce

(25)

on July 25, 2013
at 09:03 PM

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing! You're really right about the fats- I had half of an avocado with breakfast this morning and worked right through lunch! I didn't feel any need to eat again until breakfast. Good luck with your thesis defense! (I've got exit exams looming- so scared.)

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 24, 2013
at 10:33 PM

Congrats on the lifestyle change, and good luck hitting your goals.

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2 Answers

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C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 24, 2013
at 10:35 PM

I have worked with several obese clients, and most averaged about 6-10 lbs lost per month or more. Also, most did well limiting berries to about a cup or less per day, but to each his/her own. Sounds like you are doing the right thing. You didn't mention much exercise except for the walking, and that is a good start, but as you begin to lose the weight, doing some high intense short bursts of training will do wonders for your weight loss and metabolism.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 26, 2013
at 12:08 AM

Even just 2 or 3 HIIT sessions per week will do wonders. Good luck!

0f2b59c894995a85d0711a9383c044ce

(25)

on July 25, 2013
at 09:11 PM

Wow! Thanks! I do hope to cut back on berries gradually, especially as their growing season comes to an end. When I talk about a "big bowl" I really mean about a cup of blueberries and 5 or 6 nice juicy strawberries. When I lost 30 pounds last year (on a vegetarian diet) I was hitting the gym 4 or 5 times a week for a pretty intense hour-long work out. I would warm up on an elliptical and then alternate jogging a lap around the track (1/8 mile) with jump-roping, squats, and weights. I loved it, but fell out of that habit of going. I'll get back to it after a while. One thing at a time, lol.

2
B5bcaa69f3848029d572fac619b8e143

on July 24, 2013
at 10:29 PM

Welcome to Paleo! I, too, am an obese female, though I'm 31. I started at 265 (I think; I was too scared to weigh myself) and in two months am down 20 pounds.

I've lost weight in "stits and farts," as it were. Sometimes nothing happens, then bam, eight pounds gone in one week. I recently had to eat a conventional fast food hamburger when traveling, and actually put on two pounds in bloating. Yuck.

Paleo flu for me was strictly brain fog: I would stare at my dissertation for hours and write maybe one sentence. It did pass, particularly when I began incorporating organ meats and broth. My brain does seem to run better when I have something starchy, but I have to be really careful about carbs in general. (As my defense is this November, I also need to prioritize...)

I was coming from a serious sugar addiction. At times it felt my life revolved around sugar???which it probably did! I can still eat a pint of ice cream in one sitting, and heaven forbid Milano cookies were on sale, because two packages could disappear in fifteen minutes. Although my numbers were fine on blood tests, I felt pre-diabetic, and couldn't get through a day without a massive sugary caffeine boost in the afternoon. I always avoided fake sugars, which makes me feel a little better about it, but my ankles were always swollen and my stomach always sour.

What's helped me stay on track is that every time I cheat (like the fast food burger) I wake up feeling awful, or have terrible diarrhea. For a few days after I started going really clean I had the best poops, and my hemorrhoids were completely gone. But at one point when I was traveling I couldn't avoid soybean oil, and everything came back: mood swings, five day heavy bleeding periods, toilet pain, all of it. Now I really weigh the balance of "will this cheat make me happier than what I know will come of it?" And most of the time, no, it won't.

Make sure you incorporate TONS of fats that you like. It really helps with the sugar. Bacon has been a staple of my life, and I go through several sticks of Kerrygold butter a week. I make chicken liver pate and scoop it up with carrots, or sometimes just as-is, with tons of butter, liver, mushrooms, green onions, and bacon. And I finally found pastured pork lard, which tastes amazing.

Right now, I avoid fruit except bananas, which don't seem to trigger my sugar obsession. I made a fruit smoothie one morning and wound up nearly passing out back in bed an hour later, the blood sugar drop was so strong. I find it helpful to remember that sweet fruit is Not Nutritious. The sweet flavor is just sugar. If you want a particular nutrient, there's probably a vegetable that has it.

Keep going, girl! You can do this, and you'll feel so much better when you've got through the first few weeks. It's good that you're doing this in the summer, because when the school year starts the brain fog should be over and you'll have so much more energy to get through your days. When everyone else is flagging and walking around with bags under their eyes, you'll be calm and collected and able to keep on going.

0f2b59c894995a85d0711a9383c044ce

(25)

on July 25, 2013
at 09:03 PM

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing! You're really right about the fats- I had half of an avocado with breakfast this morning and worked right through lunch! I didn't feel any need to eat again until breakfast. Good luck with your thesis defense! (I've got exit exams looming- so scared.)

0f2b59c894995a85d0711a9383c044ce

(25)

on July 25, 2013
at 09:04 PM

Whoops! I meant until dinner. Silly me.

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