So I go to college and live in dorms. I'm a resident assistant and I'm required to have the meal plan, so most of my meals are in the dining halls. I do have a kitchen and I'm actively looking for a way to get off of the meal plan. But, while I'm on it, I try my best in adhering to the Paleo diet.
I'm also trying to lose weight. I've been eating about 80% Paleo. I have not lost any weight since the start. So I'm wondering what foods I'm eating are keeping me from losing, so I wonder if it is the actual meat. Here is the link to the meal plan company if anyone is interested. Fun fact: Sodexo is the same company for dining used for the jail houses in Georgia. :) http://scaddining.com/dining/index.html
My meal options are usually the following
- Taking ground beef or turkey patty off of the buns and eating two of those
- A very fatty pork chop, only allowed one
- Grilled chicken, cooked in canola or vegetable oil
- Eggs, cooked in margarine, no more than two
- One hard boiled egg
- Turkey breast
- And as a Marylander, I just don't trust any seafood sources, because it looks disgusting and I don't even want to go there.
- Breakfast sausage link, 2 links
- Two bacon strips
Will these portions and types of meat in my diet stall my weight loss? They aren't very good quality, it's like McDonald protein. And in the book The Paleo Diet, lean protein in animal meat it seems is the only way to go, which is the opposite of what I'm eating. Or should I be focusing on just the carbohydrates and not worry about my animal sources. If it is the protein source that is the problem, what can I do?
asked byKelly_1 (487)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on October 11, 2011
at 03:43 PM
I feel your pain. I just graduated from college in May, and try as I might my senior year, I could not lose very much because I too was dependent on the meal plan (there was no opt-out at my school).
Honestly, I don't think FAT itself is really the issue here, rather the type of fat that your food is probably being cooked in. Most likely, all of the meat and vegetables are being cooked in gross industrial seed oils that are oxidizing under the extreme heat and causing massive amounts of inflammation in your body, not to mention the overload of omega-6 you are probably experiencing.
I remember when I found out that everything in my dining hall was cooked in corn oil. DISGUSTING.
If you can find any way to mitigate the level of these industrial fats in your diet, I would try. My dining hall had olive oil and butter (REAL BUTTER), so I would preferentially choose the steamed veggies and top them with these healthier fats. You'll be able to tell whether a veggie was cooked in oil by noticing whether it is shiny or not. If it is, you know it was probably cooked in something gross. The salad bar is always a good option too, as long as you stay away from processed salad dressings and use real olive oil and vinegar instead. Hard-boiled eggs on a salad could be a good option, since they are cooked without the use of oils.
Meat is a bit trickier. I was lucky that all of the beef at my dining hall was grass-fed (crazy, I know! I went to a hippy liberal-arts school). In your case, I would stick to leaner cuts of meat, just to keep you omega-6 levels in check, but again, feel free to dress them with healthier fats that are available. It's a tough situation when you have no control over how your meat is procured and cooked, but at least you know that college is a limited-time gig.
Finally, if you are ultimately looking to lose weight, I would cut out the following from your diet:
- all sugar and grains (obviously)
- all dairy except butter and cream (you'll need those healthy fats)
- starchy veggies (white potatoes, certain squashes, etc.) There is some debate on this, but I would give it a try and see how you do.
FINALLY, I think one of the main things holding me back from my weight goals in college was my alcohol consumption. I don't know if this is an issue for you, but it certainly is for many other students. If you can, try to stay away from sugary drinks and beer. I played many a game of wine pong, and it was fine. However, those nights that I did indulge in cocktails and beers, I felt distinctly bloated and gross (on top of severely hungover) the next day...which would often lead to eating way too much junk for breakfast. It can be a vicious cycle.
Oh, and SLEEP!!!!!!
on October 11, 2011
at 05:32 PM
The meat and/or fat really isn't the problem here, but I'd guess your carb intake. Granted there's a whole lot of talk about carb content of paleo diets, I still think, that for weightloss in a not-too-active person, a low carb diet wold work the best. Ideally you'd want to stay under 60g of carb a day.
Hitting up the salad bar, and then dousing everything heavily in olive oil would be a good bet. I'd also scope out the condiment area to see if there are any good fats there (Butter, natural peanut butter will work in a pinch. You'll probably look weird eating primarily fats, but who cares.
Also, the quality of the fats do matter, but it really won't be preventing you from losing fat. To lose fat you want to target your macronutrient ratios (how much fat, protein and carbs you eat).
Primal Blueprint Diagrams (primarily the Carb Curve is of interest here)
Primal Blueprint 101 (Mark does a good job outlining information for "living primally," which is pretty much a flavor of paleo)
on October 11, 2011
at 04:42 PM
I'd go heavy on the pork chops. The fat ratio won't be as ideal as properly raised pigs, but it is better than everything else on that list. Besides, although I'd like to go for the wild caught, grass fed, pastured raised stuff, I've mainly just done the no grains, legumes, or dairy thing and lost a ton of weight while eating cheap pork roasts and brisket. Most of your other alternatives likely have more stuff to worry about. In the ground meat and the sausage they can add all sorts of stuff- bad fats as well as everything else we try to avoid. I wouldn't put it past them to put soy protein in there. Folks like to do stuff like add bread crumbs to hamburger. These fillers ( I hear some are even using cellulose) are cheaper than meat, and I suspect there is a bonus in it for some corporate type if they can reduce their costs.
Of course, the boiled egg is hard to add things to, so I'd go with that too. The turkey and chicken breasts, well, wild turkey and chickens just don't have that much breast meat. They are doing something unnatural to grow all that extra breast, which is why it generally tastes like cardboard. I'd probably eat the bacon occasionally, but I'd like to be able to read the label first.
You should be able to lose weight while eating conventional meat.
on October 11, 2011
at 09:49 PM
You've seen Fat Head, right? There you go, the worst prepared proteins you can imagine (many of which you list) and he improved his metrics in many regards. Calorie restriction is key in weight loss.
on October 12, 2011
at 12:01 PM
Hey I'm from MD too! I definitely understand about the seafood. If your budget allows, I'd try to cook up some decent seafood in your kitchen a couple times a week (many grocery stores have really inexpensive single portions of frozen wild salmon), maybe get yourself some canned sardines & pink salmon to boost your omega-3. I'd also bring in my own salad dressings & good butter to the dining hall whenever possible. Maybe it would be good to try counting calories for a little while; a lot of paleo people don't need to do it, but it may be worth a shot.
I wouldn't think the conventional meats would keep you from losing; Atkins diet doesn't seem concerned with meat quality, but people still lose on it. Keep doing your best & be creative, good luck! :)
on October 12, 2011
at 09:48 AM
In my experience added salt/sodium can stall weight loss but unless you can prepare your own meat it's pretty much unavoidable; I don't understand why everything needs to be drown in salt. You'll also want to cut out any non-caloric sweeteners because these can stall weight loss as well. Coconut oil is a good buffer for the lean/pufa soaked meats if you can get it.