New to Paleo--Afraid of losing weight

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 25, 2013 at 2:52 AM

I'm new to Paleo and I had a couple of general questions that I'm confused about because of all the different information out there. I am a 21 year old college student, 6'2 and I weigh about 148. When I wasn't paleo I would eat as much as I wanted of the worst foods and never gain weight. So I am very nervous with my dive into paleo as I do not need to lose anymore weight and I would ideally like to gain weight. I workout 3 times a week which includes 10 minutes of cardio and the rest is strength training.

So my first question is: what are the best food combinations to gain weight? And how will this tie into "carb flu"? I already feel like I've been getting symptoms of carb flu as this is my 5th day on the diet. Some would say increase starchy carbs from sweet potatoes, bananas, fruit, and maybe even regular potatoes. But will this influence getting over the carb flu?

And my second question is about dairy: I continue to consume grass fed milk, cheese, and greek yogurt to aid in my fight against losing weight. Will this be an issue in the long run?

Thanks so much!

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2 Answers



on March 25, 2013
at 09:13 AM


I think what would be helpful is looking at how much you are eating on average every day. I know when I first started I totally undershot my energy requirements, which was great to lose weight but not helpful if you were already fairly lean in the first place. It always surprised me how much more I was eating a day with the odd chocolate bar etc.

So in estimation of your maintenance calorie goal:

148 lbs x 16 kcal (female: 12 kcal or 14 kcal) = 2368 kcal

I would then use a tool such as http://www.cronometer.com to track you normal eating over a few days and have a look at where you are.

In terms of going lower carbohydrate. If for you this mean less than 100g of carbohydrate a day, you need to ask why you are wanting to do this specifically? VLC seems in the most part a great temporary way to cut fat-mass, begin to become dietary fat-adapted, and possibly become more insulin sensitive. I don't really see much point in continuing at levels under 100g unless you really feel the benefits (i.e. less depression).

For an active individual who want's to hold onto their weight, and fuel for burst performance I would either get in 100g to 200g of carbohydrate a day, or simply cycle your carbohydrate over the week which is what I generally do. That being I eat around 50g - 100g on days when I am not working out (basically I just don't think about eating starches or suger) and on my workout days (Mon,Tues,Fri) I aim to eat carbohydrate post-workout of around 2 - 3 cups of cooked starchy carbohydrate (150g - 200g). On weekends I just eat without thinking to much about it.

Anyway I think what's most important if you are already lean, is getting enough food in be that either balancing out with carbohydrate or fat. If you are wanting to put on some muscle, honestly you are going to have to get in more food and the general rule being +20% over your maintenance calories which for you is 474 kcals.

Hope that helps.


on March 25, 2013
at 09:54 AM

I seem to put on weight whatever I eat so follow my examples. I know exactly what puts weight on me - nuts and raisins, 1200 calories a time - eat a couple of 600 calorie bags a day and you';ll soon pile on the weight. If you find out how not to over eat on paleo let me know.

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