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5 paleo weight loss tweaks speed up lose weight plateau paleo diet primal

5 paleo tweaks to speed up weight loss

For the vast majority of people, transitioning to the Paleo diet will often see dramatic improvements in their personal battle with weight loss. However, on some occasions, you may hit a plateau with your weight loss and find yourself struggling to reach your desired weight.

Before I go any further, I must stress that it vitally important not to worry about that number on the scales. If you’re looking and feeling your best, then ignore what the scales are telling you. Chances are, if you’re eating right and training well, you may well have added a little weight in the form of muscle mass.

If, however, you still have that last bit of body fat that you want to lose in order to look, feel, and perform at your optimum level; then you may wish to consider the following ‘tweaks’:

Watch your carb intake

Whilst it is a lot harder to take in excess carbohydrate on the Paleo diet, (largely due to the removal of grains and processed foods) it is still possible – and especially so if you’re not active. You may want to look at bringing your carb intake down to see how this helps you with your weight loss goals. Try cutting back on starchy vegetables like yams, hard squash, parsnips and beets, and replacing them with dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and broccoli. It may be worthwhile limiting your fruit intake as well to one portion per day. If you do eat fruit, berries are a very good choice. Otherwise, snack on hardboiled eggs, jerky, nuts and coconut to see you through between meals.

It’s important to tailor your carbohydrate intake to your activity level. If you’re relatively sedentary, then roughly 50g of carbs per day from vegetables is more than adequate. If you’re training more (and especially if you partake in high intensity exercise like Crossfit), you’ll be looking at probably double that. Time your carb intake as well – straight after a heavy workout to replace glycogen stores, and in the evening to increase melatonin and ensure a healthy sleep.

5 paleo weight loss tweaks speed up lose weight plateau paleo diet primal

Try Intermittent Fasting

Proven to break through even the most stubborn weight loss plateau, I can’t recommend Intermittent Fasting enough for fat loss and general appetite control. Try exercising when fasted, so your body turns straight to the fat stores for energy.

Move more

Sometimes, conventional wisdom does get it right. If you’re not seeing the fat loss results you’re after, it could be a case of not exercising enough. Just make sure it’s the right kind of exercise and you’re not slipping into chronic cardio territory. HIIT Training, sprints and Crossfit are excellent fat busters.

Sleep more

When you’re deprived of sleep, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol, which has been proven to increase fat storage. And, in case you needed any more reason to get a solid 8 hours sleep every night, the biggest spike in growth hormone occurs during sleep – which in turn, burns fat. Try sleeping more, and sleeping better too.

Stress less

As with sleep, if you’re stressed, your body will be releasing cortisol. Try meditating, exercising more, or increasing your sunlight exposure to help you manage your stress levels.

These are just a few ideas to help you break through your fat loss plateau. Do you have any other tips for fellow readers?

Why can’t I lose weight My story weight loss slimming paleo diet-min

Why can’t I lose weight? My story…

Ask almost anyone how to lose weight and you’ll get the same answer. It’s easy. All you need to do is eat less and move more. In the Paleo world it’s almost as bad – eat Paleo and your weight will naturally regulate. For a lot of people, this seems to be the case – but unfortunately this simplistic view just does not work for everyone. I’m now almost certain that for myself, weight loss is a far more complicated equation than eat Paleo,eat less, move more.

I’ve made a lot of huge discoveries in the last few weeks, and am starting to understand why my body is fighting all efforts to burn fat. It’s time to share my weight loss struggles with you…

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As you may have read when I first found Paleo in 2010, I quickly and effortlessly lost 17 kilos. This was several dress sizes and changed me quite dramatically. I felt so much better, my asthma disappeared, my sleep improved – I felt like a brand new person. With another maybe 15 kilos to go, I assumed my weight loss would continue – perhaps not at the same speed – but I thought I would gradually get to the right size for me (that’s what the experts tell you, after all…)

But then nothing happened. Nothing. For the last four years I have stayed within a 3kg weight range. I have been completely unable to break through this barrier, no matter what I’ve tried. And believe me, I have tried almost every approach.

Excuses

With the distractions of day to day life – a busy corporate job with weekly inter-state travelling, running a business, blogging, multiple house moves etc etc– I’ve always been able to blame my inability to lose weight on a variety of things I’ve “been getting wrong”. My favourite thing to blame has always been sleep. When I’m stressed, I don’t sleep well. Poor sleep increases cortisol causing the body to hold onto its fat stores. Therefore even though I’m eating well and lifting weights, it must be the poor sleep preventing weight loss, right? Or perhaps the problem lies with one of these problems:

  • Living alone and cooking for myself, perhaps I had been eating huge football team size portions, without realising?
  • Perhaps I’ve been lying to myself all along and punctuating my amazing Paleo meals with McDonalds every few hours?
  • Perhaps I’ve been sleepwalking to the fridge with no knowledge or recollection?
  • Perhaps it’s my adrenals?
  • Perhaps I’m just big boned?
  • Perhaps I’m just meant to be this weight?

Enough

Last year I went to PrimalCon for the third consecutive year and felt really embarrassed to have made no progress over the course of another year. I spoke at length to Sarah Fragoso (of Everyday Paleo – one of the sweetest most genuine people you could ever hope to meet) about my weight loss plateau. Sarah didn’t take the “eat better/ move more” approach, but really encouraged me to focus on stresses in my life and get my sleep in check. Coming back I had a renewed belief that I could change this – and a determination not to give up.

Experimenting

Last year, I was fortunate enough to have several months off the corporate conveyer belt, for the first time in years. Escaping the daily early mornings/ commute/ work/ meetings/ pressure/ deadlines/ late nights gave me a golden opportunity to experiment with everything. I could to finally start losing some weight.

What I did every single day

The first change I incorporated was sleep. Just how much was that really impacting things? In all the time I wasn’t working, I only set an alarm twice. I stuck thick cardboard* to my widows to make sure my room was darker than a remote cave in the middle of the night.

After sunset I turned off all main lights and used side lights with red bulbs. I forced myself to turn off all screens (tv, laptop, iPhone) at least two hours before bed.

I read. Real physical fiction books before bed.

I turned off the wifi in my house overnight and switched my iPhone/ iPad to flight mode (I still do this)

I did interval sprits to the local outdoor swimming pool most days. I swam. I lifted weights.

I got sunshine everyday.

On the nutrition side, I took the time to get excellent, quality food (pastured/ grassfed/ organic – you know the drill). As always, I cooked everything from scratch.

Why can’t I lose weight My story weight loss slimming paleo diet-min

Changing things up

Once I had my baseline established, with the new habits I mentioned above, I tried pretty much every piece of paleo weight loss advice. Whenever I tried something new, I stuck at it for a few weeks, without introducing any other changes. Here are some of the things I tried:

  • Intermittent fasting. Without the usual life stresses this was the perfect opportunity to give this a real go.
  • I tried very low carb (below 50g a day, then lower, about 20g a day)
  • I tried high (relatively speaking) carb, which meant eating a lot of things like pumpkin and sweet potato.
  • I tried counting calories strictly, sticking to a conventional wisdom approved daily limit (keeping it paleo, within that limit)
  • I tried eating more fat
  • I tracked my macros and micro nutrients and made sure I was hitting all of the recommended amounts of everything (except for calcium)

And guess what happened….

Nothing. That’s right. NOTHING. I could get to the bottom of my 3kg range, but I could not break through that barrier.

Perhaps I eat too much?

I was able to spend a couple of months in the UK with my family during my time out, which gave me some great insights into this weight loss puzzle.

Looking at me and hearing about my weight loss plateau, I’m frequently quizzed on my portion sizes. I know people think I must be eating an entire chicken, 2 packs of bacon, 6 eggs and a litre of coconut oil for a mid-afternoon snack. Well, actually no. And my time in the UK proved this to me.

My parents are both slim having lost a few pounds when they went Paleo three years ago. For the duration of my stay we ate exactly the same for all but two meals. Same food and similar portion sizes (my Dad having slightly larger portion sizes). They are at ideal body weights – and their weight remained constant. I didn’t lose any weight, despite having significantly more kilos to support than my parents do.

So what’s going on?

For the first time I felt I had conclusive proof that there was more going on in my body, than I could control with nutrition and movement…
I was explaining my puzzle to my friend Jodie – who happens to be a trainee naturopath (and eats a natural, real food diet too).  “There has to be more to it than eat less, move more?“. Her empathetic agreement encouraged me to delve a lot further into this and for the last few months I’ve been on a journey to find out everything I can….

Over the last few months I’ve been on an incredible personal journey into this puzzle. Over the coming weeks and months, I’m going to share with you who I’ve met, what’s really going on – and what I’m doing to fix things. From emails and comments I get from you, I know I’m not alone in this struggle. For all of those who are doing everything the “paleo experts” tell you – and are still struggling to lose weight, I think I have some answers that will help you, which I’ll be writing about in detail in the coming weeks and months.

You can read the next post on my weight loss journey here

In the meantime, if you’re struggling to lose weight (or you overcame a struggle), please please leave a comment or email me. I’d love to hear about your journey and what you think the problem is for you.

* If you’re renting, don’t do this. It took hours and hours to scrape the glue off the windows when I moved out
Paleo Weight Loss primal diet slimming lose weight-min

Paleo Weight Loss

Many people start the Paleo Diet with one aim. Weight loss. Programs like the Truth About Abs are gaining more and more popularity, demonstrating just how many people out there are desperate to lose weight.

The more popular the Paleo movement becomes, the more frequently I see questions on Paleo and Primal forums like:

“Why am I not losing weight on the Paleo Diet?”
“Why have I stopped losing weight on the Paleo Diet?”
“Why has my weight loss reached a plateau on the Primal Diet?” and even
“Why have I gained weight on the Paleo Diet?”!

Why is it Not Working?

Unfortunately many people get the impression that you can eat as much Paleo food as you like – and the weight will fall off. Sometimes people seem to hear the message that the more Paleo food you can eat – the better! Whilst Paleo food is nourishing, if you’re not hungry, you certainly shouldn’t force yourself to keep eating. And one of the benefits of Paleo is that you are likely to feel a lot less hungry.

I seems that initially, a lot of weight can be lost very quickly – in a matter of weeks. This seems to have a lot to do with just removing grains from the diet and eating nutritionally dense Paleo food instead.

After the initial weight loss, it seems that it’s necessary to constantly change things in order to keep the weight loss momentum. Methods like Intermittent Fasting (along with a Paleo feeding window) work really well for many people, as does restricting fruit and nuts. Some people also report a lot of success with a ketogentic low-carb Paleo diet. Ultimately, different methods work for different people – the key is experimenting to find out which method works best for you.

Decide on an approach, make the commitment to stick to it for a reasonable period – and don’t be discouraged if the weight loss falters.

Sean Croxton’s program the Dark Side of Fat Loss is a Paleo weight loss program (with free cookbook!) that gives underground, not conventional weight loss wisdom.

Have you lost weight on Paleo? What worked for you? I’d love to hear your Paleo weight loss tips.

Paleo Weight Loss primal diet slimming lose weight-min

The Unspoken Truth about the Paleo Diet & Weight Loss-min

The Unspoken Truth about the Paleo Diet & Weight Loss

The widely reported Paleo message is that if you follow a strict Paleo diet, you will effortlessly lose weight.  I’m reading more and more comments on Paleo forums from disappointed people, reporting that they have not lost weight – and in some cases have even put on weight.  This was my experience too, until I finally understood the missing piece to the Paleo weight loss puzzle.

When I initially changed my diet, at that time to more of a Primal diet, I very quickly lost a lot of weight and several dress sizes, effortlessly.  Looking back, I think a large part of this was due to replacing high calorie, refined foods, with more satiating whole (Paleo) foods.  However, without apparent reason the weight loss reached a plateau after a few months.  I remained strictly Paleo, I reduced my fruit intake and stopped eating nuts.  I continued to work-out.  Yet my weight would not budge; very frustrating.

Over Christmas I began to think more and more about portion sizes – the one variable I had overlooked before.  Most of the key Paleo bloggers and experts did not come to Paleo overweight.  They were often unhealthy and unwell, but rarely overweight.  Whilst not expressly stated, the “Paleo message” that could be construed is that provided you eat the right things (i.e. Paleo foods), you can eat as much as you like (perhaps even “the more you eat, the more beneficial the effects become”).  From what I’ve read, it appears that when you are overweight the hormones and signalling in your body become distorted – meaning that what works for someone of a “normal” weight, will not work in the same way for someone who is overweight.  At least, not until they restore the balance and signalling.  I’ve been particularly interested in reading Dr Jack Kruses Leptin Reset ideas in this regard.

The Unspoken Truth about the Paleo Diet & Weight Loss-min

For the last six weeks I’ve been challenging and significantly reducing my portions.  I’ve not been weighing and counting calories, nor have I changed what I eat.  I’ve simply been eating a lot less.  For example, where I’d have had three serving spoons of soup or bean’-less chilli, I now have two – and I don’t have seconds.  Where I’d have had three rashers of bacon and two eggs, I now have two rashers of bacon and one egg.  When I Intermittently Fast, I’m careful not to expand the size of my first post-fast meal to compensate.

I’ve lost 7kg in the last six weeks (15 pounds) and finally smashed through that plateau.  I think this is proof enough that a Paleo diet – with reduced portion sizes, is the essential combination for weight loss.

I don’t know what happens at the right body weight, but I am expecting to find (when I get there) that I will be able to eat as much Paleo food as I like, with no adverse effect on my weight or body composition.  In the meantime, it’s clear that reducing portion sizes is the right approach.

Essentially, I think the Paleo diet needs are very different for an athletic individual, compared to an overweight individual.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – have you had similar experiences?  Do you agree that portion control is essential for weight loss, on a Paleo diet?