Why can't I lose weight loss paleo primal diet-min

Getting answers – why can’t I lose weight?

Last week I wrote about my weight loss struggles, and how I finally realised there might be more than “eat right, eat less and move more” to the weight loss equation…

Why can't I lose weight loss paleo primal diet-min


The Naturopath

After speaking to my naturopath-trainee friend Jodie, I got an appointment with one of Sydney’s top naturopaths. I've always been a little wary of seeing an expert, for fear of being told to make sure I eat my whole grains and switch to soy milk. Luckily my naturopath happens to completely support & endorse the grain-free, organic, natural food diet that I eat.

I completed a detailed questionnaire before my appointment, and during my appointment we went through a lot of detail about my medical history, things that may have affected my past and how I feel. Reflecting on it now, it’s quite amazing to think no doctor had ever asked me for such a complete picture before. Questions like: Have I ever had food poisoning? What illnesses have I had? Do I get pins and needles? Do I retain water? What do I eat in a typical day? How do I sleep?

We spoke for almost an hour and it made me think about things I've never thought about before. Now I come to think of it, I do quite often wake up with pins and needles in the middle of the night. I quite often feel exhausted. I've been seriously ill with two unexplained pulmonary embolisms. There was that time I capsized in the river three times during my first (and last) time canoeing, shortly after heavy rainfall – and got suspected Weil’s disease. I got food poisoning when I backpacked in India. All of these things, perhaps completely irrelevant, have never been considered together.

Next Steps

What I love (and hadn't realised) about naturopathy, is that it’s a fusion between age-old herbs, and cutting edge science. I’d naively dismissed naturopathy, as I imagined I’d be given a mysterious overpriced mixture of herbs and sent on my way. I couldn't have got it any more wrong.

The naturopath took notes as we spoke, of things she wanted me to be tested for – and at the end gave me a referral letter to take along to a doctor. An actual medical doctor, who specialises in functional medicine and works closely with the naturopath.

A few weeks later I managed to get an appointment and went along to this doctor, expecting her to charge me a lot of money in exchange for a 2 minute appointment and a form for the blood tests I needed. Wrong again.

I was with the doctor for almost an hour, during which time she asked me a barrage of questions again, homing in on particular areas as my answers lead her. Was I breast-fed as baby? Was I premature? Did I take lots of antibiotics as a child? Did they find out why you’d had the Pulmonary Embolisms? Have you had genetic tests? And on, and on.

She not only knew what paleo was, but spoke to me about Chris Kresser’s latest book. She completely gets it and believes in going grain and sugar free.

As with the naturopath, the doctor was not surprised I have struggled to lose weight with diet and exercise alone and explained how so many different biochemical reasons can prevent fat loss. What a relief to hear there may be an answer out there.

I was surprised at her interest in my Pulmonary Embolism episode. Yes, I had had genetic tests, but come to think of it, I had never seen the results myself and just took the assurances that everything was fine. She compiled a fairly sizeable list of blood tests she wanted me to have, then asked if I have ever had food poisoning, before giving me a kit for stool samples. I knew that was completely unnecessary, but took the kit to humour her.


A few mornings later I went to the clinic for the blood tests, which other than being quite lengthy due to the huge number of vials they needed – was quite uneventful. I also provided the urine and stool samples, and waited for the results, fairly convinced we were going to find some sort of thyroid related issue.

I've been on a big journey of discovery over the last few months, and will be sharing with you what I've learnt about my own weight loss struggle over the coming weeks and months.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your journey in the comments, below. Do/ did you struggle to lose weight? Have you seen a naturopath or functional doctor?

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6 replies
  1. Denise
    Denise says:

    I too have been struggling to lose weight. I crossfit, live a paleo lifestyle, and after having tried everything I’ve ever been told to do, still cannot lose weight. I do have PCOS, so that complicates things a bit. I feel I might have a break down if someone tells me one more time that it takes time, diet, and exercise!
    Physicians, many times just do not listen, or get the whole picture. Just the other day, I talked to my physician about my situation, (we are new to one another since I have only lived here for a few months), but she actually said to me, “Imagine how much heavier you’d be if you weren’t paleo/crossfitting.” On some level, she is right, but as someone who went from no exercise and eating a horrible diet high in carbs, fried foods, and highly processed foods to someone who exercises 5-6 days a week, and eats clean, whole foods, I should be making some progress.
    When I brought these things up to her, I wasn’t looking for some magic pill, I was looking for advice, a little direction. The only advice that I really got, was that my BMI wasn’t quite high enough for weight loss meds, (not what I was looking for)!
    So after reading your blog, the search is on for a naturopath in my area.

    • Samantha
      Samantha says:

      As much as I hate hearing people getting this terrible advice, I hate to say it, it is oddly refreshing to read as I have been going through the EXACT same thing Denise and it has been driving me up the wall.

      I too have PCOS, train 6 days a week (interval cardio, netball and 3 sessions of weights) and put ON weight. My doctor said nearly verbatim what yours did.

      I started seeing a naturopath about 2 months ago and FINALLY feel like someone understands me…and someone who legitimately wants to help me understand my body and try and get it back on track naturally…not just pop some more chemicals and pills to mask the problem.

      Imagine me telling my doctor I wanted to come off the pill and really see what my hormones and body is doing after being on that for 12 years, and telling her I would like her to authorise these blood tests the naturopath would like me to have taken to check my vitamin levels etc…..I explained that I am sick of feeling this way, working so hard and having no results and do not want to just medicate the problem away, I want to understand it and naturally supplement what my body is needing. Her suggestion? “We could put you on metformin….”. I nearly wanted to punch her. She hadn’t heard a word I said and instead suggested another DRUG to replace the current DRUG I am on, with no understanding as to why my body is reacting the way it is nor wanting to investigate it further. Plus I had already taken metformin once and it made me violently ill (another great reason not to take these drugs because something with that strong a side effect can’t be healthy for your system).

      These doctors are ignoring the health of their patients by prescribing band aids – and aren’t willing to do some actual testing and research into WHY something might be, instead accepting it is and let’s just numb it with this drug.

      My naturopath is a godsend and is working with me to get to the bottom of all this for a healthy and happy future….can’t say my doctor seems interested in doing the same. Crazy!

  2. Kara-Leigh Parritt
    Kara-Leigh Parritt says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your post. I have been struggling to lose weight since I had my second child, 5 years ago. At the moment I am doing clean eating, Les Mills Combat, Insanity, kickboxing classes and running, and have yet to see the scale budge. Although I see the muscle definition, the fat remains. And doctors just do not understand…. I will be seeking out a naturopath for any new answers. Again, thank you for sharing!!!

  3. Hugo
    Hugo says:

    Hi Suz!
    Thank you for the very useful info you’re sharing and your personal stories.
    I would like to find a paleo friendly doctor and it seems like you found one. Could you share the contacts of both the naturopath and the medical doctor you saw?

  4. BJ
    BJ says:

    Hi Suz,
    I am so glad to read about your struggles. I too have had issues losing weigh whilst eating organic, clean paleo for years. I have been looking for a naturopath and Functional Dr to help me. Are you able to give us the names of your Drs ?

  5. Courtney
    Courtney says:

    Are you all eating fruit? because as healthy as fruit is aka the vitamins inside.. it spikes your insulin levels which makes you gain weight.. its very important to look at this, replace your fruit with vegetables as they don’t have sugar, fruit is sweet because it has sugar, yes it’s natural, but sugar is still sugar to an extent, paleo and primal are so good because they recognise wheat isn’t good for you, but fat is good for you as long as it’s not proccessed so try eating more vegetables less fruit.., personally if you eat meat, eggs, vegetables, coconut oil. butter if you want to, you’d lose all your weight while being as fit as a fox, without looking unhealthy or feeling fatigue or weak, fruit gives you a high then makes you crash, it doesn’t sustain feeling energetic, so instead have meat eggs vegs coconut oil and butter if you want.. optional see how you go, has much meat and vegs and eggs as you please, and dont eat substitute flours or fruit for 6 days a week, then what you do is once a week can have a cheat day which means if your full paleo, eat as much fruit as you please on that day, if your someone that isn’t only going paleo to lose weight, you could technically eat WHATEVER you want and as MUCH AS YOU WANT and you’ll spike your insulin level just that once which tricks your body into working overdrive because it thinks your feeding it more calories everyday so it tries to burn alot more and alot faster but you go back to eating healthy the next day and so your body trys burning more when really your not eating more only on that onee day, it does work its not a bluff, look up slow carb diet etc, theres alot of research on it, and ive went from 85 kilos to 60 kilos already, onto my last 5 kilos from this, and im a mum of two and busy at that and do exercise but thats just a bonus, i can easily run, and do squats, pushups and pullups because it has made me feel so energetic alot of people do it, Mark Sisson on Primal blueprint mentions this fruit insulin spike and slow carb diet mentions this cheat day, they work so give it a try, see how you feel, wish you all best of luck 🙂


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