Paleo Diet for Exercise and Weight LossBlowme Roberts, · Categories: health · Tags: healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, healthy living, paleo, paleo diet
10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight on a Paleo Diet
I have invited our Butt Kicking Fitness coach Jenny Newman to break down her thoughts on the Paleo Diet and to go over the 10 most common things that keep us from losing weight, even when we’re “trying”. Jenny has coached hundreds of people from average Joe’s to professional fitness models and I’ve never met anyone who lives a more dedicated life. Working with private clients and our program participants, she troubleshoots these common weight loss issues on nearly every day, while teaching and helping people reach their goals along the way. I hope you guys will find this post valuable and encouraging.
The paleo diet is an incredible system to follow. We don’t realize just how much bad food we’ve accepted as okay but, in reality, breaks us down at every level. With a focus on real food, the Paleo diet has helped millions of people overhaul a lifetime of poor eating habits in order to truly feel their best again. With a diet that gives them more energy all day long, with a mind that’s sharp and alert, plus you just feel better about yourself. For some, it’s a great tool for fueling their bodies with the foods they need to power through their day and workout. For others, it’s a great way to remove the foods that are hurting them from their diet. For many, it’s the foundation upon which they use to lose that extra weight.
It’s weight loss that’s actually the most common reason why people start eating paleo. They cut out grains, dairy, sugar and beans from the meals they eat and in weeks start to see the extra pounds fall off. It seems so unlikely and untrue to be that easy, but our nutrition is one of the most abused social topics by major corporations as to what we should be eating, and when we focus on the foods that our body needs, while eliminating the ones it doesn’t – we see a drastic change in how our bodies react and function.
This works for many reasons. When we cut out sugar, grains, refined oils and other hyper-palatable foods – we don’t eat as much. It’s insanely easy to scarf down (and enjoy) two donuts or two pieces of pie, which wrecks our proportions and keeps our body high on blood sugar and low on proteins and good fats (brain food). But you’re not going to be nearly as tempted to go after a second helping of that delicious kale salad you just wolfed down. And you’ll be surprised at how good a kale salad can be when it’s cooked right, plus, even a really good salad won’t break the bank if you go back for seconds.
With a focus on protein and healthy fats at every meal, the paleo diet often helps us begin to hear and find our natural hunger cues and begin to eat on a more intuitive eating schedule based on need instead of want. Meaning we eat less and more often than not we only eat what our bodies need. Why? Because real food sustains the body for longer periods of time. Our bodies burn through carbs, sugars, and such at least twice as quickly, if not faster, than they do real foods. That provides long-lasting energy for our bodies throughout the day. For someone who is looking to lose weight, stop trying to count calories and make eating difficult, simply follow the paleo diet and eat as much as you want of the good stuff.
Like anything, there’s no ‘magic pill’ and the paleo diet isn’t either. But it is an excellent platform to develop a healthier lifestyle and give your body the fuel it needs for you to get more active, rid your body of the things that have given you those extra pounds, and keep your organs performing their best. However, it doesn’t work wonders for everyone right off the bat. So, if you’re not losing weight on paleo, what are you doing wrong? We’re going to discuss the ten common mistakes and how to address them.
Lastly, exercise is important and people looking for gym supplements should check out either this article for protein powders (Is Protein Powder Paleo), or this one for pre workout supplements (Paleo and Pre-Workout Supplements). Here we’re just focusing on the diet itself.
1. You’re still eating comfort foods
While Paleo is recognized for getting rid of the basic foods that we’ve come to know and love as comfort foods (i.e. cookies, cakes, and all things sweet), it’s still possible that you’re holding on a little too much to those sweets that give you a little “hug” when you taste them. It’s very easy to overindulge on certain foods like fruit, potatoes and sweet potatoes, nuts and seeds while staying within paleo guidelines.
Remember, natural sugars ARE sugar too, so limiting fruits to lower-sugar options like berries or 1 serving a day is ideal. Paleo helps you cut back on the sugars that are in your bloodstream, meaning you don’t have the bloodsugar spikes and fat build up that happens when you eat a slice of cake. So, try to limit these foods to meal-time. If you enjoy your daily serving of cashews but are eating more of them than you should, try saving them for your salad for a crunchy fix rather than eating them all day. You want to regulate your bloodsugar level by staying away from carbs and sugars.
2. You’re expecting overnight results
I hate to break it to you: This is going to take some time! Success takes time, and as long as you took you to gain those extra pounds over years or bad habits – your body’s going to need some time to rehabilitate itself and start to recover. You have to work for it, and you have to wait for it. So, be patient and continue doing the right things! Some people see instantaneous results within a week and then after that they plateau. This happens! The body loses a lot of water weight when you stop eating carbs and processed foods, then once the water is gone – it’s time to work on the build up of fat cells.
Don’t give up if things start to slow down. A healthy rate of weight loss ranges from 0.5 pounds to 2 lbs per week, so anywhere in this range is awesome. I mean think about it, your body is beginning to burn some serious weight at this point. It’s no tiny task to shed simply a little weight, and when you start to add that up over time … numbers add up and that’s anywhere from 25-100 pounds per year (depending on where your natural body weight is and how many extra fat cells you have to lose). And keep in mind, slow weight loss = more permanent weight loss.
3. You’re looking at the scale
I get it, if you’re losing weight you want to see the number go down on the scale, that number tells the little voice inside your head you can do this. The problem is, that’s wrong. Seriously. Don’t even look at a scale for at least a month, maybe never. You’re better off without it, knowing you’re doing the right things and that they’re working. And you’ll probably feel a whole lot better when your daily dose of confidence isn’t coming from a machine that self-claims to vary somewhere between 1-5 pounds at any given time.
Beyond being a little a mind game, the scale is very limited on what it’s actually telling you – how much your body weighs. It does not distinguish between the weight of food, water, muscle, and fat. It just adds everything up as if it’s all the same and wraps a pretty little bow on top like it did you a favor. Instead, take notice of how your clothes fit and you may even want to take photos and body measurements. Proteins and muscle weigh more than fat and if you look at fitness journey photos you’ll see that many people first shed pounds in fat to then gain weight back in muscle but with huge smiles on their faces about it. Some people will shed inches without shedding a pound. Just focus on doing the right things = cut out the carbs and sugars.
4. You’re snacking way too much.
ISnack time on the paleo diet looks a little different. While snack time isn’t you on the couch with a bag of cheetos, there are still a lot of healthy snacks that can easily be abused if you’re not careful.
It’s very easy to take a few extra handfuls of the dried fruits which cram in a lot of concentrated sugar or paleo bliss balls. While these things have their time and place, and believe me you should still enjoy yourself from time to time! But, if you’re overdoing it on the snacks then you’re not going lose the weight you want. Those snacks will keep your bloodsugar up and your body’s metabolism of healthy foods at a minimum. Save the treats for special occasions, even enjoy them once a week. But they can’t be every day habits.
5. The only thing you’re changing is your diet.
The paleo diet is an outstanding place to start on your journey to become the best version of yourself, but eating right is the foundation of a much bigger picture of living a healthy lifestyle. It’s not just about the food.
The biggest one is exercise. Nobody’s saying you have to run marathons or do Crossfit to lose weight or workout properly. There are quick and specially designed workouts both online and on dvd that give you a 20-30 minute exercise routine every day. You can easily boost weight loss with a daily, low-impact movement as simple as walking. But getting your heart rate up and your muscles activated means you’re pumping more blood through your system and that means your body is carrying more valuable nutrients to those muscles while removing the waste and fat you don’t want. Another big factor is sleep. If you’re not resting enough, your body is half-assing it, and it might need to work much harder to shed the weight.
6. Your eating too many carbs
Paleo is a low to zero carbohydrate diet. It removes grains and vegetables from your diet, both of which are mostly comprised of carbohydrates. This is NOT to say that carbohydrates are evil (they’re not), and they have their place, but it means that you’re going to have to experiement a little bit to figure out what works best for you.
If you’re active, carbs give you energy in the form of glucose (bloodsugar) for your body to quickly burn. If you eat carbs and then don’t exercise, your body stores much of that as fat. On a paleo diet, carbs can come from potatoes, sweet potatoes, starchy vegetables and fruit. You could even add a little white rice or quinoa.
What this means is that if you’re someone who, for any number of reasons, lives a more sedentary lifestyle, you might want to limit your carbs. If you’re putting your body through a lot of work, then don’t be afraid of carbs as much, if you’re not then they’ll a source of huge weight loss potential.
On another note, women seem to do better with a few more carbs. At first it’s still beneficial to kick out the carbs to kick start your fat burning process, but in the long-term our hormones perform better with a low amount of complex carbohydrates. Hormonal imbalance is commonly a reason why women have problems losing weight. Going too low on carbs, under-eating and also over-exercising (read more about that next) are often the leading factors to hormonal chaos.
7. Exercising, you’re doing it wrong.
If paleo is supposed to be all about approaching our health from a primitive standpoint, you can bet there wasn’t an elliptical anywhere to be found when the cavemen were roaming the Earth. So re-think your fancy gym membership and your workout routine if you’re looking to change your physique.
You don’t trim down by burning a ton of calories and doing more cardio. And it doesn’t take a lot of time to work out properly and effectively. Brief bursts of extreme workout (i.e. sprints) as well as weight-bearing exercise using dumbbells, barbells or kettlebells are two incredibly effective ways of getting you right into form and losing some fat. To lose fat you want your body to work, which means high intensity workouts – the longer you can sustain your high intensity workouts – the more work your body will endure. So if you can push through a hard workout for 20-30 minutes and then get out of there. You’re much better off than an easy comfortable stroll on the elliptical for an hour.
8. You’re over-exercising.
Alongside working out inefficiently comes the problem of overkill at the health club. Sometimes, this is accompanied by the notion that we have to exercise for hours to see results. So lets clear up that in terms of fat burning, those added hours are better invested getting your meal preparation done. The famous saying ‘Abs are made in the kitchen’ is absolutely true. And as much as a regular health and fitness workout will help with the weight-loss and keep your heart healthy and balanced, it’s a compliment to your healthy diet.
If you’re working out twice a day and going to crossfit 6 days a week, plus going for an hour run every morning – you’re going to burn yourself out, and beat yourself up. Over-exercising produces a great deal of physical stress. Your body has to have time to recover and stress to perform its best.
9. Your head isn’t in the game.
There’s a funny thing that happens when you’re trying to all of the sudden become healthy and fit. A person’s initial goal of losing a few pounds or getting back into that black dress they loved so much. But as they start to realize living a healthy life goes beyond the ‘diet attitude’… Their thinking shifts as eating better food becomes more enjoyable, less restrictive, and the only way they eat their weight loss becomes simply a nice bonus to their view of the world.
But for others, they get stuck because this paleo thing is just a quick fix and they must be doing it right so it just doesn’t work for them when they haven’t lost 10 pounds in their first month. People don’t always take the step back to see what’s really going on inside of themselves, the big picture, and how they’re changing their lives for the better even if they don’t see the change on the scale yet.
10. You’re not eating enough.
The paleo diet plan is a great way of eating because it lets you to eat a lot of food without calorie counting. While many people will happily load up their plate with all the veggies, protein, and healthy fats they can get; others don’t fully believe so they take small servings as if they’re only going to take a small slice of cake. They’re trained that ‘smaller sized portions = less calories = less fat’. But, they’re missing an important thing:
If you’re coming from a less-than-stellar diet into a clean eating one then you’re replacing all of your bagels, pasta and rice with new foods, you have to replace that energy with something else. That usually means bigger sections of the healthier foods such as veggies and also healthy protein.
We wouldn’t suggest you go for the all you can eat potatoes, nuts, and dried fruits three times a day, but it is important for you to get in a proper amount of fuel for your body to function properly. You need protein for your muscles, fat at every meal to fuel your brain and metabolism, and lots of vegetables with just a little fruit for adequate fiber intake and essential nutrients. If you’re slacking on any of these areas then your body isn’t getting everything that it needs, which can make it want to hold onto extra weight. And once again, for women it can negatively affect your hormone balance. But it’s okay to eat now that you’re eating good, healthy food – your body will naturally rid itself of the stored fat cells over time and as long as you keep your carbs and sugars down then your body isn’t going to store new fat. You’re on the right path, stick to it.