Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ok, I'm Paleo, now how do I lose weight?

As of this posting, I've lose 11.5 pounds in 52 days.  Some people go Paleo to improve their health or for allergy reasons.  I started the Paleo Diet to lose the weight that I was holding me back from being the best runner I can be.  If you're interested in losing weight on the Paleo Diet, this posting is for you.


The Basic guidelines for Paleo are as follows:

  • No Processed grains (breads, pastas, cereals, etc)
  • No processed sugar, No starchy vegetables (corn or white potatoes)
  • No processed oils (no vegetable oil, corn oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, canola oil), 
  • No legumes (peanuts, beans, chickpeas, etc)
  • No Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter)
But you can say YES to:

  • meat (grass-fed and nitrate free if possible)
  • vegetables (with exception of corn and potatoes.  sweet potatoes and yams are ok!)
  • fruits
  • non-processed oils (olive oil, sesame oil, avocado oil)
  • fat (lard and renderings from meats)
  • Tree nuts (no peanuts)

For most people, the first 2 weeks of paleo are both exciting and terrifying.  You're fine the first 2 or three days, enjoying eating bacon and meat while watching your waist shrink.  Then the sugar cravings hit.


For a week, sometimes two, you will go through sugar and carb withdrawal.  I think its important to supplement with any high carb veggies (like sweet potatoes and carrots) and fruits.  It'll help stabilize your blood sugars and improve your moods.  There are lots of ways to ease into Paleo, but I think going cold turkey but not following any calorie or carb guidelines worked the best for me.

Once you notice that the midday headaches, sugar cravings and mood swings have slowed down, then its time to focus on your nutrition.  I aim for a balance of 50% calories from fat, 25% calories from protein, and 25% calories from natural carb sources.   This is based on 1600 calories allotted per day.  You can find YOUR allotted daily calories using this calculator.


I know, you're probably already sweating because of all the math involved.  A Paleo dieter's right-hand man will be their food diary.  You can do it the old fashioned way, with a calorie counter book and a notepad.  I prefer to utilize all the technological advancements of modern times and use the LoseIt! app on my iphone.  Loseit! is also available on the web, and the app and website can talk to each other and will back up your logs.  ANY food tracker/calorie counting app or website will be valuable.  Find one that fits your needs and preferences.  I will suggest that you use one that allows you to put in your calories burned from exercised.  Those negative calories count!!  You are burning calories when you exercise, which means you're allowed to put them back in, with food, like bacon.

An example of my Daily Food Journal
An Example of my balance of calories


It seems to be widely accepted that you shouldn't exercise during the first week, but as a runner I couldn't put my training on hold.  I say that as long as you feel you can handle the exercise and you are replenishing your calories that you burn, feel free to do your favorite workouts.  I don't suggest starting any new regimen while you're going through sugar withdrawal.  You're already going to feel awful, why make it worse with sore muscles?


Another guideline I try to follow is limiting myself to 100 g of carbs a day.  That's it.  On a good day, I'll hit it after dinner.  On a bad day, I'll hit it at lunch and then it's only meats, nuts, nonstarchy veggies and fats for the rest of the day.

Low carb doesn't mean low taste
I tackled the Paleo Numbers game aggressively once my Sugar withdrawal was over.  I also started Paleo to lose weight.  If you are eating Paleo to be healthier, to eat the way your body is designed to eat, then don't worry about the numbers.  If you are happy with the weight loss your seeing WITHOUT working the numbers, then by all means, don't worry about them.  But if you ever hit a plateau, or aren't seeing the loss that you think you SHOULD be seeing, I'd recommend trying the above techniques.

I welcome any questions about losing weight on the Paleo Diet!  You can also feel free to share YOUR techniques about weight loss during Paleo.

1 comment:

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