6 Tips for Successful Weight Loss On a Paleo Diet

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In the last two articles, I explained how a Paleo diet can help you lose weight without trying, and why it’s a better choice than many of the diets most commonly used by those trying to lose weight.

In this article, I’d like to discuss some of the key strategies that can help make your weight loss journey successful. While a switch to Paleo is a great start, there are a few key lifestyle habits that will help you reach your weight loss goals.

Looking to lose weight on #Paleo? Here are some great tips from @ChrisKresser.

1. Keep your food simple. 

As I mentioned in the first article, one of the reasons why Paleo is so effective for weight loss is due to its ability to help you reduce calories without consciously restricting them. Studies have shown that eating simpler food leads to eating less, which in turn helps you shed pounds without effort.

So how do you keep a Paleo diet simple? Stick to the basics of a healthy meal: a protein like meat or fish, plenty of non-starchy vegetables, whole foods carbohydrates from root vegetables or fruit, and some healthy fat. Although I love a delicious gourmet meal as much as the next person, it’s easy to go overboard with delicious Paleo recipes. If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re better off cooking simple dishes that don’t have a bunch of extra ingredients and additional flavoring, and saving those recipes for special occasions or a nice weekend dinner.


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2. Be sure to eat enough.

Many Paleo newbies believe that less food is always better when it comes to losing weight. This belief causes you to deprive your body of the calories and nutrients it needs to function optimally and causes additional stress. Plus, decreasing your caloric intake too much lowers your resting metabolic rate (how many calories you burn just staying alive), which can cause weight loss to stall or even reverse. No matter what program you choose, dieting should never be about starving yourself. Calories do count, but when it comes to weight loss, undereating is just as problematic as overeating.

What makes a Paleo diet special is that it is more satiating per calorie than other diets, which helps you eat less without fighting hunger or counting calories. Voluntarily restricting calories isn’t an effective weight loss strategy, but naturally consuming less food without trying is truly the holy grail of weight loss. This means you can eat meals that are satisfying without counting calories, and naturally eat less than you would on a typical American diet. This is one of the key reasons why a Paleo diet is a better choice for a weight loss diet than any of the popular methods out there.

3. Eat enough carbs to support your activity level.

Carbohydrate tolerance is highly individual, and I’ve seen patients who do quite well on a very low carb diet, while others crash and burn. Usually, the biggest factor is the amount and intensity of exercise the person is doing, as many of my patients trying to lose weight are participating in high intensity training programs, such as Crossfit, or spending many hours at the local gym.

While I don’t think it’s necessary to restrict carbohydrates, I do think it’s important to match your carbohydrate intake to the amount of exercise you do. Not only can a mismatch stall your weight loss, but it can lead to instances of fatigue and muscle breakdown if you’re overexercising and not eating enough carbohydrate to match your activity level. I’ve had many patients who, in an effort to lose weight, ramp up their exercise and cut back on carbohydrate intake. Many even remove carbohydrates entirely, avoiding even small amounts of healthy choices like sweet potatoes and fruit. Unfortunately, this can often do more harm than good.

If you’re relatively sedentary, or are only able to do a small amount of exercise every day (due to pain, health conditions, immobility, etc.), you may find that eating a lower carbohydrate diet (7-15% of calories) may help you shed weight faster. If you’re highly active, have a physically demanding job, or have tried a low carb approach in the past without success, you might find a more moderate carbohydrate approach can be helpful (15-30% of calories) in stimulating fat loss.

4. Move throughout the day.

Sitting too much can reduce the benefits of an exercise program and stall weight loss. Unfortunately, if you work in an office, commute by car and watch a few hours of TV each night, it’s not hard to see how you could spend the vast majority of your waking life (up to 15 hours!) sitting on your butt. And unfortunately, exercise alone isn’t enough to reverse the harmful effects of too much sitting. When it comes to weight loss, getting active throughout the entire day, and not just the 60 minutes you spend at the gym, is a crucial component of a well-rounded regimen.

There are many different ways to increase your movement throughout the day, and I outline several of them in my article about the dangers of sitting excessively. Getting into the habit of moving throughout the day can not only benefit your weight and promote fat loss, but it can also improve your overall health and reduce your risk for chronic disease.

5. Don’t do it alone.

One of the hardest parts about losing weight is trying to do it all on your own. Making major lifestyle changes without any social support is not only difficult, but often unsustainable. Having friends or family around you to encourage you, or even make changes along with you, can greatly increase your success in any major lifestyle change, particularly the switch to a Paleo diet. You can share recipes, plan partner workouts, and encourage each other on your journey to better health.

Don’t know anyone locally who is able to support you? There is a large community of people following a Paleo diet and lifestyle on the ChrisKresser.com forum, and many of them are folks just like you getting started on a Paleo diet and looking for answers to their general nutrition questions. Perhaps you’ll find a buddy there who can support you throughout the change process and keep you motivated!

6. Address your whole life, not just diet and exercise.

Did you know that there’s a lot more to losing weight and keeping it off than just diet and exercise? For example, sleep deprivation makes us hungrier, and high levels of stress hormones cause us to eat more and store more fat, in turn reducing our ability to lose weight and keep it off. Studies also show that those with social support, a better ability to handle stress, self-efficacy, and those who assume responsibility in life are more likely to keep weight off once they lose it.

Focus on managing your daily stress using mind-body techniques like meditation or yoga. Plan ahead using shopping lists and meal plans to help you reduce the stress that comes along with starting a big lifestyle change. Connect with friends and family, and get support in your weight loss efforts. You’ll be more likely to lose weight and keep it off for the long haul. And you’ll actually be able to enjoy your life while doing it!

Those are my top tips for weight loss on a Paleo diet. Now, I’d love to hear from you – what have you found to make the biggest difference in your weight loss journey? Is there a strategy I didn’t mention? Share your experience in the comments below.

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Comments Join the Conversation

    • Catie says

      I’m with you 100% on the simple is best idea when it comes to recipes. It’s amazing how much flavor fresh herbs to a dish. And if you grow them yourself you have the added benefit of incidental activity when go outside to pick them.

      Catie

  1. Amanda says

    Hi I have only been on paleo for a week and it has been hell. I need to lose 30lb, when do you see the wight come off?
    Also thanks, I dont feel bad about having bead 1 or 2 times a week.

    • Cate says

      Hello Amanda,

      I started the Paleo diet about 6 weeks ago. In the first week I lost 2kg (I need to lose 45pounds) and really struggled with hunger pains during the night. Through my own lack of willpower and many party invites I fell off the Paleo Wagon and put it straight back on again.
      I have started again today and am determined to stick to it. To avoid the midnight cravings I will snack on veggies before bed.
      As far a bread is concerned, don’t beat yourself up about it. If you follow the 70/30 rule, it allows you to have 3 non-Paleo meals per week. Meaning you can have a few slices of bread per week as long as you don’t go overboard. I would suggest no more than 3 and stick to wholemeal.
      Hope this helps.
      Cate :)

      • Lisa says

        Ladies, I have been on it for a week and my partner has helped me find some fabulous recipes for Paleo breads etc. There is an app you can download called Paleo Australia recipes. You will find loads so you do t have to go without. Good luck

  2. says

    A great article with some handy tips, thanks for sharing. Interesting to hear about the effects of sleep deprivation and stress being catalysts for eating more.

  3. Potchi says

    I’m in dire need to lose weight. I am currently at my heaviest at 5’4″, 175 lbs. i just wish to look my old self at 130lbs again. :( i think my rapid weight gain is because of the preds im taking due to asthma i developed a couple of years ago.

  4. Victoria Murphy says

    I forgot to mention that I am 62 years old, 155cm tall and should weigh 55g at the most. Victoria

  5. Victoria Murphy says

    I am gaining weight even though I am trying very hard to adapt to paleo. What am I doing wrong? A typical daily menu is 1 tablespoon psyllium husks with 1 tbsp coconut oil, coffee with 2 tbsp cream, 1/2 cup coconut cream with 1 tbsp chia seeds, tea with 2 tbsp coconut cream, 8 almonds, 1 date, 110g ham, 1 piece fruit, 200g salmon, 1/2 cup beans, 1/2 cup cauliflower all with butter, 1/2 cup milk kefir with 1/2 tbsp flaxseed oil, 1/4 cup coconut milk with 1/4 cup milk with cinnamon and nutmeg, 4 glasses of water. Thanks for your help, Victoria.

    • says

      Don’t combine proteins would be my suggestion. Although this advice fits more into the raw diet rather than paleo. It is my belief that the raw diet eclipses and is the diet (it should really become your lifestyle) that most weight loss diets are aiming for, and are a shadow of.

  6. colleen says

    I personally love the Palio diet,I lost 20lbs in two months,the weight just started falling off within two weeks,I then went to a spin class at my local gym,after years of not really exercising……..it helped me get more motivated.
    It’s no longer a “diet”but a lifestyle,believe me,I love carbs,but,once I stopped eating them,I found I didn’t miss them anymore,it’s really not that hard once you put your mind to it.

  7. Lisa says

    I’m at my wits end! I need to lose about 80 lbs.

    About 3 years ago I went on Atkins. I did not cheat. I lost 4 pounds in a month. I gave up.

    I started paleo 3 weeks ago, high fat, low carb, moderate protein. In these 3 weeks I have lost and gained the same 5 lbs and today weigh what I weighed 3 weeks ago. I have had my thyroid checked as well as a basic blood panel and everything was normal. I suspect the high fat is the culprit. The reason Is because about 6 months ago I tried the Dukan diet which is basically low fat, all meat. I lost about 30lbs in 5 weeks. (Which I gained back after going back to junk food)

    I am not sure how to proceed. I have a lot of weight to lose and I need to get started asap! I want to make paleo work for me…..I don’t see any other way of eating that would be sustainable for life other than eating paleo. The only thing I can think of to try is to reduce my fat and up my protein. I don’t want to be hungry all the time and I don’t know what else to do. This is so frustrating. Mentally I feel great but I have GOT to lose this weight.

    • Mya says

      I am just one person but this is how I have been successful. My adrenal and thyroid issues were holding me up a bit but its more than that. Regardless of what people say for some of us (like me) its calorie counting. Eat lots of fresh veggies, then good quality lower fat protein and a little fruit. No diet foods. Stevia does not give me any problems. I struggled like you and that’s what I have had to do. Yes, what you eat is important but how much is just as important. All these great paleo deserts have more calories and fat that just a regular desert. Weigh and measure for the first few months. I also found weighing myself daily for about the first four months gave me a good idea of how my body works. Id loose a few pounds and then gain and then loose lower than I was before, etc. In six weeks I have lost 12 pounds. I can’t exercise right now but just focusing on making food NOT a focus. I accept sugar is not good for body and neither are grains or dairy. See a good therapist to help you figure out why you have good issues. Good luck.

    • Denise says

      So my daughter is helping me to change the way my husband and I eat. We each keep a journal of what we eat, but this is how we track it. 4-5 proteins, 1 fat, 2 carbs, 4 veggies, 2 fruits, 2 snacks, 1 condiment, 1 dairy, and 8 12oz glasses of water. You must follow portion amounts. We started 9/1/14 and I have lost 25 lbs in about 6 weeks. We plan our meals for the week and make our shopping list. Remember to shop on the outer parts of the store. We don’t buy processed foods. We prep our food on Sunday and get lunches made up for the week. Example: baked or grilled chicken w/veggie or grilled turkey burger w/veggie. We use the frozen veggies. We might do eggs w/turkey sausage for breakfast. You always want to get your protein, veggies, fruit and water in every day. You want be hungry. Remember your fruit is not a snack. We use the snack baggies and do grapes, carrots, veggie chips, or almonds. The more prep you do, the better.. You don’t have to think about what to have. Everything is ready to grad. Hope this helped.

  8. Victor says

    Guys have anyone tried SurelySlim (www.bio-paranta.com) It is made in Canada. They say it is cutting edge technology of three fat burners in one veg capsule?

  9. Sam90 says

    Hi, For those of you who are struggling to lose weight on Paleo, I just wanted to share my experience – I know everyone is different but I have had a lot of success with my plan and hopefully it can help you.

    So first off – a bit about me, I am a 24 year old male, I have an office job where I sit down all day, I smoke (Don’t know if that makes any difference) and up until I started Paleo, I had a real bad diet, lots of greasy fast food, pasta, bread, alcohol, coke etc…

    On the first day I started Paleo I weighed 254 lbs. Today I have weighed myself again which is exactly 1 month later, and I now weigh 232 lbs. I have been pleasantly surprised by this loss as the month has not been that hard at all. Sure there have been times where I really craved something bad, but nothing major.

    So my diet has been pretty consistent over the last month, a standard day for me would be the following,

    Breakfast – 2 egg Omelette (Nothing but egg and a drop of olive oil)
    Lunch – Home made carrot soup (with homemade veg stock)
    Afternoon Snack – 1 piece of fruit
    Dinner – Chicken breast with spices, brocolli and corn on the cob.
    Evening snack – Banana Ice cream (Literally just frozen banana in the food blender)

    So as you can see – strictly no dairy – I don’t know if this has any effect on weight loss, but if hunters and gatherers can survive without it, then so can I!

    In terms of exercise, my plan is fairly consistent again,
    Monday – 5 a side football/soccer – 30 mins
    Tuesday – 5 a side football/soccer – 60 mins
    Wednesday – Gym – 30 mins bike and 20 mins treadmill
    Thursday – Exact same as Wednesday
    Friday – Overall weights session and core exercises
    Weekend – Nothing – maybe a short walk at the most!

    It’s probably worth noting that when I’m at the gym, I have the bike at a such a high level I struggle to finish – usually heart rate is about 180 – 185 per minute towards the end. I’m not very good at running, so on the treadmill I tend to do 5 mins on a fast run (14km/ph for me) and then for the remaining 15 mins, I will put it on a high incline and run for 2 mins (10km/ph) and then walk for 1 min or vice versa depending on how I feel.

    I do have treat meals, I find with socialising usually comes food and drink, so it’s almost impossible to avoid 100% of the time, and it’s also a good excuse for me to satisfy those cravings! So I usually have one treat meal every OTHER weekend, and when I say treat meal, I go all out – pizza or burgers followed by chocolate and a can of coke. The great thing about this, is that I feel uncomfortable for the rest of the night and the day after(and possibly the day after that) so it makes it very easy not to give in for another 2 weeks! However, when I do have a treat meal I will make sure I have a big work out in the gym the next day and sweat out all the crap! I will also mention that I don’t have ANY other treats, not a tiny piece of chocolate, or even a pasta shell because those little treats may have a big impact and really it isn’t worth the risk!

    So it’s probably quite clear now, that I have very little knowledge of the science behind my diet and exercise plan, but I do know that it works for me, and I hope it helps some of you to achieve some good results!

    • C.Shephard says

      That’s awesome! I have been incorporating paleo a little at a time while exercising. Focusing more on kicking the sugar addiction than going all out paleo, Good luck on your continuing success!

  10. Sarah says

    Hi there. I just so happened to stumble across this article. I have always been very active, and train most days at varying intensities. Yet, I still struggled with fatigue and often got headaches. I study sport science and came across the paleo way of eating. I tried it for a few weeks and I shed around 7% body fat which really leaned me out. My headaches went, I know longer had digestive issues and I actually have more energy. This is truly an amazing lifestyle, and you can still allow yourself a treat every week. Considering I have always been athletic it just goes to show that what you put in your mouth ultimately dictates your performance. Great article!

  11. says

    I have been strict Paleo for 9days. Completely illuminated dt. Coke, which has been my rocket fuel for 20 years. I am a type 1 diabetic. I am very active, runner, Zumba and I move all day at my job. These past 5 days my muscles are fatigued. 15 min.into an hour workout and my thighs are screaming. What is going on? Help!

  12. janet clarke-nee lynch says

    Hi…I am from the uk. Have been on ketosis diet for 7 months now and put on 5lb! I feel good but get muscle pain a bit when exercising . I am now 70 .endomorph type. Got very depressed last year because of no loss . natural ketosis kept tweeking my diet but nothing worked.They said all their customers lost weight on it !?? I do curves gym twice a week…line dancing a few times a week and one yoga lesson a week. I think I may change to the Paleo diet ….it is not well known here.It has helped me knowing I am not the only one who finds weight loss very difficult. I am however worried i may gain as there will be more carbs[ veggies and fruit] Any advice when changing over ?

  13. says

    The Paleo Diet motivates people to replace grain and dairy foods with fruits, fresh vegetables and also nuts/seeds — certain foods which are a lot more nutritious than grains and dairy food.

  14. Peter says

    Weight loss is incredibly simple (though not necessarily easy). Its all about calories. Sorry everyone. Low body fat/ideal body composition isn’t the same thing as having optimal health. One of my chief complaints I have of Paleo community is the sheer dismissal of the importance of calories. It baffles me how meticulous this community is in regards to their diet yet 5-10 minutes a day with a food scale, basic math skills (sites like myfitnesspal.com/dailyplate.com do 90% of the work for you) is to rigorous and not lifestyle friendly .

    I don’t care how incorrect current measures are, its about consistency more than accuracy. Plug in your weight to a online calculator (or multiply lbs by 15 for a rough rule of thumb) for your maintenance level of calories and slash 500-1000 off of that to start losing (tweak the number to stablize fat loss at 1-2lbs a week for a healthy pace). Count everything that is consumed, every veggie, every snack.

    Even if you cannot stand this, do it for a month or two to calibrate your portion control (and realize that a lot of paleo recipes are loaded with fat for flavor, which is a big reason why seemingly none of them have nutritional info but will contain a biology textbook in between). Just like everyone’s tolerances/health is different, so too is everyone’s hunger response and relying on intuition won’t get you where you want to go.

    Sorry for the rant but calories have been documented in study after study as the factor for body composition (weight training to keep/build lean mass as well) but have such a negative stigma that I had to post it somewhere.

    • Petula says

      Amen to your words Peter. There isn´t a miracle diet that helps you lose the weight. You have to watch yout calorie intake. If you keep overeating even on paleo it´ll be impossible to lose some weight.

  15. Patty says

    I just had a baby and want to lose around 60 pounds. I know is a lot and feeling a little bit overwhelm. I’m not breastfeeding anymore (can’t) and have to work (end up sitting down for about 10-14 hrs) of my day. I don’t want to go to the gym after work because I already spend the day away from the baby, so I’m looking for ways to workout that I can do it with him. I did the whole 30 for a couple of weeks and lost 6 pounds. Is it realistic to try to lose this much with Paleo? I’m becoming a bit discouraged. Any advice?

    thank you!

  16. Joe says

    Can someone please provide studies that prove that not eating a consistent amount of calories throughout 3-5 meals per day slows metabolism?

    It makes perfect sense that starvation mode will make our bodies regulate and slow the amount of energy stores used in order to survive. However, does it make sense that starvation mode sets in after 16-24 hours without eating? It’s a scientific fact that the average person can survive 3 weeks without food; but after about 5% of that 3 weeks the human body thinks it starving? Does that make sense?

    If anyone can point me to any scientific studies that answer these questions I would appreciate it.

  17. Heather says

    Hi! I am an avid crossfitter, but since my divorce, my training has been cut in half with 2 little ones at home. I put on 20 pounds! Ugh… never thought that would happen. My diet wasn’t great either. Anyway…. I just started Evolve Paleo last week – which i LOVE – and am wondering how soon I will start losing some pounds. I feel so much better, just want to lose the weight that I gained over the last 18 months.

  18. says

    I found that making simple but tasty Paleo food helps me stick to Paleo and I have lost 12 pounds but want to lose 5 more and can’t seem to lose the last 5. I’ve given up dairy already and find intermittent fasting too hard. I do chi gong to control stress but probably not enough. Will either try less carbs or more movement.

    • einstein says

      why do you think that loosing another 5 pounds will get you to your ideal weight? where does that figure come from? what if your body prefers to be at your current weight for a reason ( if you are only 5 pounds overweight, it is not anymore about health, is it?). don’t get mesmerized by a number. as a matter of fact people with a little extra weight live longer and are healthier then the really skinny ones. having said that, if you still want to loose those 5 pounds, swap some of the fat for potatoes on the training days (post workout) and move more. check out http://www.leangains.com for some no nonsense information about how to get there. good luck.

  19. Rhonda says

    Hi everyone,

    New to Paleo and loving all your comments and help, I have dropped 1kg in just over 2 weeks, still having my glass of red wine! I cut out bread and all grains and my beloved dairy (all except fetta, got to have that in my salad!) and have started walking a bit more regularly. I am a young 56 (looks so old when I see it in writing!), with the menopausal waist line, but not exceedingly overweight. For me it will be a 90/10 journey and I have found that keeping it simple, (after I had many purchased e-books) is the way to go. I said simple, not boring, I still try and minimise my animal fats and have reduced carbs. I alternate by breakfast, nuts and seeds with almond milk one day and then a ‘purple smoothie’ on another. Love salads with olive oil and balsamic dressing, salmon and lean meats. I do snack on nuts if I get the urge, almonds, and not more than 10 and the really important thing……drink plenty of filtered water! I think only one person has mentioned hydration. You must keep your water intake up to help your body flush everything out, I have found this to be so important. Sometimes when you think you are hungry you are actually thirsty! I am happy with the way things are progressing and actually feel like I am doing my body a favour :)

  20. Robin H says

    Ultimately, however good our diet is, if we’re thinking too much about what we eat, we’re probably eating more than we need. The times when I feel the thinnest and healthiest are when I’m enjoying life and passionately involved in my projects. The old saying “Eat to live, not live to eat,” is really wise. People (including me at times) who spend all day planning healthy meals and grocery shopping, etc., are probably using this behavior at least partly to escape from life. And when you’re not really living, what else is there to do besides eat (and maybe spend too much time posting on blogs, lol)? For me, reducing food reward down to nothing is only an excuse to further retreat from life. Look at photos of both Guyenet and Sisson. Who do you think has a richer, more passionate existence? Simple food, YES. Purposely tasteless food, NO. Don’t do it.

  21. Glenn Sargent says

    So many weight loss posts include the need for exercise. True Quadriplegics (loss of use of all four limbs) are incapable of exercise, zero, zilch, none.

    Have you ever known an overweight quadriplegic?

    They are thin because they can’t put food into their own mouth, someone else has to do that for them.

    Left to our own resources too many of us put too much food in our mouths; the real question is why we do so?

    When you know why healthy body weight in adults is easier to achieve.

  22. says

    This is such an interesting post. We have been trialling a low carb paleo approach and realise now that it is definitely not working for us. We are excited to re-introduce some good quality carbs into our daily diets. Oh how we missed you sweet potato!

    Just wanted to add how awesome everyones comments are! Just as much info in them!! Thanks everyone!!

  23. suzanne says

    I am a newbe and again it is about weight. I have read two books, bought to cook books. I have been careful of fruit.
    l did my food shop, almond and coconut flour, nuts and oils.
    I have always used olive, we eat a lot of wild meat. I am watching portions, i am getting my sleep and being very careful of my stress , that is how l gained 38lb. in the first place.
    I have made the bread in the book against the grains and one batch of the muffins that my husband loved. Did not eat this on a daily bases. Old habit all in moderation and did know if l could. Feeling a little discouraged, l have little to were everything is to small and l will not buy new clothes l have a nice wardrobe. l do not know what to do or what l am doing wrong.

    • Glenn Sargent says

      This may help. All healthy humans have an inbuilt appetite control system, we did not evolve to be overweight. This system is controlled by hormones that are released by fat cells, pancreatic cells, the stomach, the intestines and other cells.

      Very briefly these hormones are produced in response to blood sugar, and free fatty acid levels. Fructose (sugar is 50% fructose) disrupts the operation of this system reducing the feeling of fullness and makes us eat more.

      There are many types of fats, or more precisely fatty acids (FA’s). There are short chain, medium chain and long chain FA’s,then there are saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Our circulatory systems are water based, water and fat don’t mix (try it mix any oil with water shake it up and see if your would like your blood to look like this), so our body packages fat up into particles (lipoproteins) that are suspended in the blood, much like fine clay particles can be suspended in water. These are not free fatty acids that trigger the appetite control hormones. Short chain fats are not packaged this way and pass into the blood stream when consumed. Butter and cheese contain free short chain fatty acids that will help trigger the release of appetite hormones quickly.

      What to try? Eliminate food with added sugar in the labels ingredients list, this includes (sugar, sucrose, fructose, HFCS, inverted sugar, molasses, honey, maple syrup, raw sugar etc) and then check the nutrition list and do not purchase any that show sugars above 4% by weight or volume.

      Follow this and listen to what your body is telling you, eat when hungry, and stop when you are not. When eating as you begin to feel less hungry stop eating for a little while (say 10 mins) if after that you still feel hungry eat a little more.

      Stress is both psychological and biological. Overeating causes biological stress through inflammation due to the excess production of free radicals and what are known as reactive oxygen species that cause cell damage and an inflammatory response. The second reason for elevated inflammation is Advanced Glycation End products (AGE’s) these are the result of uncontrolled reactions between sugars and fats (sugars and amino acids as well but to a lesser degree). Fructose is 7 to 10 times more likely to cause these reactions than glucose, and polyunsaturated fats (much less stable fats) are much more likely to be subjected to these reactions than saturated fats.

      Sugar plus polyunsaturated fats are a highly inflammatory combination. Systemic inflammation (your can’t feel or see it) also disrupts the hormonal appetite control system.

      Polyunsaturated fats are not common in natural unprocessed foods and neither is fructose (accept fruit, honey etc) so a paleo diet should limit the intake of these foods.

      In summary, no sugar, no polyunsaturated fats, get fats from real butter and cheese, but most importantly, listen to what your body is telling you, do not eat out of habit. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are not. If you aren’t hungry when you wake up, have a coffee and leave eating to when you are hungry.

      Good Luck

      • Robin H says

        I’ve not heard this about dairy fat before. I’ve only heard that medium chain fatty acids (coconut oil) could be used almost immediately for energy. Would this not have a similar effect? I would really like an excuse to eat cheese though, so thank you (?).

        • einstein says

          Here is your excuse for cheese: Gouda has a lot of Vit K2 /MK7 form/ which is hard to get anywhere else /except natto and foie gras/ and is vital for bone health. K2 directs calcium to the bones and teeth, instead into your arteries. I eat gouda every single day and once a week I eat fatty goose liver. Hope that’s a good excuse :-)

  24. says

    I truly believe in the KEEPING IT SIMPLE tip – No need to add excess anything to a dish because healthy foods are delicious on their own. It baffles me when people add brown sugar or syrups to salmon! ALONE that fish is by far the tastiest thing on the planet!

  25. Robin H says

    These are important points, Chris. Thank you. I think that weight loss is an area that has been under dealt with in paleo. Certainly any obese person going from SAD to Paleo will probably lose quite a bit of weight, but the rest of us who have been trying to eat right for a long time already may have trouble getting down to their ideal weight on Paleo (especially women, I would guess). This is something I’ve been working on myself for the past couple of years. I struggle around a BMI of 21, when I feel so much better and healthier at 19 (still fatter than the average Kitavan woman, lol!). I have also recently discovered your number one “Keep your food simple” rule. I have a theory about this. Food clearly serves both physiological and social purposes. Fancy dishes (usually calorically very dense) are reserved to special occasions in traditional societies (potlatches and other types of special feasting occasions). In the modern world where we are used to having anything we want, we have gotten used to having feast day be every day.

    • Robin H says

      Woops, i hit “post comment” accidentally before i was done. So basically I was just trying to say that eating simple foods helps us get back in touch with the more organic aspects of food as nourishment. Don’t get me wrong, feasting (and drinking alcohol) as a way to connect with one’s community is wonderful, but that type of eating should have a more limited place in our lives. Eating hard boiled eggs and some raw carrots for breakfast (which is what I did), sounds boring, but when you start really enjoying pure food vs cuisine, it’s a good sign you’re getting back in balance. One thing I should add though: I’ve been eating very simple for the past 3 weeks, and losing weight. I have, however, found myself eating a lot more often. I used to eat big complex salads or prepared meat and vegetable dishes. These were pretty high in fat, so I wouldn’t be hungry for a few hours. Eating simple tends to lower the overall fat content, so I find myself munching a lot more. It’s a little annoying, but keeping fruit and snackable veggies around helps a lot.

  26. Stephen says

    This is good advice. I generally follow the 80/20 rule. Be good Monday through Friday, but allow myself a little indulgence on Saturday/Sunday. I don’t hold myself hostage to weight loss; it’s happening, just slower. But more importantly, most of the time I’m good food for good health.

  27. Simon says

    I’d be very interested to hear Chris’ views on alcohol, in relation to a Paleo diet, and losing weight.

    I’ve been on the Paleo diet for 2 years now, and I rarely drink alcohol (by this I mean two glasses of wine in a month is a heavy month).

    I find it surprising the number of people who try out the Paleo diet, and yet still consume large quantities of alcohol (eg: sharing a bottle of wine between 2 every night).

    Chris could you perhaps cover this at some point in the future? Cheers!

    • Robin H says

      There are many studies that show major benefits of moderate alcohol consumption. That is why many people on Paleo still drink. I think we all know that heavy drinking is a problem, but no one knows exactly how much is too much. I’m sure it depends on a lot of factors that are different for everyone. It is hard to find that balance, for sure, but for many of us, giving up alcohol almost entirely doesn’t feel like the best or healthiest option. Stress may be worse for you than a little too much booze, so for some lifestyles sharing a bottle of wine in the evening might be the least of two evils. It’s really hard to say.

      • einstein says

        true. very individual. i drink a glass of wine most evenings and feel great. if i drink two, that is too much, i get a slight headache next day. that’s me. everybody has to find his own boundaries.

  28. Katherine S. in Seattle says

    Seriously, listen to the two podcasts Chris linked above. I listened to them multiple times late last year and followed the steps Stephan Guyenet lists on his website here:

    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/06/food-reward-dominant-factor-in-obesity_28.html

    If you are on a paleo diet, you are already doing a lot of this, so I won’t repeat what a paleo diet is.

    The things to really pay attention to, that you might be missing:

    Eat single ingredients (pay attention!!!!!!!). You can eat them at the same meal, just don’t mix them. Example: grass-fed beef, don’t salt it, a PLAIN potato or sweet potato, steamed broccoli. Don’t add fat or sweeteners to your food. ***Your meals should only sound good to you when you are really hungry. If they taste like restaurant appetizers, you are messing it up.***

    Yes, you need your salt and your fat. Stephan suggests eating them separately. I suggest you get your salt from your home made bone broth that you have salted up, and get your fat from your unsalted kerrygold butter or coconut oil in your coffee, or a plain avocado. I also suggest doing what ever you have to do to get your vegetables to taste good enough to eat as long as you don’t go too crazy. I like dropping them into the broth, salting them up after steaming, or putting spinach in the vitamix with some frozen berries and water and enjoy a smoothie.

    Don’t sear your meat. Just bake it in the oven. That incredibly delicious, juicy steak or salmon off the grill with the black grill marks? Don’t do it.

    Don’t snack. DO NOT SNACK. My suggestion: If you have to eat, have some broth and wait. You’ll be fine! Or, have some coffee or decaf or something.

    Get your omega3 (it doesn’t take much)

    My suggestion: Get Seth Robert’s book on Shangri-La and start having plain MCT oil for breakfast, an hour before your coffee, no flavors at all, not even toothpaste. Drink your coffee, make sure it is an hour after the MCT oil, then do not eat until lunch.

    And good GRIEF stop trying to zero carb yourself into weight loss. I am exhausted reading about this. It is not going to work. It may for a while, then you will start to wonder what is wrong when it doesn’t work anymore and you feel awful. If you really want or need to do low carb, watch Phinney and Volek’s youtube video to be sure you haven’t missed all the important points in the book. A low carb diet should have plenty of vegetables, some low carb fruit, a little omega 3, some salted bone broth….unless you are living like, say, an Inuit eating the whole animal (yep, all of it, organs and all, some of it fermented too…) you should not be eating just meat and fat!

    • Katherine S. in Seattle says

      I forgot to mention again that I have lost over 100 pounds, slowly, no more than 15-20 pounds per year, since 2005, and some years I went backwards due to very sad, unfortunate life circumstances.

      Stephan Guyenet really knows what he is talking about. So does Seth Roberts. I think diets work great because you are gung ho at first and super strict and you have reduced palatability and food reward (Guyenet) and your brain doesn’t know what to make of this strange matter and doesn’t have the wiring in place to associated flavors to calories (Roberts) and you lose your appetite.

      Then over time you start finding ways to make the food taste better and better. You’re making paleo pancakes out of almond flour or whatever fabulous recipe you have found. Then you wonder why the diet isn’t working anymore. You have overridden everything that made it work in the first place.

      • Katherine S. in Seattle says

        The comment above is not going to make sense because I see my first comment is under review. This is 3 of 3.

      • Robin H says

        Thanks for your advice Katherine. I’ve been intrigued by the Roberts/Guyenet approach, but honestly what they are suggesting sounds like punishment. it’s one thing to eat simply, but no salt on your meat? Getting your fat from plain MCT oil? Going this far to reduce palatability sounds really depressing and reminds me of how I used to treat myself when I had a severe eating disorder many years ago. Are you able to still feel joy and delight in life while eating like this? Because if not, I don’t think it’s healthy regardless of whether you lose weight. I’m curious about your experience though, so thanks for posting.

        • einstein says

          i think that approach might be needed only to a small percentage of people who hit a plateau and still needs to lose weight. for most of us it is not needed to be so strict. and you’d be surprised that enjoyment in life does not come from food alone :-) it is very well possible to have a lot of enjoyment in life without getting it from food. especially if giving up pleasure from food gives you back your health and rids you of excess body fat. try to explain it to a drug addict that life can be beautiful without drugs too. he likely won’t believe you. but we all know it is true. same goes for enjoyment from food. Life can be good without it too.

          • Robin H says

            I understand that life is not just about food. But emotionally I would rather take some sort of nutrition pills and not eat at all. There is something very demoralizing and humiliating about forcing yourself to eat cardboard. Maybe this is just me with my history of eating disorders. I also cook a lot for others, and for me preparing delicious and healthy food is an act of love. Purposely making something to be tasteless would feel like an act of aggression (even if it was for myself). It’s unthinkable.

            • einstein says

              I see your point. Fortunately it is possible to enjoy food and still be healthy and slim. Takes just a little willpower to stop eating when it tastes best and start again when one gets really hungry, and not sooner :-) Well, maybe more than a little willpower :-)

        • Katherine S. in Seattle says

          @RobinH- I’m combining them due to my difficulty in weight loss. Seth Roberts actually says things like he can counter the effects of eating chocolate by taking more oil later. I am not miserable, but I have been pretty darn miserable doing things like JennyCraig in the early 90s when people were dropping with gallbladder attacks. I, at least, had the sense to quit that diet when my hair fell out at an alarming rate.

          Stephan says to take breaks each week from the bland if you check the link I posted.

          @einstein – Among paleo dieters, there are a lot of women that claim it the paleo diet is ineffective or causes weight gain. I suspect is because they might be making it look, taste, and feel too much like the standard american diet. Look at online forums and how many complaints there are from people seeking help. It does not look like a small percentage of people.

          RobinH – plain paleo foods are not tasteless. Our pallets have been altered. There isn’t anything wrong with eating ordinary food. People are looking for help in losing weight. I think the entertainment value of food is not the topic here.

          • einstein says

            It is all about the quantity of food eaten and the activity levels of the individual. There is no problem with making the food palatable/tasty. But if someone can’t loose weight on paleo, then he/she is eating too many calories. In this case they need to eat more veggies and less fat. We can’t fool nature and calories do count even while eating paleo.

            • Katherine S. in Seattle says

              It is not that simple. Your advice sounds like eat less/exercise more reduce fat. Anyone can join WW for that kind of advice. Weight loss is mostly a matter of steering hormones, which is really complex.

              • Robin H says

                Katherine, you’ve missed the point. Chris’ and Einstein’s comments aren’t intended as stand-alone advice. They’re both assuming that hormonal factors are already being addressed by a Paleo style diet.

              • einstein says

                Satiety comes from protein. Anybody who cant loose weight wile paleo should swap high fat meat to low fat/high protein. Chris’s new book,the personal paleo code will help to figure out these things so pls grab a copy. I did and highly recommend it.

                • Katherine S. in Seattle says

                  I haven’t missed the point. I understand paleo is a given. However, lean meat is not the solution. I really believe lowering food reward is key and addressing inflammation. Wild caught salmon is going to work a lot better than chicken breast. . I believe inflammation is interfering with the hypothalamus detecting leptin stores.

                • einstein says

                  nope, paleo is not a given. it is very individual. chicken breast and beef liver wont give you any food reward if you prepare them not to. wild salmon is good but twice a week is more than enough for a different reason. You are digging in the right direction but have a long way to get there. Just don’t stop learning and everything will come to you. Read Paul Jaminets Perfect Health diet and you will leap lightyears ahead. Good luck.

          • einstein says

            counter the effect of eating chocolate by eating more oil later? whoa! and you believe that? does he sell snake oil too? sorry but that assertion just blowed my mind in the wrong way :-) just after one thing like that I’d discard the guys credibility completely. anybody who needs to loose weight has to go off comfort foods (chocolate is healthy once you reach your target weight and not before – this is of course oversimplified and not completely true but easy to remember), has to eat only when hungry, stop when it tastes best (eat about 60% of what he thinks he would eat to be satisfied, drink a glass of water before every meal and chew very slowly and deliberately (give time for the brain to send the satiety signal. those who wolf food down tend to overeat). Why the 60% rule? Because an expanded stomach needs to contract and it won’t if filled to full volume all the time. It will if it isn’t. And a smaller stomach is easier to fill. That is why gastric bypass is so efficient. But it is also very painful, very dangerous and very expensive. The 60% rule is what I would choose (as a matter of fact I did).

    • Laura C says

      I think I’d rather shoot myself in the head then live my day to day life like this. There HAS to be a more enjoyable way to live. No snacks? No thanks :)

  29. Robyn says

    I’ve gained weight on this diet, and I wonder if its because I’m vegetarian. I try to eat equivalent amounts of vegetarian protein, its all high fat (but good fats). I work out daily. I’m not stressed. Tried intermittent fasting, tried eating more often, tried eating less fat, tried eating more fat, no difference. I’m confused. Will this diet only work for weight loss if I eat meat?

    • einstein says

      Meat is a very important part. Lets not get into details, but being vegetarian is very unhealthy and harmful. Believe it or not. Try to eat at least wild caught fish twice a week. It can mean all the difference between a healthy diet and an unhealthy one.

      • Robyn says

        There has to be a way to make this diet work as vegetarian. I have been vegetarian for 25 years, I’m rather healthy and was a healthy weight for 20 of those years, until I had my daughter. I don’t like fish, but I do take cod liver oil, and eat lots of eggs and some dairy.

        • einstein says

          robyn, maybe it is not too late for you to undo the damage done by being vegetarian. if you had a child, you can’t be too old yet :-) a young body can take a lot of abuse before it starts to fail. otherwise we’d be all dead, me too :-). exactly the fact that your problems started during/after pregnancy is the telltale sign that should raise the red flag. the pregnancy drained your body of whatever it was lacking already and it tipped the balance. last drop in the cup before it overflows, if you like. you can’t be healthy without meat, especially not if pregnant. if you don’t start eating quality meat (doesnt need to be too often or too much) it will be downhill for you from here. And if you lead your child to vegetarianism too (bad examples are catchy), you will do a lot of damage to him too. Don’t take my word for it but pls start investigating the pros and contras for yourself. I would recommend starting with Mark Sissons Primal Blueprint, then continue with Paul Jaminets Perfect Health Diet. From there, you will find your own path. You can’t fool nature, humans need meat. There is no vegetarian wild living tribe out there, no indigenous population that refuses to eat meat. Not one. And there is a very good reason for that. Period.

  30. Linda Rouse says

    Hi,
    I am 75 last year went on the Paleo program lost 30 lbs felt and looked great. fell off the wagon and have put about 5lbs back on I have had 3 knee replacements and both hips replaced, can’t seem to excercise enough to feel fit like I used to, did a lot of walking but now have a bone growing in my foot and very painful any suggestions are there any Sebastopol area people around? thanks Linda

    • einstein says

      Where theres a will, theres a way. Try swimming. Check out exercises that you can do sitting. Be slow, gradual and persistent. Find a movement that does not hurt and do it over and over again. Consider it exercise. At your age, all movement counts as exrcise. So move. Good luck.

  31. Amie says

    Hi guys,

    So I’m new to the paleo diet. I love the concept of it, but I am a personal trainer, so I literally train 7 days a week, so my muscle repair time has been cut in half due to not having enough carbs. Any suggestions on what I should be doing since I’m so active? I eat sweet potato daily and other scratchy vegs but I don’t feel it’s doing enough? I wake up feeling like a train hit me, but otherwise I feel like paleo has helped with my IBS a lot so I would love to continue on it!

    Thanks. :-)

    • einstein says

      If you are that active,you need more carbs. Potato,even rice.Banana,grapes etc. Call it primal or whatever. Who cares about the label as long as it works for you.

  32. alison annable says

    i have definitely have noticed a difference on the paleo diet, the only thing is. i had a brain injury in 2008, @ disabled down my left side, so i cannot exercise, which is extremly frustrating, @ i find it harder, because, iam not burning off any calories, trying to get onto a clinical trail, to improve my condition, so fingers crossed, @ i can get my life back,, i spend hrs @ hrs emailing professors @ universities,…. with science changing @ moving rapid;y, iam sure things will work my way, …. but enjoy your emails kris, keep them coming in,

  33. rs711 says

    @Chris Kresser

    Hi,

    2 things:

    1: “If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re better off cooking simple dishes that don’t have a bunch of extra ingredients and additional flavoring, and saving those recipes for special occasions or a nice weekend dinner”

    Is this based on the reward/palatability theory? and/or on the idea that bland(er) food will make someone eat less over the long-term (or in a sustainable manner)?

    2: [You already mentioned this article is written more for those new to Paleo, but…] There’s good evidence to suggest people are more likely to benefit from a ‘fat based fuelling’ system during endurance/aerobic exercising —> I’m thinking of RQ, cardiac/& other tissues’ preference for ketones, access to way more stored energy, lower inflammatory impact etc…
    Your article *seems* to have glossed over this.
    Could you expand on this please?

    Thanks!

  34. says

    There seems to be a misperception among some that Paleo is synonymous with a high fat intake. It isn’t. Paleo is more a *concept* and a paradigm that emphasizes whole, real, unprocessed foods, rather than any across-the-board blanket recommendations for everyone in the population. Exact macronutrient ratios and the inclusion or exclusion of specific foods is beyond the scope of what Chris and his team should be expected to provide here on a website, since they really need to be tailored to the individual.

    Those of you who are stymied by stubborn fat loss might consider seeking a practitioner in your area who can help you dig a little deeper into what might be holding up your progress. It’s certainly not all about diet. Diet is a huge issue, but if you’ve been following Chris’s work for any length of time, you’re probably well aware of the big roles that stress, sleep, natural light, functional movement, relaxation, and JOY all play in overall health as well as getting to and maintaining an appropriate weight. (And, of course, yes, hormones!)

    Be patient with yourselves and do some digging into what other factors might be affecting things beyond what’s on your plate.

  35. heidi says

    Chris, I love your website and everything you post but I have to ask: Where do plastic water bottles fit into a paleo lifestyle?? I’d like to see a different picture to go with this article.

  36. says

    I really like your point about addressing your whole life for weight loss. I lost 50 pounds and have kept it off for almost 8 years, and a big part of that was beginning to heal my emotions. Deeply depressed and anxious when I gained the weight, I wasn’t able to lose weight until I started loving myself just a *tiny* bit. Then I could begin caring for my body with kindness. Counseling helped back then, but now I practice many more tools like mindfulness, meditation, and tapping that could have sped up the process further.

    I also found it really important not to have 100% off-limits foods. While I did move toward a paleo-esque diet, too much black-and-white thinking and rules derailed me in a hurry! They still do. I can do ultra-strict diets for health reasons, but I tend to put on a little weight from feeling deprived.

    Finally, I started measuring portions occasionally. My parents were overweight, so I’d grown up looking at unhealthy portion sizes. A kitchen scale was a God-send. I found that I could be genuinely satisfied with 4 oz of meat instead of 8-10.

  37. QJBean says

    Thanks Chris for addressing this topic. While I listened to PaleoCon I noticed so many of the “I lost 12 lbs without trying” were people who switched from SAD to Paleo. Makes me wonder if the simple act of -intervention- to their diet was 75% of the catalyst to their weight loss? Another driver to their weight loss is of course the satiating food on Paleo, as compared to sugar highs and lows on SAD.

    – I will try some of the tips you shared here (although I’m confused about ‘not counting calories’ because I don’t really know what percentage of carbs / fat / protein I’m getting unless I count my calories consumed. .

    – I didn’t think of hitting your Forum – – thanks for that. I don’t find many women in the same category with me of A) got my hormones bio-identically balanced, check, B) I know my caloric burn and measure it with an accurate device, C) Been strictly GF for 6 years, and D) kept 25 lbs of my 33 lb weight loss off of me for 9 years. Lost it with big calorie restriction for 2 1/2 years.

    But I’m not in top shape, and haven’t been able to get there for the past 3 years, my body fat % is increasing over past 3 years (age 41-44). Currently I’m looking to address the balance of gut bacteria and clearing elimination pathways to see if this helps me to burn off the stubborn extra 6 lbs of fat?

  38. says

    Hey Chris,

    Just finished your book, and I am happy to say I can endorse and recommend it to anyone in search of robust health. Being relatively lean and muscular, I was especially interested in the sections regarding athletic performance.

    Do you have any tips for those of us wanting to reach low body fat percentages (men: 7–10%)?

    I realize it may be a bit outside of the scope of your general audience, but any references would be appreciated!

    Hope all is well on the book tour. Take care.

    • einstein says

      Bodyfat that low? If it doesnt come naturally to you, you wont get there unless you do some serious suffering. Check out Lyle Mc Donalds Ultimate Diet 2.0 Its no fun.

      • says

        I am aware of Lyle’s work (Martin Berkhan of Leangains references it often). I understand it takes work, I am just curious what/if Chris has any opinions about such a feat.

  39. Laura Santagata says

    Since going Paleo 15 months, I’ve healed my insides quite a bit in the form of no more sinus infections, headaches, nor toe fungus. However, I’ve put on 9-11 pounds of FAT. So, my insides are healed but my outsides are not happy! Could I be ingesting too many calories via healthy fats? Here’s a typical day of eating:
    Breakfast: 2 eggs, broccoli with grass-fed butter, coffee with coconut oil (1 tbl).
    Snack: a baggie full of raw organic veggies dipped in gaucamole.
    Lunch: Large greens salad with vinegar and olive oil topped with sunflower seeds and a protein of some sort.
    Dinner: a fish or meat with 2 sides of veggies
    Thoughts?

    • Mars says

      Hi Laura. The potential problem with reducing carbs and increasing healthy fats is the caloric increase. If you do really low carbs you’d go into ketosis and burn fat. But if you go for healthy fats while continuing with carbs, the insulin (that drives you blood sugar into your cells) will keep you from efficient fat-burning. So, one thought is that you’d want to consider either further carb restriction (to make you a better fat burner) or going a bit easier on your fats (to decrease overall calories until you reach that tipping point where you start to lose weight), IF you can do that and still feel satiety from your diet.

      I assume you’re doing exercise, and that you’re hydrating yourself. Just good basics.

      You have to play with it, to find how your metabolism works, but, as I wrote in an earlier post, when I don’t eat on rising, I don’t develop my appetite until lunch time. I wonder, if you adapt to your first meal being at noon time, whether you could feel good. I know that eating first at noon wasn’t too hard; more just the feeling that I’m supposed to be eating or I’m cheating myself. It wasn’t hard to get past that. But that was me, and there is biochemical individuality, for sure.

      I presume you take a mid morning snack because you’re hungry. Maybe if you didn’t eat on rising, you might find you don’t get the hunger going that makes you eat a 2nd time before lunch.

      Ok, just wanted to toss out some ideas for you to consider. Good luck Laura, enjoy the ride.

      Mars

      • Laura Santagata says

        Hi Mars,
        The Only Carbs I Was Eating Were Lots Of Veggies & A Tinge Of Fruit & A Square Of 90% Dark Chocolate Occasionally On An Intense Workout Day. Are U suggesting I Reduce Those Healthy Carbs To Help Promote Fat Burning? Seems Counter-Intuitive. Every Eating Plan Promotes Veggies! What Are People’s Opinions Of Perfect Health Diet By Paul Jaminet?

        • Lisa says

          I do Perfect Health Diet and love it. I feel fantastic. Strict paleo was too difficult for me…not enough variety. I don’t feel the need to cheat on PHD.

        • einstein says

          I love the guy. Very good book of his. The PHD. If you are that low on carbs, do reduce your fat intake. Check out paleo for women by stephanie ruper as you gals are quite different fm us guys. My wife lost 18 kgs on primal, so it is doable. But you have to be overweight in the first place.

        • einstein says

          almost forgot, on an intense workout day you need to eat some carbs post workout. sweet potato or potato is a good option. else you will ramp your cortisol levels up and won’t be able to loose weight, on the contrary. vegetables don’t really count as carbs. digesting them costs more calories than they contain. on a non workout day, you can stay very low carb.

    • Notastick says

      Interesting your note about doing the butter/MCT oil coffee. I am paleo, and gluten free, and I enjoy the odd paleo treat, I found that since I stared the bulletproof coffee I have put on 9 lbs. My diet is much like listed here, seems healty enough. I have stopped the coffee for now and zero treats, it seems to be working.

  40. says

    Chris, I really hope you address people who DON”T lose weight on a Paleo diet. I noticed quite a few in related weight loss posts who chimed in that they not only did not lose weight on Paleo but gained weight.

    It seems like mostly men tend to lose weight easily on Paleo diets, but most women not so much.

    I have been on a very strict Paleo diet since Dec 2011, it has helped my health I think, but I have not lost any weight (and I need to).

    My husband and child joined the strict Paleo ( no grains, no processed foods, only good fats, lots of organic veggies, limited fruits etc) diet over a year ago based on Ramiel Nagel, author Cure Tooth Decay ideas ( so we added raw goat milk and raw milk kefir and lots of bone broth).

    We do not go off or cheat for health reasons ( I get violently sick if I do and they have made great progress with teeth).

    My child has gained weight ( good thing as she is tiny ectomorph), husband has lost significant weight ( not needed and now his sister is worried about this diet) and I haven’t lost a pound ( need to lose excessive weight).

    We are doing all the things you mention in this post. I am over 60 and need to get this weight off, so would love any tips that work for women after menopause!

    • Colleen says

      Lift heavy things and sprints. This may result more in a change in body composition (fat loss, weight neutral) than actual weight loss.

      • says

        Jeanne said she’s over 60 and has “excessive” weight to lose. I don’t know if you know her in real life or not, but if not, I’m not sure a stranger should be recommending right off the bat that she sprint and lift heavy things. You have no idea what kind of cardiovascular shape she’s in or the condition of her joints.

        Please note I’m not suggesting these types of exercise are not beneficial. I just don’t think it’s wise to make recommendations for strangers when we have no idea what else is going on “under the hood,” to use one of Robb Wolf’s phrases.

    • Laura Santagata says

      I agree with jeanne@soultravelers3 !!!
      Chris PLEASE address why many many many females are GAINING FAT and/or not losing on Paleo. Could it be that high fat, even healthy high fat, is not a good idea for all people, especially women? I’m 42 years old and have been lean at 117 pound for the last 14 years UNTIL I went Paleo. Now, I’m up a pant size, lost my lean muscular look (even though I still lift heavy, stretch, burst/sprint train, get 8-9 hours of sleep, manage stress), and weigh 128 !!

      • Emily says

        I am in the same situation. I tried Paleo and gained about 4 lbs in two weeks. I also felt awful and did not have the energy for my workouts. And don’t even ask about the lethargy and brain fog. It’s just not cut out for everyone, especially not with all that fat. When I use fat, it’s real and natural but I think some of us just do better with a lower fat diet.

        • says

          I gain weight on paleo if I eat a high fat diet. For me portion control is important, as is not snacking, and as Chris says eating appropriate starchy carbs. My meals (3 a day) consist of a palm size of leanish protein (about 3 – 4 oz max) 1/2 – 1 cup of starch or fruit and a plateful of non starch veggies – salad, stirfry etc. A little added fat, but not usually much, like olive oil dressing. I get excellent appetite control, and keep my post menopause tendency to gain weight in check.
          I also sleep 8 hours a night, stand at my desk for part of the day, short strength workout and 1/2 hour walk most days.

          • C.Shephard says

            I wonder if the women who are not losing the weight are pear-shaped. Fat stored mostly in the butt and hips is harder to lose than fat stored around the waist.

            For an apple-shaped female like myself, a higher fat/protein-low carb diet works best. Along with that cardio/interval strength training.

            For pear-shaped women, a diet lower in fat and higher in complex carbs is much better for weight loss.

        • Robin H says

          I don’t know why everyone assumes Paleo means high fat. It doesn’t prescribe macro-nutrient percentages. That is highly individual. Some writers get a little prescriptive (like the Jaminets), but they are only one voice among many, and there is a lot of controversy even within Paleo. I think that people are used to diets being clearly defined. If you read a typical diet book, you will know exactly what you need to eat after about ten minutes. Then it either works out for you to eat that diet, or it doesn’t. Paleo shouldn’t be looked at that way. Rather than being a specific diet, it’s an approach to evaluating and designing your diet based on what your body evolved to eat. It isn’t nearly as specific or defined as a lot of people would like to think (which is highly inconvenient, granted, but such is life). Yes, a lot of people somehow equate Paleo to bacon (please), but I think those people are newbies and will probably soon move on to the next sparkly thing that comes along. Paleo demands that you put time and energy into figuring out what works for you, with the excellent guidance of people like Kresser, Sisson, the Jaminets, et al. Personally when I say I eat Paleo, what I mean is that I eat healthy, and that I invest time in figuring out what that means for me. It just happens that the writers who seem to reason the most persuasively in this area identify with the Paleo movement. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater if eating the way one blogger recommends doesn’t work for you. Just understand that you might need to tinker with it some more.

          • says

            Fantastic post!

            I am very strict paleo at the moment and whilst my waist size has gone down and muscle has increased I still have.a bit of a belly on me.
            Just moving away from the government guidelines to paleo cleared up GI issues and improved my body composition but I am constantly tweaking my food and lifestyle to try and get rid of the belly.

            Paleo is definitely not “one size fits all”!

        • Adam says

          a lot of the weight loss/gain issues can usually be managed by tweaking the carb intake. the more active you are the more carbs you need. Also if you are naturally slim you may have a higher metabolism that needs more carbs to function properly. If you get too low with your carb intake you will usually see a decrease in fat loss or possibly an increase in fat retention as your body attempts to compensate for your energy deficit.

          For those that are not as active or already have a high body fat composition lower carb levels are usually better. I have a friend in a wheel chair that doesn’t get much exercise at all, just what he gets from regular daily activities. he controls his weight by skipping days in his carb intake. he eats a low carb diet every other day and then skips carbs all together on the in-between days. it took him awhile to find his ideal balance for his needs but he has found what works for him. if you are not happy with your weight loss/gains so far try some creative carb management and find your sweet spot.

      • Liza says

        I am also frustrated by weight gain, about 30 lbs. In 3 years! I am 50 yrs. old and at my highest weight EVER! I’ve seen many people at my gym lean out & get ripped eating paleo. I have tried low carb, higher carb, nothing helps. I even worked with a holistic nutrition coach for a month & lost a whopping 3 lbs. She had me eating no grains, sugar, (except for limited fruit), no eggs, nuts/seeds, nightshades, no dairy. It took 2 weeks before I lost ANYTHING. I was diagnosed with celiac 4 years ago. It’s been a steady gain ever since.

        • Gigi says

          Lisa, You could have some other issues. Have you ever heard of bio identical homrones? Google it. I had the same issue and found out that my body was not producing near enough progesterone. This can cause all sorts of issues and weight gain. I had a hysterectomy when I was 40. I am now 47, staying strict with Paleo, and taking bio idential progesterone. I’m finally starting to drop the weight. Good Luck!

          • Liza says

            Thanks. I’m already using a progesterone cream. It helps with hot flashes, but not much else. I’m pretty sure my lack of weight loss is hormone related. I just wish I could get to the bottom of it.

            • Mya says

              I have yo yo’d my whole life and finally got up over 200 again this past February. I eat healthy already (like Paleo/low carb style) even being big but too much at times I will admit. After eight weeks on low carb and then cutting and then cutting again the calories I got so frustrated after barely five pound loss even with some exercise. I have been taking progesterone for about two years so I went back to my doctor. I got my lab results yesterday. No allergies, no food allergies but huge issues with adrenal function, sluggish thyroid, high estrogen, super low vitamin D, high DHEA. On day one of thyroid meds and adrenal supplements as well as vitamin D. I wanna cry finally having some answers because I have felt like a total failure. Go to someone good who specializes in hormones and get a full check up. Seeing the lab results make me realize that no matter what food lifestyle I choose, short of starvation (which I have seriously thought about being this big again) I wouldn’t have lost the weigh. I pray these are the answers for me and maybe they might be for you too Liza.

        • JeanAnn says

          Make sure you get your thyroid checked. I have had the same issue. I was on the same type of diet and couldn’t lose anything.

          As soon as I started taking armour thyroid, I started dropping weight. Find a doctor that treats thyroid holistically.

          good luck

        • Sandy says

          If you’ve been diagnosed with Celiac, have you tried the Specific Carbohydrate diet? You might find that diet designed more for your particular body issues than anything else. There are some great websites that address this issue.

        • Amanda says

          Eat more eggs, avacado, salmon, When I eat 3 eggs or more a day, have salmon more than 3 times a week and avacodo on quinoa bread as a snack most days, I lose weight more than when I don’t.
          I have a bananas and or a apple once a day. I get by having dark chocolate at night (for my sugar crave and feel I’m being naughty). Try potatoes par boiled in water, then fried in pan with olive oil with cumin seeds and tumeric to go along with a steak. Mix it up a little. I find Paleo hard as I am always craving bread, pasta and dairy. But I am shrink far more than I have ever with any other diet. I have lost 12kgs over a year period, with absolutely no excerise. I am now at the point where I probably need to excerise to tone up. I have a further 25kgs to go. Those that are gaining weight you are eating something your body doesn’t like. Try changing what your eating and see.

          I think the paleo diet works.

          • says

            I am60 years old- have had a weight problem all my life. I have been on Paleo for the past three months and lost 18 lbs. I am now at the same weight for the last month- up, down, up , down, and I am really getting upset. Every day I expect a big drop on the scale, but its just not there. What am I doing wrong? I don’t want to stop the way I am eating- I feel so much better- not tired, lots of energy. Help!!

      • einstein says

        come on, 128 is a dream weight for most women turning to paleo for weight loss. you are no way overweight. matter of fact you were probably way to skinny earlier and put on weight for a good reason. overweight people loose weight on paleo, underweight people put on some. don’t be so strict with yourself :-)

      • Elle says

        Interesting,

        at 5’9 I was weighing 137 lbs, I went on Paleo and quickly lost 12lbs without even trying. Now at 125 lbs I have to ensure I keep muscle mass so my BMI does not drop into an unhealthy weight..Perhaps a lot of it still has to do with genetics.

    • Fábio says

      Are you exercising enough?

      Go out with bicycle. Reduce your footprint carbon!…and it’s really good for your health.

      And shoot off all the SUGAR!…

      I don’t know how to give you more tips! If you want, you can send an email to me and I think I can help you with this problem =)…

      Good luck Jeanne!

    • einstein says

      What r your activity levels? Perhaps you need expert one on one advice fm chris or mark sisson. They offer programs for people who cant figure it out w/o help.

    • bumberlee says

      You should check into “Trim Healthy Mama”. Then morph those principals into your current program. Since I’m assuming you have already figured out what foods hurt you specifically. I too have weight to lose, but after 7 weeks following both programs, have lost 18lbs. Good luck!

  41. maura says

    I’m puzzled about “eating enough” vs. “intermittent fasting”. Since the advice to lose weight with Paleo is always to make sure you’re eating enough, yet on another front, experts say intermittent fasting is helpful for weight loss, how does your metabolism not slow down when you’re fasting versus just eating less when it’s the same thing? Definitely confusing.

    • Mars says

      Hi Maura. I find that when I don’t eat first thing in the morning, that I’m ok until lunch. When I would eat breakfast I’d get really hungry after I’d burned off the meal. I gather that was something about continuing the evenings fast, that it’s the aftermath of eating that generates hunger, and it’s easy to not eat until lunch.
      So, for lunch I eat to my hearts content. I do better with less carb I’ve learned, so lunch is a large salad, meat and cooked vegetables. I’m not shy about my quantities.

      Dinner is usually a bit smaller than lunch, since my lunch is substantial. But still, dinner is some kind of protein and veggies- either a cooked vegetable or large salad. Again, I get very full. Oh, I’ll use avocado, coconut oil, fermented butter (I live in Germany and traditionally they’re not shy about fat options), yogurt, sour cream, raw cheese and the like so I ensure I get enough fat. So, of course it doesn’t take that much quantity to feel really sated.

      I try to eat before 7pm so I go from 7 to noon the next day, about 17 hours, before I take my noon meal. I intermittent fast, but I do not feel deprived, no how!

      good luck-
      Mars

        • Matt says

          Charles I think Cordain is talking about starvation, which would be extended periods of time, say weeks without eating or little eating such that there is a severe calorie deficit, think holocaust. Intermittent fasting is typically regimen that involves a fast that lasts for maybe 16-24 hours, where the length and frequency of how you do it is varied, hence the word “intermittent”. It’s a good idea to determine the length or frequency of your fast based on how it makes you feel.

            • einstein says

              Looks like you rread too much, which is good. I do too. Then I try out what I read., And for me IF works. Big time. Weighted pullups And dips with 25% bodyweight added? Thats me.

              • Sandy says

                I tried intermittent fasting, but honestly, I felt that I had LESS energy for my morning workout. At a minimum, I need a handful of almonds before I head out for a 6 mile powerwalk. I generally eat something more substantial when I get home, but I need that protein to keep me moving at a good pace.

                • says

                  Sandy, try taking 5 to 10 grams of BCAAs 10-15 minutes prior to your walk. I take 10 grams before my workouts MWF, and before my sprints TT. Definitely helps. Downside, plain BCAA sups taste like crap, flavored is artificial (but no calorie). For more info, go to leangains dot com.

    • Eric says

      Intermittent fasting is not an overall reduction in calories, just a reduction in the frequency of meals. When intermittent fasting the faster should increase their portion sizes to compensate for the reduction in meals. One of the ideas is to improve your metabolic flexibility and allow your body to switch in an out of ketosis throughout the day.

      • says

        I think intermittent fasting is a great strategy with good science behind it, but many individuals who find it and look to it as a strategy, are often already in a state of adrenal fatigue. Cortisol helps to boost blood sugar during fasting states (most notably overnight)…so if you go for long periods of fasting while also being adrenal fatigued, you can exacerbate the cortisol issues. So I’m careful to address adrenals first before turning to IF.

    • einstein says

      Not the same thing. You can do imtermittent fasting and still eat enough. I do. The purpose of IF is not caloric reduction. Read Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon.

    • einstein says

      Except paleo is not a diet but a lifestyle. And a very individual one too. My paleo is different from yours is different from his/hers. Diets inevitably fail on the long. No such threat on paleo. Paleo should be called the “Don’t eat foods that harm you, only eat foods that nourish your body and support your health” diet. Which ones are those? Nobody will give you a ready made free answer, because there is none. Everybody has to put in some effort and time to educate himself and find his answers. Or pay someone to guide him if he can’t do it alone. There is no free lunch and no free health either. If it was that easy, we’d all be healthy and beautiful, right? No matter what the individual specifics of each person, most ill health and excess weight has a common cause – ignorance. The only way out is through self improvement and education. This site is a good place to start.

      • says

        Well said however I think “ignorance” is a bit unfair.

        We are constantly brainwashed by pseudo-science and even the most intelligent of people can end up believing that the government guidelines are the healthiest way to be when they see the same messages consistently.

        The tide is turning thanks to the Internet and the more we discuss it the more people will understand what a ridiculous house of cards the current recommendations are built on.

        Keep spreading the word everyone!

        • Laura Connock says

          Ignorance simply means, lack of knowledge or information. Society sometimes changes the assumed definition of a word. I consider myself an intelligent person, with education in nutrition and food science, but I was ignorant to paleo before I learned about it. And there’s still more TO learn. So yes, ignorant is a fair assessment.

  42. says

    I dont look at weight, or even a scale. I look at how my clothes fit, how I have energy and how I have returned to being human – I didnt know what that meant until I went Paleo. I started thinking for myself and accepting that my thoughts were never going to be in line with the large food conglomerates who have poisoned our notion of what “good” food is. I am happy! So, let me leave you with my current thought: Processed Food: Its like second hand smoke for all the other organs of your body.
    Keep healthy. Stay happy. Daryl

  43. says

    I found that making simple but tasty Paleo food helps me stick to Paleo and I have lost 12 pounds but want to lose 5 more and can’t seem to lose the last 5. I’ve given up dairy already and find intermittent fasting too hard. I do chi gong to control stress but probably not enough. Will either try less carbs or more movement.

    • Fábio says

      Hello Angela, how are you doing?
      I’m writting to you from Brazil and I would like to help you.

      I think eat less carb is not the right way. Try to make choices of healthy carbs. Eat a bunch of organic fruits and try to exercise every day, at least 30 minutes.

      What do you think? I lost 16kgs in just 3 months in a vegan diet and exercising every day =)…

      I hope that I can help you!

      • Tim says

        No matter if it’s 5 or even 50 extra lbs, any amount of excess weight can feel overwhelming. Try not to diminish someone else’s goals because they aren’t equal to your own. I’m sure that’s not what you were trying to do.

        • Laura Connock says

          There are a whole lot of ways to finally hit that goal.

          Frankly though for some, changing the goal IS the answer.

          I have a friend who is always trying to lose that last 5 lbs. finally one day I told her her “answer”. Take up Pilates (her core needed tweaking) and throw away that darn scale!!!

          She didn’t have 5 lbs left to lose, she had a mental block and some abs that needed some tightening. That was all.

    • Peggy says

      Hi Angela,
      I agree with the “cut yourself some slack” advice. Your body is holding onto those 5lbs for a reason, and maybe because it needs them! I’d recommend sticking with the Paleo food you’ve been eating (obviously it’s working given the weight loss you’ve had) and adding more strength training to your exercise. You might not lose those 5lbs, but instead increase your “tone” which is probably what you really want anyway!

    • einstein says

      Forget the 5 pounds. The scale does not tell the whole tale. Body composition is what counts. Just eat healthily and train regularly to pack on some muscle and dont sweat the rest. This is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy every minute.

  44. Lily says

    Great post, thanks. I’ve been struggling with losing weight for a long time. Once I hit 50, my metabolism took a nose dive after years of yo-yo dieting.

    If I eat very low carb for a long period of time and then indulge in a (always grain/sugar-free) higher carb day, my weight loss stalls and it takes a long time to start losing weight again. Since nobody is 100% perfect on any diet, all the time, is it better for me to increase carbs to 20-25% overall, or just continue on very low carb? It’s so confusing.

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