It can be frustrating if you are not losing weight on Paleo even when you feel you are faithful about following the diet. It may seem like everyone else who doing the Paleo Diet is losing tons of weight and feeling great as a result, but you are not! The only problem may be that you have given the diet a try, perhaps more than once, only to experience failure. Maybe you didn’t lose as much as you expected in the first few weeks, or perhaps you ended up losing next to nothing. Some people even report gaining weight after the first week or two, so what is going on? Why isn’t it working for you?
A Checklist as to WHY You Are Not Losing Weight on Paleo
The Paleo Diet is a healthy approach to weight loss, so there is something going wrong if you aren’t experience a steady rate of weight loss. Go through this checklist to see which option may be interfering with the progress you deserve.
1. You may be eating too much.
Some people can lose weight by limiting their diet to approved Paleo foods without counting calories, but that doesn’t work for everyone. If you consume more calories than your body burns off for energy, the excess is stored as fat. Even if the foods you eat are nutritious, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Try tracking everything that you eat for a week or two. You can use a notebook as your food journal and record by hand, download an app for your phone or use an internet-based system like My Fitness Pal. You may find that you are eating more calories than you realized. After spending some time counting calories, you will be able to judge how much is too much without such strict accounting in the future.
2. Your exercise routine may be inadequate or inappropriate.
The more you exercise, the more calories you burn. The more calories you burn, the easier it is to control your weight and burn stored fat as energy. Yet, there is a point where too much of a good thing is bad for you. If you aren’t working out two or three times a week, that may be the problem. If you are going overboard and working out most days of the week or pushing your body through intense muscle-building workouts, you may need to scale it back to see weight loss.
There is a difference between taking a walk around the block after dinner each night and lifting heavy weights for an hour or performing high-intensity cardio workouts. The more intense and longer in duration your workouts, the more likely your body is to become inflamed and retain water. While those workouts may improve your cardiovascular fitness and add muscle to your body, they may also interfere with weight loss.
3. You may need more restorative sleep.
How many hours do you sleep each night? How well do you sleep when you are between the sheets? If you know this is an area of struggle for you, you may boost your weight loss results by figuring it out. If you have severe insomnia, you may want to visit your doctor to rule out medical conditions or severe depression.
Set up your sleep environment so that it is relaxing and free of distractions. Turn the television and computer off, or take all electronics out of the room entirely. Make sure your mattress is comfortable, and add a topper if it has seen better days. Sleep with bedding that keeps your body at a comfortable temperature, and adjust the thermostat as needed. Blackout blinds may help as well if there are distractions outside your window.
Once your environment is set, set a sleep schedule and stick to those hours. Get in bed and out of bed at the same time every day, even on weekends.
4. You are deprived of certain nutrients.
Sticking to the Paleo approved foods list is a great start, but many people need to monitor what they eat from the list as well. If you are eating the same foods over and over, there is a good chance that your body isn’t receiving adequate amounts of some nutrients that are needed for weight loss and healthy bodily function. Your diet may also be too rich in foods that tend to cause inflammation, and inflammation keeps your weight high.
Try to vary your foods, and explore new foods that you have never tried. There are tons of Paleo recipes here and online, so try a new food and a new recipe every week.
5. You are relying too much on processed or prepackaged foods.
The Paleo Diet is best followed with fresh foods in their natural state. That means tons of fresh produce. You may need to use some prepackaged or prepared foods for convenience sake at times, but you should stick with fresh foods whenever possible. This ensures that you aren’t consuming preservatives, added sugar, soy and other unhealthy ingredients unknowingly.
Look at all foods you are eating that aren’t in their natural state when you buy them. Read the labels carefully to check for preservatives and other additives that may be sabotaging your diet. For instance, a jar of mushrooms may not be Paleo-friendly even though mushrooms are acceptable. You may be getting diet-sabotaging grains, soy or dairy in your diet and not even know it!
6. You are enjoying coffee and other caffeinated treats too often.
Caffeine is an excellent way to get your motor revving in the morning, and you may know that you can’t add sugar, cream and other ingredients that increase your calorie intake without nourishing your body. What you may not know is that some people gain weight when they consume too much caffeine. If you use a lot of caffeinated beverages, you may want to scale back for a week to see if it makes a difference on the scale.
7. You overindulge in Paleo-friendly snacks or are “cheating” way too often.
Some baked goods only contain ingredients that are approved on the Paleo Diet, so they’re okay to eat whenever the urge strikes, right? This is wrong. While some snacks and sweets are technically Paleo-approved, they aren’t also weight loss-approved. You should enjoy these treats occasionally rather than routinely. Just because you CAN make pizza, waffles and donuts with Paleo ingredients, does not make them the healthiest of choices!!!
Also, if you allow “cheats” of pizza once a week, beer on Friday night, Chinese with soy sauce on Sundays, etc… then you really ARE NOT really on a Paleo diet. If you don’t give your body the chance to heal itself from these inflammatory foods, it will not reward you with better health or weight loss.
Strip your diet down and determine if this is a problem for you. Use the Whole 30 program to help. It can break some of your bad habits related to food and really redefine what food is and what it should not look like. The program is great for gaining control of your diet and determining whether certain types of foods are standing in your way of greater health and weight loss.
8. An autoimmune disorder may be sabotaging your efforts.
There are many autoimmune disorders and diseases that can make weight loss more difficult. There are ways to overcome these disorders, but you have to acknowledge that they are a problem first. The best way to explore this option and overcome inflammation and other symptoms of autoimmune dysfunction is to work with the Autoimmune Protocol.
If you look into the Autoimmune Protocol and strongly believe that you may suffer from some sort of autoimmune dysfunction, you may want to try it. After years of struggle with weight and health issues, this is almost a miracle change for some people (including myself!) You can follow the Protocol to gain control over the disorder while you do this, but it also helps to know exactly what your body is suffering from, which foods trigger your issues, and how you can overcome the interference with your weight loss and overall health.
9. Your body may be losing fat without notifying the scale.
It is frustrating to step on the scale and see no change, or even to see the number climb in the opposite direction than you hoped. If you have gone through all of the checks above on this list, there is a chance that you are making progress without the scale reporting it to you. You can actually lose stored fat and get thinner without losing weight on the scale.
This may be the case for you if your clothing seems to fit better or is getting loose despite the numbers seen on the scale. You may feel smaller and healthier even though you aren’t technically losing weight. Start taking your measurements with a measuring tape in addition to weighing in on the scale. You can also take pictures of yourself at regular intervals and compare your size in the pictures.
The scale is not the only way to measure weight loss! You will eventually see more significant drops on the scale, but right now just enjoy the fact that you are getting healthier and making progress. How you look and feel is what really counts anyway.
10. You have an underlying medical condition that is complicating your weight loss process.
If you know that you are following the Pale Diet correctly, are not eating too much, are exercising in a realistic manner and are still not losing weight on Paleo, there is potentially something bigger happening inside your body. Visit a functional medicine doctor or see a naturopath or functional medicine doctor and ask for a complete workup. Don’t settle for “just eat less and exercise more.” That ISN’T the answer most times. If they are unable to see the reality the “bigger picture” get a new doctor who will take a closer look. Through the right testing, you will either rule out problems or gain more insight into what is holding you back from improving your health.
What Do I Do About It to Lose Weight?
It is difficult when you are making sacrifices and sincerely trying to change your lifestyle yet don’t get the reward that you see everyone else enjoying for their hard work. You may even feel that you work harder than anyone else you know, yet you continually fall behind when it comes to the number on the scale. The best thing you can do is set the frustration aside and start working down the above list one item at a time. (I couldn’t find the answer until I did the full Autoimmune Protocol and found out that eggs and nightshades were causing as many issues as gluten and dairy for me! Who knew?)
1. Make Some Adjustments – Even if you start to lose more weight after making or one or two adjustments, you may want to try other suggestions from the list. There may be more than one problem standing in your way, so you want to find all possible solutions and work them into your lifestyle so that you lose the weight as quickly and healthfully as possible.
2. Study You Eating Patterns – A close analysis of your current eating patterns is an excellent starting point. Keep a food diary for two to four weeks, noting everything you eat, portion sizes, calories, whether it was fresh or packaged and what time of the day you ate. You may even want to add where you were eating and who you were with. This will help you identify patterns.
For instance, you may find that you are overeating every Friday when you meet your best friend for happy hour. Even though you may order a Pale-friendly meal and limit your drinks to one without a lot of sugar, you may find that you end up eating more than you consciously realized due to the company and atmosphere.
You may also find that you have small bad habits to conquer, such as eating leftover food off of your children’s plates while cleaning up after meals. Even those little nibbles and bites can add up.
3. Get a Checkup – If your food diary doesn’t highlight problems or solving those problems doesn’t solve your problem and you are still not losing weight on Paleo, continue with other items on this list until you come to number 10. When that is your only option, it is time to seek a functional doctor’s help.
- What is Wrong with Soy?
- What’s Wrong with Dairy?
- What’s Wrong with Legumes?
- The Paleo Diet Plan – What it is and Why You Should Try It