It’s a common question. Can you lose weight on the paleo diet? When I tell people, “Yes! You absolutely can follow the paleo diet for weight loss”, they quickly ask the next most popular question. How much weight can you lose on the paleo diet? The answer is not so straightforward.
Rather than give a simple yes or no, I always say that it depends. You can lose as much weight as you want on the paleo diet. The paleo diet isn’t a magic bullet, although it is extremely effective for weight loss. So let’s dive in and look at the best ways for losing weight on paleo.
Can I Lose Weight On The Paleo Diet?
The answer is yes. You can lose weight with paleo. You can also gain weight with paleo. You can also stay the same. You can also lose weight with any number of different diets and there is no one-size-fits-all diet for everybody. The main determining factor in losing weight on any diet is your mindset. Are you committed to the diet? Is the diet something you can follow consistently? If you can’t see yourself making paleo into a lifestyle and enjoying following along, any weight loss might just be temporary.
To get into the nitty gritty, paleo really is supremely effective for weight loss. There are many reasons why this is the case. One of the reasons is that paleo often resembles a low-carb diet because it cuts out candy, grains, wheat and other stuff that our ancestors didn’t eat. When you go low carb and eat high fat and moderate protein, your body will use fat as fuel. This is called ketosis. One of the main benefits of ketosis, aside from feeling great, is that the fat practically melts off your body because the fat is now your body’s fuel.
The biggest caveat to paleo weight loss is that you must understand you can’t simply eat everything in sight just because you are making healthier food choices. Calories do still matter, although you have more wiggle room. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t eat plate after plate of bacon and grass-fed butter and still lose weight. The same principles of weight loss still apply. You must expend more calories than you take in.
How Much Can I Lose?
Again, how much paleo weight loss you can experience is entirely up to you. It also depends how much you have to lose in the first place. If you’re already pretty slim, you won’t lose too much. However, if you’re 80 pounds over weight, you are likely to see a lot of weight come off your body. It’s also important to state that losing too much too fast isn’t always healthy. 1-2 pounds of fat loss per week is a good benchmark. Unless you really have a lot to lose, trying to shed off more than that might not be a good idea.
If you need a ballpark figure about how much you can expect to lose, I can give you my own personal weight loss experience when I jumped into paleo. When I first started paleo, I was around 24 pounds overweight. In the first week, I lost 7 pounds. Obviously a lot of that was water weight. When you eat healthier foods, you stop carrying around so much bloat. And you look better just from that. After that, I managed to lose around 1-2 pounds of fat every week until I was happy with my appearance. I probably could have lost a few more pounds before my progress stalled but I looked and felt great so I decided to maintain from there.
What Are The Best Tips To Lose Weight?
1. Track Calories
First things first, calories matter. The average woman needs to take in around 2,000 calories a day to maintain her weight and around 1,500 calories a day to lose 1lb of fat. A typical man needs 2,500 calories to maintain and 2,000 calories to lose 1lb of fat a week. But we all know that things aren’t always that simple. We all have different metabolic resting rates, activity levels, height and other factors that influence how many calories we need. The best way to measure how many calories you need to lose weight is set a baseline. For example, weigh yourself and set a baseline of 2,000 calories a day for a week. Then weigh yourself again. Now you’re going to take the calories down 250 for another week and measure again. You’ll soon find the sweet spot if you keep tinkering.
2. Intermittent Fasting
Another great tip is to fast everyday. Intermittent fasting is a great tool for shedding the pounds. Basically you choose an 8-hour feeding window and don’t eat, only drink water, during the other times of day. I find that skipping breakfast and lunch to work best. I typically break my fast around 2pm and then enjoy a couple of nice big meals (still within my calorie range). Then I finish eating around 10pm and start the fast again. If you want to learn more about intermittent fasting, I highly recommend you check out Brad Pilon’s fantastic Eat Stop Eat at www.eatstopeat.com.
3. Fasted Cardio
Fasted cardio is a great way to really tap into those fat stores. When you wake up in the morning, before eating breakfast, go for a brisk 30-40 minute walk. Do this 4-5 days a week and the fat will drip off your body. If you want to see fast paleo weight loss, pairing your new healthy eating with cardio on an empty stomach is the way to go.
Paleo Weight Loss Troubleshooting
Paleo diet weight loss isn’t always as simple as people make it out to be. You can feel like you’re doing everything right and yet you’re still not losing weight on paleo. Sometimes you can even experience paleo weight gain, which is incredibly frustrating if it’s not your aim. But don’t worry! If you’re not losing weight on paleo, I’m going to explain how you can blast through the pain barrier and find the solution.
1. You're Not Eating Enough
Yes, believe it or not, if your weight loss has stalled it might be because you’re going to low on the calories. When you cut calories too low too fast, your body goes, “Woah! What the heck is going on?!” And then it goes into survival mode. Better known as fat-storing mode. Track your calories, find out whether you are actually going to low and, if you are, bump your calories up until your fat loss starts again.
2. You're Eating Too Much
Okay, this one is obvious. But this really is a big danger with the paleo diet because many people seem to think that they can gorge on bacon and still lose weight. Again, the solution to this is to track your calories. Keep a food diary or sign up to www.myfitnesspal.com and you’ll be able to see where you’re going wrong. Remember: what gets measured gets managed.
3. You're Measuring The Wrong Weight
Sometimes you just need to forget about the scale. The best measure is often the mirror. The scale might say you’ve gained a pound but you have no idea what that pound could be. It could be muscle. It could be water. It could be anything. Look in the mirror. Are your abs tighter than last week? Are you more vascular? Are you jeans looser? Those are often better indicators than the scale.
TIP: Take Progress Photos
Instead of using the scales, a better way to track your progress is through photos. Here are some tips to do so:
- Set a reminder each week to take a photo.
- Take the photo at the same time of day.
- Take the photo on the same day as well.
- Make sure the circumstances are the same - e.g. location, time)
- Wear the same clothing (crop top/knickers or just shorts)
- Take 1 front shot and 1 side view shot.
- Keep the same posture in each photo.
TIP: Take photos at the same time and day each week wearing the same clothes - this will ensure you can see your weight loss progress.
4. You're Not Exercising
If you’re not losing weight on paleo, it might be because you’re not exercising enough. Many people who start paleo have the mistaken belief that all they have to do is follow the diet and that’s it. It might work for some people but if you’re sitting down all day and shovelling mixed nuts into your mouth, do you really think you’re going to lose weight? Try starting a strength-training regime, taking a dance class, playing tennis with a family member, or going for a jog in the morning. Paleo is more than a diet. It’s a lifestyle.
5. You're Exercising Too Much
This probably isn’t the case for most people but it’s more common than you think. A lot of people want to do everything they can to lose weight. So they run twice a day, both for 40 minutes, and then they will barely eat anything and have a poor night of sleep. Then they wake up and do it all again, this time adding even more exercise into the mix. When you exercise too much, your body often can’t recover quickly enough and your stress hormone remains high all day. And when cortisol is high, your body goes into survival mode and holds onto fat. If you’re exercising too much, try scaling it back to just a couple times a week.
6. You've Got The Wrong Mindset
If you want to know how to lose weight on paleo, you have to understand that paleo isn’t a diet in the traditional sense. Many people think of diets as short-term solutions. They think they just follow the diet for 6-8 weeks and then they can go back to their old ways of eating. This is wrong. If you do that, the weight you lost in the first place will just come back, often with extra pounds. You need to shift your mindset so that you make paleo your default diet. It’s a permanent fixture in your life. Sure, you can cheat a bit from time to time but you must learn how to make paleo enjoyable for you and something you can keep up.
Paleo Weight Loss Success - Amazing Before And After Results
If you needed yet another reason to get stuck into the paleo lifestyle, just check out a few of the many success stories. The paleo before and after stories truly are an inspiration. With a little effort, consistency and determination, you can add your own story to the millions of paleo success stories out there.
After having a heart attack at the young age of 26, Jamison went paleo and lost over 100 pounds in just 7 months. Check out his inspiring story at Primal Palate. He talks about how to structure your paleo diet goals to set yourself up for success.
Anthony D’Amato lost 200 pounds in just one year. Now those are some really insane results and his story shows how powerful mindset is as a weight loss tool and also how easy paleo is as a lifestyle. If you’ve got a long road to walk, Anthony’s story is a must-read.
If you find yourself making a ton of excuses about why you can’t commit to paleo, you have to read Grace’s story. The main reason people don’t even bother with paleo is usually because of money. But Grace lost 50 pounds on a college budget!
Adriaan has lost a staggering 112 pounds since starting his paleo lifestyle. He dropped from a 44-inch waist to a 30-inch waist and went from XXXL shirts to M shirts. He has also got rid of his bad cholesterol, GERD, high blood pressure, depression and more. He is a testament to what commitment to the paleo lifestyle can do.
160 pounds of weight loss in just one year! Those are the crazy results of Debbie who has transformed her life thanks to paleo and is never looking back. The craziest thing of all? Just like so many people, Debbie found it so easy!
100 pounds of weight loss in 9 months! These aren’t atypical stories either. Jeanne’s story mirrors those of so many other incredibly happy people whose lives got better after following the paleo diet.
Another stunning victory where a paleo dieter lost 100 pounds in just 9 months. These aren’t figures to balk at! These are very impressive, yet very achievable results when you follow the paleo diet. John Mack did it without even working out! Read his amazing story here.
Mark’s Daily Apple features Felicia, just one of many stunning paleo weight loss stories. She lost 100 pounds and her entire life changed for the better. It’s truly an inspiring story and we can all relate to Felicia’s struggles. It’s also great to see how simple following a paleo lifestyle made losing weight for her. Read her story here.
Kelly lost 65 pounds and managed to beat her terrible depression. It’s stories like Kelly’s that really show the extent to which losing weight can positively impact all areas of your life. This story also shows just how easy paleo makes losing weight and beating depression. Read the inspiring story at A Girl Worth Saving.
From a size 20 all the way down to a size 8! Kathy’s results, just like many others, make it look easy. But really it just goes to show that the paleo diet is the optimal diet for the human body. When we eat like this, amazing things happen. Read Kathy’s story here.
Inspiring Paleo Blogs
Kate is a personal trainer and holistic nutritionist specializing inhormone healing. Her blog is a fantastic resource for anyone following the paleo lifestyle.
Diane Sanfilippo, author of Practical Paleo, has one of the best paleo blogs around. Just like her great book, her website is filled with tips and recipes that you can utilize today.
Sarah is the founder of Everyday Paleo and her blog is a stunning paleo resource that you can get lost in for hours. Well worth a bookmark!
Liz’s blog feels like an exhaustive resource on the topic of healthy living. It’s not just about eating paleo but everything from skin care routines to pregnancy care.
If you’ve got a family and you’re trying to get them to live an effortless paleo lifestyle, Emily’s friendly and helpful blog is one you have to read.
Women have their own unique challenges when following the paleo lifestyle and it can often been difficult to find specific advice. Thankfully, Stefani’s blog explores them all.
One of my personal favorites with great pictures, recipes and advice. I highly recommend you check out the Nom Nom Paleo book as well.
Another one of my personal favorites. I love the layout and the personal yet comprehensive information that Steve provides. Perfect for anyone and not just the Nerds.
Robb has some of the best paleo books around and his blog is similarly an outstanding paleo resource. It’s another one you should definitely bookmark.
Jackie’s blog is a wonderful resource for helping you feed your family well on the paleo diet.
Mark’s website truly feels like an endless resource. I love the forum, his books and his amazing articles. Definitely another personal favorite.
For anyone looking for a ton of great paleo recipes and lots of skin and hair care tips, Arsy’s blog is a must-read.
Kenzie’s blog truly celebrates everything modern paleo is. Her blog is stuffed with fantastic pointers and recipes.
No list of the best paleo blogs would be complete without Dr. Loren Cordain’s great website. His blog is every bit as helpful as his wonderful books.
If you’re a foodie, you simply have to follow Juli’s blog. The pictures alone will make your mouth water.
Irena’s website is a fantastic place to find out how to follow a delicious paleo diet on a budget.
Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s blog is another one of my favorites. Her website is every bit as wonderful and helpful as her fantastic books.
Meg, the Modern Paleo Midwife, shares her practical tips for how to eat paleo in every trimester of pregnancy.
Losing weight on paleo can be extremely achievable and fun as long as you do the right things. Consult the guide written above if you’re having any trouble and make sure you visit a few of the recommend blogs and pick up some favorites. This should make it as easy as possible for you to see paleo weight loss success. Good luck!