How to Lose Weight on a Paleo Diet

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how to lose weight on a paleo diet

I went Paleo to Lose Weight

I have to admit that I first started a Paleo diet because I thought it would help me shed the stubborn pounds I had put on during law school (there were a lot of free pizza parties and way too much drinking).

It wasn’t easy for me to lose weight (even on Paleo) because I’ve never been overweight (and so there wasn’t many lbs of fat for me to lose!). In fact, every time I tell people I’m on a diet, I always get the shocked outburst of: “but you’re so skinny, you don’t need to be on a diet!!” But like most people, I get unhappy whenever my clothes started getting tight, and I could always tell (even without a scale) when I had put on weight. The fat always piled on around my stomach first :(

Luckily, I figured out how to shed even the stubborn fat using a Paleo diet!

Of course, as the years went on, I found that Paleo was great for way more than just weight loss, but since so many people want to know the secret of losing weight, I thought I’d share my 5 tips for losing weight on a Paleo diet in this article.

5 Tips for Losing Weight on a Paleo Diet

  1. Cut out ALL SUGARS

    I know that honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and other “paleo sugars” appear in many paleo desserts, but eating foods with any type of sugar will make it harder for you to lose weight – they’re so tasty you just can’t stop eating too much of them. And because sugary foods can be very addictive (I’m the sort of person who can’t have just one cookie), it’s best to give it up altogether when you’re trying to lose weight.

  2. Limit Nut Intake

    Nuts are of course delicious and are Paleo, but they again can easily be overeaten. In particular, many Paleo desserts, breads, etc. contain a lot of nut flours. So, you could easily consume a ton of nuts without even realizing it. Limit nuts to a handful per day when you’re trying to lose weight.

  3. Beware of Fruits

    For the most part, fruits are very nutritious and Paleo. However, some people eat way too many fruits on Paleo (perhaps because fruits are sweet). Also, remember that fruit juices (and for the most part dried fruits) are not really Paleo and should be avoided! If you’re having trouble losing weight on Paleo, then you might want to cut back on fruits.

  4. Sleep at least 7 hours

    Most people don’t realize just how important sleep is for losing weight! For example, a 2009 study linked shortened sleep duration to weight gain, and a 2012 study linked lack of sleep with increased hunger. I personally think that getting enough sleep every night will give you a ton of other benefits too (e.g., my skin gets dramatically clearer when I continuously sleep enough, and I’m able to make better food decisions when I’m not tired).

  5. Don’t Forget to Exercise

    Exercise is a bit of a tough one. Some exercise (especially resistance training) can help speed up weight loss (and help you maintain muscle), but too much exercise can stress your body out too much and could potentially cause you to stall in your weight loss (or could cause you to get injured and therefore make you unable to do any exercise). Mark Sisson has a great rule that you should only do 4,000 calories worth of exercise per week, which I think is good to stick to.

  6. Bonus: Don’t eat Too Little!

    That’s right, you read the heading correctly. Eating too little can stall your weight loss (contrary to popular belief). Your body’s metabolism will down-regulate when you keep eating at a caloric deficit for too long. Try alternating your food intake (eat more some days and less on other days).

What Helped You Lose Weight on Paleo?

Let me know in the comments below what you’ve found to help the most in your paleo weight loss!

Images: photo credit: Maridav.

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{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Paula little February 11, 2014, 6:37 am

    I had a thyroidectomy in Oct 2013. I’m 45 and was told that I had hosimotos an autoimmune disease then a few weeks later told I had Hurthel cell cancer. I agreed to have my thyroid removed and found out weeks later that it was no cancerous. Now I’m dealing with extreme fatigue and I’ve gained approx 20 lbs since October. I’m afraid to step on the scale to see for sure. I use to run 5 and 10 km races and also run 1/2 marathons. Now it takes everything for me to get energy to do anything I just want to sleep. The doctors are playing the lets adjust your medication game and it could take awhile before they find the right dosage. Without a thyroid I basically have no metabolism which makes it very hard to lose weight. I’m hoping by cutting out all the bad carbs and sugars from my diet it will help build up some sort of energy for me. A friend from work was talking about the Paleo diet so I decided to do some research. It looks like something I could do . I’m looking forward to picking up your book later today, cleaning out my cupboards/ fridge and starting my new journey. 30 days to a cleaner healthier me :)

    Reply
  • jessie March 13, 2014, 4:02 pm

    I am exactly the same Louise, I wish I can stop at just one cookie or a small handful of nuts :-( They are absolutely delicious and I am also small built but definitely know it when I put on some weight (easily) Thanks for the tips above, I think food control is really important and I am still trying to find a way to not over-eat on unhealthy or calorie dense food especially dried fruits and nuts (and I eat alot of coconut) I can go through a can of coconut milk a day. Do you reckon that is too much?

    Reply
    • Louise March 14, 2014, 1:51 am

      Hi Jessie – it’s hard to say because it does depend on what else you eat. I would suggest tracking your meals for a few days to see how much fat, protein, carbohydrates (as well as calories) that you’re taking in as we often estimate our own food intake badly. You might also get an idea about your vitamin and mineral intake too, which is really important!

      Reply

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Louise Yang Ancestral Chef

Hi! I'm Louise - I am "beyond gluten-free," grain-free, paleo/primal, a lawyer, an ex-physicist, a cook, a blogger, a Brit living in the US, an ex-violin player, an occasional crossfitter, a mystery book junkie, and of course, I am the Ancestral Chef :) Read my About Me Page for more!

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