Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
6 Mar

9 More Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

scale2A few years back, I wrote an article explaining 17 possible reasons why you’re not losing weight. It was a troubleshooting guide of sorts, aimed at helping people identify some of things they may be doing (or not doing) that’s causing their stalled fat loss. The etiology of obesity and weight gain is multifactorial, and can be complex. Additionally, we’re all unique human beings. So it can be difficult to pin down one simple cause – or even seventeen simple causes. While unwanted fat loss comes effortlessly to most people that eat according to the Primal eating strategy – as the success stories and hundreds of thousands of positive user experiences indicate – sometimes we inadvertently sabotage our best efforts, stray from best practices, or don’t fully grok what we need to do to become efficient fat-burners. So let’s take a look at nine more possible reasons, shall we?

1. You’re engaging in too much mindless eating.

If you asked most people what made them overweight in the first place, it was that sneaky, tricky combination of eating and, well, doing everything else but focus on the food. It’s eating while watching TV. It’s eating while driving (I’ve seen a man eat a bowl of cereal on the 405). It’s eating while cooking (not tasting to stay abreast of the dish; full-on eating). It’s popcorn at the movies. It’s beer and wings and more beer during the game. In other words, it’s mindless eating. Eating that feels like breathing, like something you just do. You take a few chews, rarely enough to qualify as real mastication, and down the hatch it goes, with a follow-up handful close on its heels. Since increased frequency of eating (i.e. mindless eating or snacking) is strongly associated with the United States’ steadily increasing average energy intake, it’s plausible that mindless eating leads to eating more food.

Be more mindful when you eat; practice mindful eating. Eat food with others, sit down to dinner, take the time to appreciate the food you’re eating. Just because you’re scarfing down grass-fed beef and pastured eggs doesn’t mean you can get away with mindless consumption.

2. You’re eating too many “pleasure foods.”

Paul Jaminet really has a knack for coining phrases, doesn’t he (“safe starch,” anyone?)? A lesser known one is “pleasure foods.” These are things like nuts, dark chocolate, and raw honey – all foods that have gotten the stamp of Primal approval in the past, all foods that are calorically-dense and easy to overeat. This is hard to grasp, because these foods also confer some health benefits. Nuts are rich sources of micronutrients like magnesium, vitamin E, and selenium, and multiple studies suggest that nuts help weight loss. Dark chocolate got an entire post devoted to its impressive polyphenol content (and its fatty acid profile isn’t too bad, either), while honey is quite possibly the best sweetener around. At the very least, it and its bevy of bee-related compounds outperform other sweeteners like maple syrup and plain sugar and result in fewer metabolic issues. All that said, these foods are delicious, packed with calories, and can be overeaten, particularly because they have the reputation as “health foods.”

If you’re not losing weight, moderate your intake of these foods.

3. You’re eating too little.

It’s well-established that prolonged dieting – taking in fewer calories than your body expends – will eventually lead to a downregulation in the basal metabolic rate. This is simple stuff, really. Reducing your food intake will lower your body weight, usually, but it’s not a simple matter of dropping them lower and lower as you lose weight. The body isn’t a passive thing that you’re merely adding to and subtracting from. Instead, it’s a living, breathing, reacting, adapting entity that responds to the lowered caloric input by lowering its energy expenditure. Since you can’t lose weight forever (you’re not just going to waste away into nothingness), perpetually lowering your caloric intake will eventually work against your desire to lose weight.

Instead of sitting at a chronic caloric deficit, consider cycling your caloric intake. Eat less one day, more the next. You might also look into periodic refeeds, which may be able to kickstart a stalled weight loss.

4. You’re under “hidden stress.”

In the previous article, I explained how stress can make us gain weight, or stop losing it. Cortisol – which we release as a part of the stress response – inhibits weight loss, catabolizes muscle, worsens insulin resistance, and promotes the storage of fat. Although back then I was referring to the obvious sources of stress in our lives, like bills, traffic, jobs we hate, bosses we hate, relationship strife, there are other “hidden” types of stressors that result in the very same physiological responses as obvious stressors cause. Foremost among the hidden stressors is the lack of nature exposure. In the literature, researchers often speak of “forest bathing,” or spending a day or two or three in a forest setting to reduce cortisol, enhance immune function, and improve glucose tolerance. I prefer to look at this a different way. Instead of nature exposure being a positive anti-stress agent, urban living is an active stressor. Spending a day in the woods is a return to normalcy rather than an “intervention.”

If you’re not doing this already, take a day or two out of the week to get outside, preferably amongst unkempt, wild nature. It needn’t be a forest or a craggy cliff. The beach, the desert, or even a park will do just fine. In a pinch, you can even listen to nature sounds and look at nature scenes on your computer.

5. You’re too focused on diet to the exclusion of all else.

When you realize the wool that’s been pulled over the collective eyes of society regarding nutrition, it’s easy to become obsessed with your newfound knowledge. It’s easy to stay up late, night in, night out, perusing nutrition blogs, reading comment sections, devouring PubMed articles. You’ll hear about some arcane but totally essential nutrient and think that it’s the Answer. Am I getting enough magnesium? What about boron – I need some boron, right? How about vitamin A? Should I go for the preformed retinol or rely on the conversion from beta-carotene? Should I drive fifty miles out of town to get goose liver, or should I just take a vitamin K2 supplement and call it a day? Choline – that’s the stuff! Nothing but liver and egg yolks from here on out!

Diet is the obvious primary arbiter of body composition, but there’s more to life than worrying about what you put in your mouth. It’s counterintuitive, and there aren’t any randomized controlled trials showing it, but you might have more success just enjoying life, getting some exercise, and hanging out with good people instead of micromanaging your nutrient intake. Relax.

6. You’re getting too much exercise.

Although regular exercise is a necessary component of a healthy lifestyle, and smart training that includes lifting heavy things, walking lots, and sprinting occasionally can speed weight loss and improve body composition, there is such a thing as too much exercise. After all, effective exercise is effective because it’s stressful, because it challenges our physiology and propels us to rise to the occasion and improve ourselves by getting stronger, faster, and with more lean mass and less body fat. Taken to the extreme, exercise becomes a chronic stressor and a steady source of cortisol release (which as we discussed above makes us insulin resistant and promotes the accumulation of belly fat). Chronic stress in any form can also induce a hypothyroid-like state, where metabolic rate is lowered and weight loss slows or stops altogether, and exercise-induced chronic stress is no different.

Try to stick to the 4,000 calories a week (soft) limit, especially if you find your weight loss stalling.

7. Your macronutrients and training are mismatched.

For most people who stay reasonably active, doing lots of low-level movement as well as some lifting, a low-carb Primal way of eating is generally the most effective way to lose body fat. It tastes good, it’s easy to stick to, and, most importantly, it works. But some people like to push the envelope. They like waking up early and going for a run, then coming home at night and hitting the weights. They’re avid CrossFitters. They like seeing how far their bodies can go. They’re concerned with performance, above all else, and they want to maximize every last drop of physicality their bodies can muster. In that case, more dietary carbs are probably called for – especially if they’re trying to lose weight at the same time. Certain activities just require glycogen. I do plenty of activities that use up glycogen, but I’m not doing them day in, day out, so I don’t need to eat a lot of carbs.

If you are, if you’re doing WODs every day and playing in a basketball league on the weekends and doing jiujitsu twice a week, you’ll need to replenish those glycogen stores more often or else risk that chronically-stressed state that stops weight loss.

8. Your eating schedule is too disordered.

I tend to get hungry at different times throughout the day, and I have no issues eating meals at different intervals depending on when hunger strikes. That seems to be pretty typical. Although many Primal eaters relish the freedom from having to keep snacks on hand in order to stave off hunger and enjoy the fact that they can skip a meal or two and just rely on their hunger signals, there is a considerable amount of evidence that maintaining a regular eating schedule can improve the metabolic response to meals in some people. Women in particular seem to benefit most from a “regular meal pattern.” In one study of lean women, an “irregular” meal pattern resulted in lower postprandial energy expenditure than a regular meal pattern. In another study, lean women who ate meals on a regular schedule had better insulin sensitivity and improved blood lipids. And in one other study of healthy obese women, regular mealtimes increased postprandial thermogenesis, insulin sensitivity, and blood lipids.

Sometimes, you might need a little order to your eating, whether you’re IFing or not. And that’s totally fine.

9. You’re actually at a healthy weight and your body is “keeping” you from dropping any more.

I know, I know: your body is a huge jerk and he says mean things to you. But sometimes the body knows best. Sometimes, our current body composition is where we’re supposed to be, even if we only have a four or a two-pack (or none at all). Recall the natural bodybuilder who, upon dropping from 14.8% body fat to 4.5%, also dropped his metabolic rate, his body temperature, his heart rate, his testosterone levels, and his moodiness. Recall that women deposit fat differently than men and actually need some body fat for optimum fertility and health. Instead of obsessing over a few more percentage points on the body fat scale, think about how good you’re feeling, how your health issues have cleared up, and how you enjoy movement more. And if you want to alter your body composition, focus on addition – lifting heavy things, sprinting – rather than subtraction. You might be right where you’re supposed to be.

One final point: Note that I’m not saying eating too few calories or exercising too much or focusing too much on diet to the exclusion of all else will make you gain weight. I’m saying that it can lead to or exacerbate a stall in your weight loss. It’s a small distinction, but an important one.

That’s it for today, folks. Anything look familiar? Anything jump out at you? What have I forgotten? Be sure to skim the last article after reading this one to make sure it’s not something I’ve already covered.

Thanks for reading!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I especially love #9. I huge turning point for my life was accepting that I am never going to weigh 100 pounds. I’m 5′ 7″ and have a… “solid” build. My life has been radically happier since I stopped focusing on being lean and started focusing on being healthier and more accepting of my body. Which coincidentally, led me to be leaner ;) Well would you look at that!

    Susie wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Also… don’t forgot to mention that you can climb a rope and do pullups.

      Two things only people who are healthy and fit can do!

      bjjcaveman wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Susie – way to be! I can definitely relate. I’m 5’7″ as well and also have a “solid” build. Sometimes I get caught up comparing myself to my much thinner (read: twiggy) friends, but when I really look at what I’m doing in Crossfit and Paleo, I feel better knowing that as long as I’m happy and treating my body right, I will get lean and be just right for me.

      Also, you were the first to comment on both of the new articles I read today (here and PaleOMG). Small world!

      Sarah wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Susie, where are you? I want to meet you. I think you are beautiful.

      Steve wrote on May 27th, 2014
  2. Right on with number four. The more you align yourself with nature’s intention (specifically spending lots of time outside and eating well), the less you’ll need to worry about any sort of number on a scale.

    Paul wrote on March 6th, 2013
  3. It can be hell when you’re metabolically broken!

    Groktimus Primal wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • It leaves you diabolically shaken.

      Nocona wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • I agree. I have Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin Resistance, PCOS, Fatty Liver Disease and High Cholesterol. I am totally BORKED! lol It’s gonna take me eons to fix all the wrong.

      Bella Porter wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • I hear ya. I don’t have Fatty Liver, but everything else. I’m in a bad place now, but I’ve seen really good results on Paleo/Primal. So good, that I have gotten pregnant, gained 70lbs, and had to start over again while sleep-deprived and taking care of an infant… Twice now… But I know it works!

        It takes about a month for my fertility signs to improve, and three months for my lipids to improve. I can pretty much count on feeling like a different person five months in, even if I am still obese. Just being on the trajectory to better health feels pretty great, even though the finish line may be another 18 months off.

        em wrote on March 10th, 2013
        • My wife was the only one out of the women she works with that kept up her production of milk after going back to work and losing weight. She is now leaner and fitter than prepregnancy by figuring out she needed 2500-2800 calories a day. All the other women had to switch to formula and haven’t lost their “baby”. All the older women tolder her she would never have a flat stomach again. She proved them wrong.

          dan wrote on March 12th, 2013
      • I have PCOS and after 3 years of Metformin, Spirinolactone & Yaz, I decided to heal myself through paleo/primal and natural anti-androgen supplements. My menses returned after quitting the meds and eating a bit better. But I struggle with continuing to exercise and eating primal all the time, I fall off frequently, but am still trying, but when I’m paleo/primal I feel so much better and trimmer. Hang in there.

        Maritza wrote on March 17th, 2013
    • Nora Gedgaudas’ book “Primal Body, Primal Mind” is very good at sorting out all this stuff. And yes, Bella Porter, it is icky to be ‘broken’, but Gedgaudas has pointers on how to make the fix happen. I highly recommend the book. It’s been helpful for me, anyway.

      Mary Anne wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • I second your recommendation. Nora’s book has been enormously helpful to me. It’s extremely well written and researched.

        Sabrina wrote on March 6th, 2013
  4. I think #4 is the biggie for me right now. Living in Ohio means I don’t get much outdoor time during the winter. I did get a nice workout this morning though, 30 minutes of shoveling heavy, wet snow from my drive way had me work up a good sweat. Not much sun exposure though.

    The wife and I like to take walks and we have a ‘Rails to Trails’ pathway we use when it gets nicer out. Can’t wait to be able to have our daily walks again. Since the path was a former rail line it is pretty well isolated from civilization (mounds and hedges/bushes/shrubs/etc line it when in town) and when we get outside our little burb it is out amongst the farm fields. I find it very relaxing.

    HilliardJoe wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • HilliardJoe,

      It could also just be from generic stress — I also don’t get much sunlight (especially in the winter), but I know that my stress levels tend to run pretty high.

      I think I need to move to the country haha.

      Rob Wolf cleverly called stress/lack of sleep (and the resulting cortisol increase) “cock blocking your fat loss.”

      Don’t think I ever forgot that, hahha.

      Alexander wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • My sister used to choose to watch The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Dwayne The Rock Johnson guest-starred in an episode and the twins’ mom was coming onto him. Somebody did something to interrupt/intervene .. I just remember the general idea .. and then I wholeheartedly took the chance to exclaim, “She’s a rock blocker!”
        Only laugh I got was a soundless neurotransmitter one in my own head. As long as we meet our own personal standards of clever, the brain can putter on happily enough, even if our etymological eruptions are corny.. or a kernel zeiny.

        Animanarchy wrote on March 14th, 2013
    • That is a great path…know that and the park well, too. I had a similar workout today, shoveling that heavy whit stuff. I just kept telling myself that it was good I was lifting heavy stuff and later my daughter and I played in the snow and pretended we were cavemen. :)
      Mark’s post was very timely for me today!, I need to pay attention to several of the points…

      TeresaG wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • I also live in Ohio and have to echo your statement. It’s been friggin cold lately! I can’t take my normal lunch time walks outside!

      bjjcaveman wrote on March 6th, 2013
  5. Is this your way of responding to my forum posts? lol :)

    PaleoMom wrote on March 6th, 2013
  6. I fundamentally disagree with glycogen need. Glycogen can be depleted if you are active for a long period of time, but even during a marathon, strict removal of all carbs (experimental) has been shown to INCREASE blood glucose during a race.How? If no carbs are eaten? The human body makes what it needs from fat. Yes, your body produces the blood sugar you need as long as you are an efficient fat burner. Just agree to disagree Mark.

    Dr Jason wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • I definitely jack up the sweet potato and fruit intake after resistance/strength/lifting sessions, but I’m with you on the endurance side–I can easily go for lengthy mountain bike rides in a fasted state and be completely comfortable just burning fat. My general rule of thumb is post lifting, more carbs, less fat, resting or running/walking/biking/swimming, more fat, less carbs. I’ve leaned up big time that way.

      Graham wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • The human body cannot convert fat into energy quickly enough for it to be a primary source of energy if the exercise is intense enough. Don’t get energy quickly enough, your brain and muscles start to decrease performance.

      I’d be interested to see who these marathoners were in the studies. I’ve known many a marathoner who felt sluggish, then turned to some quick glucose and immediately felt significantly more energetic.

      ben wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • I find this interesting, I was gaining weight despite following a pretty strict food diet. I had not watched my blood sugars since I was pregnant so for curiosity I went out and bought a meter and some test strips. I found my blood sugars were HIGH and it was from not eating enough, after any type of excersize my numbers would climb to the 150 range and sometimes in the morning it was in the 150 range, NOT GOOD! So now I started watching my numbers there coming back down to the 80-100 range where they should be and once in a while a 70. I have learned a great deal in the last two weeks just carrying a glucose meter and I still am learning. I have to force myself to eat more and I find even vegetables can quickly cause a quick increase in glucose numbers so for now I am eating them sparingly. Hopefully I can start losing some weight once I get my numbers in line.

        rdzins wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Completely agree. Our body will supply us with the glycogen we need without an extrinsic supply. I carb deplete before triathlons and wod daily with a paleo/primal diet. I feel great, am in the best physical and mental state of my life, and throwing my hat in the ring for the worldwide crossfit open. No carb loading/supplementing needed.
      E. daniels PA-C

      E. Daniels PA-C wrote on March 8th, 2013
  7. I love these posts! This is something I work on with my clients – if they haven’t been losing weight after making lifestyle changes, we look to the hidden reasons they might be stalled. One thing I wanted to mention that can also inhibit weight loss are medications. I have a couple of clients of anti-depressants and that can have an impact as well.

    You have hit the nail on the head with this post as well as your previous one!

    Thanks so much for the blog,
    Cortney Chaite

    Cortney wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Just from some personal observations, it seems many (most??) behavior or mood improving drugs encourage fat formation.

      Amy wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • You are right in some cases. I would stay away from the topic unless you have a lot of experience with psychiatric medications. People make all kinds of comments and assumptions without really having any first hand experience or knowledge. Furthermore, it would be terrible to encourage someone to go off a specific medication to lose weight. This should only be considered within the care of a Dr. You have no idea what kind of damage that could do to their emotional well being. I’m saying all this because I have first hand experience and am extremely fit and active and eat primally despite being on a medication that people claim to gain weight on. Everybody is different.

        BV wrote on March 6th, 2013
        • I was making an observation based on extensive personal contact with the mental ill and 2 very close family members. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t encouraging anyone to ditch their medication just to lose weight. ;) What interested me mostly is the inter-connection between drugs that alter mental states and metabolism.

          Amy wrote on March 6th, 2013
        • My personal experience with depression and with severely dysfunctional friends and family members with personality disorders and mood instability disorders corroborates Chris Kresser’s research and clinical experience. He’s done a whole series on depression at http://chriskresser.com/depression , and he concludes that there’s almost never justification for prescribing anti-depressants. So yeah, I think anybody who takes them is extremely naieve and very lazy, frankly; there are other, free, better options for treating depression than pills.

          On the other hand, there’s plenty of evidence in favor of prescribing anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers for people like Bipolars/manic depressives, Borderlines, Schizophrenics, etc, who are a danger to themselves and others. So yeah, sometimes pills are the way to go. Most psych meds are a harmful scam, though.

          JulieB wrote on March 7th, 2013
        • Julie B, that’s a little harsh don’t you think? Calling people who are on antidepressents lazy? I can buy the naive, because I was on Prozac for 15 years before I found a natural doctor who got me off of it. People in the mainstream are told what to do by their doctors and believe them becasue it’s what you are supposed to do. It’s only when you find someone who knows different that you can take action.

          Cindy wrote on March 7th, 2013
        • But also, weight gain is listed in the drug monographs as a side effect of many psychotropic drugs, including, I believe, all the SSRIs and MAOIs, most of the tricyclics, and Xanax.

          It’s not a judgement. It’s just a fact.

          em wrote on March 10th, 2013
  8. Regarding #9 … depending on what weight chart you look at, I am 20-50 lbs overweight (42 yo female). I am clinically obese, with a body fat percentage probably in the upper 30s, maybe lower 40s. My weight is stable, however, I’m healthier than almost everyone I know, and I’m a lot stronger than people think I should be – I’ve got some freaky serious strength in my quads, in particular – quads that are covered in cellulite and spider veins.

    But in spite of my health, what person could honestly tell me that I look good naked? With back fat, bat wings, a very big tummy paunch, and the aforementioned cellulite and spider veins. My “healthy weight” is also an unattractive one.

    It is not possible to reconcile even a reasonable expectation regarding what’s considered attractive in women versus how I actually look. But yeah, I’m healthy.

    womanon wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • 1) Are you healthy? How do you know it? Could you be healthier? Health/wellness is not a yes/no, it’s a scale.

      2) Could you be stronger? More mobile?

      I’m not going to push at all for you to lose weight to be more attractive. Obviously, I’m a random person, and what I say shouldn’t matter to you. I’m simply curious what your point is. If you lose 20 lbs., or if you became more attractive, would it make you less happy, less strong, less healthy?

      Also, would someone 35 pounds overweight would have a body refusing to let it lose weight? You may not NEED to lose weight, but with 20-50 lbs. extra, the body wouldn’t be fighting weight loss.

      me wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • While it is good that you feel healthy, just because your weight is stable doesn’t mean you are necessarily at the lowest healthy weight for your body. I’d say that you could still lose some weight, but I say that without any knowledge of whatever hells you’ve afflicted upon yourself trying to kickstart the fat burning again.

      Charles wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Taking good care of yourself is the most important goal so if you feel great, that’s what matters. Everything else is secondary.

      Grok on!

      Susie wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • I’m right there with ya! I do not deny that I’m “obese” by the numbers (5’8-1/2″ and 200#, but I work out as much as my 60 yr old body will permit with arthritic knees and hips, and VERY weak ankles, and I swim a minimum of 1/2 mile daily when Michigan weather allows me to use my outdoor pool. I also have thyroid disease, which I insist is a silent and permanent foil to weight loss. I have recently changed to Paleo eating, and consider myself in the transition stages. I’m tired of beating myself up mentally and emotionally because I don’t “measure up” to our American standard of fit, healthy and gorgeous. I am who I am. A favorite quote of mine is “All you can do is all you can do, but all you can do is enough.” (Art Williams, Jr.) Amen.

      Lynn wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • I remember a few years ago my sister said to me, “I know I’m overweight but I’m healthy!” She then expounded on how most people she knows get sicker, and she’s fit and strong etc. and yet, just a couple of months later she was diagnosed with type II diabetes.

      I’m not saying you’re NOT healthy, but just feeling healthy and being physically strong, and not getting sick with colds and flus etc. doesn’t mean there aren’t other problems you may have related to being overweight.

      (For the record I’m overweight too, and need to lose a good 20+ lbs… and I also consider myself “healthy” but I try not to delude myself that everything’s 100% perfect internally).

      Fiona wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Health also includes mental health. This paragraph doesn’t suggest particularly carefree body image. :(

      My aunt and father have been at a “stable” and are obese weight, too. My father in particular is very strong and health despite the layer of fat. But he’s not really happy because there’s stuff he can’t do and hates having his picture taken. (Which pains me because I don’t see him as “fat man” — I see my Dad.)

      From personal experience on the “overweight but healthy” front, the cellulite goes away when you eat and exercise right. Your body will never be perfect, but it can be much closer to your mind’s eye if you commit to the lifestyle. You don’t need to “make peace” with what’s making you unhappy if you don’t want to.

      Amy wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • I dont know… ive kind of accepted that im going to b slightly overweight forever. Last year i started at 232, lost a lot of weight and for 5 months ive been sitting between 159 and 165. Im healthy and fit. I eat well and my crossfit times are at the top 5 of our group. Im strong. I have a “solid” build but 165 is not where i want to b. My bf% is 31. Id like to see my weight at 145 and bf 25%. And this belly has got to go!!

      heather wrote on March 7th, 2013
    • Well, I mainly posted to just whinge about being overweight and therefore (based on popular culture) unattractive, while eating better and being stronger and healthier than I ever have in my life. I’d bet a big chunk of change that I’m even healthier than most of the young women I see who would be considered hot (hotness supposedly correlating to health, which in my experience often does not!). It’s just hard to reconcile that I am putting considerable effort into being healthy yet I can’t claim to be physically attractive.

      Life’s just not fair … I know that.

      Thanks for your replies, everyone.

      womanon wrote on March 7th, 2013
    • You could try following a Leptin-reset protocol. Sean Croxton (among others) has a good video about how leptin controls your body’s weight “set point”, and how everyone who is considered “overweight” likely has some degree of leptin resistance. Sean’s “Leptin: fat loss for smart people” video is a good starting point if you’re interested!

      Chaz wrote on March 8th, 2013
  9. I’m at #9 and happier than hell about it. I float between 195 and 198. I have a good system in place with my eating and exercise habits….if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. I’ll have to make a couple changes shortly when I start running every other day again. But, until then I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing.

    Bryan wrote on March 6th, 2013
  10. In regards to number 2. I remember hearing some good advice (was more in regards to conventional junk food) but might still have some merit.

    Eat that food at your table. Take the time to sit and enjoy it. Particularly true if you’re using the 80/20 rule. Pretty easy to mow through a bag of cheetahs on th couch and not realize your getting more than your 20.

    Luke DePron wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • I’m usually done after one cheetah, much less a bag.

      Charles wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • Ah, thanks for that laugh out loud chuckle! Hilarious visual. :)

        Happy Paleo Girl wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • Too funny!

        Cheralyn wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • I too love mowing down cheetahs. There is nothing more primal than killing animals. The rush! I had to pay off the Botswananian game official with a rhino horn to go over the 1 cheetah limit. Now if only I could get some bolts for my river boat!

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • lol this!

        Tonya wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • Rivets, not bolts. Tough getting old.

        Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • The 20 cheetah bag limit is ruining African couch hunting.

        Charles wrote on March 6th, 2013
  11. #6! I feel like over exercising has become popular, and not just for people who are doing excessive cardio. I’ve even seen crossfit gyms lately promoting hard workouts 5-6 days a week.

    Dani wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Now we have “insanity” and other trends that are confusing, even to those of us who are no stranger to exercise. I do remember being my fittest and smallest when I did heavy workouts most days of the week, so the various messages are a bit confusing.

      Carla wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • But, was fittest and smallest healthiest? You can pretty much beat your body into submission with exercise. Work through nervous system overload and fatigue to get the results you want, at the expense of health/well-being, and diminishing returns.

        me wrote on March 6th, 2013
        • You definitely have a point there, LOL. Though it was just a few years ago I was at a different point in my life – I didn’t have (or wasn’t symptomatic) MS at the time. There’s no way I could do that now and I still do a LOT.

          Carla wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Dani.. Agree 100%.

      My girlfriend is the latest to get suckered into this overexercising culture, even though she only sleeps 5 hours a night.

      I keep trying to tell her that exercise isn’t going to do much when she is chronically sleep deprived, but she’s a stubborn one. Too much time listening to bodybuilders and people passing on BS.

      Alexander wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • This is true… when I started CrossFit I was going three times a week which I thought was more than enough for an overweight, unfit person… and now I go 4 times a week (to allow time for rest, and also because I do roller derby and I don’t want to overtrain), and I do feel that there’s this “push” to train every day they’re open rather than taking some time off each week.

      Fiona wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Crossfit has always pushed a 3 days on/1 day off schedule as far as I know. The founder is into “elite athleticism”. I assume working your athletes like crazy is the way there, I have no idea.

      When I started out, I tried to do their schedule as closely as possible (thinking that would also be effective for my more modest goals.) I was cranky and overtired a lot. With time, I also noticed that when I took significant amount of time off, I would come back the same or stronger. (There’s not much in the online community that discusses the importance of rest other than the 1 day.)

      Hitting this site pulled together all my personal observations on exercise. (I had also known of a few folks who only exercised hard once or twice a week a point of principal, but I had dismissed it as “not enough”.)

      If the point of Crossfit is to stay fit for life, my experience suggests reversing 3 days on/1 day off recommendation. Currently, I do a full Crossfit type work out (the Warm-Up plus some specific full body/old school weightlifting) 1 day with 3 days off. So roughly 2 times a week if I’m doing it right.

      The 3 days on/1 day off business meant (for me anyway) that Crossfit was the only “sport” (ran out of time) and that I wouldn’t have any energy to do anything fun anyway. Finding MDA seriously put some fun back into exercise. :)

      Amy wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • Very good idea, customizing your Crossfit attendance. We’re all different.

        Personally, I’m on a 5-days-off/1-day-on exercise schedule, and that’s +/- 2 days! Even when I was in college (40 years ago), I didn’t lift or run more than 2x a week. This was not from some fitness superiority, but just from a longer neccessary recovery period (the second day after a workout was a killer.)

        Does the CrossFit gym get paid more, the more often you go?

        BillP wrote on March 6th, 2013
        • I’m not part of a CrossFit gym but usually no – it’s a flat fee from what I’ve seen. Occasionally punch cards, but it’s not the usual thing either. (I’m a DIY because at first there were no CrossFit gyms near me and then I couldn’t justify the cost once I knew how to do it.)

          Amy wrote on March 7th, 2013
  12. This winter is killing me! Mindless eating is so easy to do when it’s too cold/wet/miserable/dark to get outside and enjoy oneself. :(

    I have put on a few (just a couple, but still…) thanks to my love for almonds and dark chocolate and my utter boredom waiting for winter to *go away*.

    Come spring, I’ll have lots of action to keep me busy, but waiting for it without over eating the “paleo comfort foods” is nearly impossible.

    Sarah wrote on March 6th, 2013
  13. I can relate to #3 all too well. I went from consuming too little to just enough and more and dropping inches within a couple of weeks after increasing my food intake. I do recall being my smallest when I ate the *most* food (especially a high amount of good fat ironically enough).

    Carla wrote on March 6th, 2013
  14. Here’s what works for me: No sweets (either artificial or otherwise), no grains of any kind, no snacking. Eat breakfast late in the a.m. and dinner early in the p.m.

    I never had to lose a lot of weight, but I recently eliminated all grains and grain products in the hope that it would eliminate a flare-up of IBS–which it did do astonishingly well. In the process I lost the last 10 or 15 pounds I needed to lose.

    I eat various types of protein and low or moderately low glycemic veggies plus a little whole fresh fruit, such as a small banana or a handful of blueberries. I do eat some starchy vegetables; I just don’t eat them every day. My drink of choice is water with lemon or unsweetened green tea. I also tend to eat smaller portions now but I don’t get hungry. In fact I frequently have to remind myself to eat.

    A lot of people will say this is too restrictive, too paleo, too low-carb, too boring, etc. For sure, it’s classic Atkins without really trying. It helps a lot that I actually like to eat this way. When my GI tract is happy, I’m happy.

    Hint: Get rid of the sweets first, including stevia, xylitol, whatever. Then work on eliminating the grains. They’re all a huge stumbling block in any effort to lose weight.

    Shary wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Shary –

      These are all really good points. But you said you never really had to lose a lot of weight.. so I suspect your journey is going to be a little bit different from someone who was never healthy (for example).

      If you’ve lived a relatively healthy lifestyle your whole life, you can probably get away with a lot more than someone who hasn’t.

      I’m with you on the “When my GI tract is happy, I’m happy — hahaha.

      IBS Breathren, unite. Sigh..

      Alexander wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • Alexander, you’re right. Weight loss wasn’t my priority. I eliminated sweets because, for me, they are very addictive, and I was concerned that I might become diabetic. I eliminated grains because of the IBS-D I’ve had off and on for several years. I don’t worry about fats; I know I get plenty. I don’t eat seeds or nuts right now because I’m still in the process of healing my plumbing.

        That said, I do think that this type of low carb, quasi-Atkins eating plan would work for most people needing to lose a lot of weight. One advantage is that the weight comes off rapidly, whereas most diets take forever to show results and people get discouraged.

        Shary wrote on March 6th, 2013
        • Hey- it doesn’t sound like you’re particularly low carb -Atkins with all the fruit intake.

          Sonia wrote on March 6th, 2013
        • Sonia, I guess I wasn’t specific enough. I said I eat “a little” whole fresh fruit. That doesn’t mean I eat a lot of fruit or that I eat it every day. In view of the fact that I eat zero sweets and zero grains, the carb amounts I do eat average out to be very low. Even on the original Atkins diet you don’t have to avoid fruit indefinitely

          Shary wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • Alexander – You are so right. I have PCOS/insulin resistance and gluten intolerance so weight loss has always been an uphill climb for me. We all have a different load to bear.

        Carla wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • I love MDA and Primal eating, but after my last pregnancy and gestational diabetes, I needed to look at Atkins because I was still consuming too many carbs for weight loss. Primal alone gave me too many options for over eating. I needed to lose about 30 pounds total. Atkins has really helped me get a better picture of what I eat and why I eat since it strips it down so much. Primal keeps it healthy. Using a combination of the two works best for me in the weight loss department.

      Dee wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • Dee – Yes, totally. Dr. Atkins focus on weight loss (and his work with messed up metabolisms) really is outstanding. He designed a weight loss diet that works.

        Doing it Primally keeps you out of the Atkins bars/shake world, which was always the sketchiest part.

        The amount of carbs *do* count, as well as portions, as well as the kind of food you’re eating. People seem to really want one “simple” trick (all Paleo, all calorie counting, all low carb, etc) to weight loss. Depending on who are, it’s just not that simple.

        Amy wrote on March 6th, 2013
        • I was gaining weight eating paleo. After buying a glucose meter I could see even eating a few vegetables would send my numbers above the comfortable zone, and when I would go along time without eating it was the same thing, so no fasting for me at this point. I have found that I was not eating enough, and when my blood sugar was high in the morning it quickly came down with some bacon and eggs. So I find 1 carb will raise my glucose by 5 points. So yes they definitely count. Years of screwed up metabolism of not eating, low fat, high carb you name it takes a toll on the body, now hopefully I can turn that around.

          rdzins wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • @rdzins – What kind of vegetables were you eating that raised your blood sugar? was it greens or more colorful veggies? (peppers, carrots, squash, etc)

        Carla wrote on March 6th, 2013
        • I was eating spinach and s mostly greens, I cut out the onions because they seemed to be more of the culprits. I think once I get my numbers in line, and hopefully lose a little weight I can bring them back in to the picture.

          rdzins wrote on March 7th, 2013
    • I wish I could eliminate sweets as easy as I eliminated grains! When I first discovered Paleo and primal eating (being 27 yo) I was shocked and relieved at the same time: all my childhood and early teen years I was the “weird” kid who’d only want to eat the salad, meat/fish on the plate and refuse to touch the rice/wheat/pasta/bread/etc. Even with cakes I just scooped the cream with a spoon and left the buscuit layers untouched – must have been fun for my parents thing back now :-) Needless to say that all those years everybody from my parents and other family members to school and dance teachers/coaches/fellow students/friends tried their best to ‘fix’ that in me. I was always told how I was ‘not doing it right’ and how “unhealthy” it was. Unfortunately, they somewhat won (what can a kid or even a 17/18 year old do when adults are supposed to know it better!) But even though, I kind of ate all those things (esp. during my vegetarian try: all those brown rice things, quinoa, buckwheat, etc.) I always ‘couldn’t care less’ about anything that was grains. So dropping them all at once was the easiest and happiest thing to do. But how can I drop all those Parisian macarons, chocolates, home-made meringues, ice-cream, brown-sugar-marzipan, home-made matcha cookies (of course, I put sugar in them), honey and other delicious things which, unlike grains, I love and adore since childhood? I’ve tried (seemingly) everything. And I just can’t. My best achievement was eating sweets only every other day. Then I tried not touching sweets for two days in a row and on Day 3 when I could finally eat them, I ate loads. So, for now I continue not eating grains (and not missing them!) and eating desserts on a daily basis (dreading the idea of having to eliminate them). Sigh.

      Ingvild wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • The only way I can not eat sweets is to not purchase them.. Why are you buying sweets? Why can’t they be replaced with whole fruit to start with? Or bliss balls made with a few dates or dried apricots and blended nuts and cocao powder? I don’t understand binge eating because I bet if all that was in the house was fresh veg, meat, fruit, eggs and fish it wouldn’t happen and the habit would be broken?

        Meg wrote on March 6th, 2013
        • Meg, I agree with you! Out of sight, out of mind! The problem for me is when someone else buys them for me. For example, my mom bought me bags of my favorite candies for Valentine’s. Sweet thought, but it absolutely ruined everything I’ve been working towards since starting PB 2 months ago. I just couldn’t control myself Now the harsh cravings are back in full force, plus I noticed some terrible mood swings! This was actually positive reinforcement that I have to stop!

          JessA wrote on March 6th, 2013
        • O, Meg, thanks so much for your comment! I guess I failed to get my point across, though (maybe it’s the language; English is not my mother-tongue) I don’t understand binge eating either. Having a dessert after meal is not what I view as ‘binge eating’. Binge eating happened on Day 3 after I ‘ordered’ myself not to eat sweets for 2 days in a row… But even in this case our understanding of binge eating can be different. I don’t have a weight problem/over-eating problem (never had) and going Paleo and primal is what I am trying to do to be healthy/healthier and look better/younger as I get older (totally narcissistic; lol) and hopefully, live long(er) while being active(hehe). So, when I eat sweets, it’s not like I am gaining or not loosing weight that I want to loose, it is just that I know, Grok doesn’t do it and I can’t not do it. And I wrote my comment as a reply to ‘first drop sweets, then eliminate grains’ advice in an attempt to show that sometimes it’s the grains that are the easy part! Well, in my case they are! I thought maybe there is something to those cravings of sweets. I once read or heard somewhere that people who eat sweets may, in fact, lack chromium or something, but I am not sure and need to verify that. And in my world a delicious dessert can’t be replaced (as you, kindly, suggested) by a whole fruit. Fruit is not a dessert and, actually, should NOT be eaten after meal. I may eat a fruit (in between or before meals, because it’s healthier), but I will still be craving chocolate (and no, I don’t mean a supermarket chocolate bar which is full of crappy ingredients) or a good millefeuille and unless I have it nothing seems to be satisfying. As for dried apricots – my stomach hates them, as most of all dried fruits. But I do like dates with my green tea sometimes. As for nuts (which I will never be able to view as dessert!) – I am very careful with them and only eat them on rare occasion, because nuts are high in phytoestrogens – and those can mess up the hormones… eating them everyday did not prove to be great for me.

          Ingvild wrote on March 6th, 2013
  15. Great post Mark! Especially bringing light to #2 and #4 which most of us “forget” about! As always, I look forward to your posts, thanks for sharing :)

    McKel wrote on March 6th, 2013
  16. #3 and #5 are big ones for me!!

    Joanne wrote on March 6th, 2013
  17. I am sure I have been under a lot of stress lately, but what I always miss and hardly ever get any reply to is peri/menopause. How about that? Is there really no way not to gain, or even to loose weight during this period? I have been weighing 20 Lbs less, but suddenly without changing diet I started to gain and what ever I try I can’t get it off!

    Mina wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Your hormones play a key role in how your body decides what an ideal weight is for you, so the diet and habits that used to work probably won’t work anymore. If the weight isn’t focused in one area of your body, you probably aren’t going to get rid of it. If it is focused in one part of your body, you can most likely lose it but it isn’t easy, especially if you’ve already tried the obvious solutions.

      Charles wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • As your estrogen levels drop, your body will attempt to add fat, which actually secretes a small amount of estrogen. If you take off too much weight, the mistake I made at age 42, it will send you directly into early menopause, not good since it increases risk for cardiac disorders and osteopenia.

      Angie unduplicated wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Mina, I agree there isn’t much on menopause. I ended up gaining 30 pounds during my journey through that part of my life. I finally lost most of the weight just stopping the grains and beans. I write down my weight after I get up in the am everyday to keep it within one or two pounds. If I am up I watch my salt intake as well as look for anything that it out of the normal eating. I notice that I can gain weight on chicken but not beef. Just keep track of what you eat and weigh and see if that helps to see what takes it off and what puts it on for you. You are unique so we all have to find out what that means on our own. Have fun! It might take a lot of writing but you will see a pattern eventually.

      Steph wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Here’s one for you. I’ve been primal for about three years, heading that way for about two prior. Five years ago, menopause got rid of any excess fat on my body overnight, and being primal has maintained that leanness with no effort at all. In fact, I had to be conscious to keep the weight on, which I’d never experienced in my life. Now, five years later, same lifestyle, a few pounds came back on as quickly as they dropped five years ago. Weirdly, though I only weigh about five pounds more, I have ballooned in size through my torso and thighs, unable to fit into most of my clothing. What is this? Can hormonal changes cause so much bloating with very little actual weight gain? I’m blown away and very uncomfortable!

      Lee wrote on April 19th, 2013
  18. Numbers 1 and 3. I have a terrible time waiting to eat until I’m hungry, so I end up eating when I’m bored, angry, stress, etc. I have also made it a habit to cut out things when my weight loss stalls. I’ve gone from eating 3 eggs every morning to skipping breakfast every day and fasting one day a week. The problem for me is, I gain weight when I eat more. I am trying to focus on adding exercise and learning to respond properly to my hunger or lack thereof. It’s the hardest part of this process.

    Ross wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Ross -

      Do you try eating some nice protein and fat every time you’re hungry? Any effect?

      The problem is that when you go ahead and add exercise, if you’re already hungry a lot, you’re going to be a hell of a lot more hungry.

      Alexander wrote on March 6th, 2013
  19. Great read. I personally struggled with #6 when I was younger and still do from time to time. I LOVE being active daily and getting lots of tough sweaty exercise in because you just feel so darn good afterwards — but I’ve come to realize that its not a good thing to never stop moving. It was a hard concept to wrap my head around as a young teenage girl with every magazine and article (mainstream) is telling me about all the working out I SHOULD be doing. Your body need a break and I’ve learned to find more of a balance. It’s something that I work towards on a daily basis and I have you to thank Mark for helping me see the light. Keep it coming!

    Lindsay wrote on March 6th, 2013
  20. Mina, I agree with you. I am menopausal and the weight just sticks to me. I am so envious of the people who dropped 30 pounds just eliminating grains. Well, I eat only primal foods, move frequently and no weight loss. I feel good, but I still have a fat tummy. I do not look good naked!

    Patty wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • I’m right there – I’m to the point of calling to see if my thyroid is still working in case that’s been my problem. I’ve also chosen March to eliminate alcohol in case that was impeding my progress. I’m hoping it helps with the hotflashes (so far I’m sleeping better which is wonderful). “The Food Hospital” recommends adding soy and chickpeas to the diet for the hotflashes, as well as minimizing alcohol and caffeine. I’ve started with removing alcohol for a month.

      Pam wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • Your thyroid being low can mess you up. Mine was not working (at all really) years ago and I couldn’t lose weight to save my life, but my hair was falling out all kinds of other weird stuff (pre-primal of course). I will say though my Dr. has had to reduce my thyroid dosage since going primal.

        Cindy wrote on March 6th, 2013
        • that’s it – I’ll make the appt to check it out. I’ve noticed that my tummy is flattening, but I’m not actually losing weight and I don’t think my horse work is enough to be increasing muscle mass (darn it).

          Pam wrote on March 6th, 2013
  21. I think it’s interesting that the scale in the photo is stuck at exactly the same weight as I am. 235…

    James wrote on March 6th, 2013
  22. Just a question. Has anyone noticed any difficulty with women who have had 2+ children losing weight with a Primal eating plan?

    I ask because I noticed that in 4 Hour Body, Tim Ferris noted that women who have had two children or more had little success losing weight on his 4HB plan (Think Primal, plus beans minus fruit).

    Keep it coming, Mark!

    Brendan wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • I had two kids and lost weight after switching to a paleo diet from a vegetarian one. I’m only 5′ tall and was 95 lbs pre-kids. I gained 50 pounds with each one, thanks to Lyme disease complications keeping me from exercising, adding to my inflammation and pain issues, etc. I stalled at 115 lbs for 4 years post-kids. Then when I switched to paleo eating, I dropped 15 lbs in 2 months without thinking about it. It could be because I didn’t know what to eat from such a drastic change! ;-) But I think it was the paleo foods, better protein, good amounts of fat, that did the trick since I’ve kept it off ever since.

      Decaf Debi wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • It would be interesting to know if those women participating in the study were breastfeeding? Their bodies would be geared to store fat for producing milk. Plus, mothers who manage more than one child, don’t tend to get a lot of down time, so stress becomes a factor in not losing the weight.

      Rather than it being a hormonal issue with child bearing, I wonder if it’s more environmental?

      I’m currently pregnant with #2 (due in a few months) and 38 – yet I’m personally losing weight through diet and slow movement, more than I did when I was 10 years younger and pregnant with #1. I didn’t set out to lose weight, it just happened as a result of getting gluten and fake food out of my life, plus eating more protein and fat.

      On the Dr’s scales I’m putting on weight (or the baby is) but I’m personally losing it. I know this because apart from the baby bump, my shirts are swimming on me more, and that’s despite my bra-cup jumping a size or two!

      As I also have type 1 diabetes, my Dr is pushing me to exercise every opportunity I get, to stop an excess of glycogen carring over to the baby. But I’m listening to my body and taking it easy instead. There is nothing to indicate the baby is large or I am unhealthy, yet the Dr’s keep pushing me to meet their best practice advice.

      I believe the only reason I’m this healthy is because I don’t take the Dr’s advice. I listen to it, evaluate it’s merits, but listening to my body has been the best weight loss advice I’ve ever taken.

      Dr’s tend to panic when they hear you’re pregnant and type 1…I don’t though because I’ve done this before. My body knows what it’s doing and I could easily get stressed on what Dr’s or health guru’s advise, just because I happen to have circumstances which are the same as their study group.

      Which is why I appreciate MDA’s approach to dispensing advice about health. It’s not all or nothing, it’s a smorgasborg of choice individuals need to step up to and try. If it works, good, if not, try something else. :)

      Chris wrote on March 6th, 2013
  23. I’ve been primal for a year and have lost and gained the same 5lbs. I finally realized that nuts & cheese actually increase my hunger and I tend to overeat them. So, I followed Mark’s 17 steps and eliminated both 4 weeks ago. I’ve been eating only meat, fat and vegetables and one fruit/day. No sugar, no alcohol either. As of today, I’ve lost an inch off my hips and chest and 2 inches off my waist. Regardless of the weather, I’ve made sure I walk for 3 hours/week and lift heavy twice. I haven’t cut calories, at least not mindfully. In fact, consistent exercise increases my hunger, so I eat until I’m full. It seems to be working.

    BootstrapsOnMyFivefingers wrote on March 6th, 2013
  24. “Just because you’re scarfing down grass-fed beef and pastured eggs doesn’t mean you can get away with mindless consumption.”

    Read this while “mindlessly” eating eggs cooked in grassfed tallow. Lol

    Jared wrote on March 6th, 2013
  25. Great list! Homeostasis is such a fascinating friend/bugaboo.

    May I also add the viewpoint of a peri-menopausal woman? I recently started balancing my hormones using bioidentical replacements … and gained unwanted weight. I was already flabby, and now some of my clothes don’t fit.

    However, my energy went way up, I truly LOVE playing hard now such as mimicking Ido Portal, and my sex drive went from nearly zero to WOW! My zest for life is through the roof. Yet, I am quite a chubby dumpling, and can pinch more than an inch.

    So for those in a time of hormonal flux such as puberty, menopause or andropause, I submit that losing weight is a different kind of challenge at these times in our lives. Focus on how you feel, that may be our greatest health-o-meter.

    Mark, I’d love to see you do more on hormones, maybe with Carrie as a guest writer, because it is a fascinating world!

    Julie wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Julie, hormone balancing is a confusing world especially if you are pre-menopausal. Great that you got such good results, but you could be estrogen dominant which could be the culprit of your weight gain. You might discuss with your physician about decreasing testosterone which can convert to estrogen. Also, try taking advantage of your new energy with increased intensity and varied workouts. Good luck!

      David wrote on December 15th, 2013
  26. Definitely a great list. I would also agree adding hormones to the list. Low testosterone can prevent weight loss.

    Bald and Angry wrote on March 6th, 2013
  27. We are doing a weight loss competetion at work. I was tops for the girls last round, but this round, the weight is coming off a LOT slower. 4, 5 and 8 could be part of my problem, but I often wonder if the pressure to repeat that I’m putting on myself is part of the problem…

    I have to keep reminding myself, the people that are losing a lot this round are probably losing the same 15 lbs they lost last time and gained back over the holidays. And how much muscle mass are they losing while I am building me some biceps and (hopefully someday) a six-pack.

    Cindy wrote on March 6th, 2013
  28. I did the 28 day challenge in January and began weight training once a week and walking more. The scale didn’t budge! I did lose inches though. Finally after 8 weeks of living the Primal lifestyle I have lost about 6 lbs. I was eating too much food the first month, I had a bad almond butter habit! I thought it would be a faster weight loss, I have a BMI of 33. Regardless of slow losing I feel great. I have Hashimoto’s thyroid disease and everything I read had pointed me to eating this way. I am trying to focus on feeling good and be patient with the weight loss.

    Leah wrote on March 6th, 2013
  29. I was so guilty of #2 last night! Nuts, dark chocolate and raw honey. Was Mark peeking in my window?

    Amgino wrote on March 6th, 2013
  30. I enjoyed reading both articles, I don’t think I could’ve come up with 26 reasons! So lessons learned ;-)
    However, I must say (surprisingly) I miss one very important reason, namely not drinking enough water! One of the most important things our body needs to work properly!

    inge wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • I’m not sure how not drinking enough water would impede weight loss. Most people dealing with water and weight are trying to get rid of bloating. That is, the water that’s retained at a semi-high to high permanent level of carb intake. Drinking lots o water doesn’t really help that.

      Otherwise, drinking when I’m not thirsty just makes me pee a lot. I guess walking to the bathroom burns up extra calories or something.

      Amy wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • I have found that I don’t need that much water. In the very beginning (6 months B.P. – before Primal) I made sure to get my 6-8 glasses a day and I was running to the bathroom every half hour. My body now tells me when it needs water. Which isn’t very often so I guess my body is good at hydration. It doesn’t seem to matter how little water I have. If I drink some I have to pee within a half hour. We had no power/water/cooking ability the last two days and decided to just order delivery yesterday. I got a reuben sandwich with rye/pumpernickel bread (yes I ate bread! I admit it!). I chugged water the rest of the night. I couldn’t get rid of the thirst. And that water showed on the scale this morning. No carbs today and my body is already releasing the water.

        Heather wrote on March 8th, 2013
  31. I’m with the menopause group who are mentioning the weight gain , but most noticeably the huge change in body shape without any gain. Back and torso fat the biggest culprits for me.

    I have exercised my whole life (pool manager/swim coach for 13 years) hiking, walking, kayaking, plus garden and yard work with remodeling thrown in the mix. Most days do some body weight exercises (have to be careful now with too heavy a weight and need to modify overhead exercises) squats, lunges and such.

    Also I have eaten low carb for close to 18 years with emphasizes on primal since Mark’ first book came out. I have moved around calories, meals and times, and composition to no avail. I know I’ve become the food watcher Mark described. Trying to enjoy the golden years but when I look in the mirror and try to dress this beast……

    Just feel we need to help the over 60 year old female more. Not enough information out there except the “take this drug/hormone/whatever and shut up”. What do you expect? you’re old and have lived your life. But you try to find clothing for the mature body that isn’t a printed sweatshirt or sweater. I can sport skinny jeans, but “the girls” need more support (yeah, they have “grown” or should I say doubled since menopause) and I don’t need to be flashing them to the world even though they are still fairly perky, it’s just not a pretty sight. You’ll say buy a bigger size, but it doesn’t work because it doesn’t fit elsewhere and looks like a sack or worse like I’m pregnant!

    In other words, I need help in getting this torso weight off. And NO I don’t drink alcohol or eat snacks. I also eat grassfed, pastured, organic whole foods. Thanks for letting me vent. It has been building for awhile.

    Dragonfly wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • If you like reading, Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas. She doesn’t discount us elders (I’m almost 60).

      Mary Anne wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Dragonfly -

      How much are you willing to spend on clothing? If the real problem is that you’re not happy with the garments out there, then it can be solved if there’s money to throw at the problem.

      I’m about 99.9% sure you can find a bra with proper support, but it might not be at Wal-Mart. You may need to shop at a real lingerie store either in person or online. A specialty store would be used to accommodating weird band/cup combinations. (For the record, I have a hard time with bras, too My band size is very large compared to my cup.)

      Ditto with the clothing. I’m going warn you that it’s extremely expensive, but tailors can make you custom clothing. The upside to spending ridiculous amounts of $$$ on clothing is that the clothing should last a long time with proper care.

      Something to think about, anyway, if the real issue is that clothes shopping is no fun anymore. :(

      Amy wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • I’m going to second the bra fitting. I went from flat at the end of 6th grade to DD by the end of 7th. Mom got me a professional bra fitting, with a lady who also showed me how to measure myself and pick properly fitting bras from then on out. When I wasn’t nursing, I particularly liked the Wacoal brand from Dillards, but they are pricey. (Don’t get me started on my nursing bras fitting properly rant. I so wish I could give the industry a piece of my mind on that.) If you find a good solution to postmenopausal women losing weight, let me know. I know several ladies who would pay for the info.

        Beccolina wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • “You’ll say buy a bigger size, but it doesn’t work because it doesn’t fit elsewhere and looks like a sack or worse like I’m pregnant!”

      Get fitted at a real lingerie store. (not Victoria’s Secret or a similar place) It should have all sizes from 28-50+; AA-M (or whatever the max size is).. You might need a small band/large cup size like I do, one that isn’t carried by mainstream stores. (I’m a 34FF) A good bra should fit relatively tight around the back but fit the entire breast in the cup. So the solution isn’t simply “a bigger size” but the right cup/band combo.

      Emmy wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • I’ve got the same figure type, all shoulders and back, with little thighs. It’s impossible to buy womens clothing for me which fits.

      Rather than hate my body though, I decided to appreciate it more by learning to alter my clothes. Learning to sew was less frustrating than trying on all the store clothes which never fitted.

      One recommendation about diet though, have you given up gluten? I found it messed with my hormones. Giving it up meant I saw the weight suddenly shift from the top half of my body. I don’t store it there anymore.

      Chris wrote on March 7th, 2013
    • I’ll agree with the others about getting a real bra fitting. I’m a 34F, also not a size one finds in typical lingerie lines.

      Here’s a secret that suits both lingerie and clothing goals: Nordstrom! They still do the old-school department store services that others have cut. They are WORTH IT.

      They will fit your bra, and once you know a few brands that work for you, you can look for them elsewhere if you like. And Nordstrom will alter clothing. Look into it if you have one in your area.

      J wrote on March 10th, 2013
  32. Starting to think I’m #9 as well. I’m 5ft tall and have been as large as 145lbs to as low as 110lbs. Current weight is 120. And for the last year I’ve been obsessing over why I can’t seem to drop those last 10lbs. The answer might just be because I’m not supposed to. When I was 110lbs, I was a professional dancer and training 3 hours a day. Just hard to accept that this weight is healthier.

    Rachel wrote on March 6th, 2013
  33. As a woman in her child-bearing years, I have discovered I do best on an eating schedule. I don’t eat snacks, but I eat three squares a day every day. If I go so much as 20 minutes passed a normal eating time, my body lets me know. It’s like, “hey, um excuse me, don’t you know what time it is?”

    Lea wrote on March 6th, 2013
  34. Thanks so much for this article! It came at such a timely time for me!
    It’s good to think of it as a Multi factorial problem because it helps me realise the few areas I really need to work on!
    1. Stress
    2. Sleep
    3. Irregular eating pattern
    I’ve just started a new job with crazy hours (just finished 80hrs in 6 days!) so these first three I’m really struggling with.
    Have made some healthy paleo meals and left them at work, as well as well as paleo snacks (mobile ones I can carry with me like a handful of nuts/punnet of blueberries etc) and am trying to fit in as much sleep as I can!
    5/6 mindless eating and pleasure foods was an issue for me last week because I was stressing about whether or not id be able to eat again that shift and I was snacking on bad foods whilst working and not being accountable for them.
    Will practice mindful eating again from today!

    Amanda wrote on March 6th, 2013
  35. I’ve been struggling to get the last 5 lbs off and I think its the nuts for me. I find myself eating to much if I eat them at all. I think I need to learn to eliminate them completely for awhile. Yogurt was another issue. Once I cut that out I was able to lose a little more fat.

    Nicole wrote on March 6th, 2013
  36. This was so timely for me.. I’ve been teetering on the edge of full on primal eating and low carb dieting. Then last night while I was spending forever in the kitchen trying so very hard to create something that was supposed to taste like cool ranch doritos but was chock full of processed crap I thought to myself…. WHY? Here I am spending forever doing this and now I have missed out on an evening that I could have spent time with my husband and my little bubbies but here I am trying so very hard to replicate some crap that is no doubt just going to lead to me wanting actual doritos in the end.. So that’s it.. I’m done.. True Primal starts TODAY!

    Jennapher wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Good for you Jennapher. You are in the right place and ready to go. Screw the Doritos. In 3 weeks of true Primal, most of those cravings will disappear forever.

      Nocona wrote on March 6th, 2013
      • +1

        Ara wrote on March 7th, 2013
  37. I think I’ve suffered from a bit of #4 and I find that #1 tragically goes along with #4. Definitely those have been the hardest for me to overcome. And lack of sleep ties into #4 and subsequently #1. Great points these, I hadn’t considered #9. I often wonder about this because I’ve definitely added on muscle and likely some bone density from resistance training.

    Edward Giles Brown wrote on March 6th, 2013
  38. Pretty much negates “eat less, move more”.

    Cathy wrote on March 6th, 2013
  39. I had been on primal for about 6 months without much success. I decided to get serious, so I moved from 80/20 to 95/5 but after 3 months of this, I was still gaining and losing the same 3 lbs (I needed to lose about 20lbs). Also I have some digestive issues (indigestion, bloating, constipation, abdominal cramping) that improved greatly after I eliminated wheat and dairy, but were still bothersome.
    I am currently breastfeeding, and I had resigned myself to not being able to go further with weight loss until I weaned when I read about ayurveda, and it suggested that eating regular meals would improve digestion, and help my metabolism. I switched from eating whenever I was hungry to eating 3 square meals at the same time every day, and I switched from body weight exercise to just yoga. With just those changes, I have finally moved past my plateau, losing 7lbs and 3 inches from my waist in the past 6 weeks. I still have a ways to go but my digestive issues are now completely resolved, and I am fitting into clothes that I haven’t worn for 3 years! A regular eating schedule has definitely helped.

    Patrice wrote on March 6th, 2013
  40. I had to laugh at #5. That is SO me. Or at least is has been over the past year. I appreciate the reminder to relax. Now that I “know”, it’s time to chill and just live it.

    cbooth wrote on March 6th, 2013

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