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

9 Ways You Might Be Inadvertently Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts

Whenever friends, co-workers, or loved ones complain about not being able to lose weight and turn to us for answers or advice, we can all generally rattle off a few suggestions that, if followed, usually set them on the right track. For the soda-swilling cubicle mate who keeps a recycling bin just for cans beneath his desk who asks, “Why can’t I lose weight?,” you suggest stopping soda. For the fast food addict who wonders why she can’t hit her high school weight, you suggest avoiding fries, getting water, and ditching the buns. To the vegetarian best friend who eats “healthy” but is growing increasingly skinny-fat, you send a link to MDA. Those are simple solutions. What about your stalled weight loss? You’re Primal, you’ve lost a bunch of weight already, you’re feeling good, you don’t have many complaints, you know all about nutrition, and you’re sticking with the lifestyle – but you’re not losing as much weight as you’d like. Well, it could very well be that you’ve inadvertently throw a wrench into weight loss efforts.

What do I mean? Let’s take a look:

You’re overly obsessed with dietary purity.

Now, if you’re celiac or gluten sensitive, it’s natural to be concerned about even minimal amounts of gluten in soy sauce. If you’re allergic to dairy, you should be that guy who pesters the waiter about the powdered milk in the gravy. If you’re pregnant, I wouldn’t blame you for worrying over the source of the fish you’re being served. But if you’re generally healthy – or on your way there – and you’re not acutely intolerant or allergic to any particular food, I’d argue that worrying over a single component of a single meal to the point of physical manifestations of stress (racing heart, sweaty palms, nervous tick, scattered thoughts) is not conducive to weight loss. You’re trying to be so perfect that it becomes the enemy of the good.

You’ve ignored the other aspects of the PB lifestyle.

When I put together the ten Primal Blueprint laws, I tried not to emphasize any single one over the rest. They are all important for health and vitality. “Eat lots of plants and animals” may trump “Move around a lot at a slow pace,” “Get lots of sleep,” and “Play” in the body composition arena, but you cannot overlook or underestimate the others. The more people I encounter, the more I see that every aspect is vital for real success with this lifestyle – and that includes weight loss. I didn’t make it ten laws just to hit a nice even number, ya know.

You’re wedded to an ideology rather than what actually works for you.

At last year’s PrimalCon, I fielded an interesting question during the keynote. An attendee asked whether it was okay that his kid ate lots of fruit and other Primal carbs along with meat, eggs, and veggies. I asked how the kid was doing, and he said, “Great.” I said to keep it up as long as it was working. You don’t mess with success. Now, if he had just assumed that his kid was getting too many carbs and decided to replace the fruit and potatoes with spoonfuls of coconut oil, he would have been doing his child a disservice. The kid probably wouldn’t understand why some of his favorite foods were now off limits; the kid would get stressed out and unhappy and his sense of metabolic homeostasis could have been disrupted as a result. Since the guy was attending PrimalCon, he was obviously a fan of the Primal Blueprint – but he wasn’t an ideologue. He recognized that his kid did well on a diet somewhat different than his own, and that this was okay.

You’re not tailoring your macronutrient levels to your lifestyle.

If you’re a CrossFitter going five days a week, doing the WODs as RX’d, and finding yourself growing a bit pudgier despite your best efforts, you may need to eat some sweet potatoes. Conversely, if you work a sedentary job and do some gardening and some dog walking for exercise, you probably don’t need to modify your low carb consumption. I see carbs as elective macronutrients, in general. I don’t elect to eat all that many of them, personally, but that’s because I’ve tailored my lifestyle such that this is the healthiest way for me to eat. Eat more if you’re going to be burning glycogen. Eat fewer if you’re not. Eating too few carbs while working out with high intensity and high volume will ruin your adrenals, depress your thyroid, and stall weight loss. Eating too many carbs without putting them to good use or enjoying exercise-induced insulin sensitivity will promote hyperinsulinemia and weight gain. Make sure it all matches up.

You’ve taken the “exercise doesn’t cause weight loss” claim a bit too literally.

It’s true that “eat less, move more” is an overly simplified, ineffective piece of weight loss “advice,” akin to a psychiatrist telling a depressed patient to simply “feel better.” However, that doesn’t make it a downright falsity. Exercise is an essential part of losing weight – particularly unwanted adipose tissue – and you can’t ignore it forever and hope to lose the weight you want to lose. I don’t think it’s helpful to look at exercise as a mechanistic obliterator of calories, because that can enable the “I’ll eat this cupcake and then run for twenty minutes on the treadmill” mentality that just doesn’t work. But exercise is a potent enhancer of hormonal function. It can raise testosterone, growth hormone, and improve insulin sensitivity (all of which improve fat loss). It can divert the calories you do eat toward lean muscle and away from body fat. It can divert the carbs you eat toward refilling muscle glycogen. All in all, as long as you don’t overdo things, exercise is an important ally in fat burning and lean mass accumulation.

You’re switching things up too often.

A downside of this Internet stuff is that there’s almost too much information out there. Not only that, the flow of information never stops. New blogs are popping up every day, each one pushing a slightly or radically different view. New studies are coming out from different researchers with different biases or areas of focus or sources of funding. Instead of ruminating on your own experiences, you can hop online and read a hundred different accounts of a hundred different dietary variations. It’s crazy. It’s great – if you keep things in perspective – but it can also lead to information overload and a wild goose chase for the “perfect diet.” Instead of doing that, try sticking to a “program” for a few weeks, at least. Heck, a few months is even better. Give the regimen (whatever it is) a chance to do its work. Give your body a chance to figure things out. Muscle confusion might sell P90X videos, but it’s not a useful approach to diet.

You’re overthinking your food.

Eating should be a relaxing, enjoyable, eminently pleasurable experience. It should be stimulating, but not because you’re analyzing the micronutrient content of the spinach based on the duration and temperature of the steam used to cook it and wondering whether or not you should reduce the light green cooking water into a syrup and add cold pastured butter to make a mineral-rich demi glace oh but wait the butter is looking a little too white I wonder if this was fresh spring grass-based pasture or hay-based pasture because the vitamin K2 content will vary wildly and oh man if it was pastured on grass the omega-3s might oxidize in the pan. Sounds stressful (even to read), right? Acute stress is great and all, but eating is an everyday occurrence, and if it’s a stressful event just to eat, that stress will inevitably become chronic. Chronic stress is the enemy of fat loss. Relax. Sit back. Pull up a chair. Enjoy your food. Enjoy your company. Have a glass of wine. As long as you make sure the bulk of your food is high quality, you’re gonna be just fine.

You’re eating too little.

Yeah, it sounds funny, but it’s true: eating too few calories can make fat loss extremely difficult. The beauty of going Primal is that it often causes spontaneous reductions in calorie intake, which is one of the reasons why it’s so good for weight loss. In some people, though, calorie intake continues to drop unabated, because, hey, it helped me lose weight at first, so why not go even lower? Right? Except it doesn’t work that way. When you continually eat fewer calories than your body requires, you are doing two things. First, you’re applying a chronic stressor to your body. A lack of calories for a day or two (say, if you’re on an intermittent fasting regimen) signals a missed kill, a momentary hiccup in the food supply. No biggie. You’ll get ’em next time. It’s an acute stressor that will actually improve your health. A lack of calories for weeks or months, on the other hand, signals a famine, war, starvation. It’s a chronic stressor that will impede weight loss and promote fat storage. Second, eating fewer calories gives you less of a chance to obtain the micronutrients you need for optimal functioning. All said and done, a 2,000 calorie diet will have more minerals, phytonutrients, and vitamins than a 1,000 calorie diet. Make sure you’re eating enough food.

You’re eating too much (healthy Primal food).

Primal can make weight loss really smooth, but some folks have the idea that they can eat as much as they want and not gain weight. Though it’s certainly harder to gain weight eating just plants and animals, it’s not impossible. Some people’s satiety mechanisms don’t kick in simply because they ditched grains, sugar, legumes, seed oils, and reduced carbs. Some people assume that since I’ve written posts extolling the weight loss benefits of a diet made up of grass-fed butter, coconut oil, sweet potatoes, cheese, olive oil, lamb, grass-fed beef, fish, and other healthy Primal fare, quantity is suddenly immaterial. It isn’t. While I’d argue that overeating Big Ass Salad is better, healthier, and causes less adipose tissue growth than overeating McDonald’s, it’s still overeating.

That’s what I’ve got today, folks. What do you think? Anything look familiar to you? 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 read this post around the 11:11 time window.

    Animanarchy wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • I read it at 12:12

      lyndaland wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • I read it at 13:13 (that, of course, is 1:13 pm).

      Óscar wrote on October 31st, 2012
      • HAHAHAHAHA 3:13….does that count??

        Kristie wrote on October 31st, 2012
        • No you have to wait another 20 minutes.

          Animanarchy wrote on October 31st, 2012
  2. I know what has stalled my weight loss. Drinking too much alcohol and eating too many nuts. Salted nuts are so delicious and calorie dense, it is really easy to eat a lot of calories without noticing. I also like to drink red wine which is unneeded calories, but to make matters worse once I start drinking I make poor decisions and am more likely to cheat on my diet or to overeat. For the next three weeks I am going to experiment with giving up alcohol and see how my weight loss efforts go.

    Wayne wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • I was determined to lose some gut without giving up my beer, and I have shed over 50 lbs by adjusting my diet. I’m not in as good of shape as I once was, but I’m pushing hard on 50. For me it’s not alcohol that gives me the bad decisions, but I definitely gotta stay away from the weed. Stay strong.

      corpsgrunt wrote on November 1st, 2012
      • BTW Mark, I’m really enjoying your daily apple. Very good info and sometimes a f-ing hilarious read. Thanks!

        corpsgrunt wrote on November 1st, 2012
      • For me, it’s the exact opposite. I can smoke weed, not interested in food, but alcohol? Forget the direct alcohol effects, I will also go for pizza, cheese and bread, chips, all sorts of things.

        julie wrote on November 14th, 2012
    • Hey Wayne,I’ve been doing the same thing.Wine and salted blanched nuts make a good combo but it’s too easy to overindulge. I’ve stopped the wine and am now considering doling the nuts out in a smaller portion.I like Mark’s suggestion of a bit of cheese before going to bed

      Gord235, Vancouver wrote on November 1st, 2012
      • Oh lord. Life’s too short to give up on the wine. Considering humans were fermenting alcohol nearly 10,000 years ago in Iraq, isn’t it fair to say some alcohol (in moderation) is fine? That’s one thing that’s not going to go!

        Tina wrote on November 1st, 2012
        • Yeah but the subject of the article is weight loss stalling. As a lifestyle choice when at goal weight, sure wine is fantastic but for many, it sabotages weight loss. I can relate to Wayne 100%, the wine is not only added calories but leads to bad food decisions and the nuts are too easy to overeat on but thats my experience and not necessarily everyone elses.

          Rob wrote on November 4th, 2012
    • I hear you Wayne – I could have written this myself. Good luck (I type, as I take a sip), I’m thinking that’s what I need to do too.

      Isabella wrote on November 2nd, 2012
    • Nail on head. Thanks Wayne.Bye bye wasabi/soy sauce almonds and chardonnay.

      Cindy wrote on November 8th, 2012
  3. Yay! Was this post inspired by my suggestion here? :)

    Stevemid wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Yes indeed! Thanks for the idea, Stevemid. I’ll be grabbing more ideas from that comment board in the future.

      Mark Sisson wrote on October 31st, 2012
      • Woop! There’s some good ideas in that thread – thanks for answering mine!

        Stevemid wrote on October 31st, 2012
        • Underground army

          Animanarchy wrote on October 31st, 2012
      • How about me? I eat like a hog and have lost my body fat. I look like i am starving yet i eat more than ever. I just don’t eat any junk. I need fat on my body. How do i get it? I don’t eat grain except oatmeal. No sugar or processed foods. Not bragging. Just worried.

        cate wrote on November 1st, 2012
        • Do you eat animal fat and plant fats, such as coconut oil, avocados, olive oil, etc.?

          Tina wrote on November 1st, 2012
        • No need to worry. My husband is skinny at 55 and Primal going on two years. But I’ve been on him to keep up body weight exercises like pushups and squats so he keeps muscle. No old man with flat butt look please! LOL. We don’t want to be skinny wimps, we want to be skinny strong. Maybe that’s what you need too.

          Pure Hapa wrote on November 1st, 2012
        • High Insulin level tells cells to warehouse fat.

          Low levels lets the fats leak out.

          Gary Taubes Why we get fat? reviews the science.

          Mark Sisson talks about 100g of carbs or less to lose weight. This is where listening to your own body fine tunes Mark’s the rule of thumb.

          But Sixty minerals are essential for healthy human life. Even the dog’s chow has more minerals (40) than infant formula (7).

          Cravings are the search for missing minerals. But our soils or variably deficient. USGS has soil mineral maps.

          All 60 minerals are needed for proper fat storage, energy production, muscle, bone and joint building, and immune function.

          How would I know I replaced the trace amount of gallium, germanium and vanadium I lost in last night’s sweaty workout? (Vanadium mimics insulin in blood without the corrosive effects.)

          The veterinarian prescribed a mineral pellet or cocktail. I also use sea salt and eat kelp and seafood. And add wood ashes to the garden.

          The vet follows the primal blueprint as near as I can tell. So did my grandma and grandpa.

          Grandma had asthma which is a magnesium and manganese deficiency and died at 72. Grandpa died at 84 of an aortic aneurysm, a copper deficiency.

          Their Primal diet provided them with healthy productive lives until their last day.

          Thanks Mark for recovering a proven healthy lifestyle!

          Paul_S wrote on November 1st, 2012
  4. Thank you, thank you for this article.

    I think the biggest hurdle for me was going from low carb and at a plateau to moderate carb and getting leaner. I was scared every carb added to my waistline. I was running 25 miles a week and lifting heavy 3x while eating less than 50 grams of carbs a day, felt miserable. Now I don’t stress as much, eating more carbs and I’m leaning out again.

    Matty wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • It’s so interesting to me how sometimes, you need to eat more carbohydrates to help you lose weight. Never thought that could help you Lose weight.

      Max Ungar wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • I know what you mean about being scared. My family has all fought being overweight. Low carb made keeping the weight off a no brainer. I hate to go back to the weight I was. My husband would tell me how much easier/better he felt with some carbs and I’d never really believe him.

      I do feel better adding back carbs when I’m doing heavy workouts. It took me a while to understand the concept, but I got it.

      Amy wrote on November 2nd, 2012
  5. Of course, I love this post as it mirrors much of my own experience and thoughts. I particularly appreciate the pointer to being wedded to an ideology instead of looking at what’s working. We can get hung up on the details and fail to see the bigger picture – thriving.

    Alison Golden wrote on October 31st, 2012
  6. this is good food for thought- i dropped 40lbs right away – but the last few weeks i have been eating carbs (good and bad) like crazy – I just can’t seem to not feel hungry all the time- and i am craving crap ! – will need to log back into fitday and make sure i am getting enough of the right food before this flat line turns into gained wt.

    lockard wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Try eating more fat

      Max Ungar wrote on October 31st, 2012
      • oh man why didn’t i think of that- lately my fat intake has dropped a lot – thankx

        lockard wrote on October 31st, 2012
  7. you’re a genius.
    well timed article Mark.


    ThePrimalGynecologist wrote on October 31st, 2012
  8. Arrrrggggghhhh. This has thrown me:

    “Eat more (carbs) if you’re going to be burning glycogen. Eat fewer if you’re not. Eating too few carbs while working out with high intensity and high volume will ruin your adrenals, depress your thyroid, and stall weight loss. Eating too many carbs without putting them to good use or enjoying exercise-induced insulin sensitivity will promote hyperinsulinemia and weight gain.”

    I thought I’ve read a ton of stuff here on MDA suggesting even endurance athletes can become “fat-adapted” and avoid ‘carbing up,’ instead relying on fat as fuel. Now I’m being told not eating carbs when working out intensely will “ruin’ my adrenals and cause weight gain??

    Mark I think you just committed yourself to another daily post shedding more light on this…call me confused now!

    Peter wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Second this. It seems to be a direct contradiction of Volek and Phinney’s work. Somebodies B.S’n somebody

      D.W. wrote on October 31st, 2012
      • It’s a daily blog. Mark’s told us the basics many times. He’s got to stir the pot once in a while to keep things cooking evenly. By cooking evenly I mean giving us tips and something to read and maintaining integrity.

        Animanarchy wrote on October 31st, 2012
        • And some fat parson using a search engine might stumble upon this post and experience a wild paradigm.
          I started reading this site because I searched for “grains unhealthy” on Google.

          Animanarchy wrote on October 31st, 2012
      • Third this. We need a clear post on how to figure out our carb needs based on our own individual circumstances (which vary).

        So much writing (and talk at PrimalCon) about being fat adapted and keto adapted. It’s as if they’re the Primal panacea for everything. But they’re not.

        How about a nice, precise, logically ordered bullet point list to follow on how to approximate carb intake including the relevant caveats and possible pitfalls?

        It would be a much more user friendly format than long meandering paragraphs that have to be searched through to find what might be applicable.


        Susan Alexander wrote on November 1st, 2012
        • I think carbs for weight loss is going different than for maintenance and for athletic performance. During weight loss, you want your adipose tissue to be releasing fat. For maintenance, you want to tailor your intake to your activity so that you’re not hyper or sluggish. For athletic performance, you want to replenish glycogen to be able to train properly (unless you are training your fat burning efficiency). People with different stages and lifestyles would have different carb needs.

          The type of carbs is also going to be different for different activities. For athletes, you can chug in sports drinks and not worry about the insulin reaction but not for maintenance where you don’t want to mess around with insulin. Carbs from fruits and veggies would be preferable than from grains and sweets for maintenance but for a long distance runner who runs 2-3 hours a day, it has to be fast carbs. For most, fruits and veggie carbs would probably be the rule of thumb.

          Mark Strasell wrote on November 1st, 2012
    • This got me confused too. Altho from personal experience I have found that I feel much, much better during my workouts on more carbs.

      GrayCat wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • confused as well on same part…just read art and science of low carb performance which just adds to the confusion

      caveman endurance wrote on October 31st, 2012
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        Tullio wrote on December 19th, 2012
    • Endurance training, where you’re exercising at moderate levels relative to your V02 Max, can utilize fat stores as the primary source of energy. But high intensity short duration exercise (crossfit is a great example) taps into glycogen. The type of exercise you do is the difference. I do crossfit, and tried a low carb approach for awhile, and it was horrible. Felt exhausted all the time and slipped backwards in my performance. Since upping the carbs, its back to business as usual with increasing gains.

      Jeremy wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • I haven’t read V & Ph; however, if not eating a ketogenic diet doesn’t give you epileptic seizures, then you don’t “need” a ketogenic diet.

      Also, “workout” in this context may mean lifting weights more so than endurance exercise (clue: the word “intensity”).

      Pre-w/o: high carb, low pro, low fat
      Post w/o: high pro, low carb, low fat
      All other times: high fat, low pro/carb

      Never lift weights two days in a row (reovery’s where you make your gains).

      This would have the avg person at about 40% carb, 40% fat, 20% pro over the course of a week – close to what Taubes says in GCBC was the typical diet of Americans before the Obesity Epidemic.

      [Most Americans don’t exercise at all, most of those who do any exercise don’t lift weights, most of those who lift weights don’t lift intensely or stick with it long-term.]

      Jeffrey of Troy wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Peter – endurance athlete’s can totally eat very low carb and run on fat supplies. However, this is only TRUE endurance athletes – people who stay aerobic the entire time (e.g. heart rate never goes that high). This way, they are able to burn fat efficiently since fat-burning is an aerobic process. Anaerobic activity is a purely glucose driven process, so if you are doing any activities that bring your heart rate up (e.g. weight lifting, sprints, even long cycling rides where you go up a big hill without slowing way down), your body will require carbohydrates. Check out Ben Greenfield’s interview of Peter Attia to learn more about this.

      Meandering Moose wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • High intensity exercise always burns glycogen. When you’re fat adapted the threshold for high intensity increases, and you’re better at low intensity exercise. So as a fat adapted endurance athlete you’ll mostly be burning fat, and thus don’t need much carbs.

      “If you’re going to be burning glycogen” is the key phrase. Also consider how you feel.

      Sofie wrote on October 31st, 2012
      • Volek and Phinney claim that the “keto-adapted” diet will benefit both the endurance and strength athlete during all phases of performance. If true Mark could have just as well opened his statement by suggesting that CrossFitters go full Keto rather than adding more sweet potatoes. The science is expanding rapidly and broad loose statements coupled with anecdotal comments from those who haven’t read the book don’t help

        D.W. wrote on October 31st, 2012
        • Here’s a really good link to Jeff Volek talking about it all. I still find it all a bit confusing though!
          Has anyone else read Cordain’s ‘Paleo Diet for Athletes’? I just bought it but that may have some interesting suggestions on the topic. My boyfriend competes in Ironman events and has a very high-carb diet. I am trying to get him to make the switch but he is unsure of how he feels, especially with so much confusing information out there. And especially with all his peers, mentors and idols telling him to ‘carbo load’ and throwing big pasta parties before every event! :S
          I’m trying to learn as much as I can about low-carb endurance athletes so I can start to introduce it to him. But it makes your head spin after a while!

          Ellen wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • I think what he was getting at was that some things work better for different people–pay attention to your body–If you’re working out hard on a very low carb diet and you feel fat and miserable, maybe more of the same isn’t the answer. Indeed, some people need more carb intake if they are going to choose to be more active. Low carb works for some people, but frankly, if you are very active and have good insulin sensitivity, more carbs aren’t probably going to hurt and may help. Remember the whole n=1 thing from earlier in the year? Experiment.

      Really, I think we need to differentiate here between increase Primal carbs and “carb loading”–he didn’t say to load up with hundreds of grams of carbohydrate before a big workout. If 50 grams a day isn’t working for you, try 100-150. That’s still on the Primal “carb curve” and may be enough to kick weight loss back into place (remember the role leptin plays.)

      Fritzy wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • I’m an endurance athlete and when I run long my HR stays in the 140’s to 150’s. at that HR I’m using primarily fat as fuel because I’m fat adapted, my wife on the other hand is buring sugar and hungry after a long run because she isn’t fat adapted. High intensity, high HR burns glycogen (need more carbs), low HR doesn’t once you’re fat adapted.

      Matty wrote on November 1st, 2012
      • one more thing, Keto and Primal are very different. Dr. Attia is a great resource as is Ben Greenfield fitness. Primal is lower carb, not a “no carb” strict Keto diet. while eating low carb you’ll enter ketosis, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing the “Keto” diet.

        Matty wrote on November 1st, 2012
        • Let’s See- The “keto-adapted diet is: no carb (it’s not), only for epileptics (really?), only for endurance athletes (evidence showing otherwise), not primal (oh my), and people are different. Has anyone read the research? Again, Volek and Phinney argue a keto-adapted diet will enhance both athletic performance and mental clarity in all types of activity. I’m sure it’s not for everybody. But, if I’m the crossfitter in Mark’s reference this is want I want. Adding sweetpotatoes propably takes me in the other direction. On the other hand I sure don’t want “ruined adrenals”. Maybe its time for Mark to slice and dice this one.

          DW wrote on November 1st, 2012
    • I don’t understand the confusion, Mark actually made it really simple. The main purpose of carbohydrate is an energy source for your muscles and nervous system. If you do a lot of activity that burns through your muscle’s stored glycogen (like endurance activities, high volume weight lifting, highly active lifestyle…etc), Mark is recommending you replenish your energy (i.e. glycogen stores) with natural carbohydrates like sweet potatoes. The message really hasnt changed. He’s still saying “eat natural food”, with a caveat of eating based on your activity level.

      You can try becomming fat-adapted, but it takes a long time (months sometimes), and you really do suffer. I was on a strict low-carb diet for 4 months while doing high amounts of anaerobic activity and although I lost weight and got ripped, there were some negative side effects…meaning I still wasn’t completely fat-adapted.

      People are always looking for a quick fix answer to their weight issues. The answer isn’t complicated, it’s just difficult to implement. Regardless of your dietary beliefs (paleo or not), almost all successful weight loss plans involve eating a diet based on natural foods (whether you include carbs or not), eating limited amounts of those foods (to ensure a calorie deficit), getting some physical activity, and getting enough rest. That’s all. If you’re not losing weight, you need to optimize one of those factors.

      Frank Fuller wrote on November 2nd, 2012
      • You don’t understand the confusion because you have apparently not read the research. As I understand it Volek and Phinney would not tell the hard charging but pudgy crossfitter referenced in the talking point who wants to improve his power to weight ratio and improve endurance to add a sweetpotatoe to his conventional paleo diet.(Amazing isn’t it. This site seems to have become conventional already) They, to my understanding, would advise just the opposite – Achieve what they call a state of “keto-adaptation”(which might take up to 3-4 weeks, not months, and apparently is not hard to do), which then allows fat to burn as your main energy source, which reduces your overall need for glucocose, and that little bit can be met thru gluconeogenesis. Only then will you maybe add slow release carbs back into the diet as a fuel source during long endurance activities. They specifically warn that even a small amount of carb after exercise “..rapidly decreases the release of fatty acids from fat stores and oxidation of fat in the muscle, thereby interfering with keto-adaption, plus also diminishing the beneficial effects of exercise on insulin sensitivity and other cardio-metabolic risk markers”. Volek, who claims to be the weight lifter in the group, says he’s been “keto-adapted” for years, and does not cycle in and out as “CW Paleo” seems to advise. Now if true, you would think the reader old or new, might want to learn about or be reminded of this option.

        I’m not a bio-chemist, appreciate the work being done on this site, have recommended it to others, and hope Mark will address this issue more completely. If Mark has addressed Volek and Phinney directly all someone had to do was refer me to the source. After six months of visitation however, I’m beginning to get an uncomfortable feeling that Primal Blueprint is gelling into its own Temple of CW with attendent high priests ready to dispense their interpretations of the Book of Mark to the hoards of unwashed.

        DW wrote on November 2nd, 2012
  9. What’s MDA?

    Jason wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Mark’s Daily Apple. This blog, web site and lifestyle advisory empire

      ion wrote on October 31st, 2012
  10. Great post. I’m glad that I’ve got most of the these things under control. I’m finding what’s working for me. It’s becoming effortless to maintain what I have a liittle bit if I want to. Thanks for such great resources. I like the one about not overthinking it and spending too much time on the Internet. I used to be that way and would stress and wonder if i should change every time I read something new. Dangerous. Excellent post.

    Ryan wrote on October 31st, 2012
  11. MDA = Mark’s Daily Apple
    I was thinking maybe it was something else.

    Jason wrote on October 31st, 2012
  12. Mark,

    This is a VERY timely post as I have been at a loss (as has my doctor) over why I have not lost more than a few pounds since starting Crossfit 6 weeks ago and eating what I believe to be a good primal diet based on what I read here and elsewhere. I CF 3x/week and have seen a decent drop in body fat % and people notice a difference, but I was 295 in early September and 290 last week. At this point I am wondering if it is my carb intake which I will admit is pretty low. I have nutritional consult tomorrow with my CF coach and hope that she will see something in the food diary I kept over the past 14 days.

    TJ wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • TJ, consider that if you are just starting Crossfit (or any other intense exercise program), you are doing two things that go against instant weight loss.

      (1) You are starting to build muscle that you did not have before, therefore gaining some new muscle weight even as you are losing some adipose tissue. In the long run, the increased muscle mass will help you lose weight, but right now it is slowing down the NET weight loss. Your FAT loss is likely much more impressive than five pounds.

      (2) Your muscles are not used to doing as much as you are asking of them and getting pretty inflamed as a result. Inflammation means that the tissue gets swollen with fluid, which means it gets heavier temporarily. Doing Crossfit three times a week means you are not giving your body a chance to recover fully from that inflammatory response. Again, this will settle down over time, but there are good reasons that Mark advises to train hard only once or twice a week. It gives your body a chance to respond to the messages the workout has sent: Build more muscle! Find better fuel source! Stretch those ligaments! If you don’t let your body respond fully, progress can actually be slowed!

      Chica wrote on October 31st, 2012
      • Amen, Chica! So many people I work out have similar complaints to TJ and don’t realize that they actually are doing something good for themselves. Too much obsession over that stupid number on the scale, and not on how much stronger/fitter/healthier/happier they are!

        Last time I weighed myself (2 weekends ago), I had gained 10 lbs, but most of my clothes are fitting looser and I’m overall less stressed. If you’re going to look at numbers, make them body measurements, not weight! That’s my next step (once I can find a place in town that sells cloth measuring tape–that’s a whole different story)!

        Charlayna wrote on October 31st, 2012
        • Charlayna/Chica, great point! Like you said, that number on the scale usually means very little. During the beginning of my weight loss journey about 10 months ago, I became wayyy to obsessed with the scale. I broke that relationship off and now go off body measurements, body fat percentage, how my clothes are fitting, etc. I still have my scale and weigh myself every so often mostly out of pure curiosity.
          TJ, I also recently started crossfit and initially started gaining weight! After talking to one of my CF coaches, I realized it was because of two things. 1)I was gaining a lot of muscle. The scale went up but my body measurements changed drastically. 2)I was still eating the same amount of carbs I was eating before I started CF. Because of the intensity of CF, I had to make adjustments in my carb intake. Not a huge amount, basically went from eating 1/2 a sweet potato a day to a whole one. That made a huge difference though and since you’re workouts are more intense, your body really needs it. Hope that helps a little!

          Ashlys Gone Primal wrote on October 31st, 2012
        • Charlayna, best place to find cloth measuring tape is a fabric/sewing store or possible at a walmart if it still has a fabric/sewing section. Best of luck.

          Ramona wrote on October 31st, 2012
        • Walmart sells them, got mine yesterday. :)

          Ovi wrote on October 31st, 2012
        • For the folks buying cloth measuring tapes, be sure to change them out on a regular basis, which depends on how often you use them. Why? Because they stretch out over time, giving you inaccurate readings! Best way to see if they are off is to put them against a non-cloth measuring unit.

          ElleBeau wrote on November 1st, 2012
      • I have seen some great results when I started Primal along with CrossFit. Well, good for me. I dropped 10 lbs. My clothes are fitting better, but my BF % isn’t changing dramatically. I have been Primal for 6 weeks now. I keep a food diary as well. I don’t monitor calories religiously, but ensure that my 30-day average isn’t too out of whack for my BMR+exercise. My 3-month average carb intake is 116g. Im 5-10 and now 165…same weight when I came out of bootcamp, so my weight is not a concern. However, I would like to drop additional BF% points. I don’t think my carb intake is too high. But doing CF 3-4 days/week, what should my carb intake be? Assuming of course that it is Primal carbs.

        HCAGS wrote on October 31st, 2012
        • Thanks guys, but you really don’t understand just how tiny Cordova, Alaska is! There’s only one craft-type store that sells them in town, and their hours are really strange because it’s winter.

          Charlayna wrote on October 31st, 2012
        • We don’t have any large chain grocery stores, no walmart, big box home improvement stores, etc.

          Charlayna wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • hey, tj,

      are you only monitoring pounds? i see you are also monitoring body fat %. i’m wondering if you’ve been keeping an eye on inches as well. you can get smaller without the scale reflecting that.

      in other words, you may still be making progress.

      Jenny wrote on October 31st, 2012
      • I am actually not monitoring pounds, but I see my doctor every 6-8 weeks and getting on a scale is part of the visit. While I should have gotten measured when I started, I am doing this today and know that I have dropped body fat since starting this. It seems like my body changes from the top down (my face is thinner and double chin is gone) and bottom up (I actually have some definition in my legs), but the middle changes much more slowly and the places that I really want to see change – my waist and butt – are pretty much where they are.

        TJ wrote on November 1st, 2012
    • TJ:

      Unless you are 6’6″ and a retired athlete, take this advice from someone who went from 285 to 205 in about 12 months I would: 1) adapt to a Primal Lifestyle [months 0-4], 2) become moderately active (hike, walk, moderate cycling) a couple days a week [months 5-8], 3) begin CF or better yet a 5-3-1 weight training program (see Jim Wendler) [9 months – rest of your life]. Jumping right into an intense exercise program while you are obese is a recipe for failure. Your hormone are already out of whack from obesity and now you want to tax your system further. Weight loss for the obese is largely a function of nutrition. My 2 cents. -MP

      Mike wrote on October 31st, 2012
      • Sorry, I meant that for Jason.

        Mike wrote on October 31st, 2012
        • I need sleep. It is TJ :(

          Mike wrote on October 31st, 2012
      • Thanks for the input. I bought a bike in April and rode 2-3x per week. Before I changed jobs I rode 5 miles to the gym at least twice a week and that was a good warm up riding at a 10-12 MPH pace. I also took a longer ride, 20-25 miles, with some friends on the weekend. I know that CF is intense, but it seems balanced with strength/lifting one day and a metcon the next. Plus, since I can scale the workout it feels good without killing me.

        However, your point about nutrition is understood and why it was my starting point.

        TJ wrote on November 1st, 2012
    • You may be doing the hard yards 3/wk but what are you doing the rest of the time. Remember your chair is your enemy; stand to work at your desk (if you have one) at home and work, use the stairs not elevator, walk not drive etc, etc. Keep moving, only sit to eat. Good luck.

      Greg wrote on October 31st, 2012
  13. The last paragraph about eating to much has really hit home for me lately. When I started paleo it was great, I ate Paleo and that meant tons of meat and veggies because that is what we do. But, now at 60lbs lost, I’ve noticed that I’ve plateaued, even gained some weight back. I’ve lowered my portions and am getting back on track. Just because I’m eating ‘healthy’ doesn’t mean I can eat it all.

    Pete wrote on October 31st, 2012
  14. I know what stalls my weight loss. Too much red wine and chocolate.

    mikeinmadrid wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • +1
      And raspberries and cream!

      Chica wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Oh, that and nuts and cheese and apples/plums/oranges/grapes…..

      I struggle a little since I LOVE to eat and am often hungry (especially now that I workout reasonably) and there’s that factor that sometimes enters the game: anxious/emotional eating. Primal… but calories are still going high. Damn.

      Patrícia wrote on October 31st, 2012
      • another emotional eater here too! it’s just too tempting to make that lovely batch of primal chocolate mousse when you’re feeling crappy rather than just wait until you’re hungry and then eat “proper” food.

        Arcticnomster wrote on October 31st, 2012
        • Oh, yes… I absolutely feel you here.

          Sometimes it is just better to not start a meal at all and then wait for the next in which you can eat more, as our animal machine so much pleases…

          Patrícia wrote on November 1st, 2012
    • Too much coconut milk, too. :)

      Aria wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • How much is too ?

      Shalimar wrote on October 31st, 2012
  15. Great post. It’s a balance and my favorite theme I gained from the article: it’s still your responsibility to take charge of your health mind and body. Enjoy the process of being healthy. Who would have thunk it. :)

    Abby wrote on October 31st, 2012
  16. Thank you for this article. I’m glad you’ve reminded people that you won’t lose fat if you’re overeating, even if you’re overeating primal food. The foods that I need to be careful with are nuts, cheese and almond butter. So easy to snack on…and so easy to go waaaay overboard on the calories with these foods.

    Also, many people (including myself) have deeply ingrained habits of eating for reasons other than hunger. These habits can be very hard to break. Until we learn to eat only when hungry, we will probably eat more calories than we need, even if they’re good, primal calories. For those of us in this category, we need to realize that eating when not hungry can be another roadblock to weight-loss and fat-loss.

    Jean wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Its complicated, cause i’m on the other end. My weight loss has stalled and I think its cause i’m in the “not eating enough” category.

      I only eat when i’m hungry, and my foodlog is pathetically low as a result, and I crossfit 3 times a week. Now i’m starting to eat more, but keep it clean as I can (sweet potatoes are good advice), and I’m planning on this kickstarting some performance gains as well as maybe some newfound drops in body fat %.

      Kevin wrote on October 31st, 2012
  17. “But exercise is a potent enhancer of hormonal function.”

    This has been key for me. I was focusing completely on diet, and while helpful, was definitely not the whole story. I’ve got to empty my glycogen stores daily to keep my insulin sensitivity, well, sensitive!

    Melissa wrote on October 31st, 2012
  18. Thanks for sharing that deal! I’ve been waiting to get a new pair for a while, I think today’s the day!

    I am guilty of everything on this list at one point or another. There’s so much interesting information out there, and in an area I am passionate about, that sometimes I get lost in it. I’m finding that its more frequent that I turn it all off and just live the PB lifestyle rather than reading it. It’s there when I have a question or think of something that’s come up in my experience, but for the most part I follow the general rules because they are natural to me now and don’t stress over the rest.

    shadia wrote on October 31st, 2012
  19. You did not mention “sprints”. I hate doing them, I mean really, really dread them, but I notice my body fat % starts climbing if I don’t do them. You said it’s a culmination of all the parts that makes the Primal Blue Print. I notice when I blow these off, I start moving in the wrong direction. Did I mention I hate doing these? Just finished them a short time ago, so good for another week, can’t wait. Dr. Mercola also swears by doing sprints and the value they add.

    Grannysmith wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Haha I haate them with a passion too… well i think I hate the thought of them more than actually doing them! Once im out there i’m always glad I am and feel great afterwards! 😛

      Sarah wrote on October 31st, 2012
      • +1

        Rae wrote on November 1st, 2012
  20. I could identify with almost every example you gave and this was so on point. Thanks for the great article as always!

    Felicia Stark wrote on October 31st, 2012
  21. Great article! I think it’s particularly important to emphasize all aspects of the PB lifestyle, not just for weight loss but overall health and happiness.

    Dani wrote on October 31st, 2012
  22. An important update, in my opinion.

    I have caught myself from time to time worrying over too tiny details of what exactly I eat. I always managed to catch myself, though, and hope to be able to do so in the future.

    Judging, from a surprising lot of the posts in the forum and under the articles, there are a lot of people who overdo being Primal and display dogmatic views in varying degrees. Just lighten up, do your thing, but don’t make it an ersatz religion.

    Just live ^^

    Jotun wrote on October 31st, 2012
  23. Sprints, definitely have improved my muscle tone. I plateaued at 130lb for awhile and then the only change I made was sprints and sleeping better. Now I’m almost at 120lb. I have no need or interest in going lower than that. I exercise 5-7 days a week, mostly stretching for about a half hour and walking (uphill and downhill and stairs) for about an hour with occasional sprints (very short and just as I feel like it). I eat as much as I want, sometimes a lot, sometimes not but I have a healthy appetite. I’m 5’4″ tall and I’m 63 and I’ve never felt better in my life!

    ellen wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Ellen, I’m ten years younger and a 40 pounds heavier, but I am striving to get to where you are! I know I need to up the exercise and your pattern would suit me perfectly. Good to see your great results!

      Chica wrote on October 31st, 2012
  24. What if you sit at a desk all day and then CrossFit? Is this sedentary or active? It seems to always be mentioned as either you are active or you have a desk job and not inclusively. Should I eat enough sweet potatoes for my CrossFitting or my desk job? Or something in the middle? And now I’m overthinking….

    Alison wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • My thoughts exactly.
      Using Mark and Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution I lost 36 lbs. in 4 months.
      Now, I’ve been “holding” for 3 mos.
      So frustrated.
      I THINK I am not eating enough, but how
      do you really know?
      Very confused.

      Donna wrote on October 31st, 2012
      • I’m in the same boat as you guys. I work at a desk all day (I try to get up and walk around as much as possible) but I also Crossfit 4-5 times a week. I was plateauing for a while there too but after talking to one of my CF coaches, I realized I needed to up my carb intake to make up for the intensity of CF. It was only a small change from 1/2 a sweet potato on CF days to a whole one, but I have noticed a difference. Toy around with your carb intake a little bit and see what works for you.

        Ashlys Gone Primal wrote on October 31st, 2012
  25. What articles do you have that elaborate on the “You’re not tailoring your macronutrient levels to your lifestyle.” point? As in the examples you brought – sedentary jobs vs avid exercisers require a different balance of nutrients. So do you have materials that talk about those differences and how to tailor the nutrition to them?

    V. wrote on October 31st, 2012
  26. My biggest problem is over eating in general. I do well with primal and I enjoy it. Over eating has always been a “thing” for me. Its a learned behavior from childhood. My whole family, both sides, does it. I’m not sure how to beat it. “listening to my body” works but is also very hard. I’m working very hard to eat until I’m full/not hungry and I’m often surprised at how much (little) that actually is.
    Does anyone else have this problem? or have any suggestions on ways to combat this?

    Diana wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • I grew up in the same situation, actually, so I understand. For times when I can’t get full no matter what, I try to reach for veggies to munch on. A handful of carrots (or a bag of sour sorrel… ;)) definitely fills me up much more than a handful of potato chips (which, I will admit are a downfall in my pseudo-primal ways).

      Maybe making some sort of “rules” for yourself? For me–I stop eating about an hour (or more, it depends) before I go to sleep. It’s not about weight loss, it’s about getting the best sleep I can. I also try to work in IF if I’ve eaten a ton the day before–usually an 10-14 hour IF before my next meal (which translates to, for myself, sleep for 8-10 hours, then wait a couple hours before breakfast).

      Charlayna wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Wow… so on target for me today – I have been reading reading and reading like crazy lately to try and jump start a new training regimen for a 1/2 marathon – tips on supplements, exercise – do this – no wait! this is better! – and have felt totally… uninspired and stressed. All this information is crushing me under its weight and I have lost my zest and creativity – you know, the fun stuff that makes this lifestyle worth it. Starting today, I’m going to get back to being excited about cooking (my creative outlet, exercising according the the PBP guidelines and I vow not to sweat all the deets. Thanks for the reminder of what this is supposed to be all about.

      Someone on here said about PBP: “Eat real food, stop when you’re full. Repeat as needed” or something like that. Yup. that’s about it.

      Also, Slow. Down. I find that eating slowly and savoring my food really helps with getting that “full” signal and stopping before I mow down huge amounts of food.

      Kariberry wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Sounds like your leptin hormonal signals are out of balance. Your body is not getting the satiety signals. You brain thinks you need more because it is not getting the “I’m full” message. One of the best resources on correcting this issue is found at Wellness Look up the “Five Rules of the Leptin Diet.” This will help tremendously.

      One thing you can do immediately is when you are eating to slow down and take deep breaths before you start and between bites. This gives you body a chance to naturally recognize its satiety signals. Hope this helps.

      Michael wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Diana, try using a salad plate for your food rather than a dinner-size plate. Remember how little kids don’t like stuff to be touching on their plate? Do likewise. Limit your portions so that you can see some areas of bare plate rather than piling food on top of other food. Eat slowly and skip second helpings. Avoid buffets, fast food joints, and even most sit-down restaurants since the trend is to supersize everthing when you eat out.

      Shary wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • I have found intermittent fasting a great help in getting rid of the last few bits of flab. Anytime I overeat I simply go through to midday next day without food. I need plenty of clean water but I actually enjoy it and I find I sometimes just forget all about food. About twice a week I find suits me and I try to exercise during this short fast. Great results and allows me to overeat if I feel like it.

      patrick wrote on November 2nd, 2012
  27. I’m just new to all of this a week or so ago. Health problems, 5 different prescriptions and 216 pounds made me have a wake up call. I had tried the Adkins a couple of years ago, lost 15 or so pounds but put all of them and more back on. My thyroid is out of whack, so loosing weight will be a double challenge. Mark’s philosophy is so simple for me. Do not eat anything that is not natural or processed to death. I can follow this. I have been a sugar addict for years so this is my biggest problem. After dinner the cravings begin, a teaspoon of coconut butter helps, plus a nibble of dark chocolate.
    Reading all the comments help with gaining the knowledge that I need to make this work.
    One more thing, I have a genetic blood disorder called Factor V Leiden, my body makes blood clots, soooooo I can’t eat anything with Vitamin K in it, which are all leafy green vegetables, including broccoli, etc. No dark skinned berries either. I am on Coumadin for the rest of my life and I’m 51 years old.
    I can’t have the big nutritional salads, all I can have that is leafy is iceberg lettuce. Carrots, squash, corn, and the light skinned vegetables are also on the “can eat” list.
    This is going to be tough, but I am going to do this….

    Melanie R wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Lots of folks here have thyroid problems and primal is a good way to manage the weight issues that come with hypothyroidism. Your Factor V Leiden certainly complicates things, but just focus on the “can eat” list, as you mentioned. The sugar/carb cravings will fade. Don’t be afraid to go heavy on fats as you are converting from carb-fueled to fat-burner. It really helps! Best of luck!

      Chica wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Melanie – Who told you not to eat any vitamin K rich foods? Because while yes vitamin K dose interfere with warfarin, it is not that you can’t eat it at ALL, you just have to eat a consistent amount. Talk to your INR clinic and find out exactly what rules they want you to follow. If they are telling you NO vitamin K rich foods and NO green leafy veggies then they are just being lazy and you should find another clinic. I wouldn’t recommend suddenly starting to eat 5 servings a day, but if you slowly increase your intake of these foods and have your INR checked more often then can adjust your warfarin dose to accomodate your diet. Then once you are stabilized on a dose of warfarin and number of weekly servings of vitamin K rich foods the monitoring will be less often.

      Jen D. wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Melanie, my hubby has exactly the same as you, Factor V Leiden, and he’s on Coumadin (he’s 55). He eats the Vitamin K foods and all the leafy greens he wants, and his Coumadin dosage is adjusted for that. You might want to have your INR checked weekly while you transition over to primal nutrition, but your INR should stabilize once you’ve gotten into a regular eating-greens schedule.

      Goldie wrote on October 31st, 2012
  28. Weight loss, eh? I’ve found that eating a low-sodium, gluten-free diet will make weight melt away like boy howdy. And I didn’t even need to lose any! Gotta add more recipes so I don’t become overly reliant on peanuts, avocados, etc.

    Thanks for all the info and yummy recipes to boot.

    Karen Meyer wrote on October 31st, 2012
  29. this is fantastic – i was undereating carbs and doing crossfit as Rx’d 6 days/week. I was wondering why my middle is getting bigger and bigger. sweet potatoes, here i come!
    would i reduce the fatty stuff then? my coconut cream protein shakes for example or butter consumption?
    cheers, Mark, you are a legend and I’m so grateful for your site!

    Kat wrote on October 31st, 2012
  30. Just put a picture of me next to the You’re Overthinking Your Food Section and file that under Funny Cause It’s TRUE. Thanks for the perspective there and for this post. I’m fighting that last 5-7 lbs, and this information is right on time!

    Tina wrote on October 31st, 2012
  31. Its difficult because I am doing P90x and would love to hear mark write up a recommended carb intake for the program.. I’m eating primally and doing a carb refeed with about 200 carbs once a week but I still feel a bit lethargic often and require 9+ hours to function. I’m eating about 60g of carbs a day.
    Does anyone have any recommendations?

    Logan wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Self-experimentation to up your carbs for a week or two?

      You can “safely” eat 100g of carbs/day and not gain weight, according to the carbohydrate curve, but P90X is intense–I know, I’ve done it. You might need to up those carbs into the so-called “danger zone” because you’re burning off tons of glycogen stores in your muscles…

      Charlayna wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • How about more protein, especially red meat? I’ve noticed I have more energy after eating red meat.

      Angela wrote on October 31st, 2012
  32. I suspect this post will be linked and forwarded often.

    I’m amazed at how eating more in general, eating more potatoes and meat in particular, and lifting heavy weights is changing everything. I love to eat and now I love to eat even more and I’ve never felt better or had looser clothing. I give up understanding these things with my brain anymore. I’m listening to my body and my stomach.

    Diane wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • I let my gut do the thinking today.. dirt from a rotting log smelled so good, I had to eat some.

      Animanarchy wrote on October 31st, 2012
  33. So, how do you know if you’re not eating enough? Since starting primal, my daily calorie count has dropped way down, because I’m just not hungry like I used to be. Thus far (3 months in) I’ve been losing weight pretty quickly, for which I’m glad, but I don’t want to be doing long-term damage as the price for it.

    I eat as much as I feel hungry for, but it probably averages out around 1300-1400 calories per day. I track what I eat online, so I can see the macronutrient breakdown and know that I’m not letting the carbs slip up too high, and the program says I should be eating 1750 calories per day. Would it be healthier for me to eat those extra 300-400 calories each day.

    Janet wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • You could always try adding in an extra tablespoon of fat here and there for the extra calories.

      1300-1400 calories seems low to me, but I’m also supposed to eat around 2100 calories a day. I’m definitely no expert!

      Charlayna wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • If you’re losing fat, building / not losing muscle and feel good, it’s probably not a problem. This article is for those who fail those checks.

      Sofie wrote on October 31st, 2012
  34. Mark, I think this is your best article in a very long time.

    It’s easy to get lost in the minutiae; sometimes we need to be reminded of the basics, including not to sweat even the basics too much. It ain’t a Primal lifestyle if you’re constantly gauging yourself against some over-idealized paragon of Primalness.

    Patrick wrote on October 31st, 2012
  35. Great article indeed.

    What works for me: I never weigh myself. Just look in the mirror every now and then and notice how you feel. Cravings? might bump up the calorie intake then, sometimes it’s still not easy to know when enough is enough but especially when too little is too little.

    Lennard wrote on October 31st, 2012
  36. A great post that describes exactly the phase I’m in right now. I went low carb about a year ago and started reading everything there was to know about it, I mean everything. It went so far that I was stressed about what to eat all the time and constantly checking ingredients and nutritional value on everything.

    A month or so ago I decided to just unsubscribe to all blogs, newsletters and not read any more books. Just chill and take it easy. Never been better. Find something that works and stick to it, don’t worry about perfection or whatever is the latest on MDA or somewhere else.

    You are already way ahead of everyone else and you know it.

    Jonas wrote on October 31st, 2012
  37. Thank you for the hot tip on the Vibrams. That is a killer deal. I just can’t remember what size I wear. I’ll have to go to a supplier and try them on again.

    Jessica wrote on October 31st, 2012
  38. Great article Mark! As I have now lost 50lbs since Jan 10th this article answered alot of questions I needed to reach my ultimate goal. I couldn’t agree with you more about sticking to what works and that’s what I have done since Jan. I do stress at times and weigh myself too often but I am so happy to the lightest (now 235 from 285) since I last did Atkins 8yrs ago that I guess seeing the numbers on the scale keeps me on track! Wt coming off slow now but I’m right where I want to be. Thanks again Mark!!! I’ll post pic once I have reached my goal.

    brent stephens wrote on October 31st, 2012
  39. for the section re-“You’re not tailoring your macronutrient levels to your lifestyle”….

    Can anyone comment on this section vs. say the nutrition plan laid out in “The Art and Science of Low Carb Performance” by Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney? More carbs (in Marks’s post) vs. intense training on basically 50g carbs/day (book).

    caveman endurance wrote on October 31st, 2012
  40. The problem for me is adding in late afternoon potato chips. Plain and simply! Looking forward to a posting on the evils of clean, kettle cooked potatoe chips:-)

    JudyS wrote on October 31st, 2012
    • Potato chips (starch) plus fat for frying equals weight gain if eaten excessively, whether the chips are clean, dirty, kettle cooked–whatever. Not much difference between chips and French fries except for the style of cut and degree of doneness. Both can be fattening.

      Everybody can usually eat anything once in a while. Moderation is the key, which means not every day, not even once a week.

      Shary wrote on October 31st, 2012

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