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  • Primal for 2 months = weight GAIN???

    Greetings everyone! I've been reading posts here for several weeks and I've decided to introduce myself with the hopes someone can help me break a big conundrum; I suddenly weigh more as a Primal Eater than I ever have in my life, and I can't seem to drop any weight!

    This post is really long – I apologize for the length but I’m hoping this will give you a really good picture of my lifestyle and dietary habits so that you don’t have to ask a billion questions later on.

    I've been primal for 2 months now. I don't miss the grains/carbohydrates that much (although I had the carb-flu for a good 2-3 weeks when I first started), but I miss the ability to control my weight. Let me explain:

    First, my stats:
    I'm a 29 year old woman, 5'7" tall, and currently 128.5 pounds, so that gives me a BMI of 20, and I should point out I have a resting heart rate between 51-53bpm. By all accounts, I’m medically “healthy,” but I’m unhappy because I’m stuck in an upward spiral of weight gain!

    My past:
    When I started this new Paleo lifestyle I weighed exactly 124 lbs and I planned to drop to 120 - which is where I feel my best and where my weight usually stayed stable on my "grain diet." (I work from home so I can prepare all my food from scratch, and I always have a good sense of what is going into my body.) My old grain based diet was a variation on this theme:

    Breakfast: 250-300calorie bowl of whole grain cereal, with no sugar added, but with 1 serving of chocolate whey protein powder (from Trader Joes).

    Lunch: 2 slices whole wheat bread (in sandwich form) with chicken breast sautéed in olive oil, grilled tomato and goat cheese. I'd also have a serving of dark chocolate for dessert (Green & Black's Organic)… Mmmm!

    Snack: an apple or banana and 1 cup of yogurt with 1/4c sprinkle of granola.

    Dinner: a huge bowl of salad with tomato, mushroom, hard boiled egg and home-made olive oil & balsamic dressing. I'd again have a serving (3 squares) of dark chocolate for dessert. :-)

    My exercise routine in the past: I'd run about 5 times a week a distance of 4 miles at a slow pace (usually about a 9.5-10min mile). I also did a lot of hiking on weekends. (I enjoy exercise in the gorgeous outdoors of SoCal!)

    I slept a consistent 8 hours a night and took the same daily supplements which I'm taking now:
    a daily multivitamin,
    plus 2000IU Vit D,
    Glucosamine 1500mg & Chrondroitin 1200mg,
    L-Glutamine 1500mg,
    Fish Oil 4500mg (2100mg EPA, the rest is DHA).

    I'd usually consume around 1400-1500calories a day on this diet. I'd allow myself to enjoy a greater calorie count (including red wine with friends) on weekends because I knew that the 1-2 pounds I'd "put on" over the weekend, would be naturally lost over the week that followed.


    Transition to the Primal Blueprint:
    When I started eating Paleo my goal was simply to try something new with the hopes of discovering a new level of fitness and health. Also, I planned to lose a little bit of weight; I had gained a touch of weight (4lbs) by overindulging for a few weeks and I thought it would be a fun new way to lose these pounds.

    When I read about the Paleo-lifestyle (Mark's book looks thoroughly "used" - I took notes and highlighted on every page), I felt it made a lot of sense and I talked my husband into doing it with me. (Really, he was so happy to get to eat unlimited bacon and sausages that this was not really a hard sell!) My husband (who was fit and active to begin with – we exercise together) has lost 5 pounds without going hungry or feeling deprived. He still has sweet potatoes on a daily basis and he has not bothered with counting calories or anything else.

    I, on the other hand, had a severe case of carb-flu (with the raised body temperature) for 2-3 weeks. I also felt obsessed with food in a way I've never felt before; it was REALLY hard to think about anything but food, but because I don't give up easily, I forced myself to keep going. Things finally started to feel better (not perfect) after 3 weeks – Phew!!! So I knew my body had finally transitioned to burning fat. I had been gaining a little over a pound a week in the first 3 weeks of the Paleo transition, but I trusted the logic that once the body is tuned to burn fat rather than carbs, that the gained weight would fall off. I was wrong.

    Here is what I was eating (with the knowledge that I needed to keep carbs as low as possible - under 100g per day - in order to lose weight):

    Breakfast: 2 eggs, 5 asparagus spears, 1 thick slice of Black Forest Ham and ½ cup blackberries

    Lunch: 1 chicken sausage, 2 cups broccoli with 1/3c shredded cheese, and one home-made high protein muffin. (These muffins are a recipe I came up with especially for this diet: they’re made with coconut meal and pack 11g of protein – they have only 4g sugar and 14g carbs – they’re full of almonds and they are very satisfying for only 145 calories.)

    Snack: 1 oz cheese, ¼ cup raw pecans, and a humble serving of dark chocolate.

    Dinner: 2cups lettuce, 1/2cup each: tomato and mushroom, 1 cup shredded chicken (from Costco’s Rotisserie Chicken), and 2 Tbsp olive oil dressing, and one home-made high protein muffin for dessert.

    I really must emphasize how I obsessively logged all the nutritional information for what was going in my mouth. My total carb count for the day was only 68.5g, my total calorie count was 1640cal, and my Protein was 109g!

    I did alter my exercise regimen in order to go more “primal” with weight and body resistance exercises (push ups, sit ups, squats, lunges, jump rope, etc.) So I dropped my 4 mile runs down to 1-2 times per week, and now I do 2 days of strength work (20-30 min), and two days of walking 4 miles (instead of running them). I still keep up the hiking on weekends as much as the weather allows.

    Now, let’s talk about the past week and where I am today:
    Admittedly, my overall daily calorie count on the Paleo Diet was higher at 1600+ calories compared to my old “grain diet” calorie count of 1400 cal/day, so, in the last 7 days I decided to really cut back on calories in an effort to lose weight.

    I’m also "fasting" by waiting 15 hours between dinner and breakfast.

    Here is what I’ve been eating for the past 7 days:

    1st meal (I’m not calling it Breakfast because I don’t eat this meal until about noon): 2 eggs, 1 slice Black Forest Ham, 5 asparagus spears and 1/2 cup berries.

    2nd meal: 1 chicken sausage with 2Tbsp guacamole, 1 cup broccoli with 1 Tbsp salsa, 1 protein muffin.

    Snack: 1 chicken sausage and 2-3 pieces artichoke in oil, and 1 plum.

    Dinner: 2cups lettuce, 1/2cups each: tomato and mushroom, chicken breast, and 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (no oil – to cut calories), and 3 pieces of dark chocolate.

    That yields the following daily nutrition: 1100 Calories, 70g Carb, 56g Fat, 103g Protein.

    I’ve been totally drained; I’m sleeping 9+ hours a night (like a corpse) and I still can’t stop thinking about food. I’m getting depressed because the sacrifice is not yielding ANY results – not even a half pound; NOTHING gained from a whole week of torture.

    I would be able to do this for the next 2 months (to lose 8 lbs “slowly and safely” at the rate of 2 lbs per week) if it yielded results, but I’m feeling defeated because it’s not working at all.

    So, to summarize my current state: I'm 4.5 pounds heavier than when I started going Paleo (which was already 4 lbs more than my "usual" weight), yet I've been feeling deprived and hungry since I started, and all I can think of is that I'm never going to lose these 8.5 lbs! I was really patient at first, but when I got off the scale last weekend I just burst into tears because I don’t know how to feel comfortable in my clothes again; I feel my clothes are tight and I really can “see” those pounds in the mirror. (And bathing-suit season is upon us - I should point out that in June of last year I was 117 pounds - 11.5 pounds less than I am now!) To make matters worse, the weight is really making running difficult; my left ankle hurts now, and I feel as though I just can’t move my legs anymore when I run.

    Is it possible that the Paleo Lifestyle is just not for me? I’m terrified of bringing grains and higher carbs back into my diet because there is the chance I’m going to balloon even more!

    Have you ever encountered anyone who just gained weight on this diet regardless what they tried?

    What am I missing? How is it that I can’t lose this weight? HELP!!

  • #2
    Whens the last time you a bowel movement?

    Comment


    • #3
      Throw the scale away. Just chuck it. Use a sledgehammer on it.

      Here's how you measure success on PB: How are you feeling? How is your energy level? Is it possible you've gained muscle? Why are you obsessing about a number on the scale that is within the limit that people normally fluctuate over the course of a day anyway?

      You are probably still having carb flu. Cut those carbs down to the bone (20g or less per day), and increase the fat to compensate to maintain the caloric level. You may not even be eating enough.
      Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

      Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...mer-(Attempt-2)


      Ditch the scale!: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread33283.html

      My Success Story: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread30615.html

      Comment


      • #4
        That 4lbs is probably muscle, you know. And i think you may be over analysing just a tad...
        I'm a paleo foodie, come check out my recipes: http://strangekitty.ca/

        Comment


        • #5
          At your weight (and I'm 5'7" too so I know 120lbs is at the very low end of the scale for our height), I think you should look at why you're obsessing over a number on the scale that doesn't correspond at ALL to how your body is composed.
          How do your clothes fit? How much water do you drink?

          I can understand that having gained weight, even muscle weight, could have an impact on your running. This is not NECESSARILY a bad thing, but your body has to adjust. By the way, a bf% of 20% is really good for a female.

          vlassed, last June you were most likely underweight. I hate to say this, but because I have struggled with it myself, have you considered that you may be suffering from body dysmorphia? Even to a degree? I am not trying to say I think you're crazy, I just wonder if maybe you are being unreasonable with your goals and hurting your self-esteem in the process of obsessing over numbers. And I know from personal experience that if all you can think about is your weight, the stress is not going to help you.

          I'm new to paleo/primal so I don't have diet advice but my heart goes out to you and I wanted to give you some support.

          Comment


          • #6
            I can hear your frustration! I have similar stats--but I have consistently lost eating Primally for the last 6 months, once I did some fine-tuning.

            Agree with the suggestion to ditch the scale, not useful! Take your measurements instead and go by those--much more helpful in tracking progress.

            You do need to relax--stress will not help you drop the fat.

            I notice you don't mention red meat. Grass-fed beef, bison & lamb have better Omega 3:6 ratios than poultry which will help you decrease inflammation.

            If your clothes aren't fitting, you may be retaining water. Read this:
            How to Deal With Water Retention: Part One | Intermittent fasting diet for fat loss, muscle gain and health

            Personally, I would try a "feast" day and eat to satiety (don't worry about macros) to boost your leptin levels and then drop back to about 1400-1500 calories and up your walking a bit. Do the "feast" day once every 2 weeks.

            You may also want to try dropping your carbs slightly (just around 50) and see if that helps decrease your hunger.
            Last edited by Dragonfly; 05-12-2011, 03:38 PM.
            Ancestral Nutrition Coaching
            Pregnancy Nutrition Coaching
            Primal Pregnancy Nutrition Article

            Comment


            • #7
              Yeah - I wish a bowel movement would make me lose 4 pounds of weight LOL!!! I'm as consistent as before the Paleo - about 3-4 times a week. Any thoughts?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dragonfly View Post
                I can hear your frustration! I have similar stats--but I have consistently lost eating Primally for the last 6 months, once I did some fine-tuning.

                Agree with the suggestion to ditch the scale, not useful! Take your measurements instead and go by those--much more helpful in tracking progress.

                You do need to relax--stress will not help you drop the fat.

                I notice you don't mention red meat. Grass-fed beef, bison & lamb have better Omega 3:6 ratios than poultry which will help you decrease inflammation.

                If your clothes aren't fitting, you may be retaining water. Read this:
                How to Deal With Water Retention: Part One | Intermittent fasting diet for fat loss, muscle gain and health

                Personally, I would try a "feast" day and eat to satiety (don't worry about macros) to boost your leptin levels and then drop back to about 1400-1500 calories and up your walking a bit. Do the "feast" day once every 2 weeks.

                You may also want to try dropping your carbs slightly (just around 50) and see if that helps decrease your hunger.


                Thank you for the advice Dragonfly; I will try to lessen the carbs further and see whether that's causing all the hunger. I'll address your other good ideas too: I'm eating red meat on weekends when we go out with friends... thankfully steak and veggies is a basic staple at just about every restaurant! I'll read the link you sent me about water retention, but I really have not changed my water intake in years (6-8 cups of tea a day depending on my thirst...), and I'm still peeing plenty - I have a "girl" bladder so I have to go to the bathroom within an hour every time I drink a cup of liquid!

                I look forward to the next "feast day"..let's see how that works!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'll read the link you sent me about water retention, but I really have not changed my water intake in years (6-8 cups of tea a day depending on my thirst...), and I'm still peeing plenty - I have a "girl" bladder so I have to go to the bathroom within an hour every time I drink a cup of liquid!
                  The article is mostly about water retention due to a calorie restricted diet.
                  Ancestral Nutrition Coaching
                  Pregnancy Nutrition Coaching
                  Primal Pregnancy Nutrition Article

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by secretlobster View Post
                    At your weight (and I'm 5'7" too so I know 120lbs is at the very low end of the scale for our height), I think you should look at why you're obsessing over a number on the scale that doesn't correspond at ALL to how your body is composed.
                    How do your clothes fit? How much water do you drink?

                    I can understand that having gained weight, even muscle weight, could have an impact on your running. This is not NECESSARILY a bad thing, but your body has to adjust. By the way, a bf% of 20% is really good for a female.

                    vlassed, last June you were most likely underweight. I hate to say this, but because I have struggled with it myself, have you considered that you may be suffering from body dysmorphia? Even to a degree? I am not trying to say I think you're crazy, I just wonder if maybe you are being unreasonable with your goals and hurting your self-esteem in the process of obsessing over numbers. And I know from personal experience that if all you can think about is your weight, the stress is not going to help you.

                    I'm new to paleo/primal so I don't have diet advice but my heart goes out to you and I wanted to give you some support.


                    Hi SecretLobster - thank you for your sympathy! I don't discount some body dismorphia could be affecting me NOW, but I had no trouble with that when I was 5 pounds lighter, so what does that mean other than the fact that I'm not comfortable at this weight?

                    How can I possibly have gained so much muscle that my pants feel so tight - I am not eating nearly enough to bulk up on muscle like a body builder. My hiking pants' button kept popping undone at the front last time I went hiking. It's all really visible in my thighs by the way; I gained an inch circumference on each one - and there is more "jiggle" than ever! I have a small frame so "bulk" really shows.

                    My tears of distress when I get off the scale have to do with hating myself for not achieving my goals.... the number on the scale makes me feel l like a failure.

                    What makes me more distraught than ever is that I don't know if I can ever enjoy a piece of cheesecake ever again without packing on the pounds permanently. On my old grain based diet I knew a little sinful indulgence wouldn't cause irreversible repercussions because I could lose weight "at will"... but try as I might, I can't get a grasp of how to get Primal Eating to help me lose.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Quick question... I don't see any mention of sprints. Did you leave this out, or have you not been sprinting once a week?
                      Jen, former Midwesterner, living in the middle of nowhere.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by vlassed View Post
                        My tears of distress when I get off the scale have to do with hating myself for not achieving my goals.... the number on the scale makes me feel l like a failure.
                        You do understand that that, all by itself, is a real issue? Can you see how crazy that is, to let a number control your feelings?

                        It's a number. It's just a number! It's arbitrary! It tells you NOTHING. You could be four pounds heavier because of inflammation from overuse of your muscles (the body packs them with water when they're inflamed, which adds weight). You could be four pounds heavier because you've built muscles. You could be four pounds heavier because you haven't had a good crap in a while. You could be four pounds heavier because you're retaining water since that time of the month is coming up. It could be that your weight fluctuates just like every other human being's weight fluctuates up to five pounds in the course of a day for all those reasons and more.

                        Why are you letting this dictate how you feel about yourself?

                        DITCH THE SCALE.
                        Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

                        Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...mer-(Attempt-2)


                        Ditch the scale!: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread33283.html

                        My Success Story: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread30615.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I am exactly in the same boat as I gained 9lbs since going Primal 2 months ago. On my normal diet, I was 1800cals, 5'9'' 137lbs, now I am 146lbs, clothes fit tighter etc. Same problems like you. I am trying to figure out how to tweak the PB to work for me. I have researched and browsed the websites and stumbled upon this thread:

                          http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread7428.html

                          46 pages of how women deal with Primal weight loss not happening for them. After reading, I do believe it comes down to 4 things for any female - dairy, nuts, chocolate, alcohol. You have to give those up. It comes up over and over on those pages. I have read somewhere on this forum that for ladies who are at the healthy weight coming from the standard grain diet (= hormones are ok and working quite fine on the grain diet), there is a long metabolic shift to make a transition to fat metabolism as your hormones need to get aligned with new eating. They called it the metabolic hell and it can take months and months. The bad news is you don't want to go back to grain diet now as your hormones are already transitioning....bloating, weight gain etc. The good news, once the metabolic shift passes, all the ladies reported the weight just slid off and went even lower than their original expectations and they all felt great. But it was long time of veggies and meat and lots of fat. Nearly no fruit and zero dairy, alcohol, nuts and chocolate. I am making that leap myself...strict primal from now on. I will report back in couple weeks.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I found that my pants got tighter for a while when I started weight training, especially squats and lunges. And the muscle is underneath the fat, so it looks like you're getting fatter for a bit, but eventually you slim down and there's muscles! Don't give up...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              At 5'7" tall, around 130 lbs is a very normal weight for a woman. You mentioned that you wanted to get back down to 120, which you weighed at some previous time and that you have been gradually gaining weight over the years, although you can lose a couple pounds through reducing calories/increasing exercise when you want to. It sounds like you have been using calorie deprivation and a low fat/low calorie diet to keep your weight where you want it - but it isn't really working that well anymore because you haven't been able to get back down to what you weighed when you were younger, in fact your weight has crept up.

                              Low cal/low fat eating is a recipe for gradually increasing weight, more and more difficulty taking weight off over time, and damaging one's metabolism over the years. There are plenty of midlife women (many on this forum) struggling with being overweight who would give anything to be the truly normal weight they used to think was "fat".

                              I don't really know why you have suddenly gained 4 pounds. Weight and water gain are controlled by hormones. You may have increased your fat intake which is allowing your reproductive system to go Yahoo! We have plenty of fat now for more estrogen and progesterone! Those female hormones cause us to gain both some fat and water weight. The thing about female hormones is that they cycle - they go up and down, water retained, water released, breasts get a little bigger, they go back down. My advice would be to just keep eating primally, if you are hungry and obsessed with food then eat until you are satiated. Eat a bit more fat and less carbs than you are currently most of the time.

                              You stated your main goal was to lose weight. Most of us on this forum would probably agree that for height your weight is just fine. Your body may not agree with your mind that you would be healthier at a weight of 120 lbs. PB is about restoring a healthy relationship with our body, our food, our lives. If losing weight is part of restoring health, it often happens more easily on this plan than many others. But restoring health may be happening for you in ways you can't see on the inside. Just as you had to tough through some carb flu on the way to being able to metabolize fat for energy, you may have some hormonal overcompensation to deal with on the way to healthier hormonal functioning.

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