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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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September 15, 2014

Dear Mark: Wife’s Weight Gain; Upper Arm Fat

By Mark Sisson
99 Comments

Weight Gain?For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a two-parter. First up is a question from a reader whose wife has gained weight following the Primal Blueprint way of eating and after completing a Whole30. She seems to be doing everything right, in other words. What could explain the weight gain? Next, I discuss what can be done – if anything – about upper arm fat. It might be hereditary, but that doesn’t mean we’re totally at the mercy of our genes. And even if we are, we can change how we react.

Let’s go:

Dear Mark,

First off I just wanted to thank you for all that you do. I’ve been primal for over a year, have lost over 35 lbs., and am in the best shape of my life. I have consistent energy levels, and am much healthier overall. The Primal Blueprint and MDA have changed my life, and I evangelize both to all who are interested.

My wife has also accompanied me on this journey. Her results have not been quite so spectacular. While she also has enjoyed more consistent energy levels, she has actually gained a significant amount of weight. Approximately 15 pounds so far. I only weigh 10 lbs. more than her now (156 vs. 146).

She was never as strict as I was when it came to what she was eating, but overall she ate pretty well. She had an affection for baking paleo baked goods, which in my opinion really aren’t primal at all. That said, she was eating much better than she ever had previously in her life. I suggested that we try a Whole30 and follow it 100%. We’re almost done with our Whole30 now, and she is up 3 – 5 lbs. from the start of the Whole30. It’s very perplexing.

I have to imagine this is hormone related. I’m not sure what else would cause this to happen, but it’s very discouraging for her, especially when in the face of my results. Do you have any suggestions or insight that may help us figure out what’s going on? We’re not really sure how to “troubleshoot”. Perhaps she should get tested for thyroid issues?

Thanks so much!

Kris

Thanks, Kris. I’m glad to hear it’s worked so well for you. I’m sorry it (apparently) hasn’t for your wife.

A few thoughts:

The nutrient density and protein and fat content of a Primal way of eating, or a Whole 30, works almost too well at lowering appetite, increasing satiety, and triggering spontaneous and inadvertent calorie reduction. It’s rare, but some people – and this seems to happen more frequently in women than men – experience such a drastic reduction in metabolism upon lowering their food intake that they actually gain weight. Their “calories out” drops because of insufficient “calories in.” The low calorie intake is a signal to the body to reduce expenditure, and this is actually why a lot of people fail with traditional diets: not only are they struggling against insatiable hunger, they’re lowering their energy expenditure.

If she’s intermittent fasting, that may be the problem. You may recall the post I did a couple years back addressing this topic. Many women simply don’t do well fasting. They either stall or gain. They may not even realize there’s an issue because of the aforementioned lack of hunger during the fasting period. But if you’re gaining body fat after a few weeks of skipping meals, try not skipping them. It’s not working.

So in general, eating too little food can be counterproductive. So too can eating too infrequently. Watch out for both.

I’d also rule out thyroid with a test. Since thyroid hormone often plummets on super low-calorie diets, thyroid is a good test to run. But the fact that her energy has improved makes me wonder if it’s that. That shouldn’t happen if thyroid and/or energy expenditure are tanking.

Some women do gain weight in the “right places.” And I don’t mean to sound (that) sleazy. For many women it’s completely natural to have a higher body fat level and accumulate more fat in the gluteofemoral region – the hips, butt, and thighs – because that’s where women store DHA for future baby brain construction. That’s probably why gluteofemoral fat is notoriously stubborn and hard to burn – because it’s a reliable, secure way to store an important nutrient (DHA) that’s often scarce during pregnancy. She needn’t worry about gluteofemoral weight gain (and you might dig it); it’s actually a sign of good metabolic health.

The weight gain might be a good thing, in other words. If all the other changes from adopting the lifestyle (like increased energy) have been beneficial, the weight gain might also be “good” or “what the body needs.” Is she exercising? If so, are her numbers improving? Is she getting stronger? Faster? She might have put on some muscle. She may have needed the weight.

The scale doesn’t tell the whole story. Where the weight has gone, what comprises it, and any other effects from the diet must all be considered and weighed to get an accurate picture of the situation.

I am depressed by my upper arms. They are flabby and compared to the rest of my body are quite large. My mother has the same. Is there anything I can do about it?

M. Williams

Brachium butter beating you up? Have I got just the thing for you!

The name of the game when it comes to burnin’ arm flab, my dear, is vibration! You need to make the arm an inhospitable home to make that pesky limb lard skedaddle. Just like you’d do whatever you could to move out of an apartment if a subway rumbled overhead every few minutes, arm fat cannot tolerate the agitation from constant vibration.

Now, there are plenty of options to try. You could put on a hardhat and get a job as a jackhammer operator. You could hold on to soda pop bottles filled with Mexican jumping beans. You could do this move.

Whatever method you choose, this next step is crucial. Once you’ve got the arm flab on the run, you’ll have to graduate to full body vibration. If you sit still, the fat will simply relocate elsewhere. Your wrists, your ankles, your cheeks. There’s literally no telling where a fleeing band of fatty acids desperate for a home will migrate. Full body vibration prevents the fat from ever settling down or getting its bearings. Most arm fat gives up after about 20 minutes of vibration. If it’s a particularly plucky group, you may have to vibrate for an hour or two until they lose all hope.

Just don’t let up until you get the urge to visit the toilet. That’s how you know the fat is finally leaving.

In all seriousness, a lot of fat deposition is hereditary and we already know that spot reduction doesn’t work. You can’t force your body to lose weight in a specific area by training that area. If your genes are inclined to deposit fat in your upper arms, that might be unavoidable. You could starve yourself down to unhealthily low levels of body fat, but I would strongly advise against it. Your health will suffer – remember that women generally function better with more body fat than men – and you will be disproportionately skinny in other areas.

It could be hormonal. I’d get a full endocrine panel (thyroid, testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, etc.) done to confirm your hormone levels are within range.

Make sure you’ve got all your other ducks in a row:

Sleep well. Don’t stay up late and skip sleep for silly reasons. Avoid blue light at night, and electronics in general.

Eat right. If you’re eating too many carbs for the amount of exercise you’re doing, cut back. Don’t fear healthy fat. Eat enough protein.

Exercise consistently. Lift heavy things a couple times a week, walk a ton, and do something really intense once or twice a week. Maybe it’s a sprint session on a bike or on a track. Maybe it’s a few sets of burpees.

Take steps to reduce, mitigate, or rethink stress.

Find joy on a regular basis, whether it’s being intimate with your partner, curling up with a great book or flick or TV series, taking a trip, going for a hike, playing with your dog (or cat), hosting a dinner party, or watching the sun rise or set. Or all of them. Try to pick at least one “small” thing to enjoy every day and one “big” thing to enjoy every week.

Get sun, not too much.

Get nature, more than you think you need.

You know, the basics. If you’re doing all that and your arms are still a bit flabbier than you’d like, realize and accept that bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Some people, even if they’re fit as a fiddle, may not fall into the “svelte” category. And while fashion magazines often suggest otherwise, that’s OK. In fact, that’s more than OK. There’s perfection to be found in all types. Love your body. It’s the only one you’ll ever have. How? Well, that’s a topic for another article entirely. (Stay tuned.)

I hope this helps, M. and Kris, and be sure to stick around for the comment section. Our brilliant readers always chime in with some piece of advice I’d forgotten or overlooked.

Thanks for reading everyone! Let’s see if we can help M. and Kris in the comments, huh?

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99 Comments on "Dear Mark: Wife’s Weight Gain; Upper Arm Fat"

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Stevemid
Stevemid
2 years 6 months ago

Relocating fat ‘giving up’ after 20 minutes? I thought Mark had lost it for a moment there. haha!

(everyone knows it takes at least 40 minutes)

Harry Mossman
2 years 6 months ago

Although I find Mark’s humor entertaining, I sometimes worry that a newbie stumbling into MDA might misunderstand and hit the back button, especially if the humor goes on for a while, as in this post.

GG
GG
2 years 6 months ago

+1

Mike
Mike
2 years 6 months ago

I like Marks humor. I have been visiting this site daily for the last 2 years+ but hey you can not please everyone!!

storm
storm
1 year 11 months ago

I like marks humor – if they are the sort of impatient type who does that – maybe they should hit the back button, and keep on hitting it…

storm
storm
1 year 11 months ago

Lol – maybe the first “test” of mda is the intelligence level to be able to read and understand – by impatiantly hitting back, they are missing out on potential life saving health advice, thus survival of the fittest kicks in. I’ve had overweight friends as about mda, so i regommend the book – some even buy it – i see them 6 months later and ask if they read it yet – “nope” is the usual reply, then they speil out a list if health complaints…

Sam
Sam
2 years 6 months ago

I’ve been reading Mark’s site for nearly 2 years and even I nearly gave up all hope for the diet and fitness industry.

Haha. Well played, Mark.

Groktimus Primal
2 years 6 months ago

Good vibrations…

Nocona
Nocona
2 years 6 months ago

Ahh yes, love the women with ‘dangerous curves ahead’. The obsession with skinny has got to go!

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
2 years 6 months ago

My husband calls them “bags of antlers.”

adina
2 years 6 months ago

AMEN!

Michele
2 years 6 months ago

I gained a little bit of weight that was needed after switching to paleo, and I agree that sometimes women were keeping themselves “too thin” – at least for what their bodies wanted – and settling into hunger signals could put on the weight your body wants. But everyone’s different! If a persons health is good and they FEEL good, I think their goals are complete. The next step would be to accept the rest.

Sandy
Sandy
2 years 6 months ago

I was very pleased with Mark’s answer to the weight gain question above. While I didn’t gain weight on Paleo (I lost 70 pounds and went from obese to just slightly overweight with a BMI of about 27), I got very frustrated when my body stopped at 165 over a year ago. However, I have quite easily stayed at 165, and have grown to love the fact that I still have dangerous curves (although not dangerous visceral fat).

Kelly
Kelly
2 years 6 months ago

I gained a bit of weight, too – it was muscle! That was without even changing my workout routine, which was just climbing, walking, and occasional yoga or other outdoor activity. But going from vegetarian to primal I gained about 10 pounds of muscle that was well-deserved and really boosted my climbing ability. So weight gain is not always bad, for sure. I also didn’t go up in clothing size, so that’s another indicator to watch instead of weight.

Julie
Julie
2 years 6 months ago

I gained weight too when I first started! I chicked it up to muscle gain and bone density (my soda habit was out of control!). I’ve dropped some and plateaued out now. It was hard at first to be stuck at hte weight I’m at, but I’m trying to love my body and be happy with my weight, even though its lower than the “media ideal”

Karen
Karen
2 years 6 months ago

T-TAPP works wonders for firming flab. I bet both these women would benefit from it. http://youtu.be/CVeCdWCPQUY An example of arm work.

Don’t be fooled by how easy it looks. T-TAPP is an ass-kicking HIIT workout.

RedG
RedG
2 years 6 months ago

+1 and don’t forget body brushing…sometimes the extra does just need a little push to disappear.

Julie
Julie
2 years 6 months ago

Great post. And funny as usual. While weight loss is never going to NOT be a wish on my part, I also am learning to view it as a side effect of better overall health.

The Walrus
The Walrus
2 years 6 months ago

Although there is no way to know this without specific information, I’m guessing those paleo treats are a problem. They tend to be highly caloric and add up much faster than you can imagine. (How do I know this…..)

It’s a bit tedious, but keeping a food journal is a great way to account for and quantify what you are eating.

ajb
ajb
2 years 6 months ago

+1 Assuming this is fat gain and not muscle, an obvious first thing to check are the ‘paleo treats’. Reduce them, then see what happens. Also check exercise, sleep, and stress.

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
2 years 6 months ago

You might also try lowering the protein–we recycle our protein over and over, and lowering the amount taken in prevents gluconeogenesis. Also, the more you exercise, the less protein you actually need–exercise lowersa protein requirements, as stated here: http://caloriesproper.com/protein-requirements-carbs-and-nutrient-partitioning/

victor
victor
2 years 6 months ago
We need to realize this is a husband and wife team on basically the exact same primal journey. I read these comments and the great majority of ” hard to keep the weight off” comments are coming from women which to me points to hormonal differences. I as a man am having no problem at all cheating with pizza, spaghetti, or any high carb foods as long as I eat “correctly” the rest of the time. Where the 80/20 rule seems ok with me I am not dealing with imbalances in progesterone and estrogen. There’s a gal on another blog… Read more »
John Caton
2 years 6 months ago

Since I’ve done the Leptin Reset outlined by Dr. Jack Kruse, I have proposed it to a few friends. For weight loss, it seems LR was more effective for men than for women. That prompted me to review Dr. Jack’s Leptin Reset Rx in which he states so much. Women will notice a greater sense of well being whereas men will realize rapid weight loss.

haroldcrews
2 years 6 months ago
I’m curiously as to how much protein Kris’ wife is consuming. A paleo diet is not a high protein diet as I understand it. Protein is mostly comprised of amino acids. The body does store these amino acids but instead if there are excessive amounts they are turned into glucose in the liver through the process of gluconeogenesis. This may be the cause of the weight gain. Excess dietary protein effectively increases dietary carbohydrates. I’d suggest that Kris’ wife cut back on the protein and increase the amount of saturated and monounsaturated fats consumed. She may have a lower than… Read more »
haroldcrews
2 years 6 months ago

Nora Gedgaudas discussing excess protein in paleo nutrition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovgJsEcIAzg

Allison
Allison
2 years 6 months ago

Yes, I would look at the fat, too. I rapidly lost 15 pounds going paleo, but it wasn’t until a year and a half later when I started to eat very high fat that I lost the next 20. She may also want to get a glucose monitor and see what’s happening after different kinds of meals.

jake3_14
jake3_14
2 years 6 months ago

According to Paul Jaminet, who is able to read both nutrition and biochem literature, is that gluconeogenesis occurs only as the body needs glucose; the conversion doesn’t happen automatically. Also, the rate at which gluconeogenesis occurs has a low upper limit.

haroldcrews
2 years 6 months ago

Thanks for your reply however snarky it may be. I appreciate being corrected. On further reading it appears that in people without diabetes that gluconeogenesis occurs only at low levels.

Janice James
2 years 6 months ago

Harold, I concur that the “without diabetes” part is the key. My T2 insulin resistance gives me a very high upper limit, to the point that I eat fewer than 15 carbs a day, and protein only in small amounts at a time. I’ve had to severely restrict calories, even on a paleo diet, to keep from gaining weight. It’s not theory, my glucose monitor and my weight scale keep me very much in touch with reality.

haroldcrews
2 years 6 months ago

Thanks Janice, at the moment I’m trying to maintain ketosis and am doing so successfully so far. Most of the people who advocate nutritional ketosis warn against eating more than 1 gram of protein per kg of body weight. Which is about 75 grams of protein a day for me. Good luck with managing your diabetes.

Katrina
Katrina
2 years 6 months ago

I’m sure she wasn’t eating paleo treats on the Whole30 – those are strictly forbidden! I gained 10 pounds on my second Whole30, and I’m quite certain it was because I was eating FAR too much protein. I backed off to appropriate amounts (palm sized portions), and the weight came back off. Lesson learned!

HopelessDreamer
HopelessDreamer
2 years 6 months ago
I would agree that you have to differentiate between fat gain and muscle gain. Also keep in mind that with better nutrition, comes stronger bones. Yes, bones can get stronger and heavier and you might not even see the difference. How do the clothes fit? How do you feel? I have gained weight from when I first tried low-carb, but I still dont think I am too fat. I am sure my nutrient intake – and absorption – has increased greatly. I gave up paleo treats for the most part with my first Whole30, and whenever I indulge, I gain… Read more »
Juanita
Juanita
2 years 6 months ago

Did anyone else notice that the first letter writer didn’t even mention whether or not his wife is bothered by her weight gain? Sounds like he’s bothered more than she is, particularly fixating on the number on the scale. She feels good, let it go!

Pure Hapa
Pure Hapa
2 years 6 months ago

He said “it’s very discouraging for her”.

Kelly
Kelly
2 years 6 months ago

He said it was very discouraging for her, or I would agree with you.

shannon
shannon
2 years 6 months ago
I gained weight at first too on the primal diet. I think part of it was that I thought, “whoopie! I don’t have to count calories! Just leave off the grains and everything will be fine!” Wrong. It took a few years, but now I am fat-adapted, and I have also learned that as a sixty year old woman, I just can’t eat as much as I did when I was younger without gaining weight. i keep carbs to about 50 grams a day, and I have slowly lost some of my abdominal fat. I weighed about 138 (at 5’2″)… Read more »
Shary
Shary
2 years 6 months ago
Your comment illustrates how different people are. The only changes I made were the elimination of grain products and sweets. It was easy and the weight literally melted away. I never bothered with counting grams of carbs or calories or the like. I didn’t need to. Now that I’m at a good weight for my height and build, I can cheat a little now and then, but I still mostly avoid the sweets and grains. I think the mistake many people make is eating too much in the way of replacement foods; i.e., gluten-free breads and pastries, desserts with substitute… Read more »
Tammi
Tammi
2 years 6 months ago
I think that she needs to look at her macronutrient intake. Generally, you should have 0.7 to 1.0 g of protein per pound of body weight. The amount varies on activity. Then, she needs to see that she is not eating more than 150 g of CHO per day. Those wonderful treats are just that ‘treats’, and should not be consumed on a frequent basis. All else should be fat based calories. For example, I am a 135 pound 54 year old female who is fairly active. So, if I look at my macronutrient intake it is about 25% protein,… Read more »
jake3_14
jake3_14
2 years 6 months ago

That’s 0.7 to 1.0 g of protein per pound of *lean* body weight, not total weight.

Tammi
Tammi
2 years 6 months ago

Good point – although in my head when I wrote it – the omission is highly material. Next time, I will re-reread my posts!!!

Kris
Kris
2 years 6 months ago

Her macronutrient ratios are typically inline with yours. Especially while on the Whole30. She also just had a biometric screening this morning, and her numbers looked very good.

Also, for those who thought this might be an issue for me and not for her, I assure you that is not the case. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest, beyond the fact that it bothers her immensely.

CP
CP
2 years 6 months ago
I have been paleo on and off for about 3 years and I think it took me about 2 years to figure out what worked for me. I will pass it on in hopes that something might help your wife. The hardest for me was finding the balance between eating “too little” versus “too much.” I have been on both ends of the spectrum and really the only way out is lots of trial and error of eating such and such amount one week then something different the next week. Even now, i am constantly tweaking it but I have… Read more »
Kris
Kris
2 years 6 months ago

Thank you for your comment! We have read a little about adrenal fatigue and the role of dietary carbohydrate in that regard. All good advice.

Heather
Heather
2 years 6 months ago
I have been largely primal for 4 years, it’s been life changing. I only lost 10kg, though I dropped a bra size, dropped 2 dress sizes, and found my waist. My hip to waist ratio dropped from an alarming 1.1 to 0.8. I find too much wine puts on weight, too many milky coffees when on the run, and not enough sleep. At the moment I am trying to put 3 meals a day back into my routine, as I have developed a habit of forgetting to eat, as well as getting out in the garden every day, as spring… Read more »
Jessica
Jessica
2 years 6 months ago

I gained about 2-3kgs in the first 3 months of Paleo, as prior to adopting this lifestyle I was on the low calorie/chronic cardio treadmill. I’ve probably gained another 2kgs since then but my waist and stomach measurements are consistently shrinking at a nice slow & steady pace.
I’d say that most of the weight I am gaining is due to increased muscle density as I am the fittest I’ve ever been in my life. Don’t listen to the scales; your energy levels, sleeping pattern and digestive health tell the real story.

Andrea
Andrea
2 years 6 months ago
I have to say, regarding the weight gain, I am curious as to what is being eaten. I went Primal at age 50 and it changed my life. I lost the 30 lbs I had been fighting to loose for over 25 year. It just fell off at about 1.5 lbs a week. Amazing. When I reached my goals weight of 125, I started easing up a bit..still eating Primal but exploring the Paleo treats and baking, eating a few more nuts and drinking a glass of wine during the week, rather than just on weekends. Boom. I was up… Read more »
Jane
Jane
2 years 6 months ago

I was also wondering what/how much Kris’ wife is eating. Maybe it is the Paleo treats, but maybe it’s her intake overall. Also, we don’t know how tall she is so we don’t know if she’s overweight, just that she has gained weight doing Paleo and Whole30.

btw Andrea, I’m looking forward to seeing your success story on this site! (nudge…)

cndnrose
cndnrose
2 years 6 months ago

nudge

Louise
Louise
2 years 6 months ago
I have the same experience as Andrea. I feel great eating Primal, but as someone who has had issues with insulin resistance, I need to watch the details. An occasional yogurt with blueberries will put me in the red. Some cheese and a handful of nuts: boom. Glass of wine? You can count on two pounds extra. I don’t even get close to the nut- and calorie-intensive paleo baked goods. I imagine I am way more sensitive than most, but these little “cheats” have a direct and immediate impact on my weight. If I want to lose, it’s gotta be… Read more »
Julie in CA
Julie in CA
2 years 6 months ago

Nudge

Kirk
Kirk
2 years 6 months ago

Women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it.

mfg
mfg
2 years 6 months ago

That made me laugh, thanks!

Becky Petersson
Becky Petersson
2 years 6 months ago

Me too????

Debi
Debi
2 years 6 months ago

I gained 10 pound in the last year. I am most days 90% primal.
My husband does NOT have a problem with the weight.
I would like to see most of it come off. I know most of the problem is I am not active enough. Nobody can make me move more but my self.

jake3_14
jake3_14
2 years 6 months ago

have you done lab tests for T4, T3 reverse T3 and TPO antibodies? Lots and lots of women in the U.S. have autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s) from decades on the SAD.

Lena
Lena
2 years 6 months ago
When I first went Primal, after coming off the HCG diet, I ate hardly anything and dropped weight like crazy. I liked how I looked, but…I was always hungry and my hormones literally shut down for a year until I gained a stone or so back. I kind of developed a problem moderating my intake (ie not binging) too. Not until I did Dr Jack Kruse’s leptin Rx reset did I get that under control. My weight shifted too, from being central/belly to gluteal. It’s annoying because I have to get bigger pants, but I’ve also gained a lot of… Read more »
meepster
meepster
2 years 6 months ago

I’m glad Mark is mentioning sleep as important for weight loss. I lost 20 lbs. by simply adjusting my sleep. My diet didn’t change all that much, I still feel just as satiated as I did before, I do not count calories – but I lost weight effortlessly and quickly anyway, just by making sure I get enough sleep every night (and avoid blue/green light in the evenings).

Intrigued
Intrigued
2 years 6 months ago

+1. Check out the recent TedX talk by Dr. Kirk Parsley or Chris Kresser’s podcast with Dan Pardi. Here’s a quote from the latter: “So the thinking is that chronic sleep deficiency is going to not only predispose you to obesity, and by the way, 81 out of 89 studies that have looked at this have found positive findings, and the risk seems to be that lack of sleep or chronic sleep restriction will increase your risk for obesity about 55%.”

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
2 years 6 months ago

I am a 34 year old woman with a similar experience. I didn’t lose any weight until I cut way back on carbs. Now the weight is slowly coming off, finally. The scale says I have lost seven pounds in 5 weeks but I think I looks skinnier than that

Green Girl
2 years 6 months ago
Women generally have a more sensitive hormonal system, in my opinion. I first found out about Paleo by going to a doctor who specialized in hormonal balancing. She told me to read up on Paleo, but also to not eat any foods with flour. It sounds like this woman might be overdoing Paleo “approved” flour products. She might want to cut these out. Additionally, there are so many toxins in our cleaning products, personal care products and food that are endocrine disrupters. She should look to eliminate these sources. Lastly, she may be doing this, but she should not be… Read more »
Snake Plissken
Snake Plissken
2 years 6 months ago
Same thing happened to my wife. 2 years primal for me still 175 lbs but went from 16-17% body fat to 10-11%. She gained 25 lbs over six months. We tried 40 days near ketogenic, upping carbs, IF. Nothing seams to help. Lifting walking running yoga biking. She weighed 135-140 at 5’9″ since high school volley ball(picture beach volleyball player, very muscular). Did have total hysterectomy 5 years ago so always tweaking meds with specialist. Spent 18 months in Iraq, returned Christmas ’13. Completely frustrated, no more interest in paleo/Primal. Although she is a nurse and completely agrees with the… Read more »
Heather
Heather
2 years 5 months ago

Oh that’s so frustrating, and sounds like retched hormones, through and through.

Jean Walter
2 years 6 months ago

Do you need to put on a few pounds to make a sports team, better your health, or simply to bulk up? Most people are out to lose weight, but you can reverse some basic dieting principles to gain some girth. However, many people do not realize how difficult it can be to gain weight quickly. Luckily, gaining weight is fairly intuitive and need not be strenuous or expensive; some basic calculations and lifestyle changes can garner impressive results.

EK
EK
2 years 6 months ago

Not sure how this is relevant to the topic

Nono
Nono
2 years 6 months ago

It just seems to me that Primal doesn’t work for most women and it’s time to move on instead of congratulating yourself for unquantifiable achievements like ‘better energy levels’.

K
K
2 years 6 months ago
The issue is that women seem to be obsessed with the scale, when really all the scale tells you is how much you weigh. WHY does weight matter? How about: if you’re sleeping well, if you have enough energy to get through the day without crashing, if you enjoy the food you’re eating, if you’re making “gains” at the gym, if you get rid of moodswings, if you are fitting into your clothes better, if you’ve been trying to get pregnant and Primal helps you with that, if your hormones are out of control and Primal brings them under control,… Read more »
Shary
Shary
2 years 6 months ago

Move on to what? Being fat and sick? Primal DOES work for most women when they stick with it. Many don’t want to give up the grains and sweets. They cheat too much and then claim it doesn’t work. Or they simply switch over to eating too many Paleo treats, which is just as self-defeating. They don’t understand that they aren’t Primal at all, which is why it doesn’t work for them.

Janice James
2 years 6 months ago

I don’t lose weight, and can’t maintain it, on a paleo diet unless I also severely restrict calories. However, it does give me wonderful control of my blood sugar without drugs. That alone makes it valuable to me.

Anais
Anais
2 years 6 months ago

I second Janice. Primal works great for me in the sense that it reduces the abdominal pain, gives me more energy and…make a “low” calorie diet enjoyable.

Yep, I do have to restrict my calories too. The good thing about Primal is that I don’t feel weak or “hangry” while controlling my portions. But I cannot eat as much meat and veggies as I want either.

John Caton
2 years 6 months ago

Weight loss/gain aside, Primal is still the proper choice.

Lorraine
Lorraine
2 years 6 months ago

True, I think Primal/Paleo does not ‘work’ for most women, but not because it is not an unhealthy diet – because most women lack the discipline it takes to adhere to this diet (many of them being sugar addicts).

meepster
meepster
2 years 6 months ago

I think that women are just more stressed out than men – the “second shift” of housework is very real in many families. Taking care of kids, cooking and cleaning, and working full-time at the same time, leads to sleep deprivation, which leads to weight gain.

I’m a woman and I’m doing just fine on Primal – but I don’t have kids and I get enough sleep.

Adrienne
Adrienne
2 years 6 months ago

It’s nice to see a woman without kids acknowledging the extra stress faced by most moms.

Pure Hapa
Pure Hapa
2 years 6 months ago

You obviously have no idea what you’re talking about.

I did not go Primal to lose weight – I did it for all the other health benefits, and buddy, I have had astounding benefits from it. “Quantified” by myself as well as doctors. How about ridding oneself of bilateral hip bursitis? Bunion pain? Sinus issues? Bloating? Need I go on?

bryan
bryan
2 years 6 months ago

my wife would disagree with that unqualified statement. she and I are both experiencing ‘better energy levels’. but she’s coming off a near brush with type II diabetes, and a hormonal crisis as she nears menopause. and as a bonus, she’s looking better to herself than she has for years. no problem with that here. 😉

paleo has been a major success for both of us. most is a strong word that doesn’t necessarily apply here, but thanks for your input.

Paul
Paul
2 years 6 months ago
Just a thought…..If you refer to Gary Taubes’ book (Diet Delusion/Good Calories, Bad Calories) he makes reference to the medical head of DuPont putting executives on a high meat diet (low carbs) as they were popping off with heart attacks on a regular basis. The majority experienced significant weight loss but all of them reported how much more energy they had. One person in particular lost very little actual weight. When they tested his blood sugar levels after just one piece of fruit they were through the roof. Unfortunately some people will be hyper sensitive to sugar/easily processed carbs. Might… Read more »
Janice James
2 years 6 months ago

I agree, Paul. A cheap blood sugar monitor from Walmart can give a person a lot of information about their body. Don’t wait for a doctor to tell you there’s a problem.

Cristi Vlad
2 years 6 months ago

why would a low active thyroid hormone be a problem? (t3) it is just being adapted to lower caloric intake which promotes longevity due to lower oxidation from food. it would be unnormal to have higher active t3 on a low calorie diet. besides carbs are related to t3 levels. many studies show it. you can only get it right (for you) through active trial and error. for more info on thyroid you can check Ron Rosedale’s approach or read my review here http://cristivlad.com/thyroid-hormone-levels-and-very-low-carb-ketogenic-nutrition/

Rick
Rick
2 years 6 months ago

Most of the health and fitness community needs to toss their scales in a dumpster and start using a tape measure. Well, if their scale has the bodyfat option maybe they could keep it.

2Rae
2Rae
2 years 6 months ago
I’m a post menopause woman of 60 and have been primal for about 2 or more years. I was eating that way before I knew it had a name. Peri-menopause gave me 30 pounds of unwanted fat between my “pits and my hips”, well, a bit of padding over the rest of the body but mostly between the P & H. It was troubling since it took away what made me feel like a woman, a shape different than a man, a waist. I tried low fat, mostly no food, cardio, all the CW stuff and nothing worked so I… Read more »
Energy!
Energy!
2 years 6 months ago

How many times a day does the lady is question eat? I gradually lost 20 pounds over 6 months by eating according to
The Five Rules of the The Leptin Diet…
Rule 1: Never eat after dinner.
Rule 2: Eat three meals a day. [no snacks]
Rule 3: Do not eat large meals.
Rule 4: Eat a breakfast containing protein.
Rule 5: Reduce the amount of carbohydrates eaten.

Google for more details. I hadn’t heard of paleo/primal at that point but was cooking from scratch. To lose weight, avoid any bread-like or cake-like foods.

Lorraine
Lorraine
2 years 6 months ago
My first guess is the woman is taking in too much fat in her diet, like an excessive amount……or sugars…or gluten free goods. For about a year, I was eating about 15-20 pints a month of So Delicious Sugar Free Coconut Milk frozen deserts with erythritol, and also getting a lot of other fat in my diet – I estimated from my journal I was getting on many days @ 100 g a day. And I gained about 5 months and got high cholesterol, even though my HDL and LDL remained in the excellent categories by they way. I cut… Read more »
Lorraine
Lorraine
2 years 6 months ago

Oh my goodness, and weights. I would recommend heavy weight lifting, it’s such a no brainer I almost forgot to mention it. I’ve been lifting since freshman year and it helps keep the fat off, like, big time.

Tom
Tom
2 years 6 months ago

Unless Kris’s wife is less than 5’3″ tall, her BMI puts her at a normal weight for her size. Could it be that they both have unrealistic images of what a healthy female body looks like? Our culture is obsessed with a female ideal that is freakishly (and unhealthily) skinny.

Lorraine
Lorraine
2 years 6 months ago
But BMI is not based in science, and is pretty much useless (except in the most vague way used by medical professionals and health insurance companies to ‘weed out the fatties’ so to speak). I think women in our culture are obsessed with just being thin, not necessarily lean. Most women in the US, UK, and most Western/civilized parts of the world have too much fat on them, even if they are ‘skinny’ in size (hence the term ‘skinny fat’). And few women lift heavy weights to keep any good muscle on them. Women tend to do yoga and crash… Read more »
Marge
Marge
2 years 6 months ago

Hear, hear! I think women in general tend to avoid activities that make them sweat. A major mistake! Fat sags, muscle does not. Exercise/activity (and I don’t mean elliptical trainers here) is the most important factor in how healthy you will be.

Anais
Anais
2 years 6 months ago
Or some women have unreasonable expectations about how much “fat” a woman body should carry. Seems to me Lorraine that as a clear ectomorph you are an outlier. If all other women try to replicate your measurements they are in for a very unhealthy body. Being lean and strong is the new goal for most women in the US. Nothing wrong with that it seems. But I don’t agree that it is necessarily the picture of health. The same way “skinny” is not the pic of health for everyone. For some women to achieve the new “strong and fit” ideal… Read more »
Lorraine
Lorraine
2 years 6 months ago
Agree 100% that if most women tried to get to 12-14% body fat, they’d….well, encounter trouble. Ectomorph women are only 2.5% of the population. And women who naturally fall in the underweight category in BMI, are less than 1%. I imagine for women my age……the percentages would be even lower. For me, 16% body fat…..and I encountered trouble, being 5 lbs overweight, high cholesterol. Agree. But, I never said women should ‘be like me’. I merely said I’d like to see all women lift weights and lose body fat – meaning lose ‘some’ body fat. That obesity stats in this… Read more »
Colleen
Colleen
2 years 6 months ago
I’m a 45 year old female fighting the flab on Paleo. I’ve been doing low carb for about 10 years, but this year my brother, a fit airborne ranger became ridiculously thin on Paleo and I decided to give it a try to lose those 10lbs that never want to come off. In 4 months of eating strictly Paleo, I saw fat depositing on areas I never had problems before. My arms, my knees, my lower legs, etc. I’ve been horrified. Every summer I lose 5-7 due to a heavier workload, but this summer I lost nothing. I stand on… Read more »
Energy!
Energy!
2 years 6 months ago

You’re eating too much fat and not enough calories or carbs. Check out the many posts online about potential problems with a low carb diet, especially for women.

Lorraine
Lorraine
2 years 6 months ago

You didn’t list your intake of carbs in grams?

JJ
JJ
2 years 6 months ago
For females its always harder but especially as you creep over mid-30s your body really seems to want to gain weight. I am in forced menopause. I lost 13 pounds on Paleo when I wasn’t exercising. Once I started exercising daily (significan walking) I had an increased appetite even on Paleo foods and gained back about three pounds. I didn’t want to gain more so recently I started three to four days a week of week of low carb, about 70 grams and on those days I do a slower pace 30 minute walk or maybe some gentle weights. Then… Read more »
Marge
Marge
2 years 6 months ago
You know, eating primal does NOT mean you should be stuffing yourself on fat and protein. Remember the nutrient-rich vegetables? Even if you are eating good, organic, naturally raised animals, animal food is very calorically dense. Eating more calories than you use still makes a difference. So maybe this wife needs to up her workouts? Especially the whole body movement types of exercise, such as walking, swimming, running, biking. And what, do tell, are “paleo baked goods”???! Paleolithic people did not eat baked goods! Sounds like grain-based carbs to me! I would say that she probably is either a) cheating,… Read more »
Margit
Margit
2 years 6 months ago
I think regading weight gain, very good advice has been given above. If you want to find out how your body reacts to certain foods, eat it and weigh yourself the next morning. You will for sure be able to find out what foods make you gain weight easily. I had to realise and accept that even on a primal diet I have to watch my portion sizes, once the initial weight loss stopped. I have to eat greens and vegetables with every meal, or else I gain weight. I need to make my dinner the smallest meal of the… Read more »
mihir
mihir
2 years 6 months ago

whew. for a second there, I thought Mark had become a spokesman for the Shake Weight.

Anais
Anais
2 years 6 months ago
Personnally that’s something I’ve always experienced: women don’t lose weight as easily as men on a primal diet. I need to combine it with some form of calorie counting/portion control. My husband, father, brother lose weight by just going primal. My mother (65, strong and thin but with post menauposal small belly), doesn’t drop a pound. I (33, skinny fat type, 5’5/115 pounds as my “easy” to keep/average weight) feel great on primal, it helps cure IBS but it doesn’t help me lose my belly fat: strength training and portion control does. Maybe it is because as women we have… Read more »
MacMama
MacMama
2 years 6 months ago
I started my paleo journey more than 4 years ago in an attempt to heal from some serious adrenal fatigue, brought on in part by obsessive calorie counting and 6x/week exercise. I was down 12 pounds from my “typical” (easy to maintain, been there since high school) weight when I started paleo. And I immediately began gaining weight, until I hit that “typical” weight again (the same as Kris’ wife, and I’m 5’4, early 30s). It was maddening! I tried Whole 30, calorie counting, IF, more exercise, less exercise, macro testing, thyroid testing…everything! And I made myself *crazy* along the… Read more »
Mary
Mary
2 years 6 months ago

As an athlete in my SAD life, I think my active lifestyle saved me from a lot of extra weight gain. I did lose 3-4lbs of visceral fat once primal but overall, while my body changed slowly the scale did not. Realize that your body composition may be drastically improved and rely on your energy, mood and physical aptitude to tell you if there is a real issue besides scale blues.

Mike
Mike
7 months 22 days ago

Hi Mark-I must say that being healthy and fit is a top concern for most of us and women have a particular problem with their arms especially after 55 or so. However with that said the moving of fat cells from the arms to lodge in other parts of the body is-well stupid-when fat cells are broken down they are absorbed and excreted thru the liver and kidneys-generally not put in the hips-but I do agree on the movement and exercise issue-and just lay off the junk food ladies-

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