How to Lose Weight on a Paleo Diet

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I went Paleo to Lose Weight

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

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

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

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

5 Tips for Losing Weight on a Paleo Diet

  1. Cut out ALL SUGARS

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

  2. Limit Nut Intake

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

  3. Beware of Fruits

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

  4. Sleep at least 7 hours

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

  5. Don’t Forget to Exercise

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

  6. Bonus: Don’t eat Too Little!

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

Do You Need More Help Losing Weight on Paleo?

Losing weight can be tough, even on Paleo! And everyone is slightly different. So, if you need more help with losing weight on Paleo, then join the 28-day Pure Paleo Fat Loss Program.

There’s a meal plan specifically tailored for fat loss with its own recipe book (so no more having to hunt for recipes!). There are also over 30 videos designed to help you understand how Paleo works and how to use Paleo to lose weight and keep it off! On top of all that, there are weekly live webinars with Jeremy, a private forum where your questions will be answered, and a ton more bonuses.

 

Images: photo credit: Maridav.

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Comments

  1. Paula little says

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

  2. jessie says

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

    • says

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

  3. Sarah says

    Thank you for this info, I tried the paleo diet and within 4 days had put on 1.5kgs as I wasn’t a where of these tips, and like you I don’t have much weight to lose, I was more doing for the no junk in food . But stop after putting on weight. With this information I will have another go :)

  4. Veronica Culver says

    Great info and it totally makes sense! I’m new to Paleo and am really trying to figure out how the breads, desserts, pancakes and other “treats” fit into my daily Paleo eating plan. I just want to maintain my weight (not trying to lose), keep my high level of energy (I run & do Pilates), stay healthy and enjoy life – and eating, of course!

    With that in mind, do you have a “general” recommendation on how often a person in my situation could safely have these types of food items without packing on the pounds? I saw somewhere that a Paleo dessert once a day, when all other meals that day have been Paleo with protein, veg, fat (no nuts, only a small amount of fruit). Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks!
    Veronica

    • says

      The answer to your question is really subjective on you, your lifestyle, etc. I’m not trying to give a dodgy answer, but it’s really more trial and error than anything else. I’d like a simpler answer, but I’ve found that it really varies from one person to another.

      • Veronica Culver says

        Hi Jeremy – I totally get that part (about everyone’s body reacting differently to what we put in it). But there’s got to be some median guidance somewhere. Perhaps enough studies haven’t been performed yet. I’m definitely following the trial and error method for now since that’s all I’ve got.

        Thanks,
        Veronica

  5. candyce says

    Yes, it’s been frustrating not losing as quick as I hoped….but I’m always hungry! I might have been eating too much with the nut flours and fruit smoothies….I’ll try to cut those out during the week at least. What is good to eat besides hard boiled eggs when you are hungry and need something quick and filling? Salads don’t fill me up and do a number on my digestive system if I have too much raw stuff! tks!

    • says

      Foods high in fat often keep you full for much longer. So, try snacking on coconut butter and eating foods like fatty cuts of meat or fish or adding extra fats to your dishes (fats like coconut oil).

      • candyce says

        How do you snack on Coconut butter? I use it for cooking, but where else can you use it? As to fatty meat…do you mean cook a steak and just eat it for snacks? Hot dogs? Pepperoni? Chicken is pretty lean so that wouldn’t work….tks!

  6. J.J. says

    Sugar . . . .none? I do my best to keep it to a minimum, and do not have any refined sugar in the house. Using less and less honey – and the fruit – well, I’m borderline on what would probably be considered “just the right amount” – (what-ever that is), but with the a.m. green drink – the berries and/or peach/banana – in my mind – moderate, just can’t go all green. Nuts….and here I thought the brazil nuts were good for selenium but maybe the oil/fat is the downside – Anyway, this is hard!

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