Q: Hey Harper, I’ve got a big question for you today. About two months ago, a friend suggested that I try the Paleo diet. She had lost over 35 pounds since she “went Paleo” and was eager for me to try it. I jumped on board, and in the first 2 weeks I lost 7 pounds! Needless to say, I was ecstatic.
However, since then, I have not been able to lose any more weight, and actually have put 5 pounds BACK ON!
I thought Paleo was supposed to be the easy solution for weight loss? Any tips for me?
A: Hey Karen! Thanks so much for your question.
Believe it or not, you are not the first person to have a weight loss plateau while on a Paleo diet. And for others that are reading, this applies to all diet types.
And yes, while I think Paleo is far and away the most effective way to lose weight and improve your health, sometimes you need a little extra to achieve your weight loss goals.
So there are many reasons why a weight loss plateau while dieting can happen, and in this post, I’m going to give you 3 of MY top reasons.
Alright, let’s jump in.
REASON #1 WHY YOU’RE NOT LOSING WEIGHT WHEN YOU DIET: CALORIES.
Oh no! Did I lose you as soon as you read that?
“But Harper, if I’m eating Paleo, I thought calories don’t matter? Cavemen didn’t focus on calories, right?”
Here’s the truth. Calories are important. Period.
Yes, their source is extremely important (in fact, the phrase “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie” is very misleading, as far as I am concerned), but ultimately, if you are eating too many, you WON’T lose weight.
Here’s where calories can get in the way.
When you start to lose weight, your body gets to a lighter ‘set point’, and you need to eat even LESS calories in order to lose weight.
Oftentimes, people plateau because they lose 30 pounds, and continue to eat the same amount of food they were eating while they were still carrying those extra 30 pounds around.
And no, we’re not accusing you of being some sort of glutton…
The truth is, it can be REALLY hard to track how many calories you’re actually eating. In fact, I’d estimate that over 90% of people have NO idea how many calories are in the foods that they eat.
A Simple Solution to This…
Join a service like MyFitnessPal.com, and track your calories – just for a week or two. Or if you would rather have everything planned out for you, sign up for our free 14-Day Meal Plan.
If you’re eating too much for your current weight, lower your caloric intake, and you should start losing the weight again.
Simple. Easy. Done.
REASON #2 WHY YOU’RE NOT LOSING WEIGHT WHEN YOU DIET: CAFFEINE.
Oh man. This is a controversial one, and one that many of you may not be able to accept.
As much as coffee has recently been into the limelight as a ‘health drink’ (with the advent of butter coffee, etc.) unfortunately, it CAN hold you back from losing weight.
Here’s the thing.
Caffeine is a stimulant. As much as it is amazing at helping us get up and go in the morning (or in the afternoon, if that’s your thing), it also affects our cortisol levels and our adrenals.
And messing with our cortisol can dramatically affect (and inhibit) our weight loss.
If you’re a big coffee/tea drinker, you might want to try cutting it out of your diet for a few weeks and see if it improves your situation.
You might actually find that *gasp* you have more than enough energy simply from eating Paleo!
Without Caffeine, you may also find that you sleep better, which brings us to reason #3….
REASON #3 WHY YOU’RE NOT LOSING WEIGHT WHEN YOU DIET: SLEEP.
I know that in our fast paced, high-stress lives, sleep can come at a premium.
And even more, I know that some people can feel ASHAMED for actually sleeping a full 8 hours – because they think they aren’t working hard enough.
Well I’m here to tell you that’s all a load of phooey.
No matter what your coworkers, friends, or family tells you, you should MAKE SURE to get 8 hours of sleep every night. In a dark room. With no noise.
If you are only getting 5,6,7 hours of sleep each night – this can catch up to you in a big, bad way.
And it will FOR SURE stop your weight loss in its tracks.
If you don’t get enough sleep, you will put a ton of strain on your adrenals, your cortisol levels will get completely screwed up, and, your weight loss will stop.
So please follow the aforementioned advice, and SLEEP!
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