This article originally appeared on Easy Health Options®.
When I went on the paleo diet, I lost so much weight over the period of a year that I was a little worried that my health was in question. But a visit to the doctor showed that nothing was wrong. And since then, my weight has held steady right where I want it. And as long as I eat paleo, I can eat as much as I want.
Other people aren’t always so lucky. Paleo websites seem to be full of comments from people who have trouble losing weight on the paleo diet or on other eating plans.
I recognize that part of what helps me maintain my weight is my apparently fast metabolism and my addiction to exercise. Unlike other folks who have trouble finding the motivation to work out, I have to hold myself back from exercising too much. On top of that, I have three unruly dogs that collectively outweigh me by about 50 pounds who I walk every day. Every squirrel that crosses our path gets me another upper body isometric workout.
My only weight concern, since going paleo, is keeping my weight up. I sometimes have to eat as much as I can to feel like I’ve eaten enough.
Occasionally my friends wonder if I am too slender. When that happens, I refer them to movies made in the 1940s. I tell them to examine the waistlines of those actors.
It’s revealing to take a look at the physique of folks 70 years ago, before snack food, oversized portions, processed food and gluten-infused wheat conquered the American foodscape. To today’s eye, most of the actors you see in old movies probably look overly thin. And my current build would fit right in with those.
For folks who follow paleo and can’t seem to shed pounds as easily as I did, here are some tips about how to trim excess body fat:
- Get some exercise every day. While exercise alone may not promote significant weight loss, I don’t think you can lose weight and keep it off without physical activity every day. The activity you choose can simply be walking. But do something consistently.
- Get out of your chair more often. Even when you are not exercising, don’t spend too much time as a sedentary lump. Stand up, stretch, fidget, walk around the office or the house at least once an hour or more. There’s plenty of research now that shows too much sitting without getting up can destroy your health.
- Eat plain, simple food that you prepare yourself. I find that if I eat processed food that is supposed to be paleo-acceptable, it sometimes warps my appetite. It can convey the “bet you can’t eat just one” sensation, which I blame on the food chemists that formulate these items to make them harder to resist. But when I cook all my own food, preparing plain meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts etc., or I eat raw food, my appetite stays more closely moored to what my body wants and needs.
- Don’t be too restrictive in the amount you eat. If you’re eating paleo, you should be already getting fewer calories per mouthful because of the extra fiber and lack of refined sugars. If you try to will yourself to eat too much less than you want, you run the risk of binge eating when your appetite overwhelms your willpower. Keep yourself satisfied. Use your strength of will at the supermarket to keep yourself from buying foods that don’t fit the paleo lifestyle.
- Don’t skimp on the carbohydrates. If you’re exercising consistently, you’re going to need a few carbohydrates to fuel your activity. Otherwise, you may feel the kind of fatigue that can sabotage your weight-loss efforts. Now, that doesn’t mean start eating sugary foods. But I allow myself some honey with my fruit on occasion. (I use raw, organic honey.) You certainly should be able to eat a few things like apples, berries and other fruits during the day to satisfy your sweet tooth without risking weight gain.
- Don’t drink the juices from the supermarket. Those drinks are too sugary. The only juice I usually consume is diluted tart cherry juice. Other than that, it’s strictly water with occasional tea and coffee.
Whatever eating plan you decide to follow, make sure it’s a reasonable diet you can follow for the rest of your life. Listen to your body and what it really seems to need. Remember that the precise diet that works for me or someone else you know may not work for you in the same way.
Before I went on the paleo diet, I wasn’t exactly overweight, but my belly was slowly starting to expand with middle aged-spread. Today, my weight consistently stays within a 4-pound range. And the only time I worry about it is when it drops a little bit and I try to eat more to keep my weight up.