I literally had 3 conversations with 3 individual people and they all said the same thing… they came to paleo thinking that they’d change their diet and all of a sudden they’d just lose a bunch of weight! People have this impression that when they start a paleo diet they’re going to be able to lose weight more easily, right? Well, the answer is kind of yes and no.
There are 5 keys reasons the keep people from losing weight, no matter what type of diet they’re on, that I really wanted to share with you. So, let’s get started!
The number one reason that you might be struggling to lose weight, even though you’re paleo, is because of toxins. I’m talking about environmental toxins (from cars and factories), toxins in the food you eat (especially in processed foods) and the water you drink, and even health and beauty products. And the reason these toxins prevent you from losing weight is that they’re stored in our fat cells! When the toxins start flowing in there, it causes those fat cells to expand more, and even create more fat cells to take on the excess.
Our bodies have a built-in “detox mechanisms,” but often time these mechanisms are impaired or we’re just taking on too many toxins for them to do their job properly.
How can we reduce our toxins?
There are many paleo detox plans out there that work great. But ideally, just keep eating good organic food and eating grass-fed meat. If you wear makeup, choose the more natural beauty products you can find!
2. Adrenal Dysfunction and Stress
Most of us have stress in our lives, and stress comes in so many different forms, but no matter the type of stress you’re under, our bodies react in the same way! So whether you’re being attacked by a tiger (which hopefully you never have to experience) or you’re just under a tight deadline at work, your body reacts in a similar way to stress.
Chronic stress can lead to something called adrenal dysfunction. This occurs when our adrenal glands produce a lot of cortisol—what keeps us in that high anxiety, stress state. This is something that we need, it’s what helps our “fight or flight responses,” but when it goes on for too long, the cortisol tells our bodies to hold onto fat instead of burning it for fuel.
How can you lower your cortisol levels?
By learning to control your stress. While we can’t always control what happens around us, what we can control is how we react. Take up yoga or try meditation! You don’t have to have a ton of time, even just 5 minutes of meditation in the morning can help clear your mind and totally change the tone of the rest of the day. I also think it’s good to do some things throughout your day or your week, just because it makes you feel good! You’re important, your mental health is important!
Now, when I say infection, I’m not talking about a cold, or a cut on your finger. I’m talking about infections that you may not even know you have: fungus, candida, parasites. Did you know that you don’t even have to leave the US to get parasites? We’re eating foods that come from all over the world, we’re meeting people that come from all different areas… we’re coming in contact with new germs and bacteria even if we don’t realize it.
These infections also slow everything down. We feel tired and drained of energy, we’re sleeping more and working out less, which causes our metabolism to slow down. Not only that, but our digestion functions more slowly due to inflammation in the digestive tract. We’re also not absorbing nutrients properly, this can actually cause you lose weight, but at the same time, become malnourished.
This comes back to stress as well, infections can cause stress as our bodies try to fight off infections, but when we’re under stress, we’re not able to fight them off as easily! And then back to toxins again… infections release toxins which, as you know, end up being stored in your fat cells!
4. Unaddressed Food Sensitivities
In my nutrition practice, I really believe in bio-individuality. Basically, that means that we’re all different genetically, our bodies all react different ways to different foods… there’s no “one-size-fits-all” diet. And even though you may not be allergic to certain foods, you may still be sensitive to them. These sensitivities can cause an irritation in your system that can be enough to trigger weight gain.
How can you discover your sensitives?
Get tested. If you’re eating a super-clean paleo diet and still getting bloating and indigestion, you can get a blood test done and figure out what foods you’re sensitive to. Personally, I’ve found I’m sensitive to almonds and carrots, I have a lot of clients that are sensitive to garlic and eggs.
5. Inconsistency or Looking for Results Too Soon
You have to think about how long your body has been holding onto excess fat when you consider how long it’s going to take you to lose weight.
You need to be consistent on any new diet for an average of 6 weeks, that’s how long it takes your body to adapt. Don’t binge on pizza, don’t eat that donut. And after 6 weeks, that’s when you can start looking at whether or not your diet is working for you.
And don’t expect to be losing a ton of weight fast, healthy weight loss is actually only about 2.5lbs per week. How much weight you lose is also relevant to how much fat vs. muscle you have – your body may the shrinking but the number on the scale won’t be moving as much as you might want it to because a pound of fat takes up more space than a pound of muscle, but they both weight the same 😉 Your consistency, how much you exercise, and a variety of factors as well as the previous 4 topics I covered all need to be considered!