Paleo - gaining weight!

(105 Posts)
misscph1973 Fri 09-May-14 13:21:32

I've been Paleo for nearly 2 years now and I have experienced a lot of benefits healthwise.

But in the last 6-8 months I have gained weight! I was always slim before Paleo. I am 41 and I have gained about 3 kg. I am trying to shift it with IF and low carb (3 months now), but it's not budging. I do have some sweet Paleo friendly treats, but not often, and have only a bit of fruit and rearely nuts/seeds. I have dairy occassionally, but I don't seem to have a problem with it. I exercise, I lift weights, although in the last few weeks I haven't done much I have been very busy with work.

To be honest I am fed up googling my problem only to find results that suggest I don't eat enough or that it's hormones or stress. While I am sure these things do play a role, I don't think they apply to me. My hormones are doing quite well because of Paleo, I hardly have any PMS or bad skin anymore, and stress, well, of course I can get stressed, but I have 2 kids a a full time job, so I really don't think it's anything out of the ordinary. And I eat plenty, I have a good appetite and I get plenty of good fats.

I have previously participated in some excellent Paleo thread here on Mumsnet, so I thought I'd post here. Any suggestions?

Blackjackcrossed Fri 09-May-14 14:35:48

Do you drink much alcohol? We've been astounded at how many alcohol calories we consume on a weekly basis - not used they will cause a problem...I think anyway.

misscph1973 Fri 09-May-14 14:58:43

Hi Blackjackcrossed, no, at the moment I don't drink at all and before that about 1-2 glasses of wine weekly. Agree drink is calorie heavy ;)

misscph - I am an Eating Psychology Coach - part of the work I do is looking at what people eat in the way that a nutritionist would but after that, I'd explore with them what else is going on in their life. So coming at weight and health from the point of view of there being a strong mind-body connection? Can I ask, on a scale of 1-10, how much the weight gain bothers you and, measuring the same way, how strictly you control your diet?

As we age, particularly 40+ there are hormonal changes that can result in weight gain - you probably know this smile. Your exercise (weights in particular) and diet are exactly what would usually counteract the hormonal effect though and without any other peri-menopausal symptoms I doubt this is the explanation.

So...with the psychology hat on - did anything significant/particularly stressful happen/start happening around the time when you started gaining weight? It could be to do with your relationship, your job, a bereavement or illness in the family, something going on with DC's - if you imagined that extra weight was calling your attention to something in your life that isn't anything to do with food, is there something it could be?

JessicaMary Fri 09-May-14 20:34:18

Well the bottom line is if you did more IF and properly you would lose weight. No one whatever their hormones or big bones or genes ever left the ghettoes or any famine zone unable to lose weight.

have you tried one meal a day say at 3pm?

misscph1973 Fri 09-May-14 21:41:39

Sleepwhenidie, what an interesting job!

My weight gain bothers me cosmetically only, as I know I am healthy. My BMI is actually only around 20, but I am very flat chested and all the weight gain is on my tummy, bum and thighs, so I look really out of proportion. I don't control my diet particularily strictly, I eat till I feel full and I don't starve myself.

I think I just started gaining a bit of weight last autumn, and it wasn't a particularily stressfull time. If anything, my relationships have actually improved, I am closer to my DH now the kids are a bit older and require less "servicing", and in turn I am closer to my DCs as they are now older and easier to have a meaningful conversation with. I have a good relationship with both of my parents as well (when I was younger, I had a lot of conflict with especially my mother).

I agree with you about hormones, that is not likely, as my hormones are really calm now, I had a few years of bad PMS, but diet change and weight lifting did wonders for that. Looking at the (older) women in my family, menopause is not likely to start early for me or be particularily bad.

JessicaMary, oh, I so agree! Paleo is full of warnings against caloric deficit, but I really don't think that applies unless you eating habits are completely out of whack. When I do IF, it is a very mild version where I don't eat after dinner and then not till lunch the following day, and it doesn't bother me in the slightest. It's been a while since I did 1 meal IF, as it really affected my attention and focus on work, but I am beginning to think I should try maybe a weekly 24 hour fast.

One thing that has changed is that I normally eat a lot of fish and I haven't for a while, just got out of the habit. So perhaps my Omega 3 ratio is out of whack.

Thanks for your ideas - obviously open to more suggestions, but here is definitely soemthing to work with!

Right, off to be, it's my DS's birthday tomorrow, so I will be having cake ;)

Ok, let me know if this stirs anything...we go through different life stages, it's interesting that often a change occurs in our body around every ten years, in terms of metabolism and what foods work well for us or not. Also we go through different life phases.

Women from their teens into their thirties can be described s being in a 'Princess' phase, they want to fit society's definition of attractive, ie pretty and thin, and seek lots of positive affirmation from everyone around them. Then from their thirties into 40+ we enter the Queen phase, where we have developed our own confidence, we don't need others to affirm our attractiveness, we are comfortable in our skin and don't obsess over losing or keeping off the last half a stone, we are more focused on relaxing and enjoying life, loving our families and setting an example to the princesses. Following this theory and what you said about what's going on for you, your weight gain could be synonymous with relaxing into life a bit more...our bodies are meant to soften as we age, become more feminine, this can still be very beautiful and I think it's a much better look than fighting and trying to control our appetites and bodies...think Helen Mirren, Emma Thompson or Susan Sarandon, as opposed to Madonna? Who would you rather have dinner with and think sexier? smile.

Just to add, in case my celeb examples didn't make it clear, being a 'queen' isn't about giving up or giving in when it comes to health and appearance. A queen still looks after herself well, she knows what clothes and make up, the 'look' that suits her, but it's not necessarily cool or fashionable and as far as other peoples opinions on it go, she probably only cares what her dp thinks!

misscph1973 Sat 10-May-14 08:51:51

Sleepwhenidie, I love what you write, it's lovely ;)

What annoys me the most is that I can't fit into my clothes anymore. I wasn't too unhappy giving up my skinny jeans as I am nover 40, but my regular fit jeans are now too tight! And as I said before the disproportion of my body (small chest, big behind) bothers me. I feel that no clothes suits me, there is this size gap between my top and bottom. I don't feel attractive with these extra 3 kgs. I have not really had a weight problem before, I have been slim most of my life, even through pregancy.

My DP... well, I know he thinks my bum is too big, but at the same time he thought I was too skinny last year before the weight gain.

Oh I get what you are saying smile, it's a theory that makes great sense to me instinctively and intellectually but the hardwired drive to be slim/perfect weight is so strong smile. I'm working on it myself though, starting with - if clothes don't fit/suit/feel comfortable then it's the clothes that are wrong, not my body. It must be harder if you were slim and bounced back easily after pg, many women go through a period of adjustment acceptance about the fact that their body has changed and it's won't ever be the same smile. I think 40+, at some point there is another stage like that. We can choose to fight it - by all means, try 1 day fasts and more fish (especially fish, or an omega 3 supplement) but if it just isn't happening and the process is making you miserable or foggy headed then keep in mind the alternative smile, working a bit more on self acceptance and enjoying life - and put in the time/money/effort to find clothes that suit you and make you feel good.

Your DH sounds quite judgemental sad, that must be tough, sounds like you can't really win there...presumably he looks like Zac Efron in the buff wink?

JessicaMary Sat 10-May-14 09:38:28

Helen M and Madonna probably have similar weights. It's just Madonna exercises. I don't think we should hold that against Madonna. A lot of women also grow into their feminism in their 40s and 50s and may well want to have very strong muscles as that gives us feelings of power.

If you are BMI 20 we all know that's healthy as is 18.5 and a bit more than 20. Most people would be content with 20. If you want to lose the 3kgs make sure you eat high fat, medium protein and low carb, only eat good paleo foods, don]'t have snacks, etc no fruit or nuts or cheese or cream just good fish etc. I eat salmon 3 times a week and lots of tinned fish, smoked oysters, fresh mixed sea food. It is some of my standard meals (although my BMI within normal range is above yours so |I am not suggesting what I do is necessarily going to work).

I think how we feel - mood etc comes from food. If you eat a good paleo diet, lots of good fats etc then you will feel happy which means people then don't eat junk food to make them happier. A healthy diet helps with what I call ODDD - obesity, diabetes, depression and dementia which are all linked to too much sugar. In other words if the foods are rightyou will feel happy along with getting a bit of time outside, fresh air, sun on skin without sun screen and move.

I find that it works better if I have breakfast and lunch at a regular time, not skipping breakfast to do a big IF between dinner and lunch next day but everyone differs.

Also, from an exercise pov, rather than trying to reduce waist and bum, think about building shoulders up with weights a little bit, so you get more balance/the illusion of a smaller bottom half? A great compound exercise-take two dumbells that you can comfortably do a military press with. Start in a push up position, holding the dumbells, do one push up, jump your feet up between hands, straighten up slowly with dumbells at your sides and stand then do a bicep curl to military press overhead, then back to push up position, repeat. Depending on how fit/strong you are, increase the number of push ups by one each time, up to about 6, then work back down doing one less push up each time. It's a killer grin. If you find it easy, increase the weight.

Also...lat pull downs, push ups, pull ups, clean and overhead press with barbell all great.

It sounds to me that misscph is already doing all that Jessica, that's why I think something else is going on.

As you probably guess from my post re training, I love exercise and weights/being strong too, but I think there's a level - Madonna - where you start to look a bit sad and desperate, trying to look like you are still 25 when that is obviously never gonna happen. Weight is irrelevant in the context of what I am saying, I just imagine Madonna at a dinner table not drinking, eating only macrobiotic/whatever, whereas the others would enjoy the wine, dinner, dessert and relax. Their bodies are softer but not fat (and obviously misscph, with such a low BMI is also far from fat), but they are attractive, beautiful and confident.

JessicaMary Sat 10-May-14 10:45:17

I think most strong women couldn't give a bean what other people think and if feeling strong and fit makes them feel good then it doesn't matter what others think. Those women are brilliant.

I don't drink alcohol or sugar and I am huge fun to be with and enjoy life. The idea you need addictive substances which destroy the body to join some kind of sisterhood of normality is inimical to me. In fact true happiness comes from the balance of chemcials in the brain particularly seratonin which is generated not by booze and puddings but a healthy wholefood way of eating. People who eat as I do are a lot happier than the wine and chocolate brigade.

Jessica I think you are misunderstanding me, I'm not knocking anyone's way of eating or exercising (or not), and I think paleo can be fantastic - I'm talking about loving your body rather than fighting it and your appetite. However you choose to get your kicks, that's up to you. They don't determine how much fun you are. It's exactly what you say about not caring about other people's opinion of how you look, not needing to conform to how someone else thinks you should. It's the opposite of that I find unattractive, the impression that you feel the need to look different to the way you do, where you main goal in life is to keep your figure 'in check', when really, by the time we hit our 40's we probably know that there are more important things to focus on.....sometimes to get to that point we need to accept that we can and should only fight nature so far.

misscph1973 Sun 11-May-14 10:43:05

Sleep, I am absolutely not ready to accept that my body could be different now ;) So I will probably fight it.

Re my DH, it goes both ways. When he gained lost of belly fat after he gave up smoking, I honestly wasn't very attracted to him. I didn't tell him, but he knew. In the same way although he doesn't say it, I know that he thinks my bum is too big at the moment. He is actually quite supportive, when I complain about it he is quite sympathetic and we talk about what I eat and how I exercise. He was the first to carefully suggest that perhaps my body is different now that I am over 40.

Thanks Jessica, for diet suggestions. I think perhaps I have too much fat - I have tea and coffe with coconut milk rather than dairy and I can easily go trough 1/2-1 can in a day, on top of all the butter and fatty meat ;)

Thanks to both of you for exercise suggestions - Sleep, I havent done any press ups for a while, might go back to it. I must say I find if hard to follow your description of the exercise - I'm foreign, could be my understanding of it ;) Will google it. I was doing a lot os squats and I was getting paranoid and thinking they were making my bum bigger, but I doubt it. My DH thinks tabata burpees would be good, so I am looking in to that.

Fair enough misscph, it's just something to think about smile

Tabata doing burpees is amazing. Re my exercise, if you imagine a burpee, the exercise is sort of a slower version of that, holding dumbells....so you do the push up, jump your feet in, but instead of jumping up, just straighten up, uncurling your back with your arms straight, holding dumbells.. Then bicep curl, rotate your wrists so palms face away from you, straighten arms up above your head, then back down, rotate palms back again, lower arms then bend down to place dumbells on floor (still holding them) and jump your feet back to start another push up....any clearer confused?

misscph1973 Sun 11-May-14 11:29:20

Yes, it is definitely something to think about, the whole body image thing. I am not particularily vain, I rarely wear makeup and my hair regime is pretty mush wash it and let it dry. I do't do a lot of clothes shopping, and when I do it's eaby or sales. But I do not like carrying extra weight!

Erh, no I still don't get the exercise ;) I think I need a video, what would I search for?

this is essentially it...but I do it a little slower so the bicep curl and overhead press is more distinct???I have to do it more slowly because of the fairly heavy weight I use, the lower the weight the faster you could do it but obviously there is a trade off between cardio/strengh effect between the two smile.

Oh and he's not doing the push up(s)!

Wimp grin

BindiBach Sun 11-May-14 16:56:54

Misc any chance you might just be overeating. What about going back to basics and eating when you are truly hungry, eating what you want, eating slowly and consciously and stopping as soon as you are satisfied (not full). Being more mindful about food. There are lots of books about it which could help you. Also despite your family history of menopause that doesn't necessarily meant that you are not now in peri-menopause and weight gain starts at this time. Slowly but surely the weight becomes harder to shift as your hormones start to change. You don't have to let it happen but you do need to think more about how you eat.

Jessica that is a bit of a sweeping statement to say that people who eat like you are happier than the wine and chocolate lovers. You don't know that at all.

misscph1973 Sun 11-May-14 21:15:03

BindiBach, yes, I could definitely be eating to much, I love food ;) I am thinking that my body just doesn't need as much energy any more, but it has come very sudden! Maybe that's my version on menopause?

Sleep, thanks, will look at the video later!

RawCoconutMacaroon Mon 12-May-14 08:32:28

I've been low carb for a long time, and Paleo/primal for 3+ years, have lost a very large amount of weight (6 1/2 stones), and my bmi is still nowhere near 20 shock.

Health wise, it's changed my life, uncovering some quite severe food allergies/reactions. BUT complacency creeps in doesn't it? I think there is so much emphasis on not counting calories or carbs on this WOE, that it's easy to loose sight if the fact that sometimes it's a good idea to do it for a time to just help remain "mindful" of portion sizes, carb intake etc.

Last year I lost only a few pounds (have about 20 still to lose). Recently I started logging everything using the myfitnesspal app and it's been a real eye opener! I have lost 5lb in 2 weeks and and it's shown me how much carb was creeping back into my diet, not huge amounts but too much (on my metabolism) for weight loss (was creeping up to about 100g a day on too many days).

I really don't want to be logging calories/carbs but I think I need to for a few weeks to "reset" my carb portion sizes (I am mid 40s and I think hormones are at play too wrt resistant belly fat!).

Myfitnesspal has standard macros that can be changed in the settings to the proportions you want, on standard it was telling me to eat 200g carb a day on a diet of 1500cal! I set at 15%carb (55g), 30% protein. The barcode scanning device is quite addictive and fun... smile.

JaneParker Mon 12-May-14 08:42:45

(BB the science is behind me. Sugar basically causes a sudden surge of good feelings and then an almighty crash. Most depression clinics in the country recommend coming off sugar, chocolate, alcohol and too much fruit and white bread etc to stablise mood and ensure the right balance of chemicals to the brain is ensured).

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