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Lose Weight and Keep It Off? | The Paleo Diet

Besides winning the lottery, there may not be a more universally shared goal than losing body weight and keeping it off.1 If this is a goal you are after, you may not want to read the rest of today’s piece! That is because brand new research has pointed out that the odds of going from obese to a normal weight and staying there – are vanishingly slim.2, 3 For men, the odds are 1 in 210, and for women the odds are 1 in 124. That’s less than 1% – no matter what gender you are.

So how do we beat these (very depressing) odds? Quite simply, by following a Paleo diet! By consuming foods that are high in satiety and nutrients, we keep hunger at bay, and our body and brain happy.4, 5, 6, 7 Satiety and nutrition are both absolutely vital if long term, sustainable weight loss is one’s goal. As has been seen in scientific studies, a Paleo diet works better than even condition-specific diets (like those seen in patients with diabetes).8 One study sums it up thusly: “The Paleolithic diet might be the best antidote to the unhealthy Western diet.”9

Combining a great diet with a smart exercise routine (like CrossFit) is a great recipe to start stacking these odds in one’s favor.10 As the CrossFit Games are in full swing, we get to see professional athletes at their absolute peak – hopefully inspiring us to spend less time on the couch and more time at the gym. But you do not need to be a CrossFit Games competitor to enjoy a healthy exercise routine. If you are sedentary, just start walking around your neighborhood every day after work. Get your head in the game with baby steps, you’ll feel the difference.11 Once you’ve mastered that, you can progress to higher feats of fitness.

Lose Weight and Keep It Off? | The Paleo Diet

Erickson, Kirk I. et al. “Exercise Training Increases Size of Hippocampus and Improves Memory.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108.7 (2011): 3017–3022. PMC. Web. 27 July 2015.

And even more than exercise, make sure you get plenty of sleep! This overlooked factor allows many to work extremely hard, eat right and still not keep the pounds off. Scientific researchers have known this for years.12 Sleep is an important modulator of neuroendocrine function and glucose metabolism.13 Both are usually disrupted when a person becomes obese, so getting them back in line requires eating well, exercise, and plenty of shuteye!

Sleep loss has also been shown to result in metabolic and endocrine alterations, including decreased glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity, increased evening concentrations of cortisol and increased levels of ghrelin.14 Bottom line: With all of this at play, our chances of losing weight and keeping it off are very slim! We want our body to be insulin sensitive, cortisol lower in the evening, and to express low levels of ghrelin (a key hunger hormone).

Lose Weight and Keep It Off?  | The Paleo Diet

Beccuti, Guglielmo, and Silvana Pannain. “Sleep and Obesity.” Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care 14.4 (2011): 402–412. PMC. Web. 27 July 2015.

Lose Weight and Keep It Off? | The Paleo Diet

Patel, Sanjay R., and Frank B. Hu. “Short Sleep Duration and Weight Gain: A Systematic Review.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) 16.3 (2008): 643–653. PMC. Web. 27 July 2015.

Finally, sleep loss leads to decreased levels of leptin (one of the main satiety hormones) and increased hunger and appetite.15 So, the longer you go without sleep, the hungrier you get. Stop the cycle by hitting the pillow earlier.

With our world in an ever-increasing obesity pandemic, think of all the healthy ways you can lose weight and keep it off.16, 17, 18, 19, 20 Put your mind to it, don’t let anything stand in your way, and you’ll be on your way, to a leaner, healthier you!

 

REFERENCES

[1] Why Do You Say You Want to Lose Weight But Then Don’t Do It | Psychology Today. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shrink/201208/why-do-you-say-you-want-lose-weight-then-don-t-do-it

[2] Available at: //www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150716180913.htm. Accessed July 21, 2015.

[3] Fildes A, Charlton J, Rudisill C, Littlejohns P, Prevost AT, Gulliford MC. Probability of an Obese Person Attaining Normal Body Weight: Cohort Study Using Electronic Health Records. Am J Public Health. 2015;:e1-e6.

[4] Westerterp-plantenga MS, Lemmens SG, Westerterp KR. Dietary protein – its role in satiety, energetics, weight loss and health. Br J Nutr. 2012;108 Suppl 2:S105-12.

[5] Paddon-jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp-plantenga M. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87(5):1558S-1561S.

[6] Leidy HJ, Carnell NS, Mattes RD, Campbell WW. Higher protein intake preserves lean mass and satiety with weight loss in pre-obese and obese women. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007;15(2):421-9.

[7] Soenen S, Westerterp-plantenga MS. Proteins and satiety: implications for weight management. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2008;11(6):747-51.

[8] Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Ahrén B, et al. Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2009;8:35.

[9] Klonoff DC. The beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on type 2 diabetes and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2009;3(6):1229-32.

[10] Curioni CC, Lourenço PM. Long-term weight loss after diet and exercise: a systematic review. Int J Obes (Lond). 2005;29(10):1168-74.

[11] Erickson KI, Voss MW, Prakash RS, et al. Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2011;108(7):3017-22.

[12] Patel SR, Hu FB. Short sleep duration and weight gain: a systematic review. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008;16(3):643-53.

[13] Van cauter E, Knutson KL. Sleep and the epidemic of obesity in children and adults. Eur J Endocrinol. 2008;159 Suppl 1:S59-66.

[14] Knutson KL. Impact of sleep and sleep loss on glucose homeostasis and appetite regulation. Sleep Med Clin. 2007;2(2):187-197.

[15] Pejovic S, Vgontzas AN, Basta M, et al. Leptin and hunger levels in young healthy adults after one night of sleep loss. J Sleep Res. 2010;19(4):552-8.

[16] Roth J, Qiang X, Marbán SL, Redelt H, Lowell BC. The obesity pandemic: where have we been and where are we going?. Obes Res. 2004;12 Suppl 2:88S-101S.

[17] Swinburn BA, Sacks G, Hall KD, et al. The global obesity pandemic: shaped by global drivers and local environments. Lancet. 2011;378(9793):804-14.

[18] Catenacci VA, Hill JO, Wyatt HR. The obesity epidemic. Clin Chest Med. 2009;30(3):415-44, vii.

[19] James PT, Leach R, Kalamara E, Shayeghi M. The worldwide obesity epidemic. Obes Res. 2001;9 Suppl 4:228S-233S.

[20] Pan WH, Lee MS, Chuang SY, Lin YC, Fu ML. Obesity pandemic, correlated factors and guidelines to define, screen and manage obesity in Taiwan. Obes Rev. 2008;9 Suppl 1:22-31.

Lose Stubborn Fat | The Paleo Diet

Dr. Cordain,

I was a poster child for the FDA food pyramid…the queen of whole grains. I have a strong family history on both sides of Type II diabetes so I have been very vigilant about diet and exercise. I was bewildered because the more I followed the whole grain, low fat diet, the fatter and fatter I got. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, but treatment didn’t generate weight loss. I did have niggling reservations about whole grains; after all, that’s how we fattened our livestock on the farm I was raised on. I dismissed my reservations (because the experts told me to) and applied myself ever more diligently…and my weight crept up to 188 pounds.

As a 50-year-old female at 5’5, this is not so attractive. Worse, the weight was impacting my activities. I regularly participate in long distance hiking and biking (4 – 6 hours nonstop at least once a week). I have ridden metric centuries and routinely bike 40 miles in a weekend. I kayak, boogie board, horseback ride, ski, and snowshoe. I spent my 49th birthday snowshoeing at treeline in Rocky Mountain National Park. I SHOULD NOT BE FAT.

Every diet I tried gave me minimal results at best or introduced ways of eating or foods that I found to be unhealthy and unsustainable. But when I would cut calories too much, I would bonk and be unable to participate in my activities of choice. I was really suffering. I was grinding out hikes and gritting my teeth through bike rides. I began experiencing debilitating headaches, hip pain, and tingling in my feet. I was lethargic, depressed, puffy, and irritable. Anti-depressants came next and let me feeling groggy and drugged. And the headaches just got worse. I was in a downward spiral mentally and physically. I had tried a litany of vitamins and supplements and never felt measurably different no matter how many I took.

I came across the Paleo Diet when I was researching ways to deal with side effects of anti-depressants. I searched the term and clicked on the link to a new life. In my gut, I immediately recognized the logic of Paleo eating. I don’t know if this diet is right for everyone. What I do know is that is indisputably the right one for my body type.

I can only speculate that I was very insulin resistant and the initial shock of the Paleo Diet was a real challenge for me. While I was never hungry, for the first month, I struggled almost daily with cravings and feeling rather weak and puny at times. I was committed, however, and I continued with my activities level. I bought and read Paleo for Athletes and the guidance in there, particularly allowing sports drinks, helped me significantly during endurance activities. Then I had a breakthrough. I experienced, for the first time in my life, the “runner’s high.” Instead of feeling simply wrung out, hot, and sweaty after biking a steep trail, I felt jazzed. I was actually riding with the big boys! I now routinely get energized by exercise instead of worn out by it. My husband had no idea how much trudging I had been doing over the years. I’m amazed I stuck with it!

It’s been just three months eating the Paleo way. I am losing, on average, a pound a week and the weight loss pace is now picking up. I used to have to preload with Ibuprofen before big events to stave off soreness. I am now using no NSAIDS and experience little or no lasting soreness. Ski season just kicked off and I am skiing without stiffness or aches. I look and feel 10 years younger. I can breathe freely as my nasal allergies have magically disappeared. The few deviations I have made from the Paleo diet always have consequences enough to remind me that this is the way I have to eat if I want to have a healthy, full, active life. THANK YOU!

Christi

Below is a recent success story from a paleo follower:

Dear Dr. Cordain,

My name is Chase. I am writing this to thank you for your work on The Paleo Diet. I have only been on the diet for 12 days, and already have had success that I have never had on any diet or fitness program I have ever done.
I have struggled with weight since childhood, however I got it mostly under control by my last year of college. But within a year and a half of starting my career, I was gaining once again. However, through much effort and trial and error, I returned close to what I wanted to weigh and maintained that until a few months ago. I had heard of The Paleo Diet, but did not fully research it. However, after a very busy very unhealthy week of fast food, alcohol, and every unhealthy food that I could eat, I had some downtime on a Sunday and someone close to me asked me if I had heard of this diet because they were thinking about it. In researching it for them, I gained interest while they lost it, and resolved to start it and stick with it. That was the day before I started.
I have exercised vigorously for four years prior to this diet. However I could never get past 183 lbs. Within a week of reading your book and starting the diet, I broke that number, am the lowest I have weighed in five years, and recently recorded a body fat percentage of 9.8%, the lowest I have ever recorded. I have increased energy and am actually exercising less now than I have in months.
I’ve read your book daily as my guide. Without your assistance through this work I do not think I could have achieved this success. Thank you for your efforts in this field of study. If anyone asks me about this diet, I will refer them to this book as the best way to understand The Paleo Diet, and succeed at it.

Respectfully Yours,

Chase

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