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Benefits of Paleo...if only for 6 weeks?

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I'm not sure I could live a completely Paleo lifestyle. I think having more Paleo meals would benefit me anyway (as they're bound to be healthier than a lot of the other stuff that I eat) but I couldn't do it forever.

 

However, if I were to challenge myself on the next Nerd Fitness 6 week challenge to follow Paleo for those 6 weeks, would it be worth it if I were to turn around and eat non-Paleo after that period? Has anyone had experience with this to say what positive and/or negative changes you experienced?

 

Appreciate any feedback. =)

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It all depends what your current diet looks like, I did it for a brief period, realizing that diary needs to be in my diet.

 

I think it will depend on how much it differs from your current diet.

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It sounds like you are interested in the paleo diet, so definitely give it a try.  You may find some new foods you like, give you insight into your current diet, and when leaving paleo learn foods that are problematic.  For example, I rediscovered a love for eggs, learned a lot about different cuts of meats and tried new things (like lamb, not a fan), and easily lost weight despite eating a filling amount of food.

 

It is similar to counting calories, if you count your calories for a month or 6 weeks, afterwards you have a pretty good estimation of calorie density in your favorite foods which may help lead to better decisions later on when not actually calorie counting.  By eating paleo for a bit, you may incorporate some of the paleo principles later on even if not fully eating paleo later on.

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What do you want to get out of it?  Habits - cooking, eating more vegetables, more protein?  Weight loss?  Less brain fog?  Depression cures?

 

The idea that paleo people never eat non paleo things is nonsense, so you have nothing to worry about there.

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Also, what do you mean by paleo?  do you mean more chicken and less McDonalds?  or do you mean free range, antibiotic free, hormone free locally raised chicken from a sustainable farm? 

 

fyi... a lot of people have trouble going 100% paleo. 

 

The posters above are right - think about what you want, what you currently do and then come up with a plan. 

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Okay, I think I'm ready to break it down a little.

 

I'm not sure what I want from it, honestly. I know the paleo diet can be beneficial in many ways, I've read books for and against it. My main concern is that I don't see myself being able to stick for it for the rest of my life. I need something sustainable, I don't feel like Paleo fits in that category for me.

 

My current diet is pretty much anything goes as long as I am within my daily calories (1500). I've seen positive changes in my body and my mood when I increase my protein for a number of days, but again, I've found it to be pretty unsustainable if I want to eat variety (and I do so love variety) to keep my protein numbers high.

 

In regards to organic/free range/etc, I simply can't afford it. I'd love to live that way anyway, but to feed my family, it isn't cost effective.

 

My main hope, no matter how misguided it may be, is to find something that will help me reduce stomach fat. It's the only part of my body that is still an issue for me and they say 'abs are made in the kitchen' and all that wonderful stuff, so I figure I'm having to knuckle down and get serious about my diet. If 6 weeks of Paleo could somehow magicially help me reduce my stomach fat, and I could be assured (somewhat) that it won't just reappear if I go back to eating IIFYM, then I'm willing to give it a shot for 6 weeks. If it comes about that people think I'd be wasting my time, I might look for other methods. As it would be part of my next challenge, I'm just trying to get as much information and advice ahead of time so I can make plans.

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A few things:

 

I understand that a lot of people don't want to make paleo sustainable long term in their life.  It's super easy to do, but only if you want it.  

 

And if you don't, that's cool.  Nothing wrong with that.   

 

You've seen results with IIFYM, which is higher protein, but you struggle with variety and protein.  Where do you think paleo will change this?  With IIFYM you can eat anything you want, and with paleo your protein sources are more limited.

 

Now, as regards to your stomach fat - yes, abs are made in the kitchen.  They're also lost there.  if you do paleo for 6 weeks (and depending on your current situation 6 weeks may not be enough) and see results, going back to eating how you were eating before will reverse those results.  In order to keep the results you will have to make modifications to your current diet, even if they aren't paleo.

 

But with that, paleo isn't a cure for fat either.  You can still GAIN fat on paleo.  So if your goal was abs and you wanted to try to do it by paleo, I would still try to stick to your macros and eat as little sugar as possible.  Yes, you'll most likely get bored, but you'll need to decide what's more important - super high variety in your diet or your abs.  :)

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Out of curiosity, what's your current body fat%? I know I'm keeping most my fat on my belly too, I've got all almost all my skin folds between 8 and 10, but my stomach is still near 20 (thighs too though).

 

You will need to reduce your overall body fat percentage to achieve that belly fat loss. I've accepted that fact and aligned my diet to eventually allow me to see my abs, I can already see faint lines ;) Below a certain body fat percentage, it's all about how badly you want it and what sacrifices you're willing to make.

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Thanks Spezzy! Very informative.

 

I'm not sure that Paleo will change my issues with protein, but it would make me tackle them differently. I think my main point of order would be that Paleo would force me to cook more at home, whereas I can potentially justify ordering that bacon/sausage/pepperoni pizza right now because, well hey, it's got meat right? ;) Seriously though, I feel like I could benefit to at least learn to cook some more Paleo friendly meals. Maybe I should just focus on cutting out more processed/take out foods first and then see if my mindset is right for Paleo...

 

My abs are under there somewhere (hiding, I hope) but my only means of testing right now is handheld bodyfat analyzer at my gym which put me at 20.4% on my weigh in before this challenge started. I have no specific goal right now (original goal was 20%) because I'm basing it off of how I feel in my body, but I'm frustrated beyond belief with the stubborn stomach fat. 2 pregnancies and losing 60lbs may have some impact on that, I just don't want to say 'Oh hey, it's only going to go away via surgery' until I'm absolutely sure that's my only route.

 

Perhaps I'm grasping at straws. :(

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You feel them under if you have some, you will feel your muscles when you flex your core through your skin. (was the case for me?, but on women it might be the same? I'm not sexist? wat?)

 

In all seriousness, I think you might need to go lower to see your abs, I started seeing faint lines at 14% and now I'm at roughly 12% and I can see more faint lines lol. But women essential body fat is higher so I might be off too. If you're losing weight and keeping your muscles, you'll eventually see them.

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Fasted low intensity cardio works wonders for getting rid of problem areas, if you are lean enough that there are specific problem areas and not the general problem of too much fat everywhere.  Problem areas are problem areas because the body doesn't like to tap those fat reserves, but you can force the issue with cardio (the whole fat burning zone thing is a real effect that does have uses, getting rid of stubborn fat areas is one of them).

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Fasted low intensity cardio works wonders for getting rid of problem areas, if you are lean enough that there are specific problem areas and not the general problem of too much fat everywhere.  Problem areas are problem areas because the body doesn't like to tap those fat reserves, but you can force the issue with cardio (the whole fat burning zone thing is a real effect that does have uses, getting rid of stubborn fat areas is one of them).

 

didn't know that, I might start doing this, twice a week.

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Maybe you should try a specific goal somewhere between what you're doing now, and 100% paleo, like a certain number of days or meals of paleo, or a certain number of non paleo items per week, etc, or even just "try a new paleo recipe every week".

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I'm not sure I could live a completely Paleo lifestyle. I think having more Paleo meals would benefit me anyway (as they're bound to be healthier than a lot of the other stuff that I eat) but I couldn't do it forever.

 

 

I've had issues with this though myself and I really feel like it's because I'm keeping myself anchored to my bad eating habits for whatever reason. Comfort seems the most likely.

You really should allow yourself the possibility of total change. As Lao Tzu said, "When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be."

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Fasted low intensity cardio works wonders for getting rid of problem areas, if you are lean enough that there are specific problem areas and not the general problem of too much fat everywhere.  Problem areas are problem areas because the body doesn't like to tap those fat reserves, but you can force the issue with cardio (the whole fat burning zone thing is a real effect that does have uses, getting rid of stubborn fat areas is one of them).

Ok, not to be a total noob, but what constitutes low intensity cardio? Following this thread with interest.

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Thanks Spezzy! Very informative.

 

I'm not sure that Paleo will change my issues with protein, but it would make me tackle them differently. I think my main point of order would be that Paleo would force me to cook more at home, whereas I can potentially justify ordering that bacon/sausage/pepperoni pizza right now because, well hey, it's got meat right? ;) Seriously though, I feel like I could benefit to at least learn to cook some more Paleo friendly meals. Maybe I should just focus on cutting out more processed/take out foods first and then see if my mindset is right for Paleo...

 

My abs are under there somewhere (hiding, I hope) but my only means of testing right now is handheld bodyfat analyzer at my gym which put me at 20.4% on my weigh in before this challenge started. I have no specific goal right now (original goal was 20%) because I'm basing it off of how I feel in my body, but I'm frustrated beyond belief with the stubborn stomach fat. 2 pregnancies and losing 60lbs may have some impact on that, I just don't want to say 'Oh hey, it's only going to go away via surgery' until I'm absolutely sure that's my only route.

 

Perhaps I'm grasping at straws. :(

 

You aren't grasping at straws - you know it's diet.  But is it paleo per se?

 

Why not figure out what in your diet is keeping you from reaching your goals and changing just that?  For example, most people start with giving up sugar or sugar drinks (like soy mocha lattes or pumpkin spice lattes or soda).  Others start with cutting out the daily "treats" - chocolate, ice cream, etc.  Some people start by cutting simple white carbs - breads, pastas, etc. 

 

If you are not eating enough protein and fat, you are probably eating a lot of simple carbs.  Simply tossing in more protein and veg and fewer simple carbs might get you where you want to be. 

 

And, cause I'm all about tough love these days:  paleo will not make you eat more protein nor will it make you eat in or cook at home more.  I can eat out all week on a paleo diet (and I'm talking even locally sourced foods).  Paleo will not magically make you lose weight - ask all the people here who eat a lot of paleo desserts.

 

These are choices you simply need to make for yourself and commit to doing.  There is no magic power ascribed to paleo that suddently turns people into home chefs or magically makes them make better choices.  Don't give a nutritional approach that kind of power.  The power lies in the choices you make.

 

If you are still eating a lot of processed or fast food, make a choice to stop.  Don't want to? That's fine.  Cut back.  Don't want to?  That's also fine - where can you cut back? 

 

It's your choice to cook/eat at home.  Why not make that a goal?  If you eat out 5 dinners/week why not set a goal of eating out only 3 dinners or only 2 dinners? 

 

Why force yourself into a nutritional approach that you've already said you cannot maintain?  That doesn't make sense to me or for your long term goals. 

 

The key is to set yourself up to be SUCCESSFUL!  Go with what you KNOW you CAN do... and then.... watch it happen.  You can sooooo do this.  You've already outlines what you think you need to do. 

 

 

 

Fasted low intensity cardio works wonders for getting rid of problem areas, if you are lean enough that there are specific problem areas and not the general problem of too much fat everywhere.  Problem areas are problem areas because the body doesn't like to tap those fat reserves, but you can force the issue with cardio (the whole fat burning zone thing is a real effect that does have uses, getting rid of stubborn fat areas is one of them).

 

 

I second the low intensity constant state cardio.  I know it's highly unpopular and everything is just "lift the barbell".  But low intensity cardio is a staple in many many expert workouts - body builders, a lot of serious lifters, a lot of athletes.  Walking briskly (not speed walking) is a good one.  I like bike riding or a slog (slow jog).  You could do elliptical if you prefer.  My coach is a big fan of this for weight control - especially if you are eating some carbs. 

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I'm actually surprised that walking was listed. Originally it was one of the only methods of weight-loss that I had and then everyone kind of throws the 'go lift heavy' slogans around the fitness forums and blasts cardio like it's going to kill somebody. I actually love walking. Sadly, aside from Wii Fit Step, I won't have much option during the winter months because Minnesota is cold as balls and I am not a winter person. Just as a note, that's said to burn a mere 60-70 calories for a half an hour of step. Is it more the motion of walking or the calorie burn of walking that's supposed to target stubborn fat? Is there a certain number of suggested days, or is it the kind of thing that should be done daily? Would Wii Fit Step even count? (On and off of the balance board, for those who haven't experienced it.)

 

Completely in agreement with needing to find something sustainable. I think one of the main reasons I've wondered about doing it for a challenge is if it's worth seeing the results if only just to go back and fudge them up again. My trainer actually provided us with a 14 day Paleo meal plan and was looking for a few clients to stick to it to see the results, to hopefully encourage others to give it a shot. Sadly it'll take some work on my part as the calorie gauge on the recipes is completely off and I'd have to rewrite the entire damn thing. BUT I am seeing this as somewhat of a challenge and also helpful to my trainer (for whom I work) so maybe a 2 week challenge instead of a 6 week challenge would be beneficial in more ways than just seeing changes on the scale/tape. Hm.

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Ok, not to be a total noob, but what constitutes low intensity cardio? Following this thread with interest.

 

I like walking briskly.

 

I second the low intensity constant state cardio.  I know it's highly unpopular and everything is just "lift the barbell".  But low intensity cardio is a staple in many many expert workouts - body builders, a lot of serious lifters, a lot of athletes.  Walking briskly (not speed walking) is a good one.  I like bike riding or a slog (slow jog).  You could do elliptical if you prefer.  My coach is a big fan of this for weight control - especially if you are eating some carbs.

Yes, walking, mostly. If you have a HRM, anything that keeps you in the "fat burning zone". Can also mean easy biking or even easier running if your cardio fitness is good enough.

I'll try to explain a little why it works.

Fat cells don't all have the same signaling pathway that tells them to release stored fat into the blood stream. Some of them have a pathway that is very difficult to turn on without any sort of assistance, in effect this fat is invisible to the body's metabolism and signaling. This fat also doesn't have much blood flow when at rest, so little that it should be cold to the touch. Where and how much of this fat varies from person to person, but in general the upper inner thighs (more prominent in women), the lower abs/belly button area, and love handle area tend to be the typical concentration spots for this type of fat.

You can keep losing and losing and losing, getting quite lean everywhere, yet these concentrations remain (it can look downright weird too, sharp 6 pack with big 'ol love handles on the side; sharp muscle definition and big glops of fat between the thighs). There actually isn't all that much fat in these problem spots, but the fat that is there is in glops, not spread out.

Eventually as you lean out these spots will go too, but they will be the last spots to go and you'll have to get freaky lean to get rid of them by diet or diet/lifting alone (fortunately they don't tend to come back as strongly once gone, especially if you keep yourself fairly lean).

However fasted low intensity cardio can help you burn the spots much faster. Why fasted? You want the level of nutrients in your blood to be stable with as little coming from the stomach as possible. You also want to be burning as little glycogen as possible (which is one reason you can enhance the effect by first doing some HIIT to burn up muscle glycogen). In essence you want the exercise to be burning as much fat as possible, too intense and the fuel mix switches to glycogen, too many nutrients in the blood and fat stores aren't tapped. Usually it has to be longer as well, the body won't start big time tapping body fat stores until after a half hour or so. You also have to be lean enough that there just aren't a lot of fat stores readily available to the body.

With all the conditions right though, the higher fat burn rate necessitates making use of all body fat stores, including the stubborn spots that otherwise just don't go away. With it strong enough, you an quite literally feel the fat being burned (it feels like and itchy burning sensation, actually in the fat, the skin is not what is itchy). Its probably the blood flow and warmth, to tissue that rarely gets it, that creates the sensation, not fat burn per se, but the effect is the same.

The effect is also a little stronger than you might think based on calories alone, once the body starts mobilizing body fat, it overdoes it to support the continued exercise it anticipates. When you return to rest the excess fat in the blood is redeposited. However it is not redeposited where it came from ,it is mostly redeposited in the easiest most accessible spots for the body, which means there is a redistribution effect above and beyond the pure burn.

Because the stubborn spots don't actually hold a lot of fat (even a half pound is quite big in a big glop), they can go away quite quick if you able to get that particular fat burning.

Toward the end of my last cut it was clear that love handles and lower abs were stubborn, I was quite lean everywhere else (like striation level lean in areas), and those glops remained, and they were cold. I switched to walking 5 miles every week day at lunch (before eating lunch, and skipped breakfast, so I had been fasting more than 12 hours). Within 2 weeks the results were quite dramatic, the stubborn spots rapidly shrunk. And at times I definitely could feel the itchy-burning sensation in the fat at the end of my walks.

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Thanks for the detailed explanation! When you say 'fasted', though, how long of a fast are we talking? Overnight 16-18 hours acceptable? Run first thing in the morning before breakfast kind of deal?

 

Oh snap, Duality with the post snipe. /fistbumps

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 With it strong enough, you an quite literally feel the fat being burned (it feels like and itchy burning sensation, actually in the fat, the skin is not what is itchy). Its probably the blood flow and warmth, to tissue that rarely gets it, that creates the sensation, not fat burn per se, but the effect is the same.

 

Really?  That's pretty cool.

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We (and this includes ME in a big way) tend to overthing a lot of times.  Some people get really wrapped up in "strict" paleo but I dont really think there is such a thing.  There are no caveman police to club you if you eat some pasta and there is no true measure of paleo friendly.  To me, it is about eating real food (you can define that) and stay away from processed as much as possible. 

 

Eating "paleo" or any other health conscious "diet" will generally require us to cook more at home, plan our meals better, NOT order a giant pizza, etc.  So it is a change no matter which way you choose and sustainability is relative.  In my house, it was difficult to do all of those things but we finally had to step back and realize that if we didnt make the changes, nothing was going to change.  Brilliant huh?  In other words, most of us eat poorly because it is easier.  So eating healthier is going to naturally be harder.  Thinking that is isnt sustainable because it is harder will keep you from making the necessary changes to get your desired result.  If you feel it isnt sustainable because you dont want to give up certain foods .......... dont give up certain foods.  If that certain food is a giant pizza, just dont have it often. 

 

So it wont hurt to try it.  I did the Whole 30 and found it incredibly beneficial.  I cut out all of the foods I was supposed to and at the end started adding some things back slowly.  I found that I had no issues with adding dairy back but pasta made me sluggish.  Rice seems to be fine but sugar is a killer.  Diet soda is a gateway drug and unfortunately, beer makes me fat.  So I eat meat, fish, eggs, poultry, veggies, swet potatoes olives and olive oil, avacados, fruit and smaller amounts of rice and other grains.  I dont do it perfect but I dont worry about that because I get to define what perfect is.  Some add back more pasta and have no issue. 

 

Give it a try and see how it makes you feel.  It's more effort but it is worth it.

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Thanks for the detailed explanation! When you say 'fasted', though, how long of a fast are we talking? Overnight 16-18 hours acceptable? Run first thing in the morning before breakfast kind of deal?

 

Oh snap, Duality with the post snipe. /fistbumps

 

I read /firstpumps

 

fistpump3REAL-thumb-350x197-13996.gif

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