I have some pretty amazing clients. Their dedication to doing what is best for their bodies amazes and inspires me all the time. Sure, they have their moments, but we all do. Sometimes they get frustrated and wonder why they are not shedding fat while eating Paleo. If this is you, here are some things to consider that you may be missing for ultimate fat loss:
1) Are you relying on chicken too much?
Chicken is a very lean protein (a 4 oz chicken breast is a mere 110 calories, vs 4 oz of ground beef which is more like 220!) and can be inflammatory if eaten too often. Be sure to mix up your protein with lamb, beef, fish, bison, elk and turkey.
2) Are you eating too often?
If you are snacking throughout the day, you could be keeping your glucose levels elevated which means your body is unable to burn the stored fat in the presence of glucose. Make sure you have enough fat to satisfy you at mealtimes. Remember, you need protein, carbs and fats at your meals to make it last. Snacking on fruit or nuts is not beneficial for fat loss, btw. If you must snack, grab some clean jerky or veggies.
3) Are you eating too much fat?
It’s easy to get excited about fat and start dousing everything in coconut oil and tallow, but remember that too much of a good thing is still too much. There are 9 calories per gram of fat (vs carbs and protein which only have 4 calories per gram) which can add up. I don’t have a specific number for you, but just watch how many nuts and seeds you chow down on. Try to stick to coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and tallow for cooking fats and find healthier subs for nuts.
4) Are you getting enough sleep?
This one can be tough, especially for moms with younger kiddos. Seriously, this one is the silent killer of fat loss. You cannot skimp on sleep and expect to lose weight. You will be fighting your fatigue by battling cravings for quick energy, mainly in the form of breads, sugars and caffeine. Try going to bed just a half an hour earlier and see if that makes a difference. Can’t fall asleep? Try valerian root or calcium/magnesium an hour before bedtime.
5) Are you too stressed?
Stress is not just that negative feeling that causes panic and anxiety. There can be good stress too, but it still takes its toll on your body. Simplifying your schedule and finding time for meditation, prayer or pleasure reading can do wonders for fat loss. Having too much going on all the time will drain your adrenals and zap your body of the ability to be fat adapted.
6) Are you exercising too much?
No two bodies are the same when it comes to exercise prescription, but I can say with some certainty that people have the wrong idea about exercise. Your “cardio” routine should be 1-2 hours of walking each week and maybe a 20 minute sprint session (if your body is functional). Too much cardio increases cortisol and decreases testosterone, leaving you more flabby than fit.
For strength training, 3, maybe 4, days a week of about 30 minutes or less should do it. If you are functional, weight lifting and small amounts of metabolic conditioning are all you need. If you’re not functional, yoga and body weight exercises may be your sweet spot for now. Not enough rest time between workouts will only lead to injury and burnout, not fat loss.
What about you? Do you find yourself struggling with one or more of these? Try focusing on one thing for a month and see if it makes a difference in how you look and feel.