Paleo Diet: Am I losing enough weight?

Hey folks!

Just quick one here. I’ve received about 50 private messages, twitter pings and other reach-outs this morning with the general theme being: “Hey Robb, I think I’m stalled on my WEIGHT LOSS…should I go ketogenic? Cut out nuts? Join an Ashram?”

Folks are forgetting or ignoring the protocol in the book. I do not want you focusing on weight! I want you taking photos, and measurements, I want you picking away at a performance goal. I want you sleeping 8-9 hrs per night in a pitch black room. I want you to know the difference between a mouth and a vacuum cleaner. If you can do those things, you will succeed. Period. If you choose to drive the boat your own way, focus on the scale, you will do neurotic shit and you will scuttle the effort.

So, quick re-cap:

1-Have you taken before pictures as is detailed in the Paleo Solution or the 30 Day Guide? Are you taking progress photos?

2-Are you getting 8-9 hrs of sleep per night in a pitch dark room. I do not give two squirts about your excuse here! DO IT. Inadequate sleep cock-blocks fat loss. And give me a break! I’m asking you to SLEEP! How much easier can I make this?

3-What is your primary and secondary performance goals? If it’s run a marathon…oh, so help me!

4-Give some thought about what a reasonable portion size is. Lead with protein, have “lots” of veggies, don’t go wild on the fat sources so we can get both appetite suppression via the protein AND a mild calorie restriction. K?

Follow the protocol folks, read the FAQ, re-read the implementation chapter of the book, and if you need some extra help, check out the 30 Day Paleo Transformation Guide. This stuff will work, don’t fight it.

Still feeling stuck? Grab my Paleo Troubleshooting Guides

Paleo troubleshooting guides

This printable, infographic-style download that will help you troubleshoot some common problems with the Paleo diet. This has been requested literally hundreds of times from readers and podcast listeners, and we’re happy to finally debut these guides. It has a special section on fueling for athletes.
How to use these guides

On the main page, select what area you need help with:

  • Fat loss
  • Eating for autoimmunity
  • Fueling for endurance
  • Fueling for power athletics

Then follow the easy-to-read flowchart to help troubleshoot or structure your individual approach to the Paleo diet.

Download the guides


Robb Wolf's 30 Day Paleo Transformation30 Day Guide to the Paleo Diet

Want some extra help? Have you been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? We’ve created a getting started guide to help you through your first 30 days.

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  1. Clark says

    Alright, alright. So while I’m not losing, I’m also not gaining. And my pants are fitting better. That’s what matters. Thanks for the kick in the ass.

    • Shirley says

      I’ve been eating Paleo style for almost 2 months now. Not losing. Not gaining, but not fiting into my jeans.

      I had colitis end of Nov. and credit Paleo style eating for kicking that. Bad news: I have bursitis in both hips (you wouldn’t even want to know how) and I think the squats & lunges are doing a number on them. Same goes for long walks. Alternatives?

      My health is in the “iffy” range, so regular exercise is very difficult for me. I dance. I walk my 2 little dogs. I try to interval both. I am not always able to get out though due to illness. Suggestions?

      Also, I battle sleep deprivation since 2002 work injury left me with degenerative disk disease. I currently take Ambien and Klonapin to even get to sleep because of pain.

      I thank you for your book. My son 30 year old son sent it to me as a last ditch effort to get his 56 year old mother off what looked to be her death bed. It worked. Now I want to get lean again and go out dancing 3 to 5 times a week like “before.” Love & gratitude to you!!!

      • juanita gore says

        i have been doing paleo for about 3 months and also havent lost a husband has lost 30 pounds. life is NOT fair!!!!i dont know what i am doing wrong.

        • Sheila says

          Perhaps having your physician check for thyroid antibodies the next time you’re in the office may help. If you test positive, following an elimination diet, such as the AIP Protocol, may help in determining your trigger foods.

      • says

        When you’re following the Paleo Diet properly and you still have health issues and are not able to lose weight, you may have food sensitivities. You can be sensitive to normally healthy foods and superfoods. Instead of those foods nourishing your body, they will cause inflammation. For example, I’ve seen patients sensitive to foods like salmon, broccoli, lettuce, papaya, and more. When you identify your food sensitivities and eliminate those foods, you will feel better and get better results.

    • Kim says

      That’s exactly what’s happening to me too. I put a fitness app on my phone and I’m shooting for 5,000 steps a day right now, plus I’m trying to make it to the gym more or at least walk my dog or something. Lol. It is frustrating to not have lost a pound but my pants are fitting better too, I’m sleeping better (not longer tho) and my digestion has improved. Those are all positives in my book!

      • ABP says

        I am a crossfitter.. I train up to 6 times a week. I have lost about 4 cm in my hips..eating the way i do (plenty of fat, some protein and little carb) but I cant get as lean as i want in the hips were i accumulate fat.. do you think if i limit my fat intake, or reduce meal portions i could increase the fat loss??

        Thank you!

        • says

          I think you might be overtraining! Leanness becomes antagonistic to performance at some point. If you want to be REALLY lean, you may need to tweak your training.

          • ABP says

            I train 3 days rest 1 day train 3 rest 1.. I do think I havent been resting enough because of work in the last couple of months! I will try to get 1 day of 10 hour sleep at least. I usually sleep from 6 to 8 hours ..

            thank you for your advice Robb and Amy!

      • shaddix says

        Calories are the only thing that matters. I thought the whole point of eating paleo for fat loss is that it fixes your ability to regulate your body fat. No need to count calories if you’re eating foods we are designed/evolved to eat. This causes a reduction in caloric intake and an increase in expenditure causing body fat to reduce.

        • Walter says

          “Calories are the only thing that matters.” I’d like to make a counter-point: Calories hardly matter. My personal experience, while anecdotal, will illuminate my position.
          I started eating paleo when I weighed 207 pounds. To fight the carb cravings in the first week or two, I ate bacon (up to a pound a day). On average, I ate about 4000 Cal/day for 6 weeks and only moderately increased my energy expenditure (certainly not enough to offset 1500-2000 extra Calories a day). During this time I lost 26 pounds of fat and gained 6 pounds of muscle. I understand that this is not a normal experience, but it is proof that Calories are NOT the only thing that matters.

  2. John says

    Great post, it is also about what you are comparing are yourself to? Looking at some ideal down the road? Then of course you will get frustrated. But are you better than yesterday? that is the only comparison that really matters.

  3. Amie says

    Thanks for this, honestly. I’ve been eating Paleo for 4 months and was starting to get discouraged and confused about my measurements increasing! But, I forgot about the sleep. I have not had more than 6 hours of sleep a night in the last 2 weeks that I’ve gained weight. I couldn’t figure out why! Now I know……

    • says

      It’s a systems based problem (sleep, food, exercise, socialization) and it’s a systems based solution. If you are in a spot where you CAN’T sleep enough…you just need to ride it out, keep carbs low and don’t get frustrated. You’ll get through it.

  4. Trevor says

    What if I only get 7.5 hours sleep….kidding.

    You are a good man Robb Wolf. I hope all is well in the new digs.

  5. says

    Agree Amy. It’s spot on!
    For many people though, the scales and weighing is as much an addiction as sugar or grains. I suspect many of us can date our weight problems from the first time we bought scales! Throw them away everyone. It’s worth it just for the sense of freedom!

  6. Devon says

    Anyone able to tell me the difference between a primary and secondary performance goal? Perhaps I missed it in the book (which is currently on loan)

  7. Chris says

    an “oh-so-well-needed” slap in the face reminder. Perfect timing because I have clients dropping bodyfat but gaining “scale weight” and bitching/getting concerned. So this link is going out in a massive email. With the BioSig software you can detail the scale weight, lean body mass % and bodyfat % but chicks+scale (always) = horrible combo. Thanks Coach!

  8. Miles says

    Here’s how my weight loss/gain went. After first few months of Paleo i dropped roughly 10 pounds, 175 down to 165, I’ve now gained weight while still losing pant sizes…thus muscle gain and it shows!!! Loving it! SLEEP people, your body makes its changes while sleeping, not while you stare at yourself in the mirror looking for a change.

  9. says

    All I saw was calorie restriction (sigh). Just kidding haha. Great piece my friend. Your next book should be Paleo Revelation:3,000 ways to say the same thing. Keep it coming Robb!

  10. says

    Sleep, sleep – the missing link! It astounds me how often we (I!) need this reminder. What drives us to sleep less than we need to? Now that my youngest child is two, I am still up later than I should be, DOING NOTHING! Anybody else out there find this the hardest habit to permanently change?!

    • Christopher says

      Yeah it’s been the hardest for me too. I’ve always been used to staying up late. It takes a conscious effort for me, getting off the computer by a certain time, lying in bed and reading, etc.

    • HeatherSmith says

      Yes! I have a two year old as well, and find myself doing the same thing. Treasuring the only me/quiet time I get. One of my goals for this new year is to Make myself go to bed earlier. It’s hard. But I’m always glad when I do!

  11. Martin says

    >> I want you to know the difference between a mouth and a vacuum cleaner.

    >> Give some thought about what a reasonable portion size is

    While the above issues are no longer my problem, I believe the problem behind is real and it’s not as easy as the recommendations (common sense as they sound) seem to suggest.

    Let me say it straight: I take Gary Taube’s position on this: if I don’t seem to know the difference between a mouth and a vacuum cleaner, it’s not because I really don’t. It’s rather something about my current hormonal profile that makes me crave as crazy and overeat. So the problem is hormonal rather than behavioral and dismissing it with the vacuum cleaner metaphor doesn’t really help. Therefore, Amy, while I appreciate everything that Robbs has been doing and saying, I’d be a more critical on this.

    If a person follows a clean Paleo diet (i.e. no sugar/grains/diary/legumes/*) and sleeps long enough and doesn’t overtrain, etc. then everything should be OK. But sometimes it isn’t. What is the real problem then? Could it be that in some people, even a minimal amount of carbs in the diet drives the insulin crazy high? Maybe ketogenic diet is good idea then. Could it be that the person is so unstable that even minor stress causes cortisol realease? What about emotional overeating?

    Over a year ago, when I discovered Paleo, gave up marathoning and for the first time in 7 years managed to get my weight significantly down, I did lots of N=1 experiments trying to detect what variable in my diet / life made me overeat (I evidently saw it as the problem). The outcome was as follows: as long as I stayed on a strict no carb diet (meat, eggs, coconut oil) I was never hungry, and my weight was going down (I also did lot’s of intensive bouldering at that time – no problem at all). Then the moment I started introducing green vegetables (low carb content) I started getting really hungry and eventually I would overeat. Just green salad or broccoli would make fail to see the difference between a mouth and etc. I thought it was impossible but I repeated the pattern many times and the outcome was always the same. Now that my weight is way down, it’s no longer a problem but it was a problem.

    • Christopher says

      I would say the eat paleo type foods within reason to satiety works well for most people. Yes there are probably going to be some people with hormonal issues, emotional issues, or some other issues or special circumstances that may take a little more work. Yes they occur, but I wouldn’t say those are the norm though. When you put all the pieces together; eating well, smart exercise, good sleep, stress management, getting sunlight, etc. unless someone has a very special issue, that should more than likely work.

      • Martin says

        Sure, Paleo works. It has worked for me. My point is, I guess, that the “mouth vs vacuum cleaner” and portion control arguments seem a bit harsh to me and they do in fact follow the popular behavioral explanation of obesity. I am a bit suprised that Robb uses it here. Again, it goes against all of the research that Taubes summerized in his books and articles.

        • says

          I’ve worked with THOUSANDS of people. Not a study, stood in front of them trying to help them. And some of these people DO NOT know when “enough is enough.” Hence, a recommendation to give some passing thought to portion control. AND AGAIN, if folks aree generally doing what is detailed to do, this is not a problem, but occasionally it is. If you have a better way, lay it on me.

          • says

            And yea, it IS harsh. Sometime people need harsh. Martin, it sounds like your situation is NOT this situation. You appear to be wickedly carb intolerant. YOU have tracked that down, but I’ll be damned if I’m to be censured for getting the message out to your neighbor that will benefit him or her.

            Martin, I get thousands of emails, PM’s twitter pings and FB contact per day. I do my damnedest to respond to as many as I can but it necessitates directness and a not insignificant portion of tough-love. I am fully ok with being a Dick today if it means thousands of people transform their lives. I hope that all makes sense.

          • Martin says

            Robb, thanks for a detailed response. I do not have a better solution. I followed your program and it basically worked and I have no doubts that it’s valid. But I had to figure out the small details, which is fine, and the final solution that did work for me was a strict-very-low-carb-ketogenic variant of your solution. It’s still possible that I did break some of the rules, maybe did not reduce the work-out level too much or allowed too much stress in my life. But it’s also possible that my body was screwed too much (insuline resistance) and the extreme measures I took were necessary. Yes, what you say in the post below makes sense. Thanks for the work you do.

          • says

            Thanks Martin. The challenge here is what message do we put out that is going to get folks generally moving the right direction? then, how do we refine things to see how to improve the specific results?

        • Marianne says

          Hi Martin, why does it go against the research that Gary Taubes – somewhat selectively – summariized? Which study do you have in mind for you statement? Reference would be appreciated! It’s easy to read into Taubes work, that calories are irrelevant. He did not say that at all. But I also wish the low carb fairy would make the calories vanish from whipped cream…

      • Shannah says

        This whole conversation is so timely for me, as I have recently had to change my strategy. I was doing GREAT eating 100% Paleo, not caring much about portion sizes, eating to satiety, moderate workouts…that is, until I stopped breastfeeding. (Btw, anyone who doesn’t believe breastfeeding is one of the best diet plans EVER is crazy.)

        I stopped nursing in December and have put on 4lbs in the past two months doing EXACTLY what I was doing before. So, I am now going to have to turn off the vacuum cleaner and start considering portion size. But hey, it was TOTALLY worth the ride. Being able to eat whatever the hell you want for a couple of years and not so much as tip the scale an ounce is pretty much any girl’s fantasy. Now, back to your regularly scheduled reality.

      • Nick says

        As I am not sure if you follow Robb in his podcasts, I will recap some things he touched on in the first few:
        – To tone down restrict carb intake – This is 30 to 50g per day for women and 50 to 70g per day for males.
        – Reduce the amount of seeds and nuts you are consuming – Paleo snacks and muffins are still snacks – They are very dense calorie sources.
        – Liquid diets will spike insulin – (my addition – cut out the juice every morning, afternoon, evening; try juicing an 8oz glass of OJ and count the try eating that many oranges in one sitting)
        – Eat your 1g per lb of protien – this goes a long way!

        You may have to take a ‘zone’ approach to the paleo baseline to get the carb intake down, but you have to make the effort to get to the places you want to get as well.
        Take a listen to Robb’s podcasts. This is a tough journey and we all started in the same place. Remember N=1. You need to figure out what works for you. Follow the 30 days strict to get your baseline, then start tweaking to meet your needs. If you start to falter it does not hurt to go back to those 30 days.

  12. Steven says

    But Robb… I have these really awesome shoes that double as scales, they work with an app on my phone so this way I know exactly how much I weigh with each foot strike I take, tells me through my headphones… like a metronome… use them while I train for the Death Valley triathlon… no water we just swim through the sand like Dune…

    8-9 hours a night? Seriously? Not possible americanidolsurviorvoicedancingwiththestarcelebrityapprenticebigbrotherjerseryshore is on… I mean it’s how I fall asleep every night! I got the idea from Poltergeist!

    So you are saying the Golden Corral Buffet is not Paleo then?

    Robb surely my unique situation requires special attention don’t you agree?


    Robb is Tyler Durden

  13. Dusty Wunderlich says

    Good stuff Robb, I am constantly preaching to throw the scale away – its all about body composition! It is a tough habit to break though! I will be sending this to a number of people.

  14. geekay says

    Sleep in a pitch black room? Whatever for? If we are attempting a reasonable approximation of a primal lifestyle, would this not simulate sleeping under an often bright starlit sky? Where even Jupiter could cast a shadow, to say nothing of the moon? And wouldn’t our little troop be sleeping around a campfire, taking turns keeping it lit and on the watch for predators? Of course this might not be optimal. Is there any science that shows that sleep is improved by sleeping in blackness? Total darkness would certainly make me anxious…

    • Martin says

      >> If we are attempting a reasonable approximation of a primal lifestyle, would this not simulate sleeping under an often bright starlit sky?

      Perhaps, but then freezing to death or being eaten by night predators should also be a part of this.

      I guess it’s more likely that our ancestors used caves as their habitats.

    • Lizzi Mac says

      Read Lights Out ( Sleeping in a pitch black room counteracts the influx of light that we receive in modern society during the dark hours. If we lived “in the wild” then we would go to sleep or at least be lying around when it gets dark and cold (in the winter: 5pm) until it gets light and warm (in the winter: 7am).

      Consider living in an urban area–there are street lights, neighbor’s lights, the light pollution from the city (ever see the city glowing from far off in an airplane or driving toward the city from outside), not to mention the light from the television, computer, clock, phone, lamps, etc. I doubt that many people turn all electricity in their house off as soon as the sun goes down.

      Sleeping in a pitchblack room is the best way to counteract the influx of light.

    • says

      I guess we can ignore all of this research:

      Geekay- All I’m saying is if your body comp goals are not going your way AND if you are not sleeping in a pitch black room, then either fix it or cease bitching about lack of progress. It’s a binary system, yes/no scenario. I posted research in the original piece, apparently you did not read it?

      • geekay says

        Yes, I think we can ignore that research, as it measures the effect of specific light spectra on melatonin levels. It says nothing about enhanced sleep in total darkness. As I mentioned above, total darkness was never part of our evolutionary environment. Of course we know that light intensity is linked to circadian rhythms. But it’s a leap to think that because low light triggers sleep chemicals, then zero light must be even better. Pursuing this line of thinking, would it help to flood your bedroom with 100,000 lux to get you up in the morning? Now even if you achieve optimum sleep quality, it’s another very long leap to suggest that this will have any effect on fat metabolism!

        That said, I have no problem with your advice, it most likely does no harm, and it costs nothing to try.

  15. ddm says

    “2-Are you getting 8-9 hrs of sleep per night in a pitch dark room. I do not give two squirts about your excuse here! DO IT.”

    What if you have an infant?? I get 7 on a GREAT night. 5-6 most nights. Get up at 7am and don’t even sit down til midnight.

    Would it help if my wife and I take turns getting 8-9 hours? (As if that would even work).

    Is there a benefit to just not working out at all, when my body is so stressed? Working out is the only alone time I get, and I feel like crap if I don’t do it.

    Open to anything….really.

    • Martin says

      T.S. Wiley says and in her book that it’s not a problem for mothers as their hormonal profiles changes anyway and so the frequent sleep breaks (which fathers also get :-) do not harm them.

      • mister worms says

        My 2¢ on having an infant and trying to sleep is try to go with the flow and hang in there. Try not to strangle the baby’s dad while he’s sawing logs right next to you, as tempting as it may be. This, too, shall pass.

        If you have the sort of kid who doesn’t go for any of the sleep “expert” tricks, sleep gets a little less ridiculous around the 12 month mark (night weaning definitely gets you longer stretches of sleep and that’s fine to do around that time and on).

        I hope TS is right. But I was a complete wreck with such disrupted sleep. After 3 yrs, I can finally start flirting with the idea of wrecking myself all over again :)

      • says

        this si where priorities come in. right now, that’s handling a little one. Your fat-loss may not be as rapid due to sleep issues, but that’s ok. this stuff is synergistic though: If you are eating well, the little one will tend to sleep better, and everyone will do better.

    • Mark says

      Unfortunately your in the camp that has to “ride it out”. Your fat loss may stall or reverse during these times. But once your baby sleeps through the night regularly you can start to get more sleep. It is also important, if you can, to nap at the same time as your child. This will help with the lack of continuous sleep.

    • Keith says

      My daughter is 9 now, but when she was an infant she slept in our bed (“co-sleeping” is the technical term) and nursed at will without waking us up too much. If you are not co-sleeping it will improve your sleep instantly and it is much more paleo than a crib. There is a lot of anti-co-sleeping propaganda so you may have to do some research to get comfortable with the idea.

    • Bill in StL says

      Consider co-sleeping. Widely practiced around the world, not as dangerous as the typical American believes, and allows both baby and parents to sleep with fewer interruptions.

  16. Sue says

    Alot of paleos on Marks Daily Apple probably not seeing progress as they are heavy on the fat and don’t think calories have much to do with weight (fat) loss.

  17. Sam Oc says

    It states clearly… THROW AWAY YOUR SCALE! Weight can not measure the healthy transformation that is happening.

  18. Becca says

    That is all well and good, except for someone whose weight is preventing them from reaching their performance goals…

    • says

      I may have an-aneurysm…a GOAL (in my world) denotes something your are working towards, not a pink ribbon for showing up. It means you will need to push yourself, sacrifice (the horrors) and eventually have a sense of satisfaction at completing the goal. You do a little every day. Do we need a post on what a goal is?

      • Becca says

        I’m totally open to suggestions.

        I’ve been through an initial 6 months of completely strict whole30, followed by 1 mo paleo zone, 3 weeks very calorie restricted (~1200), and 1 month keto (pee sticks and all). Beyond that point I went to regular paleo with no more than once a week “cheat meal”. Finally at right about the 1year mark from when I started, I had an IgG food allergy test and progressed an elimination diet with those results, PLUS 4 day food rotation, for the next 3 months (during which I also participated in a 9 week strict paleo challenge with my gym).

        In terms of activity, the initial first 2 months of whole30 were purely low intensity activity, after that CF (though admittedly more S&C than it is CF) ~3 times a week for the next 3 months, then 5 times a week from then on.

        This was beginning toward the end of 2010, so two of my year end goals for 2011 were ONE real pushup and to move down a band on pullups. I practiced pullups via jumping or ring rows, or laying rope pullups pre-workout pretty much every day I was at the gym; practiced pushups every night before bed from knees or incline. I ended the year able to crank out a whole lot more volume of ring rows, jumping pullups, and scaled pushups, but still unable to get my chin up over the bar with even the largest band for a strict pullup or a single proper pushup. Those are just two examples, virtually every gymnastic/bodyweight movement related goal has been a complete non-starter in terms of progression.

          • Becca says

            5’8″ – Starting weight 232 July 2010, ended 2011 at 212. I lost 15lb in the first 2 mo of paleo, then spent the next year-ish to lose the next 5lb, though there was of course quite bit of muscle gain as well during that time.

            I began seeing a functional medicine doc in August – which is where the IgG allergy & rotation diet came from.
            Nothing showed up in blood work that was horribly out of line – I’m incredibly healthy, for which I have paleo to thank. The only note-worthy oddities are
            – despite absolutely meeting/exceeding RDA, virtually every vitamin/mineral came back low in blood work, except calcium which was excessively high. Doc suspects issues with Amino Acid breakdown, with supplementation these numbers are now on the low end of normal range.
            – cortisol (spit test) is normal, slightly on the high end overnight only.
            – Thyroid is normal
            – Body temp is consistently very low (measured from ear). I’ve been in roughly every 6 weeks since Aug, and the highest temp measurement taken has been 97.2. Doc thinks this is a little unusual, but within acceptable limits.

            I certainly don’t fault paleo for anything, I’ve been a vocal proponent of it with everyone I know, and I can say without a doubt it has made me healthier than ever. I’ve seen both non-exercising friends and folks from the CF gym give paleo an even half-hearted effort and achieve great results (always better results than my own in fact). It just becomes extremely frustrating to see these blanket statements that if someone is stalling on weight loss it has to be a YNTDP, lack of consistency or a lack of patience on their part, rather than a legitimate issue.

          • Kim says

            In regards to Becca, have you looked into intestinal parasites? Robb, what is your position on this topic? I am in the research stage of beginning a paleo lifestyle and it has been brought to my attention to first eliminate parasites that are a grave possibility, then move forward on a lifestyle diet change. I have also been told by a holistic nutritionist that based on my symptoms that I am low in hydrocloric acid (HCL) which is causing major issues in my digestion, which would in turn, prohibit goals of weight loss, bloatedness, among other debilitating symptoms, I have been suffering with for years.


        • Marcy says

          I had a similar experience.

          Even light strength & conditioning work every day was too much for me to recover. Turns out I’m hypothyroid (Hashimoto’s) and I was suffering from adrenal fatigue. The fact that I could force myself to work out when I felt dead on my feet turned out to be a bad thing.

          So I quit the gym and focused on getting my sleep quality up, supporting my adrenals, and supporting my thyroid (in my case iodine & selenium).

          I’m now to the point where I can work out 3 or 4 times a week, but if my sleep gets messed up, my recovery goes right out the window, so I’m still having to take it pretty easy.

          Sometimes I do feel discouraged when I see all the results everyone is getting from going primal/paleo. I definitely feel better eating paleo, so I wouldn’t say it doesn’t work for me, but it’s definitely not a magic bullet, and I’m not cheating, rationalising, over-eating, under-eating, or whatever else Robb experiences with his other clients.

          I guess I’m learning patience as I work back towards a pull-up. Got a pull-up bar over my bathroom door so I can attempt 5 or 6 times a day. Need to get step over there so I can do more negative pull-ups.

  19. Peggy Holloway says

    Robb just lost me. Surely he doesn’t buy into the fat restriction = lower calories = weight loss hypothesis. Heaven help us. To lose weight: add fat and restrict carbs and forget about calories.

    • Amy Kubal says

      Peggy, this approach doesn’t always work – portions, food selection and overall diet composition have a lot to do with it. It is possible to get too much of a good thing. Drinking 2-3 cans of coconut milk per day will do you no favors.

    • says

      As I told Martin above, IF what you are doing is working, then this does not matter, right? If not then folks may need to contemplate not eating a whole can of coconut milk at each of their 3-4 meals per day. Calories DO in fact matter at some point.

      • maria says

        Thanks for this kick in the butt, went out and bought darkening fabric for my curtains immediately after reading. I for one like your style of not sugar-coating things. It always knocks sense into me, and even makes me laugh at my neuroses.

        I have a background of going through fairly severe anorexia (period gone for four years, weight first down 20kg, then up the same etc). During this time calorie restriction was my everyday life. So I loved the paleo message of not having to count calories and just eating when I was hungry until I was sated.

        Now I am somewhat troubled by the seemingly contradictory calories do not matter/at some point calories do matter -messages on paleo blogs. Can you put this in plain English for me, please :)

        So, is it so that I do not need to think about calories if I eat clean paleo, eat when I am hungry, and stop when I am full? And calories only matter if for some reason a person is not paying attention to their feeling of satiety? And what is the “at some point” where calories start to matter? Please, break this down for me.

        • Amy B. says

          Hey Maria,

          I’m not Robb, but I’d like to offer an answer for you.

          Unfortunately, no one can give you exact numbers and say *this* is the number of calories at which calories start to matter. This is one of the places where individual tinkering has to be done. The message isn’t all that contradictory. Most people can lean out and get healthy on a good, clean Paleo diet. But like Robb’s always pointed out, it also depends on your GOALS. If a 200-lb guy wants to add muscle mass, it’s a very different calorie discussion from a 135-lb woman trying to get rid of a couple of pounds.

          If someone’s happy with their progress – be it the rate of weight loss, strength gains in the gym, or reversal of autoimmune conditions – then they don’t need to worry too much about what is or isn’t working. IF, however, someone is *not* happy with their progress, then they should evaluate things: what they’ve been eating, how much sleep they’ve been getting, their stress levels, etc. Generally speaking — *generally speaking,* — if you’re eating a good, clean Paleo diet, calories won’t matter that much. But if you’re stalled in your weight loss, *then* it’s time to look at things more closely. (Maybe not if you only have about 5-10 pounds to lose, b/c there are a lot of other issues that come into play, but if someone is significantly overweight, barring any very wacky hormonal stuff, a clean lower-carb Paleo diet should get the weight down at a pretty good clip. If it *isn’t* coming off in this case, then yes, the person might be overdoing the ghee, coconut milk, or even protein, depending on how much they’re eating. Protein can serve as a source of “gluconeogenesis” – basically making glucose inside the body out of things besides carbohydrates. So if a person’s loading up on large amounts of protein, they could actually be driving some insulin spikes and fat storage. (Not as much as eating, say, cheesecake, but there would be *some* effect.)

          The beauty of Paleo is that yes, in general, you don’t have to weigh and measure every morsel of food you eat. You get to *stop* obsessing about all that and make it about fueling yourself with good quality foods and getting back to *enjoying* the simple pleasure of eating well.

          I could be wrong, but I think even the 1992 Atkins book says something about calories. Dr. Atkins had a very overweight patient who wasn’t losing fat even on a strict ketogenic diet. Turned out she was eating 2 sticks of butter a day or something like that, on top of the rest of her food intake. So a Tbsp of coconut oil here and there isn’t going hurt, but the key is to be *reasonable,” and sadly, no one can define what is reasonable for *you.*

          • maria says

            Hi Amy,

            Ok, thanks. But still, does it really not all boil down to this: listen to your body, eat when hungry, eat consciously, and stop when sated? Do this, and you can forget all about tinkering etc, as it happens automatically?

          • Amy Kubal says

            Maria, that’s most definitely the case! The major problem is that many people don’t recognize the cues their bodies are sending them. The overall message is – find what works for you and run with it!!

  20. Alec says

    Short and sweet. Thanks for the good ol’ wake-up slap 😀

    It certainly works if you just go with it. My brother is staying with my roommate and I while he’s finding a job in the area. He’s forced to eat the way we eat (BACON! MEAT! VEGGIES! SWEET POTATOES! Oh darn…) and he’s been leaning out even while just sitting on his butt writing résumés. All I have left is to get him off his vegetable-oil-filled coffee creamers.

    It works, my friends.

  21. Chris L. Robinson says

    This was a timely post for me. Years ago, I did Atkins induction super-low carbing for about 3 months(!) straight and lost about 3 lbs. per week with NO exercise. Not only was I miserable, but as soon as I stopped, I went on an eating binge and gained it all back in 6 months!

    But those kinds of results spoiled me.

    In late November of last year, I weighed 285 lbs. Through a combination of changing my WOE to lower carb and doing light exercise, I have lost 18 pounds. I originally hoped to lose up to 3 lbs per week despite eating 10 times the carbs I had on Atkins induction and was very frustrated that I’m only losing 1 to 1.5 lb. considering the major reduction in calories that happened as a matter of course due to my lower carb eating.

    I’m not Paleo by a long shot, but I have found a WOE that is sustainable for the rest of my life

    The really good news is that while I have T2D, my doctor last week declared me to have “diet-controlled Diabetes” and has taken me off of my meds!

    But despite feeling better, looking better, and having a medical opinion that what I am doing is working, that damned scale has been taunting me. It’s been telling me that I need to do something fast, something quick, something drastic. It’s been telling me to do something short-term when I’m after long-term results.

    So I’m going to put the scale away and set some weekly performance goals. That should give me something concrete to measure that will show REAL progress.

    • Amy B. says

      EXACTLY! That’s what the whole point of this is. Don’t worry about the number on the scale. It is SO wonky and subject to SO much fluctuation. It’s not absolutely meaningless, but scale weight is really only a *guide.* At best, it’s a tool (one of many) to gauge how things are going, but it should be used OVER TIME, to note the general trend. The day-to-day fluctuations make it a horrible way to track progress. (I ate 2 Tbsp of coconut oil and gained two pounds, *gasp!* No more CO for me!) At worst, the scale can derail a program that’s working beautifully in all other ways. Like you said below, you feel better, look better, and are OFF YOUR MEDS. Don’t let the scale detract from that, Chris!

      >>But despite feeling better, looking better, and having a medical opinion that what I am doing is working, that damned scale has been taunting me. It’s been telling me that I need to do something fast, something quick, something drastic. It’s been telling me to do something short-term when I’m after long-term results.

      >>So I’m going to put the scale away and set some weekly performance goals. That should give me something concrete to measure that will show REAL progress.

  22. Pierre says

    Just to be true to my contrariety nature let say that I followed a super low carb diet for nearly 8 months and lost 35 pounds from my top weight of 240 to 205…then I stalled. Was stronger than I have probably ever been since doing Judo and Motorcycle Cross Country but my goal was to get back down to 190. Did a couple of fasts of up to 48 hours and nothing could budge me off of that 205.

    Started IF 32 days ago…5 days a week I only eat one meal at night. 10 pounds dropped off immediately and I think more is going to come off.

    I believe, but have no proof, that I may have corrected some imbalances regarding my insulin sensitivity. I eat high fat…I plan on continuing IF Fast-5 for as long as I can.

    Watching my dog steal a just cooked brisket from the stove I made note that FIRST he ate all of the fat from the brisket…confirmed my diet for me. heh.

    Lots of body weight exercises have given me muscles at 55 I didn’t believe were possible at this age.

  23. Sandy says

    ” And give me a break! I’m asking you to SLEEP! How much easier can I make this?”

    Actually it is the most difficult problem for people with fibromyalgia and other people with chronic pain/illness. We are lucky to get 6 hours of good sleep IF we are medicated up to our gills. It is easy for people who are HEALTHY in the first place. Many of us switch to the Paleo because of chronic illness because it in managing our illness.

    Personally if I loose weight..great..but I am in it for the pain control.

  24. alix says

    my son is type 1 diabetic and i must check him every night at least once. i know my stall in fat loss is sleep but i have no choice. i have caught many lows and highs…. any suggestions to work with this?

      • alix says

        Thanks Robb. your site has been a wealth of info and i have read all the posts and podcasts related to T1. i have passed them on to my son who has read and listened to every one.
        my son was dx just shy of his 14th bd just over 2 years ago. i pray that he will be inspired by what he reads and that mentors will come into his life as another means of support.

      • alix says

        i forgot to add if you have any other suggestions for me since sleep interruption cannot be avoided. any foods to add or remove, other than the obvious extra nuts and other high fat foods (more than normal intake)? any supplements i may be missing? we have been paleo for 2 years and before that ate WAP. i exercise everyday. my fat loss is on hold and it almost feels like it is creeping up.

          • Miles says

            Robb Do you have any thoughts on a Paleo “thickener”, something to slow my bowel down during sleep so I don’t have to resort to Imodium? I refuse to take it but I am up 3-5 times a night as I have overacting bowels due to not having a large intestine and therefore not sleeping well at all which is affecting my energy levels to perform at work, workout, etc. Any advice would be greatful

  25. says

    Gary Taubes is very clear when he states that it is not calories in= calories out. It is not fat that makes you fat. Fat=satiety (so I’m siding with Pierre–note what the dog did because dogs are opportunistic feeders–they know what they need to eat to survive). It is the quality of the food you are eating that matters. If you are eating a ketogenic diet, you will lose weight no matter how much fat you consume (and if you consume too much fat or meat, it will result in diarrhea, so you will know when you’ve gone wrong). If weight loss truly, truly matters to you–look closer at how much nuts, dairy, sauces, fruit and starchier veggies you are eating. All of them have carbs, albiet generally good carbs, and can easily put you out of ketosis. There is also a lot of data suggesting that conventional meats contain enough hormones to throw your body out of wack and stall weight loss. Accept that maybe this is your ideal weight or at least your CURRENT ideal weight while your body adjusts to the weight it has lost so far.

    • says

      While having breakfast with Gary I asked him “how didd I gain 10 lbs of muscle eating a ketogenic diet if the cals do not matter?” Does ketosis provide shocking appetite suppression? Absolutely. Can a motivated individual STILL eat enough to gain weight? Yes, I’ve done it, I’ve coached people on it. So, can we please have the dexterity to recognize the power of a ketogenic approach AND not try to reinvent thermodynamics? instead of a whole can of coconut milk at each meal (1000cals for the coconut milk alone) how about 1/3 of a can? This type of shift is often critical in success.

      • says

        I have been eating paleo for well over 3 years and at the age of 52 have a lower bodyfat (11%), and more lean mass than I have ever had. I When I showed up recnetly to shoot the cover of Oxygen Mag. Robert Kennedy said I was too lean! Music to my ears. All on a ketogenic paleo diet. How about not having any symptoms of menopause…I went through it and never skipped a beat. Paleo Rocks.

      • says

        Valid point, for sure. We love to shout out about how fat is not the problem, but there is a huge difference between adding a couple of tablespoons of fat to a meal, and eating a whole can of coconut milk at once. For those of us that were obsessed with low-fat diets pre-paleo, being able to eat fat again is immeasurable, but at some point, too much is too much. I’m going to have to try the ketosis-for-appetite control approach to see if it spurs weight loss again.

        • says

          I’m fairly new to this–8 months now, and while I lost what I thought was the right amount of weight, there is still fat where I don’t like it. When I eat fruit, which puts my carb intake out of ketosis but still under or around 100g/day, I get hungry beyond belief–but am still losing 1-2 pounds/month. I can’t stand the hunger I’ve been feeling lately. I wasn’t sure if my body needed a bit more carbs, or if I was eating too much and setting off cravings. I assumed (maybe wrongly) that as long as I was still losing weight, nomatter how slowly, that I was erring on the too-low side. Fat, on the other hand, has not made any obvious difference on me–but maybe that’s because “eating tonnes of fat” in my world means adding 1-2 tbs/meal, not eating a half-dozen avacados or a whole can of coconut milk.

      • Pierre says

        Robb not sure I understand what you mean about reinventing thermodynamics?

        So what was Gary’s response? As I stated I have gained muscles I didn’t know existed in my formerly fat body. But I realize that I lost weight as well.

        Why not eat fat? Seems like some risk rabbit disease by eating too much protein and not enough animal fat.

        Btw I very much enjoyed watching you in i Caveman!

        • says

          He was stumped. Kinda. The point is what I made previously, if you are stalled in progress, you may be overdoing the cals. If you start feelign like abject hell, then perhaps we have too much protein.

      • Pierre says

        Robb here is a study that seems to point toward the answer.

        The few studies that have examined body composition after a carbohydrate-restricted diet have reported enhanced fat loss and preservation of lean body mass in obese individuals. The role of hormones in mediating this response is unclear. We examined the effects of a 6-week carbohydrate-restricted diet on total and regional body composition and the relationships with fasting hormone concentrations. Twelve healthy normal-weight men switched from their habitual diet (48% carbohydrate) to a carbohydrate-restricted diet (8% carbohydrate) for 6 weeks and 8 men served as controls, consuming their normal diet.

        Subjects were encouraged to consume adequate dietary energy to maintain body mass during the intervention. Total and regional body composition and fasting blood samples were assessed at weeks 0, 3, and 6 of the experimental period. Fat mass was significantly (P <or=.05) decreased (-3.4 kg) and lean body mass significantly increased (+1.1 kg) at week 6. There was a significant decrease in serum insulin (-34%), and an increase in total thyroxine (T(4)) (+11%) and the free T(4) index (+13%). Approximately 70% of the variability in fat loss on the carbohydrate-restricted diet was accounted for by the decrease in serum insulin concentrations. There were no significant changes in glucagon, total or free testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), cortisol, or triiodothyronine (T(3)) uptake, nor were there significant changes in body composition or hormones in the control group.

        Thus, we conclude that a carbohydrate-restricted diet resulted in a significant reduction in fat mass and a concomitant increase in lean body mass in normal-weight men, which may be partially mediated by the reduction in circulating insulin concentrations.

  26. says

    Great post Robb. Just in time for a few of my clients that just finished their first 30 days. Trying to get them to see that this takes time. That they will not magically be where they want to be after 30 days. I’ve been Paleo for 13 months and it truly has changed my life in every area. My kids ages 10 & 13 have followed me (I do the shopping and cooking) and my husband is now 6 months Paleo too! He has always been my worst client!! Thank you for your website, book and everything you do!

  27. says

    Freaking great sh*t! Maybe if I start talking like this to my patient’s they might actually ready your whole book and quit asking me stupid questions like why does the sun rise in the east and why is my ass still fat. Love it. Will be a great FB post.

    • says

      Okay patients, I do care about your butt and will answer your questions but my main focus in the office is chiropractic. Nutrition is a hobby and as Robb said, I’m more worried about performance then I am looks with most of you. The question is, how fast can you haul your ass up the hill if a bear is chasing you. Not how good your ass looks while being chased. Get after and stay after it!

  28. Bryan says

    Robb, totally agree with it all. I went Paleo about a month ago and I dropped 1-2 pant sizes & 10 lbs. I’m 6’1 and now hovering around 168-170lbs. Very lean muscle mass. I kept dairy in the form of greek yogurt and SFH “post workout” & “rejuvenate” shakes (lactose in these) mixed with coconut milk. My problem is I need to gain weight BACK. I eat at least 4-5 meals a day, and I’ve started a german volume training strength program 3 days a week, dropped my metcons at the local Crossfit to about 1 a week. How long do I need to wait before I start seeing weight come back so I can fill out a little more? I’ve only been doing the strength program a week so far. Thanks for any advice!

  29. says

    Thanks for this post, Robb. It addresses how so many people (myself included in the past), can get ‘psyched out’ regarding weight loss….

    There could be some progress for a couple of weeks, followed by a plateau where the questions start invading, and we do crazy stuff.

    Reality is-just like you suggest–If you maintain a healthy lifestyle (as opposed to a short-term vision), the weight will not only come off, but permanently maintain itself.

    Thanks again for the post :)

  30. says

    And this why new moms should wait until they get on a schedule with new baby… so they can see better results when they sleep better. I’m just saying : DDD

  31. Shannon says

    In the trenches with you–my nearly three year old has medical issues that require nighttime help, so it’s been a looking time since I got a full night sleep. (3+ years, really. Sigh.) There’s a lot that can help–watch caffeine, be strict about paleo, go to bed early, grab extra sleep in the morning when you can. My kiddos are up at 6 and I hand them over to daddy for another 90 min. That’s where blackout curtains are awesome. It’s so much easier to nap. If your baby really wakes up a ton, mine did the every 2 hour routine for a solid 6 mo. consider careful co-sleeping–mattress on floor, next to wall, no blankets (but warm pjs), baby between you and wall, not you and your partner. So much easier if you’re nursing, if not, get the formula in the bottle before bedtime and add room temp water for faster feedings. It IS TEMPORARY, even if it’s years rather than months. Go to bed early, sleep whenever you can, and realize the last of the baby weight may hang on for a bit. FWIW, I dropped 40 lbs with my crap sleep schedule; 3 dress sizes. I’d like to firm up my stomach some more, but realize that’s not gonna happen until we sort out little guy’s sleep. Hang in there, and I’d love to see a sleep post from the new daddy in a few months!!

  32. Angel says

    I was diagnosed celiac last April (about 10 months ago.) Once I went off processed food and carbs I dropped probably about 20 lbs (I don’t know, I wasn’t measuring, I was about 178 at the start of all this.) Once my energy came back, vertigo, and constant numbness in my feet went away (all caused by the celiac thankyouverymuch) I started to be able to walk the dog further, and I noticed that I no longer huffed up the stairs. I was not, at the time, paleo, however.

    In the summer I noticed that I still felt yucky after eating gluten-free “sub” foods (like fake bread, etc) and a friend (who is also a doctor- a pediatrician) urged me to “go paleo.” So I cut out all the fake gluten-free breads, the legumes and most of the sweets (dairy was never an issue- I’ve been lactose intolerant since I was 10)… I dropped about another 20 lbs. I still eat rice (although not every day) and occasionally pinto beans and tortillas (I am Mexican-American- I just can’t help it.) People tell me I look great–

    Now I am working out the sleep thing. I notice this especially now since I am an academic and happen to teach an 8:30 class three times a week this semester. Still struggling to get enough sleep and make it through the day–I usually crash hard right around 1, and have occasionally fallen asleep with my head on my desk– also I need to work in an exercise schedule. I have lost a boatload of weight with no extra exercise (beyond my regular walks with the dog- although I realize that 2 20 min daily walks is probably more exercise then the average American.) I don’t really care about losing more weight, I just want to firm my flabby (although 4 sizes smaller now) ass up.

    Anyway- I am a Paleo-in-progress, and I am working at it. Sleep is the kicker for me–I tend to lay down and then start thinking about all the papers I have to grade, the articles I have to write- etc. But i will say that the diet itself changed my life (partially because I was so friggen sick before from the celiac.) My big thing is I wish I could tell other celiacs to just quit with the gluten-free junk food and “go paleo” because so many get so obsessed with replacing bread (I know, I was one of them.)

    • Stacey says

      I have been paleo about 1 1/2 years. I have Crohn’s and tried to eat gluten-free prior to learning about paleo. The overpriced fake gluten-free replacements made me feel yucky, too. I find that rice seems to be a problem for me as well.

  33. Michael says

    Here I am reading this at 11p at night, when I meant to be in bed an hour ago. Thanks for the reminder of how crucial sleep is! And with that, off to bed I go!

  34. Tara Tooley says

    Love Paleo – 100% Paleo 98% of the time. (Only cheat: 3 beers/wk)

    Way healthier and have eliminated all auto-immune symptoms.

    160lbs at 5’6″ / I get 8 hrs pitch black / Killer work outs 5xs/week
    22% body fat – I think I should be 18% or less

    My vacuum cleaner is an Orek not the opening above my shoulders.

    I’m very strong and continue to get stronger, I’m meeting my performance and size goals but….

    ….I still have a good handful of EXTREMELY IRRITATING belly fat – probably 10 lbs.

    Since I’ve been drinking my Americanos black for 4 months now, the only thing I have left to give up is nuts. Maybe I’m overdoing it here.

    Beer? I don’t think so. I went a full/long 45 days 100% booze free!
    Could genetics play a role here?
    What about 47 year old I’m a woman hormones?

    I’ve thought about going super low fat for 10 days. Lean meat, egg whites and low oil since my body has to be good at burning fat now.

  35. TerryN says

    Hey Gang,

    In early January of 2011 I was on a flight from Denver to Milwaukee when at the last minute a very attractive young lady ran onto the plane and took the only remaining empty seat, which was the middle seat next to me. We struck up a conversation and I was lamenting that my heavy travel schedule was making me miserable due to eating out all the time.

    She told me about Paleo and Robb Wolf. I read the book and started a plan. I also got laid off which made it much easier to control what I was eating, but that’s another story. By June, 2011 I had gone from 250lbs to 190lbs. She changed my life. Robb Wolf changed my life.

    Maybe she reads this blog and will remember her trip.

    p.s. I’m back to work and do not travel regularly anymore. For those road warriors out there. Don’t eat at restaurants. Find a grocery store and buy some grilled chicken breasts at the deli. Grab some veggies and if you have to have something sweet, blueberries do the trick. When you have to join people for dinner, skip the carbs and only eat 1/2 of what you’re served.

  36. Susan says

    What about sprinting? When weight loss is the goal, do you recommend metcon and sprint intervals? I know you say to only focus on one goal at a time. I even go jogging with my dog once a day and worry about working up an appetite.

  37. pj says

    I NEVER saw Paleo as a weight loss diet. I dont even like the term diet although I know what it really means. Paleo is a training diet for me, I lose weight with low carb but gain years on my life with paleo. its albout controling diabetes and muscle gain which is not a weight loss thing. Use clothes not a scale.

  38. W says

    Robb, dude. Now I know why Coach Welbourn likes you. This article, as short as it is, made me laugh out loud twice. And articles like this (and the fact that you’re participating in the comments) is EXACTLY why I bought your book on the kindle last night and have already plowed through the first three chapters, despite working 14+ hours.

  39. Karen T says

    On day 35 of Paleo Challenge at Crossfit Warwick (NY). Ryan and Katie had us set performance goals at our town hall last month and I will not weigh in until the end of the challenge. I am looking to loose weight, so this post is a great reminder of ALL the things I need to do to get there :) Looking forward to Hearing you speak in New Paltz this month!!

  40. Ali says

    Just finished Paleo challenge at the gym.. GAINED 3 pounds.. but my before and after pictures speak for themselves.. I toned up significantly.. looking better than ever.

  41. Jenny says

    Lots of interesting thoughts! I know basic paleo eating and quality sleep are the way to go. But after 6 months with increasing compliance and no weight loss (although some increase in muscle mass and strength) I am off to the doctor for some thyroid tests.

  42. David R. says

    Hi Robb – a quick question for you, but first a huge THANK YOU from both me and my wife – we’ve lost more than 40 pounds each since starting Paleo on March 17, 2011 without turmoil and difficulty – again Thank You.

    The question: My wife had her gall bladder removed about 20 years and she is wondering about the dietary considerations that she should be following while being on Paleo – are there supplements or certain foods she should ensure having, or avoiding? Thank you so very much!


      • gempdx44 says

        Amy, I am interested in potentially getting the $200 consulting package. I feel like I have a good grip on the Paleo basics, but really need help tweaking my diet and exercise for my particular health condition (Hashimoto’s and seemingly unable to lose any weight)

        What type of information should I have ready prior to booking an appointment? A week’s journal of food + exercise, or something else? I am already tracking via the myfitnesspal app so this wouldn’t be a problem at all.

        Many thanks,

  43. Malin says

    I was flicking through a magazine on my break at work the other day and came across a page with suggestions for losing weight. The first point was to get analysis scales that can give you figures for percentage body fat and such like. I nearly fell off my chair with laughing.

    I use scales as a tool. A few days of bad eating, step on the scales and see the figure go up from normal and it helps set my resolve to eat better again. I don’t beat myself up or anything, it’s just a measurable something and I find having it to refer to useful. However I was using an online body fat calculator for my first few months of eating paleo. Despite a drop in weight from nearly 9 stone to just over 8, despite being visibly and squeezably leaner, it kept telling me that my body fat was still about the same percentage. I deleted the bookmark from my computer. I’ll stick to how I feel, how I look, and occasionally checking my weight. Thanks for your post.

  44. Sophie says

    Hey All, well I am at a loss! I have been stalled in weight loss (even gone up a few pounds), measurements have not changed at all. I get 8hrs of sleep (as per your specs) every night, have had blood work done and nothing found there, I exercise regularly- not in a gym, so it’s walking, hot yoga, body weight training (due to physical disability I can’t do sprints). I have tinkered w/my food- eating 4-6 ozs of animal proteins, 1-4 Cups of raw/cooked veggies, 1T (or so) of olive oil/coconut oil with my meals, eating fruits, not eating fruits, eating nuts, not eating nuts. I have tried everything I know to try, and I have not lost any weight/inches since going paleo. I am 5’2″, 137lbs. I don’t obsess over the numbers, but I would like to lose some more fat. I have read your book, sought help through the forum…it’s not happening for me Rob- please offer me other suggestions.

    Thanks, Sophie

    • Amy Kubal says


      It’s tough to make a call but you have to consider the quality of sleep, your stress levels, any health issues you may have/had. Also, how strict have you been – 2-3 days on plan followed by one totally off the rails day isn’t going to work and judging by your above message you may not be eating enough to lose weight. Too little food is just as detrimental as too much! If you’d like some help trouble shooting this let me know – I’d love to help you!

  45. Daphne says

    I know this isn’t a productive comment, but any weight loss article that uses the term “cock-blocks” and has a Fight Club reference wins.

  46. Christine says

    I’m new to this, on the advice of a friend who did great on Paleo. But to be honest, seems men fare better than women on any diet.

    I am 59 now, still pretty active, but weight won’t budge.
    Did Weight Watchers, calorie restriction, my own version of low carb, and recently that Body by Vi stuff.

    I do have a stubborn thyroid issue… after two bouts of Radioactive Iodine for Graves years ago… plus menopause… plus my state of stress and anxiety tends to make it very difficult for me to “sleep” in a perfectly quiet (or dark) environment. Brain won’t shut off. This is not an excuse, just challenges I’m trying to overcome.

    I am willing to try Paleo. Hopefully I won’t feel like I’m on a “diet” or deprived… I do want to get back to the active, vibrant gal I used to be.
    My dad died at 69 of heart disease… my mom is in her 80s but struggles with weight, cholesterol, high blood pressure. I don’t want that to be me.

    I think I can manage the lunches and dinners.
    I struggle with breakfast… what to eat… and snacks…
    And my ever constant tendency to “graze” at night after a stressful day.
    Not out of hunger… but other emotional triggers, I’m sure.

    Plus, with the activity that I DO try to maintain… I struggle with energy levels and sugar drops if I’m out trying to do a 40-60 mile bike ride at a pretty good effort… what should I consume to maintain to be able to do this?

    Anyway… this is much longer than I intended…

    Hoping something here clicks… I read so many posts though, about NOT seeing weight loss, and it is discouraging… I’d like to see more success stories here… (especially from older women, like me). :)

    • Amy Kubal says

      Hi Christine! Definitely give paleo a shot!! You can do this and you will feel so much better!!! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you get started and make it work! :)

  47. Chloe says

    When you say lead with protein and eat “lots” of veggies – why is “lots” in quotation marks? Me confused… :)

    Love this post btw!

  48. nik says

    Re: weight loss stalled out

    First 2 weeks on 30 day challenge, I lost 8 pounds- miraculous for me! Next 4 weeks, totally stalled.
    Still learning how to “Paleo” but I don’t want discouragement to get the best of me. So I am re-evaluating everything.

    I believe you when you say 8-9 hours of sleep… but if I can’t fall asleep for several hours (no wine, remember?) or if I wake up for an hour or two during the night, that cuts into my available sleep time terribly. This is kind of a catch 22- not enough sleep keeps you from Paleo benefits, but no benefits means you can’t sleep. So… still trying to figure out a way to get cortisol levels to drop so I can get to sleep. (The “Charlie” example in your book sounded all too familiar)

    Maybe over-training is a factor; I have real confusion about exercise and over-training that I didn’t feel the book gave much guidance on. (I know how to exercise, just not how to know what is too much or what recovery time I need) I exercise 6 x week, usually getting up at 5 am (hurts my sleep time but got to get it in before work)- rotating indo-row, weight training, 5 mile run, interval “boot camp”, cycling…

    I am 56 yrs old and perimenopausal. Been using exercise to control my insulin resistance and keep body fat at least tolerable. Also I was doing low carb 1200 calorie diet before beginning Paleo, but still couldn’t lose weight. That is why the initial 8 lb weight loss was so incredibly exciting and why I am now scared the Paleo “miracle” is not working anymore.

    Please kick my butt if necessary but I thought devoured every detail in your book… Hmmm…maybe that is what caused the 8 lb loss….

    • Amy Kubal says

      It’s definitely not ideal – do what you can and maximize everything else (diet, exercise, stress, etc) and you may be able to lose some weight, but really try to make sleep a priority. Turn off the TV put the kids to bed early and hit the sack when they do!

  49. Dee says

    I have trying to get healthy, but gained 35 pounds last year after being put on HRT. I’m 56, 5’9″, 232 lbs. I have lost 9 pounds in the past month, but I continue to yo yo. I saw your book for the first time tonight and perused a lot of it. Where should I start?

    • Dee says

      BTW: I bike, hike, walk and swim. I bike 10-15 miles 5 times a week, hike a steep canyon 2.5 miles climbing 2500′ 3 times a week. I walk and I swim. I am very consistent at keeping active, but it seems that I still don’t lose weight.

  50. says


    Would you still give this advice to someone who is about 45 pounds overweight? During my first 2 months of the paleo diet, I dropped 25 pounds, since then (a month and a half later) I haven’t lost another pound, but am still overweight. I’m doing everything you recommend. Would you give different advice to someone who has as much weight to lose as I do?


  51. Sharon Lee Gates says

    Thank you very much for this incredible email. I like it the way it is not sugar-coated. I must say I find your patience to be admirable. It seems that some people have to complain and ask the most stupid questions I’ve ever heard! I like your program very much. I have lost 14 pounds in the first 23 days of April and eat as much as I like. I have known for years about complete black-out for sleep-it does work and why are people so upset about this? It is very easy to do! Dr. Joseph Mercola (MD) has talked about this black-out sleeping for many years. I was very glad to read your Paleo Diet book given to me by my 43 year old daughter. I am 62 years old and have never been so happy with a way of life as I am with yours! Thank you very much and keep up the good work!

  52. Emma says

    Hi Robb! I LOVE this post. I had already begun losing weight after i started following the “Paleo Solution”, but i have to say once i purcahsed your “30 Day Total Body Transfomation” was when things really started taking off…. literally! I’ve lost 30lbs! One thing i am curious about is the “satiating combo” of fat and protein – if im trying to cut the fat (still have a good amount of weight to lose) is eating say a broiled skinless chicken breast with lots of veggies “satiating enough?” or should i add a little fat so i dont have an insulin spike etc. I know protein+fat= where its at, but in the scheme of signifcant weightloss…. do u need the fat at each meal, other than what is in the lean protein – such as skinless chicken breast?

    Thanks so much,

    From the bottom of my heart your book and guides have changed my life.



  53. sue says

    First week on Paleo. Lost 2 pounds BUT… that came with a 1 pound fat gain and 3 pound lean muscle loss. EKKK (used same scale that I’ve used for years with body fat percentage that has been demonstrated to be reliable. And each time I use it, take 3 consecutive measurements. Todays 3 were exactly the same)

  54. Curtis says

    Closing in on week #2 with my new friend Paleo. Energy has gone up, weight is going down. Only problem is the sleep… toddlers must really be against you and your methods, because they just won’t let me get my 8 hours every night. Oh well…more time to read this blog!!

  55. John says


    Just finished the book, in 2 days mind you. Very good read.

    Little frustrated.

    I was inspired 2 years ago to to a whole 30 challenge from the guys at Whole 9.

    I was crossfitting then and still am.

    During those 30 days I had pretty low energy but lost about 10 lbs and definitely noticed the difference in my pants. But man the low energy really sucked, made it hard to stay on track.

    Then I started doing about 80% paleo after that.

    Decided to give it another shot and did another whole 30 challenge. This time I increased my fat intake (probably 120g per day)

    After 30 days no, pants didn’t feel different, somewhat low energy but not as bad as the first whole 30. But no fat loss.

    Also it seems like I am and was always hungry.

    I did count protein, fat and carbs on this last challenge and I pretty consistently stayed around 170p, 120f and 50c.

    I’m 6′, 190 at about 15% bf

    I am a firefighter so some nights it’s just not possible to get even 8 hours sleep.

    I’m NOT one of those stupid people looking for excuses not to succeed at this.

    Thanks for all the great info

  56. Amy N says

    I SO love your blog posts!!! I always laugh, and love how you don’t sugar coat things “…cock-blocks fat loss…”, LOVE IT!!

    I’m a week into my total paleo after eating “modified” paleo for about a year (chili beans in my chili, cheese, greek yogurt, and soymilk in my coffee made it modified) and I Love It!!

    Thanks for being real! Keep it up!

  57. Nikki says

    Hey! So I’m all new to this… I’ve just started listening to your podcasts a few days ago and I’m very intrigued by it so far. I’m a fairly active 29yr old female… (more active before attending school). :-/
    I think I’ve got the gist of the paleo soliton but will definitely continue learning. ~ Sir Robb Wolf! 😉 this is my daily routine.. What’s the best way to approach the paleo solution in your opinion?:
    • Hit the gym before work (elliptical 40min or so). Not much but it’s something right?? I make it up
    on the weekends
    •work 9-5, then night school
    I get home around 9:45/10:00pm & wake up @ 5:30. The whole getting 8-9 hrs a night isn’t too doable for me. But! I’m psyched to give paleo a go, any tips?!?!

  58. says

    So true! It’s about how you look and feel, not what the scales say. No-one knows your weight when you walk down the street so amazes me how many people get hung up on it!

  59. Kevin M says

    Robb- I have been Paleo for about 5 months now, and I am not sure what I am missing. I sleep about 6-7 hours a night, do Oly/ Crossfit 4x week, and only have a cheat meal once a week. My clothes started to fit better, then it seemed like I have been retaining water or putting back on weight. I do not have a scale (Yes I read the book! ;-)) and I would like suggestions as to post workout meals/ recovery. Currently, I down about 12 ounces of Tru Moo with my EAS Revigor 2:1 Carbs to Protein shake. Then about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours later I eat about 4 eggs, 5 strips of bacon and some lettuce. Since I snore, my wife sleeps with the tv on and some background noise from it. Maybe a solution is to get a dream machine? White noise maker? HELP!

  60. says

    I have no idea what a portion size is. I eat loads of veggies – a large ish bowl, 100g meat/fish per meal, 3 or four times a day, throw on some Avocado or cashew, occasional bit of dark chocolate (85%). All that happened to me on Paleo was I got bigger and gained fat. I keep hearing ‘don’t count calories’ but, with all the cashew, avocado, coconut oil, coconut milk – I can’t help but notice how high calorie these foods are and make the link with my size gain. I’m pretty dead on 40/30/30 – these days carbs are about 20/25 though.

    I’ve always trained a lot of gymnastics, I switched diets from raw vegan while still in full time training (7 hours a day ish and eating a lot to keep up with that), now I’m training less, but still crossfit and lift weights ever day, cycle 11 miles to the gym and back, train handstands. I’m sick of eating strict paleo, always being hungry, and gaining weight. Something is going wrong here, and I can’t help looking at calories and wondering how much I should be eating per meal.

    I’m 5ft 3″ and 116 lbs – I’ve gained 16 lbs in 3 months on paleo – some muscle, most of it flab, gone up 2 clothes sizes. Fattest gymnast ever. fml.

      • says

        I’d love some advice –

        My life before – 7 or 8 hour training days, 5 days per week – Mainly gymnastic sort of work/some dance/physical conditioning/own body weight work/handstands/core. Then a trip to the gym for some assisted weights, all this with around 1.5 hour cycling per day. Food – loads of meat/eggs/fish/fruit/veg/coconut milk/coconut oil/85% dark chocolate/raw chocolate (too much)/loads of nuts and goji. I think I was on around 4000 calories or more per day. Super lean at 47kilo, pretty jacked, hardly any body fat.

        Now – Per day (6 days p/w) – one cross fit class, an hour weightlifting, another hour of core/handstands/body weight bar hang work, plus 11 mile bike ride. food – 100 to 150g meat/fish per meal with a vegetable mountain 3 or 4 per day. I take one portion of veg as a handful, I’d usually have 6 different veg per meal, plus throwing on some cashew/avocado for more fat. I’ve cut out fruit, made coconut milk a once weekly thing, dark chocolate 40g every couple of days. I think I have stopped gaining fat, but haven’t lost any (in 10 weeks). Is this still too much food in general? When I eat less I feel tired and even this small amount of training seems impossible, and all I feel is hungry. I sleep really well, the only stress I have is that I’m a flyer in the circus, and I’m 4-5 kilo over my target weight. I tried Paleo zone but I was tired, hungry, totally miserable and couldn’t cope with crossfit, I wanted to curl up and sleep under the weights bar.

  61. says

    Just wanted to add, had been gaining fat slowly since I went from vegan to paleo, stopped training for one month, still eating paleo but way less food, gained lots of fat, which is when I switched to what I’m eating now much lower carbs and started crossfit.

  62. says

    Less training??? I can’t possibly do less, I’m an athlete, I know it’s circus, but, I train like any gymnast would, just as hardcore, while I’m being shouted at by a fat Russian man. i know I’m taking time off right now, but crossfit and weights with some core stuff feels like an easy ride to me. I really don’t think I train too much, I’ve already cut my usual training by at least 50%. any less I’ll be too out of shape to start work again. If all I eat is meat and veg, and carbs are low, should I up the protein and throw in a sweet potato or something to up the carbs post workout? Go less on the cashews? I really don’t think I train too much, I feel lazy right now I was going to add an extra crossfit class!

    • Amy Kubal says

      Like I said before – it’s hard to say what you need to do without knowing exactly what you’re eating and some of your other details – tinker with things. Try decreasing the fat and holding everything else the same. Definitely drop the nuts.

  63. says

    Hi Robb

    I am an Olympic Weightlifter and getting down to my weight class for competition is vital – first competition tomorrow morning. I’d prefer to train at my competing weight but an injury messed that forward planning up.

    Any advice regarding a drop for a weigh in without loss to performance?
    PS your book is our bible :)

    • Amy Kubal says

      Slow and steady! If your weigh in is tomorrow – dehydration is going to be your only method and it will likely hurt your performance. I would suggest that you start working on slowly start working on cutting between competitions. Let me know if I can help you!!

  64. Kaylah L says

    Robb…. I have been researching like crazy and need to know what you think about Udo’s oil? What is better liquid fish oil or Udo’s? I’ve been reading positives and negatives to both and need some insight. Also I have a very restricted diet because of many food sensitivities…. all veggies (usually raw or lightly cooked), only berries once per day, no nuts (allergic to all), no wheat, no dairy, no grains, no broccoli, no coconut, no red meat whatsoever, free range chicken and eggs I can have, and any type of wild caught white fish or salmon (if salmon…once per week).

  65. says

    I have a question on the sleep part of your advice. I do sleep in a dark room and usually turn in with the required hours specified. My problem is a little embarrassing, after having five children my bladder isn’t as good as it once was and I am up a minimum of twice a night. I fall back to sleep fairly easily and wake up ready to hit the ground running until about 2:30 then I seriously need a 20 minute rest. Could this be hindering my weight loss goals? I am following the 21 day sugar detox fairly strictly. I have a small amount of dairy in coffee 2 or 3 times a day and that is my only off diet allowance. It is raw milk from our own cows. I rarely drink anything after 8:00 at night. Thanks in advance for the help.

  66. Sol says

    I am about to make my parents start the diet, they both have overwieght and my dad has 5 bypass and 3 stents in his heart. They do not excersise, maybe walk on a treadmill. I know i wont convince them to excersise, so i want to know if they should eat lean meats or meats with fat if they want to loose weight.

    • Amy Kubal says

      If the meat is grassfed they don’t need to stick with lean. If it’s not grassfed, the lean cuts are the best!

  67. says

    Great post!
    I have found just vegatables and lean meat work best. As far as the meat goes I would also agree with the previous statment about “grass fed”

  68. says

    No holds barred advice Robb, just what I needed. I tend to make over the top goals and then struggle when I don’t get any where near achieving them. Great advice, thanks.

  69. says

    Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes it’s hard to focus elsewhere. I am slowly coming to the acceptance of my current weight anyway (which is normal), just not “ideal” in my own mind…which might be unrealistic anyway, and then all of this time would have been wasted being unhappy…. waste of time!

  70. Frank/Munich says

    lost 20 pounds in 6 weeks, my skin is 80 % better (have(had)an ekzema), dont feel stronger but i can walk miles and miles and mostly its the time that says, you have to stop, not my legs

  71. Phoebe says

    I have been Paleo for 1 year. I feel good and have lost a few inches. I started at a size 12 and now a size 10. I feel I should be losing a little more fat at this point. I have ditched the scale, I am concentrating on health, my paleo is dialed, my sleep is dialed, my stress is as low as I can get it for being an airline pilot. My exercise is dialed. I lift heavy, walk a lot and sprint and do one or two short metcons a week. I have no kids and have a great wonderful life and husband. I don’t eat too much and I have reduced my eating window on random days. At least this is how I perceive my situation. I am not looking to be 13% body fat or even look great in a bikini. I am just wondering if after a year, should there be a little less fat on me, if everything is as I described it? Or is a year not enough time to even be worrying about this. Stats: 42 year old female, past colon cancer with colon resection, back surgery with an artificial disk at L4/L5 and fusion at L5/S1, degeneration at L3/L4. Other than that I am perfect!

    • says

      Hmmm. Given previous health stuff it’d be smart to look at asi, hormones etc to just make sure that all looks ok. Wish I could help more but this stuff gets so individual and variable. Might need to consciously dial down Val’s a bit (keep protein high, carbs moderate, Fat low) as just an option.

      Keep me posted.

  72. Phoebe says

    Robb, Thanks for responding! I googled Val’s but did not find anything. I will try keeping the fat low. Thanks!

  73. Odele says

    Robb, I’m wondering if you can offer some suggestions. I am a 32yr old female and 163cms and 83 kgs. I have been following Paleo for a month and sticking to the program.

    I have been on and off anti-depressant medications for anxiety and PTSD (related to my job) for the past 10 years but have recently thought that perhaps I have adrenal fatigue. I am currently on Zoloft and am taking melatonin (over the counter) to assist with sleep. At the moment I am getting 8-9 hours sleep a night, whereas previously I would get perhaps 5 hours.

    I have started training with a coach 3 times a week doing weight training circuits and in the days in between I have started doing zumba for a bit of fun.

    I lost 3 kgs in the first week but my weight has not shifted since then. I have taken photos and measurements when I started and will re-do these again next week. Given I’m considerably overweight I had expected to see kilos lost but that’s not happening. I do not have nuts very often but I perhaps have too much coconut milk. The only other thing I think I could be doing wrong is having too big portions. I am also trying to IF after dinner (which is at 6pm) until lunch time the next day.

    I have tried almost everything in the past to lose weight including having a lapband (which I’ve since had taken out). My body just seems messed up.

    Have you got any suggestions?

  74. Dean Mitchell says

    Ha, Robb, do you have kids? Try getting 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep with a three year old who’s only slept through the night a dozen times. 😉

  75. Emily says

    Joiningthe chorus of “thank yous,” Mr. Wolf! I am on @ day 50 on paleo lifestyle. I’ve lost @ 10 pounds but moreover, I *feel* better. I have never stuck to anything so faithfully (apart from my 10-year marriage). I feel proud of myself – yay me! Also, something I didn’t expect was how responsible I would feel. I feel very “grown up” having a bowl of avacados & fresh veggies in my fridge!
    Sending you a virtual smooch! :)

  76. Kylie says

    Ah, sleep, yes I remember that well… Then I had kids. One day sleep and I shall be reacquainted and it will be awesome!!

  77. Allen says

    Hi Robb,

    I have been doing the Paleo diet for about 6 weeks and coupled with an exercise routine, have lost 14 pounds. Before doing Paleo, I was working out regularly but was not losing any weight. In fact, I was gaining and it was very frustrating. I have been following the your food guidelines and it has been working. Thank you!

  78. Debou says


    Great article but I’m not losing a single pound… I’m gaining weight, I actually gained 13lbs in less than 2 months that I lost when doing a juice diet…. I’m not eating nuts anymore, I eat one portion of fruits once in a while, I lowered my sugar intake and my carb intake, I’m around 100g/day (counting the vegetables). I sleep at least 8h every night. I do strength training 3 times a week and power walking 3 times a week. At that point, I don’t know what to do…

  79. says

    Loved _The Paleo Solution_ and am two-three weeks in and back into a size 8. I see 6 coming and it feels AMAZING to have energy all day long. Thank you, Robb. I’m a huge fan cuz this Paleo stuff works. (And the NorCal Margarita is a new weekend staple!)

  80. Joe A says

    Easiest weight loss protocol ever….I too was stuck….Until i read Robs book! Pitfalls….

    1) Overconsumption of Fruit (I eat 1 per day)
    2) Overconsumption of Nuts(At 200 Cals/Ounce very easy to eat 6-800 Cals Worth!)
    3) Not Sleeping…
    4) Not Eating enough…yes! Paleo done right makes U less hungry!
    5) “Neo-Paleo Recipes”….You want to scarf down Paleo Bread made with nut flour, Eat Paleo Choc Chip Cookies made with Nut Flours, Make Choc Lava Cake and slather it with Paleo Whip cream made from Honey and Coconut Milk….or start eating Paleo Pizza made with Tapioca and Almond flours with a bunch of pepperoni and sausage on it…You wont loose an ounce (Ask me how I know….LOL?)

    KISS….Read the Book ,Do What Robb says for 30 days….Keep it honest! Deal??

    THEN if you don’t loose weight see a doctor. Something is going on metabolically U should know about!

  81. Vero says

    I’ve been eating paleo since January. Haven’t lost weight and am more bloated than ever. I noticed that I started to have minimal heartburn since going paleo, especially after eating fruits. I stopped eating friuts and the bloat went away. I looked terrific. Started to introduce fruits, little but little and again, the bloating, heartburn. So, friuts eliminated again. This time the bloating stayed. What am I doing wrong? I don’t fit in my pants and look and feel more frustrated than ever. Please help.

  82. says

    I just want to reinforce your comment about getting enough sleep. Studies show when you don’t get enough sleep, it slows your metabolism, increases your appetite and your risk of obesity and weight gain.
    Consuming antioxidants in food and beverages can also boost your metabolism. Green tea contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidant , which studies show can reduce body weight and waist circumference.Chili peppers contain bioactive chemicals called capsinoids. Studies have shown that consuming capsinoids increases energy expenditure (the amount of heat you produce internally and your external physical activity level) by 50 calories a day. Adding a bit of spice to your meals can also help reduce belly fat and appetite.

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