How The Paleo Diet Let’s You Lose Fat Without “Dieting”

fatloss without dietingYeah, yeah, I know.. too good to be true, right?

To lose weight, you have to suffer.. err, I mean “diet”.. right?

If you don’t mind, let me ask you a question..

When you think of the word “diet” does it make you think of hunger?

If  you equate dieting with hunger, you’re not alone. Most people
have been misled into thinking that to lose weight, you must be in a calorie
deficit to do so.

Well, it’s just a bit more nuanced than that..

There’s more than one way to trim the fat.

Nobody is saying that you can’t lose weight solely by being in a calorie deficit. In fact, it’s been proven that you can, but relying solely on calorie count as a measure of the foods you eat has a few disadvantages.

Not the least of which, it’s really freaking hard to stick to these diets.

To give you an idea, here’s what popped out of a popular online calorie counter, after I entered my stats. OK.. I’m ready to start a calorie based diet.. I just need to follow these calorie recommendations intended for a 210 pound male –

calorie counter

Of course.. we all want extreme fat loss, but lets just use their normal fat loss numbers in the middle column… What’s that, an average of about 1900 calories a day? I shudder at the thought of it.

Not only would I never be able to stick to counting my calories everyday, but I’d also be hungry and cranky to boot.

No thanks, I know there’s a smarter way of doing things.

Macro Nutrients and Insulin Levels.

By controlling your protein, carbohydrate, and fat ratios, what you’re doing is controlling your insulin levels. A key factor in how much of your food your body decides to store as fat.

Think of insulin as the “vehicle” that transports glucose to the place that cells can use it for energy, or store it. Without insulin, cells would literally starve to death.

The problem occurs when there is no need for energy, but there is a continuous supply insulin. Then, insulin becomes primarily a storage hormone. In other words: it makes you fat.

The most important aspect of dieting is to manage your insulin levels effectively. You don’t have to be in such a calorie deficit to lose weight if you eliminate the foods that spike insulin the most from you diet.

That’s exactly what the Paleo diet does.

If you’re tired being hungry, and tired of wasting precious will power focusing strictly on calorie count.. Then start dieting the smart way and put more focus on your macro nutrients.

More specifically, focus on your carbohydrates, protein, and fat ratios – rather than the exact amount of calories consumed.

This, of course, is touching on the old “all calories are equal” debate.. It’ll be interesting to see what you guys have to say in the comments on whether all calories are equal or not, so here’s a contribution to that future debate:

Thermic effect of food 

Don’t get me wrong – The amount of food you eat does matter, just not as much as most think – and not as much as the kind of foods you eat. In fact, it’s fairly easy to weigh your foods for the first week or so of the diet, and be able to “eyeball” your food portions from there on out.

In the end,  the best method is the one that you can actually stick to long term, and personally, I know very few people that can count calories daily as a lifestyle change.

How to get started with Macro Nutrients:

There are three categories of macro-nutrients: Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrate (Carbs). The one that most traditional diets cut down on is the fats. Makes sense, right? Don’t eat fat to lose fat.

Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple. In fact, if you could completely disassociate the term “dietary fats” from “body fat”, you’d be better off.

Eating fats isn’t what’s bad,  it’s storing those fats that’s bad!

One of the Paleo diet’s main benefits is it’s focus on protein and healthy fats as the main source of calories. Combine that with carbohydrates only being eaten when they’re actually needed and you have a diet plan that let’s you lose weight without counting calories and without starving yourself.

Let’s talk about the three macro nutrients.. It’s essential that any self-respecting Paleo dieter is at least somewhat familiar with two key things:

  1. How much of each macro nutrient ( Protein, Carbs, and Fats ) to eat.
  2. When the best times are to eat the different macro nutrients.

We’ll start with the macro nutrient that serves as the vary basis of the Paleo diet –

Protein:

Protein should be the basis of just about every every meal you have. Anywhere from 25-40 grams of protein per meal is a good general rule of thumb.

Doesn’t matter if it’s chicken, whey protein, greek yogurt, eggs, etc.. Just has to be protein. Of course, quality of the protein source matters for health reasons.. but not so much for weight loss, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Right now, let’s not overload ourselves… Just start making 25-40 grams of protein the base of each and every meal.

That’s the easy part.

Fats:

Here’s the hard part – accepting the fact that fats do not make you fat. I’m sure some of you are well aware of this, but this is by far the biggest misconception in dieting. We get tons of emails from newsletter subscribers expressing their confusions about this topic.

From this point forward, we’ll be calling them “healthy fats” just to put more of a positive light on things.

Ready for this?

Healthy fats will be your “secondary macro nutrient” in most of your meals throughout the day. This is good news for you because healthy fats are filling, satisfying foods that supply your brain and body with crucial energy.

Cutting all fat out of your diets as many diets do is completely missing the evolutionary point of how our bodies are optimized to sustain off of healthy fats.

Our brains, hormones, and so many other things are literally fueled by animal fats.. I think it might be a good idea to make these a staple of our diets. That’s one reason so many people associate “dieting” with being hungry and tire.. starving your body of healthy fats is simply a terrible long-term diet plan.

As a general rule of thumb, try to get roughly half the amount of grams of fat, as the amount of grams of protein you have per meal.

So if you had a 40 gram piece of chicken (protein), then you may have 15-20 grams of fat from avocado or almonds. Or if you have a 30 gram whey protein shake, then add in 15 grams of fats from coconut oil (great late-night snack by the way).

Easy enough right? Once you get the hang of being able to “eyeball” the size of your food portions, it’s easy to see how this could be a much more sustainable lifestyle change, rather than a 2 week calorie-obsessed crash diet.

Carbohydrates.

One word: Timing.

One of the most important things to remember about carbs is that they are responsible for the release of insulin, intended to shuttle energy to our cells, or to store that energy for us at another time.

If you try to shuttle energy into the cells when it isn’t needed, it’s stored as fat. (it is, of course, more complicated than this, but for the scope of this article, and to get a basic grasp on macro nutrients and how they fit into the Paleo diet, this definition will have to do).

The solution isn’t to never eat carbohydrates, it’s to eat the most insulin-spiking carbs around the time where you will actually be expending energy. Whether it’s a morning  jog, or an after work lifting session.. That’s when you should eat the bulk of your carbs for the day.

  • To make it even more simple:
  • Keep your carbs to 100 grams or less on workout days.
  • Keep your carbs 50 grams or less on non-workout days.
  • Have your carbs in the morning and/or around your workout times
  • Avoid carbs late at night.

Also, when you have carbohydrate meals, be sure to combine them only with proteins. So, ideally you would never have a “fat and carb meal”, you would only have either “protein and healthy fat meals” and protein and carb meals”.

We’ll talk more about why in another article, but for now just know that the body processes macro nutrients this way, and it’s a very easy way to keep the size of your food portions under control.

Put it all together.

That should give you great starting point from which you can start to see how using macro nutrients is not only a  much easier way of dieting, but also a much smarter way of dieting.

Combine this new found knowledge with paleoIQ’s  free Paleo diet  guide, to learn which healthy fats, and which sources of carbs are best and you’ll be building strong, healthy Paleo diet habits in no time.

Now, I’m sure many of you will have strong opinions on this topic, so go ahead.. let’s hear em in the comments section below.

 

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Comments

  1. Shane Dark says:

    No problem.. and thank YOU, Luis! Good to know you got something out it.

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