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Paleo Diet For Weight Loss

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ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
Paleo Diet For Weight Loss November 14, 2017

Want to lose weight? Go Paleo! Paleo diet, also called the Caveman diet or Stone Age diet, is a very popular diet plan that has an almost 100% success rate. The concept of Paleo diet was first introduced in 1975, but it was after Loren Cordain published The Paleo Diet (2002) that this diet became popular.

Paleo Diet is based on the principle that eating non-packaged and fresh produce, like humans did in the paleolithic age, can help ward off all 21st century health issues such as obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, heart problems, etc (1), (2). Moreover, unlike other diets, the Paleo diet emphasizes the importance of following a healthy lifestyle in order to lose weight. This article is a simple and straightforward guide to lead a Paleo lifestyle that will change your life for sure. Read on!

Losing weight with the Paleo diet can be really simple if you understand it properly. So, let’s start with that.

What Is The Paleo Diet All About?

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Paleo diet’s concept is simple – eat natural and healthy produce and eliminate processed and unhealthy foods. This diet will take you to days when there were no GM foods, no hormone-fed meat, and no junk food. You will eat grass-fed meat, fresh vegetables, local fruits, and healthy fats. The Paleo diet is designed in such a way that it will become a habit to eat only natural foods and you will automatically let go of all your unhealthy eating habits. Of course, it’s easier said than done because we are so dependent on frozen, processed, and junk food. But, don’t worry, I am here to help you. Now, before I even tell you about the basic stages of the Paleo diet, I want you to do the following.

  • Write your current weight in a journal.
  • Use a reliable online tool to find out what your ideal weight should be.
  • Write your target weight in the journal and give yourself a timeline to achieve it.
  • Get your body fat percentage measured in a local gym so that you can refer to it in the future and find out how much fat you lost.
  • Give away the foods that are processed, high in carbs and salt, and unhealthy.
  • Buy groceries for one week – buy fresh veggies, fruits, lean protein, and healthy fats from the farmer’s market.
  • Use the journal to record your daily food intake, time, and quantity.
  • Follow Paleo dieters on Instagram or Facebook to stay motivated and get new recipe ideas.
  • Finally, take pictures of yourself from the front, back, and sides. You can refer to these to gauge your progress. You’ll know whether you are slimming down or not.

These are the few initial steps that you must take. Now, let’s take one step forward and get to know about the stages of the Paleo diet.

Paleo Diet Stages For Weight Loss

The Paleo diet can be divided into three phases. Each phase is a unique one owing to the fact that you have to change your diet gradually. A sudden change in your diet can make your junk food and sugar cravings stronger. When you slowly introduce healthy eating habits, the chances of these habits developing into a full-fledged lifestyle change is more. So, let’s begin with the first phase of Paleo diet.

Paleo Diet Phase 1

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Duration – 2-8 weeks

What Will You Achieve

  • Gradually exclude processed and junk foods.
  • Lose water weight.
  • Start burning fat.
  • Feel active and good about the foods that you eat.

Paleo Diet Chart For Phase 1 

MealWhat To Eat
Early Morning (7:00-7:45 a.m)2 cups water
Breakfast (8:00 – 8:15 a.m)Bacon, avocado, and kale breakfast sandwich + 1 cup freshly pressed orange juice
Mid-Morning (10:30 a.m)4 almonds + 1 cup green tea
Lunch (12:30 p.m)Broccoli and mushroom salad with light dressing
Evening Snack (4:30 p.m)1 small bowl baby carrots
Dinner (6:45 – 7:00 p.m)1 cup chicken or mushroom soup

 Why This Works

Gulping down 2 cups of water in the morning as soon as you get up is highly recommended because it will help you wake up quickly. It will also flush out the toxins from your body. Have a bread-free sandwich for breakfast with a good source of protein and healthy fat. Orange juice is loaded with vitamin C and dietary fiber that will help boost your immunity and improve bowel movement. For the rest of the day too, you will eat foods that are fresh and healthy. Do not consume chickpea hummus with baby carrots as hummus is not Paleo-friendly.

Points To Remember

  • For the first 5 days, you do not have to be strict with your diet. You can include small amounts of grains and processed foods. But, make sure not to overeat them. The first week, slowly eliminate the junk foods that you binge on. This will lower your calorie intake and increase the number of healthy foods. From 2nd week to 8th week, you should follow a Paleo-friendly diet so that you get results.
  • Make sure to record your progress in a journal. You can also check your weight every 2 weeks. Get your body fat percent checked after the 4th week. Finally, click pictures on the last day of the 4th week to compare with those you took before starting the diet.

Now, Paleo diet is more than just a diet chart. It requires you to follow a certain lifestyle in order to train your brain and body to be in sync with each other. But, you don’t need to drastically change your life tomorrow! All you have to do is start taking baby steps. In the first week, you may take a few liberties, but from the 2nd week, you must discard one bad habit after another. If you make a conscious effort, by the end of the 8th week you can lose up to 10 pounds and start to build a willpower of steel. Here’s a list of things that you should do.

Paleo Lifestyle – Phase 1

  • Stop consuming sugar. You can do this right from week 1 as it will help you consume fewer calories.
  • Do not buy or eat processed food.
  • Avoid buying grain-fed or hormone-fed meat. Also, avoid pre-cut veggies or fruits.
  • Workout! Yes, you should stay active. Do what you enjoy the most – it may be playing a sport, or walking, running, dancing, etc.
  • Sleep early so that you can avoid late night snacking.
  • Get up in the morning and do 4-5 reps of Suryanamaskar.
  • Add lavender or citrus essential oil in your bathing water to feel fresh and active.
  • Drink 3-4 liters of water every day.
  • Clean the clutter in your wardrobe or room.
  • Do not consume packaged juices, aerated drinks, energy drinks, etc.
  • Take out 20-60 minutes every day just for yourself and do what you like to do.

 How You Will Feel By The End Of Phase 1

By the end of phase 1 or 8th week, you would look slimmer as you will lose a lot of water weight. Moreover, your metabolism will also get a boost, and you will start to burn fat. If you workout regularly, your body fat percentage will come down and you will see visible proof in the “before-after” pictures. Your success will keep you going, and you will be more excited to step into the phase 2 of the Paleo diet. So, let’s find out what’s in store!

Paleo Diet Phase 2

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Duration – 4 weeks

What Will You Achieve

  • Detox your body.
  • Increase fat mobilization.
  • Lower LDL cholesterol.
  • Lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
  • Totally get rid of carb addiction.

 Paleo Diet Chart For Phase 2  

MealWhat To Eat
Early Morning (7:00-7:45 a.m)2 cups water
Breakfast (8:00 – 8:15 a.m)Options:l Paleo pancakes + 1 cup freshly pressed apple juice+2 almonds

l Raspberry chia spinach smoothie + 1 boiled egg

Mid-Morning (10:30 a.m)1 cup green tea
Lunch (12:30 p.m)Options:l Turkey lettuce wrap + 1 cup fresh coconut water

l Mexican Paleo bowl

Evening Snack (4:30 p.m)1 small bowl of cucumber
Dinner (6:45 – 7:00 p.m)Options:l Roasted chicken with veggies

l Burger patty salad

l Sweet potato soup

Why This Works

Drinking 2 cups of water right after you wake up will help flush out toxins. Paleo pancakes are easy and delicious to make (I have shared the recipe in the “Paleo Recipes” section). Chia seeds are a great source of protein and healthy fats. Raspberry and spinach are great sources of vitamin C, fruit sugar, minerals, and vitamins. Green tea is a great source of antioxidants and will also help reduce hunger. For lunch and dinner, you will eat Paleo friendly foods rich in protein, healthy fats, good carbs, vitamins, and minerals.

Points To Remember

  • Bagels, pancakes, waffles, cereals, etc. are not Paleo-friendly. If you are craving for them, make sure you search online for a recipe that is Paleo-friendly.
  • You can have tofu in the Paleo diet, so take the liberty to consume tofu if you are a vegan.
  • Do not stop consuming healthy fats and good carbs.

By the time you will be in phase 2 of the Paleo diet, you will be comfortable enough to do some exercises that will speed up the process of your weight loss. Have a workout partner so that you both can motivate each other. And this is how your lifestyle should be when you are in phase 2 of the Paleo Diet.

Paleo Lifestyle – Phase 2

  • Wake up in the morning and have 2 cups of water.
  • Warm up and do 4 sets of Surya Namaskar.
  • Prepare Paleo-friendly breakfast and eat it before heading out.
  • Have a mid-morning snack if you feel hungry.
  • If you have a desk job, make it a point to walk about after every 1 hour.
  • Take the stairs and walk to and from your office or school.
  • Workout for an hour in the evening or morning.
  • Eat Paleo-friendly lunch and dinner.
  • If you are celebrating, you can have a glass of red wine as even the ancestors in the Paleolithic age would drink fermented beverages.
  • Stick to Paleo-friendly foods in a party.
  • Sleep after 3 hours of having your dinner and get at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Meditate to ward off negative thoughts and to increase concentration.
  • Build your social support by being friends with Paleo dieters.
  • Check your weight, body fat percentage, and click pictures to keep a track of your progress.

How You Will Feel By The End Of Phase 2

By the end of this phase, you will stop craving for unnatural and processed foods. You will also start feeling less bloated, your digestion problems will diminish, your skin will start to glow, and your body fat percent will go further down. If you workout regularly and do strength training, you will build lean muscle. Therefore, even if you shed fat, your weight will increase. So, check your body fat percent to find out whether you are shedding the fat and building lean muscle. Your energy levels and productivity will increase if you adhere to the plan. But there’s always room for improvement. Check out the Paleo diet phase 3, the last phase of this diet.

Paleo Diet Phase 3

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Duration – As long as you want

What Will You Achieve

  • You will know what you should put in your body and what you should totally avoid.
  • You will have a good relationship with food.
  • Your body will start to look chiseled.
  • Most of your health problems will diminish.
  • You will achieve your target weight.
  • You will start to inspire your friends and family. 
MealWhat To Eat
Early Morning (7:00-7:45 a.m)2 cups water
Breakfast (8:00 – 8:15 a.m)Options:l Egg frittata + 1 cup fruit juice

Avocado, fruits, and soft boiled egg bowl

Mid-Morning (10:30 a.m)1 medium cup watermelon
Lunch (12:30 p.m)Options:l Seared scallops with grilled veggies

l Pan fried salmon with asparagus, carrot, and sweet potato

Evening Snack (4:30 p.m)1 cup green tea + 15 in-shell pistachios
Dinner (6:45 – 7:00 p.m)Options:l Broccoli soup with mushroom

l Pork stuffed bell pepper

Why This Works

Even in the 3rd phase, you should drink 2 cups of water to jumpstart your body in the morning. Prepare the egg frittata with veggies so that you feel satiated. Include protein sources such as salmon, pork, mushrooms, scallops, etc., healthy fat sources such as pistachios and avocado, and good carbs that you will get from veggies and fruits. All these foods will help you achieve optimum health and will make you feel good about making the right food choices.

Points To Remember

  • At this point, you will know what you should consume and how you should change your habits in order to lose weight. Losing motivation and focus at this stage will nullify the efforts that you put in in the past few months to get your body back in shape and lead a healthy lifestyle. So, form groups and inspire each other to stay motivated.
  • The Paleo diet may be a little low on sodium, which is also a nutrient for humans in moderation. Use sea salt or pink Himalayan salt to season your food.
  • Take a calcium and multivitamin tablet every 3 days.
  • Avoid consuming weight loss pills or drinks.

As mentioned before, Paleo diet is a lifestyle change, and when you are in the 3rd phase of Paleo diet, you should follow the lifestyle changes mentioned in phase 2 of this diet plan. But there are a few other points that I would like to mention.

Paleo Lifestyle – Phase 3

  • Don’t be too strict with your diet in this phase. Yes, you will eat Paleo-friendly foods and follow a good lifestyle, but you also need to give your body a break from eating the same things over and over again. Because when your body gets no surprises, it becomes immune to any treatment you provide. Have a cheat day once every week. Eat your favorite food to your heart’s content – maybe ice cream, chocolate, carrot cake, pumpkin doughnut or other Paleo-friendly desserts. But make sure not to overeat them. If you do, do not feel that you have disrupted the whole diet. The only way you can move forward is to workout and expend the calories.
  • Keep a check on your alcohol consumption.
  • If you do eat food that is not Paleo-friendly on a rare occasion, nothing to worry about. Just don’t get lured away and slip back into your old habits.
  • Talk about Paleo diet with friends and family as your social support will take you a long way. Moreover, there’s nothing like helping a friend or a family member to lose weight or lead a healthy life.

How You Will Feel As A Paleo Dieter

 Providing your body with the best of nature will not only make you slim but will also improve your brain functions. You will be less stressed out and will be more productive. You will love your new life that will give you peace, health, and harmony. In the next section, I will give you a list of foods that you should eat and avoid while you are on the Paleo diet. Check it out.

Paleo Diet Food To Eat List

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Vegetables – Broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, tomato, turnip, parsnips, scallions, onion, carrot, cabbage, sweet potato, okra, eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin, bottle gourd, ridge gourd, snake gourd, squash, etc.
Fruits – Berries, watermelon, muskmelon, honeydew melon, grapes, peach, avocado, plum, orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit, apricot etc.
Protein – Chicken, fish, grass-fed meat, eggs, mushroom, tofu, mussels, and shrimps.
Fats & Oils – Olive oil, sunflower butter, flaxseed butter, and coconut oil.
Nuts & Seeds – Flax seeds, chia seeds, almonds, macadamia, pistachios, walnuts, pine nuts etc.
Herbs & Spices – Cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, chili powder, paprika powder, oregano, dill, thyme, rosemary, basil, star anise, allspice, mace, nutmeg, saffron, clove, cilantro etc.
Beverages – Coconut water, freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juice, and vegetables and fruit smoothies.

Paleo Diet Foods To Avoid List

Vegetable – Potato
Grains – Eliminate all kinds of grains, as in the Paleolithic age there was no provision for cooking grains.
Protein – Avoid all legumes and grain-fed meat.
Dairy – Avoid all dairy and milk products.
Fats & Oils – Butter, margarine, ghee, and animal fat.
Beverages – Packaged fruit and vegetable juices, soda, diet soda, alcohol in unlimited amounts, buttermilk, and energy drinks.

So basically, you can eat anything in Paleo diet except grass-fed or hormone-fed meat, legumes, potatoes, dairy products, and junk food. Now the next big issue is preparing Paleo-friendly food. Well, fortunately preparing Paleo food is really easy. Here are a few Paleo recipes for you.

Paleo Diet Recipes

1. Paleo Pancakes

Image: Shutterstock

Prep Time: 10 min  Cooking Time: 10 min  Total Time: 20 min Serves – 2

Ingredients 

  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ⅓ cup coconut milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt

How To Prepare

  1. Mix eggs, honey, and coconut oil in a bowl.
  2. Add coconut milk, vanilla extract, coconut flour, salt, and baking soda. Lightly mix them.
  3. Heat a nonstick pan and drizzle a little coconut oil.
  4. Use a ladle to put the batter into the pan. Cook for 2 minutes on each side.
  5. Serve hot with maple syrup.

2. Paleo Broccoli & Mushroom Soup

Image: Shutterstock

Prep Time: 10  min   Cooking Time: 30 min   Total Time: 40 min  Serves – 2

Ingredients

  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of pepper

 How To Prepare

  1. Heat a nonstick soup pot and add olive oil.
  2. Add the garlic and fry for 20 seconds.
  3. Add the chopped onion and cook until they become translucent.
  4. Now add the mushroom, broccoli, and vegetable/chicken stock.
  5. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from flame and use an electric blender to make the consistency smooth. Serve hot.

3. Burger Patty Salad

Image: Shutterstock

Prep Time: 20 min   Cooking Time: 35 min   Total Time: 55 min Serves – 4

Ingredients

  • 6 oz lean ground beef
  • 4 oz lean ground lamb
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 oz baby kale
  • 1 cup tomato wedges
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

 How To Prepare

  1. Add the ground beef, lamb, parsley, allspice, garlic, egg, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and salt to a blender. Give it a spin to combine all the ingredients together.
  2. Now shape the meat into patties and grill on a griller.
  3. Toss kale tomato and cucumber in a bowl.
  4. Add the patties, drizzle lime juice, olive oil, and red wine vinegar and give it a quick toss. And enjoy!

So, you see that these recipes are easy, tasty, and can be prepared quickly. Plus, you will reap many benefits from this diet. Let’s find out what they are.

Paleo Diet Benefits 

  • You will eat clean by not consuming foods that are loaded with hormones, additives, artificial color, and flavor, etc.
  • Red meat will provide your body with iron.
  • Veggies, fruits, nuts, and oils are anti-inflammatory in nature.
  • You will be more active.
  • You will lose weight slowly but will be able to maintain it for a longer term.

However, this diet can have certain disadvantages. Find out what in the next section.

Paleo Diet Disadvantages 

  • This diet is very difficult for vegetarians and vegans as legumes are excluded from this diet.
  • Dairy products are excluded in this diet, which is a good source of calcium.
  • Buying grass-fed meat and organic food can be expensive.
  • Completely avoiding grains can deprive you of certain vitamins and minerals.

That said, there is a reason why Paleo diet is so popular today. And that’s because this diet is highly effective for people from different parts of the world. Now, before I sign off, I would like to answer a few common questions that new Paleo dieters often ask.

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

Is rice a part of the Paleo diet?

Paleo food list doesn’t have rice, as it is a grain. However, many Paleo dieters eat rice once in a while; just do not make it a habit. Moreover, there are people around the world who eat rice and are perfectly healthy. So, it depends on person to person if rice will do you harm or good. If you are starting out now, avoid rice till you read the third phase of the Paleo diet.

Can you eat cheese on the Paleo diet?

Please avoid consuming cheese on the Paleo diet.

How fast do you lose weight on Paleo?

In the first week you will lose water weight, and therefore you may seem to lose a lot of weight. However, the goal should be to shed the fat, which will happen only after the 2nd week. Your weight loss will also depend on your adherence to the plan, your current weight, medical conditions, and medications that you are on now. Be patient, you will see miraculous results.

Can you do the Paleo diet as a vegetarian?

As a vegetarian, you can follow this diet plan but you cannot have legumes. Talk to your dietician or doctor and take protein supplements so that your body is not deprived of protein.

Are corn tortillas on the Paleo diet?

Avoid corn tortillas when you are on the Paleo diet.

If you have any other questions regarding the Paleo diet, please leave a comment below, and I will answer it. For now, try the Paleo diet and see if this works for you the sameway it has worked for so many others. This life-changing diet plan is worth experiencing. Just get and do what you need to do, NOW! And don’t forget to share this article with your family and friends. Take care!

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Charushila is an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition and a full-time contributor to Diet & Weight Loss at Stylecraze. She believes that food has healing powers and eating good food is the best way to lose weight. A binge eater-turned-fitness enthusiast, Charushila likes to share her knowledge and experience with the world. When she is not working, she loves to cook healthy food, watch movies, travel, workout, and read Bengali literature.
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