How to Lose Weight With Paleo

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on Paleo.

I know enough to understand it and its benefits and drawbacks, but I’m not a devoted fan or follower. Regardless of my opinion, there are lots of people who think this is a healthy way to eat and therefore the way they want to eat.

My Facebook feed often tries to tempt me with “Paleo wraps,” or “Paleo Candy Bars,” and “Paleo Protein Bars.” I’m confused by this. If it’s supposed to be Paleo, then why is it Processed?

Somehow processed Paleo misses the point. If the goal is to eat the way our hunter/gather ancestors ate, then how do protein bars, cookies, pizza, wraps and the like fit into that food plan?

Not being a devoted student of Paleo, I'm not sure how one makes anything even remotely like pizza into a Paleo food. I thought tomatoes and dairy were not included in a Paleo diet. © Trinaestipo | - Delicious Paleo Pizza Photo

Not being a devoted student of Paleo, I’m not sure how one makes anything even remotely like pizza using Paleo  approved foods. I thought tomatoes and dairy were not included in a Paleo diet. © Trinaestipo | – Delicious Paleo Pizza Photo

They don’t, but typical of 21st Century humans, we are looking for an easy way to make the complicated uncomplicated. I don’t think Paleo is complicated, but I do think it’s excessively rigid. It’s the rigidity that complicates it for me.

People want to do two things at the same time. One of them is supposed to help them to lose weight (Paleo) while the other is trying to bring modern convenience (processed foods) to a program designed to stop people from eating their modern diet that’s built on processed food. See? That’s the complication!

I have never kept my weight loss program preference a secret. I lost and maintain my weight using the Weight Watchers program and attending Weight Watchers® meetings. It works for me. It brought the best of healthier eating with flexibility to allow me to tailor my food plan to suit my preferences. Weight Watchers meetings was the glue that held my food plan and my weight management behaviors all together.

If Paleo were my preference, I would still use Weight Watchers program and meetings.

Foods found on the Paleo food list have PointsPlus® values, just like every food on the planet. The PointsPlus values are assigned to all foods based on macronutrient content – protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber. Weight Watchers followers have a PointsPlus daily target based on current weight, gender, height and age.

The daily target would ensure that I was reducing my calories so that weight loss would take place. It is reasonable that our ancestors adjusted their food intake based on their gender, age and height naturally.

In our modern food-filled universe it’s harder to adjust how much food we eat because food and eating cues are inescapable. We have more food available at any given time of day than the caveman ever had, and that makes it more difficult to match food intake to our body’s energy needs. A daily target combined with Paleo-approved foods would promote successful weight loss.

If I didn’t want to count PointsPlus values on my Paleo food plan I could use Simply Filling as a guide. Many, if not most, Paleo foods can be found on the Weight Watchers list of Power Foods.

Quino and Kale are Power Foods ©Joshuaraineyphotography | - Paleo Diet Quinoa Kale Salad Photo

Quino and Kale are Power Foods
©Joshuaraineyphotography | – Paleo Diet Quinoa Kale Salad Photo

The benefit of Simply Filling may appeal to Paleo peeps because it’s not based on tracking and counting, but rather eating Power Foods in amounts to satisfy. Satisfy, by the way, isn’t the same as “all you can eat.”

All you can eat isn’t going to deliver weight loss no matter what food plan you’re following unless it’s a crazy “one note” diet where you can only eat all you want of one, single food.

There are foods on the Power Food list a self-respecting Paleo wouldn’t eat and doesn’t have to. There are also 49 weekly PointsPlus values for foods that aren’t Power Foods but can round out the food plan to add extras and treats. Paleo eaters probably would be able to include fattier cuts of meat and nuts which are part of a Paleo food plan.

So, if Paleo is your thing and you want it to work as effectively as possible you might want to avoid the Paleo pathetic processed foods and try something cheaper with a better track record for lasting success such as Weight Watchers and meetings.


Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.