#1 Reason You’re Not Losing Weight On Paleo

SummerBody Image, paleo, Self-Love, Weight Loss98 Comments

What’s the #1 reason you’re not losing weight on paleo? Google and I are very familiar with this question and if North Korea hacked my computer they would show you that between the years of 2007-2010 that was my risque hobby (take that Jennifer Lawrence).

I used to spend hours upon hours reading blogs and listening to podcasts in search of that one thing that was missing: a nutrient, a gut microbe, a macronutrient ratio, magic fairy dust that would allow me to complete the puzzle I’d been trying to solve for decades.

I’m eating 100% ‘strict’, sleeping 8 hours every night, exercising ‘intelligently’, healing my gut…what the F is wrong with me? Why can’t I lose weight?

I saw Naturopaths, personal trainers, functional medicine doctors and no one could figure it out for me. What the hell was missing?

I tried cutting back on carbs. Adding carbs. Adding carbs after workouts. Eating less nuts. Trying Bulletproof coffee. Intermittent Fasting. Adding kelp. Reducing goitrogens. Removing all xenoestrogens. Getting a water filter to remove said xenoestrogens. More cardio. Less cardio. Eating Carnitine like it was PEZ. Intuitively eating paleo. NOTHING. WORKED.

I was beyond frustrated and yet, the answer was so clear.

The reason I wasn’t losing weight on paleo?


I didn’t need to lose weight.

This is where my body wanted me to be.

In fact, my body was meant to be at a higher weight which is why I kept rebounding between paleo perfection and full-on Haagen Daz meltdown that was nicely topped off with complete hormonal malfunction.


Isn’t every woman supposed to be able to ‘lean out’ and be a #beastmode machine? Aren’t we all supposed to look like we can strike a book-flap worthy glowing health guru pose?

It took me far too many years to realize that no, MOST of us are NOT meant to.

It took me far too many years to decide that loosening the reins, creating a life outside of my nutrition and exercise obsessed head and finding purpose beyond meal planning was more emotionally satisfying than my quest to have tricep definition.

So maybe you need to ask yourself the same things that I needed to ask myself:

Is this worth your time? To be so hyper obsessed that you no longer have an answer to the question “what do you do for fun?” that doesn’t include nutrition podcasts, self-loathing and pinning recipes.

Is this worth your money? Would you rather put money aside for a trip to Costa Rica than your $200 / month supplement and superfood routine to purge you of any toxics that “could stall fat loss?”

Is it really making you healthy? Do you really think tweaking to 100% perfection in the pursuit of less cellulite (which is totally fucking normal) is going to make you live longer? Freeing yourself of the stress of obsessing over food and your body is one of the greatest things we can do for our health.

Is it helping you to be joyful and free? Do you really want to skip out on that glass of wine that you love so much on Friday nights in the hope you’ll lose your muffin top (which is the most delicious part of the muffin, BTW)? Do you really want to turn down a raunchy escapade with your partner because you’re too exhausted from your sprint session?

What do you want to get out of life? Look at the big long-term forecast picture…Is this giving it to you?

How much longer do you want to keep this charade up? Do you want to be a 63 year old counting macros and committing to getting back on the wagon every January?!?! Hell no, you’re gonna be the queen of the bocce ball tournament.

If the answer is no, then consider this your official wake-up call. It’s time for you to stop diving down the rabbit hole of biohacking and start living your life. Learn to unconditionally accept your body. The rewards will be greater than a smaller jean size could ever give you.

It’s the best decision I ever made.

98 Comments on “#1 Reason You’re Not Losing Weight On Paleo”

  1. I’ve said it before and I am going to say it again…YOU’RE FLIPPING AMAZING! Howwww do you know exactly something I need to hear?!? Are you a wizard?? Well you’ve got some kind of amazing magic and I am thankful for it! I appreciate the realistic slap in the face to remind me when I am headed back down that dark path again and again…it’s appreciated more than you’ll ever know! XO

  2. Thank you, Summer! That is exactly me, and this post is just what I needed. I can’t wait for more.

  3. This is something I’m struggling with at the moment! I’m unsure of whether I’ve gained some weight because my body’s set point is a little higher (I did just grow hips at age 21…) or if it’s due to the emotional eating I was struggling with. The emotional aspect is much healthier than it used to be, so I admit that I’m cutting calories slightly and actually starting to exercise routinely for the first time in a while.

    However, I am much more emotionally satisfied where I am in my life right now regardless of my weight which is great progress. If I find that I’m not losing anything in the next few weeks, I just want to focus on incorporating exercise in my routine and slowly building strength. My overall goal is to figure out what exercise I actually enjoy and make it happen a few times a week because all I do now is walk to and from classes. I used to see getting skinny and strong as an obsession, but now I’m much more levelheaded about it and know I will be happy in my life regardless of the results!

    1. Hey Jess – Your body is going to do what it’s going to do and sometimes our weight goes up and down. I think the best thing to do is to go with the flow and as long as you feel like you’re nourishing yourself (physically and emotionally), it’ll settle at it’s best weight for you. Your emotional well-being is critical and it sounds like you’ve made awesome progress in that area….and that is fantastic!!

      1. Deep down I know you are right!! However, I’m not quite there yet emotionally – I still feel like I have to see if I can bounce back from all those nuts and dried fruit I binged on when stressed… But I recognize and acknowledge that fact and have confidence that I will continue making progress, in a huge part due to you and other amazing women like Kaila Prins and Isabel Foxen Duke who continue to inspire me to say “fuck this shit” :)

        1. Take your time with it Jess – everyone has their own journey to get to the “fuck this shit” point! And I would argue that even that point comes and goes depending on the day!

          1. LOL can we talk about how right you are…about a week and a half of restricting calories, I didn’t eat enough for either breakfast or lunch today and I fell face first into a bag of plantain chips and chocolate! My body wants to be right where it’s at!

            I’m over feeling ashamed or regretful when this happens, but the feeling of being so out of control is so not worth any sort of restriction or any amount of weight loss.

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  5. Oh my word this post is everything I feel. I try to call myself a happy living blogger instead of healthy living because I’m so tired of reading and hearing from people I know about diets, macros, “clean eating”paleo, cheat meals, etc. It’s not in the cards for everyone to be thin or have 6 pack abs, or have X% bodyfat, or to look like whatever especially without super restriction. Will I look back glad that I travelled, ate pizza and beer, and had good memories or will I wish I ate chicken and broccoli, went to the gym everyday, and stayed stressed out? Thank you so much for this post, everyone should read it. I’m going to blog about something similar next week!

    1. YES Lauren!! You nailed it with your comment about travelling and pizza and beer…which sounds divine BTW… hit me up if you ever want a partner in crime:)

  6. Wow, this post is so spot on! While I don’t think this is limited to Paleo alone, it’s such solid advice. I think it’s so sad to see women try to be a certain something that maybe they were never meant to be. Our culture certainly doesn’t help us feel like we should be anything less than perfect Chalene Johnsons (Love her, but seriously).

    1. Thanks Melissa! You are sooo right that this applies to any diet. I just use paleo because many of my followers come from that community and I always see it being asked on Paleo podcasts/blogs. Thanks for you’re kind words!!

  7. Just validated how I was feeling about decreasing my workouts this past year to spend more quality time with my little one.

  8. Just what I needed to hear/read. I have lost weight doing Palio so many times and I did feel good but if you ever cross a bridge in your life and just can’t keep up with then I gain right back exactly where I was before I started. I a, not fat, I am size 8 and I need to be happy that that is where my body wants me to stay. Not that size 4 I was killing myself to keep

  9. And what about those of us who really DO need to release weight? This isn’t a vanity issue for me, it’s a health issue. Three years paleo and NO weight loss–even though I have a lot of weight to lose. It’s exhausting.

    1. Hey Annie – Health and weight loss don’t always go hand-in-hand. How is your actual health? Because health can exist in many different body sizes. I’m here to help if you want to chat about it… feel free to setup a 15 min phone call with me via the link on my work with me page!

  10. I lost 90 lbs in a year and a half and am on the final 2 days of my 6th Whole30 but my weight is at a stand still at about 220 lbs. and it doesn’t want to budge and I’m really struggling. I’ve been needing to here this for so long! Love it and shared. Amazing!! Thank you Summer

    1. Oh I’m so happy this reached you! Focus on your health and happiness and your weight will fall where it’s meant to be. Sending big hugs!

  11. Even before I read your blog, I was finally reaching a point that I am relaxing about my weight and lack of scale progress. My blood work is good…I’m lifting heavier than ever…I’m strong…I’m happy…my doctor is happy with the progress i have made even if it has been painfully slow…I am learning to eat to meet my strength and other physical goals…Whatever comes with the scale will come….

    Thanks for the refreshing look at things!

  12. Did you write this just for me? I just spent the last month eating squeaky clean – no 85% dark chocolate, homemade almond milk in my CrioBru, no date or cocnut sugar sweetened anything, upped my veggies, upped my exercise, and lost not a pound. At 56 years old, it’s really time to love my body and what it lets me do -hiking, feeling fit, and to love eating clean because it tastes good and makes me feel good. Is anyone going to love me more because I wear a smaller pants size or see a smaller number on the scale? Am I going to be a better, nicer person? I don’t think so. Thank you, thank you for this.

  13. This is a great piece. Sometimes being so restrictive all the time is so time consuming, expensive, drives everyone around you crazy, while the whole time nothing is really wrong…or the inch you can pinch just makes you more adorable. I have been having these thoughts recently that you have now just said out loud!

  14. THanks for this! I’ve been paleo for 2 years and after the first 8 months (and 50 lbs later), I plateaued. Even after these two years, I still haven’t been able to get even near my recommended BMI, and I’ve thought about going to the doctor as I am still overweight but can’t seem to loose any more even though I’ve done so much to loose it (like intermittent fasting, running, eating carbs after workout, all those things you mentioned)! So its really encouraging to know that maybe there isn’t anything wrong with me and perhaps my body is happy when I’m nourishing it and when I’m happy. Thanks!

    1. Yes Nina!! There are so many things that dictate our weight and we can be healthy at many different sizes. That whole BMI classification as it relates to health is complete BS.

  15. Excellent post! I hate the “love your body” cheesy articles that are constantly circulating. THIS was far more convincing and honest than those. I don’t think I’ll ever fully love/accept my body (especially after children), but this did give me the understanding to forgive myself when I choose LIVING LIFE over the perfect execution of a diet/exercise plan.

    1. I try to remove cheese from all of my writing so I’m glad it resonated with you! And it’s never too late to accept your body – it’s just part of you and that’s a beautiful thing (ok, realize that statement bordered on cheddar). Forgiveness is an excellent place to start!

  16. Thanks so much for this! I eat paleo and today I went to look at another gym. I want to go to the gym but I freaking HATE the gym. But I read your post and I wanted to cry. Maybe I will not hate the gym so much if I don’t go there to lose weight and get a different body. If I just go to feel good then maybe I will enjoy it. This could be a LIFESAVER!!!!

    1. Hey Hayley! Yes!! Move your body because you like it and it can do amazing things for you. Nothing good comes from punishment or self-hate.

  17. Great article. I have recently cut down to 4 Crossfit sessions per week and am loving it more and my body is feeling better. I love my days off, rather than feeling bad that I wasn’t training the 5 or 6 times I was aiming for. I kept getting injured and finally realised that I’m not built to train more than 4 times (at that intensity) and that’s actually ok!!

    1. I had to go through the same thing in order to realize I needed to back if off too Sally! And now there is so much more pleasure in my life because I’m not chained to my gym routine!!

  18. I am not at all interested in a paleo diet but this post still applies to me – I love it! (Ps – your line about the muffin top being the most delicious part of the muffin made me laugh out loud! )

  19. This post just made me cry…. You hit the nail on the head. I’ve lost my way, become obsessive and I’m not happy. Before paleo I was obsessed about calories, consuming fake food, afraid of butter and also not in a healthy mindset.When I first switched to paleo I lost 15lbs and for the first time felt good. The lbs came back though and I’ve spent the last 2 years focusing on losing them…. No progress…. Just driving myself and those around me crazy. It’s not worth it.

    1. Allison your story sounds so similar to mine! I can totally empathize with how you feel. It’s SO NOT worth it. I hope this gives you the nudge you needed to get out of that headspace. Sending hugs!

  20. So inspiring — I will turn 52 in June and I have finally come to grips with the fact that I will not look like I did when I was in my 20’s. I am finally able to start embracing the changes in my body and realize that I still look fantastic. I am truly blessed with the love of my life and healthy children. God bless.

  21. Im all about loving your body through the journey but will always believe that a healthy body is fit and doesn’t carry excess weight. I know a lot of paleo people who are puffy and swollen looking and their body can’t seem to lose the last 15lbs or so. I was paleo for two years and when I went vegan the weight dropped effortlessly away, my skin and digestion improved and I ended up enjoying life more bc I felt my very best. Just a different perspective worth considering!

    1. Ashleigh there is SO MUCH research against this. A healthy and fit body can look so many different ways and it’s this idea that it’s equated to leanness which makes us fucking crazy and body obsessed. I’m all for finding whatever approach makes you FEEL good… but take aesthetics out of the equation as a marker of health because that is 100% bullshit.

  22. Love it!

    I think a lot of women struggle because of what they THINK they should be rather than letting their body do what it wants!

    Awesome reminder.

  23. Our bodies want to be healthy so inherently do not want to eat pizza or ice cream. Our brains, however want us to consume for reasons not related to nutrition. To say this is where my body wants to be is really saying this is where my body is going to be after compromising with my brain.

    1. That’s not really what I’m saying here at all Patricia. Our bodies have a natural set point where it’s healthiest for us and often women fight against that and compromise their health to achieve a leaner physique for aesthetic reasons… in the hopes that it will improve their life. Letting go of trying to control your weight actually allows you to be in better alignment with your brain.

  24. I’m hoping at some point this message will stick. Every time it go on a strict diet and get so frustrated, I think to myself why am I letting an external source tell me how to eat, why am I not listening to my body! Then the next craze comes along and I’m on the bandwagon… I think I need to print this out to remind me my time, energy and mental health are worth more than the latest diet and listening to my body is the best source. x

    1. Hey Danielle – It’s SO EASY to get sucked back into the diet dogma. I find it super helpful to unfollow and delete any of that stuff from my social media and email – out of sight, out of mind!

  25. I knew I had finished what i set out to do when i noticed my cheeks were always rosy! That’s a pretty good indicator of health and stressing over my weight won’t help.

    1. Mara – you are one of my favourite people EVER!! I love your emails more than words can describe. Thank you for reading this. xoxoxoxo

  26. Thank you Summer! I have been struggling with this. I can go up and down in weight by a few and my body has told me more then once it is happy at that but I keep trying to be more by losing more, I am tired of counting calories and macros on days, so this post was huge for me and helpful beyond words. I just said to a friend yesterday how tired I am looking in th mirror and not seeing the positive all I so is pick out the negative, she told me I need to stop obsessing about every bite and she was right and so are you I just need to listen to my body and continue to be healthy.

  27. I understand the message to loosen the reins, quit focusing on the scale, and love yourself, but your message seems to be a complete 180 away from healthy eating. It’s important to embrace a healthy lifestyle and not an unrealistic weight, yet you seem to be advocating that people should just eat whatever they want if they aren’t happy with their results from eating Paleo, ketogenic, etc…. The Paleo lifestyle is a healthy way to eat, whether someone wants to lose weight or not. A lifestyle of “pizza and beer” only leads to diabetes, heart disease, dementia, cancer and other auto-immune disorders. I don’t know very many people that would say they are “happy” with any of these ailments. I agree that we need to have the right mindset. Just because someone didn’t lose a pound from cutting out sugar doesn’t mean they didn’t benefit from their efforts. How about making the connection between loving your body, enjoying life AND eating healthy, real food? We need to change our mindset from one of deprivation and focus on disease-free living.

    1. Hey Karen – I totally disagree with your take on this. I’m asking for us to shift our focus away from weight and to choose nourishing foods because we love ourselves, not because we hate our bodies. I see WAY TOO MANY people ‘paleoing’ harder and compromising their health in the pursuit of thinness. You can read more about what I mean when I say I eat what I want here – because it’s not what you are interpreting it as (although i really don’t care what people eat as long as it’s making them feel good): http://summerinnanen.com/eat-whatever-you-want-diet and read about how this doesn’t make you unhealthy here: http://summerinnanen.com/accepting-your-body-unhappy

  28. My “fighting weight” is about 128. I swim, bike, run (participate in triathlons) for fun. I love every min. of training. I love the podium. I love my family and my job more. I love being outside in the elements (it’s 6 a.m. and raining and I am headed out for my 7 mi. run soon) and I had fish and chips and shared a pitcher of Amber Boch (bock?) last night for dinner. I don’t weigh myself except for a few times a year (don’t have a scale) and eat more if my jeans start falling down. I am 61 and don’t talk about my body on my blog-seems to me that if one still is, then it’s still an “issue” for those that do.

    1. Thanks great that you’ve found that balance Cheryl! Many women are not there yet and I’m here to inspire and help those. Sharing my story is way to connect with them so they don’t feel alone. It needs to be talked about more in my opinion.

  29. Hi Summer, Great Article

    I’d like to add a couple things as well: #1 Sleep, get plenty of it. Many studies prove that poor sleep habits contribute heavily (ha!) to weight/obesity. #2 Stop weighing yourself daily. Do it weekly…yes, weekly. Google it, you’ll see the many reasons why. #3 A pound of fat takes up a lot more space than a pound of muscle–translation: You are developing muscle right now with all that running, so chill! Take measurements, use clothes tests, etc. Rome wasn’t built in a day—go easy on yourself, take a yoga class & breathe…you are making life changes, you will be great!

    My friend recently lost 112lbs and made a blog to help others losewithvenus.com , I am following her blog and am down 15lbs on my first week..

    1. Samantha…did you read the post? This is not about HOW to lose weight…it’s about why your obsession with weight loss is making you bat-shit crazy and preventing you from living life!

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  31. Oh wow this speaks to me so much – I spent plenty of time berating myself for doing paleo ‘wrong’ – even though I knew my body was getting healthier, the ‘leaning out part’ that I wanted so much wasn’t happening… then I realised it probably wasn’t meant to be that way.

    Finally, I realised… it doesn’t matter either way! No one CARES how lean I am OR how healthy I am (within reason) apart from me. There is no prize for being perfectly paleo.

    And yes, the muffin top IS the best part ;)

  32. Easier said than done, that’s for sure, especially if one is a nutrition and health and workout junky! I suppose there are worse things to be addicted to… Getting older (53) is not making it easier, that’s for sure. Thanks for the article, nice to know I’m not alone!

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  34. i agree with so many things I have read that other folks have posted. I want to get off the crazy train of weighing, measuring, balancing, etc etc. Just loaded an ebook about why 40+ gain weight as I recently feel like I’ve gained weight and can’t lose it.

    Thanks for a very timely post!!!!

  35. I <3 that you mentioned beastmode. Sad loss for us but always, GO HAWKS! And thanks for the article. Makes good sense!

    1. Lol! I was actually using it in context to what many fitness addicts will hashtag their posts… but yeah, sad day for the Sea Hawks too. Beastmode could have saved the day there!!

  36. I JUST HAD THIS CONVERSATION! I shared my frustration regarding ALL of these points with my CF coach, friends, and family. I have been at this for 3 years and have done mostly everything you mentioned, lost about 20 lbs but my body likes being a size 14. My life is so radically different- food, exercise, and sleep. And I settled into a size 14! I am not willing to stay “bat shit crazy” not ONE MINUTE longer. I can’t let the scale, size of my pants or measurements dictate to me my value or worth. I am strong, healthy, and active. What more could I ask for in life? So yesterday was the beginning of eating, working out and resting the right way because I WANT TO, not because I fear what wil happen if I don’t. Man, it’s an awesome feeling. And thanks to my coach Brandi for sharing this article with me!

    1. Hell yes Erica!!! That is SO GOOD TO HEAR!!! And I’m sure you’ll find that life opens up to more exciting things now. I am so happy for you!! xo

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  41. AWESOME post! This is exactly what I needed to ‘hear’ right now. The quest for not just the perfect weight, but never-ending perfect health can break your spirit! Easily lost amongst all the writings and podcasts – it’s time to get life back in this body!
    Thank you so very much for this article — now to get back to living!!

  42. WOW. This is exactly what I needed (but didn’t know). I have been down this rabbit hole for far too long and you are right. It’s not like I’m unhealthy, my body is in good condition, can do lots of things, and its not worth my unhappiness, frustration or money to keep doing this.


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  44. Hi Summer- I’ve binge-listened to almost ALL of your podcasts in the past month or two and OBVI I’m hooked. This post was freakin awesome. I have the same story that most of your guests (wah, wah) and that is: dieting since age ____ (insert unbelievably young age here), done a million diets, weight cycled up and down more than I can remember and finally thought I found the holy grail that is Paleo. Only I GAINED on paleo because I went from eating low-cal, fluffy, air-filled diet Frankenfoods to eating real food with (GASP!) calories!! The only time I lost any weight was when I did AIP (ie eating only vegetables and meat and perhaps a few roots and tubers and berries), ***while intermittent fasting-DOH! I kissed my adrenal function goodbye (as well as my period),, and finally realized I had to wave the white flag. I hadn’t yet discovered you, but my body just took over: I ate and ate and ate for all the years that I didn’t. I have no idea how much I’ve gained (?40#?) but once I found you and realized that my story is not unique, I really began to embrace the journey. I have gotten rid of all of my skinny designer jeans (that was rather sad for my wallet) and bought bigger versions, but it feels so good to actually put on clothes that fit, rather than mourn the ones that don’t.

    Anyway, I’m babbling, but want to tell you that I’m so very grateful to you and people like Caroline from the FUckit diet and Isabelle Foxen Duke. You guys need to hold a summit of some sort- do it!! :-) xoxoxo

    1. Hey Deb!!
      Oh I’m so happy you found me!! It’s so great to hear that you’re on your way to acceptance and have left dieting behind! xoxoxo

  45. PS I forgot to mention one of the most important parts of my story! When I was at my skinniest (On AIP and IF, with a 6 pack abs etc), I was MISERABLE!!!!!! I was a hermit- couldn’t see anyone because they’d want to go out for a meal (read: calories, bad, bad calories), and I would soon see my skinny self slip away. My fear of losing my ‘skinnyness’ was absolutely and totally paralyzing. Never was I so miserable. No doubt that I got more ‘attention’ at my thinnest, but what good did it do me as I was always a bitch and living under a rock in fear!

  46. That is so funny! That thought made its way into my mind just a few days ago but was quickly bon a with “no! Don’t settle with your current weight! Lose 15 pounds and you’ll be happier!” I’ve been so frustrated and stressed the past few years (which apparently also isn’t good for weight loss) trying to figure out which “diet” is best for my blood type, my shape, my sign, my lifestyle, my favorite color (j/k)….and NOTHING! I finally (just a few days ago) decided that God provided all the food I need (veggies, nuts, fruit, etc) and all I need to do is eat it and enjoy nature. I’m so over bs goal setting. We should truly be happy with just being healthy.
    Great post!

  47. I never post comments on articles I come across- especially year old ones, but I felt compelled to tell you, THANK YOU FOR THIS.
    This was exactly what I needed, and I appreciate this post so much.

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