How I lost 68 Lbs eating plenty of saturated fat

If you have tried low-fat approaches to fat loss, it may surprise you how I lost weight. I consumed plenty of saturated fat and I didn’t count calories or even track the macro nutrients I consumed.

And it is important to emphasise that I have not only lost weight. All my health markers improved, including my blood cholesterol, which goes counter to what many health professionals would have predicted.

I know this may sound too good to be true. Especially, if you have tried a multitude of diets that promised so much but ended in failure. Can it really be that easy?

I will let you judge whether this approach is easy or hard. It depends on your personal circumstances, I suppose.

Here is my 7-step eating plan:

  1. My diet consists of meat, fish, poultry, eggs and vegetables.
  2. I mainly eat things that are prepared from scratch (mostly by my very supportive wife) and we try to use ingredients that are local and/or organic.
  3. I avoid all grains, tubers and legumes. This means cutting out bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans and lentils.
  4. I also avoid drinks that contain calories. I do not drink fruit juices, milk or sodas, nor do I take any sugar or other sweetener in hot drinks. I do make one small exception to this rule. I enjoy the odd alcoholic drink once or twice a week. I tend to mostly drink red wine.
  5. I restrict the amount of carbohydrate in my diet. This happens more or less by itself if you follow points 1 to 3 above. The only additional measures I take is to avoid sugar and I also eat very little fruit. Periodically, I spot check my carbohydrates, so I know my daily consumption is between 30g and 60g per day.
  6. I make sure I get plenty of fats from meats and wild fish. I supplement this with coconut oil and butter for cooking. I use olive oil for salad dressings. I avoid all other vegetable and nut oils.
  7. I eat when I am hungry and I eat as much as I need to be full.

Those of you who have studied low-carb and/or paleolithic nutrition will recognise this diet. There is nothing particularly original in what I practice. Researchers and thought leaders like Loren Cordain, Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Art Devany and others all recommend diets that are similar to this with minor variations. There is plenty of information available on this and I recommend you study the writings of these men.

You will also notice that there is no mention of exercise in my plan. I do exercise, but the truth is exercise is not strictly necessary to loose weight. I will discuss this further in future articles.

I would also like to make an obvious but important point here. Loosing weight is not just about what you eat.  If your head is not in the right place, it is very hard to change a life-time of unhealthy habits. Watch this blog for future articles about how I stayed the course by changing the way I think about diet and life-style.

Further Reading

Here are some links to on-line resources that explain the basics of paleo/primal diet and exercise principles.

Modern Paleo Principles by Diana Hsieh

Mark Sisson Primal Blueprint 101

Robb Wolf FAQ page

Loren Cordain FAQ page

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Posted on 4 December 2011, in How Peter lost weight, Peter's Musings and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Great stuff Peter. Congratulations once again.

    A question, if I may. Does your diet have a ‘half way house’ option? i.e. if I were to eat proportionally more meat, fish, poultry, eggs and vegetables and eat fewer portions of bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans and lentils, would it have some effect or does this diet require full carbohydrate exclusion a la Atkins?

    My current diet and triathlon training seem to be working reasonably well and I’m not sure that I fancy changing my eating habits completely but a little help wouldn’t hurt.

    Fancy catching up for dinner soon, by the way?

    John W

  2. Hi John

    Congratulations on being the first person to leave a comment on Primal Peter!

    Some researchers would argue a low-carb diet is not going to affect your athletic performance if you are fully keto adapted (i.e. able to burn fat efficiently). However, it is a matter of personal preference. You may not have time to get keto adapted before your event (it takes 3-6 weeks typically), and also, there are plenty of Paleo and Primal athletes who use safe starches in their regime. Safe starches in Paleo terms means sweet potatoes and yams. Some will also say white rice (not brown rice, surprisingly) is OK.

    I would personally cut way down on sugar and avoid all foods that contain grain, especially those that contain wheat. Both the gluten and lectins in grains are problematic, even more so when you have a high activity level.

    You can read more about this in Dr. Loren Cordain’s book titled “The Paleo Diet for Athletes”. http://tinyurl.com/cfou9uo

    Stephen Phinney is a leading researcher in this area also. Here is a podcast interview with him. http://tinyurl.com/69yt3b3

    Good luck with your triathlon.

    Keep the questions coming!!

  3. I too am on a similar diet and lost 16 pounds the first week. I enjoy it, but do worry that it may not be very healthy in the long term. I also heard that weight training is very important to build the muscle back that you lose while losing so quickly. In 12 weeks, I have lost 30+ pounds and have exercised maybe 3 times. I would however like to find more time for it. Looking forward to reading more in the links provided. Thanks for the post! Very informative!

    • @free2bme123

      Firstly, congratulations on your weightloss. Well done!

      There are people who have lost weight as fast as you, and some even faster, whilst improving all their health markers. This was also the case for me. My blood pressure normalised, my resting heart rate went from 80 bpm to 48 bpm and my blood numbers improved dramatically.

      No two bodies are the same, though, so I would recommend you monitor your health markers by having blood tests regularly (every 3 months or so) and by checking your blood pressure. If your markers are in the optimal range or improving, there should be no need to worry. You should always consult your doctor about your results, though.

      I know what you are saying about exercise. For 20 years I found it hard to find time to exercise also. The trick for me was to make it fun to motivate me to make time. I cannot exercise unless it is a social activity. And if the company is good and the activity fun, it doesn’t really feel like exercise.

      Good luck and keep it up!

      • Thank you for your advice, it is greatly appreciated. I am being monitored by a doctor every 3 weeks. My only health issues were slightly elevated cholesterol and after being on this diet as long as I have, my cholesterol levels are evening out, but, I just found out that my sugar is slightly high. Not sure why when i was eating junk every day it was never high and now i watch everything I eat it is high??? I am hoping when it is checked in March it is down. Don’t want to be getting rid of one problem only to gain another. Thanks again. And you couldn’t be more right about having your head in the right place. Thanks for your posts, they are very informative . . .

  4. Sorry, just wanted to say that I do not eat the saturated fats, but do eat the lean meats and olive oil instead of coconut oil and it still works! Congrats on the weight loss 🙂

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