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The Healthiest, Happiest, Easiest Weight Loss in the World

In the short series The Physiology of Women’s Weight Loss, I highlighted the most important factors that make a woman’s weight loss unique to a man’s.  In Part I, I discussed estrogen.  In Part II, I discussed the mechanisms by which female bodies preserve fat stores.

(And if that wasn’t enough, I went ahead and wrote a book on women’s weight loss, available here.)

I have also discussed why the modern notion of eating less and exercising more fails women time and time again.

How, then, should women move forward?

I believe that what women need is an Evolution Revolution.   What women need is to radically embrace the bodies and genes with which they were born, rather than fight them.


The healthiest, happiest, easiest way to lose weight is to adopt an evolutionary perspective.

In the modern world, a woman often goes to war with her body.  She starves it to lose fat; she fights it to resist hunger; she drives it to exercise more.  In the end, she fails.  The body is almost inevitably more powerful than she.

With an evolutionary perspective, however, a woman does not work against but instead works with her body.  Adopting an evolutionary perspective means that there is no dichotomy between a woman and her body.  It means that they  listen to and influence each other, and work towards greater health in a mutually beneficial, loving relationship.

This is what an evolutionary perspective does:

1) It shows a woman what her body was programmed to handle, and what it was not. 

For example, a woman’s body was programmed to consume natural, whole foods.

The foods that nourish a woman are animal products, vegetables, fruits, and all things found in the wild.  They are extraordinarily nutrient dense, and regular consumption of these products provides all of the fuel and substrates necessary for a woman’s body to perform optimally.

If the foods a woman is eating have been in a factory, chances are good something has been done to them that makes their chemical composition too foreign for bodies to handle.  Preservatives serve as cancer instigators.  Sugar kills insulin metabolism.   Soy acts as an estrogen and throws off hormone balance. Omega-6 vegetable oils inflame immune systems.  Wheat proteins tear holes in intestines.

I wrote more about natural, whole foods in Sexy by Nature.

Her body was programmed for relaxation.

The modern world is full of stressors that never existed in evolutionary history.  People may have chased lions back then, but they did not fret for years on end about whether or not they’d be able to make their mortgage payments.  In order for a woman to function optimally, in order for a woman to be truly fertile, and in order for a woman to be happy and to be alive, she must learn to relax.  She must prioritize her mental health.  She must see the trappings of the modern world for what they are, and, to the extent that she is able, rise above them.

Her body was programmed for sunlight.

Her body was programmed for activity.

Her body was programmed for laughter.

Her body was programmed for eating when it is hungry, and for stopping when it is full.

2) With knowledge of what her body really needs, a woman heals her body.

Aligning modern bodies with what their genes expect of them enables them to become the fit, beautiful, energized machines they are built to be.   With the proper fuel, a woman’s body functions are restored, and her hormones are re-balanced.  Her metabolism becomes sensitive and powerful again, and she witnesses profound change as her body becomes simultaneously natural and hot. 

3) With health comes beauty, energy, empowerment, and life.

The restoration of proper body function enables a woman to accomplish feats she had previously been too hampered to do.  This is made even more amazing by the fact that these feats can be easy.  Sometimes, when we are diseased, we don’t really understand how hampered we are.  For example, we may be fatigued, but not really know it.  Once that barrier is removed, however, body functions ramp up and provide a base off of which anything–physical, mental, aesthetic, active, entrepreneurial, artistic, anything–is possible.

So what does this have to do with healthy, happy, easy weight loss?

Because it is healthy, happy, easy weight loss.  An evolutionary perspective  and diet enable a woman to heal her body.  Once her body is healed, her normal hormonal functions are restored, and she is no longer battling her body in order to lose weight.  She is no longer slaving over elliptical machines in order to cut calories and be in painful, starving energy deficits.  Instead, her estrogen levels are normalizing and her insulin system is becoming sensitive, and her leptin levels are signallng more powerfully to her brain.  In this way, she loses weight and appetite without being obssessed about it.

An evolutionary perspective for weight loss is healthy because it optimizes nutrition.  It is healthy because nutrient intake is maximized.  It is healthy because a woman does not starve herself.  And it is healthy because it eliminates toxins from the diet.  In doing so, a woman minimizes her risk for the vast array of diseases of civilization, and she maximizes her immune system’s ability to kick diseases’s ass.

An evolutionary perspective for weight loss is happy for a variety of reasons.  First, a woman does not starve herself.  She eats freely and easily because she knows the food is going to be metabolized properly by her nourished body.  Second, paleo foods optimize the nutrients necessary for the physiological basis of mental health.   Third, this perspective assures a woman that she is doing something right and natural and beautiful.   With that belief, a the weight of self-harm is lifted off of the woman’s shoulders, and a great feeling of peace, well-being, love, and pride replaces it.  Fourth, the weight loss is easy, and it is effective, and also it clears up acne, or makes hair less oily…. all of these things mean that a woman looks great.  Looking great and feeling great are two things that can send someone’s happiness through the roof.

And finally, an evolutionary perspective is empowering.  No, it is not always simple.  Yes, some people still struggle with damage that has already been done to their bodies.  But women can always be making progress.  And being natural means that a woman takes pride in her femininity.  A woman loves her body.  A woman respects the wisdom and life-giving properties of her body, and she enters into a joyous, grateful relationship with her physicality.  A woman’s body enables her to live life and to kick ass every single day, and for that reason, an evolutionary perspective is a beautiful, life-affirming, happy thing.

An evolutionary perspective for weight loss is easy because weight loss necessarily follows from healing and the restoration of proper metabolic functioning.  An evolutionary perspective does not involve caloric restirction.  It does not involve counting grams or macronutrients or micronutrients (unless someone is trying to troubleshoot a particular issue, with which I can help them do at length).   It does not involve cardio exercise, not necessarily, nor any kind of stress, period.  With love and peace, and without worry about restriction or modern waffling about what’s right and what’s wrong, a woman corrects whatever damage has been done to her body and loses weight effortlessly.  I know that that word–effortless–is bandied about weight loss literature so much that it seems to have lost its meaning.  But it hasn’t.  Weight loss is so simple, and so easy.  Toxins make people overweight.  Whole foods make people smooth-running machines.

Evolution kicks ass.  It makes people hot and empowered without hardly trying.  All they have to do is breathe, and listen, and leap.


Since this post, I’ve written two books to support healthy weight loss in women, available here and here.


So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

Managing director of Paleo for Women and author of Sexy by Nature.


  1. Well said and very empowering!

  2. Pingback: Primal Journal (Lex26) - Page 70 | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 70

  3. I love what you’re writing, but really, it’s not that simple. I’ve been following a paleo diet for about 18 months. I continue to eat this way because I FEEL so much better. But it’s done nothing for weight loss. In fact, I’ve only gained fat. There’s more to it. Maybe I was so “broken” to begin with that it’s a lost cause. Anyway…keep writing! I’ll continue reading and looking for the answers that work for me.

    • No, of course it’s not. You’re right. I sympathize so much, and I understand so much about the frustration of losing weight. I also think that calories matter. Straight up! I do. But I know, too, that calories can only decrease without mental anguish if that happens naturally, if it occurs with the diet, and if it is not forced on the woman in a strict, punishing sort of way. As for my own experience, I LOVE my body the way it is, which is up to around 22 or 23 percent body fat from around 18. I sleep better, I have better mental health, my skin is better, and I am fertile. Yet this is deliberate. Some times I feel sated, but other times I have to fight my hunger. I think this is physiological as well as psychological, and I am trying to move forward with as much deliberateness and love as possible. And, honestly, it is the love and the relaxation that helps more than anything to quell my appetite. In all cases, it is clear, and I will admit openly, that if I ate all the time what I wanted to eat I would probably continue to put on weight. My current body is NOT wholly thoughtless and wholly without cognizant restraint. However, with the principles of love, acceptance, and affirmation of my natural health and body, I have been enabled to maintain a HEALTHY (not societally perfect) weight with so much less effort than before that ‘effortless’ is almost an apt adjective. It has taken a lot of time for me. Several years, in fact. And healing I believe takes time. And troubleshooting, especially for those of us who have histories of dieting and beating up our metabolisms. Regardless, a very big proportion of the steps down the road toward health are, I believe, taken up by trust in and love of our natural bodies and drives.

      That said, what I have laid out as ‘effortless’ is two things. 1) It is a template off of which I believe women achieve the healthiest weight loss. For some women losing weight it is as easy as eliminating toxins, but for others it is a much larger issue of repair and troubleshooting within this template. In this case, each diet and lifestyle needs to be tweaked to the particular woman. No, that’s not effortless, but it IS both mentally and physically healthy. And I believe, I really, truly believe, that if a woman’s body is not naturally achieving a healthy weight with proper nourishment, then there is something wrong that needs to be addressed. For example, a serotonin deficiency can result in obsessive hunger no matter how much a woman weighs or eats. Or a mental habit or compounded stress can stop a woman’s adrenal system from ever truly recovering. Or maybe what the trick is is to find the proper nourishment, and to achieve hormonal functioning, and then to cycle in caloric restriction every couple days or so in order to make sure that the body is burning more fuel than it is taking in. Other ways to achieve this, and in very healthful, natural, and loving ways are with exercise or with cold thermogenesis. Again, not ‘effortless.’ Perhaps I should title the post “near effortless” or “as effortless as things can get in this world.” Which is to say “way easier than other stuff.” 2) Secondly, and I cannot stress this enough– this is easy weight loss up to a point. Once a body’s natural mechanisms have been healed, I believe, it is easy to lose weight down to a healthy stage. It is not, however, easy to lose weight down a socially-constructed-attractive-norm, say, between 17 and 23 percent body fat stage. I do not believe that bodies, particularly bodies that have been historically overweight, will ever naturally slide into a tight little bikini body. They will, however, decrease to a healthy range that is still HOT without sacrificing health.

      As a final note, with my claims of “the easiest weight loss in the world” — well, I do believe that an evolutionary perspective enables the most optimal collusion of health, happiness, and ease. Just because something is simultaneously the healthiest, happiest, and easiest way to do something does not mean still that it is Easy. Not easy like sitting down on the couch and watching a whole season of Scrubs, but easy like taking pride in eating healthful foods, watching weight come off slowly, moving forward with progress and with love, never hating oneself in the process, going for walks throughout the day, being mindful but not obsessive about food intake, and eating, as in all things, within reason, as determined for each individual woman.

      The choice is up to the woman. I achieved weight loss up to social standards of what it means to look and be fit, but I only did so with severe calorie restriction and a wholesale sacrifice of my fertility. I was obsessed with food. And I talk with so many women who are constantly dieting–constantly trying to achieve an ideal–and obsessing over food because they are hungry. Instead, I encourage women to embrace a natural body that might fall anywhere between 18-28 per cent body fat. It might not be “perfect,” but it is–so long as blood tests confirm–healthy and natural and capable of sustaining life without disordered eating and food obsessions.

    • Have you been exercising at all? You didn’t mention it but if you aren’t exercising than of course you aren’t going to be losing weight. Diet is a HUGE part of it but you have to burn more than you take in to make a difference. I know it’s more complicated than that, but you’ve found the diet that works for you but now you have to exercise.

  4. How does a person go about healing a messed up leptin? Just paleo or is there a reset method, then paleo? How and what to do to kick leptin in the butt to reset it? Health is more than a number on a hanger or scale. I know that, it’s a full deal, a full package for success. Body, mind and spirit all work together, I get this, but what does the leptin need in nutrition…just follow paleo and work on all the rest in harmony and be patient and live life with love, fun and laughter. Along with self love and happiness first. Love who I am and my size and the weight and I will reset together along with my leptin…that’s it in a nut shell? Could it just be that?
    I have lost 80 pounds over the last 3 years, using High Raw, low carb and Raw Vegan. Now I am trying to do a leptin reset using Dr. Jack Kruse’s method and am finding it difficult. I just can’t believe there is a one size fits all. I am 55 years old, post menopausal and need to get at least another 30-40 pounds off to be healthy for me and that is not the American standard weight that is what I believe would make me healthy and happy a BMI around 25%. Can a leptin be fixed through a reset?
    I do appreciate all you have here and loved reading it from a woman for women. I will continue to read and hopefully learn some more.
    Thank you so much.

  5. Thank you! I loved every word of this and will be spending a lot of time here catching up on all of your writings. LOVE IT. I’m 50 and have lost 140lbs. I basically eat paleo. I’m learning to love myself healthy. Your words really touch me – thanks so much for writing.

    • Jayme YOU touch ME. Thank you. Welcome. Every empowered woman living by quiet (or raucous) example is an inspiration, and a crucial light for us in moving forward.

  6. Pingback: Paleo Plus One » Blog Archive » How I Know the Paleo Diet is Working

  7. Hi Stefani! I just started reading your blog because I’m working on going peleo. I’m feeling that run around restrict-binge thing then exercise to help with the binge. But I was wondering, should I stop exercising so much? I usually run about 5 miles a day and then I do pilates or yoga a couple times a week too. I’m just looking to lose that nagging 10 pounds that I feel would most likely come off once I got rid of my current dieting cycle. Please let me know what you think. PS – I LOVE your blog.

    • Thank you Lindsay. Well– if you’ve read my stuff, you know how I feel about those “last 5 pounds.” The effort to lose them is mostly all in vanity, and not in health–and most certainly not in mental health. 🙂 That being said, well, I don’t know your situation. I could not say. Probably. 35 miles per week is a lot. Especially if you are doing pilates and yoga on top of that. Personally, I’d cut the running in half. And the greatest detriment to your weight loss– it’s the bingeing and restricting, I would bet a fair amount of money. And the only way to stop THAT is to stop restricting. It requires a bit of a leap of faith into nourishment– letting go of strict control over the body weight and trusting the body to heal itself on its own– but with time and patience and love, it happens.

  8. Pingback: TPV Episode 6 Show Notes: Weight Loss with Paleo | The Paleo MomThe Paleo Mom

  9. Pingback: TPV Podcast, Episode 6: Weight Loss With Paleo | Paleo Parents

  10. Love it. My thanks for writing that. I will come back to find out more and inform my people about your writing

  11. Thank you а bunch for sharing this with аll of
    us you гeаlly reсognize what you are talking about!
    Bookmaгked. Pleаse аdditionally discuss with
    my site =). We can havе а link alternate contгact between us

  12. Tremendous. My thanks for posting that. I’ll definitely check back to read more and tell my people about this website

  13. You’ll only get results from a program if you work hard, eat right, and believe that you can do whatever you choose to do. Training with us is not only about weight loss. The time and effort needed to get a healthy, strong body has bigger pay-offs than just losing weight in the long run.

  14. I cried reading this. It was just what I NEEDED to hear.

    I need to learn to Let It Be.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    Is there anyway I can find how to “reset” my body and the steps needed to do that reset?

  15. hi there

    this is a great blog, and i have been looking for answers for those struggling with eating disorders within the low carb/paleo community without much luck so its so refreshing to find this blog.

    i have really been struggling. i have had eating disorders for ten years (anorexia, then bullimia, now bulimia/coe) and ive been trying to overcome this. i am eating when i am not hungry, this is the problem – low carb does satisfy my appetite but that is not the issue.

    and i have been gaining weight because i am probably in ketosis at times, then i am having binging episodes say a few times a week, which, combined with a high fat diet is going to cause me to put weight on.

    i can’t cope with this anymore, and since i am not getting very far with stopping my binges, (am currently working on this) do you think the best thing for me to do is to up my carbs and lower the fat? obviously good carbs it would be. just so that when i do cheat its not going to have such a drastic effect on my weight. since starting lowcarb i have felt better, but i have gained almost a stone. i just can’t do it anymore, and don’t know where to go from here. i can’t tolerate putting on any more weight but at the same time ive learned so much from this way of eating it seems a shame to turn back to low fat just because of my eating disorder.

    please help!

    • yes. i think the answer is to eat all foods in whatever macronutrient feels right for you on a given day. the more you think about restricting yourself, the more difficult it is going to be to resist and to maintain your current eating habits. if you let yourself eat freely, and without punishing yourself (!), you’ll notice with time that these foods are not your enemy. Only restriction is. 🙂

  16. Pingback: TPV Podcast, Episode 26: The Best of the Paleo View | Paleo Parents

  17. What a difference beteween man’s and woman’s body construction! Never knew about it. Gotta read Part 1 and 2 form the first paragrapg later on!

  18. Hi Stephanie. I love your work! Smart lass you are. I wish things were so simple for me, alas. I was always about 18% body fat, not through any dieting or worrying about my image, just naturally, while being a very active person and enjoying my food unrestricted. I have a very slight build and a tendency to gain muscle easily.

    But now at 42 and entering perimenopause, I am up to 23% with low libido and problems keeping my cortisol down, and the extra fat has meant I no longer have a waist at all….ironic, but at 18% body fat I looked much curvier than I do now! Every year for the past 3 I have gained a few kilos of extra fat. I tried to exercise less for a few months earlier this year to see if over training was the issue, but I just got fatter…which makes sense to me since I didn’t feel like my exercise was excessive to begin with. I am at a bit of a loss now…

    Part of me wonders if I should just resign myself to being shapeless and pudgy, changing my entire wardrobe, and embracing my new frumpy self….but that seems pretty blah to me. I know it is a minor issue compared to the really challenging weight problems that most people have. But I really feel like I would be so much happier if I could just go back to how I was before…nothing has changed except my wretched hormones, and I don’t think there is any way to turn back that clock….

    I have never restricted my food or counted calories before and it seems like a step backward to start now. But I am beginning to wonder if I might not need to recognise that my metabolism just does not need as many calories as my appetite tells me I do…Actually, I probably tend to eat even beyond my appetite for fear of slowing my metabolism even more by under eating, but this does not seem to be working at all.

    I don’t know what I expect you to say. But in any case, I do take joy from your writing and really appreciate the message of self acceptance you put out there.

    Rock on bellisima!

    • Have you considered bioidentical hormone therapy? I know it’s not completely natural, but it might help. You might also want to consider adding some soy to your diet and see if that changes anything, since it mimicks estrogen in the body. This would help primarily if low estrogen is your problem, where you might actually “need” progesterone or testosterone depending on your blood test.

      I know that’s not the most encouraging thing in the world to hear, me proscribing hormones, but it is definitely one option. The other is to do like my mother does and eat very little and exercise a whole lot. As much nutrient density in the diet definitely helps, so including liver, salmon, bone broth, and leafy greens is key.

  19. Hi ! Your site is really great, I’m reading it all little by little 🙂
    I have a big problem though, I am trying to GAIN weight and am very unsuccessful…
    Since I gave birth, I’ve been very skinny and lost my breasts :((
    I’m eating coconut oil, avocados, nuts etc. I don’t know what to do ! Can you make an article about that ? Do you have any tips ? Thank you so much !

  20. Thank you Stefani! Your posts are helping me so much. I was diagnosed with all sorts of fun things and your information has been so helpful to put me on a healthy path. I thought I was healthy before but had no idea. I got a kick in the butt when my body started shutting down. I’m thankful for women like you. Jamie

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