Paleo Women are Phat – Life Changing Article

I think this post: Paleo Women are Phat by Laura on will change my life.

The general theme of my last few posts has been my need for a flat tummy, which more specifically has meant my desire to have less body fat.  I don’t actually know what my present body fat composition is – I have simply assumed that this is way higher than it should be because I don’t look as lean as I think I should.  I thought that a Paleo woman should be as lean and toned as physically possible and if I wasnt, then I was failing at Paleo and letting myself down.  There are countless photos I’ve pinned and posted of the women I wanted to look like.  The general theme is that they’re all incredibly toned, with minimal body fat.

I also did what several others seem to have done when looking at the PaleoFX photos and thought ‘gee some of the girls aren’t very toned’.  There’s a multitude of reasons for why some of them weren’t as I expected.  Melissa from The Clothes Make the Girl has been battling weight gain since she had her thyroid gland removed.  As she posts here – she’s eating healthily, exercising regularly, getting sleep when she needs it – all the things a good paleo girl should be doing, but her clothes keep getting tighter and the love she once had for her physique is deteriorating.  I really feel for her because I know what it feels like to go through every outfit in your closet and HATE how you look but worst of all, she can’t presently do anything about it, no matter how hard she tries.  It took me a long time to do something about myself but at least I could take control once I found the right tools to do so.  Melissa’s having to jump through hoops to find new tools and I sincerely hope she gets some answers soon.

So that’s why Melissa didn’t look like I thought she should.  And what about the others?  If you’re properly Paleo then aren’t you supposed to look really lean and toned?  So why did so many of the women at PaleoFX not look like this?  I now find it incredibly sad that a) I expected them to and b) they expected themselves to as well.  They were worried that they didn’t look perfect enough to speak on behalf of the Paleo community and I now feel sick I thought so too.  There is so much wrong with that!

Most of the time I like what I see when I look in the mirror, but I still have moments when I hate my outfit.  If it makes me look too round, or doesn’t define my waist enough, I hate how I feel about myself in it.  I like to share the things I’m passionate about with friends and family and anyone else who’ll listen (hence this blog).  I’m passionate about Paleo and when I look in the mirror and don’t look lean enough I feel a bit like I’m letting Paleo down (and I’m not even a public figure in this community!).  It’s what many of the women at PaleoFX were worried about themselves.  But the issue isn’t that we’re not Paleo enough.  The issue is that we are using the wrong standard!

Clearly there is a perception being generated in the Paleo world that you should look a certain way.  This isn’t right at all and thank you thank you thank you to Laura for writing her article because it resets my perception on what it means to be a Paleo Woman (this does apply to the Paleo Men too though!).  It is about health and vitality.  It is not about how you look compared to someone else.  It’s about YOU.  Who YOU are as a person and how YOU feel about YOURSELF.


My goal is to be Happy, Healthy and Strong.  Laura has put this back into perspective.  For some women this means they are lean.  For some women this is curvy.  For me, I think it’s going to be somewhere in the middle, but all that really matters is that I feel good about who I am.  I am a Paleo Woman.  My standard is Happy, Healthy, Strong and I will look like me.


  • […] but being ‘bien dans sa peau’ – comfortable in ones own skin.  As I wrote a little while ago, I got really caught up in what I thought a paleo woman should look like, which was an unrealistic […]

  • Even in a very healthy community — both mentally and physically — it’s tough to completely move away from body image expectations and standards. It’s pretty tough to be trying to be a voice of reason and good information with my blog when my body is being so mysterious. And yes, it was a pressure cooker to show up PaleoFX about 15-20 pounds heavier than I’d like to be, despite a clean diet and solid training program. But I refused to be ashamed or embarrassed by my body. It is what it is right now — and it’s PHYSICAL. As a culture, we really need to move away from the idea that weight gain is somehow a value judgment… and I would say that if I was at my goal weight, UNDER my goal weight, or now, above my goal weight and trying to figure out how to get back to optimal health.

    • Hi Melissa. I’m quite ashamed that I made a value judgement based on the appearance of yourself and others and it was also a reflection of how I was judging myself. I’ve been Paleo for about 6 months now and I’d gotten it in my head that if you were really succeeding at Paleo then the guys would look Mark Sisson and the chicks were basically a feminine version of this – seriously toned and lean. I’d read so many stories about people losing tonnes of weight and I’d been trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. I wasn’t focussed on weight loss itself – I’m happy with how my clothes fit- but I figured I should be much leaner on a Paleo diet. It didnt occur to me until I read Laura’s article that being super lean was atypical. I found this reassuring – it’s not an excuse to go lax on Paleo but its a great reason to take the pressure off myself and love my body as it is. Thank you for your blog and your wonderful cookbook and for being such a great champion of healthy living.

  • Emma Alldridge says:

    Very well said! I think you look fantastic, by the way!

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