Eat Like a Caveman, Look Like a Playboy Centerfold


I keep seeing this image (and others like it) floating around the paleo-sphere. I find it incredibly discouraging. Paleo is frequently portrayed as a philosophy that values strength above all else in women, and yet the images of women that accompany so much of the paleo rhetoric I run across are impossibly, perfectly fit, with unnaturally massive breasts and dangerously low body fat. This is a perfect example. What woman in her right mind would go hunting in such a skimpy ‘outfit’? That hair, while perfect for being dragged back to the cave by Grok, would be a huge liability while trying to hunt (or do just about anything other than posing provocatively by the water hole). Did breast implants exist in the paleolithic era? Because any woman with body fat low enough to have that level of muscle definition would have long since lost her breasts. The message I get from images like this is that if I eat and live like a cavewoman, I will look like this. Not true. If I ate and lived like a real cavewoman, I would look more like this:

I get so frustrated that a philosophy that talks such a good game about valuing women for their strength and abilities still objectifies our bodies so blatantly. Spend a few minutes surfing paleo blogs and you will see image after image of women in bikinis and booty shorts, many even naked. Sure, they’ve got visible abs, which sets those images apart from the images you’ll see in fashion magazines, but in the end it’s the same old story. Women’s bodies are being exploited to sell a product, and in the process a message is being sent to women: this is how you’re supposed to look to be desirable. You’re supposed to have a well defined 6 pack, biceps and lats to rival a young Arnold’s, and a single digit body fat percentage. Oh, and God help you if your boobs aren’t enormous and perky. Because if cavewomen could look like that, Lord knows you can too. So get to work ladies!

Sigh. We can’t win. No matter what.

Women: eating real food and challenging your body physically every day will give you a strong, healthy, beautiful body. But unless you’re willing to invest in invasive surgery and devote almost all of your waking hours to planning your diet and working out, you’re more likely to look like the beautiful woman in the second picture than the caricature in the first. That’s fine. It’s more than fine. It’s wonderful.

21 thoughts on “Eat Like a Caveman, Look Like a Playboy Centerfold

  1. quit whining! this is the typical bemoaning we’ll have to hear from woman who just dont want to do whats necesarry to “get in shape”.paleo 1 pic is attainable if you just exercize a bit and know when to put the fuckin fork down! and paleo 2 is some nastyass shit that just doesnt give a shit

    • Wow! Seriously Dean! The second picture is very natural. Do you really think that she doesn’t exercise or know when to put a fork down? And it takes so much more than that to “get into shape.” People like you are the reason that women have unrealistic expectations for themselves.

  2. LOL. ^
    That first comment just makes me laugh.
    Anyway, I agree with you. I don’t like the fact that the focus is always on appearance. I guess now people want to promote being fit and muscular instead of just super-thin, but it’s sending the same message – that there is one female ideal and we all need to look that way! I think everyone should just do what makes them healthy. 🙂

  3. Dean….that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. The more my bf drops, the smaller my breasts get. I’m not sure if you’re aware or not (since you’re obviously misinformed) but breasts are fat tissue….which obviously reduces when your body drops fat. There is no physical way to just look like the cartoon without implants.

  4. I was just perusing and enjoying this post. Which I dig. I struggle with the images of women and just posted ones of myself on my page bc I get so sick of the people who attack the looks of those women. Who are real. Who worked really hard to look like that. Even if photoshop helped. Hello! Senior photos are photoshopping. We all get it. There is a lot of talk about how “gross” and “manly” the muscles are and that makes me crazy. I posted the pictures of me (a personal trainer with stretch marks from having a baby and also losing 100lbs, I work out 6 or so days a week for 60-90 minutes, teach boot camps, eat healthfully and lift heavy… and I’M IMPERFECT, and BEAUTIFUL, damn it!) But it isn’t any wonder we throw stones. We are taught our whole lives (as women) that our worth is in the shape of our asses. So then I get down to the comments, and a perfect example of this in “quit whining” post. I honestly believe that obesity in women specifically has more to do with comments like that, than actual laziness or self control issues. It is theoretically a simple thing to “put down the fork” and “put in work” but not when you are doing so to be worthy. When not doing something that may be completely out of your comfort zone makes you a terrible woman, full of excuses and lacking drive. And then that’s not going to be good enough either. You need to look like a f#cking cartoon character. And yes, boobs leave with muscle. Gone. Thanks Dean for being such a perfect example of what’s wrong with how we view and treat women’s bodies. Truly exceptional words there.

    • If you’re muscular, you look like a man, and if you’re soft, you’re fat. We can’t win, I tell you!

  5. Ok. I’m a vegan. I don’t eat any animal products whatsoever. I also lift weights 5-6 days a week, do cardio, dance, & yoga. My bf tends to be around 11-13% all the time(even pre-vegan). I used to e married to a man like Dean, ladies. Please note: “used to”. I got implants when I was 20 because he was a sex/porn addict and found it his place to put those expectations on me, in conjunction with his “fat” remarks. I was at 10% bf on a daily basis for over a year at that time, and i lost what breast fullness i naturally had because of it. I truly believed I was less of a woman then bc of my size b boobs!!! So stupid! I’ve contemplated having them explanted, but now I run a risk of deformed breasts once they are removed, not to mention the costs. (I work at a plastic surgeons office..I consider myself well informed)
    So tell me… Do you, Dean, HONESTLY believe women’s breasts would stay full and perky after continuous weight lifting& cardio? Especially with weight loss?? That’s like me saying men with impeccable muscular structure (Jay Cutler for example) don’t have to ever take any sort of supplements or steroids. At any point. Ever. They just lift weights like mad and they miraculously put on size? I would like if you had a “comin’ to Jesus” on the reality of this topic, and actually used your brain to consider what you’re saying.
    Muscle burns fat, and the more muscle you have the less fat you have. Novel thought.
    How then would breasts maintain their fullness WITHOUT fat or implants? Answer: they don’t.
    And, please, don’t come at me with some hyped up bs about women complaining about image. I’m a fitness model, I’ve competed in figure competitions, I’m not “crying” because I feel I don’t meet some random a$$holes standards… This isn’t me being concerned with my appareance by what Dean thinks. Trust me.
    I’m genuinely confused on how your brain is working.
    It’s disheartening to know this is actually a way of thinking.

    • Thanks for weighing in, thatonegirl. I agree with you. I’m thinking Dean probably doesn’t have a whole lot of first hand knowledge about womens’ breasts. 😉

  6. The photo of the woman, from Africa, is extremely offensive — she’s not a “cavewoman” and there are very few African Tribes that eat or live in a hunter-gatherer lifestyle — it’s usually a mixed lifestyle of traditional and gruel.

    There is not one example of a “vegan” with even 2 generations of vegans on both sides of the family — so veganism is an experiment.

    I was vegan (as was my wife for over 20 years) all our friends (including my wife) who were vegan were extremely health conscious (diets and nutrition dialed in). Many of my 20 to 30 year vegan friends (especially the women) developed cysts and tumors (had to have them removed. My wife developed colitis, one of my dear friends and a grapefruit sized tumor removed; another friends wife has cancer, another has gout and the list goes on.

    We switched to a Paleo diet, we both droped 80lbs (combined) and my libido is like that of a 22yr old.

    The “reason” a vegan diet works in the short-run is that you are canabalizing all those protein and fat stores — the body breaks meat down really really easy (especially your own). If the individual has a great “core” of health, even though they might be fat or sickly looking on the SAD diet then they look awesome as a vegan (again in the short-run).

    You can’t eat those grains, beans, or flour raw (save raw coconut flour) nor would you — but greens, fruit, and meat have been eating raw for 2,000,000 years of human evolution (just a plain fact). And our fruit consumption would of been very low and seasonal as most varieties today did not exist even 100 years ago. Also, the fruit back then had very low levels of sugar, so it would of be nutritious and non-gout forming.

    • Octobox, I think you should spend more time reading about my dietary philosophy before assuming you know what I eat or the diet I advocate.

      Also, I think you missed the point of this post.

    • Unless octobox you are a comic book hero , I really don’t understand how you can find a picture of a very real woman offensive , over a drawn character do you have as limited intelligence as you appear ??? Do you masturbate over pics of Jessica rabbit ?? No wait , sorry she is soft and you probably consider her fat !!! Wake up to yourself .. Real women come in all shapes and sizes and can be happy in all shapes and sizes !!

  7. Oh my … Dean it’s not often words elude me , however after reading your PATHETIC post I struggle finding what to say .. Firstly how misinformed you are, I know since you have never had the opportunity to have physical contact with any breasts that don’t have a staple between them it’s difficult to comment with any authority. BUt you are an IDIOT !! an uneducated meathead who clearly has nothing of any worth to contribute.. We as women should be able to look however it is that makes us most comfortable , muscular or otherwise what’s it to you ? Secondly the standard nutritional allowance to get body fat low enough to even remotely resemble that pic is severely limiting for most who HAVE A LIFE , I will eat cake if I want cake , I will have a drink if I want , I do not have single digit BF % not even close , but I’m not interested in even getting mine read, I lift for hypertrophy 4 days a week, and I do HIIT training 5 times a week, I’m strong I’m healthy and I am so cardiovasculalry fit I have a resting heart rate of 43 beats per minute, but guess what I have an arse and thighs and a little bit of a belly ( I’ve had kids though ) I breast fed my kids for 3.5 years and I don’t have much left , I have have been very thin with next to no BF and I had breasts like fried eggs.. I don’t give a toss what you or any other male thinks of my body , it’s of no concern to me if you think I’m undosciplined and unattractive or not.. Chances are I will think your a tool anyway .. Anywho I have more important things to do , like bake with my children ( god forbid I have failed as a mother if my son turns out like you , and my daughter falls victim to your way of looking at women )
    I would suggest you go and live it up a little, life really is grand when you don’t take out the fun bits .. Oh and go and get yourself informed !!!!!

  8. Dear Dean, I guess if we get Paleo 2 woman a gym membership, and a boob job, she would meet the expectation you desire.;)…put down the fork? put down your sexist attitude, we are not bemoaning, we are taking a stance against unattainable images that society and piggy men like you put upon women. Many, Many women work hard to be healthy for a variety of reasons, mainly for good health and the rest as follows. Even then, it dosen’t mean we are gonna end up looking like playboy models…it’s your genetics that also play a key role…think about that, genius.

  9. Thank you for writing about diet & exercise so honestly. After reading blog after blog that made me feel like I was approaching strength training and eating healthy in a way that was “wrong” (for not yielding magically bigger boobs and a lower body fat percentage) you have helped me realize all the things I’m doing *RIGHT*.

  10. truth be told, dean is racist (tribal hard-working african women are beautiful, their breasts are healthy because they allow them to be out in the sun and air, they have no breast cancer or diseases of the breast) and obviously uneducated. hes not a woman and could never understand, he represents a very ignorant population of males (not a man but a male) hes most likely single and any woman who would tolerate such an attitude need to work on her self love and respect. it goes to show how truly brainwashed the world is and will continue to be as long as we as women allow ourselves to be represented in the media. that said lucky for us hes only part of the 5%. my boyfriend loves natural women with all their curves, mature natural and soft breasts (not 15 year old perky), i know i’m preaching to the converted, just saying. and ladies there is hope, i hope for him he sees this and sees how women do not agree about his statements about OUR bodies and takes some time to educate himself, then possibly he can actually have a woman someday! lol!

  11. ps women are beautiful… period, and to the author i think you looked lovely in every picture esp the early ones, i think we spend too much time on weight loss when weight in most cases does not determine health. we should be more concerned with being healthy (no matter what our body looks like) our lifestyle when we feel energetic, vibrant etc should be our base and we should maintain whatever that feels like, not what it looks like!

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