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Diet Basics? Still calorie counting?

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  • Diet Basics? Still calorie counting?

    I haven't gotten the book yet, but I am interested in trying this out.

    It's the kind of thing I would have thought of as a fad diet, but after noticing some things and reading a bit I wonder if I could not only feel and perform better with this kind of eating, but also maximize the lean muscle mass I am looking to build:

    I tend to crave a lot of carbs of any sort, from gobs of fruit to boxes of goods, but have noticed since I started paying attention to nutrition in general that I seem to both digest and feel better as an athlete when my diet takes on a sort of theme like this: mostly natural food, high fat/protein vs. carbs, even fruit.

    I also wonder if eating this way would help me not only build muscle, but perform as an athlete, not necessarily a body builder.

    After toying with the idea for a while, I read about the "Primal challenge" and thought "hey, good idea" at least give it a chance...the as if.

    The problem is I don't quite get the specifics of how this works:

    Is it all about the makeup of your diet here, or still a matter of counting calories?

    Do you just keep your carbs in check and then there's no limit to fats, proteins, and veggies?

    Or is it still calorie counting, just making sure you "fill" your calories a certain way?

    I'm mostly looking for what the basic guide would be:

    -what the "guidelines" are for what to eat

    -how to determine carbohydrate needs/quotas [especially as an athlete]

    -anything else that factors in to the basics of this

    I've been reading a lot of information on this site about the reasoning and what it's all about-

    but haven't come up with a specific guide as to how to DO it.

    Thanks so much for any guidance you can give me!

  • #2

    Here you go, should cover everything you want to know, although I still suggest reading the book. It's packed with great info.


    • #3

      I do want to read the book! I was just hoping to get started sooner-

      Maybe I'm missing something, but I feel like those links are helpful with a lot of the "additional information" but not the basics that it all works around...

      Do you just pick the appropriate carb level and count that daily, then unlimited pure meats, fats, and veggies?

      I see people talking about calories, which seems like this is about calorie counting with specific guidelines to how you get those calories...?

      I was thinking of counting milk and grains/day and then not worrying about fat/protein quotas, but if this relies on keeping in check with calories that wouldn't be right...

      Again, I do want to learn more of all the concepts discussed in the links. But to get started, I'm just looking for a basic guide for daily eating guidelines:

      -What to count.

      -How much to count.

      ...from there I can learn more about the how's and why's


      • #4

        I think you will get varying responses on the calorie counting depending on what each person's situation and beliefs are. It varies from those who don't feel the need to count calories at all and seem to maintain healthy weight and low body fat levels and there are others who feel the need to restrict calories as well as carbs. I guess it depends on what your goals are and what works for your individual metabolic system. Certain amount of trial and error involved.


        • #5

          So how are you suppoed to set up/guide your eating?

          Is it really varied or is there a method?


          • #6

            This isn't a "diet" where you follow specific rules...

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            • #7

              To make it easy, first get into primal eating. No grains, "tubers" or dairy (or sparingly little high fat dairy). Don&#39;t eat/drink any sugars other than what&#39;s naturally found in fruits. Once you&#39;ve mastered that then you can start looking at carb count.

              50-100 is the "sweet spot" where you should see some good fat loss

              100-150 is where you&#39;d be to maintain weight

              150-300 means gradual fat increase

              That&#39;s a basic rundown of it.


              • #8

                BabyBuff, I was like you - wanting specific numbers at the beginning, so here&#39;s what I came up with my "formula" for while I was counting stuff - I tracked my food for a month or two just to get used to what is in stuff, and then stopped... now it&#39;s pretty intuitive for me. But I&#39;m also not trying to lose weight.

                Protein - focus on getting enough. .5-1g of protein per pound of lean body mass. So if you&#39;re 150 pounds and 30% body fat you&#39;d have 105 pounds of lean body mass. You&#39;d shoot for at least 53g of protein a day, up to 105, depending on how much lifting/athletics you do.

                Carbs - keep them low. If you&#39;re trying to lose weight, the lower the better. No grains (I noticed you said "counting grains" - just don&#39;t eat them at all). If you are having trouble losing, also cut dairy to zero. I have to be pretty much under 50g a day of carbs to lose weight. Otherwise, I try to stay under 80-100g. I&#39;m 98% sure that if I ate more than 100g of carbs a day I&#39;d gain weight (I&#39;m 125 pounds). Be careful of eating too much fruit - carbs will skyrocket. One piece of fruit or a handful of berries a day should be good.

                Fat - as high as it needs to be for satiation. Cook with fat (sautee veggies in coconut oil, cook eggs in bacon grease, etc), flavor with fat (top steamed veggies with butter, use olive oil and lemon juice on your salads, etc), "accessorize" with fat (nuts, avocados on salads, etc). Don&#39;t eat till you&#39;re stuffed but definitely don&#39;t fear the fat. Just make sure you eat the right kinds. Avoid processed fats, trans fats, anything "hydrogenated", veggie oil, canola oil - ew. My fat count is usually over 100g a day, around 60-70% of my calories are from fat.

                Hope that helps.

                So basically:

                Protein - figure your needs and make sure you get enough

                Carbs - keep them low, but don&#39;t skimp on veggies.

                Fat - as much as you need to feel satisfied and not hungry.

                Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.


                • #9

                  PS And yes if you want to lose weight, you do need to have a caloric deficit. BUT if you watch the carbs and stop eating when you&#39;re satisfied (not stuffed), it&#39;ll be pretty hard to screw it up. Eating this way is so much more natural than the standard American way. Satiation will occur at much lower calorie thresholds (in my experience anyway).

                  Eating lots but still hungry? Eat more fat. Mid-day sluggishness? Eat more fat. Feeling depressed or irritable? Eat more fat. People think you've developed an eating disorder? Eat more fat... in front of them.


                  • #10


                    Thanks, that was the "impression" I got from the Carb Curve and following explanation of food groups:

                    About protein, is that something to be limited?

                    I am pretty small and easily eat 2X my recommended value [well over 1g/kg and even close to 2g/POUND on some days]--while eating 3-500g carbs! I could easily hit 150-200g of protein on a daily basis while filling up primarily on fats/proteins.

                    Should I hold the carbs, keep protein more in check, and fill the rest with the fats/veggies? Or just hold the carbs and not worry about protein OR fats?

                    I&#39;m not looking to lose weight per say, but I&#39;m trying to build a lean, strong, and powerful body as an athlete.

                    As far as the "carb upper limit" should I set it at ~150g + some amount for the activity I do?

                    Obviously I wouldn&#39;t "try" to eat a certain amount, but how should I calculate my quota-with activity?

                    Thanks so much for the help!


                    • #11

                      BB - once you drop the carbs and eat more fat you won&#39;t crave quite as much protein. I&#39;m new to this also, but here&#39;s a suggestion. Eat primal, track your calories on Fitday or Dailyburn to see how you&#39;re doing, make adjustments and do it. In the meantime read more and don&#39;t get too anal. Grok never had a calculator.


                      • #12

                        "Eat primal, track your calories on Fitday or Dailyburn to see how you&#39;re doing, make adjustments and do it"

                        THis is where I am hoping to start...and adapt as needed of course. I&#39;m just trying to define what those first two words mean so I can!


                        • #13

                          The definition is slightly different for everyone, and it changes with the days and even the seasons.

                          For me eating primal sometimes means bone soup for breakfast, a big bowl of blueberries, and a salad, maybe a steak for dinner (like today). Other days it means 3 eggs for breakfast, nothing the entire day, and 3 juicy pork chops for dinner. Sometimes there are snacks of nuts or fruit, sometimes not.

                          It really boils down to a few basic ideas. Eat things that grow, and eat things that eat things that grow. Plants and animals. That pretty much covers it. I stick to the concept that if it comes in a package, a bag or a box, it&#39;s not food. I generally can&#39;t go wrong that way.


                          • #14

                            FNW has nailed it. Great advice. I found by enjoying a couple eggs for breakfast, salad with sunflower seeds, and leftover meat (or nuts) from the night before for lunch, then a meat, salad or a couple of cooked veggies will hit the numbers just about smack on.

                            That put my protien / carbs (less than 100) / fat ratio just about right on. At 1900 calories +- minimum it nails the nutrients if you eat salmon for lunch twice a week.

                            To me eating primal means a diet that rebalances the Omega 3-6 ratio. If you can kill it, hook it or pick it then eat it.


                            • #15

                              So for starters here&#39;s what I&#39;m thinking:

                              -all natural food

                              -upper limit on the carbs [1-200g?]: from fruit, natural grains, milk/yogurt

                              -Try and tone down the protein [already get way more than 1g/lb]

                              -Unlimited fats [natural sources] and veggies

                              Does this sound right?