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Fat Loss Bible- It's about Calories not carbs!

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  • #16
    The "It's about X not Y" approach in your thread title is a problem.

    Human's prefer to look for "univariate" (one variable) solutions to problems, but most interesting problems have multiple causation (that is, multiple variables are involved in causing changes in the variable of interest). Not only that, but the solution space can be non-linear in any one dimension as a function of what is happening in other dimensions (e.g., does higher fat consumption raise LDL? - The answer may depend upon the total macro-nutrient profile of one's diet, types of fat consumed, exercise, etc., etc., etc.).

    So asking whether it is "carbs" or "calories" pretends that we are dealing with an either/or answer. Maybe it is both, plus many other variables as well.

    Worse, what is the "it" in "is it calories or carbs"? Weight loss? Weight maintenance after loss? Hunger levels throughout the day? Effort required to eat a certain way? Body composition? Energy levels? Blood lipid profile? Diabetes management? Cognitive clarity at work? Sex drive? How cold your hands are? ....

    Even uglier: Some of the variables in this multivariate problem are almost certainly individual difference variables. Almost all research on these topics averages data from everyone in a group, and looks at group (mean) differences. For example, the 2007 Stanford study comparing a variety of diets resulted in the following statement in the accompanying press release:
    "At the end of a year, the 77 women assigned to the Atkins group had lost an average of 10.4 pounds.
    Those assigned to LEARN lost 5.7 pounds, the Ornish followers lost 4.8 pounds and women on the Zone lost
    3.5 pounds, on average. In all four groups, however, some participants lost up to 30 pounds."

    Obviously not everyone in the Atkins group lost 10.4 pounds. In fact, no one person may have lost this amount. The paper itself has the standard deviations for each group, and they are large enough to tell us that no two people responded the same way to any given diet (of course, no two people received the exact same treatment either....).

    Two harsh realities here:
    1) If one looks for the "one" thing (leptin, insulin, carbs, omega 3, exercise, genes, etc., etc.) that will "solve" an interesting problem, (s)he is going to miss the overall solution by a long ways;

    2) Because of multiple causation, studies that look at "just" a handful of variables (which is HARD to do, don't get me wrong), will SLOWLY move us towards the answer. While they are moving us there, they'll take wrong turns, and/or produce "wonky" data, precisely because until we know ALL of the variables in play, and how they interact with each other, we'll have uncontrolled important variables in play that "mess" things up.

    Read a lot, pay more attention to peer-reviewed, randomized controlled (true experimental) studies than one-off statements on the internet (like this one from me), and accept that what works for you may be a semi-unique pattern of variable settings.

    For now, you can be sure that depending upon your "it" (the thing you want to effect), total calories, macro-nutrient profiles, presence/absence of grains/dairy/sugars, resistance training, cardio, types of fats consumed, and many other things you'll see on these forums "matter". No one of them will solve the worlds problems (and it all of "this" was a univariate problem, it would have been solved generations ago....).

    Sorry for the dissertation, but the "either/or" univariate thinking pushes a button.
    Last edited by dnj1965; 11-28-2012, 06:25 AM.
    SW = 290, PSW = 290, CW = 228, UGW = 194
    6'2" Male, Early 50's

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    • #17
      accept that what works for you may be a semi-unique pattern of variable settings.
      That is SO true. Effectively, if you are fat, you have a lifestyle that supports excess body fat, and need to change that. The best solution is something you can stick to long term (ie, forever). That varies for people. I think primal is effective because it is such a vague blueprint for living that eliminates most of the easiest ways to overeat, while being really easy to customize. When you start getting to strict, you can't stick to it for long.... so as soon as you finish, say, a potato fast or slim fast or exclusion of all fat or all carbs, you have lost the fat, but are unable to keep it off ongoing because you haven't really learned to create a sustainable lifestyle for YOU that keeps off the fat.

      http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
      Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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      • #18
        Originally posted by SJW2 View Post
        caloric restriction clearly works, at least in the short term. What I've read makes me think it is not that effective in the long term
        If you take in no calories for long enough, you will eventually get to the point where you will never gain weight again.

        I started off counting calories to make sure I lost weight. I stopped doing this a few weeks back because I hit a plateau at about 15lbs of fat left to get rid of and can now feel that I am developing some muscle. This last means that as I put on muscle and lose fat, I am not losing weight like I did when I had over 60lbs of blubber to get rid of. My experience is showing me that it is calories, carbs, fat, protein, vitamins & minerals, water and any other factors that can influence our bodies like exercise and sleep.
        Why use a sledge hammer to crack a nut when a steam roller is even more effective, and, is fun to drive.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by magnolia1973 View Post
          That is SO true. Effectively, if you are fat, you have a lifestyle that supports excess body fat, and need to change that. The best solution is something you can stick to long term (ie, forever). That varies for people. I think primal is effective because it is such a vague blueprint for living that eliminates most of the easiest ways to overeat, while being really easy to customize. When you start getting to strict, you can't stick to it for long.... so as soon as you finish, say, a potato fast or slim fast or exclusion of all fat or all carbs, you have lost the fat, but are unable to keep it off ongoing because you haven't really learned to create a sustainable lifestyle for YOU that keeps off the fat.
          My best friend recently celebrated losing 100 lbs doing weight watchers, after watching the documentary "sick, fat and nearly dead" (I haven't seen it, not sure what it's exactly about) this same friend lost about 50-60 lbs after I talked to him about primal. He regained them, and then some, before really committing to a lifestlye (WW) and making other changes in his mindset in general.

          It's not that primal failed him (and to be clear, he actually did more of an atkins style diet, he never came to me for any advise or anything, and I'm not sure if he read the materials I gave him. He said he had done atkins in the past, he also wasn't keen on cutting out ALL grains or being too strict) it's that he himself wasn't committed.

          He's also admitted, as I pointed out above, that he's not at all interested in having the type of dietary restrictions I have. He's not worried about dairy, or gluten, or anything of the sort. He just wanted to lose body fat, and he's accomplished that goal.

          Me, I am much more a nutrition nerd than he would ever want to be. I've forgotten more about nutrition than he cares to ever learn. That's fine (for him) but it's not who I am. I geek out on this stuff, I almost get off on the knowledge and the application of it. I'm more of a hacker so to speak. I also have this thing, where if I know something is better, I can't just do "good enough" (at least not every time).

          I only had about 30lbs to lose, and I've never in my life gone up and down as dramatically as my friend has. My weight fluctuates 10lbs at the most, so we were vastly different to begin with. I'm happy for him, he's found something that works for him and suits his lifestyle and what he wants to do with his time is different from what I want to do with mine. Calorie counting got him there, and through calorie counting he plans to stay there. He said he doesn't do as much counting now, he knows how to eyeball things better and what no-no foods to really avoid, so he learned a lot.

          Both of us won't eat bread (too often) but he won't do it for different reasons than I won't. I think it's pretty funny actually, I see gluten, he sees a number.
          I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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          • #20
            I have done just about every diet out there........and been successful on them all. Different ways to count calories, be it a handful or a point or whatever, but I agree that the problem is finding the one that, not only can you sustain, but seems really good for your particular body and well-being in general. I think this comes a lot down to your intolerances/allergies. If the diet seems easy to you, you don't feel the need to cheat too much, then you have found the one for you. That has been the case for me on this diet, no need to count calories, watch portions or exercise a lot, I feel satiated and clear and well. Not the case for weight watchers and the like, very foggy brain, loads of cheat days... just about twice a week of losing control, amazing I lost the weight at all. Years of eating overly carby food the culprit I think.
            Started Primal June 2012 at 148.5lbs, and 5' 1", reached goal weight in 5 months.
            Lowest weight 93lbs - too thin. Now stable at around 100lbs much better weight for me at my age.
            Primal, minus eggs, dairy and a myriad of other allergens.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Silvergirl View Post
              Not the case for weight watchers and the like, very foggy brain, loads of cheat days... just about twice a week of losing control, amazing I lost the weight at all. Years of eating overly carby food the culprit I think.
              Yeah, as happy as I am for my friend, I bet he goes through a lot of self-doubt due to the diet. "I want MORE of that but I'm near my limit for the day" or something to that effect.

              Primal works much better for me, though I like to think about what I want to eat or what I am eating, I don't HAVE to. As long as there's some sort of animal protein and a vegetable pairing, I'm good to go. Combine that with 16/8 IF and yeah, I'm set.
              I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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              • #22
                I think that Anthony Colpo, while being abrasive and egotistical does have some great points in his book. His book is a good resource for weight management. Anthony doesn't however concern himself with inflammation and the negative effects of gains and bad oils. I'm also an IF person and he loves to rant against IF. His point that customizing one's fat and carbohydrate intake for their specific needs is very valid. A low carbohydrate approach can in fact be a great tool in losing a lot of weight but that doesn't mean that all carbohydrates are bad and that athletes need to avoid them.
                http://www.facebook.com/daemonized

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                • #23
                  "If the diet seems easy to you, you don't feel the need to cheat too much, then you have found the one for you. That has been the case for me on this diet, no need to count calories, watch portions or exercise a lot, I feel satiated and clear and well."

                  I agree!
                  I've tried a handful of methods to lose weight in the past. Each time I have been successful, to some degree, losing as much as 15-20% of my starting body weight in one fell swoop. In the end, I always put the weight back on. This time it feels different. This time, I read Primal Blueprint. The book explained why I felt the way I did on those other diets, and why I had a hard time keeping the weight off after those diets. Every point about diet in the book made sense to me and, although there were not many references, any doubts I had began to melt away, along with my excess body fat, as soon as I began the new lifestyle. It is incredible (to me) how well the book and lifestyle correctly predicted how I would feel, how my body would change, and how easy it all would be. The thing is, Mark probably didn't write this book just for me so, stealing his 80/20 rule, I have to guess the Primal lifestyle would work for a majority of people seeking weight loss, increased energy, and overall improved health.

                  In my opinion, this is very a natural way to eat and live. I can not say that about any of the other diets I've tried in my life.
                  Began Primal Living: 25 Sep 2012
                  Starting Weight: 82kg (180 lbs) - Lost 30 lbs since going Primal!

                  "I do not eat enough carbs to justify eating low-fat."
                  "Have some bread with your bread, pasta, bread, and HFCS." - Unicorn
                  "I also walk my dog twice a day now instead of paying someone else to do it." - IronGirl
                  "Tell me you're not weak minded enough to be outsmarted by a donut?" - not on the rug


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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Daemonized View Post
                    I think that Anthony Colpo, while being abrasive and egotistical does have some great points in his book. His book is a good resource for weight management. Anthony doesn't however concern himself with inflammation and the negative effects of gains and bad oils. I'm also an IF person and he loves to rant against IF. His point that customizing one's fat and carbohydrate intake for their specific needs is very valid. A low carbohydrate approach can in fact be a great tool in losing a lot of weight but that doesn't mean that all carbohydrates are bad and that athletes need to avoid them.
                    He just loves to rant, IMO. It gets old quickly for me and any good content he might have had goes by the wayside.

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                    • #25
                      dnj1965, I loved your dissertation. Thanks! You said it perfectly.

                      What is the "it" you are looking for?

                      For me it was appetite control. I simply could not achieve it after what I had done to my body hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for 6 months on a nearly zero protein diet high in simple carbs (candy, cookies and crackers) and crappy vegetable oils (poptarts, fig newtons, cheeze-its, dehydrated cheese-flavored powder, packets of mayo pilfered from gas stations.)

                      A high fat, low carb diet gave me control over my appetite. I could eat less and lose weight.

                      Now I'm gaining weight. Weighed on the same scale that said I was 163 a year and a half ago it now reads 142. My home scale said 133 last time I looked (July). My clothes are looser. I eat 2000-2500 calories a day at minimum, a full 500-1000 calories more than My Fitness Pal calculates is my "maintenance."

                      I'm not sure what "calories" or "weight loss" really is anymore.
                      Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                      • #26
                        The thing is for me, I cannot go too low carb. I noticed if I eat just protein for a meal I am still hungry, I need more veggies to protein.

                        I really am trying to help my mom with all of this information, and every day I am convinced its about being a "fat burner" through high protein, high fat, low carb, but then by the end of that same day, I am back to "its about calories! how can it not be!"

                        I think paleo works, as most people have already said here, because it is satiating and reduces appetite. I think Paleo has a good strategy behind its system, but it may not be right for everyone is they can't control their appetites or reduce their overall calories. Vegans/raw vegans are usually skinnier even if they eat ALL CARBS because they eat lower calories.

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                        • #27
                          man, anthony colpo's blog can be scary. the guy FREAKS OUT over any criticism, by anyone, anywhere in the blogosphere. it's a little weird to watch him essentially melt down week after week.

                          anyway, his points about weightloss (basically, just not ignoring science) are all valid, and damn right. but lyle mcdonald says it better, and says it more succinctly. and if you read lyle's blog, you don't have to put up with white text on a black background which is a pet peeve of mine.

                          but yeah, colpo is on point with regards to calories, and science in general.

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