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Why I love calorie counting!

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  • Why I love calorie counting!

    So, this post was inspired by the Women Who Eat a Ton thread. I have been following it with much interest, even though I have not posted to it in many pages. It's kind of gone in a different direction lately, but it got me to thinking very hard about what's happened to me in the last year. Since I had data to look at (thank you, LoseIt), I decided to really look at it. The graph below is my weight loss since March 30, 2012. I weigh every day, but only record the weight when I hit a new low. I started slowly transitioning to a mostly primal diet around July.


    In October/November I noticed my weight loss slowing down and I was much hungrier. I adjusted my calorie budget to 1 lb loss/per week and then later to 1/2 lb/week. The second graph is a close-up of the October-present time frame. Around Christmas, I really went off the rails calorie-wise and I couldn't seem to get completely back on track. Still the net result was continued (slow) weight loss. The last couple of weeks, I have been less hungry and weight is starting to really drop again.


    Then, I decided to look at my calories. The third graph is daily calories since March 2012. Every blue diamond is one day. The red line is daily average across the whole year. So, it's true, I have been eating more and more, even though it's not every day. Every day above 2000 calories almost certainly contained alcohol and at least a little non-primal food.


    I'm still trying to make sense of this. I was overweight/obese almost my entire adult life. In my late teens and early twenties, I kept my weight under control with purging and mad aerobics. Now my only exercise is yoga class once a week and brisk walking when I think of it. I feel amazing and I can't believe cutting out grains and processed food was all it took.

    Anyway, I love my scale and I love my calorie counting app. They've given me beautiful, beautiful pictures that make me love the food I'm eating even more.
    50yo, 5'3"
    SW-195
    CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
    GW- Goals are no longer weight-related

  • #2
    Cool graphs. Good job!

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    • #3
      Ooo shiny graphs of useful info! I love stuff like this. =)
      yay!

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      • #4
        Wow! That is amazing! Completely inspiring, my congrats to you!

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        • #5
          Great graphs. What tools are you using?
          "When the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power." - Alston Chase

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          • #6
            I love how obviously the graphs show plateaus, followed by a drop to another plateau, with another drop to a plateau. It puts a lot of the "stalling" threads into perspective. I may post links to this later.

            *Edit: also, what tracking/logging tools are you using?

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            • #7
              Great work! I love the graphs, as well. I really like the weight tracking on the livestrong site. Food entry is a breeze, as well, although I seldom track foods anymore.

              I really like the idea of only entering new lows. It looks so amazing - exactly what we teach ourselves to see when there are normal ups and downs in our weight, but so much prettier when it's in shown that way!
              My blog: Regular Guy Paleo and please feel free to "like" my Facebook page.

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              • #8
                Thanks for all the comments. I use LoseIt on my phone for all my weight, calorie and macro tracking. On the LoseIt website then I can look at a variety of reports/graphs and export the tabular data to Microsoft Excel for more graphing options. I hadn't bothered to export the data until this week though. My husband also has MyFitnessPal on his phone and he thinks the food database is better, but the weight/calorie recording is not as good as LoseIt. I know there are a lot of other tracking apps available. I just don't know anything about how their features compare.

                I got the idea for only recording new low weights from a book I read last March, The Anderson Method - The Secret to Permanent Weight Loss, by William Anderson. While the author doesn't advocate for a primal lifestyle exactly, a lot of his approach really primed my thinking for primal eating when I discovered MDA 6 months later. I agree that the plot resulting from only recording new lows is very pleasing, both aesthetically and psychologically. I should point out though that, especially in plateaus of a week or more, my weight drifted upward by 2 or 3 lbs and then drifted back down again before hitting a new low. After my 6 day Christmas holiday gluten binge, I found myself up 7 lbs! and it took 2 whole weeks to come back down again. I'm pretty much immune to the stress of plateaus now though, because I can clearly see how they have all turned out.

                I'm still trying to wrap my head around the evidence that I'm one of those women who can eat a ton. Maybe not every day, but often enough to satisfy my random urges to pig out. I keep looking at the graph of my calories and thinking, "holy crap, that's amazing".
                50yo, 5'3"
                SW-195
                CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
                GW- Goals are no longer weight-related

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                • #9
                  This is amazing Laura! It would be great if you posted it on Choco's "Calories count, you're an extremist if you don't think so" thread It looks like there's something else going on.

                  As you prob know, I'm contributing to the WWEATWG thread, and it's a strange experience. I thought I was gaining, but today my weight is the same as when I started more than a week ago. I'm eating on average 3.5K cal a day (of real food)... Strange.

                  Anyway, congrads on your weight loss!
                  "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                  In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                  - Ray Peat

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LauraSB View Post
                    I got the idea for only recording new low weights from a book I read last March, The Anderson Method - The Secret to Permanent Weight Loss, by William Anderson.
                    First off, congrats on your weight loss!

                    I've always tracked my weight at the new low... but that was mostly because I hated to track a number that went up instead.

                    I've been eating "more" and have seen more extreme fluctuations in weight, but it's taught me to ignore those since it's not a true weight gain anyway. Also more interesting to note that as of late, with the addition of heavy lifting, I was stalling when I decided to go DOWN to a steady 1500. Eating back around 1900 produces a loss again.

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                    • #11
                      This is a great post. I have your same stats, and started just 6 lbs higher. But the biggest change was in my measurements when I lost some belly. Now at measurements of 36/29/36, I feel great. Not concerned about losing more weight as i like some curves and i like to eat and enjoy wine at times. And, I eat anywhere from1400 - 2200 calories per day, ususally at the higher end. I had to eat no more than 1500 pre primal just to maintain weight. Thanks for your post!!!

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                      • #12
                        I love seeing it all laid out in black and white. Or gray and blue, to be precise Thanks for the great visuals! I have to count calories too.
                        be the hair that knots with my hair
                        - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                        primal since oct. 1, 2012

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                        • #13
                          Thank you for posting your success. After a long time on low carb, I switched to reading PB on new years (after holiday gluten) and started eating primal. After years of 1000 calories a day, I am really afraid when I total 1400 calories a day. I do walk or hike an hour a day but still can't shake the fear of the scale going up again after decades of dieting to get it down.

                          The more posts I read about the healing properties of primal, the more I want to trust the process.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by calee View Post
                            Thank you for posting your success. After a long time on low carb, I switched to reading PB on new years (after holiday gluten) and started eating primal. After years of 1000 calories a day, I am really afraid when I total 1400 calories a day. I do walk or hike an hour a day but still can't shake the fear of the scale going up again after decades of dieting to get it down.

                            The more posts I read about the healing properties of primal, the more I want to trust the process.
                            Calee,
                            I hear you on being afraid to increase calories. What is working for me right now (as usual, "right now" is always subject to change ) is having approx. 1200 calories a day for 4 or 5 days, and then upping the intake for a day or two to 2000, and then going back to 1200. I'm a short female so 1200 is a decent amount of calories for me. I up the intake every 4 or 5 days just to assure my metabolism that I'm not going into starvation mode, and of course to treat myself a bit. I lose 1.50-2 lbs a week this way right now and could lose more but honestly don't want to.....I think slow and steady wins the race. You're definitely approaching Primal the right way if you're willing to "trust the process". It's such a healing way of eating, and the weight loss will come when the time is right.
                            be the hair that knots with my hair
                            - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                            primal since oct. 1, 2012

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LauraSB View Post
                              I'm still trying to wrap my head around the evidence that I'm one of those women who can eat a ton. Maybe not every day, but often enough to satisfy my random urges to pig out. I keep looking at the graph of my calories and thinking, "holy crap, that's amazing".
                              I don't think you eat a ton. Your average daily calories are around 1,500. What your graph shows is as you transitioned more and more into the primal lifestyle, your metabolic rate increased. This is surely because you became more nutritionally replete. This is likely due to many factors - repletion in fat soluble vitamins, increased mineral content, less toxic fats, less inflammatory lectins from grains and legumes, better sleep due to a healthier diet...if you have before and after bloodwork, I'm sure your thyroid picked up.

                              I think most Americans are just extremely sedentary and have really unhealthy metabolisms from years of abuse with high polyunsaturated fat diets low in fat soluble vitamins A/D/E/K/K2 and low in essential nutrients like copper, selenium, B-3 and magnesium. I think the PROPER metabolic rate is very high, but we beat ourselves up so long by eating nutrient-poor foods, toxic fats, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, lack of sun and we walk around in state of chronic inflammation and it just adds up and crushes us over the years. Not to mention - get this - older people tend to eat MORE than younger people, even though their metabolic rates decrease as we get older. The average 50 year old eats more than the average 35 year old. Isn't that awful?
                              Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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