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Reality check: Counting calories

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  • Well, let’s be mindful of my friend’s situation here:

    - He’s working out daily, building muscle, etc.
    - he’s a young male (27 I think)
    - has always been pretty much VERY active, at least since I’ve know him. I would assume at least for the last 10 years.

    Women and men of different ages/lifestyles will have different macronutrient requirements.

    I do kinda worry sometimes about posters such as Griff (I pick him because he’s vocal of his love of fat, and because everybody here knows him) eating tons of fat with very little protein and very little carbs. I know his situation is further complicated by his blood sugar issues so I am NOT saying he should eat more protein and less fat, but I do wonder if it would help his body composition goals (to lose BF, though I know his primary goal is to keep his blood sugars under control) I’m not sure if he stayed with the workout regimen that I remember he started a while back, but I wonder how LHT plus protein with moderate fat and carb would work for him. Griff, if you’re reading, thoughts?
    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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    • By reducing fat we also reduce calories. OH LAWD WHICH IS IT.
      and i think it was dragonfly who posted a link to something on the eades' blog about the same thing and i am not motivated enough to go hunting for it.
      Here it is again:
      The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D. Ľ Low-carb and calories

      If you are in ketosis, it's all about the FAT.

      When you are in ketosis, fat will be burned, basically because there are no carbs left -- because you are in ketosis!

      Some protein will be utilized for gluconeogenesis to provide glucose for the brain, but protein will not be burned for energy if there is sufficient fat available--from any source. Being in ketosis makes body fat available for burning. Eades says it best here:

      On a low-carb diet your body burns fat for energy. But it doesn’t care where this fat comes from; it can come from the diet or it can come from the fat cells or it can come from both. If you are consuming enough fat to meet all your body’s requirements, your body won’t go after the fat in the fat cells no matter how severely you restrict your carbs. You will burn dietary fat only and no body fat. And you won’t lose weight. It’s that simple.

      And so my (imperfect!) understanding is that if you are not in ketosis and are eating lower calories, your fat stores will not be as available and your body will burn carbs, protein and fat--- in that order-- and you will lose muscle mass as a result.

      Iniquity~ Thanks for sharing your friend's story. Really got my brain working!

      I think that I feel better not ODing on protein, but I may up mine slightly. I've been hovering around 20% and will try upping it to 25%.
      Last edited by Dragonfly; 03-01-2011, 09:54 AM.
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      • well I am sure I will be cruciated and excommunicated for this , but have you thought about adding a little bit more starches/carbs into your diet?
        You have an excellent diet, are exercising a lot and in a good way, and don't appear to have any healing or healh improvement to do, so i would wager a bet that adding a few safe carbs here and there might actually put your body out of it's routine and reset some hormone levels (something to do with leptin levels?)

        being in constant ketosis really halted my progress, adding a few potatoes here and there made it going again (and increased my energy levels again, even though they were on a high level already from primal, but somehow I had more motivation again to push really hard in my workouts)

        I think I remember from somewhere that the last levels of stored energy might very well be there because your leptin levels get really low, which halts the stored energy burning process (I think it was from the Perfect Health guys, but mark did a take on leptin as well i think), so instead of going into further caloric restriction and possibly some form of starvation you might try to introduce some form of starches for 30 days and see what happens... Especially with the workouts you do it should give you added energy

        I am always sceptical when reduced calories (which you do already, low carb is a reduced calories diet) stop eliciting a response, and the remedy would be to further reduce calories... somehow that doesn't sound right to me (what was that quote about the dumbness of doing the same thing and expecting different results? not meant as an insult at all!)

        I may be way off, so please correct me if that is the case!

        Comment


        • Originally posted by claude512 View Post
          low carb is a reduced calories diet
          I feel obliged to point out: not necessarily true, although it may work out that way for most people due to interactions with appetite. But it's possible to be low carb and still get the same or more calories.
          "Trust me, you will soon enter a magical land full of delicious steakflowers, with butterbacons fluttering around over the extremely rompable grass and hillsides."

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Dragonfly View Post

            On a low-carb diet your body burns fat for energy. But it doesnít care where this fat comes from; it can come from the diet or it can come from the fat cells or it can come from both. If you are consuming enough fat to meet all your bodyís requirements, your body wonít go after the fat in the fat cells no matter how severely you restrict your carbs. You will burn dietary fat only and no body fat. And you wonít lose weight. Itís that simple.

            And so my (imperfect!) understanding is that if you are not in ketosis and are eating lower calories, your fat stores will not be as available and your body will burn carbs, protein and fat--- in that order-- and you will lose muscle mass as a result.
            Totally got the first bit - read that blog and understood and even made some adjustments to my WOE as a consequence - cutting back a tad on fat and portion sizes (remains to be seen if they were a good idea).

            BUT the second bit - i feel I am back in "double negative land". I only get carbs from meat/proteins and from non root veggies on most days, very occasionally have carrots or a bit of parsnip, even less often have a bowl of frozen berries. (No dairy for about 6 weeks, almost no nuts for the same period). I have no "symptoms" of ketosis - and don't use stix. I am unsure of calories as I won't go back to counting. Are you saying I could be burning my hard earned muscle mass as my fat stores may not be available??

            I get soooo confused about all this it makes me wonder if I should stop trying to find out "whats best" and just eat. (not CW I hasten to add)

            Comment


            • Originally posted by claude512 View Post
              well I am sure I will be cruciated and excommunicated for this , but have you thought about adding a little bit more starches/carbs into your diet?
              You have an excellent diet, are exercising a lot and in a good way, and don't appear to have any healing or healh improvement to do, so i would wager a bet that adding a few safe carbs here and there might actually put your body out of it's routine and reset some hormone levels (something to do with leptin levels?)
              OMG CLAUDE HOW COULD YOU *$%*(&#(*#$

              Haha no, not really. I think you might have a point.

              I've been reading through this thread for the past few days with increasing anxiety. If I took everyone's advice into account (all extremely helpful, just extremely different!) I would no longer be eating eggs, tomatoes, peppers, spices, dairy, fruit, nuts, chocolate or sweet potatoes. Talk about killing someone's soul

              I think because the more I become enmeshed in this lifestyle, the more I realize it is a slowwww trial and error process. The small tweaks I make on a weekly or monthly basis I think are what will propel me towards my goal.

              So why don't you take even just one suggestion or two suggestions you find here and try it out? If it's your original idea of cutting calories, do it - but don't really change anything else. But you have to sit back for a week or so and see if it works. See how you feel at the end of each day, at the end of each week - both physically and emotionally. If that doesn't work, try something else. I see your frustration and the fact that you already have been doing this whole game of elimination and changing it up - but you will eventually find the path that drives you towards your goals. If not, then as others have mentioned there must be something going on with your hormones or something. Damn hormones.

              Anyways, I just added a starchy carb day back into my diet (I'm usually ~20 net grams of carb a day) and really think it might help. I'm not sure yet, because I haven't tracked it long enough. But I do think that a "refeed" day might do the body good every once in a while. Plus, if you keep fat low on this day, you're going to find it much easier to cut the calories than a normal "high fat" day.

              Again, I'm not a professional or expert in all of this. That's just my two cents
              Last edited by Primalvore; 03-01-2011, 01:00 PM.

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              • Great thread! I've been at this for almost 2 months now (end of next week) and have seen zero results... no weight... no inches... no extra energy...

                I'm keeping my total carbs below 50, some days in the 20-30 range. I eat no grains, cut out all fruit in the last couple weeks, limit nuts, only regular dairy is cream in my 2 cups of a.m. coffee (occasionally some cheese or full fat greek yogurt).

                I've bookmarked several of the mentioned links and info to read later.

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                • Batty:
                  "this is something i've been pondering for months and have not postured anything in public because of that fear of looking like a jackass thing. so, we have all programmed our bodies to switch from carbs to fat as fuel by bombarding ourselves with fat. now, our bodies are running happily with fat as fuel, and we are now still bombarding ourselves with its preferred fuel source. with the bombardment of dietary fat, you're not giving your body the ability to tap into its reserves. right?
                  More Batty:
                  "flip side of the coin: from what i got out of taubes' book [ooh, thread merge], he asserts that it is about finding the foods that make your body want to expend more energy than it consumes - WANTING to, not forcing it to. this does not necessarily have to be achieved via caloric restriction. it could very well be the case that bombarding your body with fat causes your body to want to release more energy than it is given. if it were that easy, this would be a forum full of lean individuals, and we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place.
                  **DILEMMA**"

                  I'm so cornfused..........

                  That being said, I walked a half marathon today. That's got to count for something.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                    Batty:
                    "this is something i've been pondering for months and have not postured anything in public because of that fear of looking like a jackass thing. so, we have all programmed our bodies to switch from carbs to fat as fuel by bombarding ourselves with fat. now, our bodies are running happily with fat as fuel, and we are now still bombarding ourselves with its preferred fuel source. with the bombardment of dietary fat, you're not giving your body the ability to tap into its reserves. right?
                    "People do not get fat by eating it. They get fat by not being able to burn it. That's 100% controlled by hormones." --Dr. Ron Rosedale

                    Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                    More Batty:
                    "flip side of the coin: from what i got out of taubes' book [ooh, thread merge], he asserts that it is about finding the foods that make your body want to expend more energy than it consumes - WANTING to, not forcing it to. this does not necessarily have to be achieved via caloric restriction. it could very well be the case that bombarding your body with fat causes your body to want to release more energy than it is given. if it were that easy, this would be a forum full of lean individuals, and we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place.
                    **DILEMMA**"

                    I'm so cornfused..........
                    You're confused because you think you have to count calories, even though the First Law of Thermodynamics says precisely that you don't have to count. Do you jump off a cliff to make sure you don't fall up?

                    Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                    That being said, I walked a half marathon today. That's got to count for something.
                    Yous gots to do what yous gots to do...

                    That's where a lot of people get into trouble. They think of exercise as something that is burning calories and fat, so when they're trying to lose weight, they ratchet up their activity levels at the same time that they're dieting. They produce too many stressors for the adaptive capabilities available and become overstressed. As a consequence, their metabolism slows, and cortisol levels spike, ultimately creating a condition in which the body becomes reluctant to let go of stored body fat. --John Little/Dr. Doug McGuff

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by js290 View Post
                      "People do not get fat by eating it. They get fat by not being able to burn it. That's 100% controlled by hormones." --Dr. Ron Rosedale

                      You're confused because you think you have to count calories, even though the First Law of Thermodynamics says precisely that you don't have to count. Do you jump off a cliff to make sure you don't fall up?
                      First of all, walks of 10-12 miles are a part of my workout routine on a weekly basis, nothing all that "ramped up" about adding one more mile.

                      Second, I know you don't get fat by eating fat. That's why PB works well as maintenance. You just don't lose weight but you do get to eat bacon.

                      So, how would you suggest I go about making my hormones change so as to be better at burning fat?

                      BTW, all constructive dialogue is welcome but implying that I might not have the wisdom or judgement necessary not to jump off a cliff just makes me want to tell you where you can jump off. This is a complex question with lots of conflicting but equally reasonable points of view. Let's work through it together.

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                      • The more I read the forum threads the more I get confused sometimes, too! This has been an interesting - and yes, confusing - thread! I think the bottom line is that what works for one person doesn't always work for someone else, and you have to try different variations in order to find what works best for you! Pick one adjustment to your WOE, try it for a couple of weeks and see if you notice a difference. If not, try something else! You got some great advice from a lot of people about what works - for them! I hope you find what works for *you*, Paleobird!

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                        • Thank you. You are indeed a sane psycho.

                          I think it may come down to the ultimate, OMG, my Dad was right all along, sort of realization. Moderation. IS. The. Key.

                          Not fat phobic Pritikin but not face first into a pound of bacon a day
                          Not sitting on the tush 24/7 but not insane levels of workouts either
                          Not carb heavy SAD but not carb phobia either

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                          • I am trying to lose some weight and just started on this quest. I want to lose 20 pounds for athletic reasons but I am actually pretty lean now.
                            My point for bothering you this. Look at your diet hard. Everything. Don't make big changes and don't cut much out. I will say that before this I was eating a lot of veggies and a few fruits a day. Look at the veggies. They are great but they do have carbs. Fruits well...

                            Right now I am restricting my carbs more than Mark says - closer to 20-30g. My only veggies (for now) are greans. No carrots, broccoli etc. Salad greans, herbs, spinach, mustard greens, collards and that is it. No fruit at all. If you are doing that then you are doing best you can.

                            I was able to keep weight on no problem with loads of veggies and a bit of fruit -working out and all. I could pack away half a head of cabbage thinking it was FREE food. It is not.

                            Hormones are a likely possibility. Maybe a visit do the Dr. with some test can help. Not saying you are unhealthy or sick but perhaps something to check out. I am rather low testosterone for only 41 but it does not seem to impact my ability to be lean and fit.

                            I feel for you and I hope one word of what I have said is a little useful.

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                            • I get soooo confused about all this it makes me wonder if I should stop trying to find out "whats best" and just eat. (not CW I hasten to add)
                              That might just be your answer. We get very obsessive with our tinkering around here. I know I do.

                              IMO the most important lesson to be learned from Primal is Avoid Poisons. Once you've cut grains, legumes and sugar you're almost there. The rest is fine-tuning, and it's easy to get carried away.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by iniQuity View Post
                                I do kinda worry sometimes about posters such as Griff (I pick him because he’s vocal of his love of fat, and because everybody here knows him) eating tons of fat with very little protein and very little carbs. I know his situation is further complicated by his blood sugar issues so I am NOT saying he should eat more protein and less fat, but I do wonder if it would help his body composition goals (to lose BF, though I know his primary goal is to keep his blood sugars under control) I’m not sure if he stayed with the workout regimen that I remember he started a while back, but I wonder how LHT plus protein with moderate fat and carb would work for him. Griff, if you’re reading, thoughts?
                                Eeyeah, very different situation. If you look at the straight up biochemistry of the matter, high fat with low protein/low carb is probably relatively ideal for him. Virtually all amino acids are gluconeogenic and couple that with some metabolic derangement, well, it'll certainly keep blood glucose levels under control.

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