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Reality check: Counting calories

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  • Originally posted by melsie View Post
    On the 1000 calories. The only time I'll ever lose is when that is my target. Yes, I count accurately (knowing it is not an exact science.. like Primalvore mentioned above.. but you do with the info you have). I don't want to have to eat 1000 cals, but that seems the way it is. I've been trying to tweak and study (probably read roughly 25 books on nutrition/weight loss/etc, Taubes included) to see if there is anyway I can get around this as being the only way I can lose.. but so far I haven't found anything. I've played for years with the numbers but so far this is it.
    Just wanted to agree that 1,000 calories or under does not equal starvation for everyone - it all depends on how big you are, what you do, how good your body is at using calories, etc.
    I could probably live on 1,000 calories a day because I'm on the small side and don't do much, but I wouldn't actively aim for it.

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    • Originally posted by Dragonfly View Post
      This.

      Then how about taking some diet advice from a doctor?
      This is the article (that profdjj posted originally) that made the most sense to me:
      The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D. Ľ Low-carb and calories
      From that article:
      "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.

      It has been shown countless times that when people go on low-carb diets they spontaneously reduce their caloric intake. Most foods available on low-carbohydrate diets are satiating and those following these diets get full quickly. They just donít eat that many calories. In most studies of low-carb diets people drop their caloric intake down to the 1500-1700 kcal range and are quite satisfied. At that level of caloric intake, they need a fair amount of their own body fat to make up the difference between their dietary intake and the 2400-2600 kcal (or more) that they burn every day. As they consume this body fat, they lose weight.

      Once people settle in to low-carb diets ....a different aspect of eating kicks in: eating for fun instead of simply for nourishment. And people eat because it is an enjoyable endeavor, a hedonistic endeavor even. People want a food because it appeals to them hedonistically, and they read this urge to eat as hunger, which it usually isnít."

      This is describing me to the proverbial T.

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      • Originally posted by Adrianag View Post
        If I could knock 10 lbs off in a month I would do it. Then I could go back to worry free flavor full living. I too, am a foodie and cooking is my creative outlet.
        I'd worry about losing that much weight that quickly (I'm overweight but not obese anymore) and then gaining it back... maybe that's a very CW worry that has no basis, but either way, I don't have that much willpower haha.

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        • I'm 235 lbs. I started on 1000-1200 calorie plan at 290. If the data I'm tracking is to be believed, I'm creating a caloric defecit of over 2000 calories a day. And sure enough, I lose 3-4 lbs a week.

          Now because of the way the program is structured, I'm taking in less than 100g of carbs. My insulin is regulated. I have the proper "hormonal milieu." I just think that the proper hormonal milieu is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for weight loss.

          If I understand Taubes correctly, the hypothesis is that without the proper hormonal milieu, fat cannot be stored, so you can't gain fat. This is how it works for Type 1 diabetics (I'm a little unclear whether the hypothesis posits that the excess calories consumed in this scenario are passed through excretion or whether the metabolism just speeds up.

          In order to lose fat (not necessarily weight, but fat), then, you would need the proper hormonal milieu to not store fat. But you would also need some reason to burn stored bodyfat. This also requires the proper hormonal balance (more glucagon, less insulin), but that's not sufficient to make the body prefer fuel stored in adipose cells to fuel consumed in the diet. I do think you need a caloric defecit and that larger caloric defecits will burn more stored fat providing (and this is a big caveat) that the calorie restriction does not cause a change in your underlying basal metabolism. Research suggests that adequate protein and avoiding overtraining protects against that. But the upshot is that losing fat, as opposed to preventing storing fat, requires one additional necessary condition.

          I think it's exciting that we're finally getting the type of tools to be able to take this all into account. One benefit of wearing the BodyMedia armband is that I can do N=1 tests on some common advice. Do sprint workouts increase my basal rate for a 12 hours or so afterwards? Yes. Does moving slowly? Only if I do it for over 2 1/1 hours or so. Does lifting? Not at the intensity I'm doing it, apparently. Steady state cardio? Not really. And based on that type of n=1 research, I have found that the occassional higher calorie day appears to goose weight loss. But not if I do it every day. I view a higher calorie day the same way I view a day off from exercising. Just a step to make sure my cortisol levels don't go out of whack, but nothing that overrides my essential caloric defecit goal. Maybe all of this can be counter-productive for the obsessive, but I find it useful to have as much data as possible about what's going on in my body.

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          • Hey Robin
            I'm right there with you. I didn't lose a pound (and if we are going for fat loss...that didn't happen either) when I weighed/measured this month. I held steady, but I didn't drop.
            I've held steady for almost two months now. I have been Primal for 4 months, so that is half of the time I have been primal. There was the first weight/fat loss and then nothing. If you find something that kicks it for you, let me know! I'll do the same.
            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.
            This makes me wonder if cutting a little of the fat and focusing more on the protein would help. I know that when I am hungry, I reach for the fat first because I know it will make me feel fuller, faster. Time to experiment.
            Keep it Simple Silly...Go Caveman

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            • This is describing me to the proverbial T.


              In order to lose fat (not necessarily weight, but fat), then, you would need the proper hormonal milieu to not store fat. But you would also need some reason to burn stored bodyfat. This also requires the proper hormonal balance (more glucagon, less insulin), but that's not sufficient to make the body prefer fuel stored in adipose cells to fuel consumed in the diet. I do think you need a caloric deficit and that larger caloric deficits will burn more stored fat providing (and this is a big caveat) that the calorie restriction does not cause a change in your underlying basal metabolism. Research suggests that adequate protein and avoiding overtraining protects against that.
              Yes! You've got it scooby. Love your post.
              Last edited by Dragonfly; 03-03-2011, 01:52 PM.
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              • i knew you were of the dionysian sort. my favorite kind. life is pleasurable.

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                • Originally posted by MountainDew View Post
                  That's not alot of food.

                  If you like to keep your physical activity I think you should dial back the IF to 1-2 days at most or do it a la LeanGains (12 hr fast-12 hr eating window for women). If you want to keep the IF as is then you might want to dial back the physical activity. And sorry for the assumption, but when I quickly went thru this thread I think you mentioned that you sometimes don't intend to IF, you just aren't hungry some days and skip eating altogether (correct me if I'm wrong). So I assumed when you DO eat, it isn't much (and I don't think what you described for dinner was alot lol).

                  And please, do share that primal gravy recipe!

                  PS. out of curiousity what's your lean body mass?
                  And I forgot to mention the goose liver pate with crudites for appetizers and the fact that there was goose fat in the squash. (I still have a whole jar of fat left for future use).

                  No, my IFs were never of the intentional, must lose weight, must control, must limit self, kind of mind set. It was more like, "Wow, it's 4pm and I haven't eaten yet today." I just get busy and forget to eat but I'm not actively hungry and everyone here keeps saying, "Eat when hungry, don't when not." so I figured it was no big deal.

                  Because asked by several people: The secret to primal gravy is water chestnut powder found at asian markets.
                  Mix goose fat and homemade chicken stock
                  add water chestnut powder to thicken
                  add any spices you like
                  decide at the last minute to add some greek yogurt for creaminess
                  =perfection

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                  • Originally posted by IntrinsicArt View Post
                    Hey Robin
                    I'm right there with you. I didn't lose a pound (and if we are going for fat loss...that didn't happen either) when I weighed/measured this month. I held steady, but I didn't drop.
                    I've held steady for almost two months now. I have been Primal for 4 months, so that is half of the time I have been primal. There was the first weight/fat loss and then nothing. If you find something that kicks it for you, let me know! I'll do the same.

                    This makes me wonder if cutting a little of the fat and focusing more on the protein would help. I know that when I am hungry, I reach for the fat first because I know it will make me feel fuller, faster. Time to experiment.
                    Yep, I have lost and gained the same five pounds several times in the past five months. I hate to say this folks, but I think it's time to cut out the bacon. Generally move toward leaner protein. I think the fatty stuff like bacon is used by a lot of people getting off of a sugar addiction the way methadone is used for heroin addicts. It keeps people sane while detoxifying their systems of carbs. But, once there is no more carb/sugar addiction (in my case, there never was one to start with), the methadone is not longer needed and can become an addiction in it's own right.

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                    • Of course, the problem is that excessive protein can apparently cause insulin spikes too. This is kind of where you start seeing splits among the paleo gurus. Some would say go to lean proteins. Some would say to cut protein and use more fat garnishes, but I think they'd all say to be mindful of calories.

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                      • Of course, the problem is that excessive protein can apparently cause insulin spikes too.
                        I read (on PaNu, I think) that protein only causes an insulin spike if large amounts are consumed in one meal.

                        Anecdotally, I notice that if I eat 1/4 pound of steak at a meal, I don't experience a blood sugar spike and if I eat 1/2 pound of meat in one meal, I actually feel high. (Smallish woman, here!) So I tend to space out my protein (~100 g/day) over my 3 meals.
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                        • Originally posted by scooby View Post
                          In order to lose fat (not necessarily weight, but fat), then, you would need the proper hormonal milieu to not store fat. But you would also need some reason to burn stored bodyfat. This also requires the proper hormonal balance (more glucagon, less insulin), but that's not sufficient to make the body prefer fuel stored in adipose cells to fuel consumed in the diet. I do think you need a caloric defecit and that larger caloric defecits will burn more stored fat providing (and this is a big caveat) that the calorie restriction does not cause a change in your underlying basal metabolism. Research suggests that adequate protein and avoiding overtraining protects against that. But the upshot is that losing fat, as opposed to preventing storing fat, requires one additional necessary condition.
                          I think you have the causality backwards. You can't on one hand claim you have proper hormonal balance and then on the other hand give credit to calorie restriction, unless you can explain how calories affect hormones. Hormones get credit for it all. When you are metabolizing your own fat for fuel, you'll naturally eat less. Your hormonal balance is causing you to burn fat which is causing you to eat less. Thinking fat loss is caused by you eating less is a cum hoc fallacy.

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                          • Originally posted by js290 View Post
                            I think you have the causality backwards. You can't on one hand claim you have proper hormonal balance and then on the other hand give credit to calorie restriction, unless you can explain how calories affect hormones. Hormones get credit for it all. When you are metabolizing your own fat for fuel, you'll naturally eat less. Your hormonal balance is causing you to burn fat which is causing you to eat less. Thinking fat loss is caused by you eating less is a cum hoc fallacy.
                            My hormonal balance is not causing me to eat 1000 calories a day. I've eaten fewer carbs and more calories than that on other programs. It certainly makes eating 1000 to 1200 calories a day possible without losing my mind, but it's not as if I can't and haven't had celebration days where I ate 1800 calories. And I could have eaten more. I'm not crediting calorie restriction with the hormonal balance. That comes from carb restriction. I am saying that once carb restriction helps you achieve proper hormonal balance (which certainly has the salutory effect of decreasing appetite) you will still lose more fat (as opposed to water clinging to glycogen) by increasing your body's resort to stored body fat as fuel.

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                            • Originally posted by scooby View Post
                              I'm not crediting calorie restriction with the hormonal balance. That comes from carb restriction. I am saying that once carb restriction helps you achieve proper hormonal balance (which certainly has the salutory effect of decreasing appetite) you will still lose more fat (as opposed to water clinging to glycogen) by increasing your body's resort to stored body fat as fuel.
                              This is well put, scooby.

                              1)Get hormones in balance by restricting carbs (already done in my case)
                              2)Restrict calories to encourage the burning of stored fat

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                              • I think it's time to cut out the bacon.
                                I think I will be doing the same. And maybe tracking calories for a bit. I don't think I am over eating, but I might be under a bit. Could be that my body is holding on because I'm not giving it enough. We shall see...
                                Keep it Simple Silly...Go Caveman

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