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Reality check: Counting calories

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  • #16
    These kind of threads tend to worry me a little bit, especially coming from posters whom I respect/like such as Paleobird. There are many things that I find wrong with calorie counting, perhaps the most important one being the difference between calories from a CW standpoint and a primal one.

    I don't really have the energy to go into much more detail but I do have a question, do you count calories on a daily basis and restrict yourself if you feel you've reached your daily allotted limit, or is it more of a weekly thing? Either way, the whole thing is dumb. I'm sorry, I want to put it nicer than that, but I can't, there's so many things involved with it that calories are probably the most insignificant out of all of them.

    If you're sprinting weekly, and doing some sort of LHT (which I know you have to be doing if you're working on your pull ups, even assisted work would count towards LHT) then "only eating when hungry" may not be ideal. However, I don't want to go and confuse you further by telling you to eat more, mostly because if you gain I don't want you to hate me for it. Only you know if you're depriving yourself of food, if you feel you're not, then carry on and as always best of luck.
    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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    • #17
      If you are not over-eating, I think you are setting yourself up for problems if you restrict calories. To get a more athletic physique, you have to be more, well, athletic. Specifically, for women our age, lifting heavy does wonders. Which is what I would recommend rather than calorie restriction. Build muscle.
      +1 This is what I think is helping me the most, along with the carb restriction.
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      • #18
        A couple of points:

        * you may have some metabolic derangement - common for we older members - so it may take longer for you to see the benefits of the dietary change

        * Stephan Guyanet had a blog a few months ago where he noted that liquid calories are positively correlated with weight gain, or failure to lose weight. I'd think about giving up the green smoothie
        Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

        Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Dragonfly View Post
          Have you read Why We Get Fat as well as GCBC? I think he makes a really good case for insulin (and other hormones) being the culprits. I suggest cutting out your carb "cheats" for a couple of weeks first (no sugar, chocolate, wine, nuts, yogurt) and make sure you get really good sleep-- then see if you really need to restrict.
          Yep, read them both and I do understand how insulin works. Not coming from a background of major carb/sugar consumption, I don't have an insulin sensitivity issue. I do get lots of quality sleep and don't eat yoghurt or any dairy. Do you think one handful of macadamia nuts, one square of 88% dark chocolate and one glass of wine over the course of a week's worth of completely PB foods really makes that much of a difference?

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          • #20
            I think tracking calories would be a great idea for you to do for a normal week. (Don't think it's necessary over the long run.) I also think undernourishing might be an issue you are having with losing the last bit of fat. When I eat 2 HUGE meals a day, like stuffing myself with meat and veggies soaking in butter and bacon grease, the most calories I can get in is 1800 (I easily get that up to 2000 by adding a glass of wine and/or chocolate though ). I would think eating 900-1000 calories a day every once in a while (like once week?), would help weight loss, but 3-4 times I think would cause you to hold onto fat. Anyhow, I would certainly gather some more data and try anything else before giving up my mac nuts, chocolate, and wine! I am going to start following your journal so I can follow your progress!

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            • #21
              Originally posted by PrimalWannabeGirl View Post
              I had one of those well-muscled physiques at 52, and lemme tell you, it was HARD WORK. Yeah, I ate ad lib, had no trouble IFing, didn't go hungry, didn't weigh, measure or count----but I worked out HARD to get there. Crossfit workouts 3 times a week. Long distance cycling on weekends. Heavy lifting.
              At 5'6" tall, I weighed a very well-muscled 140 lbs. I looked GREAT.

              If you are not over-eating, I think you are setting yourself up for problems if you restrict calories. To get a more athletic physique, you have to be more, well, athletic. Specifically, for women our age, lifting heavy does wonders. Which is what I would recommend rather than calorie restriction. Build muscle.

              This doesn't have to take over your life. Just find someone who really knows about lifting. That's my .02 cents fwiw!
              Pea
              Back in my wild impetuous youth, I was actually into body building even to some local level competitions. Somewhere there are photos of me with 80s style "big hair" all oiled up and posing in leopard print bikini. (Arg!) So, I know what it takes to get back to that kind of "buffed" but I'm just not interested in that at this stage in my life. BTDT as they say. These days I am going for more functional fitness like hiking, walking , swimming. But you do have a point that I should not neglect the exercise part of the deal and focus only on calories. I think it can be a bit of both.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                Yep, read them both and I do understand how insulin works. Not coming from a background of major carb/sugar consumption, I don't have an insulin sensitivity issue. I do get lots of quality sleep and don't eat yoghurt or any dairy. Do you think one handful of macadamia nuts, one square of 88% dark chocolate and one glass of wine over the course of a week's worth of completely PB foods really makes that much of a difference?
                Nope.

                Somewhere there are photos of me with 80s style "big hair" all oiled up and posing in leopard print bikini.
                Post.

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                • #23
                  i think that the issue here is that it's all about tinkering.

                  here are some cool positives that i've pulled from your post --

                  1. you have reasonable, attainable goals;
                  2. you have spent a lot of time adjusting to and learning about the PB way of eating and way of life;
                  3. you have experienced IF in a successful way overall.

                  Now, you are looking to *customize* the process to you. This *customizing* is really important.

                  There are, of course, lots of options in this customization. Here are the options that I see so far:

                  1. calorie restriction;
                  2. cutting sugars/wine/etc;
                  3. adjusting your IF to leangains style (16 hr fasts; 8 hr eating window);
                  4. adjusting your workouts/etc;
                  5. VLC.

                  i'm sure there are others, too.

                  So, here comes in the "scales" as it were -- to balance out and weigh what may be best.

                  I think that you *may be* choosing calorie restriction because of CW. trust me, it sneaks up on me too. my first go to is, actually, to restrict and exercise more. seriously, i feel a little bloated today after yesterdays chip fest (and yes, i'm regretting it), and my mind immediately wandered over to "OMG you are going to have to work out more this week." fact is, that's just the old CW speaking in my brain.

                  Now of course, choosing calorie restriction might also be a great idea. It might be what you need. Dragonfly points out that it was the combination of restriction and VLC and giving up sugar that worked for her (or is working), and others might be right that changing up the IF might be the ticket.

                  end of the day, truly, you have to experiment and see what works *for you*.

                  if you are going to restrict, i do recommend spending a couple of weeks seeing what you are eating and how many calories that is, and then restrict 200 as dragonfly suggests. do that for a month, see what the results are. Then, change another thing (maybe go back to more calories, but change the IF schedule for example). do that for a month, see what the results are.

                  don't worry about it overmuch. it will happen, it's just a matter of how PB needs to be customized to you, based on the myriad of issues that you do have.

                  also, do any of your medications have a side effect of weight gain? my sister's first massive weight gain after her first massive weight loss was due to drugs -- not food/exercise/etc. she was on a medication for anxiety/depression, and in my experience, a lot of brain-related drugs tend to have weight gain as part of their side effects. thus, until those are properly dosed, switched to something else, or you're off of them, your body may hang on to a bit of extra weight. just tossing it out there, because you could be doing everything perfectly right for you under *normal* circumstances, but the drugs (which i would assert you need) could be working against you. and that's ok. because they are also working for you, just not for your weight loss goals.

                  anyway, just some "two cents."

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by peril View Post
                    A couple of points:

                    * you may have some metabolic derangement - common for we older members - so it may take longer for you to see the benefits of the dietary change

                    * Stephan Guyanet had a blog a few months ago where he noted that liquid calories are positively correlated with weight gain, or failure to lose weight. I'd think about giving up the green smoothie
                    "Metabolic derangement" That sounds like a psychiatric disorder. Please explain.
                    The green blender drink in the am is sugar free. It's just wheatgrass. Idk how many calories wheatgrass has.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                      "Metabolic derangement" That sounds like a psychiatric disorder. Please explain.
                      The green blender drink in the am is sugar free. It's just wheatgrass. Idk how many calories wheatgrass has.
                      Wheatgrass is going to be fine. Typically, syndrome X is talked about in the terms of "metabolic derangement" You do not have decreased insulin sensitivity, so that is out. How's your thyroid?

                      You should probably conside supping vitamin D

                      Still waiting for the bodybuilding pics.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by zoebird View Post
                        I think that you *may be* choosing calorie restriction because of CW. trust me, it sneaks up on me too.
                        Now of course, choosing calorie restriction might also be a great idea. It might be what you need. Dragonfly points out that it was the combination of restriction and VLC and giving up sugar that worked for her (or is working), and others might be right that changing up the IF might be the ticket.

                        don't worry about it overmuch. it will happen.

                        also, do any of your medications have a side effect of weight gain?
                        I feel like I'm going to calorie restriction because all the other options have failed. I am under 50 grams a day of carbs with the purple ketosix to prove it. I have been IFing when not hungry and doing moderate exercise.
                        Excellent point about medications, Zoe. I do take something for my exceptionally rare seizures that is a barbituate.
                        As to not worrying, no I'm not stressing out. I just don't think that the ostrich approach to reality is a good idea either.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                          Yep, read them both and I do understand how insulin works. Not coming from a background of major carb/sugar consumption, I don't have an insulin sensitivity issue. I do get lots of quality sleep and don't eat yoghurt or any dairy. Do you think one handful of macadamia nuts, one square of 88% dark chocolate and one glass of wine over the course of a week's worth of completely PB foods really makes that much of a difference?
                          It may for you. I have no idea! This is all a big experiment for me (as far as losing fat), so trial & error are what I go by.
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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Lojasmo View Post
                            Wheatgrass is going to be fine. Typically, syndrome X is talked about in the terms of "metabolic derangement" You do not have decreased insulin sensitivity, so that is out. How's your thyroid?

                            You should probably conside supping vitamin D

                            Still waiting for the bodybuilding pics.
                            Thyroid is fine and San Diego sunshine gives me all the vit D I need.

                            Those pics are locked away somewhere you will never find. Ever.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                              How can we know if this is our "supposed to be here" weight or just our primal bodies holing on to extra for some future lean time that never comes?
                              By changing our focus. IMO, this is a lifestyle. A lifestyle that if lived daily, over time, improves and maintains health. If you are healthy, by medical markers, and by making healthy choices-- daily-- then the number on the scale is simply that-- a number on a machine we stand on.

                              Have you had medical tests -- Lipid, Vitamin D, fasting BGL, HbA1c, fasting insulin, thyroid (TSH, Free T4, Free T3), ferritin-- done to see where you are?? If not, I suggest having them done.

                              There is a possibility that your fasting regimen has impacted thyroid function-- specifically T4 To T3 conversion. My understanding is that IF is just that---intermittent fasting. Your fasting seems so controlled and routine, it seems out of control.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Dragonfly View Post
                                It may for you. I have no idea! This is all a big experiment for me (as far as losing fat), so trial & error are what I go by.
                                I was considering doing a Whole 30 style experiment. I read through the supposedly stringent requirements and said, "hey, with the rare exception of m-nuts, 88% and a glass of Pinot, I already eat this way all the time. They kept saying how doing this would "change my life". That is what I meant about "the Switchers" above. If you are coming from that extreme, a whole 30 really would change your life.

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