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Reality check: Counting calories

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  • (God, I just had an awful thought. I could write a book on this and it would actually sell. Nah, too much trouble.)
    You should do it!
    ...how do you look, feel, and perform? -- Robb Wolf

    My Blog.

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    • OK, this is my final check in and it's been a roller-coaster week for a number of reasons. But hopefully this information will be interesting and show how even when the going gets tough Primal is very flexible.

      Mr Grok became poorly on Tuesday night (a very bad bout of gastroenteritis which resulted in a 60 hour fast on his part - no idea where it came from) and my daughter (aged 19) has required a lot of long distance support (she lives 600 miles away) so I've had four very disrupted nights and am down to averaging 4 - 5 hours of sleep (in bits); this is not ideal! However, the power of Primal is such that this has not triggered any bipolar symptoms as would have been the case in the past and has not triggered binge eating either although my eating has been affected.

      Training is what has suffered the most, in fact apart from one yoga session yesterday I've not been able to do anything since Tuesday (for me this is a long time).

      I've opted for a long fast from Thursday evening till this morning (Saturday) to try and reset my system. 37.5 hours in total of only herbal tea - this is the longest I've done and almost certainly wouldn't repeat. At the 22 hour point (my normal longer fast day - maybe once every two weeks) it was very difficult but by 25 hours I was fine although I was very hungry in the early hours and very glad to eat a big cooked breakfast around 7:00 am. I plan to eat a BAS chicken lunch and have salmon with swede and broccoli this evening to refuel the body adequately (planned 150 g protein). I shall walk and yoga today but nothing else and hope that I sleep well and can start afresh tomorrow morning! I was too tired to do more than my yoga class yesterday during this fast period. This is most likely the cumulative affect of poor sleeping rather than fasting per se during which I usually train without a problem.

      So for the stats:

      On the days I ate I averaged 1790 calories as 114 g fat, 120 g protein and 56.2 g carbs for a 57%, 27%, 13% (3% red wine - 2 glasses).

      Averaged over the 7 days it becomes 1534 calories as 98 g fat, 103 g protein and 48 g of carbs (obviously the % split is the same!).

      Until Thursday I had gained about 0.3 kgs which is probably mostly down to being so stationary and not training for several days which I think shows how important the moving about a lot at a slow pace is my carbs had crept up a bit too. However, this morning I weighed 58.1 kg (127.8 lbs) so have dropped 0.5 kg from last week's weigh in 6 days ago and given the week I've had, and that I'm at the end of my cycle, that is good and now when I look in the mirror I know I want to stay at this weight. The extra protein has made a massive difference to strength gains - on Tuesday I was deadlifting just about my body weight, so that's a 10% improvement over the last month which is massive and I've seen similar gains in power on the bike. Looking at me I'm pretty certain I've lost more fat lbs but gained a little muscle.

      My actual training for this period has been 2:30 of yoga (just the two classes), 2:00 of walking (over several days), 2:36 of biking (just one ride last Sunday) and 40 minutes swimming so down somewhat on a 'normal' week plus the weights session.

      So has it been worth calories counting and more importantly macro-tracking - yes, absolutely, I now have a much clearer idea of what will keep me where I want to be, what are sensible portions and where the extra calories sneak in if you aren't careful. I shall not track regularly as there is a temptation to start becoming obsessed with it all but for resetting yourself now and again it's an invaluable tool.

      It seems that the goal of 1800 - 2000 during my active days will maintain me (which is what the online calculators suggested). I also know now that when I do long days of riding over the Pyrenees the way to fuel the extra calories will be through adding fat - this is a very useful lesson and explains why I managed my big ride last year so well eating Primal - I hadn't consciously worked out the macros/calories intake at the time but I was glugging olive oil over all my meals!

      Two biggest lessons

      EAT ENOUGH PROTEIN - it's looking like around a 1 g per lb of body weight (not lean weight - so that's more than Mark suggests and near what Art is recommending of 1.5 g per lb of weight) as an average over the week is best and I've proved again that around the 50 g carb mark is what works for me, the days that I drift higher don't feel so good unless I've been doing a really big bike ride.

      KEEP MOVING

      5.5 lbs lost in three weeks not feeling hungry and with a significant shift in body composition.

      Grok on folks!
      Seeking the natural way in a modern world ...

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      • Originally posted by Kelda View Post
        The extra protein has made a massive difference to strength gains - on Tuesday I was deadlifting just about my body weight, so that's a 10% improvement over the last month which is massive and I've seen similar gains in power on the bike. Looking at me I'm pretty certain I've lost more fat lbs but gained a little muscle.

        So has it been worth calories counting and more importantly macro-tracking - yes, absolutely, I now have a much clearer idea of what will keep me where I want to be, what are sensible portions and where the extra calories sneak in if you aren't careful. I shall not track regularly as there is a temptation to start becoming obsessed with it all but for resetting yourself now and again it's an invaluable tool.

        Two biggest lessons

        EAT ENOUGH PROTEIN - it's looking like around a 1 g per lb of body weight (not lean weight - so that's more than Mark suggests and near what Art is recommending of 1.5 g per lb of weight) as an average over the week is best and I've proved again that around the 50 g carb mark is what works for me, the days that I drift higher don't feel so good unless I've been doing a really big bike ride.

        KEEP MOVING

        5.5 lbs lost in three weeks not feeling hungry and with a significant shift in body composition.
        Yay Kelda. Couldn't have put it better myself. Eat enough protein and keep moving.

        I'm down 8.5 lbs and I feel like the body composition shift is really happening. My bra strap lies flat across my back and under my arms instead of burrowing into a layer of padding. I can clearly locate and identify my triceps. I can walk 12-15 miles without being tuckered the next day.

        YES! IT WORKS!

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        • Paleobird - Excellent!
          Seeking the natural way in a modern world ...

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          • Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
            Yay Kelda. Couldn't have put it better myself. Eat enough protein and keep moving.

            I'm down 8.5 lbs and I feel like the body composition shift is really happening. My bra strap lies flat across my back and under my arms instead of burrowing into a layer of padding. I can clearly locate and identify my triceps. I can walk 12-15 miles without being tuckered the next day.

            YES! IT WORKS!
            I just want to add one more sample.

            I started tracking calories and macros on March 23 (not quite 3 weeks ago) after a long stall on any weight loss while remaining Primal to a fault. I have done what Paleobird and Kelda have done--more protein, less fat, carbs at about 50g/day, more exercise.

            In that time I have lost 6 1/2 pounds and an inch off my waist. My body composition is changing. I have had to buy new pants. My husband is kind of in awe of the changes. So, yes, this works.
            Everything I eat has been proved by some doctor or other to be a deadly poison, and everything I don't eat has been proved to be indispensable for life. But I go marching on. ~George Bernard Shaw

            Starting Weight (1/3/2011): 189
            Current Weight: 173

            Goal: To be in the best shape ever by age 50! (5/11/2012)

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            • Originally posted by Eva Lution View Post
              I just want to add one more sample.

              I started tracking calories and macros on March 23 (not quite 3 weeks ago) after a long stall on any weight loss while remaining Primal to a fault. I have done what Paleobird and Kelda have done--more protein, less fat, carbs at about 50g/day, more exercise.

              In that time I have lost 6 1/2 pounds and an inch off my waist. My body composition is changing. I have had to buy new pants. My husband is kind of in awe of the changes. So, yes, this works.
              Excellent! You know, I think we have really come up with something valuable here. I would hate for people to get into PB with all their heart and soul and then drift away as the results stall like that. Or to believe a chorus of people telling them to eat more fat and the fat will magically melt off only to pack on more pounds. Then the whole WOE gets dismissed as a fad along the lines of the "30 bananas a day" bunch.

              PB has merit but it needs to be implemented sensibly and mindfully.

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              • And ironically our experience is what Art De Vany talks about in his book The New Evolution Diet. When I read it at Christmas I was a little miffed at his apparent fat phobia. Now I know he isn't fat phobic at all just mindful (and experienced enough with 30 years at his WOE) to know where the pitfalls are.
                Seeking the natural way in a modern world ...

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                • which, btw, looks very primal under Mark's definitions too.

                  seriously.

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                  • and seriously, as soon as we made the adjustment to more protien and higher carb (since we are maintaining -- around 100g carbs), we no longer are light headed or anything. it's all about the balance.

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                    • My 50 g carb level is all to do with mental health and feeling 'right' not maintenance! Apart from this last month I've not needed to (or lost) bodyweight since becoming Primal 17 months ago, but my body composition has changed of course.

                      Yes, I think on a number of occasions through this thread we've been back to Mark's PB and it is all there but somehow the message does seem to lean (pun intended!) more heavily on the fat angle.
                      Seeking the natural way in a modern world ...

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                      • Eva, congrats on breaking through the stalled weight loss.
                        ...how do you look, feel, and perform? -- Robb Wolf

                        My Blog.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Bodhi View Post
                          Eva, congrats on breaking through the stalled weight loss.
                          Thanks, Bodhi! I don't know if you saw it (somewhere in these hundreds of pages started by Paleobird and elsewhere on the forum) but I thanked you as well for comments and links that helped me get on the right track. It takes a village...
                          Everything I eat has been proved by some doctor or other to be a deadly poison, and everything I don't eat has been proved to be indispensable for life. But I go marching on. ~George Bernard Shaw

                          Starting Weight (1/3/2011): 189
                          Current Weight: 173

                          Goal: To be in the best shape ever by age 50! (5/11/2012)

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                          • Originally posted by zoebird View Post
                            which, btw, looks very primal under Mark's definitions too.

                            seriously.
                            Very right Zoe. But the PB as written in the book gets drowned out by the chorus of people on the forum just having such fun chugging down shots of bacon drippings.

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                            • Originally posted by Kelda View Post
                              And ironically our experience is what Art De Vany talks about in his book The New Evolution Diet. When I read it at Christmas I was a little miffed at his apparent fat phobia. Now I know he isn't fat phobic at all just mindful (and experienced enough with 30 years at his WOE) to know where the pitfalls are.
                              I've been planning to read that one. It sounds much closer to what I need.

                              But I love how people on this forum make fun of him as that crazy fat phobic guy.

                              Comment


                              • I wasn't commenting on anyone else's ratios or amounts of food, btw. I really *do not* care what other people eat or how. I think that each person finds the right way to apply the principles to themselves, and then it adjusts as their health changes.

                                We made the adjustment that we needed to make to no longer feel light headed. First was increasing protein, then increasing carbs -- which follows the PB.

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