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Reality check: Counting calories

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  • #76
    Originally posted by batty View Post
    no, i'm really not a different story. i am just like everyone else here. i am a former 200 lb woman who started out with pilates 3x a week and nothing else because i knew crapall about nutrition and exercise. i have restricted, starved myself, got really small, went on food benders, got bigger again, ad nauseum for the past 4 years. i have BTDT. i come from experience. so, i am entirely confused as to why my viewpoint is now dismissed because i enjoy lifting heavier than most of the females around here.

    if you want to track and restrict, by all means, go for it. and if you can maintain that restriction indefinitely, then my proverbial hat goes off to you. but it always seems that 'eating too much' is the only answer people come up with, and i dont necessarily agree that it is.

    paste what braintwin iniQuity said here and i'll leave it at that.
    Batty, first of all, thank you for gracing this thread with your presence. You are my hero. In no way shape or form was your viewpoint being dismissed. I was only pointing out that you currently work out at a level that I don't plan to, need to, or feel capable of attaining at this point in my life. Therefor the argument that muscle weighs more than fat which is used to reassure people who are not seeing any improvement on the scale, doesn't really apply to me as I am not packing on pounds of muscle. At the level I'm exercising, I'm tightening up the existing muscle a bit yes but not adding pounds of it. That is all I said about your viewpoint. The fact that you have made the gains you have is inspirational. No one said otherwise.


    • #77
      Originally posted by zoebird View Post
      well, i find "adequate" to not be an word that fits you at all. yes, it is like ill-fitting shirts. just not right. you're awesome, even if your body composition hasn't caught onto that idea yet. it will. i'm sure you'll figure it out, whatever it is that needs to happen.
      Awwwwwwwwww. Thank you, Zoe. With friends like you I'm sure I will be just fine.


      • #78
        You might be at the point where you can't do anymore with diet alone. You have used up the 80% of weight loss that is capable from diet and may NEED to add more to your workouts to achieve your goals. Does this mean you have to lift like Batty? No, most likely not, but it might be time to reevaluate your program.

        I think I am getting close to this point myself. I still have a bit of weight to lose, full on blubbery fat in my belly, so I think I can pull off 10 more pounds with diet and then I am going to have to up the exercise. I am thinking increasing my sprints and getting back into tabata workouts.

        My MDA journal

        Primal Ponderings- my blog- finally added some food pron :P

        And best of all my Body Fat Makeover!!


        • #79
          Originally posted by profdjj View Post
          I've become a major fan of Dr. Michael Eades. Here's a post on low carb/calories: He says you can eat low carb and as many calories as you want and not gain weight, but to lose weight, most people have to calorie restrict at least a little (there are some lucky folks who don't).

          Here's another post of his regarding IF:

          I've also become a fan of Fast-5: I suggest you download his e-book (it's free if you register) where he talks about losing weight via IF. His is a 5 hour eat window / 19 hour fast.

          I'm not a big fan of leangains - he's a little too hard core body builder for me. But I am enjoying this man's paleo/IF blog: Very good writer.

          I know for me that I HAVE to calorie restrict to lose weight. I've also found that IFing (I have a 6 hour eat window - breakfast/lunch, skip dinner) and slight calorie restriction works like a charm for me.
          profdjj ~Thank you so much for posting this! After reading the first linked article, I finally "get it"! His explanation cut through the last bit of confusion I had.

          Paleobird~ After re-reading your thread, I agree that calorie restriction is probably the way to go for you, as long as you keep your carbs low.
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          • #80
            One last idea to ponder:

            I can't find the citation, but when I first researched IF online, I found a study that examined gender differences in IF in mice. The study had four groups---male mice eating a fixed composition, fixed-calorie diet in divided "meals"; male mice eating the same diet but on an IF schedule; and two groups of female mice with the corresponding feeding schedules.

            What struck me was that the female IF mice did NOT lose weight while the male IF mice did relative to the divided meal groups, leading to the conclusion that IF---at least for female mice----did not in itself provide a weight-losing metabolic 'advantage'.

            This makes sense to me, if you think that women's metabolisms would lead to a more vigorous defense of fat in the face of "starvation." It is my opinion that IF in women WITHOUT the heavy lifting that promotes muscle growth might actually hamper weight-loss efforts.

            Something to consider.



            • #81
              I would love to see this study. Very interesting. So WITH heavy lifting, IF is effective?


              • #82
                Originally posted by Diana Renata View Post
                I would love to see this study. Very interesting. So WITH heavy lifting, IF is effective?
                Diana, that conclusion---that IF in women is effective in combination with muscle-building (ie heavy lifting) is just my opinion. To the best of my knowledge, this opinion cannot be supported by the experimental literature. I base that opinion on my own experience. At 48 years old, I weighed 240 lbs. and was a sedentary mess. At 50, I weighed 160 lbs. on a whole foods diet and spin classes and weight machine circuits. At 52, I weighed a very lean 140 lbs. doing Crossfit and long-distance cycling. It took me 2 years to lose the last 20 lbs. and I couldn't have done it without getting more muscle.

                The literature DOES suggest that IF may promote lipogenesis and that this regimen may be more pronounced in females. I can't find the study that I orginally read that gives the gender breakdown, but here is a citation to a study that shows the lipogenesis effect in male rats:

                Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences
                Volume 18, Number 12, 555-556, DOI: 10.1007/BF02172174
                Kurze Mitteilungen
                Lipogenesis in rats adapted to intermittent starvation or continuous underfeeding
                P. Fábry, R. Petrásek, T. Braun, M. Bednárek, E. Horáková and E. Konopásek

                If you look carefully at the rat studies overall you can see a trend where the body size reductions in female rats is less robust than in male rats given the same experimental conditions (ie, IF and feeding protocols).

                My conclusion from this is that females may defend their fat stores more vigorously under the same conditions. My own experience has been that building muscle is critical in changing the hormonal "milieu" for women who really want to LOOK lean, and that this is more effective than restricting calories or even IFing.



                • #83
                  I'm trying to take a long view with myself, give it a year and see where I'm at. I've been good about staying off of the scale as well. I just did my monthly check and while I haven't lost any weight I did, in the past month, drop an inch off of my waist. That's good enough for me to trust the process and relax a bit.

                  If anything, being on the night shift, I need to quit grazing in the morning and have another full meal.
                  Wheat is the new tobacco. Spread the word.


                  • #84
                    @ Batty - Was it the intense training that finally turned things around for you (again, curious because my wife has struggled for years and intense strength training is the one thing she's always refused to try - mostly because she's convinced it will make her look like this). But I've seen her coming around a little bit more and more this past year as she web surfs for solutions and sees strength training come up again and again.

                    Just curious what you attribute your ultimate success to. You know. Besides the bacon. ;-)


                    • #85
                      Hey all, I have really appreciated all these links and ideas!

                      I am one of those people who feels like tracking food helps me do more "mindful eating." I'm more about tracking carbs (though Sparkpeople also tracks calories, and I do have a rough calorie target I keep in mind.)

                      Thankfully I am not super-obsessive about food. I'm pretty content eating the same BAS, meaty homemade soup, and scrambled eggs most days of the week. Having worked out those food groupings in Sparkpeople, I imagine the calorie total tracked is fairly accurate.

                      What I don't know is how many calories I'm really burning, since I'm breastfeeding and that varies quite a bit! But, at least I can know I'm not massively overshooting my eating plan for the day. I imagine, at least in my case, that because tracking calories doesn't feel like a burden and doesn't seem to give me any food anxiety to eat away, it can't hurt in my weight loss efforts.

                      Because my salads and soup have a good amount of carrots and onion, I can actually hit 50 to 75 carbs a day just from veggies (!) So seeing that helps me judge, "Just how many strawberries do I really want to eat with dinner today?"
                      "Trust me, you will soon enter a magical land full of delicious steakflowers, with butterbacons fluttering around over the extremely rompable grass and hillsides."


                      • #86
                        Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                        Batty, first of all, thank you for gracing this thread with your presence. You are my hero. In no way shape or form was your viewpoint being dismissed. I was only pointing out that you currently work out at a level that I don't plan to, need to, or feel capable of attaining at this point in my life. Therefor the argument that muscle weighs more than fat which is used to reassure people who are not seeing any improvement on the scale, doesn't really apply to me as I am not packing on pounds of muscle. At the level I'm exercising, I'm tightening up the existing muscle a bit yes but not adding pounds of it. That is all I said about your viewpoint. The fact that you have made the gains you have is inspirational. No one said otherwise.
                        and that is perfectly OK if you don't WANT to lift at levels like i do, you don't have to. and i certainly have not implied it anywhere. lifting 'heavy' is not an absolute term, it is relative to you and your capabilities. my clients at the gym are all over 60 and female and i certainly do not make them deadlift over 200 lbs.

                        what i see in you, right now, is someone who is IFing too much and if you are following PBF to the letter, you are not fueling your body properly for your activity, and with further restriction i see you potentially painting yourself into another metabolic corner. by all means, track - but maybe you'll discover that you're eating way more carbs than you think you are. or less fat. and maybe that its not that you have to decrease overall calories, but switch up WHAT you are eating.

                        Remember: IF is a type of stressor, and adding any new stressor (however potentially beneficial) to a heap of existing stressors will likely compound the problem.

                        honestly, i wish you the best and i do hope you find the homeostasis you are looking for. all i ask is that you consider other solutions as well. you are already restricting now with your IFs, and it is not working for you. applying more of something that might not be right for you might not solve the problem.

                        hugs and love and all that shit

                        HANDS OFF MY BACON :: my primal journal


                        • #87
                          I'm also one of those people who has not lost weight or inches. I've been primal for almost two years now, although I think only in the last few months have I really gotten my eating almost right. When I started I was doing P90X, followed by other BB programs, so I was working out 6 days a week. Starting last fall, I decided to cut way down on the amount of exercise. As I feared, once I was off my "program," the workouts were far too infrequent. I needed that schedule. Also, at some point in my first year, I plugged in my food for a couple days and was shocked at the number of calories. WAY too high. So, I do think that just checking (not counting every day - I could never do that; too much effort) is probably a good idea. Also, my guess would be that you're probably not eating enough, even though you're eating when hungry. I do think that it's possible for your body not to register hunger at a certain point. (I used to have to remind myself to eat. Never had an ED nor was I trying to restrict food, but when I get busy or stressed, I tend not to eat.) I would probably try adding a second meal, even if it's something small.

                          As to the workouts, is there a middle ground for you and the weights? I'm not saying you need a body-builders workout schedule, but would a once-a-week heavy lift work for you? It doesn't even have to take that long; you could do it in under 30 minutes. I'm getting myself back on a schedule of some kind. I'm lifting 2x a week in my workout room. (I bought the Bowflex Selecttech weights when they were on sale, and that's really all I need.) Right now I'm using some dvds for light cardio. It's been too cold to get out and walk (I'm such a wuss). I added in some stretching/yoga last week.

                          I'm not claiming to have this figured out. I can't seem to get rid of the fat, either. I do think that weight lifting is important. Plus it's good for your bones and such, too. Sometimes it's easier for someone on the outside looking in to see what might help. I'll be anxious to see what you decide and how it works for you.


                          • #88
                            Haven't read all the responses but a 24 IF 3-4 days a week is extreme, IMO. I'm not convinced there are any benefits past the 16 hour mark and that's reasonable to do daily if someone just prefers to fast often. Not eating 3 or 4 days out of 7 would definitely not enjoy that and it would totally stress me out.

                            Aside from that...try calorie counting and if that works for you then let it work for you. I can put away a serious amount of food. More than just about any guy I've ever known. It's a family it was REALLY REALLY REALLY hard for me to learn the difference between my mouth and a vacuum cleaner. But, it was a lesson worth learning and it works for me. Calories do matter, but I think predicting/anticipating where we'll come out in the energy balance is an exercise in frustration and, often, futility. There are just too many variables esp over the long term...but, hey, some people learn their bodies pretty well and it works.
                            Heather and the hounds - Make a Fast Friend, Adopt a Greyhound!


                            • #89
                              This is a great thread. Thank you to everyone contributing ideas and information!

                              I'm one who needs to track. I don't track calories per se, just log what I eat. I'm using the Lose It app, so calories and carbs/fat/protein are automatically tracked. It helps me to be more mindful of what I'm eating since I can easily just go off eating without even thinking about whether I am hungry or not.

                              I would agree that 3-4 times a week seems a bit too much. You could be pushing your body into it's current homeostasis b/c it thinks it *needs* those extra pounds due to all the fasting.


                              • #90
                                Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                                ... just our primal bodies holding on to extra for some future lean time that never comes?
                                This is Art De Vany's bugbear with Primal higher fat versions of paleo eating ... we never hit the lean times in modern life so he argues for less fat as a percentage of overall diet because we don't have lean times and we aren't moving as much as our ancestors did. Now, there's actually quite a bit of debate about how much fat our ancestors actually ate and consensus is moving toward them having eaten more than Cordain estimated some years back hence the trend to higher fat paleo. But I think that's a debate that will run and run to be honest. And, in theory at least, IFing is supposed to mimic leaner times, but so would caloric restriction ...!

                                I hear you Paleobird, I'm at just the same place really although slightly younger (about 6 years). I've gained about 6-7 lbs I guess since last Autumn (been Primal for a year) and only really keep on the lean side when riding 10 - 12 hours a week on my bike through the Summer. I've come to the same conclusion as you, need to eat less overall. So I have been thinking about no chocolate, no wine, no dairy to see what happens, OR, to just reduce the quantity of everything I eat but keep the few small treats too.

                                I have gravitated to eating a lunch and then early evening only - this is leangains (as it happens). This suits me, I can have a cup of herbal tea at breakfast time and train fasted (unless riding long which is a different scenario entirely), do yoga etc then eat. I like this, but in the real world with a partner who works unpredictable day and night shifts it isn't proving easy to manage.

                                Building muscle is certainly a good thing for females of our age and is Art's way of keeping low body fat and good health - the more muscle mass the better (high metabolic rates, increased testosterone, human growth hormone and the rest). It also keeps osteoporosis at bay too.

                                I do agree though, people like Art and Mark have always been well muscled and lean so maintenance, even as they grow older is much easier than trying to get there from scratch without the 30 - 50 year head start they have had!

                                I'm off to Fuerteventura a week on Saturday for one week of maximal Vitamin D manufacture - I've only paid for half board (breakfast and dinner) so will make that my 'fat-busting' camp - no nuts, no chocolate, no dairy. Will be an n = 1 experiment - I'll let you know how I go!
                                Last edited by Kelda; 02-28-2011, 10:12 AM.
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