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Reality check: Counting calories

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  • Reality check: Counting calories

    OK, it’s time for me face reality. PB is a great, healthy WOE but it will not lead to weight/fat loss in my case unless I get down to some serious calorie restriction.

    All this talk of, “Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are not.” “Throw away your scale”, etc. sounds soooooo nice but it just isn’t cutting it.

    I’ve been around the boards here since last fall and I’ve observed some people for whom the PB works.

    The Switchers: People like TawFunGuy and Dave Parsons who were seriously overweight and made the Big Change. They couldn’t help but lose weight from massively SAD diets to PB. I admire the heck out of those guys.

    The Healers : People who are here for medical reasons such as celiac, PCOS, hypo thyroid, eating disorders,etc.. Weight stabilization is a pleasant side effect of the healing they find. More power to them.

    The Uber Athletes : These are the healthy young studs/studettes who want a WOE to complement their tough workouts so that they can see every one of the six pac muscles clearly. This works for them. Cool.

    Then there is me. None of the above. Just a lady coming up on 50 who would like to lose some weight. No major health problems and not a huge amount to lose, (30lbs) but no desire to revisit the uber athletic days of my youth. I have always been health conscious and physically fit. I don’t think that some brown rice and tofu did me any irreparable harm. Not optimal, I understand that now, but not really that awful. I never did eat junk or over eat sugar or carbs. I have never had an eating disorder, I don’t have cravings or binges. I am very compliant with PB eating rules. I sleep well, get plenty of all natural vitamin D and include lots of play in my life. I eat tons of veggies, no processed junk (I mean Zero) lots of PB approved proteins and fats. Dairy free, legume free, minimal nuts and berries. I am almost always good about following the PBF workout routine. And I IF for 24 hours about 3-4 times a week. I’m doing everything “right”, right?.

    I have come to the conclusion that my body “likes” having an extra 30lbs of spare fat and is going to keep it around unless I do some serious caloric restriction.

    About Batty’s thread which I so adore, Yes, body composition has shifted around allowing me into a smaller size jeans. But I am not buying the “muscle is more compact than fat so you should ditch your scale” argument. At the levels I’m working out, I am not packing on pounds of muscle. Batty is a different story. They don’t call her workout room “Batty’s Basement of Doom” for nothing. My PBF push ups, pull ups, planks, etc. are toning things up a bit so the size 10s fit and I’m loving that. But the reason I’m not seeing falling numbers on the scale is not because of muscle mass gain although it would be reassuring to believe that and keep eating my bacon.

    Then there is the question of if I really need to lose 30 lbs or if some chart just says I do. I don’t care about charts. I know what I look like naked and it’s not what I want to see. Also, even though I am healthy now, I would like to prevent the health problems that can be a result of excess weight down the line. (Also I am not one of those size 2 people needing help getting to size 0. I am 5'10" and 180 but I would like to be 150)

    I have read Taubes and understand that there are good calories and bad calories. But there are still calories and too many of them, even the “good” kind and weight loss is not going to happen. I realize that the “calories in-calories out” thermodynamic explanation for weight loss/gain is over simplified but still calories DO count. So I am going to count calories. They will all be PB approved high quality calories, but I will restrict the quantity and see how it goes.

    I hate giving up the idea of never having to weigh or measure anything again (food or myself). That freedom is one of the most appealing things about PB. I think it does work as a maintenance mode once you are at optimal weight so I can look forward to coming back to it eventually.

    Thoughts? Insights? Flames?

  • #2
    I wrestle with this on a daily basis. I came here to get away from calorie counting and PB is for the first time ever allowing me to eat maintenance without too much distress...although I still have to use caution. But actual weight loss? not so much. Now in theory if I stick with this for months while my body heals (from what I am not sure) weight loss will naturally happen. Or maybe this is the weight my body is "supposed to be at".

    I have been toying around with modified calorie counting. Ironically coming up with something that is somewhat akin to "deal a meal". Not wanting to agonize over details. Breakfast: 2 proteins, 1 veggie, 2 fat, 1 fruit. (redefining a serving to fit what is normal for me). Etc.
    MTA: because it is rare I dont have more to say

    "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - my daughter Age 7

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    • #3
      Amen, amen, amen.

      This is a struggle I deal with as well. Part of me wants to be the uber lifter awesome athlete. Part of me just wants to be... me. I don't want to count or weigh anymore, and I go back n forth. Count & weigh to drop the weight, or learn to be happy with the results if I enjoy the freedom of not counting & weighing.

      I've decided to let it be. As long as I don't have to buy bigger jeans, I'm fine. I will work out and continue to set goals to make myself stronger, but I'm not going to knit-pick over the details. I don't love what I look like naked, or even clothed sometimes, but shoot... it's better than I was, and in the great big grand scheme of things, will all the billions of people on the planet... we're not all going to be gorgeous. I'm fine with just being pretty.

      For simplicity and to make it hard to over-eat, I'm playing with my eating times. Workout days I eat at 7am and 9pm. Non-workout days is 12pm and 6pm. That gives me little IFs and two good meals a day that I can enjoy.

      Spring is coming. I will be eating anything that's in season, and enjoying it.

      I have 3 sweet potatoes in the oven, and I feel no guilt.

      If you want to count and track, it helps. I sorta guess-timate my numbers somedays, though I'm probably off by 200 or so, but that's ok. I'm just sorta getting to the point where I don't feel like doing it anymore. I've been on a weight loss journey for 4 years. I'm ready to just... Be.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
        I IF for 24 hours about 3-4 times a week.
        Woah! That seems like way too much fasting to me. Did you mean to write month?!

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        • #5
          Surprisingly, I agree with Grok on this one. I would suggest the leangains approach. i.e. eat between noon and eight PM. Excellent way to calorie reduce.

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          • #6
            I did this for a couple of months. I only had about 12 lbs total to lose. Now I have only 5 (approx, because I don't weigh myself.)

            My observations:

            • It seems to work pretty well if the calorie deficit isn't too low. I tracked my total, unrestricted PB calories for a week and dropped my total by 200 calories. Not a lot, but I was getting more active, doing LHTs 2 x /week, and I knew I would get even more active as I lost the fat (Taubes!)
            • As long as it is fun for you, then I think it works fine. If it causes stress & ups your cortisol, then maybe, not so much.
            • IFing made it easier by only having an 8 hour eating window. Once my time was up, it was up and I dealt with it.

            I'm still tracking calories, but not restricting now that I've cut out all sugar & chocolate and am staying below 20 g carbs (basically Atkins induction). I notice my calorie count is the same or lower as it was when I consciously restricted. Oh, and I seem to be losing even faster. I think even the small amount of sugar/chocolate was spiking my insulin too much, even though I stayed under 20 g carb before.

            Whatever works for you is the best choice!
            Last edited by Dragonfly; 02-27-2011, 02:23 PM.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Grok View Post
              Woah! That seems like way too much fasting to me. Did you mean to write month?!
              No, I meant week. Everybody around here seems to be saying that IFing is the way to get past "stalled weight loss". For me it is not hard or any big deprivation. I just skip B & L and go from one dinner to the next day's dinner.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                I’m doing everything “right”, right?
                Do you do sprints?

                I've been trying to lose enough fat to get my abs to show, but it just wont go away. I'm not too worried about it because its just a show off kind of thing, but still. I wouldn't say it's 30lbs worth, but probably more like 10lbs. For me, I'm just going to keep trying to be more and more primal. I'm still just getting used to doing PBF and I don't sprint as much as I like. Nor do I fast as much as I should. I eat too much chocolate, etc. I think I really need to push myself to the limit and go 100% primal for those last few pounds.

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                • #9
                  I think 1-2 24 hour fasts a week is a better idea. As I said before, I prefer the leangains approach.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Grok View Post
                    Do you do sprints?
                    I eat too much chocolate, etc. I think I really need to push myself to the limit and go 100% primal for those last few pounds.
                    I do sprints weekly. I eat a square of dark chocolate and a glass of red wine maybe once a week. I don't think cutting these out will do something magical but all over calorie restriction might.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lojasmo View Post
                      I think 1-2 24 hour fasts a week is a better idea. As I said before, I prefer the leangains approach.
                      But I thought I was only supposed to be eating when hungry. The times I'm IFing are not because I feel I should but just because I don't feel hungry.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                        But I thought I was only supposed to be eating when hungry. The times I'm IFing are not because I feel I should but just because I don't feel hungry.
                        Well, I'm not a big proponent of the "if you eat too few calories you'll go into starvation mode" but I think you might be headed there with 4 24 hour fasts weekly. That might bring you to a grand total of 6,000 calories on some weeks.

                        Prolonged fasts should be 1 or two times weekly, tops, I think.

                        At 5'10" and 180, I would think that 1800 Kcal/day would be good for weight loss (just pulling that out of the air) which would be 12,600 calories weekly.

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                        • #13
                          I have read Taubes and understand that there are good calories and bad calories. But there are still calories and too many of them, even the “good” kind and weight loss is not going to happen. I realize that the “calories in-calories out” thermodynamic explanation for weight loss/gain is over simplified but still calories DO count. So I am going to count calories. They will all be PB approved high quality calories, but I will restrict the quantity and see how it goes.
                          I do sprints weekly. I eat a square of dark chocolate and a glass of red wine maybe once a week. I don't think cutting these out will do something magical but all over calorie restriction might.
                          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.
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                          • #14
                            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

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by runnergal View Post
                              maintenance without too much distress. But actual weight loss? not so much. Now in theory if I stick with this for months while my body heals (from what I am not sure) weight loss will naturally happen. Or maybe this is the weight my body is "supposed to be at".
                              Exactly. It works for Mark because he has never been a nano-gram over weight in his life.
                              "In theory" I like that. Then there is real life.
                              re body healing, I don't feel like there is anything to heal in my case
                              How can we know if this is our "supposed to be here" weight or just our primal bodies holding on to extra for some future lean time that never comes?
                              Last edited by Paleobird; 02-27-2011, 03:42 PM.

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