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Thread: losing weight: is it really all about the carbs?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    losing weight: is it really all about the carbs?

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    Okay, so I've been primal for nearly 6 weeks and have been losing weight consistently throughout. 4 days ago I decided to take it up a notch to lose weight faster. I posted my typical intake on this forum, and was recommended to cut out the alcohol and my fruit smoothies - to keep carbs under 50g a day.

    So that's what I've been doing. I've even started using fitday to monitor what I eat (never done that before). Now that I'm using fitday - it points everything out in calories and I'm getting a little confused. I've had one day where my calories burnt were pretty equal to my calories taken in - yet I ate only 45g of carb that day.

    I'll post my figures:

    1492 cal
    106g fat - 63%
    75g carbs - 19%
    70g protein - 19%
    (carbs high that day because I mountain biked for 3 hours)

    1692 cal
    110g fat - 59%
    24g carb - 5%
    143g protein - 36%

    2051 cal
    141 fat - 61%
    33 carbs - 6%
    159g protein - 33%

    1510 cal
    88g fat - 53%
    46g carb - 11%
    129g protein - 36%

    1686 cal
    112g fat - 59%
    45g carb - 10%
    125g prot -31%

    I mountain biked (high physical exertion) for 3 hours on thurs, played an hour of tennis today (sun), other than that I've been fairly sedentary - seated work, socialising, walking, shopping etc.

    Fitday says: 3830 calories burnt thurs, 2350 friday, 2520 sat, 3060 sun. I'm 5'8", male, 165lbs (ish), lean weight (0% bf) should be about 130 at a guess.

    Where I'm struggling is the way fitday presents the info - it's all about the calories. Should I be completely ignoring the calorie count and only worry about grams of carbs? That doesn't seem totally right either. Does the old 3500 calories difference = 1 lb of fat thing not work? According to fitday, on average I'm burning 1000 calories more per day than I'm eating, so I *should* lose 2lbs per week.

    Also, I feel sluggish the last couple of days. Could this be round 2 of low-carb flu or something? Or am I simply not eating enough carbs? I've always had a sweet tooth - so moving to primal has been hard, and until 4 days ago I kept alcohol (beer), fruit smoothies, and the very occasional cake or cookie indulgence. I promised myself I would go hardcore for 2 weeks - no alcohol, no grains (no exceptions), and i said no fruit smoothies, but I've had 1 today. Could I be getting hit with that low-carb flu thing, 5-6 weeks into this simply because I dropped my carbs below 50g a day?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    San Diego, CA
    Metabolism is a big, chunky alphabet soup of different variables. Calories are important for weight loss, but so are hormones, which are affected by what you eat, how you move, how you feel, etc.

    You are concerned about feeling sluggish. Yes, you could be reacting badly to reduced carbohydrate intake, especially in light of your recent activities. Deal with it as you dealt with the first bout of low-carb flu. As for weight loss, 4 days is too short a time span to say anything conclusively. Check back in a couple weeks.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Sounds like you've really just started doing Primal as of four days ago. And yes, this sounds like the low-carb flu. You will have to tough it out - no more fruit smoothies!
    Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

    Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is:

    Ditch the scale!:

    My Success Story:

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Griff View Post
    Sounds like you've really just started doing Primal as of four days ago. And yes, this sounds like the low-carb flu. You will have to tough it out - no more fruit smoothies!
    Haha, tough love. I was mostly primal. I cut out all grains (except on occasion, and except for beer which, admittedly, i drank far too much of). I completely switched my diet. Breakfast went from 2 bowls of cereal to bacon and eggs (all from local farms). Lunches and dinners - no more pasta, or bread etc. - mostly steaks, chicken, stews and salads. I probably ate 1/10th the sweets I used to. Also 2 fruit smoothies every day (primal too - fresh berries, a splash of oj, some flax oil). I wasn't at 100%, yet I was pretty close bar the beer, and I was losing weight.

    This new 2 week experiment is certainly changing things up for me, I'm learning a lot. I'll tough it out and see where it gets me. If nothing else, I'm getting some eye opening information around the nutritional content of food now that I'm using fitday. Frankly though, <50g of carb a day isn't very enjoyable. I'm glad it's only for a short-term as I'm finding I need a lot of willpower at times.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    I can't do the less than 50g of carbs thing. When I did, my weight loss stalled out, my energy went to crap (not just low carb flu, I'm talking months), my workouts went to crap, I lost strength and endurance and I just felt like hell. I added carbs back in and voila! I'm back to losing, and more importantly to me my physical performance is improving again! I eat fruit, I eat veggies like they're going out of style.

    My point is that the less than 50g is not the be all answer for everyone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Inwood, New York
    If you can manipulate carbs to your advantage you will find them to be an invaluable asset to you. They are the high octane fuel. Some people with certain illnesses have every reason to fear carbs like the devil, however the average man and woman can thrive on a prinal diet with the proper use of carbs, in fact, it may even enhance the experience. Im talking about carb refeeds.
    "I know what my body needs and what it can handle. There's no better way to achieve my goal than what im doing now. If my regimen leads to my death, be it in six days or six months...I will die fullfiled. The outcome is irrelavent so long as i steer towards my fate. If death is to be my prize, i welcome it with open arms."

    "A pound of meat a day keeps the doctor away"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    oh man. this is tough. I don't think I have low-carb flu. Generally I feel ok, however around mid-afternoon I usually get overwhelmed with fatigue and lie down for an hour or so - it's a really shitty feeling. I'm having trouble sleeping too - which I don't normally.

    I'm not really sure <50g carb is that healthy, or if it's just that I'm going through some sort of sugar withdrawal symptoms (alcohol withdrawal too? - that seems excessive since it's not like I drink every day). I do seem to be losing weight however. I'm now 6 days into it, going to stick it out for the full 2 weeks and see what happens, but man, it's tough! I am seriously affected by caffeine now too. One cup (I might drink coffee twice a week or something) and I'm jittery.
    Last edited by cemdev; 07-20-2010 at 05:31 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    I would be wary of the common sentiment that "carbs are evil" - sounds pretty similar to the "fat is the devil" meme that we all know was pretty false.

    In any case, you seem to have dropped calories a little too low, especially for your given stats of 5'8 165. How low are you trying to go??? Just sheer lack of calories, plus you don't seem extremely sedentary... could explain why you feel so sluggish, heh.

    That said, your protein intake seems low, if you really insist on keeping your intake ~1600-1700 I would recommend at least 1g/lb bodyweight (165g protein). And if you do keep intake that low daily, do look into a carb refeed 1x/week at least.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    For me carbs are everything. If I drink a beer or eat a piece of pizza I will feel gross. I have been on PB for a while and lost 40lbs. I workout daily but have plenty of energy. I almost feel like I when I eat protein it's similar to putting gas in your car. When I have a small breakfast with not as much protein as usual my tank feels empty. With your weight and BF you might want to stay above 50 carbs a day unless your activity decreases.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Shop Now
    Thanks guys. I think you're both spot on. I don't think what I'm doing is healthy or sustainable. I am however going to stick it out for the full 2 weeks since I'm 6 days in - just in case it is some sort of withdrawal symptom. At the very least, my cravings for fruit smoothies and nuts have diminished, and that's a good thing. I really don't know how to get much more protein in my diet without using a protein powder. I eat a large steak (organic, mostly grass-fed (grain finished) most days lately. bacon + eggs for breakfast, and usually another boiled egg or two during the day + veggies.

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