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Thread: Reality check: Counting calories

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  1. #1
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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. #2
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    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

  3. #3
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    Quote 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 at 02:42 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote 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.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcadav View Post
    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.
    I have had every test known to modern medicine including thyroid and am, by all accounts, ridiculously healthy. 175 for my height is the "official" borderline between "healthy" and "overweight" but I am not hung up on that. I am only using weight numbers to communicate with others. I know I am overweight because I see it in the mirror. Unless one is doing Batty intensity lifting however, "losing weight" is a measure of losing fat.

  6. #6
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    Quote 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 at 09:12 AM.
    Seeking the natural way in a modern world ...

  7. #7
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    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.

  8. #8
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    Quote 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?!

  9. #9
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    Quote 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.

  10. #10
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    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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