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Thread: I know counting calories is discouraged, BUT...

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  1. #1
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    Question I know counting calories is discouraged, BUT...

    ...I kind of need to, at least for right now, and I was hoping to get some advice from those of you with a little more primal experience under your belts!

    Here are the basics: I am a 21-year-old female, 5'5", ~135 lbs, body fat percentage somewhere in the mid-20s. I've been eating strictly Paleo for 14 days and have already lost about 7 lbs of what is probably water weight. I am not overweight by anyone's definition (except possibly my own, but that depends on which side of the bed I wake up on more than anything!) but I would still like to lose some weight. Well, lose fat, actually. I'm pretty keen on holding onto the muscle that I have.

    The reason I am so attached to counting calories is that for the last few years, I have going back and forth between being a serial dieter and genuinely eating disordered. I even did a brief stint in the hospital, although I never actually got underweight to begin with. My views of what is a healthy or unhealthy portion have been skewed, and I am still learning how to tell the differences among boredom, cravings, and actual hunger.

    All my doctors are aware that I am eating Paleo now, and I'm keeping them mostly in the loop with how I eat and everything, so there's no risk of me relapsing while they've all got their eyes on me. No worries there.

    At first I was eating between 1400 and 1600 calories a day, with roughly 50%-70% of that as fat, 25%-40% as protein, 15%-25% as carbohydrates. Now I have bumped my calories up to around 1800-1900, as I am concerned that eating too little will actually hinder my weight loss. As of yesterday I have also decreased my carbohydrate consumption to under 40 g, for now at least.

    I am doing a lot of walking - around 6 hours a week (and that's just the walking I do on my local trails, so excluding everyday activity), sometimes more. I do some pilates, squats, and knee push-ups (not strong enough for the real ones yet!) about twice a week. I also do a short, intense session on an elliptical machine every 7-10 days as my "sprint".

    Obviously staying healthy is my number one goal, but I would like to lose fat as swiftly as I healthily can. Does anyone have opinions of how I am going about things? Any changes I should make? Any ways I can speed up this process?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    There's no speeding it up. Everything you are doing looks fine. It's good that you are not afraid of upping your fat. Eat until you are satiated, wait until you are hungry, eat again. Limit carbs to those found in vegetables and one serving of fruit a day. A healthy 21 year old needs some body fat to continue to have normal menstrual cycles.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
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    I'd actually eat a rounded diet that includes starch, fruit and veggie carbs. Why not use this time to set up healthy eating habits that includes the consumption of good carbs, proteins and fats. And be patient with the fat loss.

    When you try and rush things and start restricting the hell out of what you eat.... that is what creates the cyclical dieting. Yeah, you could go VLC and burn off your fat. Then you'd add carbs back in and gain water and freak out and start another cycle.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by magnolia1973 View Post
    I'd actually eat a rounded diet that includes starch, fruit and veggie carbs. Why not use this time to set up healthy eating habits that includes the consumption of good carbs, proteins and fats. And be patient with the fat loss.

    When you try and rush things and start restricting the hell out of what you eat.... that is what creates the cyclical dieting. Yeah, you could go VLC and burn off your fat. Then you'd add carbs back in and gain water and freak out and start another cycle.
    Amen. That is, essentially, what i did upon discovering primal eating. I subconciously set myself up to try the strictest path possible: max 50 grams of carbs a day, no fruit, full excercise routine. It was utter failure - you sound like you're fine, but if you should, at any point, feel like it becomes too hard dont be afraid to ease up on your diet/excercise.

  5. #5
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    There is nothing wrong with count calories. I'd encourage counting macro nutrients as well. When adjusting to Primal eating though, I'd recommend NOT limiting calorie intake. I track what I eat using very precise means, mostly because I enjoy doing it. What I have discovered is that your calorie intake matters little when compared to Carb intake. If I increased my carb intake, keeping a constant calorie intake, I gained weight.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiigigaw View Post
    There is nothing wrong with count calories. I'd encourage counting macro nutrients as well. When adjusting to Primal eating though, I'd recommend NOT limiting calorie intake. I track what I eat using very precise means, mostly because I enjoy doing it. What I have discovered is that your calorie intake matters little when compared to Carb intake. If I increased my carb intake, keeping a constant calorie intake, I gained weight.
    Yep, you probably gained water- and lean muscle/organ weight! Remember that one pound of lean tissue is 400 calories versus 3500 calories for one pound of fat...
    "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

    - Schopenhauer

  7. #7
    If you're overly concious about weight i'd say there is something wrong with tracking your calories. Imo its totally fine if you're just enjoying the 'science' and 'fix' of proper nutrition. I understand alot of people here get off on seeing figures displaying their perfect macronutrient ratios for the day, which is harmless UNLESS you're overly focused on diet.

  8. #8
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    If you need to count calories then about 14 kcal/lbs is a good start which is 1890 for you and it seems that your already eating that way. I'd say do that during the week and on the weekends bump the calories up to 15 kcal/lbs which is ~2000 and increase your carbs that day. Since your eating under 40 grams a day you could go up to 80 grams on the weekends. The reason for the increase is to keep your metabolism running fast, I used this method for my fitness model competition and it worked really well.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the advice, everyone. I am at a bit of a loss as to what to do in the short term though, in light of a bit of a "hiccup" in my plans that I had this morning.

    Earlier this morning I got on the scale and saw that I gained nearly two pounds since yesterday. I know that weight fluctuates and all that, but I panicked, got upset, and then I binged. Half a jar of almond butter, two Larabars, and a banana... all Paleo foods, but that's beside the point. It was not a smart move. Way too many carbs, and enough total calories for an entire day!

    I am relatively certain it was the scale incident that triggered the binge, though, and not cravings (I can usually tell which one it is).

    My knee-jerk reaction is to say, hell, I'm not eating for the rest of the day. I'll just do better tomorrow. Is there any reason that's a bad idea?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by perfexionist View Post
    My knee-jerk reaction is to say, hell, I'm not eating for the rest of the day. I'll just do better tomorrow. Is there any reason that's a bad idea?
    The knee-jerk reaction/self-flagelation is probably a bad idea. I think you know somewhere inside you whether your thoughts and behaviors are healthy and realistic or not. However, if you are actually full and not hungry there is nothing wrong with not eating again until tomorrow.
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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