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Thread: The True Definition of Calories i.e. "Why what you believe is extremist BS" page 2

  1. #11
    Neckhammer's Avatar
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    What was the question?

    The blogger has some points but it is not 100% of the story.....nor could it be in that short of a rant I suppose.

  2. #12
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    One of my best friends is 6lbs away from losing 100lbs on WW. He's a 27 year old, not all that active male (though he does work on his feet exclusively, which I'm sure is a huge advantage over desk jockeys like myself) who in the past also lost close to 70-80lbs but never could keep them off. This time he's a lot more determined, but also took the time to learn a little bit more about how food (not just calories) affect him internally, with a tiny bit of my help (an email I sent him almost two years ago) and he went ahead and combined a bit of paleo knowledge with the WW framework and is now even saying shit I never expected to hear from him like "I want to get strong, put on some muscle." He admits he never thought he would say those things either, being stuck in believing he was just meant to be fat but via calorie restriction he's on his way.

    I'm 100% sure paleo would have helped him as well, but from a psychological standpoint, WW is much easier to follow and stick to. Unfortunately, people just starting out on paleo are going to feel odd in social situations, and this can cause them to drop-out. WW also has a more "real" support group with their weekly meetings and what-not, and also some family members joined WW with him, which obviously helped things along. I don't think he would be close to 100lbs lost on paleo alone, though I've seen it here and elsewhere. Not dissing my beloved paleo, but at the end of the day calories are king.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by camel View Post
    I've been in the place where I was religiously weighing, measuring and counting calories, and coming up with big calorie deficits every day and not losing weight. Two months of calorie deficits, and according to all the "calories in- calories out" rules, and still no weight loss. I firmly believe that there does need to be a calorie deficit in order to lose weight. And yet, it wasn't happening. Its mystifying, frustrating and it makes me curious. So whats wrong with posting "what am I doing wrong?" or "I can't lose weight no matter what". How are those "ridiculous statements"?
    It's not wrong - As I said, if you actually test the theory yourself, and you're not losing weight despite establishing what should be significant deficits, THEN that is a good reason to start investigating other problems. But it could be a whole variety of issues at play.

    It's the people who don't even do this before they start thinking thyroids and leptin and all that stuff... It blows my mind.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post

    BUT - in defense of these forums, it is a much more sensible place than it was a year and a half ago when I joined. People are much more open to eating carbohydrate. When I joined, <50g/carbs a day were the norm. Now, we've moderated to around 100g it seems. 100-150g is probably most sensible for people with desk jobs since it allows a balanced diet without excessive blood glucose. Heavy lifters, please feel free to eat a lot more.
    lol, a year and a half ago half of the people on this board wouldn't even eat vegetables, just meat and eggs. I think that line of thinking stopped when griff stopped posting to some extent.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by camel View Post
    I've been in the place where I was religiously weighing, measuring and counting calories, and coming up with big calorie deficits every day and not losing weight. Two months of calorie deficits, and according to all the "calories in- calories out" rules, and still no weight loss. I firmly believe that there does need to be a calorie deficit in order to lose weight. And yet, it wasn't happening. Its mystifying, frustrating and it makes me curious. So whats wrong with posting "what am I doing wrong?" or "I can't lose weight no matter what". How are those "ridiculous statements"?
    Simply put, you were probably doing it wrong.

    1.) Do you own a food scale and measure in grams? You can't use "cups" or measurements like "1 medium apple." They vary wildly. You have to be precise to the gram.

    2.) Were you using a tracking program like Fitday?

    3.) Were you truly tracking everything you eat? Or did you leave out that heavy cream you put in your coffee or that square of dark chocolate you took subconsciously?

    4.) And the #1 reason people fail with tracking calories: did you severely overestimate your TDEE? People typically seriously overestimate their food requirement. This is a solid TDEE calculator:

    IF Calculator

    Chances are, your activity level is much less than you think it is. These TDEE calculators typically assume exercise is heavy lifting. If you go for a 2 mile walk 3 times a week and choose the "3 days of exercise" option, you're wrong. That assumes you're going to the gym and doing 3 45-60 minute sessions of deadlifts, squats, benchpresses, chin-ups, overhead presses and cleans every week.

    I do heavy deadlifts on Monday. I do heavy benchpresses on Thursday. I do heavy squats on Saturday. Each day takes about 1 hour.

    Then I do cardio 3 days a week. 2 days is usually low intensity - a 10-15 mile bike ride over 45 minute - and 1 day of HIIT (sprinting). I choose the "moderately active/3 days a week exercise" option. My HIIT and 10-15 mile bike rides do not count. They just make me break even because I sit at a desk all day. My only "real" exercise is the complex, intense, heavy stuff.

    Low intensity cardio is not considered a workout and is considered vital movement and assumed to be done.

    5.) My final question: have you ever been "good" for a whole week, weighed yourself, saw no weight loss and said "Fuck it, I'll eat whatever I want then" and go to town?

    There is a chance you have severe metabolic distress, hormonal issues, potential thyroid issues, food sensitivities, etc. But the 5 points above are far, far more likely. Also, scales are highly unreliable. If you're the impatient type that wants rapid weight loss and goes on a severe caloric deficit, you'll probably retain a shit ton of water and show no "weight loss." Heavy caloric restriction needs to be paired with regular refeeds. Some people often call this the "woosh" effect.
    Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 07-25-2012 at 12:05 PM.
    Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

  6. #16
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    I think the best takeaway from that post is "experiment and find the best approach for you." That should necessarily include a try at limiting calories.

  7. #17
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    Good article: Thanks for posting.

    Couple thoughts:

    1. Agree with the summation of the article:

    Just relax! And while you’re relaxing, experiment and find the best approach for you. The best diet is the one that gets you into a caloric deficit and one you can sustain. For some, lower carb approaches do just that – for many others, more dietary variety and works best. Rest assured, however that you will need to be in a deficit to lose. So even if you don’t “count” calories per se, you need to be keenly aware of them. And even if you don’t use them as a front-line strategy, you should at the very least look at your total intake first should you stall in your fat loss efforts."

    I have never had a weight problem, thus it's hard for me to identify with the majority of the contributors in this forum. However, having added 10 lbs during my MBA, and in the process of losing those 10 lbs, I have appreciated the postings from some of the forum participants.

    It is my observation that the vast majority of people just do not have a basic, fundamental understanding of chemistry in the kitchen. I rarely use a recipe because I grew up with European parents who cooked wholesome food and I didn't know what store-bought cookies were until I grew up and moved out. I can open our refrigerator, at any time, on any day, grab a number of whole foods, and produce a very tasty, clean meal in 40 minutes -- and I can prepare this food for 1/2 the cost of 'fast food' or 'barcode food'.

    Individuals come from all walks of backgrounds and experiences and, as I see it, one of the fundamental problems is that prepared food is easy, fast and cheap and a bail out for those who don't understand chemistry of the kitchen.

    The next problem is emotional --- individuals are so unhappy with their lives, work, spouses, kids and it's easier to eat a cheap pizza than it is to take control of your life and be accountable for your choices. It's a self-perpetuating, self-defeating cycle of unhappiness, blame and short-term rewards (crap/fast food).... *repeat ad nauseum. It's easier to blame hormones, lot in life, misearable wife/husband, lost job, low income/no income versus looking yourself in the mirror, removing the filters and becoming accountable for the choices you make. It's a choice-cause effect.

    I appreciate this forum for some of the positives that are offered here: The basic framework; getting specific questions answered; how a girl can lift technical weights and build muscle while losing fat; how to drop those last 5 lbs and sculpt the desired body.

    The rest of the postings about 'cheating' --- feeling weak -- excuses -- I'll start next week --- I want my popcorn, is it primal? -- all these commentators have their place, and hopefully they feel supported --------- but that's not the crowd that I run with -- neither on this forum or off this forum.

    Thanks for the posting the article --- good discussions are never a waste of time.
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    Goal Reached: 30-09-12 @ 143lb. Now bouncing between 145lb - 149lb. I'd like less bounce and more consistency :-)

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  8. #18
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    great article. though, i do think that some people can get a little obsessive over counting. not that that leads to anything bad like orthorexia...i just think that gets in the way of enjoying food (maybe that's a good thing for fat loss if the food reward theories are correct).

    anti-calorie argument #3 is an important one, i think. it feels like there's a lot of estimation going on out there. i know a lot of people who claim they're eating much less in an attempt to lose weight, but a true measurement of calorie consumption would show them guessing way lower than they actually are. i'm thinking specifically of the people who eat 300 calories of salad with 1800 calories of dressing.

    i also liked this:
    Again it comes back to protein – the trump card in this equation. Eating adequate protein leads to… (wait for it)… EATING LESS. That’s right, you eat less food when you eat more protein. In this study by Weigle, subjects who ate double the recommended daily level of protein (30% vs 15%) reduced overall calories by 441 per day! This was WITHOUT CARBOHYDRATE REDUCTION.
    even though macronutrient content may not matter, this shows that it does a little bit. protein is a big part of decreasing hunger, so someone will ultimately eat fewer calories. i feel like people are afraid of protein though...maybe even more than fat, or because of fat...so they turn to things that make them want to keep eating more.

  9. #19
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    I have no doubt that losing weight / fat requires that you consume fewer calories than you burn. There are no "magic" calories that don't count, or count less. And on a day to day basis, it wouldn't matter what those calories consisted of. However, I would think that over time, what you eat could affect how well your body burns calories. Eat a bad enough diet over time (even without increasing calories) and your body will become malnourished (thyroid or liver problems, for example) and less efficient at burning calories. You'll then gain weight, and it's still because you're burning fewer calories than you're taking in, but the kinds of calories you ate had a lot to do with that by making you less able to burn calories effectively. So in that sense there really are "good calories and bad calories", but not based on whether they're carbs or fats, but rather based on whether in total, they give your body the nutrients it needs.
    Last edited by Hawkward; 07-25-2012 at 12:08 PM.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
    Jesus. I am severely upset you don't post more often. This is fantastic, particularly the first paragraph.

    BUT - in defense of these forums, it is a much more sensible place than it was a year and a half ago when I joined. People are much more open to eating carbohydrate. When I joined, <50g/carbs a day were the norm. Now, we've moderated to around 100g it seems. 100-150g is probably most sensible for people with desk jobs since it allows a balanced diet without excessive blood glucose. Heavy lifters, please feel free to eat a lot more.
    Thanks man - I do really enjoy reading your posts in particular. In fact I'd go so far as to say you are a large part of the reason that people have opened up more to carbs on this forum, and are subsequently looking at the primal blue print more objectively, and not with religious like fanaticism. I think I first discovered lean gains and other places like that thanks to your carb refeed thread from way back when. I still think these forums are very valuable and that there are a lot of really knowledgeable people worth listening too.... but i get tired of writing thoughtful posts only to have them land on deaf ears.

    Hey, I was once a carbophobe too... there were some compelling (though ultimately not true) arguments in defense of that position, and I bought them, hook line and sinker. Ultimately it was these forums that helped me break out of that dogmatic mind set. And of course I do realize that there are still some legitimate arguments for people to eat low carb, high fat diets in certain cases - epilepsy being one that I can think of off the top of my head.

    Maybe I'll start coming around here more often again...
    Last edited by primal pete; 07-25-2012 at 12:11 PM.

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