2

votes

I guess I'm wondering if calories really matter and if so, should I adjust mine?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 05, 2012 at 8:44 AM

I started paleo about 3 weeks ago. I have been counting calories for as far as I can remember. I know you're not supposed to do this on paleo, but I still automatically do this in my head. I find I'll eat a minimum 0f around 1600 calories and maximum of 2400 (so average 2000). I am a 21 year old female, 5'4", don't weigh myself but I'm somewhere around 140. I exercise 6-7 times a week, hoping to lean out (I have a big frame, so maybe lose 5 lbs?). From other posts I've read about people counting calories, I feel like I'm eating way too much. I tend to get obsessive about numbers so I don't weigh/measure myself, so I don't really know if I've lost weight, but I feel more energized and healthy. I guess I'm wondering if calories really matter and if so, should I adjust mine?

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on December 06, 2012
at 10:23 PM

I gave you a +1 because I agree that eating good, nutritiously dense foods is the key. Calorie counting doesn't make a lot of sense.

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(748)

on December 06, 2012
at 04:13 AM

I think I may already have a thyroid problem actually (runs in my family) and I seem to have some symptoms, but haven't been able to have it checked. Really need to lose weight, but sugars of any kind stall my weight loss unless im eating very very low calories (which i don't want to do). But I will be careful and try to follow your suggestions of eating carbs in the evening (avocado has carbs, and I eat spinach). Or I will cycle every other day. thanks!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on December 06, 2012
at 03:14 AM

You need carbs to keep your thyroid in check. Don't go 0 carbs for more than one day and don't do low carb every single day. You have to alternate every other day. If you go 0 carb every single day, you might develop a thyroid problem. Make sure to have your carbs in the evening.

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(748)

on December 05, 2012
at 09:53 PM

Huh interesting! I'm gonna try something like this no carb thing and see if it works :) As I am SUPER sensitive to anything inflammatory, and follow FODMAPS. Though for me my menu will be more Bulletproof Coffee at 12pm, Fish fillet for lunch at around 1:40-2pm, and some turkey and say an avocado for Dinner at 4-5pm. I'll see how the almost no carb thing works for me, and if it doesn't I'll maybe include more carbs and just count calories. Thanks for this post!! Pretty freakin awesome discovery for you if you ask me!

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(748)

on December 05, 2012
at 09:53 PM

Huh interesting! I'm gonna try something like this no carb thing and see if it works :) As I am SUPER sensitive to anything inflammatory, and follow FODMAPS. Though for me my menu will be more Bulletproof Coffee at 12pm, Fish fillet for lunch at around 1:40-2pm, and some turkey and say an avocado for Dinner at 4-5pm. I'll see how the almost no carb thing works for me, and if it doesn't I'll maybe include more carbs and just count calories. Thanks for post!! Pretty freakin awesome discovery for you if you ask me!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 05, 2012
at 09:21 PM

Moving your ass to survive causes more anxiety than trying to choose between a Snickers and a T-bone.

366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424

(2988)

on December 05, 2012
at 09:18 PM

Many of our ancestors did not have easy access to unlimited food, and HAD to move to survive. Not so today, and for many of us, calorie counting, far from causing anxiety, allows us to be successful in our weight loss goals. I totally get why many people here are against calorie counting, but I wouldn't be so quick to judge.

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on December 05, 2012
at 08:03 PM

And, paleo isn't simple or we wouldn't have this very busy forum of people trying to make paleo work for them. Plus, I'm actually less anxious when I'm counting calories.

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on December 05, 2012
at 08:02 PM

So, what's more important - your opinion, my opinion, anybody's opinion - or what works for an individual?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on December 05, 2012
at 06:09 PM

I don't IF. I eat three meals per day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. I eat carbs only for dinner and fat and protein only for breakfast and lunch. I have SIBO and my diet is a combination of SCD, GAPS and anti-inflammatory. You don't want my diet, believe me. But I am NOT HUNGRY and it keeps me happy. Breakfast: bone broth and meat. Lunch: liver Dinner: soup with zucchini, spinach and carrots, virgin coconut oil. Sea salt in everything. I love my diet, but I am not sure I can afford it for a long time.

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(748)

on December 05, 2012
at 05:56 PM

so how does your daily menu look VB? on something like this? Just curious if you IF or anything like that?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 05, 2012
at 05:34 PM

Waistline is often the best and simplest guide.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 05, 2012
at 05:32 PM

This is the worst advice you can give to someone who counts obsessively. Count more??? Read Taubes crackpot "theories"????

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 05, 2012
at 05:29 PM

Just eliminate fruits and nuts? Noooooo....not me anyway.....roasted hazelnuts and dried cherries are calling my name right now....

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 05, 2012
at 05:27 PM

Speaking as a man, I had to eat less to lose weight. If you're really active it doesn't matter as much.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on December 05, 2012
at 03:54 PM

Fair warning... the book is a text book. Very informative, tough to get through.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 05, 2012
at 03:51 PM

All good answers below. Differenet people are different. You may need to count calories. But maybe you don't. Try VB's advice. If it works for you, you will be free of all the counting. Maybe it won't. And then you will have to count. Or you can indulge in your counting OCD if that will help your sanity.

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8 Answers

best answer

4
B90b8915b7e3d2a8ee760bb6918d53a7

on December 05, 2012
at 03:33 PM

Maybe instead of just counting your calories it would be helpful to look at your percentage of carbs, protein and fat. That way you can still be analytical and scientific in your approach. When using calorie counting you are assuming that all calories are equal, except they aren't. When your body digests protein for instance it uses calories to digest and process it. Or take wheat for instance which causes hormonal responses that tell your body to store fat. Check out Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. He explains it way beter than me.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on December 05, 2012
at 03:54 PM

Fair warning... the book is a text book. Very informative, tough to get through.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 05, 2012
at 05:32 PM

This is the worst advice you can give to someone who counts obsessively. Count more??? Read Taubes crackpot "theories"????

4
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on December 05, 2012
at 09:53 AM

Personally, I could not lose weight with either Paleo or Paleo-ketogenic. After some initial weight loss (water), I stalled for months and months (I was still obese). I started losing weight again when I counted calories and didn't go over 1100 calories per day on average (normally, I'd eat about 1700 calories per day).

After reading a lot about it, I saw that many women had to eat fewer calories to lose weight, while most men didn't have to. For men, just eating normal Paleo, as much as they wanted to, and they'd lose weight. Not so for many women. So, not sure why is that, maybe it's hormones/thyroid differences among the sexes.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 05, 2012
at 05:27 PM

Speaking as a man, I had to eat less to lose weight. If you're really active it doesn't matter as much.

3
58908e2a5be1d634e49c97da9f2558ce

on December 05, 2012
at 04:15 PM

In my experience, calorie counting absolutely makes a difference. If I am not at 1200/1300, I don't lose weight. I agree with what someone else suggested too, see what percentages of carbs/fat/protein you are eating - I find it easier to lose weight when I am low carb, but if I go too low (below 70ish g) my body starts going crazy for anything sweet...so I am still trying to balance that out.

3
366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424

(2988)

on December 05, 2012
at 01:36 PM

In my humble opinion, calories absolutely matter, but many people don't have to count -- paleo often means lower carb, higher fat and higher protein, and since that's a more satiating diet, many people eat fewer calories and lose weight without having to count. I lost most of the weight I wanted to without counting, but for me, the last few pounds required counting calories.

So I'd give it a shot without counting first, and only start counting if you have to.

Hard to say what your "magic" number will be -- depends on many factors, including how active you are, your age, and how your metabolism is functioning. I lose weight at about 1750 calories, my "maintenance" calorie intake is about 1850-1900 and I gain weight at 2000+.

3
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on December 05, 2012
at 11:08 AM

I used to count calories.

Then I noticed something very peculiar: no matter HOW MUCH BEEF AND FAT I ate, my bathroom scale would go down.

But a tiny little apple and some extra sauerkraut would always tip the scale.

One time I made an experiment. I ate over 4 lb of meat on one day. Guess what? My weight went down! Please explain those laws of physics to me because it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever! How can 4 lb of beef have less calories than one apple?

So here is my advice to you - lower your carbs to 70 carb grams per day and see what happens. Then, the next day, lower them to 45 carb grams. Go as low as 25 carb grams from non-vegetable starchy sources. But you can go higher on fat and meat to make up for those missing calories.

Then see for yourself. If lower carbs make the difference for you, stay within 70 carb grams limit. If they did not make any difference - just eliminate fruits and nuts, that will do the trick.

Good luck!

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(748)

on December 05, 2012
at 05:56 PM

so how does your daily menu look VB? on something like this? Just curious if you IF or anything like that?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on December 05, 2012
at 06:09 PM

I don't IF. I eat three meals per day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. I eat carbs only for dinner and fat and protein only for breakfast and lunch. I have SIBO and my diet is a combination of SCD, GAPS and anti-inflammatory. You don't want my diet, believe me. But I am NOT HUNGRY and it keeps me happy. Breakfast: bone broth and meat. Lunch: liver Dinner: soup with zucchini, spinach and carrots, virgin coconut oil. Sea salt in everything. I love my diet, but I am not sure I can afford it for a long time.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 05, 2012
at 05:29 PM

Just eliminate fruits and nuts? Noooooo....not me anyway.....roasted hazelnuts and dried cherries are calling my name right now....

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(748)

on December 06, 2012
at 04:13 AM

I think I may already have a thyroid problem actually (runs in my family) and I seem to have some symptoms, but haven't been able to have it checked. Really need to lose weight, but sugars of any kind stall my weight loss unless im eating very very low calories (which i don't want to do). But I will be careful and try to follow your suggestions of eating carbs in the evening (avocado has carbs, and I eat spinach). Or I will cycle every other day. thanks!

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(748)

on December 05, 2012
at 09:53 PM

Huh interesting! I'm gonna try something like this no carb thing and see if it works :) As I am SUPER sensitive to anything inflammatory, and follow FODMAPS. Though for me my menu will be more Bulletproof Coffee at 12pm, Fish fillet for lunch at around 1:40-2pm, and some turkey and say an avocado for Dinner at 4-5pm. I'll see how the almost no carb thing works for me, and if it doesn't I'll maybe include more carbs and just count calories. Thanks for this post!! Pretty freakin awesome discovery for you if you ask me!

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(748)

on December 05, 2012
at 09:53 PM

Huh interesting! I'm gonna try something like this no carb thing and see if it works :) As I am SUPER sensitive to anything inflammatory, and follow FODMAPS. Though for me my menu will be more Bulletproof Coffee at 12pm, Fish fillet for lunch at around 1:40-2pm, and some turkey and say an avocado for Dinner at 4-5pm. I'll see how the almost no carb thing works for me, and if it doesn't I'll maybe include more carbs and just count calories. Thanks for post!! Pretty freakin awesome discovery for you if you ask me!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on December 06, 2012
at 03:14 AM

You need carbs to keep your thyroid in check. Don't go 0 carbs for more than one day and don't do low carb every single day. You have to alternate every other day. If you go 0 carb every single day, you might develop a thyroid problem. Make sure to have your carbs in the evening.

2
0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

on December 05, 2012
at 04:41 PM

I can't answer for what you should do, because everyone's experience (and opinion) seems to differ on this one, which has been asked here many times. I eat paleo no matter what my weight goals are. When I feel like losing a few pounds, I watch calories.

Calories do matter, but there are several other considerations: effects of inflammation, water retention after carbohydrates and the individual effects of certain foods on your individual metabolism. Most people do experience a sudden drop in weight the first one to two months as water weight sheds as a natural byproduct of either a. reducing carbs or b. improving the quality of carbs (again, whatever that means to your particular metabolism). And then we often see people hit a plateau of weight loss and then begin to wonder if paleo is "not working" for them after all.

Chalk it up, for now, to a settling-in phase -- you'll know through self-experimentation and self-hacking what works for you past the initial adjustment. Think of it as a way of eating from now on (as opposed to a "diet") and enjoy both the immediate gratification of water weight loss and the long-term effects of eating in a way that's ultimately better for you even past that number you're watching (or not watching) on the scale.

The best indicators, in my opinion, are how you feel and how your clothes fit.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 05, 2012
at 05:34 PM

Waistline is often the best and simplest guide.

0
3089dd0b9a8f1d24f1b08d6cc3ca84e3

(363)

on December 05, 2012
at 07:49 PM

Counting calorie is utterly ridiculous in my opinion , it goes against nature ! Picture our ancestors weighing out portions or calculating food . They ate the proper foods in abundance and moved their asses its that simple ! Calorie counting causes Anxiety !

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on December 05, 2012
at 08:03 PM

And, paleo isn't simple or we wouldn't have this very busy forum of people trying to make paleo work for them. Plus, I'm actually less anxious when I'm counting calories.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on December 05, 2012
at 09:21 PM

Moving your ass to survive causes more anxiety than trying to choose between a Snickers and a T-bone.

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on December 05, 2012
at 08:02 PM

So, what's more important - your opinion, my opinion, anybody's opinion - or what works for an individual?

366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424

(2988)

on December 05, 2012
at 09:18 PM

Many of our ancestors did not have easy access to unlimited food, and HAD to move to survive. Not so today, and for many of us, calorie counting, far from causing anxiety, allows us to be successful in our weight loss goals. I totally get why many people here are against calorie counting, but I wouldn't be so quick to judge.

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on December 06, 2012
at 10:23 PM

I gave you a +1 because I agree that eating good, nutritiously dense foods is the key. Calorie counting doesn't make a lot of sense.

0
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on December 05, 2012
at 06:25 PM

I don't work out my calories daily, but I do have a sort of set menu that I know is in that range. I do think calories still matter, you can't substitute 2500 calories of carbs for 2500 of fat and expect to lose weight. Once in awhile I track my eating, but I don't obsess.

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