4

votes

Should I be restricting calories for fat loss?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 06, 2011 at 11:39 AM

I've never been into counting calories as there are so many more important factors (ie- carb count, quality of food, etc) and I lost 50 lbs a couple years ago just by eating under 20 grams of carbs a day. Since switching from low-carb to paleo, I don't really count carbs anymore and certainly not calories. I just made a fitday account though, and see that today I ate about 2400 calories (I work out a moderate amount) and had 38 grams of carbs (mostly from 1 1/2 sweet potatoes). While this is just one day and probably not the most typical day for me, should I be paying more attention to calories in general? I realized I used like 1200 calories worth of just butter and olive oil to cook my food in!!

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on May 07, 2011
at 04:48 PM

Sweet, thanks. :)

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 07, 2011
at 01:51 PM

I would reckon that most people who are trying to lose weight will see more success with more than two meals per day. If you're not an athlete and someone who is struggling with portion and you restrict to one or two per day you're going to overdo, especially with the calorically dense food choices most of us make. Like Todd said, most people with seriously low bodyfat %s eat at least three meals per day.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on May 07, 2011
at 10:05 AM

*Good Calories, Bad Calories* is probably the best reference (and source of references) for this. Taubes has also done some talks you can find online where he explains how the causation goes the opposite way we've been taught. It's one of those 'red pill' concepts that seems ridiculous at first, because we've been so drilled with the opposite viewpoint; but once you get it, it's obvious.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on May 07, 2011
at 05:19 AM

I have been looking over the literature I can get my hands on whilst reading Mastering Leptin by Byron Richards. It's a great book, recommended by many.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on May 06, 2011
at 09:23 PM

Thanks David and Ben. I do HIIT 3-4x a week after lifting weights for ~20 mins.

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on May 06, 2011
at 06:02 PM

I find this concept fascinating and want to look into it further. Can you share some resources so I can study this and learn more, please? :)

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 06, 2011
at 05:42 PM

With that, I would agree. But her (the OP) question was in regards to weight loss.

03f5a69fde4012b827ebdb6d93b71e7a

(2007)

on May 06, 2011
at 05:17 PM

@Todd I don't disagree, just a general rule to a certain point (1-2 meals/day) for long term health, not necessarily weight loss.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 06, 2011
at 05:13 PM

I remember the first time I started tracking my food, it really was truly eye opening!

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 06, 2011
at 04:32 PM

@steph, that also is not always true. I've heard many people who are in lower digit BF ranges have more success with a couple meals a day rather than one large, myself included. Also, the leangaines protocol itself allows for 3 meals within the 8 hour feed window.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 06, 2011
at 03:51 PM

I'd agree with Todd. I do indeed IF but i put down just as many, if not more calories, in my one or two meals per day. I can destroy really fatty beef and it can easily quickly ramp up to north of 4k.

03f5a69fde4012b827ebdb6d93b71e7a

(2007)

on May 06, 2011
at 03:50 PM

Not always but works for me. Also better for the body to be eating fewer meals per day, even with the same caloric intake.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 06, 2011
at 03:27 PM

Not always true. I can easily put down 3500 calories in a sitting. I can also eat that many calories divided up between 3 meals.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 06, 2011
at 03:24 PM

This is a great answer

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 06, 2011
at 03:24 PM

This ia a great answer

B4ec9ce369e43ea83f06ee645169cee0

on May 06, 2011
at 02:32 PM

One of my blogs is centered around this book! The book itself is not strictly paleo, so it has a wider audience. There's also a plan in there for people that are recovering from illness or surgery. To sum it up: like Richard said the coconut oil before meals, bone broth at least once/day in some form, and fermented foods at almost every meal.

540fd839acd032b3e2904c652b35038a

on May 06, 2011
at 01:55 PM

did not mean to offend, will erase, sorry for the ignorance

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 06, 2011
at 01:53 PM

I would second the idea of some kind of HIIT training once or twice per week to promote a better hormonal profile and perhaps better use the cals etc that you are eating. Better partitioning if you will. A bit of calorie restricting along with some sprints, for example, will I would bet go some way in skimming off some body fat.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 06, 2011
at 01:51 PM

I'm sorry but advise like this doesn't help anyone. If the OP is stuck at a plateau and thinks they're eating beyond what they currently require for maintenance then some amount of counting is not out of order. You don't have to become neurotic but you can indeed make a bit of an effort to reduce some caloric content to widdle away some more body fat, etc. It does indeed work and indeed is NOT mutually exclusive with out over-all emphasis on food quality and macros being usually more important in weight-management.

3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

(1290)

on May 06, 2011
at 01:12 PM

Coconut oil increases metabolism naturally. A tablespoon or 2, 20 minutes before a meal often facilitates weight loss (check out the book). Calorie restriction may be necessary in stubborn cases as in not eating after 2pm. Exercise only helps.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on May 06, 2011
at 11:53 AM

Thanks for the recommendation but as I'm looking for a more direct answer can you sum it up?

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10 Answers

8
03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on May 06, 2011
at 03:08 PM

You may need to lower calories, but not by lowering calories.

Huh? The point is, the number of calories you eat is a symptom of the hormonal stuff that's going on in your body, far more than it's a cause. If your body wants X calories for the things it thinks it needs to do, and you lower your intake below that point without addressing the reasons it's asking for X, you'll simply be starving yourself. Your body might respond by burning stored fat, but it might also respond by lowering metabolism, making you tired and lethargic, burning muscle mass, etc. It doesn't just happily jump to burning fat when the food stops coming in, especially if you're obese (signalling that your body is in fat storage mode for some reason), and the fat cells themselves have something to say about it too.

So you have to address the cause of your "overeating." Why did your body start saying, "Hey, I'd like to store some fat today. Go get a donut." Address that, and then if your body needs fewer calories once it's gotten healthy and stopped trying to store extra fat, you'll naturally eat fewer.

Overeating (to the extent that there is such a thing) should be seen as a symptom, like a cough or a runny nose. You don't fix them by refusing to open your mouth and plugging your nose closed a couple hours a day. You address the illness, and the symptom goes away.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 06, 2011
at 03:24 PM

This ia a great answer

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on May 06, 2011
at 06:02 PM

I find this concept fascinating and want to look into it further. Can you share some resources so I can study this and learn more, please? :)

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 06, 2011
at 03:24 PM

This is a great answer

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on May 07, 2011
at 10:05 AM

*Good Calories, Bad Calories* is probably the best reference (and source of references) for this. Taubes has also done some talks you can find online where he explains how the causation goes the opposite way we've been taught. It's one of those 'red pill' concepts that seems ridiculous at first, because we've been so drilled with the opposite viewpoint; but once you get it, it's obvious.

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on May 07, 2011
at 04:48 PM

Sweet, thanks. :)

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on May 07, 2011
at 05:19 AM

I have been looking over the literature I can get my hands on whilst reading Mastering Leptin by Byron Richards. It's a great book, recommended by many.

3
50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 06, 2011
at 03:30 PM

I agree with Aaron B. above ^. Too many people are still stuck on the concept of food, calories etc. There is so much more. Gut health, hormones, sleep, etc.. these all play a far more critical role than calories.

You need a solid foundation before you can start building.

3
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on May 06, 2011
at 02:42 PM

Instead of counting calories, Intermittent Fast - it's a good way to "restrict" calories without actually counting. You obviously won't get the same amount of calories if you had eaten the whole day...

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 06, 2011
at 05:42 PM

With that, I would agree. But her (the OP) question was in regards to weight loss.

03f5a69fde4012b827ebdb6d93b71e7a

(2007)

on May 06, 2011
at 05:17 PM

@Todd I don't disagree, just a general rule to a certain point (1-2 meals/day) for long term health, not necessarily weight loss.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 06, 2011
at 03:51 PM

I'd agree with Todd. I do indeed IF but i put down just as many, if not more calories, in my one or two meals per day. I can destroy really fatty beef and it can easily quickly ramp up to north of 4k.

03f5a69fde4012b827ebdb6d93b71e7a

(2007)

on May 06, 2011
at 03:50 PM

Not always but works for me. Also better for the body to be eating fewer meals per day, even with the same caloric intake.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 06, 2011
at 04:32 PM

@steph, that also is not always true. I've heard many people who are in lower digit BF ranges have more success with a couple meals a day rather than one large, myself included. Also, the leangaines protocol itself allows for 3 meals within the 8 hour feed window.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on May 06, 2011
at 03:27 PM

Not always true. I can easily put down 3500 calories in a sitting. I can also eat that many calories divided up between 3 meals.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 07, 2011
at 01:51 PM

I would reckon that most people who are trying to lose weight will see more success with more than two meals per day. If you're not an athlete and someone who is struggling with portion and you restrict to one or two per day you're going to overdo, especially with the calorically dense food choices most of us make. Like Todd said, most people with seriously low bodyfat %s eat at least three meals per day.

2
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on May 06, 2011
at 01:57 PM

Because I'd never counted calories before going primal I decided to use fitday to enlighten myself....and it was truly enlightening! From this day forward I have been plugging my food intake into fitday because without it I was over eating and also eating the wrong qualities. I really had no idea, I thought I was spot on.

If you think are eating balanced then the best way to prove it to yourself is plug in your intake and see for yourself. Doesnt hurt to confirm it. Once you know for sure you shouldnt have to worry about it.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 06, 2011
at 05:13 PM

I remember the first time I started tracking my food, it really was truly eye opening!

2
1d9af5db8833413037be3ac48964714f

on May 06, 2011
at 01:04 PM

Most overweight people lose fat on paleo without counting calories, grams, blocks, points, or anything else. If you are losing weight and improving body composition, then stick with your current regimen.

If not, then don't worry about calories. Consider going with very few carbs for awhile. Consider exercise in short bursts at very high intensity 2-3 times a week. Consider intermittent fasting. Try those for awhile. If that still isn't doing it (sometimes the last 10-20 lbs. are stubborn) then you may need to actively reduce calories.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on May 06, 2011
at 09:23 PM

Thanks David and Ben. I do HIIT 3-4x a week after lifting weights for ~20 mins.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 06, 2011
at 01:53 PM

I would second the idea of some kind of HIIT training once or twice per week to promote a better hormonal profile and perhaps better use the cals etc that you are eating. Better partitioning if you will. A bit of calorie restricting along with some sprints, for example, will I would bet go some way in skimming off some body fat.

2
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on May 06, 2011
at 01:03 PM

I never have my patients count one calorie

1
8a8129d053df7365c6529b0c2ac95efb

(284)

on May 07, 2011
at 04:09 AM

Hello Danielle! I think Sabrina has a good point about the oil and butter. I think that we should use only very little of each to do cooking. i know that vegetables need fat to give us all their nutrition, but you don't need much for that. but, i am in the same boat. i try to lose weight, but right now i am not counting calories because i cannot deal with the stress of it. i just try to be reasonable with my portions and i try to get the best cuts of meat or if i am bying hamburger meat i am going for only 7 percent fat. i know that many people here believe that you can eat a very high amount of fat and be all right, and that is fine of course! everyone should do what they feel is best for them, but I am one of those paleo people that is more focused on getting nice, lean meat and tons of veggies and some fruit....:)

1
B952863fcaea35e6fd926ddb1f88123b

(130)

on May 06, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Danielle,

You didn't mention what your goals are. Are you trying to lose more weight? Is what you are doing working right now, or are you stalled out? Are you eating to satiety? Are you exercising? Why are you eating 1.5 yams and 1200 calories of olive oil is like 20 tablespoons-- what are you using it for? I think posting what you typically eat and your typical exercise routine for us to help you with is more meaningful than calories.

:)

0
540fd839acd032b3e2904c652b35038a

on May 06, 2011
at 01:47 PM

This is one of the major benefits of the Paleo Lifestyle. No counting, keeping track, or measuring....unless cooking specific recipes. If you are trying to lose weight then curb your output, not your input(but be reasonable). Don't be absurd about the amount of fruit you eat, and make sure you actually follow the diet. The only thing about your post that really is shocking is the amount of butter you are using. Maybe consider buying fattier meats?? The addition of butter to the meal in order to add flavor or keep the recipe from "drying out" could be solved by eating meat with more fat. Trust me the fat and the gristle of a steak is a delicacy and you should eat it like it is.
Make sure you are pushing yourself to a breaking point during workouts, and that you really are at a breaking point. Not the ...oh my gosh I"m sweating.... I need Gatorade, and some kashi. You will sleep much better and you will find the fat falling off.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 06, 2011
at 01:51 PM

I'm sorry but advise like this doesn't help anyone. If the OP is stuck at a plateau and thinks they're eating beyond what they currently require for maintenance then some amount of counting is not out of order. You don't have to become neurotic but you can indeed make a bit of an effort to reduce some caloric content to widdle away some more body fat, etc. It does indeed work and indeed is NOT mutually exclusive with out over-all emphasis on food quality and macros being usually more important in weight-management.

540fd839acd032b3e2904c652b35038a

on May 06, 2011
at 01:55 PM

did not mean to offend, will erase, sorry for the ignorance

0
3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

on May 06, 2011
at 11:51 AM

check out "Eat fat Lose fat" by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on May 06, 2011
at 11:53 AM

Thanks for the recommendation but as I'm looking for a more direct answer can you sum it up?

3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

(1290)

on May 06, 2011
at 01:12 PM

Coconut oil increases metabolism naturally. A tablespoon or 2, 20 minutes before a meal often facilitates weight loss (check out the book). Calorie restriction may be necessary in stubborn cases as in not eating after 2pm. Exercise only helps.

B4ec9ce369e43ea83f06ee645169cee0

on May 06, 2011
at 02:32 PM

One of my blogs is centered around this book! The book itself is not strictly paleo, so it has a wider audience. There's also a plan in there for people that are recovering from illness or surgery. To sum it up: like Richard said the coconut oil before meals, bone broth at least once/day in some form, and fermented foods at almost every meal.

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Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!