3

votes

Counting Calories on Paleo

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 03, 2011 at 9:01 PM

What are the best ways to count calories? Info on the "right" amount of calories is welcome. I'm sure the sources of calories are well known here. I'm curious what a typical week of calories looks like for you guys. The various "stall" threads led me to ask this.

31381cfeb5d6da6fc75f80ab68e041ea

(560)

on May 10, 2012
at 01:28 PM

i think for men, the range of calories to eat is very broad, and 1600 calories is veryyyyyyyyy low. i lose rapidly on that and i am a 5'7'' female. my humble opinion!

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on March 02, 2012
at 01:11 AM

Oh, and I dropped my calories to 1800 to expedite the weight loss process. I realize how controversial that calorie counting is, but it works for me. :)

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on March 02, 2012
at 01:10 AM

Well, I'm actually in the process of lowering my carbs temporarily to fix the issues that I had experienced after the cessation of my birth control. I eat about 150g carbs now (down from 200g), about 80-100g of fat (depending on moods) and the protein to fill in the gaps. I'm not sure my body fat, though. Sorry! G'luck with your goals. :)

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on March 01, 2012
at 11:00 PM

130 is my goal too :) I'm terrified to eat that many calories, but what are your ratios like? i keep carbs under 50 no matter what, and try to eat a balance or protein and fat.... would love to get down. do you know your body fat %?

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 03, 2012
at 09:08 AM

I had the same issue. I moved to chicken and lean cuts of beef, and with those it's easy to keep fat below 30g, although I usually go for 30-40g. Typical training day: chicken, beef, sweetpotato, rice, some fruit.

166f449979d83186bd876e8f466d0a69

(1317)

on February 03, 2012
at 04:14 AM

Can you give us a training day sample meal plan? I am just starting LG but after doing high-fat paleo I'm finding it hard to cut fat and up carbs on the training day!

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on February 03, 2012
at 12:20 AM

I would only suggest tracking for a few weeks while weighing (you may find that tracking has you eating less and losing already). Also I would also suggest cutting more than 10-15%. For most that will barely produce a half-pound per week weight loss. A 25% reduction is probably more effective. You did 1200 cal/day for 6 years??

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on January 31, 2012
at 12:34 PM

P.S. My diet is AWESOME and I go 30 hours without a meal twice a week. And I'm not hungry. Nor are my muscles shriveling up and dying... but my fat stores are.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on January 31, 2012
at 12:30 PM

nick, do those people eat Paleo? Have any of those "hungry people" ever tried an intermittent fasting routine? You being a bodybuilder doesn't really matter, I was a strongman competitor for 10 years and fully understand the whole "eat frequently" concept, but it's bullshit, I know this now from years of trial and error. Eat enough fat until satisfied, and you will stay that way for awhile - condition your hunger through IF and you will never be hungry "all the time".

Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

(3125)

on January 31, 2012
at 09:10 AM

i dont count the calories in i count the pounds off.

Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

(3125)

on January 31, 2012
at 09:09 AM

the proof is in the pooding not by counting calories in but countiong pounds off.

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on August 11, 2011
at 01:27 AM

Hi, Paleo4ever. I'm about 133-ish and I'm actually losing weight on about 1850-1900ish right now, sedentary. My goal weight is ~130. :)

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on August 11, 2011
at 12:24 AM

Kaz - what is your weight? I am 5.8 and 26...muscular build, just wondering what 2,000 calls keeps your weight at?

4bd3ea60eb43692dcf474c05b499b0d4

(124)

on April 06, 2011
at 07:09 PM

Erin, I deal with people everyday that complain to me that they are starving or hungry. The simple fact is that they have never expierienced true hunger or starvation, they are normal people and are just not full. Even if you are eating the right foods you should be hungry about 2 hours before your scheduled feeding. Of course I could be wrong for some people but as a body builder I have to eat at certain times and certain amounts of food. So I am not really sure what part you disagree with? If your diet is awesome you still will have hunger throughout the day.

9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

(1702)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:40 PM

You're right that eating when you're hungry will mean you're eating all the time - IF YOUR HUNGER MECHANISM IS BROKEN. The good thing about paleo is that by eating a lot of fat, it fixes your hunger switch quick fast and in a hurry. You shouldn't be hungry all the time. If you are, you need to eat more!

86e631c6164bfdf4221434e2d38125b3

(414)

on April 04, 2011
at 12:05 PM

I completely disagree. Eating the right foods when you're hungry will leave you satisfied for longer, eliminating the constant hunger a lot of people experience on SAD. If you're tracking food, keeping track of your fat, protein, carb breakdown will be much more helpful and useful than worrying about calories.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on April 04, 2011
at 11:51 AM

There is no scientific reason to do so so why bother. Focus on what matters and not that which that does not

64242a1130eb51f4852f78beed38b3d5

(1343)

on April 04, 2011
at 02:04 AM

Same height but 50 pounds heavier.

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10 Answers

9
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on April 03, 2011
at 11:34 PM

What I usually suggest for someone that has never counted calories, is to continue to eat normally for a week and track your food.

Then, cut your average amount of calories by 10/15% for weight loss.

If you don't want to cut your calories or your calories are already low, then changing up your ratios of fat/protein/carbs is also an idea.

If you asked me to just pull a number of of the air, as a guy, I would say 1600/1800 calories would probably be enough for nutrition and to help with weight loss.

There are a bunch of different sites for counting your calories for free (fitday, livestrong, sparkpeople) and plenty of phone apps if you have a smart phone.

ETA: Ooh, I missed the part where you asked about our typical week! I lost weight eating about 1200 calories per day. I'm a 5'2" almost 40 year old woman, though. I did that for 6 years. Now that I am at maintenance, I raised my calories by about 50 a week until I found that I maintain well in the 1400/1500 range. It was weird and scary to raise them after so long with them low, but I am certainly enjoying the extra food!

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on February 03, 2012
at 12:20 AM

I would only suggest tracking for a few weeks while weighing (you may find that tracking has you eating less and losing already). Also I would also suggest cutting more than 10-15%. For most that will barely produce a half-pound per week weight loss. A 25% reduction is probably more effective. You did 1200 cal/day for 6 years??

31381cfeb5d6da6fc75f80ab68e041ea

(560)

on May 10, 2012
at 01:28 PM

i think for men, the range of calories to eat is very broad, and 1600 calories is veryyyyyyyyy low. i lose rapidly on that and i am a 5'7'' female. my humble opinion!

3
F7dd1385fab29fb9a8a7275bd106a0ad

on January 30, 2012
at 11:09 PM

Great question,

I'm an aerialist who teaches fitness classes and trapeze classes during the week. I've been paleo for about 8 months and I've learned what works best for my body through trial and error. For example, I need a lot of protein and I keep my fat and carb percentages pretty even. If either one creeps up to high for too long my body shows it in the middle section.

I am 22, 5' 2" and I fluctuate between 115-118 lbs. During a holiday I can hit 120 but the number drops down after 3 days of normal eating afterward. This week, at 117, my abs are fairly visible.

I track my calories using fitday.com and stay between 1300-1400 on any day with light or no exercise. Even on a day when I'm teaching aerial classes, it's still "light" movement for me, as I'm mostly focused on techniques and I don't break a sweat in class. After seven years of living this way, I feel my body is conditioned to handle that amount of movement as standard for a normal day.

On a day I really push myself I eat at LEAST 1500 and allow myself to eat up to 1800 if I'm ravenous after hitting 1500 with dinner. A "heavy" exercise day means I'm either doing a combination of sprints and weight training, or doing a crossfit or P90X circuit with a colleague.

I log all my snacks/meals in fitday.com throughout the day. It's as easy as checking my email, so I do both often and at the same time. As I type in my foods, I can see the %'s of fat, carb, and protein. There's even a little pie chart that lets you know what ratio of macronutrients you have eaten so far. SUPER helpful! It gives me an idea of where I'm at, whether I need more protein (shrimp snack!) or whether I have enough wiggle room to enjoy a yummy carb (sweet potato, yay!).

Mostly, the online calculator gives me all the details I need while keeping me from having to spend any more brain energy on crunching numbers.

Hope this helps. And good luck!

-Indie livinglikeatrapezeartist.com

1
4a7929c2aa05bf11349d9e55cb542d47

on April 04, 2011
at 06:12 PM

I don't count calories.. I but i do track them.

I use CRON-o-meter every day to track what I eat. I like to monitor the stuff that goes into my body and some physical markers (weight, body fat, sleep quality/length, blood work results, etc). I don't really act on the data, but I have it.

It's not unusual for me to collect a large amount of data and then figure out what to do with it later.

1
74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on April 04, 2011
at 12:15 AM

Important things to consider is your age, your activity level, your current weight as well as your weight goals, and your height. A middle-aged, sedentary, short, slim woman will need considerably less calories than a tall, active, muscular teenage male.

I'm a 26 year old, 5'8", and slim female, and my sole exercise is hauling my butt across campus with a heavy backpack, and I easily maintain my weight on +/- 2000 calories a day. Since everyone has vastly differing caloric needs, I would hesitate to advocate any specific amount as "right," especially not knowing your personal details upon which to base that number.

As far as the "best" way to count calories, again, everyone is different. When I first started counting, I weighed/measured everything with my food scale and noted it in a calorie journal, then plugged it into an online calorie database to get my macros, etc. That has worked very well for me for several years and has given be a basis for being able to eyeball and estimate my calorie consumption. Your best bet right now is to write down everything you eat to get a baseline number for your current weight. Once you know that, you can get an idea on how many calories to shave off that to achieve your target at a reasonable pace. Melissa's suggestion of 10-15% seems sound to me.

Good luck with your weight goals! :)

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on August 11, 2011
at 12:24 AM

Kaz - what is your weight? I am 5.8 and 26...muscular build, just wondering what 2,000 calls keeps your weight at?

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on August 11, 2011
at 01:27 AM

Hi, Paleo4ever. I'm about 133-ish and I'm actually losing weight on about 1850-1900ish right now, sedentary. My goal weight is ~130. :)

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on March 02, 2012
at 01:10 AM

Well, I'm actually in the process of lowering my carbs temporarily to fix the issues that I had experienced after the cessation of my birth control. I eat about 150g carbs now (down from 200g), about 80-100g of fat (depending on moods) and the protein to fill in the gaps. I'm not sure my body fat, though. Sorry! G'luck with your goals. :)

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on March 01, 2012
at 11:00 PM

130 is my goal too :) I'm terrified to eat that many calories, but what are your ratios like? i keep carbs under 50 no matter what, and try to eat a balance or protein and fat.... would love to get down. do you know your body fat %?

74f5d2ff6567edd456d31dfb9b92af61

(5227)

on March 02, 2012
at 01:11 AM

Oh, and I dropped my calories to 1800 to expedite the weight loss process. I realize how controversial that calorie counting is, but it works for me. :)

1
3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on April 03, 2011
at 10:03 PM

I don't count calories. I'm willing to bet you'll hear that from most people on here. The "right amount" is when you're full - stop eating. If you're hungry, eat.

I've recorded what I've eaten in a day using fitday.com to satisfy curiosity - I'm 5'8", 150Lbs and I usually eat about 2,800 - 3,000 cals a day. It's always right around 60% fat (mostly monoun and sat), 10-15% carbohydrate (vegetables, fruit, potatoes) and 25-30% protein. BFP is around 12% (down from about 18% pre-Paleo), so neither the calories nor the potatoes are making me gain fat.

64242a1130eb51f4852f78beed38b3d5

(1343)

on April 04, 2011
at 02:04 AM

Same height but 50 pounds heavier.

1
Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on April 03, 2011
at 09:46 PM

You can either have a goal to start with, or plug in what you're already eating and formulate goals from that. I would personally suggest the latter. You may want to look up an average intake for someone your size and use that as a basis for your goal as well.

Are you going low carb? If so, make sure you're getting enough protein for gluconeogenesis. Carbs should be at whatever level you're aiming for, protein in adequate amounts to maintain muscle and structure and for gluconeogenesis, and then fat to make up the rest of your calories. It is easy to go overboard on fat (macadamias, cream, coconut), which is not necessarily a good thing when you're trying to lose weight. Make sure it fits within your caloric needs.

It is important to make sure you are micronutrient replete when restricting calories, so be sure to get a wide range of nourishing foods.

I would suggest cronometer for tracking.

Good luck!

0
31381cfeb5d6da6fc75f80ab68e041ea

(560)

on May 10, 2012
at 01:34 PM

for me, observation and mindfullness have been the key. i observe how often i get hungry (on paleo foods) and what foods do nothing to satisfy me. i start to work my diet towards including the foods i love and help me to feel full/avoid snacking/overeating, and then i see where my calories are. once i see what i have with my best effort, then i look to see how i can continue to improve that. i find that just picking a number and struggling to make it work hasn't worked for me.

0
9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 31, 2012
at 08:56 AM

Below my average macros for the past 21 days tracked with Fitday. I follow LeanGains recomposition diet which includes Intermittent Fasting and carb cycling. Three Training Days a week, rest are Rest Days. 37 yo male, 78kg, 183cm, 17% bf.

I used the macro and BMR counter on rippedbody.jp to get to the numbers, with some tweaking. I just started an experiment yesterday by dropping my protein intake to 140g (1g per 1lbs of LBM).

Rest Day
- Calories 1624 - Carbs % 16% - Protein % 42% - Fat % 41% - Protein g 172 - Fat g 74

Training Day
- Calories 2329 - Carbs % 53% - Protein % 33% - Fat % 11% - Protein g 195 - Fat g 30

166f449979d83186bd876e8f466d0a69

(1317)

on February 03, 2012
at 04:14 AM

Can you give us a training day sample meal plan? I am just starting LG but after doing high-fat paleo I'm finding it hard to cut fat and up carbs on the training day!

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 03, 2012
at 09:08 AM

I had the same issue. I moved to chicken and lean cuts of beef, and with those it's easy to keep fat below 30g, although I usually go for 30-40g. Typical training day: chicken, beef, sweetpotato, rice, some fruit.

0
Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

on January 30, 2012
at 11:28 PM

i didnt have any success counting calories. if you are counting calories while eating paleo you can go back to the SAD diet and still loose weight, the issue was never counting the calories, we can all do the math, the issue is hunger. i would just rather not count calories and not be that hungry in the first place. it worked for me and it works for everybody except for those eating for stress.

-4
4bd3ea60eb43692dcf474c05b499b0d4

on April 04, 2011
at 03:39 AM

You really need to decide what your goals are, and the whole eating when your hungry is the dumbest thing I ever heard. If you eat when you are hungry you will be eating all the time. Being hungry is a good thing and you should be hungry at least half of the time. If you want go get your body fat took and send me your information and I can send you some calorie info based on your size and activity level. Most people need to learn its not what you eat but when you eat that is the key maintaining a healthy weight and not eating muscle.

86e631c6164bfdf4221434e2d38125b3

(414)

on April 04, 2011
at 12:05 PM

I completely disagree. Eating the right foods when you're hungry will leave you satisfied for longer, eliminating the constant hunger a lot of people experience on SAD. If you're tracking food, keeping track of your fat, protein, carb breakdown will be much more helpful and useful than worrying about calories.

9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

(1702)

on April 04, 2011
at 01:40 PM

You're right that eating when you're hungry will mean you're eating all the time - IF YOUR HUNGER MECHANISM IS BROKEN. The good thing about paleo is that by eating a lot of fat, it fixes your hunger switch quick fast and in a hurry. You shouldn't be hungry all the time. If you are, you need to eat more!

4bd3ea60eb43692dcf474c05b499b0d4

(124)

on April 06, 2011
at 07:09 PM

Erin, I deal with people everyday that complain to me that they are starving or hungry. The simple fact is that they have never expierienced true hunger or starvation, they are normal people and are just not full. Even if you are eating the right foods you should be hungry about 2 hours before your scheduled feeding. Of course I could be wrong for some people but as a body builder I have to eat at certain times and certain amounts of food. So I am not really sure what part you disagree with? If your diet is awesome you still will have hunger throughout the day.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on January 31, 2012
at 12:30 PM

nick, do those people eat Paleo? Have any of those "hungry people" ever tried an intermittent fasting routine? You being a bodybuilder doesn't really matter, I was a strongman competitor for 10 years and fully understand the whole "eat frequently" concept, but it's bullshit, I know this now from years of trial and error. Eat enough fat until satisfied, and you will stay that way for awhile - condition your hunger through IF and you will never be hungry "all the time".

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on January 31, 2012
at 12:34 PM

P.S. My diet is AWESOME and I go 30 hours without a meal twice a week. And I'm not hungry. Nor are my muscles shriveling up and dying... but my fat stores are.

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