Weight loss for women: Do I need to calorie count in addition to counting carbs ?

Answered on September 16, 2013
Created September 15, 2013 at 11:55 AM

hey everyone- I have been on paleo for about 3 days now- I am a woman and lost 3 pounds already ( yay !! ) I was wondering if I need to calorie count as well as carb count. I would like to lose about 20 lbs. From what Ive read, you don't need to calorie count as long as you eat natural foods- veggies and meat, as well as watch your fruit intake. Also, I make a killer chicken soup. Veggies and chicken and a few spices. I put in : carrots, celery, Mrs Dash seasoning, pepper, a tiny touch of salt, chicken bullion cubes and dried chopped onion from a jar. I let the chicken cook for like an hour and a half. Do I have to do something special- limit anything ? And what is the deal with "bone" soup ? Thanks in advance for any help, as I know NEWBIES can be annoying- LOL :-)

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on September 15, 2013
at 06:08 PM

Hide your scale. Water weight is deceptive and constantly checking might drive you nuts. I rarely get on the scale and use clothing as my weight telling device. Once a month weigh in is fine. I tried counting calories with one of the food apps and became obsessed with it, it took the enjoyment out of eating. I don't count and have had great success in weight reduction, muscle addition and overall health quality.

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5 Answers


on September 16, 2013
at 02:27 AM

I do count my macronutrients (and my calories) because this info allows me to see the results of changes in my food intake and meal composition.

Besides, there are so many phone apps that make capture nutritional data a piece of cake (so to speak); , I can't understand why people interested in losing (or gaining) weight don't track their food, even if only for a short while (say, 2 weeks) to obtain a nutritional baseline. Perhaps ignorance is, indeed, bliss.


on September 15, 2013
at 06:46 PM

I second avoiding counting anything until you absolutely have to. I don't think anyone needs the extra stress. I had to start logging. Nothing goes into my mouth until it's been measured logged. It's tedious and a pain to eat out with friends and family.


on September 15, 2013
at 03:37 PM

You will soon find out... if you lose without counting, there's your answer, but if your weight loss stalls (frequently happens when you get closer to your goal) then it might be time to count. Free download apps like MyFitnessPal are easy to keep up with using your phone during the day. Best of luck and welcome to a whole new healthy lifestyle!



on September 15, 2013
at 03:09 PM

in general from the paleo community you get a lot of "dont count", while i think that is good advice we do need to burn more than we store to lose weight. the issue with counting is we have no clue how calories are used.... even if a steak has 500 calories how many of them are absorbed? how many need to be spent just digesting the food? will it raise your metabolism? does the body even have the hormones to store it? just a lot of complexity that we cannot really work out. on top of that the body has the ability to get more/less efficient depending on how much we consume vs how much we need to use.

i would try just sticking with it,(not counting) especially because it seems to be working. keep in mind weight loss is a slow creep, losing 10 lbs a week just is not viable consistently. a lb of fat contains roughly 3500 calories, so assuming u cut 500 a day(good amount) from your base it will still take 1 week/1 lb. the general consensus among this group of people is to try to take advantage of your hormones(mostly dont spike insulin) (storage hormone) to lose weight, some in this community may argue that ideally u want to be working out to raise your base metabolic rate and build muscle(and maybe lessen insulin sensitivity)

just kind of elaborating on what im sure you already knew/expected to hear as uncertainty is a bitch.

TL:DR - Try not counting, maybe add HIT. if that does not work maybe consider cutting calories(or healing gut issues first??)



on September 15, 2013
at 03:00 PM

You don't have to count calories. I've lost 65 lbs so far eating what I want (Paleo/primal low carb) without counting calories except occasionally to calculate my macros.

As for bone broth, a guiding principle of Paleo is "just eat real food" and get nutrients from real food. Your "killer" chicken soup is not terrible, but it could be much better if you started with bone in chicken (the more bones and cartilage the better) and cooked it a long time until the bones soften and give up their minerals to the broth. There are tons of recipes, just google "Paleo bone broth", though they are basically the same. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar to help leach the bones, and some people like me add onion, carrot, and celery for flavor. If you don't want to simmer your broth for hours and hours, a pressure cooker works great.

The goal is a rich, gelatinous broth full of dense nutrition. You just can't get that with bouillion (which is full of MSG but lacks the vitamins and minerals you're trying to get). Adding salt to taste AFTER making the broth is good for you to avoid dehydration when you are reducing carbs because carbs make your body store fluids that you lose rapidly on low carb--salt will help you keep in balance. Mrs Dash is OK if you like the seasoning, but you NEED salt on a low carb Paleo diet.

However you make bone broth it's incredibly easy. Just put the stuff in a pot, add water, and simmer.

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