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TOPIC: The paleo diet and calorie counting

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November 19, 2012 5:24 AM
Hello :)

From today I'm starting the paleo diet except for at breakfast, can't be without my porridge in the morning :)
I'm lactose intolerant already so it's mainly the grain products I'm also avoiding, my stomach doesn't seem to be handling them that well...
Anyway, I've heard that if you follow this sort of diet like paleo or lchf, you shouldn't calorie count.
Just wondering if that is true? And if yes, should I still do it cause I'm still having oats?
Maybe a stupid question hehe.
  14475926
November 19, 2012 5:54 AM
The short answer: it depends. *laugh*

You can eat badly the "paleo way" just as quickly as you can on conventional/ Standard American Diet. Nuts are high fat and high calorie, so they can add up quickly, as an example.

I find that if I actually buy grass-fed and finished beef, pastured/ wild pork, chicken that foraged for its feed, and so on, it's expensive enough that I eat less of that and really increased my veggie intake - a plate that's 80% veggies and 20% meats is generally going to be lower in calories, by default. But the source of the meat becomes a LOT more important, and seasonal eating is pretty key.

So, it CAN be really healthy, but it's less healthy if it's used as an excuse to up meat intakes but the meat is conventionally raised - cows that feed on grain pass that on to you, after all :) (My boyfriend struggles with this part, which is why I mention it.)

I love my oats - I like to make a batch of steel-cut once a week and eat on them the rest of the week - I just make sure that the rest of the grains are out of my life, and ditched the beans. I just try to think "Ok, if I were a caveman, what would I have access to? What would get me filled and be easiest to get to most regularly?" Once I start thinking about it in those terms, it becomes a lot easier to figure out what and how much to eat :)
November 19, 2012 6:02 AM
Thanks, but I know about the healthy and unhealthy aspects of the diet. Of course I'm gonna do it the healthy way.
I was just asking about whether I should calorie count or not.
  14475926
November 19, 2012 6:10 AM
:)

Like I said: not everyone does, since it's been in the news a lot lately, and not everyone does their full research. It really depends.
November 19, 2012 6:13 AM
QUOTE:

Thanks, but I know about the healthy and unhealthy aspects of the diet. Of course I'm gonna do it the healthy way.
I was just asking about whether I should calorie count or not.


Having read A LOT about Paleo and followed the principles for 6 months or so I will say that in the end calories count as much as any other eating plan for fat loss.

For me anyway.

Focussing on unprocessed whole foods has to be a good thing but it can be taken too far and in the end food quantity will count.
  17124298
November 19, 2012 6:23 AM
If you are going to eat oatmeal, it's really not the paleo diet, so don't call it that. I believe if you are going to follow something, follow it, don't make up your own rules. If you are going to make up your own rules, eat what makes sense (high protein, lower carb, whole foods, etc). And yes, to lose weight you have to be at a calorie deficient. Just like on Atkins you can eat a pound of bacon and 4 12oz steaks a day (which by the way, so not healthy) and not lose weight because you ate too many calories.

My suggestion is to not follow a particular plan. You don't need to. Eat your fruits and veggies, lean proteins, limit unhealthy fats, limit white carbs and eat at a calorie deficient. I say this because as soon as you "get off" the paleo diet (even if it does work for you) you'll slowly put the weight back on. If you eat healthy and "bad" things in moderation you can keep the weight off forever. Which to me sounds like a much better plan...
November 19, 2012 6:31 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Thanks, but I know about the healthy and unhealthy aspects of the diet. Of course I'm gonna do it the healthy way.
I was just asking about whether I should calorie count or not.


Having read A LOT about Paleo and followed the principles for 6 months or so I will say that in the end calories count as much as any other eating plan for fat loss.

For me anyway.

Focussing on unprocessed whole foods has to be a good thing but it can be taken too far and in the end food quantity will count.

Much better than I managed to say *laugh*

*raises a glass of komboucha*

Cheers!
November 19, 2012 6:33 AM
I'll need to look into this paleo diet and see what it's all about.
Edited by DynamicDiva On November 19, 2012 6:37 AM
  11346256
November 19, 2012 6:33 AM
Kristen: I just started the Paleo diet a week ago, so take this for what it's worth ...

I am counting calories in order to keep track of my daily calorie deficit. My protein target is 150g/day or more. Personally, I'm finding if I hit my protein target, the calories take care of themselves.
Edited by JeffinRaleigh On November 19, 2012 6:35 AM
  31389455
November 19, 2012 6:39 AM
Been Paleo for almost a year now. When I started off I was calorie counting just because the diet was so different from my previous eating habits. I didn't want to eat too much, but I also wanted to make sure that I was eating enough! I don’t hardly ever log any more, mainly because I have gotten it all down that I know what I can/need to eat and I am pretty comfortable with it. I would say to just do what you are comfortable with, but if you are doing it right, you don’t really have anything to worry about either way...

drinker Best of luck to you!

(and careful posting about Paleo on the main forum... you are inviting the swarm of vegans to come start protesting... laugh)
November 19, 2012 6:44 AM
QUOTE:

Hello :)

From today I'm starting the paleo diet except for at breakfast, can't be without my porridge in the morning :)
I'm lactose intolerant already so it's mainly the grain products I'm also avoiding, my stomach doesn't seem to be handling them that well...
Anyway, I've heard that if you follow this sort of diet like paleo or lchf, you shouldn't calorie count.
Just wondering if that is true? And if yes, should I still do it cause I'm still having oats?
Maybe a stupid question hehe.


The Paleo diet is NOT a weight loss diet. It is a "way of life" diet. It is meant to be healthy (I don't have a comment as to whether it is or is not). It is not meant to make you lose weight.

That said, some will likely lose weight on it because they will automatically eat fewer calories. Some will not lose weight on it.

To lose weight, count calories.
  5444783
November 19, 2012 6:46 AM
I don't have to count calories eating a LCHF wholefoods diet -- not because the calories in the food I'm eating don't matter -- but because my diet is just naturally satiating. But I counted my calories for months and months just because I was afraid I'd backslide and even now I've started logging my calories again for the holidays just as a reminder to keep things in check.

It's hard getting used to eating until I'm full to be honest because in the past if I was full and satiated it meant I ate a massive amount of calories to get there so I like to log every now and then to be sure my calories aren't out of control.

A similar question came up recently in the low carb forum and this was my response to that thread:

"It's been a couple of months since I've counted carbs or calories and I'm still losing weight. It's not that calories don't matter it's that for a lot of people eating a low carb diet is just a naturally satisfying way to eat.

My calories are anywhere between 1,000 - 2,000 a day and my carbs are usually well under 50g although the days I indulge in more fruit than my usual berries they're much higher. I think it's working for me still because I don't eat the low carb diet products (Joseph's bread, Dreamfields pasta etc.) or make all of the low carb recipes for breads, pancakes and that sort of thing.

Meat with the fat and skin on, all the non-starchy vegetables I want, a bowl of berries almost every day and as much fat as I can possibly add to each of my meals. I cook in lard, butter and olive oil and often add more than I really need like why fry my eggs in 1 tablespoon of butter when I can use 2 -- that sort of thing. I use cheese, sour cream and heavy cream a lot too. I eat until I'm absolutely full (sometimes stuffed just because it tastes so good) and then I don't eat again until I'm hungry. So I usually eat 2 high calorie meals a day (500 - 800 calories) and maybe a 300ish calorie snack just because I like to eat at night.

It feels like I eat an absolute ton of food and none of it's deliberately low calorie which is why I think they say that calories don't matter. Eat bacon, eggs and cabbage with a bowl of berries for breakfast and then follow that up with a big steak w/ butter and a nice salad with as much full fat dressing as you like and then maybe a big serving of sour cream and onion dip with veggies for a snack later and it really does seem like calories don't matter. No disgusting 0 calorie frankenfoods, dipping your fork into salad dressing on the side, or putting your fork down between each bite, drinking a glass of water before you eat, going to the gym so you can "afford" to eat more or any of the other weird little tricks people come up with -- just a whole lot of delicious food -- that's probably only about 1,600 calories total for the day even though none of it is diet food and all of it seems pretty indulgent.

Calories do matter but if you eat the right foods you don't even need to think about it, the same with carbs."
November 19, 2012 7:51 AM
Thanks everybody for the replies :) I'm gonna calorie count at least to start with - until I get the hang of the portions and all that.

My bad Kristen, I was actually gonna word it differently but I forgot.

Becka, I never said I'm not doing this as a weight loss diet, like I said in my OP my stomach doesn't handle grain products nor dairy products all that well. So I'm doing it for my health.

Thanks for the warning Phily, I'll be careful next time :) hehe
  14475926
November 19, 2012 7:58 AM
http://www.myfitnesspal.com/groups/home/37-primal-paleo-support-group

Check out the group's forum for more info and answers!
November 19, 2012 7:58 AM
I have been Paleo for 4 weeks, I did up my calories a bit, but I tend to still watch them....its more the macros I try to keep within, more protein and fat than carbs. I like to keep track anyways, but I find I do go over more now than before on my calories, but I don't stress out over it like before, because I feel awesome, and not gaining weight at all. happy
  19102823
November 19, 2012 8:46 AM
QUOTE:

Thanks everybody for the replies :) I'm gonna calorie count at least to start with - until I get the hang of the portions and all that.

My bad Kristen, I was actually gonna word it differently but I forgot.

Becka, I never said I'm not doing this as a weight loss diet, like I said in my OP my stomach doesn't handle grain products nor dairy products all that well. So I'm doing it for my health.

Thanks for the warning Phily, I'll be careful next time :) hehe


Kristen re-read what I wrote. I never said that you said you were doing this for weight loss. What I said was that Paleo is not intended as a weight loss diet. As such, if you are looking to lose weight, you need to continue to count your calories if you are looking to lose weight. If you are not, then no need to calorie count.
  5444783
November 19, 2012 11:43 AM
Gotcha.

Btw my name is Kristin not Kristen :)
  14475926
February 6, 2013 9:11 AM
I know this is going to difficult for everyone to hear but one of the points of paleo is to NOT calorie count. It's not about how many calories you eat, It's all about the TYPE of calories you eat.

Carbs (specifically simple carbs which make up the majority of the average American diet) release into the bloodstream and raise your insulin levels. When your insulin levels are raised your body stores fat. By cutting out all processed carbs out of your diet you are causing your insulin levels to stabalize and your body starts using fat stores instead of those carbs for energy. So while eating tons of fat might be unhealthy for your heart, eating nothing but meat, fruits and veggies, seeds and nuts, will cause your body to use fat for energy instead of carbs. FAT doesnt make you fat, SUGAR makes you fat. I never count my calories and eat paleo whenever I'm hungry and I've been losing bodyfat for the last few months. I definitely excersize and lift weights, but I never count my calories.
February 6, 2013 9:20 AM
It's still calories in, calories out. If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.

The reason people say you don't need to track calories on a diet like this is because the higher levels of fat and protein make it more satisfying than a high carb diet, which means you are unlikely to go over if you follow it closely. You get full sooner and you stay full longer.

That said, it is still totally possible to go over. I am on a lower carb diet, and I followed Primal for a while over the summer, and I definitely track. For the most part, I don't need to track, but it's nice to know whether or not, for sure, I have enough room at the end of the day for a snack before bed.
Edited by corneredbycorn On February 6, 2013 9:20 AM
  24957793
February 6, 2013 9:38 AM
I understand that a lot of people think it's "calories in, calories out" but that doesn't change the fact that 1000 calories of carbs is far worse than 3000 calories of protein. Just continuing to say it doesn't make it true. Your body does not do the same thing with protein and fat that it does with carbs. Replacing simple carbs with protein and fat will cause your body to stop storing fat and start using fat as energy. Yes, you can lose weight by working with a calorie deficit, but a lot of the time your body is using whatever calories are available as energy and that includes muscle. So what would people rather do, just lose weight or lose fat? Because if you want to lose fat than your weight shouldnt matter.

The video is pretty long but I find it really interesting. It explains the general idea. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDneyrETR2o
February 6, 2013 9:45 AM
QUOTE:



(and careful posting about Paleo on the main forum... you are inviting the swarm of vegans to come start protesting... laugh)


Ain't that the truth!!!

I follow the paleo lifestyle and still track calories. Some times you won't be able to stay 100% (traveling, out to dinner and can't modify, etc) so it's nice to have info in the MFP so you can track those "off" moments.
February 6, 2013 9:53 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Hello :)

From today I'm starting the paleo diet except for at breakfast, can't be without my porridge in the morning :)
I'm lactose intolerant already so it's mainly the grain products I'm also avoiding, my stomach doesn't seem to be handling them that well...
Anyway, I've heard that if you follow this sort of diet like paleo or lchf, you shouldn't calorie count.
Just wondering if that is true? And if yes, should I still do it cause I'm still having oats?
Maybe a stupid question hehe.


The Paleo diet is NOT a weight loss diet. It is a "way of life" diet. It is meant to be healthy (I don't have a comment as to whether it is or is not). It is not meant to make you lose weight.

That said, some will likely lose weight on it because they will automatically eat fewer calories. Some will not lose weight on it.

To lose weight, count calories.


This.
  17292761
November 13, 2013 5:17 PM
QUOTE:

Kristen: I just started the Paleo diet a week ago, so take this for what it's worth ...

I am counting calories in order to keep track of my daily calorie deficit. My protein target is 150g/day or more. Personally, I'm finding if I hit my protein target, the calories take care of themselves.


So true. I feel like I'm having to force feed to get my 117g of protein/day.
  30848106
February 26, 2014 7:12 PM
I have been eating a Personal Paleo Code (Chris Kresser) style of Paleo since January 2nd and I never did the 30 day intro and I'm down 16lbs without exercising (due to back issues). In the beginning I did not give up my dairy (cheese, yogurt and butter) but lately I have cut it way way down as a result of possible intolerance. I may even have to cut it totally but I'm taking it day by day. I have had to adjust my macros several times in the process as well as my calorie intake. I'm only tracking because in the beginning I found it hard to eat enough (700 cals felt like thanksgiving!). I just had no appetite but I think part of that was my body making the change and resting. I still don't have much of an appetite but I don't force myself to eat either. I've started to listen to my body. Eat when I'm truly hungry (not just out of boredom or habit) and stop when I'm almost full. I agree that this style of eating is more satiating and therefore you do not need to eat as much food to feel full. However, as others have said QUALITY of food matters just as much as QUANTITY. The reason the SAD makes us fat is because we're never truly satisfied and keep looking for the next food item to fill that void and 90% of those calories are empty liquids that have nothing to them (aside from the HFCS and all the other crap they put in foods, but that's fodder for another forum lol)

In the beginning track calories if you want to or feel you need to just to see where your hunger level is putting you. The first week or two you may still feel like you need to eat more or you may be like me and have no appetite. It will balance out. If you're still worried about the calorie thing and deficit for weight loss, then don't eat back exercise calories. Your body will tell you what it wants and when it wants it. There are times when I need a little protein snack before bed especially if it's been awhile since I've eaten dinner. I usually have a tablespoon of homemade almond butter or about 4-6 Brazil nuts depending on how I feel.

Personally I have learned the following about myself - I do better emotionally, physically and mentally if I have a high protein breakfast and a lighter dinner. I don't do well, feel well, or lose weight if I eat over 100g carbs daily even if from veggies. I don't always need to eat 3 meals a day and some days if I'm really busy or out for a long time I need 6 meals. It's ok to eat ONLY when you are hungry and not at a set time of day. I log my calories but I don't worry about going over. If I'm hungry I'll eat something (I also use the android app to keep track of nutrition totals for the week as this is not available on the desktop so this helps me see where I'm at long term and it usually shows that I've been low in some areas so my body is trying to make up for it.)

1. Quality of food
2. Listen to your body
3. Focus on meeting macro settings but don't be afraid to adjust them to what your body naturally is craving.

Everyone is different and this is not a one size fits all standard diet plan like everything else out there. Oh, and I agree, it's not a DIET per se so you don't really come off of it, but a lifestyle so focus on improving your life and food choices and the calories will take care of themself.

Good luck to you!
  3665235
February 27, 2014 1:06 AM
Give this recipe a try for kinda paleo porridge. You won't miss oatmeal anymore.
I make up big batches at a time then I can grab some for eating at work, or if I'm hungry in the evening

http://marmaladeandmileposts.com/archives/21240

Nom!! :)

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