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TOPIC: Primal on 1500 calories a day?

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February 12, 2013 6:09 AM
When I first started primal, I focused on just eating healthy foods and avoiding poisonous things. I lost a few pounds but then hit a plateau. I realized after I started tracking my calories on this site, my calorie count was too high. So now I have the challenge of trying to stay within my 1500 calorie range while still eating real food. The problem I have encountered is that real food (and real fat) tend to have a lot of calories. Yesterday, for example, I went to a work lunch and had a filet, side of grilled asparagrus and a side of slicde tomatoes. This equalled around 800 calories (and knowing I was going out to lunch, I skipped breakfast).

Anyone else have this challenge? Suggestions?
  10094001
February 12, 2013 6:18 AM
Calories from different foods can have different effects on your body. So although I calorie count, I make sure that I rarely if at all eat anything with 'bad" fats or "bad" sugars. e.g. trans fats / processed sugars etc. I avoid all grains and keep natural sugars to a minimum.
I eat BIG on meat and veg.
What's really important is to exercise big too. All that protein has to be turned into muscle.
Are you exercising? I have started crossfit which fits beautifully with the paleo diet.
February 12, 2013 6:23 AM
just looking at what you ate 800 seem high for that meal.... I do eat about 1500/day and I go out for lunch ocassionally and am able to stay under if I try. I do eat nuts....
  16564333
February 12, 2013 6:27 AM
I'm finding that I might have the opposite problem. I'm stalled out on weightloss. I have plenty to lose. I'm trying to up my cals from around 1500 to around 1700 (maybe). (BMR is something like 1538)

Your calc for that meal seems high, but I guess it depends on the portion sizes and if there were any sauces.
  16043742
February 12, 2013 6:27 AM
I agree it does seem high for what you ate. That said, skipping breakfast to accommodate the meal was the right move. Intermittent fasting is, IMO, a natural progression after going paleo.
February 12, 2013 7:27 AM
I have been eating Paleo for almost 2 weeks straight. I have been eating about 1400-1600 calories a day. I use recipes from Paleoplan.com and each meal is no more than 500 cals.
February 12, 2013 8:24 AM
I actually have the opposite problem, eating more than about 1350 cals a day is hard for me. I don't eat dairy though, which I know is calorie-dense especially if you do full-fat.

If you want to open your diary, we could probably help a bit more.
Edited by momof2osaurus On February 12, 2013 8:25 AM
  1793452
February 12, 2013 8:28 AM
hmmm. I am finding the opposite, can't get enough cals most days....and I eat lots of eggs, fish, meat and nuts....On average though I end up with a 1500 cal day and eat pretty good
  19102823
February 12, 2013 8:48 AM
Thanks all. I went to Ted's Montana grill and did the calculations based on the nutritional information on their website.

I start CrossFit in two weeks! :-)
  10094001
February 12, 2013 8:50 AM
QUOTE:

I actually have the opposite problem, eating more than about 1350 cals a day is hard for me. I don't eat dairy though, which I know is calorie-dense especially if you do full-fat.

If you want to open your diary, we could probably help a bit more.


How do I open my diary?
Edited by KellyUVA On February 12, 2013 8:50 AM
  10094001
February 12, 2013 9:17 AM
You click on the link that says "settings" on the top of your page, it'll be in blue, then click the link that says diary settings, then scroll to the bottom of the page, and change your settings from whatever they are currently to public. Aaaand then you save your changes and you're done!
  37388472
February 12, 2013 9:50 AM
You shouldn't have much of an issue staying below 1500 cals. I'm 6'2, 210 lbs and easily stay around 2000 calories.

IF'ing, as one poster mentionned, could also be something worth looking at. I eat two large meals per day (lunch and dinner) and it keeps me satiated all day. If I workout, I'll often supplement with a protein shake.
February 12, 2013 10:08 AM
My diary is set to 1400, but I usually eat between 1400-1500 each day.

That meal probably was truly high if it was at Ted's... everything is slathered in butter, probably.

Don't consider that day to be typical... you're not going to eat at Ted's everyday. Just learn and move on. On a regular day, you won't have problems eating to 1500 on paleo/primal. If you're short on cals, eat a handful of nuts. I don't stress about it.. If I'm over or under on a particular day, it's ok as long as it's not becoming a trend.
  24977578
February 12, 2013 10:25 AM
Like others have said, eating at ted's won't be a regular thing so you just take it as a learning experience and move forward! I've noticed eating nuts and fruit can really up the calorie content so now I only have one piece of fruit every day and one serving of nuts (or two....I'm a little hooked on them)
The bulk of your diet should be meat and veggies in following primal/paleo. I gorged on carbs before starting this change, and even though I still have high calorie days I end up eating farrrr less in volume.
February 12, 2013 11:29 AM
You're not really supposed to count calories or limit portions, just eat what you need when you are hungry, which for me is mentally IMPOSSIBLE after a lifetime of frustrating low fat, calorie counting behavior.

So, just stay the course. It will happen.

I'm a 5' 5" tall female, who has always been reasonably thin. When I began eating Paleo, April 2012, I weighed 132.

Within 3 months I had lost 15 pounds and another 3 came off in the next couple months.

5'5", 115 lbs

And yes, I cheat for special occasions, and sometimes for the fun of it!

Good luck! It's a fun journey =)
  22230919
February 12, 2013 1:14 PM
QUOTE:

You're not really supposed to count calories or limit portions, just eat what you need when you are hungry, which for me is mentally IMPOSSIBLE after a lifetime of frustrating low fat, calorie counting behavior.


Ideally, this is true - however, for a lot of us it takes a bit before we figure out the plant to animal ratio of what we eat. If someone starts Primal/Paleo with the idea that they can eat nothing but steaks and bacon, then they are still going to gain weight. That happened to me in the beginning - I was "what? I have to add MORE veggies to my plate?" It took a while to get used to it - now I wouldn't have it any other way.

I occasionally track for a few days/weeks just to make sure my calories and percentages haven't strayed too far.
February 12, 2013 6:06 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

You're not really supposed to count calories or limit portions, just eat what you need when you are hungry, which for me is mentally IMPOSSIBLE after a lifetime of frustrating low fat, calorie counting behavior.


Ideally, this is true - however, for a lot of us it takes a bit before we figure out the plant to animal ratio of what we eat. If someone starts Primal/Paleo with the idea that they can eat nothing but steaks and bacon, then they are still going to gain weight. That happened to me in the beginning - I was "what? I have to add MORE veggies to my plate?" It took a while to get used to it - now I wouldn't have it any other way.

I occasionally track for a few days/weeks just to make sure my calories and percentages haven't strayed too far.


I had to start tracking because I wasn't losing weight, and in doing so, I found out that I was netting about 800 calories a day. I have to track to make sure I eat enough. It also helps me get my macros balanced correctly.
  1793452
February 13, 2013 8:10 PM
I find tracking helps keep me disciplined. I usually enter what I'm going to eat that day when I get to work in the morning (I eat breakfast before leaving.) Removing the choice helps keep me on track.
February 14, 2013 1:41 PM
If anything I'm probably eating too little, because protein fills me up for hours. I wouldn't focus on how much a restaurant meal is. What are the calories for most of your meals? You probably don't go to Ted's everyday, so are you always going over? What are some of the higher calorie foods that you're eating?
  6107568
February 15, 2013 2:16 PM
I have a hard time hitting my 1200 calories. I don't do red meat though.
February 16, 2013 3:05 PM
I find myself in a similar situation. I've been counting calories for awhile and struggling to keep it below 1500 calories a day, but ever since switching to a paleo diet I find it hard to eat more than 1300... meats and veggies are super filling. I rarely skip breakfast though, always wake up starving and my meals average around 300 calories each.
February 16, 2013 3:53 PM
I'm primal and I purposefully choose to eat high fat foods. My goal is at 1550 calories (soon to be 1500). Because of how I eat I usually have no urge to over-eat because that is the blessing of a high fat eating plan. Not only that, though my food items are more expensive, because my food is nutrient dense (high calorie) I eat far less volume than before. I am saving $200-400 per month because I eat so much less.

So, I don't think that high calorie foods are a negative at all, but I certainly would struggle more if I were eating lots of carbohydrates. It's no struggle to stick to 1500 calories for me, and that's with fat at 70-80% of my calorie intake.

Edit: I also intermittent fast and eat two large meals in a 6-8 hour window. I no longer have the need to "graze" to fend off hunger.
Edited by Akimajuktuq On February 16, 2013 4:06 PM
  19823492
February 17, 2013 2:31 PM
I've skipped all the responses, but to answer OP:

I've not really counted a calorie. It's really unlikely that you need to.

Plateaus are normal. Sometimes they're temporary. If it's for several weeks, perhaps start to consider things.

Granted I am not a woman, but 1500 calories sounds a bit low to me, unless you're a desk jockey.

I'm a firm believer that when a lot of us enter into the paleo realm, we have an awful lot going on under that hood that we'd never be aware of. For example, when you're in severe caloric restriction for a decent period, your body begins to cannibalize healthy tissues you're carrying around for energy. This includes your vital organs. I expect people in the beginning to have some wacky fluctuations.

Carbs post workout. Never in the morning.

You mentioned tomatoes. Have you tried removing potential gut irritants al la the Robb Wolf autoimmune protocol? I cannot do legumes or nightshades.

I forgot if you mentioned dairy. It seems to be a particular problem for women.

Lastly, dump the effing scale. Do a mirror-check, see if your clothes are fitting better.

Realize this is a long-haul deal. Keep at it, and play with things. What will work for you one year may not serve you as well the next. We are dynamic systems.
February 19, 2013 3:02 AM
I didn't count when I started paleo and lost, then over the past few months I've had epic gains (lots of avocados). My body composition has changed, in that when Ive weighed as much as I do now in the past, Ive been a lot 'bigger' and softer...my legs and shoulders are quite muscular.

At the moment Ive started tracking macros and calories to try and reduce bodyfat. My calories are set to 1600 a day. I usually have 3 slices of bacon, 2 eggs and some mushrooms for breakfast. Lunch is a sweet potato and fish/chicken salad. Dinner is meat and veg (last night was chicken, ratatouille and roasted butternut squash with goats cheese crumbled on top. For snacks I have a banana, a protein shake and maybe some almond butter or fruit.
February 19, 2013 1:17 PM
QUOTE:

<snip>
At the moment Ive started tracking macros and calories to try and reduce bodyfat. My calories are set to 1600 a day. I usually have 3 slices of bacon, 2 eggs and some mushrooms for breakfast. Lunch is a sweet potato and fish/chicken salad. Dinner is meat and veg (last night was chicken, ratatouille and roasted butternut squash with goats cheese crumbled on top. For snacks I have a banana, a protein shake and maybe some almond butter or fruit.


Even ignoring the "lots of avocados", as "lots" is vague enough that I can't comment on it, dropping the bananas, fruit, and protein shakes are absolute no-brainers. Almond butter can be problematic, as it's very calorie-dense. That's why the common recommendation is no more than a handful of nuts a day, and preferably buy them with the shell still on.

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