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Its still calories in vs calories out, isn't it?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by stallion23 View Post
    ...but my hunger was out of control at times. Eating all the veggies, fats, and protein was okay during the day but at night I would constantly have cravings for fruit and nuts, sometimes eating in excess of 700 calories from those sources. Again, this goes against the idea that PB-style eating will decrease cravings. What I ultimately found was that I began to overeat on fats (cheeses and nuts especially) and fruits.
    I shared part of an article in DFH's last CICO thread, but it appears to fit here, as well. In it, it is stated that it matters WHAT the calories are; you can't just eat any calories you wish and still expect to maintain or lose weight.

    I remember hearing that cravings were really your body's indicating that there was some nutrient missing, so give in to the cravings. Well, I did that for most of my adult life. I, too, was a weight trainer, got down to 18% BF but i was always so hungry, I could eat my arms off!

    I was introduced to low-carb eating and then ultimately to Bee Wilder's "Healing Naturally" program (, BTW). It was only there (and now read it in WWGF, Taubes) that high-carb eating can cause an addiction. Taubes just calls it cravings and to 'deal with it'. Bee, OTOH, explains that probably the reason we're having all those issues (cravings, hunger) is that we have candida, which is fed by CARBS. You turn those nasty candida back in to docile organisms by STARVING them of their sugar diet. Their "starving"= your cravings.

    Now on to the part of an article about CICO and why calories DO matter; you do not have to LIMIT them but you must choose them wisely.

    "You can consume a high number of calories without gaining weight because weight gain is more about the "kinds of calories" consumed and not about the amount of calories consumed. Your body needs specific nutrients to keep your body functioning properly, so counting calories doesn't work when you are not getting enough proteins, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients essential for health, found in the right "kinds of calories". "

    Hence you can't just eat mounds and mounds of cheese and nuts and expect to dodge the bullet. OTOH, you CAN eat lots of butter (or other saturated fats) and send your calories thru the roof (according to certain standards) and not gain weight (as long as the rest of your diet is in line).

    Found in this article:


    and you lost weight because you stopped overeating the nuts and cheese.

    I have also cut grains out not because of weight but because how great i feel when i don't have them. they ARE the devil.


    • #17
      Originally posted by tfarny View Post
      I'm just wondering how much longer we'll need 4 or 5 new threads every day basically about CICO.

      The answer is: calories ingested matter, and calories expended is much more complex and variable than we can measure, and type of calorie ingested has downstream effects on calories expended. Can we go and play now?
      I like this. +1000000


      • #18
        Originally posted by john_e_turner_ii View Post
        stallion23, my experience has been the same as yours. Over the past year, I have experimented with macronutrients of high carb/low fat and high fat/low carb, with protein staying between 80g-150g per day. In the end, I have found that a caloric deficit is the main trigger for fat loss. I even found it easier to manage a caloric deficit by eating more carbs rather than less, much like you did. However, I have not reintroduced grains in my diet since I found that I feel much better without them. The carbs I consume are normally sweet potatoes, bananas, berries, a little dairy and nuts.
        I have found that a reintroduction of grains (cereals, breads, bagels...etc) is not really a problem so long as I eat a reasonable amount per meal (that and make sure to couple the grain with protein, fats, and fiber to decrease overall glycemic load). It only becomes a problem if I "overdose" and consume a large amount in one meal. And I will admit, if you don't keep things in check, grains are among the easiest of things to over-consume (although, honestly I find that nuts, cheese, and fruit are all equally easy to overconsume as well). However, this is not true of all grains. For example, I have never really had an issue with overconsumption of oatmeal (oats) or rice. Breads and cereals are easier to overconsume, and snacks such as pretzels, as well as high-calorie junk food (i.e. ice cream) are the easiest to overconsume.

        Originally posted by Primal Toad View Post
        You are 100% in that if you burn more calories than you consume then you will essentially lose weight. But, its not that simple. A LOT is going on inside our bodies. Hormones and your metabolism makes a difference. How much you poop out makes a difference. Heat and sweat. How bloated you are. Your stress levels.

        It is virtually impossible today to know how many calories you burn. No one has any idea. And just 20-50 calories a day can make a HUGE difference. We can track how many calories we consume on a daily basis but not how much we burn.

        If you do the same shit all day every day then you can probably have an idea. But, our lives are constantly changing in todays world. Its fast paced. This is why counting calories is usually not the best route to fat loss unless you wish to starve yourself for some odd reason.
        I agree with what you say about the difficulty of making an accurate estimate of how many calories burned/consumed, however, with proper tracking you will get reliable estimates over time. I don't buy the idea that "our lives are constantly changing everyday". I honestly believe that most people do the same things day in, day out...think the same thoughts, interact with the same people, eat the same foods with only slight variation. There is an entire subsection of the population that knows how many calories they burn/ingest. These people are bodybuilders (natural and pro, as well as any of the aficionados over at the forums or other websites such as T-nation). They keep track of what they eat and through trial and error they are able to find out how many calories they are burning or consuming. Let's say one of those guys eats 2000 calories for a week and notices his weight drop a pound. The next few weeks he may increase calories to 2500 and he notices that his weight stays stable for weeks. This means that he is burning exactly the same number of calories that he consumes (which happens to be 2500 in this example). Now, I will concede that it is possible that it isn't actually 2500 calories, maybe he is miscounting his calories or w/e, so the accuracy of that number could be WAY OFF. I'll give you that. However, as long as he continues miscounting or counting the same way he always has, this number of 2500 is RELIABLE. Who cares if its actually 2000 calories or 3000 calories. That is his bench-mark which lets him know that his weight stabilizes when he eats that specific portion of food per day. A guy by the name of John Stone has done this for years, and through tracking calories, has been able to manipulate his weight with unbelievable accuracy. Check out his blog at John Stone Fitness - Fat Loss, Muscle Building, Body Transformation and Inspiration (note: I am not at all affiliated with this website...Just showing the link to prove my point).

        Originally posted by Sambo View Post

        It then takes some discipline to not go berzerk with the bacon and fat.
        Therein lies my exact point. No matter what food you eliminate or how you try to constrain yourself, at the end of the day PORTIONS matter and you have to exercise some control over how much you eat given whatever type of food you are eating. The Devil is in the Dose not in the grain.


        • #19
          Originally posted by bookstorecowboy View Post
          But OP, maybe you should try Paleo rather than PB. It sounds like you were eating huge amounts of fruit and cheese. These foods, in large quantities, could be considered Neolithic and probably derange the natural regulation system of the human body. Cheese, don't even get me started. I could eat a pound of Irish cheddar a day, so I don't buy the stuff.
          You say the people you know who have lost weight and uncovered a six-pack ate grains. Wow. I've never actually known anyone who did this. Everyone I have ever personally known to "diet" has either dieted down and then gained it all back, or dieted from obese to overweight and stayed there. I've never seen the phenomenon you describe, at all. How many people are you talking about?

          I have only been at this a couple of months now, so I admit that I'm probably a bit of a true believer, but this is the first time in my life that I've got in progressively better shape without feeling hungry. I do not eat much fruit (just don't let myself buy it, as I could easily inhale six bananas, three tangerines, and an apple) and recently eliminated dairy. I found when I allowed myself dairy that I had begun eating enormous quantities of it. Weird quantities. You are of course right that most people who lose weight do in fact eat fewer calories. Of course. But the point that comes up over and over again is that if you try to do that by counting and are simultaneously provoking carb rages by inducing insulin spikes, you will eventually give it up, because in industrialized countries, we are all like the proverbial kid in the candy store. The only way I have found or heard of to kill off the carb rages that you and so many others describe is to stop consuming them. It doesn't sound like you actually tried that, so the only other thing that is going to work for you, I suppose, is counting calories, which of course you are doing. But you might find it more sustainable in the long run to wipe out the fruit and dairy and see what you can accomplish without being able to count above seven or so (presumably Paleolithic man's average ability?).
          But you didn't "reintroduce" carbs, did you? If you were getting rages for fruit, you were always consuming plenty of carbs, right? Fructose may not cause an insulin spike, but it seems to keep people in sugar rages. I don't know. That's my experience. Fruit is like a primer for sucrose. It's fine in small doses, but I can go overboard.
          Great post. Let me respond to some of this: First, as to the people that I’ve seen eat grains and attain abs, quite a few people have done this but not everyone has been able to hold on to the physique that they’ve attained. Those who have been able to hold on to their six-pack have literally made it a part of their lifestyle to eat smaller portions of grains throughout the day (usually spread over at least 4 meals). Those who stick to larger portions of grains and still have abs have been successful due to very intense weight lifting sessions (lots of compound exercises, 4-5 times per week) coupled with several short-duration high-intensity cardio sessions (like HIIT) done almost daily. This is just what I have observed. I’m not saying it’s true for everyone. Again, regardless of how much grain they ate, one thing I will say that is common amongst all of them is that portions were spread throughout the day in about 4-5 meals, rather than all at once. I have yet to meet a single person (in real life, not over the internet), who has abs and does not eat any grains as part of a long-term lifestyle (although I’m sure those people exist and some of them may be on this forum).
          I could definitely relate to you on the cheese. I can also wolf down an entire pound of Dubliner Irish cheese before you can say “grok”. We’re on the same page with the fruit as well. I swear I can pound berries, apples, and oranges like some kind of a fructose beast. Although, I confess I haven’t tried eliminating them because I always believed that the nutritional value in fruit is too good to pass up. And you can’t get anymore natural/primal than fruit, can you? On the dairy front, I’m okay with milk, but cheese I can also consume in vast quantities that would probably scare a small child.

          You’re right, I didn’t reintroduce carbs per se, so much as I reintroduced grains into my diet. I definitely appreciate your input and suggestion on removing the fruit and dairy. I’m just not sure if it is worth sacrificing all those nutrients (calcium, various vitamins…etc.) even though it may very well destroy the cravings. I will say that after a few weeks of going primal, I definitely had no craving for grains of any kind. I assume that the same thing would be true if I were to avoid any food. With time, I bet the cravings would diminish. But how much are we going to abstain from before it becomes more of a hassle than counting calories itself? It’s also important to note that once you’ve counted calories for a little while, you don’t need to continuously count calories. You can easily devise a menu/prescripted meal plan with various options and simply cycle the meals. This way, you always know how much/what you’re eating without having to keep track every day. Again, this requires some work in advance, not something everyone is willing to do.


          • #20
            I agree that it can be hard to eliminate the non-Paleo foods, especially if you are a highly social person, do family meals prepared by someone else, or do a fair amount of business entertaining. Food is the center of much human intercourse. On the other hand, if you do change, and stick to it, you may find other aspects of your life changing. People who stop drinking alcohol typically find, for better or worse, that they lose most of their friends who like to drink beer all night long.

            On the other hand, how do you feel about the apparent link between grain and sugar and the "diseases of civilization"? From what I can gather, there is no hunter-gatherer population that suffers from diseases of civilization (cancer, cardio-vascular disease, various inflammations, sugar diabetes, arthritis, etc.), and there is no civilization that consumes a diet including grains and sugar that does not suffer from such diseases, and at a pretty high rate. I think it is obvious that obesity and grain consumption are linked. But a lot of other diseases may find their root in grain/sugar, as well. I know for me that that is at least half of my motive for trying Paleo (and I am still in the "trying" stage; this is not a permanent thing for me, even as an idea).

            Since probably 98% of the population consumes grains and sugar, it would indeed be odd if your sample of people who achieved higher fitness did not generally consume grains and sugar. Okay, there may be ten percent or so who do not consume sugar (sucrose, honey, agave, etc. is what I mean by "sugar"), but it's still 90% who do. In other words, if you know six people who became apparently fit from portion control, there is probably a 95% or greater chance that they are grain eaters, which means that it would be statistically unusual if even one of them was not.

            Another figure you might want to look at is the percentage of grain-eaters who lost significant weight and achieved a trim physique, and then regained all their previous fat (typically with a few more packed on). I think you would find that 100% of those who lost their gains were grain- and sugar-eaters and not a single one was a Paleo. So where does that leave the statistic?

            We need research on Paleos -- the percentage who stay on this way of eating, the percentage who stay on at, say, 95%+, and the average change in longevity, obesity/overweight, disease rates, etc. in that population. Of course, we are probably going to find out, if such research is ever performed, that a pretty high percentage of Paleos are people who were obese or overweight or had other problems (diseases such as diabetes), since it usually takes some kind of evident problem for a person to make a drastic change. The super-energetic guy with the six-pack is not going to up and change his diet one morning because he reads the Primal Blueprint.


            • #21
              I can't see myself losing friends over quitting grain the way and alcoholic will lose his party buddies. Maybe if I started preaching grain abstinence to my friends, but it's pretty easy for me to just quietly order a salad without stomping on anyone's good time. Being a tea-totaler amongst hard drinkers stands out more. They're very conscious of you not drinking and it may make them defensive even if you're silent on the subject. Plus, they likely don't seem quite as witty as they used to if you don't have a few drinks in you.

              My friends and family know about my dietary restrictions and they're cool with it. Most of my coworkers don't. It's pretty easy for me to just do what I do without anyone noticing. I didn't eat the pizza during the lunch meeting. They likely figure I'm just watching my weight or I'd already eaten. I don't take the beer someone brought in on a Friday? I have a long drive home. Besides, I'm not the only one. Some of the folks not drinking are Muslim so no one's going to push on that front. In general, most of my workplaces have been fairly "Don't ask, don't tell" about all sorts of personal matters. Diet is just one. I'd never comment on someone's plate just like I wouldn't ask them about their politics, religion, or personal relationships. Sure, sometimes these things come up as you get more friendly with some of them, but as most of us have learned in those sensitivity trainings, personal comments and questions are a minefield. Step away.


              • #22
                I have zero interest in using beer or foods with grains to fit in with work people, family gatherings or maintaining beer buddies.

                I don't mind telling people that do those things politely that I wont touch them, no matter how much they think I should. If they wonder why, I show them before and after pics and then they start wondering if they should give them up too.

                If people ask for input on what they are eating I tell them what I think, but I don't comment unless someone asks (which is pretty often).

                People at work also know I went through thyroid hell and when that comes up, I get those questions. I helped one of my work buddies avoid a terrible mistake when an endo wanted to zap his thyroid with radioactive iodine and it turned out to be a false diagnosis.


                • #23
                  Understood, but a lot of people do have an interest in that, and for them it is harder. Work is different, but when a person of, say, 40, finds that of his four best friends, three are steady drinkers and one likes to have four beers every Friday night, it can be very, very hard to change. I used to have a Friday night get-together with two friends of mine (both very light drinkers). This went on for a year until one of them moved out of the state. Now, if they had been heavy drinkers and we still did that, I am not sure how amenable to this change I would have been (esp. since after going Paleo, I found that even two beers gave me a hangover). So, the beer-based social life does not describe my situation, but I know it is very difficult for others.

                  I have two other friends who really like to drink, and I know for a fact that when I am with either one, I tend to consume a lot more alcohol. Much more. Now, both of them tend to tone it down radically if I just say something like, "I'd rather not drink tonight," which I do; but that's not true of everyone. Lots of friends will react, "I'd rather drink heavily tonight." It's important to acknowledge these difficulties so that people trying to change their lives are at least prepared for what they might go through.
                  Last edited by bookstorecowboy; 05-28-2011, 12:20 PM.