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  • Carb and Calorie Confusion!

    Hi all. I'm at a loss and hoping someone on here could shed some insight on things. I'm 25, 130 lb and 5'6" and I crossfit 5x a week. About a month ago I finished an 8 week strict paleo challenge at my box. It went great...didn't lose weight but you could see in the before and after pictures how much my body composition changed. I was only eating about 1300 net calories a day. It wasn't too far off from my normal style of eating (though my normal includes moderate amounts of dairy and alcohol)- carbs between 70 and 100 g and protein at about 120-125 g with fat to fill up the rest, and no added sugars. I wasn't hungry and after an initial foggy period I felt great.

    Fast-forward one month or so post-challenge. I've just about maintained the style of eating, reintroducing dairy and the occasional glass of wine because neither bother me. I'm not worried about the scale number (which says I've gained a bit), but I've noticed that I'm a bit softer than I was after finishing the challenge. But why am I gaining weight with such a low number of calories? Why won't the fat that remains around my midsection go away?

    I started doing research and it's completely confused me - some sources say eat more carbs, some say eat fewer carbs. I don't feel wiped from my workouts (I added 20 lb to my deadlift and squat during the challenge and another 20 to each in the month since) and I sleep great.

    Anyone have answers? More calories? The same? Fewer? More carbs? Fewer? Help please!

    Thanks

  • #2
    I don't recommend counting calories. Eating less tends to cause a decrease in the metabolic rate due to things like decreased thyroid hormone levels. Raising your metabolic rate and losing weight while eating to satisfaction is much better than counting calories and stopping when you're still hungry.

    What do you eat? Can you give a sample day's diet?
    My opinions and some justification

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm almost never hungry, no matter how little I eat. I used to have to set reminders on my phone to actually eat food back in undergrad.

      For example, today went something like this:

      7AM: tbsp butter + tbsp MCT oil in my coffee before class (I tend to not like eating first thing in the morning but the class is 3 hours long so I have to have something

      11 AM: a tbsp of coconut butter and 6 or so dried apricots before running off to crossfit

      1 PM: Post-wod protein shake blended with some spinach and 1 cup blueberries,

      3PM: 2 eggs, half a plate full of kale

      7 PM: 9 oz chicken breast cooked in bacon fat with a strawberry, pecan, goat cheese and spinach salad

      And I plan on ending it with a square or two of dark chocolate. But that's pretty typical of what I'd eat in a day. Sometimes a banana or half of a banana post wod if i'm working out around noon. But I always try to get in a .8-1g of protein for every pound I weigh and keep carbs below 100 g. Usually fat ends up being about 100 g/day.

      And I agree with the notion of not counting calories, but when I saw the scale creeping up and my tummy getting softer I became a bit concerned.

      Comment


      • #4
        I wonder if you're getting enough minerals. Spinach tends to be a poor source due to the oxalate.
        My opinions and some justification

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't believe in 'net' calories--you can never be sure how much you're burning.

          You are already 'small,' and if you're gaining, it's probably too many calories--just little things here and there can add up in my opinion. You may try cutting back slightly. For example, I think that 1g of protein per pound of body weight is too high. My calculations call for .5, and most women your size do well on about 60-80g a day.

          Don't worry about your metabolic rate. That's a dietary 'red herring.' All studies show that our bodies adapt to our eating patterns, and the supposed 'slowdown' of metabolism with fewer calories is so slight that it does not impede weight loss. Otherwise no one would ever lose weight because without a caloric deficit, loss doesn't happen.

          Comment


          • #6
            All studies show that our bodies adapt to our eating patterns, and the supposed 'slowdown' of metabolism with fewer calories is so slight that it does not impede weight loss.
            This is wrong. Example:
            Sucrose substitution in prevention and reversal of ... [Am J Med. 1986] - PubMed - NCBI
            My opinions and some justification

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by califrangis View Post
              Hi all. I'm at a loss and hoping someone on here could shed some insight on things. I'm 25, 130 lb and 5'6" and I crossfit 5x a week. About a month ago I finished an 8 week strict paleo challenge at my box. It went great...didn't lose weight but you could see in the before and after pictures how much my body composition changed. I was only eating about 1300 net calories a day. It wasn't too far off from my normal style of eating (though my normal includes moderate amounts of dairy and alcohol)- carbs between 70 and 100 g and protein at about 120-125 g with fat to fill up the rest, and no added sugars. I wasn't hungry and after an initial foggy period I felt great.

              Fast-forward one month or so post-challenge. I've just about maintained the style of eating, reintroducing dairy and the occasional glass of wine because neither bother me. I'm not worried about the scale number (which says I've gained a bit), but I've noticed that I'm a bit softer than I was after finishing the challenge. But why am I gaining weight with such a low number of calories? Why won't the fat that remains around my midsection go away?

              I started doing research and it's completely confused me - some sources say eat more carbs, some say eat fewer carbs. I don't feel wiped from my workouts (I added 20 lb to my deadlift and squat during the challenge and another 20 to each in the month since) and I sleep great.

              Anyone have answers? More calories? The same? Fewer? More carbs? Fewer? Help please!

              Thanks
              Focus more on being healthy than being ripped?

              If you are still stacking on weight in your lifts you are not likely taking in too few calories.

              Reduce the protein to 100 grams a day - keep your carbs where you are - the rest fat. Add a starchy tuber if you start to feel very tired.

              Consider a less steady flow of carbs - perhaps most or all of them in the evenings.
              What have you done today to make you feel Proud?

              Comment


              • #8
                Elliot-

                Do you actually READ these articles you cite? The one above only refers to how to raise the resting metabolic rate. There was no mention of weight loss stopping because of a drop in metabolic rate.

                I lost close to 200 lbs eating very low calories because that's what my body needed in order to lose (age and medical conditions). I've successfully maintained that loss for the past 4 years. My metabolism is quite healthy.

                If your calorie obsession is correct, how to anorexics get so thin?

                Comment


                • #9
                  You seem pretty slim for your height. Does the heavy crossfit schedule give your body time to recover? Taking a down week or two might help. I'd also be eating lower fat and upping my fruit intake, but everyone is different.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Look into IF. It sound like you might do well with 18/6 fast/feed. Those mid-day snacks will kill the weight loss. 2 meals /day (if you can) is a great way to get the metabolism going for some folks.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by califrangis View Post
                      Anyone have answers? More calories? The same? Fewer? More carbs? Fewer? Help please!

                      Thanks
                      Overtraining, under-eating and obsessive behavior. What happens if you get injured, will you totally freak out if you are laid up? Need to add some balance to your life. Been through this as a younger guy, no longer fret over any of this. Life becomes easier when you relax.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Barefoot girl View Post
                        Look into IF. It sound like you might do well with 18/6 fast/feed. Those mid-day snacks will kill the weight loss. 2 meals /day (if you can) is a great way to get the metabolism going for some folks.
                        I've looked into it before but I work an ever changing schedule (some early mornings, some nights) which I feel might cause issues with timing etc - any thoughts on that? Can you IF for a while to boost your metabolism and then return to a more spread out style of eating? Thanks for the suggestion!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by emmie View Post
                          Elliot-

                          Do you actually READ these articles you cite? The one above only refers to how to raise the resting metabolic rate. There was no mention of weight loss stopping because of a drop in metabolic rate.
                          Emmie! I thought you were ignoring my posts but apparently not.
                          People are usually more interested in losing fat than losing weight in general. Sometimes studies only measure weight loss and then someone claims that the difference was only water weight and not fat. Luckily, this study avoids the problem by actually measuring energy (i.e. calories). The group eating sugar maintained a higher metabolic rate. This demonstrates that quantity and quality of diet affect the metabolic rate. It also demonstrates that products available over-the-counter can affect thyroid hormone levels, which is something on which we've disagreed before. Obviously, sugar is available over-the-counter.
                          Originally posted by emmie View Post
                          I lost close to 200 lbs eating very low calories because that's what my body needed in order to lose (age and medical conditions). I've successfully maintained that loss for the past 4 years. My metabolism is quite healthy.
                          You lost this weight by cutting calories. This implies you believe calories affect body weight. The study I posted measured the metabolic rate, which is the rate at which calories are burned. If you think calories are important, then I'm not sure why you don't like that study.
                          Originally posted by emmie View Post
                          If your calorie obsession is correct, how to anorexics get so thin?
                          You have made a straw man argument. Nowhere did I claim that your metabolic rate will always match your intake. Obviously, if this were true, then if you fast your body would shut down entirely. However, eating less does tend to depress the metabolic rate. Anorexics get so thin because they eat less than they burn - but they burn less than someone eating a normal amount. Anorexia depresses the metabolic rate, but it cannot decrease it to zero.
                          My opinions and some justification

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by eats.meats.west View Post
                            Overtraining, under-eating and obsessive behavior. What happens if you get injured, will you totally freak out if you are laid up? Need to add some balance to your life. Been through this as a younger guy, no longer fret over any of this. Life becomes easier when you relax.
                            I appreciate your concern, but I actually broke my ankle before the nutrition challenge and I was quite alright with having to take the time off, albeit a bit restless. Balance is something I actually strive for, and part of that balance is finding a way to eat that fulfills all of my goals - optimizing physical and mental performance so that I can train how I want without sacrificing my health (or, admittedly, aesthetics) and maintain energy to get through my busy work and school schedule. That's why I'm searching for advice, so that experimentation doesn't throw any factor too far out of whack.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Elliot View Post
                              I wonder if you're getting enough minerals. Spinach tends to be a poor source due to the oxalate.
                              usually eat a bigger variety of veggies too, brussel sprouts, carrots, peppers and broccoli and cauliflower mostly and I take a multivitamin so I'm not sure that's it! Would be interesting to see though. Which minerals if deficient would have the greatest negative effects on fat loss?

                              Comment

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