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ChiCityGuy 02-03-2013 01:10 PM

cutting the calories for the first time.
Well, I think its finally time to start counting the calories. I started LC about 10 months ago starting at 345 lbs. I was one of those forget calories, its all about carbs, have two steaks a slab of Bacon and then a bag and a half of pork rinds low carber. On this diet I got down to 270 lbs about 2 months ago, and then the stall hit. I think I finally need to add in the calorie counting portion of the diet, as it seems the miracle portion of the diet has stopped and the real work needs to step in. I'm aiming for 1800 calories a day, and under 30 g of carbs. I'm dreading the food journals, weighing, not eating out, etc that is about to ensue! Has anyone else had to make this transition and do you have any tips?! I'm already trying the bullet proof coffee to help me cut the extra serving of meat out of my daily salad! Wish me luck! Yall always have been such a big help through this journey!

Leo41 02-03-2013 01:43 PM

It's possible that you won't have to actually 'count' calories if you consider what's involved. Let me share my experience (although as a post-menopausal female who is also hypothyroid, I've always had to count calories as well as carbs).

When I began seriously low-carbing, I was well over 300 lbs, and I ate at a specific caloric level consistently, losing weight very, very slowly because of my age, etc. However, when I got to about 250 lbs, I found myself losing and gaining the same 5 lbs for months. I finally realized that my 'smaller' body needed less food--the reason I was 'maintaining' my weight at 250 is because I was eating without any deficit. I reduced calories and began losing again.

However, 'calories' are only a way of estimating quantity of food. You can achieve the same result simply by reducing portions--i.e. the amount of food you eat daily. To eat less, you don't necessarily have to 'count' as I do. The goal is to create a deficit between the amount you eat and your body's need for energy. That deficit forces your body to use your own fat stores for the energy it needs, and the result is weight loss.

svenskamae 02-03-2013 02:12 PM

I use an online tracker to measure calories and use a food scale and set of measuring cups to keep track of calories. It sounds like a pain, but it can be relatively easy. For example, if I'm going to eat some nuts, I don't just grab handfuls or pour them into a bowl; I put them into a 1/4 cup measuring cup and then eat from that. Easy-peasy. Before I chop up some chicken meat for chicken salad, I dump some pieces on my kitchen scale and stop when it gets to 4 ounces, and then go from there. Took 10 seconds of extra work. If I'm putting mayo into that chicken salad, I scoop it out from the jar with a tablespoon, until I've got enough, so I have a sense of how much I put in. When I'm putting cream into my coffee, I pour it into a tablespoons and then pour from that into my cup, and stir it in. I have measuring cups, measuring spoons, and little food scales on my kitchen counter at home and in a desk drawer at work.

If you are like me, you'll eat a lot of the same things over and over, and you can start remembering how many calories various things are (roughly). That makes entering things into a tracker or looking them up in a calorie count book less necessary over time. Having an idea of "about" how many calories something is--is it about 20 or about 50 or about 100, etc.--is probably close enough, especially since you are a big guy.

Good luck!

picklepete 02-03-2013 02:37 PM

I think "calories" still omits too much detail from overall nutrition. Protein, B vitamins, C vitamins, and electrolyte minerals are non-negotiable so be sure not to axe those inadvertently.

If a lowcarber is overeating it tends to be the less-necessary oils, dairy, and maybe nuts. It's not just the calories in these foods, but if they're displacing some more nutrient-dense option then we'll experience some extra appetite downstream. The crucial fats that I keep are eggs, seafood, and coconut--everything else I try to keep a (gentle) leash on. For example, I might use a pinch of strong grated romano instead of cheese slices. For salads and sautee, 1 tbsp of oil goes amazingly far given enough tossing.

synger 02-03-2013 08:44 PM

I started at 310, and got down to about 260 just by lowering carbs. I stayed there for two years. Now I'm beginning to lose again, but only by watching my calories as well as my carbs.

It's not that big a switch, really. I have two or three go-to breakfasts, and my lunches are pretty similar. So long as I keep those meals to 300-400 calories each, I still have 400 or more for dinner. It's dinner that will throw me over, because that's the meal that we tend to eat out, or my husband makes, and I don't have much control over.

But I figure if I eat at a 1200-1400 range 80% of the time, I can go up a few 100 calories once in a while without completely stalling myself.

Trigger828 02-04-2013 04:28 AM

calories are coming into play for me also. I agree with Sven if you learn what a portion size should be you can kinda eyeball easier. I got a scale. Don't use it as much anymore because my 'eyeballs' can see a real size now.

with mayo I used to use 2 heaping spoons. I made sure my tablespoons were not heaping anymore. right there I lost about 150 cals. cause I know my heaps were way over a normal tablespoon.

nuts. I do use one small bowl I pore them into and eat. It is measured to my one portion size. you cut out that extra ounce of nuts you pour by eyeballing it and you cut out alot of cals.

that way you can go a bit without having to micro manage every ounce that goes into your body. heck I don't want to do that either.

you take care of those smaller items that are easy to handle and sure you can still go out to eat, sure you can have it all with some control and that scale should start moving again.

I use my tracking journal sparingly. I hate logging food and all that mess. So I took a look at my usual food days and cut back a bit. here and there adds up fast on cals. 2 pats of butter to fry something, use 1. jumbo snack, cut it back a bit. 2 steaks have 1, slab bacon, eat 1/2, 3-4 eggs, use 2 eggs and 2 egg whites to make it bigger. good taste and cals are cut. little tricks work without having to put in too much work journaling etc.

best of luck

Jennyl 02-05-2013 01:18 PM

I had to watch calories at one point also. I am like you though, I just despise having to keep track of every morsel I put into my mouth, it's such a pain! I just tried to not overdo my portions. I didn't count the calories, I just watched what I ate, tried to eat a little slower (I can have a bad habit of inhaling my food if I don't pay attention), cut back on the snacking. I started to lose again by doing this, and not having to actually count the calories exactly. I think you could cut down fairly easily, by must having one steak and not the whole slab of bacon. You might be surprised that you may still be completely satisfied eating less food overall, even without counting every calorie. Of course counting is fine...it works for many people.

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