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Old 05-01-2013, 01:47 PM   #1
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Will this work? Or is it really all about calories?

I read so much about its all about calories in and calories out! Thats how to lose weight? Or will this really work???
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:57 PM   #2
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To paraphrase Gary Taubes:

"Calories in/calories out" as an answer to how and why people get fat is like trying to figure out why some rooms get crowded, and others don't... and someone comes along and says, "Well, if more people enter a room than leave, it gets crowded. It's simple. What more do you need to know?" Basically, this genius has described the problem in different words, and acted like he's answered it. It doesn't actually address the question of why some get crowded but others don't.

Pick up a copy of Gary Taubes "Why We Get Fat". It'll explain how and why your body gains and loses adipose tissue.

And yes, low-carb really does work. You feel incredibly increased overall health, AND you lose weight. It's wonderful.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:38 PM   #3
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I've Tried the whole counting calories and it never worked for me. LC does! It's the only way with my Hypothyroid and fibromylgia that i've been able to lose weight
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:00 PM   #4
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The answer to your question is, yes and no, it is about calories, but it's not entirely about calories. 1500 calories of rice, cereal and potatoes is not going to give your body the same nutrients and fuel as 1500 calories of chicken, beef, broccoli, olive oil and eggs. A person can lose weight on fat-free yogurts, 100-calorie snack-packs and Lean Cuisines, but that doesn't mean he is losing weight healthfully or nourishing himself well. A person can also be eating lots of nutritious low-carb, higher-fat foods and sticking to the plan 100%, and watching his carbs like a hawk, but not losing weight at all because his calories are simply too high.

Dr. Atkins, the Drs. Eades and others agree that calories do matter and you won't lose unless you have created a reasonable calorie deficit. However, some people find they can lose well on low-carb foods for roughly the same calories as would make them gain on high-carb/low-fat foods. Other people find that they thrive on less fat, and would gain eating the kinds of full-fat foods enjoyed by low-carbers. Still others land somewhere in the middle and do more of a South Beach moderate type of diet.

You'll probably get a lot of different opinions on this topic. In the end, people will speak to what worked for them. If someone lost a lot of weight through calorie reduction on a plan like WW, I don't see how it can be argued that this type of approach "doesn't work". On the other hand you will see people posting about their weight loss while not counting a single calorie but sticking only to counting their carbs. If it works, it works.

Regardless of the plan anyone is doing, calories do matter. The tricky part is figuring out how many of them matter for your weight loss or gain, and whether you personally need to count and track them or not. But, common sense would suggest that the lower your calories are, on any plan, the more important it is to make sure your menus are nutritious and not wasting calories.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peanutte View Post

Dr. Atkins, the Drs. Eades and others agree that calories do matter and you won't lose unless you have created a reasonable calorie deficit. However, some people find they can lose well on low-carb foods for roughly the same calories as would make them gain on high-carb/low-fat foods. Other people find that they thrive on less fat, and would gain eating the kinds of full-fat foods enjoyed by low-carbers. Still others land somewhere in the middle and do more of a South Beach moderate type of diet.

.
I agree.

Plus, it matters where you are in your weight loss- at the beginning with lots of weight to lose? Then calories won't matter as much on lc. But, if you are near goal or are a woman with a thin goal weight, then yes calories will matter.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:16 PM   #6
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The idea that calories don't matter on low carb stems from the fact that most people get a great appetite suppression and will naturally eat less, thus creating the caloric deficit necessary for any weight loss without worrying about calories.

I am NOT one of those people. I am extremely sensitive to carbs, and I eat very low carb for my overall health. But I don't get the type of appetite suppression that most people experience, so I've had to 'count calories' from my first day of low-carb eating.

As you can see from my stats, it's worked well for me--and I've been maintaining for 2 years--by watching both carbs and calories. After a while, it's as natural as brushing your teeth or taking a shower.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:18 PM   #7
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Your calories may be self-limiting. I know mine are.
Since the 8th of April, calories ranged from 210 to
1693, with the average being 1096. Kept carbs low,
tried to keep fat high; I lost 14.5 lbs in those weeks.

Last edited by Pami; 05-01-2013 at 03:43 PM..
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:02 PM   #8
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The idea that calories don't matter on low carb stems from the fact that most people get a great appetite suppression and will naturally eat less, thus creating the caloric deficit necessary for any weight loss without worrying about calories.

I am NOT one of those people. I am extremely sensitive to carbs, and I eat very low carb for my overall health. But I don't get the type of appetite suppression that most people experience, so I've had to 'count calories' from my first day of low-carb eating.

As you can see from my stats, it's worked well for me--and I've been maintaining for 2 years--by watching both carbs and calories. After a while, it's as natural as brushing your teeth or taking a shower.
This is my experience, too. While it is much easier to be satiated with low carb for me, I still have to log what I am eating and pay close attention to portions or I can rack up 2600 calories in a blink. I lose the very best when keeping my carbs in line with the Atkins OWL ladder and keeping my calories in the 1950-ish range (I'm nursing, so burning more than I will when that ends). Some days I eat 200 below that and am fine. Other days are hungry days and I find myself having a hard time not going more than 200-300 above target. But with light exercise that deficit is enough to lose steadily and comfortably.

Calories matter, but as Peanutte noted, they aren't the whole story.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:06 PM   #9
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I'm one of those people who has to count both carbs and calories. The difference with low carb is that it can reduce cravings and hunger, which makes it easier to stick to the diet.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:23 PM   #10
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I agree that calories matter, but not nearly as much as grams of carb intake.
The hype about weight loss being all about "diet and exercise" is not true...As GaryTaubes has written and many here, including myself will attest, exercise, while very good for you, can interfere with weight loss by increasing your appetite.
If the goverment food pyramid were correct I should be the healthiest person on the planet. I followed it faithfully for about 15 years yet continued to be overweight.
I went LC last September and have dropped a bunch of fat pounds and feel great.
It will be hard to break the 'calories in / calroies out habit....all those years of propaganda take their toll, but if you buy Dr. Atkins book and follow his program, you
will probably lose more weight with less hunger than you ever thought possible.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:50 PM   #11
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I cannot agree more that anyone investing the effort into a low carb woe should invest a little more time and read Gary Taub's "Why people get fat." It makes so much sense that you'll find you never look at calories, fat or carbs the same way again. It is truly a paradigm changer.

Been on LC for about 2 and a half months, and kept a carb log from the beginning. I have just recently added calories to that log. I did this because it's useful information, but my carb cts remain the most important to me. And, it has shown me that generally, eating LC puts me in the calorie range I need to be in to lose.

As others have said, LC eating DOES reduce most people's appetite. Often dramatically, and you will eat less. However no one, on any plan, gets to eat as much as they want of anything, when ever they want, and not gain weight, unless you're young and lucky. Or my husband, darn it, who like me is no spring chicken, but has a metabolism sent from the lucky as hell gods.

I simply cannot eat enough LC foods to shoot my calorie concerns in the foot. I CAN do that with carbs, so terribly easily. And I think that's much of the whole point.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peanutte View Post
T
Dr. Atkins, the Drs. Eades and others agree that calories do matter and you won't lose unless you have created a reasonable calorie deficit. However, some people find they can lose well on low-carb foods for roughly the same calories as would make them gain on high-carb/low-fat foods. Other people find that they thrive on less fat, and would gain eating the kinds of full-fat foods enjoyed by low-carbers. Still others land somewhere in the middle and do more of a South Beach moderate type of diet.
For the record Dr Atkins didn't say calories matter.The organization that changed the diet after his death might have done so but he merely talked of the metabolic advantage and that it was harder to overeat hardboiled eggs than it was to overeat cookies.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
I don't get the type of appetite suppression that most people experience, so I've had to 'count calories' from my first day of low-carb eating.
Quote:
This is my experience, too. While it is much easier to be satiated with low carb for me, I still have to log what I am eating and pay close attention to portions or I can rack up 2600 calories in a blink.

I don't get some kind of involuntary appetite suppression by eating low carb, but that's okay with me. I think any plan that promises no hunger, ever, and effortless intuitive portion control that will take you all the way to goal, and magically rid you of all your food issues, is a pipedream. But that's pretty much how diet plans are advertised and books are sold. That is what people want to hear. You have to read between the lines.

kiwistars, yes, Dr. Atkins did say they matter. It's in the DANDR book I used when losing my weight. Page 143 is where he says you may not have to count calories, but calories matter, and very clearly states that gaining weight results from taking in more than you expend. He briefly explains the metabolic advantage of low-carb dieting but ends by saying that eating low carb is not a license to gorge.

So much of what we perceive as "hunger" is really conditioning. Look at weight loss surgery patients--they have to eat a lot less food, and technically their stomachs are full on very little, but their mind and mouth might still be telling them they are hungry because they're used to expecting a certain quantity of food. I mean, we human beings desire food for any number of reasons other than needing it.

I would hate for people to start a low-carb plan, thinking it will take care of all the uncomfortable or difficult aspects of weight loss, only to find that they do have to learn some things that aren't always easy (but are worth it).

The main bonus of low-carb for me is whole foods, nice protein portions, good fats, good nutrition and not needing to snack.
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:02 PM   #14
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Another advantage of LC is that for people with abnormally high blood sugar, it may lower their levels to normal or near normal. That can have tremendous health benefits aside from weight loss, including lowering the risk of heart disease.
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:19 PM   #15
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I don't get some kind of involuntary appetite suppression by eating low carb, but that's okay with me. I think any plan that promises no hunger, ever, and effortless intuitive portion control that will take you all the way to goal, and magically rid you of all your food issues, is a pipedream. But that's pretty much how diet plans are advertised and books are sold. That is what people want to hear. You have to read between the lines.

kiwistars, yes, Dr. Atkins did say they matter. It's in the DANDR book I used when losing my weight. Page 143 is where he says you may not have to count calories, but calories matter, and very clearly states that gaining weight results from taking in more than you expend. He briefly explains the metabolic advantage of low-carb dieting but ends by saying that eating low carb is not a license to gorge.

So much of what we perceive as "hunger" is really conditioning. Look at weight loss surgery patients--they have to eat a lot less food, and technically their stomachs are full on very little, but their mind and mouth might still be telling them they are hungry because they're used to expecting a certain quantity of food. I mean, we human beings desire food for any number of reasons other than needing it.

I would hate for people to start a low-carb plan, thinking it will take care of all the uncomfortable or difficult aspects of weight loss, only to find that they do have to learn some things that aren't always easy (but are worth it).

The main bonus of low-carb for me is whole foods, nice protein portions, good fats, good nutrition and not needing to snack.
In your last sentence here you say you have no need to snack. Was this true for you as well when you were eating a more carb heavy diet? And if not, then this sort of contradicts your statement that you don't get an involuntary appetite surpression from a LC woe.

I agree TOTALLY that there is no silver bullet. And in 2 and a half months on this woe, I have had a few "hungry" days having nothing to do w/going off plan, but much more to do with as you say here "we human beings desire food for any number of reasons other than needing it." That is SOOOOOOO true, and we must all acknowledge there's different kinds of hunger. i.e, boredom can cause hunger, stress can cause hunger, etc etc etc. And no woe is going to get you out of being human.

Like Atkins, Taubes does not dispute the dynamics of calories in, calories out, he simply calls it irrelevant, in a more defined way than Atkins did. He asks why you need to eat more PHYSIOLOGICALLY, not emotionally. And, setting aside those human hungers that really have nothing to do with real hunger, which are a problem on ANY woe, he answers this question brilliantly, imo.

"You're not getting fatter because you eat too much, you're eating too much because you're getting fatter."

This is an endocrinological argument, not an emotional argument. And it's hard to argue with this argument as he lays it out. So, imo, while we'll never be able to fight all the reasons we eat because we fill many and various emotional needs with eating, when it comes to how our body machines work, high carbs wick the appetite, low carbs suppress it. Maybe more so for some than others, and maybe even not at all for few.

The bottom line to me is that in a LC woe, while one does not have a carte blanche on calories, if you are doing it fair and square, your appetite will probably decrease to the point where calories are not an issue.

I now count my calories just to see if this is true, and so far it is. Of course, there are people who this is not true of, there is no one size fits all. But I will say this. I would hate to see LC eating turned into just another calorie story. It offers so much more than that. And even though I now log my calories, my carb cts are my first priority. The calorie logging is only to warn me lest somehow, I become able to eat more calories than I should on this woe.
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:26 PM   #16
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For the record Dr Atkins didn't say calories matter.The organization that changed the diet after his death might have done so but he merely talked of the metabolic advantage and that it was harder to overeat hardboiled eggs than it was to overeat cookies.
He absolutely did. In DANDR (published in 2002, well before his accident), he said, (paraphrasing here) "you don't need to count calories, but calories do count."

He wrote that book.
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:27 PM   #17
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For me, the new Atkin's has been my answer. I don't count calories but i do try to keep track of my carb count and weigh daily. So, it's pretty easy to tell if i start gaining that i need to cut back on carbs or certain carbs or on my stevia/splenda intake. And i never go hungry. Of course, i have also lost very slowly but i feel that has to do with age and maybe hormonal issues also. I have never found another WOE where i could stay on the plan long term. Have not read Gary Taubes yet, but i think i need to do that.
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:34 PM   #18
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For the record, my appetite is definitely suppressed with ketosis. When I eat more carbs, I am truly hungry more often. Not cravings, hunger.
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:48 PM   #19
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In your last sentence here you say you have no need to snack. Was this true for you as well when you were eating a more carb heavy diet? And if not, then this sort of contradicts your statement that you don't get an involuntary appetite surpression from a LC woe.
Sorry, I wasn't very clear. I don't "need to snack" because my focus has changed to a much more simple diet with nutrition as a high priority. It's helped me learn to not respond to every little hunger cue as if it's a mandate to eat something. Dr. Atkins talks about changing our habits and behaviors in his chapter on the psychology of eating, and he says we should learn that we don't need to eat something just because it's because it's there, or because it sounds good--or because it's "allowed" on this diet.

We live in a culture of knee-jerk snacking. That used to be normal for me, both prior to low carb and earlier in my weight loss too. I don't want to be that way so I choose not to.
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:50 PM   #20
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For me, the new Atkin's has been my answer. I don't count calories but i do try to keep track of my carb count and weigh daily. So, it's pretty easy to tell if i start gaining that i need to cut back on carbs or certain carbs or on my stevia/splenda intake. And i never go hungry. Of course, i have also lost very slowly but i feel that has to do with age and maybe hormonal issues also. I have never found another WOE where i could stay on the plan long term. Have not read Gary Taubes yet, but i think i need to do that.
Yes, do yourself a favor and read Taubes. His "Good Calories, Bad calories" is MUCH too dense in science and detail for most. His "Why we get fat" is much more accessible, and even though I'm no science nerd, I read this book easily, and in fact, found myself rereading certain paragraphs until I understood them, because it was doable and so fascinating to me.

If you don't think you'll get around to reading the book any time soon, here's an article/interview with Taubes that is an EXCELLENT summary of the book. This one will take you less than a half hour to read, maybe a lot less. Check it out.

http://garytaubes.com/wp-content/upl...e-Feb-2011.pdf
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:02 PM   #21
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He absolutely did. In DANDR (published in 2002, well before his accident), he said, (paraphrasing here) "you don't need to count calories, but calories do count."

He wrote that book.
It's also in the 1992/1999 version. And possibly in the 1972. He addresses the fact that SOME people (a minority) may find that they don't lose on LC alone, and may have to restrict calories as well. He gives plans to work through that, up to and including the fat-fast. (It's part of a series of steps to take -- in order -- if you are not having ANY success.)



Read "Why We Get Fat". Taubes explains it much better than I can.
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:12 PM   #22
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So calories DO matter?? All this time I thought it was the carbs that matter
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:16 PM   #23
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In the New England Journal of Medicine studies, dieters on a low carb/Atkins style diet had a metabolic advantage of about 300 calories. Meaning that they lost the same amount of weight as lowfat dieters, while eating about 300 calories more per day.

So yeah, calories are part of the equation. The other part of the equation is how your body digests and processes foods, and the hormonal response generated by those foods leading to weight loss or gain and feeling of satiety or hunger.
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:21 PM   #24
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So calories DO matter?? All this time I thought it was the carbs that matter
It's not either/or. It's both.

Carbs are the first thing to count. Following the plan is important. Within the plan, it's clear that if you are not losing weight, you might be eating too many calories.
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:23 PM   #25
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He addresses the fact that SOME people (a minority) may find that they don't lose on LC alone, and may have to restrict calories as well.
I think this referred more to people who are starting out at 20 grams or less on Induction, and aren't losing, not to people who have already lost a lot. Everybody needs fewer calories as they get thinner. There's nothing unique or unusual about that.
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:00 PM   #26
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For the record Dr Atkins didn't say calories matter.The organization that changed the diet after his death might have done so but he merely talked of the metabolic advantage and that it was harder to overeat hardboiled eggs than it was to overeat cookies.
He actually did mention this - remember the woman who was eating a stick of sweetened butter every night for dessert? The point of that entire section was that energy balance still does matter, but it is MUCH easier to lose with Atkins due to satiety, metabolic advantage, lack of insulin spikes, cessation of cravings, etc. But the good doctor didn't ignore the thermodynamics of energy utilization and surplus in the body, either

Some folks really do just fine without every counting a calorie, even well into maintenance. But if one finds they are not losing satisfactorily and sticking to Atkins like glue, checking that they haven't exceeded their CCL and then verifying their BMR and daily calorie intake would be the very first steps I'd recommend to resolve their issue.
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:55 PM   #27
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I don't get some kind of involuntary appetite suppression by eating low carb, but that's okay with me. I think any plan that promises no hunger, ever, and effortless intuitive portion control that will take you all the way to goal, and magically rid you of all your food issues, is a pipedream. But that's pretty much how diet plans are advertised and books are sold. That is what people want to hear. You have to read between the lines.

kiwistars, yes, Dr. Atkins did say they matter. It's in the DANDR book I used when losing my weight. Page 143 is where he says you may not have to count calories, but calories matter, and very clearly states that gaining weight results from taking in more than you expend. He briefly explains the metabolic advantage of low-carb dieting but ends by saying that eating low carb is not a license to gorge.

So much of what we perceive as "hunger" is really conditioning. Look at weight loss surgery patients--they have to eat a lot less food, and technically their stomachs are full on very little, but their mind and mouth might still be telling them they are hungry because they're used to expecting a certain quantity of food. I mean, we human beings desire food for any number of reasons other than needing it.

I would hate for people to start a low-carb plan, thinking it will take care of all the uncomfortable or difficult aspects of weight loss, only to find that they do have to learn some things that aren't always easy (but are worth it).

The main bonus of low-carb for me is whole foods, nice protein portions, good fats, good nutrition and not needing to snack.
Excellent post, peanutte . I couldn't agree more about some of us not getting the appetite suppressing-effect of eating LC; of hunger and snacking being conditioning and habit; that LC can/does have uncomfortable aspects but as a very healthy way to eat is well worth it, especially for those of us with a range of blood sugar issues (i am insulin-resistant and LC keeps me very even). And you can lose pounds and inches with it, as well.

Last edited by Girlieschmoo; 05-01-2013 at 09:57 PM..
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:31 AM   #28
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Part of the 'disagreements' here about calories is that we all come from different places in terms of our weight issues.

I was morbidly obese from early childhood and only realized in 1972 when Dr. Atkins published his first book that my extreme carb sensitivity was driving my enormous appetite. Limiting carbs is the only way that I can eat at all within my body's needs.

However, years of obesity caused major problems in my relationship to food, as it does for many of the chronically obese. As Peanutte so wisely noted, we often eat not from hunger but "just because it's because it's there, or because it sounds good--or because it's 'allowed' on this diet."

As I learned from doing JUDDD, actual physical hunger is not unpleasant, it's the craving from the psychological hunger that is difficult to deal with. That's why the 'natural' control of appetite in low-carb eating often isn't enough for people like me. I have to consciously limit my eating by monitoring calories--and that may be true for many people who, over time, have developed negative 'habits' in relation to food.

I'm not advising anyone to 'count calories.' All I can do is share what has worked for me, and I've lost close to 200 lbs and maintained that loss for 2 years by counting both carbs and calories. That's what is necessary for me.

Everyone has to find what 'works' for him or her. The goal is effective weight management, not simply 'following a plan.'
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:20 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peanutte View Post
I think this referred more to people who are starting out at 20 grams or less on Induction, and aren't losing, not to people who have already lost a lot. Everybody needs fewer calories as they get thinner. There's nothing unique or unusual about that.
So I want to ultimately lose 80 lbs...since I do have so much right now I should be fine focusing on my carbs? Also if it is about the calories then why do people that count carbs lose so much so much faster than people who just count calories? For instance Some people I have seen on this board lose 65 lbs in 5 months where I have never ever seen anyone that counts calories lose that much in that period of time!! I have seen this time and time again where carb counters lose ALOT more in a shorter period of time than calorie counters or programs like weight watchers!! Can someone explain why this is to me please??
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:32 AM   #30
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Bump! Hope someone can answer this for me!
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