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Maybe Paleo is TOO satiating? Accidental calorie restriction?

by (598)
Updated October 21, 2014 at 4:31 AM
Created November 07, 2013 at 4:58 PM

I just read this: http://phys.org/news151928423.html

I'm not trying to restrict calories. Quite the opposite lately - I've made a serious effort to gain a few pounds. I estimate an average of around 1850 calories, maybe almost 2000 when I'm really trying hard to eat. I'm a 6'2" male weighing 140 lbs. I've been within 5 lbs of this weight for about 6 years regardless of diet. I'm built lean and strong, not skinny fat.

Eating good healthy Paleo food, making a conscious effort to STUFF MYSELF with nutrient and calorie dense foods, I often end up around 1500 calories! Some days I get over 2800 but the average stays well below 2000 and the median is probably around 1800. 1500 is not uncommon. I don't gain or lose weight regardless.

I feel healthy and I'm not terribly active. I think that if I didn't make a conscious effort to stuff my face and just ate healthy food only when I was hungry, I'd average about 1600 calories. I don't know if that would be bad or not. Longevity is a major goal of mine of course.

I'm not even sure what my question is. I guess I'm wondering what others here experience. I hear of people eating like 3000+ calories daily on Paleo and I find that hard to believe with how satiating it is. Maybe if you're a hard core athlete...

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598 · November 08, 2013 at 7:08 PM

Honestly this makes perfect sense. I have to contemplate, but just might be best answer. The more I think about it, stressing over too few calories alone may be silly. If I stop force feeding myself and begin to rapidly lose weight (I'm plenty thin as is) then I'll worry more. I thought I wanted to put on pounds but I'm pretty healthy and comfortable as is. Although, I do get cold a bit too easily.

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598 · November 08, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Interesting story, Paleot. I'm starting to wonder if my concern over high satiety and low calorie desire is silly...

I'm right around 140 grams a day of carbs and about 120 of fat. Cronometer average - it varies a LOT. Obviously then I'm getting most of my calories from fat and more protein than I'd like because I subscribe currently to the Jaminets' view on protein. I'd certainly call it effortless weight maintenance, although that wasn't my goal. I'm losing interest in the whole weight gain thing now though since I'm comfortable and healthy as is.

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690 · November 10, 2013 at 6:09 PM

@Methodician I think you might be right about "accidental" calorie restriction. I'm seldom hungry eating paleo and if I stay away from nuts, I don't gain weight. I pretty much have to remind myself to eat.

However, I cannot imagine being 2" taller and 50 lbs lighter!

Not that I'm extremely fit my current age....I'm down from 220 to 190 & probably ~15 to 20% BF

At your age I was more like 175 & ~10% bodyfat. I was rowing 5 days a week & lifting 2 or 3 days. I was constantly eating ... 5000+.

My experience & opinion is.... a body has to have a reason & the conditions to put on or lose weight. Fast carbs (grains, sugar, fruit, juice) beyond energy needs encourage fat accumulation. Generally speaking, cardio burns calories but prevents muscle gain. Weight lifting combined with sufficient rest & nutrition encourages muscle gain.

Diet alone allowed me to lose ~30 lbs w/o much exercise. I also lost some muscle but I've added it back with w/ bit of exercise.

I'm guessing you're "right sized" for your life / activity... If you want to gain muscle you'll have to lift, eat & rest. Once you have more muscle you'll have to eat more to sustain it. Smaller muscle mass means fewer calories. But if you're happy with your current situation.... there's no need to change it.

My theory (experience) is... without a change / intervention we carry the body we developed in our teens & early 20's. Yeah, we can "paper" over it with extra carbs (fat) as we get older but it's still there and will reappear with minimal effort. That's a different theory of "muscle memory". :)

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198 · November 08, 2013 at 5:34 AM

I'm trying to stay at the 1800-2000 calorie range, I still have 10 pounds more than I should and converting it to muscle or dropping it is my goal. It has been an almost 2 year process. I could easily eat more calories, I would have no problem doing it with a spoon and a jar of Almond butter or an extra GF hunk of meat. I've never had trouble adding weight and conversely I can lose it pretty easily except for the last few pounds.

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480 · November 08, 2013 at 4:41 AM

26 6'2" male and up ten pds from last year.

I feel ya buddy. Putting weight on on paleo is a tough job. I have been trying to gain and am finally making head way. I am up to 148 and stillat 6% body fat. Still wrestle with constipation but its gettin better.

I try to get sneaky with calories and try to drink em because i dont like the bloaty feeling that follows a huge meal. I have tea with a TB heavy cream two or three times a day.

My breakfast is a rush since i work early. usally 2-3 hard boiled eggs and a smoothie (almond butter or avo, kale or collard, lots of spices, coconut water or a date, not usally fruit.

lunch is small but dense, Fat and lots of protein, and some veggies of course, lberally coated with coco oil or ghee. i usally still feel a liitle to full for two hrs or so. but by the time im working out 4 hrs later i am fresh, engergized... not bloaty.

Dinner is usally big and carby because yawn* the day is done and there is nothing left to do but simple tasks, lounging and sleep. sweet potatos, squash, the typical paleo standbys, ocastionally some white tater or some organic hand pack corn tortillas from the vegan taco shop down the street.

Eventually i had to admit myself to GET FULL sometimes, eating big means feeling big, but its winter again and this time last year my scrawy 130 pd but was shivering in my drafty house. not the case any more.

These are the thing that work for me. to each his own but it sounds like we might b similar guys

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7380 · November 07, 2013 at 11:26 PM

I'm the same way, except that I'm pretty active. I usually end up at around 1500. I eat as I want, until I'm full, I'm not resricting. I don't worry about it, as long as I'm eating good foods. I don't think just eating more calories just for the calories would make any sense. You might find that you go naturally into less and more caloric need. Whatever, just go with it.

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598 · November 08, 2013 at 7:08 PM

Honestly this makes perfect sense. I have to contemplate, but just might be best answer. The more I think about it, stressing over too few calories alone may be silly. If I stop force feeding myself and begin to rapidly lose weight (I'm plenty thin as is) then I'll worry more. I thought I wanted to put on pounds but I'm pretty healthy and comfortable as is. Although, I do get cold a bit too easily.

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1005 · November 07, 2013 at 11:04 PM

I definitely believe that less calories in a day is better if you can comfortably do it (the cr in cronometer is for calorie restriction). I think upping your fat intake slows your metabolism down. It sounds like you're right at the sweet spot on the curve.

I'm not sure what's up with my metabolism lately. Before Paleo, I was a 2 meal a day kind of guy (maybe 2,000kcal of junk.) Then I had an infection and my need for food went through the roof and my blood sugar got all messed up (I never had blood sugar issues prior.) At one point I was just about convulsing I was so dizzy / nauseous / freezing needing to eat. I couldn't leave the house without a bag of blueberries each time I went to the doctor (I lost about 15lbs in a week or two.) After I recovered, the metabolism was still ridiculous. If I went longer than 3 hours or so without a meal, I would start to get palpitations and a fight or flight type of response. This pushed me up to about 3,000kcal a day. I found exercising helped all of the symptoms as well as eating before I felt bad, but this just pushed the kcal I needed in a day even higher.

As I turn the fat up, I'm slowly watching the amount of calories a day I need go down and a larger amount of time I can put between meals. I'm almost back to good. I think you're at a good spot.

(I've seen fat listed as 9 calories vs carb and protein's 4. It almost seems closer to 10 or 11 once it makes up a larger portion of your diet.)

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598 · November 08, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Interesting story, Paleot. I'm starting to wonder if my concern over high satiety and low calorie desire is silly...

I'm right around 140 grams a day of carbs and about 120 of fat. Cronometer average - it varies a LOT. Obviously then I'm getting most of my calories from fat and more protein than I'd like because I subscribe currently to the Jaminets' view on protein. I'd certainly call it effortless weight maintenance, although that wasn't my goal. I'm losing interest in the whole weight gain thing now though since I'm comfortable and healthy as is.

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