There are so many diets out there that it is hard to keep track. If that isn't enough, they all speak about calorie counting. But what about paleo? Is it possible that paleo is the only diet or way of life where you can eat, lose weight, and feel great, without counting the calories? How many of you have lost weight on paleo and not counted calories? Did cavemen and cavewomen count calories?
I know of a few low carb ways of eating that do not require calorie counting. Weight watchers members do not count calories per se. Their core program counts nothing. The Zone counts blocks not calories. The vegans count nothing I think there are actually quite a few that don't require calorie counting.
I lost a whole lot of weight just counting carbs which is far, FAR easier than counting calories. And now I count calories and carbs. There are many paleos who do. If you don't need to to get where you want to go then God love ya. Most of the people who count do it because they have to not because they are morons as seems to be the attitude of some in the paleosphere.
I strenuously object to the paleo fallacy that as long as you just eat paleo food and get some sleep your body will become perfectly healthy and any and all excess weight will leave your body. That is simply not true. It's a big fat lie actually. Some will lose weight effortlessly to be sure. But many, many will struggle. Many turn to counting different things because they have to and I think that we need to respect people's decisions to do what they feel they have to do get the results they need.
Plenty of people count calories in the paleosphere. I count my calories as I want to hit a certain goal of fat loss. If I don't, eating paleo keeps me in the ballpark, but I need a bit more precision to hit my exact goals. Everyone's needs and goals are different. You might be happy losing 10 pounds, or you might want under 10 percent body fat, or you might be looking to improve some marker from your latest blood work results. Paleo is not a weight loss program.
If you are just concerning yourself with overall health and not about how much you weigh, then dont worry about weighing yourself or your food. Just eat a clean healthy diet using paleo as your guide.
"Did cavemen and cavewomen count calories?" what's a calorie?
If you are trying to lose weight (body fat), i would say its a good idea to track you calorie intake, especially if you have hit a weight loss plateau.
This article entitled "Low-Carb and Food Reward/Palatability, and Why Calories Count" i found to be a good read and seems relevant to the question;
It talks a bit about why people who are trying to lose weight are initially successful on a low carb paleo diet, then stall (plateau) after a while.
I do count using Fitday for a week or two at a time, say once every six months, just to calibrate my intuition, both for calorie intake and for nutrient breakdown. I was quite surprised a few months ago when I lost a couple of kilos. By tracking my calories I discovered I was unintentionally eating well below maintenance. But I don't normally count. That's no way to live (for me). Note that I was never particularly overweight and gravitated towards paleo for general fitness reasons, not for weight loss.
I find that my current diet is easily sustainable and I think I'm very, very slowly losing a bit of weight -- like maybe a kilo every 3 months -- without counting. For the record, I eat two meals a day, generally lunch and dinner, with a lot of calories from fat, but some carbs from fruit, rice, sweet potatoes or potatoes, pretty much Perfect Health Diet style. If I go low carb, I lose weight and have trouble eating enough calories without deliberately stuffing myself, but I don't generally do that because I have better mood and athletic performance with some carbs.
I stopped counting calories and started adding all the foods I eat in a day to my health journal (it's how I track lupus issues). It was too tiring to try and stay within a certain calorie range with this meal plan. Some days I am not hungry till late afternoon and other times I am starving all day. Besides anytime I eat a high fat meal I usually don't want to eat for awhile.
I am counting them but not really on purpose. I use the Loseit app to keep travk of fat/carb/protein percentages. I need to lose weight and I am. But I find myself naturally eating 1900-2200 calories a day if I don't IF. Loseit says I should be eating 2600 or so to lose 2# a week, but I hit that amount anyway.
With my original 30 pound weight loss back in 2003, when I cut out most of the grains, beans, and starches, I didn't count anything. I had 30 pounds of subQ body fat keeping me well fed, and I naturally and spontaneously ate vastly fewer calories.
Then I got into weight training and started eating more like a bodybuilder. I ended up back at 190 pounds, albeit with more muscle than before, but I was paunchier than I liked, so I settled back into ad libitum paleo and stabilized at 180 for a couple years. When my weight crept up to 183, I decided to lean out, and I calorie counted down to 170. The calorie counting reset my eating habits, and I ate ad libitum for a few years with my weight hovering right around 172. Last year, I had a depressive funk that drove some emotional eating, and my weight crept up to 177. I calorie counted down to 168, and I've been stable at that weight for a couple months.
I rarely eat out, so when I count calories, I weigh every ingredient to the gram and plug it into FitDay. Although it's a huge PITA, it makes me very conscious of my eating, and it resets my eating habits so that I can go back to eating ad libitum without gaining weight. From my own experience, I would say that it is possible to lose weight on a paleo diet without counting calories, but if weight is higher than desired even while eating paleo, then fewer calories need to be eaten, and calorie counting is a reliable and systematic way of doing that.
When I have a goal, I count calories, track macros, etc... otherwise I regularly stop counting and easily maintain.
I call bullshit on those who say counting calories is too much work. There's a bajillion websites/apps out there that do it for you. You don't have to search for individual items via nutritiondata.self.com. I use a website/app combo that probably requires less than 5 minutes per day to track everything.
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