Counting Carbs or Calories? What works for you?

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sadie_eats

Joined: Nov 14
Posts: 7

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014, 09:49
I'm just curious. I want to hear from everybody. I realize neither a bunch of calories or a bunch of carbs is good for you. But I need to pick one... I did some online research and am in need of testimonials.

Cool Cool
Sadiebear

Joined: Jun 14
Posts: 4

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014, 10:00
I've been working on calories and have carbs coming from fruits/veggies. Knocked off all processed foods, including bread. Occasionally will have water crackers and hummus. Ditching all processed foods has certainly helped me. Just taking it slow and steady. !
Jennjv

Joined: Mar 13
Posts: 7

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014, 10:03
I've counted carbs for 10 years, off and on, and while it works well, I can never stick with the restrictive diet long term. It also makes it hard to keep up with normal life, eating out, etc. I just recently started counting calories instead, and I'm finding that after the carb diets, this seems easy. I don't feel deprived or like I need a "cheat day" like I did in years past with carb diets. I also think it is promoting a better long term eating style, because it forces me to watch portion sizes and make generally healthier choices when I eat. Honestly though, my favorite part is that I can eat just about anywhere I go. There are always low cal choices and I feel like I have options. That's just my two cents!Smile

I should also add that after 2 weeks of counting calories instead of carbs, I've lost 7.5lbs. I was pretty happy with that result, and it encouraged me to keep going like this. I do also try to keep my choices lower in carbs, but don't restrict them drastically like I did before.
HalyHo

Joined: Jan 12
Posts: 2

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014, 10:05
I count carbs. I have found that MOST of the time if the carbs are low the calories are too. But it has to be what works for you. What works for me just might not work the same for you.
ckworksalot

Joined: Aug 14
Posts: 30

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014, 10:17
For me, it has been about calories first, then PROTEIN grams 2nd, then FAT grams 3rd.... I just use carbs to bring me up to my total calories needed for the day. Because I am trying to build/maintain muscle (not get huge), I shoot for 1 gram of protein per lb of estimated Lean body mass... 150 lb for me. I usually eat bfast, mid morning lunch, mid afternoon lunch and dinner, and MAYBE a snack at night if I have the cushion. So, 150/5 meals per day = 30 grams of protein per eating session. Usually, I hit 120 or so after dinner, so I make a protein smoothie with 100% whey isolate, banana and peanut butter about 3 hours after supper to get me to around 150 g protein. If I happen to hit the 150 g protein target after dinner, then I skip the smoothie. Because I purposefully avoid (but not exclude) fried foods, butter, cheese, and milk, my fat intake is usually pretty low, so I sometimes eat raw almonds to get GOOD fat and get me to around 50 grams per day (which works out to be about 20-30% of my cals consumed each day). The rest of my cals come from CLEAN, low processed carbs... I don't count them... I let the macros fall where they may as long as I hit close to my protein and fat intake targets. I avoid breads, but they are not off limits... just rare and in limited quantities. I checked once and on average I eat close to 250 g of carbs per day. I still lose FAT (see profile pic), I don't get hungry, I don't get cravings. I like this balanced approach to eating... I never have to worry about falling off the wagon because there is no carb restrictive or fat over indulgence wagon to fall from! I personally don't think our bodies were designed to function in those extremes, though I recognize some folks are (have become?) carb intolerant. I got my nutrition “education” from the references I list in my profile. .. check them out! Happy FAT loss and let us know what you decide!
br_e_co

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 116

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014, 10:23
I count calories. I like all the macros - fat, carbs (in fruits, veggies, dairy), and most important for me, protein. The bad carbs are processed, breads, cereals, sugars in candy, etc. but you know that. i eat those as well, in heavy moderation. not monitoring your carbs will influence the scale, but i think they are necessary for me to workout - though i know i could workout out on low carb, it's just not as intense during my activity, which i need. good luck.
sadie_eats

Joined: Nov 14
Posts: 7

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014, 10:37
This is all such good input and I thank you all for sharing!

Originally I was going to start Atkins because of my mother. The first time she did Atkins she lost a ton of weight. The thing is, it's a huge lifestyle change that lasts forever, and she wasn't able to stick with it for more than a year. Since then, she's been on and off. It works for her, but she can't seem to stay on it and it brings her down. The diet is restrictive and if you eat out like my family does, and enjoy dinners as a family, it can be really difficult to stick with it.

So I'm doing research, and looking for testimonials, not because I'm tallying whether carb counting or calorie counting gets more votes, but just because I'm trying to figure out which would fit my lifestyle better before I get in too deep.
spinx1971

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 4

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014, 11:35
I've tried the low carb (Atkins) approach but it was so restrictive that I couldn't live with it for long. I count calories but also keep a reign on my carbs because I am diabetic. I try and keep my net carbs between 30 and 45 per meal and between 15 and 30 for a snack. But counting calories is easier for me to live with long term and that is what this is about...a lifetime change. Smile
ckworksalot

Joined: Aug 14
Posts: 30

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014, 12:21
I too did atkins many years ago and lost 30 lbs in 2 months... but found that when I went off the "ranch" one time for a "small" order of french fries (because I was hungry and had not prepared my lunch), the resulting insulin spike, and hormone responses made me feel like a crack addict! I ran right back to the snackbar and ordered an entire basket of fries and a soda, and the wheels came off my Atkins wagon. Truly recommend the common sense, balanced approach to eating. Research Scoobysworkshop.com nutrition section and weight loss section. Then check out his fast calorie calculator under the fitness tools section. I am within 5 lbs or where his tools said I would be when I started in January 2014... and his info is all FREE!
starstar73

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 110

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014, 13:09
I used to count carbs. Between that and intermittent fasting I had a huge calorie deficit and I lost weight quickly, but eventually I gained it all back. This time I pretty much just watched my calories, entering almost everything into FatSecret, and figured out what macros worked for me. I also focused on being less restrictive in order to avoid another "rebound" effect, so it's taken longer this time but I feel like I'm on a better path. Good luck to you Smile
sadie_eats

Joined: Nov 14
Posts: 7

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014, 13:33
ckworksalot wrote:
I too did atkins many years ago and lost 30 lbs in 2 months... but found that when I went off the "ranch" one time for a "small" order of french fries (because I was hungry and had not prepared my lunch), the resulting insulin spike, and hormone responses made me feel like a crack addict! I ran right back to the snackbar and ordered an entire basket of fries and a soda, and the wheels came off my Atkins wagon. Truly recommend the common sense, balanced approach to eating. Research Scoobysworkshop.com nutrition section and weight loss section. Then check out his fast calorie calculator under the fitness tools section. I am within 5 lbs or where his tools said I would be when I started in January 2014... and his info is all FREE!


You've been so much help so far CK. I really love your approach to living healthier, it seems so balanced and not rushed and that's what I'm looking for. I know you can attribute much of what you've done to the resources you are offering me, but the fact that you are another living testimonial of that way of life, makes me feel like this would be right for me as well.

I will definitely check out that website.

All in all I am looking to be a much healthier version of me. I'm not looking to lose 10 lbs in two weeks. I want it to slowly come off and stay off, and me actual able to enjoy life and food, just a lot differently and a lot smarter than I was enjoying it before.
DanzigRules

Joined: Sep 14
Posts: 12

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014, 13:38
CK's advice is pretty much what I do although I keep a close eye on my carb intake. I've had days where I don't hit all my macros, but I try and keep it under my daily calories. I've had other days where I was on vacation or it was a holiday and made foolish food choices, but I enjoy eating and drinking so those little setbacks are worth it to me.

I've lost ten pounds the last two months and I feel like I've gained a little more muscle mass. I've been thorough about weighing portions, entering foods into fatsecret and planning my meals. It's tedious for the first few weeks, but you get used to it.

When you're looking for a "diet" you want to make sure that it's going to work for you. I could never do atkins or paleo because it's too restrictive and I wouldn't be able to sustain it long term.

wholefoodnut

Joined: Jul 12
Posts: 5,135

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014, 20:43
I've done the Atkins low several times, sure I lost weight but it turned into yo-yo dieting. I could not sustain that plan. I'm not much of a meat eater. After losing 30# again on Atkins, then gaining back, feeling sick the whole time, I took a good look at my food diary. It was high fat, processed snacks (hard sausage) and meat that I honestly rarely eat. It was making me sick. It was expensive, budget blown on food that I was choking down.

So went off the plan, decided to look at my normal way of eating and adapt it to calories. So it boils down to lots of natural foods, little to no processed, not much meat, mostly a plant based WOE. So mostly quit drinking alcohol (too much beer), decided on a 1200 calorie plan, started measuring everything and tracking.

Not all of it here the first part tedious in notebooks. Started exercising. Now 60 pounds later I'm at goal for weight, not goal for fitness, still working on it. Find a way of eating that fits how you like to eat and cook. Watch every portion, it will get to be second nature, and exercise for fitness and toning up tat flab, and increasing your bone density.

Make it a lifetime not diet. Adjust as you go along to fit what is working for you, fit it into your life. If it doesn't fit you will not stick with it. It will just be another yo-yo plan.

Start weight 192 now 132.
"The way we eat in America makes us sick, and if we change our diet--simply incrementally-- we will be healthier." Mark Bittman Food Matters

Jeri
coffeebiscui...

Joined: Jun 13
Posts: 82

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014, 22:19
Counting calaries worked for me, and still working - but that said, I'm particular about what kind of carbs I consume. Like beans and legumes for example, are carb filled, so I make sure they are measured before I eat them. Carbs from veg doesnt really matter at all - eat all you want. Its the carbs from the white stuff that you need to avoid - bread, rice, pasta, etc. And of course - the sweets. And in drinks - Like a can of beer is just empty carbs - such a waste of a calories.
“A diet is the penalty we pay for exceeding the feed limit.” ~Unknown~
bad_dog_ny

Joined: Mar 11
Posts: 9

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Posted: 07 Nov 2014, 23:52
Calories. In the end, it's all about In-Out
Plus I eat "anything"...nothing is off the list, but I also meticulously weigh and measure everything, and avoid restaurants that don't publish their nutrition data. Except local places, then I stick to meals it's easy to figure out...simple ingredients.
GOOD LUCK!
Justdoingthe...

Joined: Sep 11
Posts: 9

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Posted: 08 Nov 2014, 05:29
The calories is been the answer for me. Ultimately, the best choice for you will be whatever you can stick with in the long term. If you stay focused you will be able to lose weight. If you find something that you can really stick with without feeling too restricted, then you will get to your goal. Good luck with whatever decision you make!
Jones...

Joined: Oct 14
Posts: 718

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Posted: 08 Nov 2014, 05:37
Calories works best for me, as well. I agree doing what works best for you is the answer. Wishing you success, J.J.
Don't overeat. Don't eat "crap" that isn't food. And make sure you get enough sleep. "The rest is B.S.," Jillian from, "The Biggest Loser,"
wholefoodnut

Joined: Jul 12
Posts: 5,135

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Posted: 08 Nov 2014, 08:04
An addition here. Most of my calories are nutrition packed, sure an occasional treat. Lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans/legumes, a few nuts and seeds. A little dairy, I love cheese but now use it sparingly, like really good parmesan or Romano freshly grated. More expensive per pound but a wow factor in taste. I try for fish at least once a week, meats occasionally sort of in spurts. Most days are meatless with whole grains and beans.
"The way we eat in America makes us sick, and if we change our diet--simply incrementally-- we will be healthier." Mark Bittman Food Matters

Jeri
mummydee

Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 2,951

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Posted: 08 Nov 2014, 08:21
I don't believe it's either or.... If you want good health and way to eat for life then you watch both. When you eat good healthy carbs like lots of veggies a little fruit and healthy legumes the result will be reduced calories. Good healthy fats from omega 3 sources will keep you full, avocados and olive oil.

I have been a low carber for many many years and I very rarely go over my RDI, i'm usually below it but i'm never hungry.

So I don't think there's a simple answer to your question, it's a well rounded diet that helps you lose weight and keeps you healthy
If it is a plant, eat it, if it comes from a plant, don't!
wholefoodnut

Joined: Jul 12
Posts: 5,135

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Posted: 08 Nov 2014, 08:56
Right no simple answer it's what works for you. Lots of nutrition, good carbs, whole natural foods, reasonable calories.
"The way we eat in America makes us sick, and if we change our diet--simply incrementally-- we will be healthier." Mark Bittman Food Matters

Jeri




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