Thursday, May 19, 2011


As you know I'm attempting low carb eating but I have a question or a thousand to smooth out some confusion I have provoked within my own mind by reading too much too quickly without understanding the entire concept of low carb.

So here are my questions:

Should I monitor calories in addition to carbs?

If so, what should my cals top out at?

Should I replace carbs with mostly proteins or fats?

I have more questions but I'll start there.

I'm confused with a lot of conflicting information I have read on the web and hope someone or lots of someones can help!

Thanks in advance!


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  1. I focus more on calories than I do on carbs but for starches like rice, pasta, and bread, I do try to limit them unless I'm working out and need the energy!

  2. Hey Kristen, I started my low carb adventure by reading Atkins New Diet Revolution. In it he says not to worry about calories at all, simply your carb counts. I went by the book and found that simply not having to worry about calories as I broke my carb addiction let a lot of pressure off my shoulders. I didnt obsess about eating too much, just eating low carb. I think that its such a departure from the usual food pyramid and low fat low calorie plan recommendations and its tough at first to wrap your brain around it.
    Im not sure if you are planning on going the Atkins route, but even if you aren't it may help to research. Im just going to include a few links here. I know you said doing too much reading has confused you, but these were helpful to me so, want to pass them on!
    First, is a great resource, and its free completely. You dont have to pay anything at all. There are forums, recipes and all sorts of things.
    Second, Now this is similar to other sites where you can be on ANY diet, ANY plan even your own and track whatever it is you want to track, however there are a few members there in the Atkins section who are UBER knowledgeable and helpful and will answer your posts or emails with questions. It also has the option to count Carbs or Net Carbs (where you subtract fiber) in your daily tallies and I found that REALLY informative at first.
    And also, if you have time you should go watch FatHead Movie.
    Very informative and makes a lot of sense when you want to look at things from the low carb perspective.
    Even now, after 10 months of low carbing I dont watch my calories. I realize this may panic a lot of folks and do not mean to give advice or say that I know whats best for anyone. Simply passing on what works for me--last summer prior to starting LC I was in very tight size 18s and now most days I slip into size 10s. No hunger, I can attest to this!!! Anyhoo. I hope if you have time you'll check out my links!
    Hoping for the best for you hon!

  3. One more thing, do you follow AnneH--CarbTripper? She is inspiring too, and I think in about 18 months lost close to 100 lbs or something. You can ask her but I dont think shes been hungry either :-)

  4. sorry, fathead movie is on Hulu for free
    now I'll stop monopolizing your comment section!

  5. I try to eat paleo, which means more protein but is not necessarily low carb. You don't eat grains/dairy/legumes/starches but get your carbs instead from fruits and veggies. So the fruits and veggies you do eat tend to be the ones that are lower on the glycemic index and don't spike your blood sugar. It's the grains and the starches that do that. On paleo you're eating about half your plate as protein and the other half fruits and veggies. No calorie counting; it's actually harder than you might think to overeat on steak and carrots. I've heard people have a harder time with Atkins because they feel deprived. I don't feel deprived -- I can still have grains occasionally if I want to but now they make me ill -- and I found that cutting out grains/legumes/starches was more of a mind set issue than a preference issue. American culture is very much cereal/toast/peanut butter/green beans/corn/peas/potatoes. Paleo advocates believe that stuff is basically toxic to the system. Makes for interesting reading and might be a workable alternative for you.

  6. I do the low carb and I don't actually 'count' my calories but I do keep track of them just because I have to track protein and sodium so it just works out that way. I am keeping my carbs (mostly veggies & fruit carbs, no white bread, rice, pasta, etc.) at 90gm per day. If you don't want to track foods or count calories, your best bet is to get most of your carbs from veggies and some from fruits if you don't want to track the foods you're eating.

    Increase your protein; instead of having 3oz of protein, you can have 5 to 6 of lean meats, chicken, fish. If you increase your fats, keep them healthy; coconut oil is a better alternative to things like corn or canola oil, or you can use olive oil. Avoid anything with sugar ... that tends to be the biggest culprit for failure when doing low carb. If sugar is in the first 4 ingredients of something, don't eat it.

    I can send you the book, "New Atkins for a New You" (the newer version of the Atkins plan - which allows you more veggies and fruits than the older Atkins plan). I have both the e-book and the paperback so I can send you the paperback if you want. Even if you don't follow it to the letter, it has some very good information about low carbing.

  7. I do lower carb (not ketosis low, but anywhere from 60 to 100 grams a day) in a close to Primal sort of eating. Primarian/Primal. Not Paleo, cause I eat cheese.

    I use coconut milk, diluted, instead of milk. Makes amazing hot cocoa. Just add some healthful unsweetened non-alkali-processed cocoa, and it adds fiber, magnesium, potassium, all sorts of goodies.

    Basically, my plan for the summer challenge is to eat 1200 to 1400 calories (that range) and keep to Primal/Primarian. Mostly proteins (and an emphasis on the leaner cuts, though I do alternate whole eggs and egg whites), and lots and lots of veggies, some fruit (a lot of fruit can bring on hunger again). No bread, No pasta, no corn (except occasionally bits that are in a salad I may get premade takeout), very little tubers, but I will have some when I feel like it (a small serving of sweet potato, potato, yucca, malanga).

    I find that if I keep to about 60 to 80 grams of carbs, I am NOT hungry. Seriously could go all day and not eat. Will sometimes not eat until 6 hours after I get up. I get full faster. I don't have wild and weird cravings (though I can have cravings for say, this meal versus that meal or some choco, but not like my bingey days).

    I started feeling more energy soon after I ditched the grains and starches.

    It's not for everyone, but for someone with metabolic issues like me (Metabolic Syndrome), it was a godsend when the dietitian put me on this plan. She didn't even realize she was putting me on a Primarian plan. ahhaha. I tweaked it by cutting out milk and including coconut oil and coconut milk, but otherwise, it's what my R.D. put me on. Protein, healthful fat, veggies, limited fruit, 1 to no starch. Makes me very happy and you can see my progress has been very good since I did that in January.

    I do suggest counting calories. Unless you're going to do induction level low carbing/Taubes type carbing, I'd say watch teh calories. since your appetitie will decrease without sugar/starches, you won't want to eat as much anyway.

  8. Oh, and while I could just eat once a day (hunger is that abated), I'm working out and I want to KEEP my muscle mass, so I do make sure I eat and eat plenty of healthful stuff up to my calorie level. I sometimes actually force myself to finish my protein/veggies. Cause it's easy to do starvation level dieting when not hungry, but I don't wanna lose this hard-earned muscle. I paid good money to get it, I'm keeping it! :) I also don't want to risk the opposite end of the ED spectrum. As a binge-overeater, I don't want to find I end up as a food-fearer in overcompensation. It isn't a huge risk, but for ED type folks, the risk IS there. Eating soundly, good nutrition, enough macronutrients to keep the body and brain and bones and muscle and skin in good condition. You do want that. :) You can get that at 1200 to 1600 calories and still lose weight in a nice fashion at your size. In fact, at your size, you'll lose A LOT. I wouldn't be surprised if you could easily lose (after the initial huge water whoosh) 4 or more pounds week.

  9. FATHEAD was cool. And funny! I love reading his blog. And his latest video from his low carb cruise is definitely worth a look.

    You can find all sorts of info online. The Paleo and Primal folks have blogs. Refuse to Regain is a duo blog by a doctor with a weight loss practice and a woman who lost tons of weight. She gives the Primarian guideline she uses with her patients (and I follow that pretty much). For some great exercise guidelines, I recommend THE NEW EVOLUTION DIET, as the guy is his own best advertiesment, given his age and fitness level. He began eating that way because of his diabetic wife and son (finding a way to help THEM with their insulin issues). Turns out it worked to keep folks trim. I practice his fasting workouts (a couple times a week) and it does help.

    Everyday Paleo is a good blog. And of course there are a gazillion low carb blogs. You know Carb Tripper, Jimmy of Living La Vida Low Carb, etc.

    The resources are out there. Generally, you up your protein some and replace starches with veggie carbs and replace lost carbs with some protein and with a good deal more fat.

    Dieters fear fat, but I upped my fat in the last month plus (nearly doubled it) and lost faster. It replaced the starches....

  10. South Beach diet is also low carb. The first 2 weeks are tough(no carbs, no sugar)but you don't have to count calories and with eating protein you always feel full. It is the first and only diet that I lost weight and was NOT hungry. After the first few days of sugar/carb withdraw you loose the craving for the junk food.

  11. If you have a Netflix account, watch Fatheads. It is really good and toward the end he tells you about staying under 100 carbs per day to lose weight. Even with the challenges, I keep an eye on that. If it is getting high, I will switch (we have permission) to unsweetened almond milk which has only 1 carb per 8oz. South Beach is great too!


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