Carb Counters - Calling low-carb experts, for better or worse!




legg3819
01-20-2014, 07:48 PM
Hi, Ladies

First time poster here. Life-long dieter, ho-ho. (losing the same 30-35 pounds over and over but at least not gaining more every time...)

So with the new year I decided it was back to Weight Watchers for me. I'm nearing my 50th birthday and really didn't like the way things were trending. it's been a few years since i have done anything about it, so I figured it was time.

A little background: When I was in high school, I did low-carb (probably similar to classic Atkins). I lost weight very quickly but was a maniac about carbs ever after. It really seemed to create a lifelong hunger for carbs.

As a grownup, I have lost weight successfully on WW three times. The first two times were before the Points Plus program. The third time it was murder to take the weight off (I did keep 10 pounds off for many years). But there was just something about the PointsPlus that did not seem to click with me. The Simply Filling does not click, either, as I don't do fat-free dairy. I just don't.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2014. I started WW at the beginning of Jan, track using PointsPlus. Well, today's weigh-in really sucked wind. I was actually UP a pound from my starting weight two weeks ago. You have got to be kidding me. And I was very compliant.

Today I bought "The Calorie Myth" at the bookstore. Hot new book. I've read the first few chapters. The guy's premise is that years of eating high-carb (he calls it high-starch/sugar) foods throws off the hormones that control the body's ability to burn fat, leading to boosted set points (higher weights) that the body fights to maintain. By changing over to what he calls "high-quality" foods (basically protein and quality fats), he says, we can lower our set points regardless of quantity of food eaten and voila maintain a lower weight for life.

I must tell you I am automatically suspicious of anything that differentiates the quality of one food to another, but he has included a lot of science that seems to make sense. Given how badly things are going for me on WW, I'm going to reserve judgment and try his five-week program.

****THIS IS WHERE MY QUESTIONS FOR LOW-CARBERS COME IN****
I am pretty worried about my ability to stick to low carb over the long haul given my past experience with it. He makes a huge deal out of not having to go hungry, and after two weeks of 1,200-calorie days, I'm inclined to agree. But over the long term??? Wasn't it established years ago that it is virtually impossible to stick to low carb forever?? He really glosses over this part, says your appetites will change. Hmmm.

What do you think? Anyone have experience with this fairly-new book and author??

Thanks!

Lauren
172/173/150 (possibly 140 if things go well!!)


crispin
01-20-2014, 08:14 PM
I'm no expert, but my first question is how low carb are we talking? I've been eating lowish carb for a few years now, and I'll probably keep eating this way for life. I usually eat 50 - 150 grams of carbs a day. I stick to the lower end when I'm trying to drop a few pounds. That's probably not low carb, but it is lower than I had been eating all my life, and is lower than the average American eats. I'm comfortable and satisfied with this amount.

Mad Donnelly
01-20-2014, 08:21 PM
I think it's impossible to stick to low fat forever. I'll be honest, I can't tell you long term; but I know I can't go back to eating grains and sugars. I may wish I could but I can't change the properties of sugar and grains that play havoc on our bodies. So giving it up it must be. I wish to rid my stomach of its visceral fat and sugars and grains work against that. No more all pasta dinners or all cereal breakfast which will only fill me up for a short time. But while I wish to keep my hunger abated, I am also not scared of hunger anymore. It's not a crisis to be filled with a binge on sugary baked goods which it used to be.


legg3819
01-20-2014, 09:44 PM
Hmm I like your thoughts, thank you. Oh, I absolutely would not be able to sustain low fat forever, nor do I think that is in any way desirable. I suppose that is the crux of why calories don't matter -- these nutrient-rich foods (read high-cal) are actually the most desirable ones.

freelancemomma
01-20-2014, 10:01 PM
No doubt the low-carbers will all chime in with their support. To me the book sounds like just one more cog in the revolving wheel of diet books and theories. I don't believe in the set point notion to begin with -- I'm with those who posit a lifestyle "settling point" instead -- and nothing in my personal eating or dieting experience gives me any reason to vilify carbs.

F.

Jacqui_D
01-20-2014, 10:03 PM
I am doing a modified Slow Carb Diet, and for 6 days a week, it's low carb, but the 7th day is a cheat day when I can have anything I want. That's how I am able to stick with it without a problem. It's not for everyone though. Some people are triggered by a cheat day. For the plan to work, you absolutely must go back to low carb on the non-cheat days; otherwise, you're just cheating all the time rather than lowering your overall carb intake.

JohnP
01-20-2014, 11:01 PM
I must tell you I am automatically suspicious of anything that differentiates the quality of one food to another, but he has included a lot of science that seems to make sense.

I didn't read the book and you may be representing his premise but rest assured our bodies do not lose the ability to burn fat for fuel and I have no idea what you mean by quality of food.

Calories dictate fat loss or gain.

diamondgeog
01-20-2014, 11:07 PM
Haven't read or even heard of the book till now. But it does kind of dovetail with my experiences the past 9 months.

I am not on Atkins but I cut out wheat and most grains. Snacks, chips, fast food etc. The weight has really come off my belly. But also I've noticed my carb metabolism has changed as has my overall metabolism.

If I do say have a carb heavy meal now I am not famished soon after like before. I can only assume my body not flooded daily with carbs can now process them better when I have the occasional high carb meal.

Also went for 10 days to in-laws over Xmas with some side travel. Exercised less and eat out a lot. Did have some healthy meals but day to day was much worse than my at home routine. Especially driving back was bad. Only gained like half a pound. So my metabolism has seemed to change a lot.

And my cravings for carb, especially bread and pasta keeps going down not up. Wheat is almost repulsive to me now.

I have never heard anything about low carb being hard to stick with long term. Fat and protein are pretty satiating and tasty.

sarahinparis
01-21-2014, 03:23 AM
There are lots of people who adjust to permanently changing their eating habits to maintain a loss. Sound like you have never mastered that skill on any program so I think if I were you I'd spend time reading and planning for maintenance (of a low-carb, lower-carb or traditional low fat diet).

Personally I feel great eating low carb and find that the greatly reduced hunger plus good energy makes it something I can live comfortably with (plus delicious food choices - no one is suggesting I eat fat free dairy!). But we're all different, others might go bonkers without bread - I find it pretty easy to live without.

I also don't believe at all that a calorie is a calorie. If you like science and really want to understand how we as a nation made this big unfounded turn to low farm I recommend reading Gary Taubes. If you're a science nerd or a big reader, Good Calories, Bad Calories, and if you don't want as challenging a book he made a simpler version Why We Get Fat.

legg3819
01-21-2014, 10:30 AM
This book, by Jonathan Bailor, is very much like Gary Taubes' work.

JohnP, in his definition, "high-quality" food is high protein, "Low-quality" is what he calls starch/sugar (carbs, basically). I think he avoids calling it low carb for obvious reasons.

Re: The calories in/Calories out theory, he makes a pretty compelling case for set point. When people are obese, why do they not continue to gain and gain and gain ad infinitem? I have a friend who is quite obese. But if you saw the amount of food she eats, it is a wonder that she is not 500 pounds. The body does try to maintain a certain weight, whether that weight is low or high.

On other diet boards there is discussion about low carb being difficult to maintain. We are designed to like sweet things, starting with breast milk. It is difficult to shut that off forever.

souvenirdarling
01-21-2014, 05:38 PM
I like low-carb - or rather, moderate carb. Limit sugar to have a consistent blood sugar. Stops cravings and binge-eating and mood problems. Less bloat, seriously less gas. The occasional quality dessert, I allow fruit. I stop being hypoglycemic.

It doesnt always make me lose a ton of weight fast, but its an effective long term way of eating for me. I say try it seriously for a month, letting go of other "diet" ideas like low fat and counting calories.

Radiojane
01-21-2014, 05:50 PM
Without getting bogged down in books and theories, let me just share my experience. Your mileage of course, may vary.

I lost 100 pounds eating low carb whole foods (vegetables and meat). After the first week of detox I felt fantastic. I was able to go more than 90 days at a stretch without cheating. If I did, it was usually due to a function I couldn't avoid and not wanting to be singled out. Through this time my bloodwork was good, I exercised daily and I slept well. My carbs were never above 50g a day.

After that first 100 pounds, my mind started to mess me up. I felt restricted because eating out was not an option and my boyfriend still insisted on carbs. I decided to try plain calorie counting and carb moderation. My weight loss stopped dead. I upped my calories. Lowered them. I never stopped eating whole foods, but every pound was a colossal struggle. I also found my energy levels suffering.

I went back to low carb and I'm losing again. I've carefully researched and played around with my carb levels to find what I maintain at and what I feel good at. I will be low carb for life.

I believe that over consumption of sugar and simple carbs do mess with hunger signals and glucose. If you've continuously overindulged (and I did), you probably have a lot of damage to undo. However, every body varies, and this might not be the case for you. It takes practice and trial and error to find a plan that works best for you. If you do decide to go low carb, give it two full weeks to get past the "carb flu" withdrawal symptoms. They're tough, and that's where a lot of people give up.

kaplods
01-21-2014, 06:22 PM
I think low-carb eating is considered unsustainable in the long term only because we've been culturally brainwashed to believe that life isn't worth living unless it includes large and frequent amounts of bread, pasta, potatoes, and sweets.

It doesn't help that because carbs are often celebration foods, you risk being labeled and berated as a party pooper if you decline, and subject to carb-pushing as a result.

ReillyJ
01-21-2014, 06:52 PM
I am doing a modified Slow Carb Diet, and for 6 days a week, it's low carb, but the 7th day is a cheat day when I can have anything I want. That's how I am able to stick with it without a problem. It's not for everyone though. Some people are triggered by a cheat day. For the plan to work, you absolutely must go back to low carb on the non-cheat days; otherwise, you're just cheating all the time rather than lowering your overall carb intake.

SAME

vealcalf2000
01-21-2014, 07:31 PM
I think our diet plans of choice are such personal decisions. What works for one doesn't work for another. I think the idea is that most diets encourage eating less and exercising more. The plan you chose should be the one that works best for you.

WW's never worked for me. Way too much freedom of food choices! LOL I was like a kid in a candy store using my points to buy foods that were not so good for me. At the end of the day I was left hungry due to an overabundance of empty calories. Who's fault was that? LOL I take full responsibility.

In the end I had to figure out what worked for me. Low carb fullfilled my needs...I like to feel full and I like the way the balance of proteins and vegetables help me control my blood sugar.

I'm not sure I understand your statement..."Impossible to stick to low carb forever"...are you referring to people who do low carb or just yourself? Most people find they lose their "taste" for carbs and sugars over time. One thing I struggled with though, as many others have too, is maybe getting bored with food choices. I'd find myself in a rut of eating eggs, eggs, eggs, chicken, chicken, chicken. Again that was my own fault. Simply adding a variety of items to my grocery list and simple preparations can save you from food boredom. Also, for anyone who NEEDS bread, there are a ton of good sites out there with good recipes for making breads using flaxseed, coconut flour, etc. as very nice substitutes.

If you were referring to yourself as not being able to low carb forever, then you may need do some more research and figure out if it's truly for you. I"m sorry I don't know anything about the book you are referring to, so I can't offer much in regards to that. Good luck!!!

IanG
01-21-2014, 08:13 PM
It's pretty much up to you where you put your calories if your goal is weightloss alone. You can put them into fats, protein or carbs.

For me, I keep my calories about 20% below maintenance and try to put most into protein and fats, especially essential fats (e.g. omega 3s). I focus a lot on protein also as it helps me feel fuller for longer. The residual goes into carbs.

You do need minimums of protein and (essential) fats to stay healthy. And carbs too if you are athletic and wish to perform.

Athletes might even focus on carbs first.

JerseyGyrl
01-21-2014, 08:57 PM
I will soon be celebrating 10 years on Atkins:) I've lost over 100 lbs and have maintained the loss.
Before I began Atkins, I read the book and I decided this was a plan I could do for the rest of my life. I think that is the key, YOU need to find something YOU know YOU will do for a lifetime.
Atkins is not for everyone but, for me, it has literally changed my life and I am very happy I made the best decision I could almost 10 years ago!:)
All the best to you!

Mad Donnelly
01-22-2014, 12:16 AM
No doubt the low-carbers will all chime in with their support. To me the book sounds like just one more cog in the revolving wheel of diet books and theories. I don't believe in the set point notion to begin with -- I'm with those who posit a lifestyle "settling point" instead -- and nothing in my personal eating or dieting experience gives me any reason to vilify carbs.

F.
I have changed to nearly always quantifying what I do personally as saying "no sugar and no grains". I certainly do eat "carbs" but personally I do have to vilify sugar and starches and, because of all I have read about the attributes of today's grains, those, too. Bottom line is it's a matter of finding out what works for you and being open minded about it.

Protein is what keeps me sated so I start with that. If I start with and concentrate on grains, I will be constantly be hungry and there's no way I can sustain that. Giving up sugar should be self explanatory even to the "low fat-ists". The reliance on grain carbs is something that, IMO, should concern everybody but that's none of my business.

Radiojane
01-22-2014, 11:10 AM
I have changed to nearly always quantifying what I do personally as saying "no sugar and no grains". I certainly do eat "carbs" but personally I do have to vilify sugar and starches and, because of all I have read about the attributes of today's grains, those, too. Bottom line is it's a matter of finding out what works for you and being open minded about it.

Protein is what keeps me sated so I start with that. If I start with and concentrate on grains, I will be constantly be hungry and there's no way I can sustain that. Giving up sugar should be self explanatory even to the "low fat-ists". The reliance on grain carbs is something that, IMO, should concern everybody but that's none of my business.

I second all of this.

Locke
02-05-2014, 11:53 AM
My plan right now is this: lose the weight with a strict ketogenic diet (<20g carbs per day). Once I hit my goal weight I plan to stick to a whole foods "lowish" carb diet where counting isn't required- cutting out grains, dairy, processed foods, added sugars, etc and eating meats, tons of veggies, some fruit, etc. You could call it paleo but I don't like the term because I think the paleo philosophy is deeply flawed.

I think it's impossible and ultimately not healthy to stay on strict ketogenic diets forever; certainly there have been no long term human studies on it. It is my hope that the short term ketogenic diet will improve insulin and leptin sensitivity and also give me time to learn to eat more intuitively and foster patterns of behavior that are different than those that promoted obesity.

362to262
02-11-2014, 07:01 PM
I went back to low carb and I'm losing again. I've carefully researched and played around with my carb levels to find what I maintain at and what I feel good at. I will be low carb for life.

THANK YOU Jane. I have a similar metabolism to you, and I have come to this conclusion, too. Not all fat people have to do this, but some of us do. It's nice to know I am not alone.

We are both re-starting, and at a similar weight!

Helena

362to262
02-11-2014, 07:01 PM
My plan right now is this: lose the weight with a strict ketogenic diet (<20g carbs per day).

Can I see your daily menus please?

Helena