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Old 07-31-2011, 07:29 PM   #1
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Default From Atkins to calorie counting

I've been doing low carb for about a year now and I've lost around 110lbs. However, I recently moved out on my own and I'm finding low carb too time consuming and expensive. It's just not convenient having to cook casseroles that I can't finish by myself or easily bring over to friends houses. I'm tired after work and never home so I'd rather grab a sandwich or a bowl of cereal than cook an elaborate meal that I probably won't want to eat for a week straight.

I'm probably going to try stick to only whole grains and no sugar. Has anyone successfully transitioned from very low carb to not really counting them at all? How much weight gain did you experience if any at all? Are the cravings bad?
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:06 PM   #2
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i am doing both low carb and calorie counting...i used to do very low carb but transitioned to simply low carb because i chose to add fruit to my way of eating....i find that low carb keeps my appetite down, in turn keeping calories within my range...i find that its easier to eat low carb just for myself than it is to prepare entire low carb meals for everyone...because i can prepare small things ahead of time like boiled eggs or a few pieces of meat that i can grab when i get home and i'm tired...or its easy to take cheese or jerky with me to eat later...moving up to adding more carbs in my diet has also triggered cravings...i find that, if i eat a handful of cereal, i then want to eat the ENTIRE box...which i dont but if i hadnt eaten that handful, i wouldnt want it to start with....just last night i bought a nice loaf of bread to go with a crockpot meal...i probably havent eaten more than 5 slices of bread in the last 5 months but i had a piece with dinner and OMG it was good! i found myself absolutely craving the entire loaf and, if it wasnt for some semblance of willpower, i would have!

for me, in my experience, i know that i risk gaining weight back if i go completely off low carb eating because my cravings, lack of willpower, etc will just do me in...and i choose not to risk that...i also test as prediabetic so eating low carb will hopefully prevent diabetes down the road
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:13 PM   #3
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I did Atkins and was successful but found keeping track of carbs to be tedious. I switched to calorie counting, I can still do low carb and calorie count but I have a wider range of foods. I find it much easier.I didn't gain weight by switching.
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:39 PM   #4
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I recently read an atkins for life book and it explained that you don't have to do low carb forever to be successful, but really just find you carb level. Like say your level is 50 net carbs and you want to lose weight, you'd eat below 50 net carbs a day. Same theory if you want to maintain or gain (like who'd want to do that ). The trick is finding what your carb level is.

I've been keeping a food journal on MyFitnessPal. If you haven't heard about it it does all the calculating for you...calories and carbs. I went back the other day (as I have stalled) and found that my net carb level is around 30. So if I go over 30 I will stall. I have a long ways to go so of course I'll stay around 30 or lower, but once I get to a good place I can raise the carb count.

Atkins says you can eat whole grains and still lose weight as long as you under that carb level. I don't know if that help any but I thought I would share You've done marvelously
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:34 AM   #5
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I was on Atkins but found I needed a calorie limit so I added calorie counting. As a result, some of my food choices changed and I don't follow all the Atkins food choices any longer. I do what works for me (I have enough experience to know that I am fine with artificial sweetener, NFPM in my coffee & tea, 2 squares of dark choc for a treat, etc). It works for me.

So, anyway, I'm not officially doing Atkins any longer, or counting carbs, but the vast bulk of my calories are Atkins-friendly. So, I have not done what you are suggesting, which is to transition to a non-low-carb WOE.

You have had such a wonderful success on Atkins! Congratulations!!! I think you are smart to stay away from sugar. I think it's clear that if you can do that you reap a lot of the benefit of low carb. You can probably make other choices as well that can help keep your carbs on the low side (like having wraps handy for sandwiches instead of bread).

Good luck!
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:00 AM   #6
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I started on the South Beach Diet which is a lowered carb diets but not completely. You are allowed fruits and whole grains just not so much of them (everything in moderation). I still follow the general guidelines of the SBD because it taught me how to avoid white breads, pastas, sugars, etc. It also taught me to eat more veggies, which I think was key because I always ate a ton of fruit. So now I follow the general guidelines such as each meal should consist of lean meat + veggies, though for breakfast I only have lean meat (eggs), and then have either yogurt or fruit instead. I also added calorie counting because I didn't start noticing a difference on the scale until I did.

I think that you could easily transition from low carb to calorie counting, as long as you should healthy carbs such as fruits and whole grain bread. Just remember to count your calories diligently and you will be fine. I must warn you though, I notice carbs (when I do eat them) take a a large amount of calories as opposed to lean meat + veggies or even fruit.
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:10 PM   #7
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Low carb has always worked for me. I'm staying low carb, but in the back of my mind I'm always considering the calories I'm taking in as well. Congrats on your success!
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Old 08-03-2011, 12:06 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Linsy View Post
I'm probably going to try stick to only whole grains and no sugar. Has anyone successfully transitioned from very low carb to not really counting them at all? How much weight gain did you experience if any at all? Are the cravings bad?
Cravings are highly dependant on the individual but for the most part they seem to be based more on fiberless carbs - wether they contain sugar or not.

For example - fruit for many people is filling. Fruit is almost all sugar but it also has fiber. White rice has no sugar but it also has alsmost no fiber. Potatoes with no peels are the same way.

Thus - getting to my point - try to make sure your carbs are
A) Whole foods or close to it
B) Have fiber

Plenty of people here could eat a box of cookies. Not many could eat the same number of calories by consuming only banannas.

Regarding weight gain - it's going to happen. Understanding why will keep you from going a little crazy. Carbs are stored in the body as muscle glyogen. So when you come off of a low carb diet and start cosuming carbs your glycogen levels will increase and your weight will increase. The more muscle you have the more weight you will gain on the scale. Expect 3-4 lbs at your size. (I gain 6-7) Furthermore, your belly size will increase a little because most people experience a little bit of bloat when they reintroduce carbs.

Just remember this when you step on the scale. Contrary to popular belief carbs are almost never converted to fat in humans. Keep your calories under control and recognize that the weight you gain is essentially just water.
"Getting solid information is easier than ever. Getting misinformation is even easier." - Kaplods

Maintaining for two years and I eat whatever I want - just not however much I want. Details here.
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Old 08-10-2011, 02:09 PM   #9
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Thanks JohnP. I came back to this thread to rant a little bit about my weight gain after reintroducing carbs and your post made me calm down a little bit.

I admit I did give in to cravings a couple of times...I ate white noodles for a few days and a Denny's cheeseburger and fries night before last...but I am DONE with all of that. I am focusing on whole grains, vegetables, meat, and beans. I made a huge batch of homemade refried beans this morning and had a bean, egg, and cheese burrito on a whole wheat tortilla. I also bought a container of yogurt. Hopefully this works out. I haven't weighed myself in a week but I think I'm going to give it another week of eating clean before I weigh because I want my body to forget about those Denny's french fries, LOL. (I did get my cheeseburger on a whole wheat bun, do I get points for that?)

I'm just nervous about changing up my plan so close to goal...I'm just realizing that I can't really do Atkins for life and forcing myself to stay on Atkins until goal and THEN switching to calorie counting seems like a far worse idea, right?

Last edited by Linsy; 08-10-2011 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 08-10-2011, 03:23 PM   #10
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Hi Linsy. Have you thought about continuing to watch carbs as you transition into calorie counting? Trying to stay around 100-150g is what I've seen recommended for maintenance after low-carb. Perhaps that in addition to calorie counting will help you continue to lose. Can you find low-carb bread products in your area? I've found a low-carb tortilla I love, and it makes it really easy to prepare quick meals.

No matter what you're going to gain about 5lb just in water once you add carbs back in. No matter what. You're replenishing your glycogen stores, and 1g of glycogen hydrates with 4g of water. So don't be too freaked out about that.
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