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Old 02-12-2010, 12:21 PM   #1  
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Question Calorie Counter Carb Question

Hi all,

I've been counting calories, and I'm currently at 1390/day (I am using a program for guidance). I exercise daily, so I really have had no issue with it, but in my quest to be as healthy as possible, I've really stuck to whole grains, veggies, fruits and lean proteins. My weight loss has been pretty consistent - I'm down 18 lbs since January 4th. There have been some bumps (TOM issues, etc.), but the one I noticed most was a gain after eating an small portion of Pad Thai at a local restaurant. I had checked the nutrition information beforehand and ordered/ate accordingly (they are a relatively health-friendly chain and post their nutritional information online). I also had low-cal lasagna for dinner (homemade off a recipe from Cooking Light). I came in 50 cal under that day, but ended up GAINING 2 lbs...and I can only assume it was because of my increased carb intake. I don't know if my body just freaked out, or what, but it was very discouraging, and it has made me terrified to even look at complex carbs. As I said, I'm usually pretty solid on lean meats, lowfat dairy, veggies and fruits...and I keep my carbs limited to brown rice, whole grain breads and pastas (rarely), etc. I also drink a minimum of 64 oz water a day.

That being said, my boss brought in bagels from a local bagel shop for breakfast this morning. I had a sesame bagel (hey - free breakfast that isn't a doughnut or something totally sinful) with a small bit of lox cream cheese on it. I've counted the calories out and am totally fine in that department, but now I'm starting to freak out about the possible side effects of the carbs I ingested.

Do any of you have carb issues while counting calories as well? I know some calorie counters eat sort of indiscriminately so long as they remain within their range, but I won't allow myself to do that and I'm afraid that one slip up would undo all of my hard work. I also have miles to go. Do you think that this bagel will cause tremendous issues? How many carbs does it take to cause significant bloat/water retention? Or am I mixing two schools of weightloss thinking??

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Old 02-12-2010, 12:39 PM   #2  
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Well it also could be due to water retention from salt. Anytime I eat out chinese or thai or something I'm always up on the scale anywhere from half a pound to two lbs because of water retention.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:56 PM   #3  
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You seem to know that you are not gaining 2 pounds of fat overnight due to eating a few more carbs than you normally do, so that is good.

Yes, eating more carbs than is usual for you may cause water retention of probably two to five pounds. This has to do with glycogen storage in your muscles. It is normal and nothing to freak out about. When you return to your lower-carb diet, that water will shed off again.

The best thing to do is to ignore the minor bumps up and down that more or less carbs will cause on the scale. Think to yourself, "Oh yeah, I ate some Pad Thai yesterday, so that totally makes sense." Over time you can even come to expect what you will see on the scale.

The water retention caused by higher carb intake is also why so many people see a huge loss of weight at the beginning of a weight-loss plan; generally they are taking in fewer carbohydrates (even if they're not on a lower-carb plan, simply eating fewer calories means fewer carbs, generally). The water is released because of the drop in carbohydrates in the diet, not because fat is being burned.
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:57 PM   #4  
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One of the best features about counting calories is that I know 3500 cal=1 #. You know you didn't eat 7000 extra calories over what you need to live, to gain 2#, so this weight gain has another source one which you cannot control. That has been an empowering thought to me and one that helps put daily weighing in perspective.

I had Thai yesterday as well, ate below my goal limit of 1300 (1238 cal) and showed a gain of .4#. Drink more water (for salt intake) and stay on plan has been my strategy.

Best wishes.
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Old 02-13-2010, 12:44 PM   #5  
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I am sensitive to carbs and do watch them, even though I have not assigned an absolute number to not go over. In general, I feel more energetic, have a better sense of well-being when my carbs stay under 100 gms. I would be normally lower than that if I was living in a home environment, but living on the truck means I have to rely more on shelf stable starch like rice and yams than being able to enjoy my beloved salads and fresh veggies.

I suspect the Pad Thai was higher in sodium than you normally eat and the gain is a temporary shift in fluid in your body. It wouldn't hurt to track your carb level for awhile to see if it influences your weight loss. Reducing carbs doesn't have to mean you have to go to extreme low levels. The recommended amount is 300 for a 2000 calorie diet, even half to 1/3 of that amount is considered low carb.
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