Do Calories Count? — 7 Comments

  1. Linda, thanks for your very thoughtful response! I’ve often wondered if I should get a full thyroid panel. My GP did a TSH and told me I was in the normal range (this was when I was gaining on the 1200 cal/day diet), but since I’m often cold when others in my office aren’t, I’ve wondered if that may nevertheless be an issue, especially since the TSH may not reveal anything.

    To be honest, I’ve also wondered if it could be the reason I kept stalling, even on less than 10g of carbs per day, and couldn’t get down to 150 until I dropped all plant matter entirely. Extreme, I know, but that’s what it took. And of course I worry that if I do have a thyroid issue, eating this way might be exacerbating it. Even after losing 70+ pounds, I’ve got an extra 15 or so pounds left, mostly abdominal, below the belly button. Not surprising in a 46-year-old woman, I guess, and I won’t be miserable if I never lose it, but I won’t complain if I do.

    I think my O3/O6 ratio is pretty good, since I eat lots of fish and shellfish (including sardines a couple times a week), pastured eggs, and don’t use vegetable oils. All my fat is from good animal sources, including my husband’s hunting spoils (elk and venison — yummy).

    For the record, I don’t feel particularly hungry at my current levels of eating. I eat 2 or 3 meals a day, depending on my schedule and hunger, and the plates are pretty full. It’s actually hard for me to imagine eating much more. I also don’t work out at all, and short of walking the dog every day, haven’t for the last couple of years.

    Your “belief system” comment is intriguing! I’ve certainly believed some self-limiting things in my life, lol. Anyway, I didn’t mean to hijack the comments thread, but your response got me thinking — always dangerous. 😉

  2. Rose,
    My brain is usually set to “problem-solve,” so I apologize if you have already been down this path with calories/weight…. I immediately want to figure out why you are not able to eat more than 1500 – 1800 calories per day, although this is much better than a 500 calorie limit. One thought is omega 3’s – these stimulate metabolism – are you taking cod liver oil or fish other o-3 source? eating lots of wild salmon and eating pastured eggs? And avoiding omega 6 oils?

    Low thyroid function is another possibility. Have you had a thorough thyroid panel done? (not just TSH) Do you have signs of low thyroid – tests often show “normal” when thyroid is underfunctioning when cells are not using the thyroid hormone. You may need more iodine to support your thyroid, or some of the other thyroid nutrients.

    If it is mostly belly fat, it can be from too much cortisol, usually associated with stress. I one worked with a woman who was working out too hard and too long and gained a large belly she could not get rid of no matter how hard she worked out and we figured out finally it was the excess cortisol from over-exercise. They belly weight came off when she reduced exercise! The type of exercise you do can make a big difference too.

    Green tea provides a nice metabolism boost too. And protein has a thermogenic effect

    And finally, it could be something in your belief system – which energy medicine can be an amazing cure. Check out EFT or TAT.

    You have done a lot of your own research so I am guessing you have looked at much of this, but maybe something will trigger and ah ha.

  3. My own experience has been that I have to cut calories down to about 500 a day to see weight loss if I’m eating any significant amount of carbohydrate. While I could handle that in the short-term, after about three months or so I’d, not surprisingly, start to get weak. I actually gained weight on one nutritionist’s low-fat, 1200-cal/day diet.

    The first time I tried a low-carb diet, I was very surprised at how much I could eat and still lose weight. I quit that first time because my doctor told me I’d die young of a heart attack eating that way — foolish me, I listened to her. Now I eat very low-carb — some call it “zero-carb,” although that’s technically not possible — and probably eat between 1500 and 1800 calories on any given day. And I weigh 72 pounds less than when I started, so for me, calories are definitely not the issue. And there are plenty of folks online in the low-carb world who can attest that they eat much more this way than they did on a standard diet, and are losing more weight and feeling healthier.

    Having said that, I do know a couple of women who have also tried eating ultra-low or “zero” carb for over a year, and who haven’t lost any weight. However, they also didn’t lose much weight restricting calories, so I’m sure they’ve got some pretty serious metabolic issues that need figuring out.

  4. Hi, Nice web site, lots of information.
    You are right about the calories and one thing I can say about bread is its a sneaky one. Its our yummy little add-on to a meal and we (I) rarely pay attention to how much is actually being ingested. I cut out bread a while ago and it was hard to get used to. Try it for two weeks keeping your meal portions appropriate and see how you feel. It helps you get a little more innovative with your meals!
    Wishing you wealth and wellness
    Cynthia at

  5. While it is true you can lose weight by cutting calories, you can lose it faster and easier by cutting carbs and not changing calories at all. In fact, some of my clients even increase calories and they lose weight. The key is decreasing insulin and glycerol, both necessary substances for fat storage. Insulin is THE fat storage hormone – without it no fat-storage. Ask any diabetic. You release insulin when you eat carbs. You can eat tubs of fat but if you don’t release enough insulin you won’t store it. Carbs also supply the glycerol molecule needed for fat to get stored into a fat cell. No carbs means no glycerol and thus no fat storage. That said, we are all unique and if you prefer cutting calories, that’s the best path for you. I love avocados, fatty salmon, nuts and butter and would rather have those calories than cut them.

  6. OH! I also think that once you have attained fat loss and you want to get really fit and a low body fat% you can still have the foods that you want. A lot of people are having a lot of success with Intermittent Fasting, and it looks to be healthy as well!

  7. I think that for 98% of people it is a calorie issue.

    I have been overweight for quite some time. I did raw foods, atkins, now carbs, paleo, etc.

    After reading Brad Pilon, Jon Barber,, and a few other sites I decided to keep track of my calories. I was eating way too many calories without knowing it.

    So now that I am aware of portions and how many calories things have, and keeping my intake below my BMR I am losing weight and still eating what I like. I always thought that there was something wrong with my body. But after all these years of going to the doctor and wondering why I couldn’t lose weight none of them said, “You are eating too much!”

    If more people really monitored what they ate for a few days to see their caloric intake they would be surprised at how much they eat. Therein lies the problem with 98% of obese people like myself.

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