Low carb or calories, which is best? which will work?

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  • FitCurves444
    FitCurves444 Posts: 169 Member
    I have found that a low carb diet does not work for me. My blood sugar drops and I feel like I am going to pass out! This is not even an option, so I have to restrict calories to lose weight and I know how you mean.... the weight comes off slowly.

    What if, and here's a thought, you rotate from low carb to low calorie days?
  • sodakat
    sodakat Posts: 1,126 Member
    ...ETA: and just flat out ignore these "coaches" that ask you to send them private messages on here. they're out to make a buck.

    Yeah, what is up with these people? I am doing fine and losing well, yet I get messages from Beach Body "coaches" telling me about their product.

    If I was asking for help it would be one thing but I have constantly posted that the straight MFP method is working for me: set calorie goal, weigh all solids and measure all liquids, log accurately, exercise if I want to earn more calories any particular day.
  • jamiesokd
    jamiesokd Posts: 99 Member
    I'm 5'3 and over 200 lbs as well. My body fat is 42%. I have my macros set at 30p/30c/40f and that's been working for me. I think of my protein number as a goal to be exceeded, my fat as a number to stay right on, and my carbs as a number to come in under, but I focus most of my efforts on my total calories. I have found that by focusing on getting a high level of protein, I'm more satiated and the other macros seem to fall pretty well in line. And I still get to eat cookies and ice cream and the other things I like (in moderation).

    It doesn't sound like you are sedentary based on your job. My job is truly sedentary in that I sit on my butt at a desk all day with very few opportunities to get up and walk around or get a couple sets of air squats in. I do have a toddler though, so most evenings are spent chasing him around. I consider myself somewhere between sedentary and lightly active, in that I also try to get a good walk in at least 2-3 nights per week and I do a lot of body weight stuff like pushups, squats, lunges, and planks.

    I went onto the Scooby website and figured my TDEE, which based on sedentary is 2000-2200 calories, lightly active is 2200-2400, depending on the method used. I shoot for a calorie goal of 20% less than that, which works out to be roughly 1600-1900 depending on my activity level. I have MFP set at 1600 and aim to get right at or slightly above that every day. I try not to exceed 1900 total calories, which is usually right around 1600 net.

    TL;DR answer to your questions: The best method is an accurate caloric deficit, and an eating/exercise/health plan you can maintain and stick to for the long run.

    I used the scooby site for slightly active. It gave me a TDEE of 2307 and a goal of 1845. MFP says 1750. As for being sedentary, I work at a job where I am lightly working constantly - making supper, sweeping floors, upstairs and downstairs for laundry, etc, and another job where I am on my feet but again, moving lightly (teacher).

    I am not sure what you mean by hitting 1600 but exceeding 1900? Do you mean you eat around 1900 but then exercise down to 1600?
  • yarwell
    yarwell Posts: 10,479 Member
    I used the scooby site for slightly active. It gave me a TDEE of 2307 and a goal of 1845. MFP says 1750. As for being sedentary, I work at a job where I am lightly working constantly - making supper, sweeping floors, upstairs and downstairs for laundry, etc, and another job where I am on my feet but again, moving lightly (teacher).

    Some of these equations don't scale well for obese people, your current calorie intake is somewhere near your actual real world TDEE if you aren't losing weight. It's that simple.

    The low carb dieting women I know have BPC for breakfast and that's it, not BPC with a cupcake, 2eggs, MIM, mayo etc.

    You're eating too much.
  • Ringer1022
    Ringer1022 Posts: 45 Member
    So I 'think' I've read all of the posts on this thread... And while I agree with the many that state weighing is better than measuring, I didn't see a clear and concise reason stated as to why. I know I saw one post that a tablespoon of peanut butter is "more weight than expected". My thoughts on measuing versus weighing...

    Weighing is finitely accurate. The scale doesn't lie or mislead you about how much of any one item you're putting on your plate. 100g of strawberries is 100g of strawberries: whole, halved, diced, minced.

    Weighing leaves a LOT of interpretation to be decided upon. For example when you go to log 1-cup of Stawberries... Is that 1-cup of whole berries? 1-cup halved berries? Because you can mash the berries and fit significantly MORE food into 1-cup than you can fit if you simply halve them.

    As mentioned, the scales are easy to find. I have two; one for work and one for home. I think I picked one up at Walmart and the other at King Soopers on a normal shopping trip. Neither was greater than $10 either; so definitely a cheap peace of mind to be able to accurately determine what it is that you have going on.

    I've found it astounding, truly, as to the 'true' volume of food we should be consuming and the mix/match that you can really have. We as humans are simply greedy creatures and this has carried over into the food choices that we are making. And that's ok... But understanding the breakdown and moderation needed to be able to be a healthy individual is essential in making a lifestyle change... because that I what I am doing. I am not "dieting", I am changing my lifestyle. Which means it needs to be something that I will be able to maintain and do for a lifetime.

    Weighing my food really only takes a marginal amount of time more for every meal. After a while, will you be able to tell by feel/eyeball exactly what 4oz of chicken looks like; yea, probably so. I'd however rather leave the 'guess' work to my maintenance phases long term and KNOW exactly what I've got going on now; which will prepare me for my life after my journey to get healthy is complete.

    BTW... Congrats on the loss seen so far... And I suggest sticking with MFP. I was on here a couple of years ago and had great success (lost 55lbs) and was diagnosed with a debilitating disease. The depression/stress from that basically spun me into a state of "who cares" and I managed to gain back everything that I'd put in the work to lose. Now I'm back and everything else in under control; except my fitness level. So now to tackle the next phase of a better me!
  • Isakizza
    Isakizza Posts: 754 Member
    Low carb might be quicker but just isn't practical for me. I've lost 64 lbs eating carbs so I'll continue to do so. Besides, I can't imagine how hard it would be to workout on a low carb diet.... carbs are my energy!

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  • martinel2099
    martinel2099 Posts: 899 Member
    The posters here all make great points. My favorite is do you want to eat low carb the rest of your life?

    Any diet that won't allow you to have something in your diet is just impracticable and doomed to failure. Try a simpler goal, record what your eating and stay under your calorie goal. If you go over, that's ok, but make it up the next day by eating a little healthier or by going to the gym.

    Calorie counting is a diet where you can still have fried chicken, ice cream, pizza, beer and the the good things we've grown to love and enjoy, the only difference is making smarter choices. If I'm going to kill 900 of my 1,200 calories by eating at chipotle today, maybe I should stick to s lean cusine or salad for dinner tonight, or maybe only eat half of the chipotle now and the other half later.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,843 Member
    while you are restricting carbs I'm hoping you're increasing your protein. I'm sure you're building muscle mass. I too have done the low carb thing. I lost 45lbs before over the course of 3 1/2 months. I also incorporated exercise. restricting carbs works better for me than do calories. don't give up! just keep at it!!

    Enough protein or not - there is no exercise being done in this case - there is no building muscle mass.

    Even if there was progressive lifting going on, and enough protein - how fast do you think a woman could gain muscle mass even eating in surplus, let alone maintenance or deficit?
  • emalethmoon
    emalethmoon Posts: 178 Member
    I'm certainly no expert, but I've only been cutting calories and I've cut out fried food and started walking. I regularly eat carbs, even pasta and pizza. As long as I don't go over my calories (my start weight was 275 and I eat 1500/day) I'm losing weight.
  • jec285
    jec285 Posts: 145 Member
    I have cut out many carbs due to the fact I'm counting calories. Bread with dinner, nope, hoagie sandwiches, nope, I'll use a wrap or pita instead etc. I'll still eat pizza on a cheat day but otherwise I generally eat low carb as a side effect of eating low-cal.
  • Hungry_Annie
    Hungry_Annie Posts: 807 Member
    mission - I have lost 18 lbs so far, and I am happy with it, don't get me wrong. But 13 of those lbs happened in two weeks. The other 5 lbs have been spread out since January. So really, a little over a pound a month? I should be losing more than that.

    trog - I have not been weighing my food, but I do measure it carefully. I already tend to come in between 100-500 calories below my goal, or I have for the last 6 weeks. well. I would say 3/4 of the time I am lower, the other 1/4 is at or slightly higher. So if I am to reduce by 100, I have still mostly been eating at that level. So should I go even lower?
    get a food scale.
    weigh everything.

    until you do that, you don't know how much you're eating and there's absolutely no way of knowing what else to tell you.

    you say you're eating a certain amount, but the fact of it is.. you don't know how much you're eating on a regular basis and we're all just giving guess-work.

    don't reduce anything at this point. pick a number. any number eat 1600 calories per day for 6 weeks. if you've gained at the end, look at the amount gained and tweak your intake from there.

    ETA: and just flat out ignore these "coaches" that ask you to send them private messages on here. they're out to make a buck.

    I'll be honest, I was hoping counting calories would be easier and less restrictive, but if I can't even use standard tools to measure my food with and have to buy a scale, maybe that isn't easier at all

    I think I have my diary visible now, you can look if you like. I'm thinking it won't help though since my food isn't weighed.

    Counting calories is quite easy. If it isn't a liquid, it shouldn't be measured, it should be weighed. I used to measure my foods with spoons and cups, and when I finally bought a scale, I couldn't believe the difference. A cup of cereal for example, is no where near the real serving size in grams. Kitchen scales are quite cheap, and very easy to use. I bought mine for $10.


    Ooops. Quoted the wrong post.
  • Hungry_Annie
    Hungry_Annie Posts: 807 Member
    mission - I have lost 18 lbs so far, and I am happy with it, don't get me wrong. But 13 of those lbs happened in two weeks. The other 5 lbs have been spread out since January. So really, a little over a pound a month? I should be losing more than that.

    trog - I have not been weighing my food, but I do measure it carefully. I already tend to come in between 100-500 calories below my goal, or I have for the last 6 weeks. well. I would say 3/4 of the time I am lower, the other 1/4 is at or slightly higher. So if I am to reduce by 100, I have still mostly been eating at that level. So should I go even lower?
    get a food scale.
    weigh everything.

    until you do that, you don't know how much you're eating and there's absolutely no way of knowing what else to tell you.

    you say you're eating a certain amount, but the fact of it is.. you don't know how much you're eating on a regular basis and we're all just giving guess-work.

    don't reduce anything at this point. pick a number. any number eat 1600 calories per day for 6 weeks. if you've gained at the end, look at the amount gained and tweak your intake from there.

    ETA: and just flat out ignore these "coaches" that ask you to send them private messages on here. they're out to make a buck.

    I'll be honest, I was hoping counting calories would be easier and less restrictive, but if I can't even use standard tools to measure my food with and have to buy a scale, maybe that isn't easier at all

    I think I have my diary visible now, you can look if you like. I'm thinking it won't help though since my food isn't weighed.

    Counting calories is quite easy. If it isn't a liquid, it shouldn't be measured, it should be weighed. I used to measure my foods with spoons and cups, and when I finally bought a scale, I couldn't believe the difference. A cup of cereal for example, is no where near the real serving size in grams. Kitchen scales are quite cheap, and very easy to use. I bought mine for $10.
  • drcrisos
    drcrisos Posts: 68 Member
    I had to make it easy for myself or I knew I would never stick with it. I only count calories. I don't really pay attention to the fat, sugar, carbs, protein as much as I should. I will get there. I always try and have a deficit. If only by a few calories, I'm happy.
    It's been pretty easy going for me as long as I log every day. I do not have a food scale, intend on getting one, but have not had a problem with losing. The vast "menu" in MFP doesn't leave much guessing for me. I can typically find all I need, or close to it. I put in a few of my recipes to help when it comes to the holidays.
    I wish you luck. Just keep at it, which ever way you choose. Log daily and give it some time. If you are at a plateau, keep logging, keep up a deficit and it will come off.
    Takes patience and dedication.
  • janeytom
    janeytom Posts: 72 Member
    "Counting calories is quite easy. If it isn't a liquid, it shouldn't be measured, it should be weighed. I used to measure my foods with spoons and cups, and when I finally bought a scale, I couldn't believe the difference. A cup of cereal for example, is no where near the real serving size in grams. Kitchen scales are quite cheap, and very easy to use."

    THIS ^^^^^^^^^^

    Try it- measure out 3/4 cup of cereal. Then weigh it. Then measure it out again and weigh again. I did this 4-5 times and it comes out different every single time. There was a 50 calorie difference between high and low "3/4 cup"

    And just an observation- you eat a LOT of hard boiled eggs. Constipation/no weight loss? Just saying.
  • kristinkt
    kristinkt Posts: 921 Member
    Add exercise to your routine. I know you're busy. If you don't have time for a complete workout, break it up... Use the stairs wherever you go. Try 2sets of squats at morning tea/lunch and press ups after work. A lunch time walk, 10-15mins. It all adds up.
    I am also experimenting with a low carb diet. Have found that I need to plan ahead to keep on track.


    I know this is definitely a part I need to add in. I will be starting a new job soon, but until then I am quite restricted at my current job. I am not allowed to leave for lunch for a walk (24 hour supervision facility, I get paid for my lunch in lieu of the "break") A few years ago I started going to Zumba twice a week and changed nothing else...and I lost 30lbs over the year. I'm hoping once I can get back to that exercise level that it will help with the weight loss.

    Just try 10 minutes to start out. I convinced myself that I didn't have time for exercise too. After thinking about it though, I had to admit I could come up with 10 minutes in my day for some type of exercise. When I succeeded with 10 minutes I was able to up it to 15 minutes on occasion. Set your goal to a time limit you can live with then remember that you are getting in 10 minutes more than you used to which will definitely add up over time. Good luck with your goals!!!
  • lilhope72
    lilhope72 Posts: 24 Member
    When I started last year, I had to lose 150 lbs. I didn't have a clue where to start, so I just followed my fitness pal's guideline as far as calories, carbs, protein, etc.... I also added in cario exercise. I've lost over 100 lbs. It took awhile (as it's supposed to). After all, this is supposed to be a lifestyle change, not just a quick fix. Some days will be good, some will suck.
  • ritan7471
    ritan7471 Posts: 99 Member

    I'll be honest, I was hoping counting calories would be easier and less restrictive, but if I can't even use standard tools to measure my food with and have to buy a scale, maybe that isn't easier at all

    I think I have my diary visible now, you can look if you like. I'm thinking it won't help though since my food isn't weighed.

    Hi! I just bought a scale and actually I'm finding it much easier to deal with than measuring spoons and cups. I just stick my bowl, cup, plate or whatever on the scale and turn it on. It's at zero, then I add my food and voila, food measured :)
  • jamiesokd
    jamiesokd Posts: 99 Member
    I used the scooby site for slightly active. It gave me a TDEE of 2307 and a goal of 1845. MFP says 1750. As for being sedentary, I work at a job where I am lightly working constantly - making supper, sweeping floors, upstairs and downstairs for laundry, etc, and another job where I am on my feet but again, moving lightly (teacher).

    Some of these equations don't scale well for obese people, your current calorie intake is somewhere near your actual real world TDEE if you aren't losing weight. It's that simple.

    The low carb dieting women I know have BPC for breakfast and that's it, not BPC with a cupcake, 2eggs, MIM, mayo etc.

    You're eating too much.

    hahahah! You make it sound like I ate all of those every day! LOL! the cupcake was a one time thing on Thursday, I was feeling discouraged and thought "screw it". As for the other days, yes I ate a BCP with either eggs or a MIM - the general consensus on the low carb boards was I was not incorporating enough fat, so I added it to my coffee. I hadn't been doing that for too long.
  • jamiesokd
    jamiesokd Posts: 99 Member
    "Counting calories is quite easy. If it isn't a liquid, it shouldn't be measured, it should be weighed. I used to measure my foods with spoons and cups, and when I finally bought a scale, I couldn't believe the difference. A cup of cereal for example, is no where near the real serving size in grams. Kitchen scales are quite cheap, and very easy to use."

    THIS ^^^^^^^^^^

    Try it- measure out 3/4 cup of cereal. Then weigh it. Then measure it out again and weigh again. I did this 4-5 times and it comes out different every single time. There was a 50 calorie difference between high and low "3/4 cup"

    And just an observation- you eat a LOT of hard boiled eggs. Constipation/no weight loss? Just saying.

    yes, I ate a lot of eggs. On low carb, especially when I started and was trying for less than 20 carbs a day - eggs were one thing I was allowed. I will say, I very rarely eat them hardboiled, I just logged them that way. I never knew if "scrambled eggs" on MFP incorporated added butter, for example. So if I ate eggs, no matter how I cooked them, I logged them as hard boiled, then logged any oils or condiments I added separately.
  • jamiesokd
    jamiesokd Posts: 99 Member

    Just try 10 minutes to start out. I convinced myself that I didn't have time for exercise too. After thinking about it though, I had to admit I could come up with 10 minutes in my day for some type of exercise. When I succeeded with 10 minutes I was able to up it to 15 minutes on occasion. Set your goal to a time limit you can live with then remember that you are getting in 10 minutes more than you used to which will definitely add up over time. Good luck with your goals!!!

    I could find time I suppose if I woke up earlier, although I will say I have never been able to stick with exercising first thing in the morning, and can't understand those that do. My body is too sluggish and I feel sick because either I haven't eaten yet, or I have just eaten. As for the rest of my day, I wake at 6am, get my kids and myself ready, off to work for 8:30, done at 3:30, have 30 minutes to change clothing and try to throw together an appropriate "supper" to take to job #2, then work 4-10pm. Home by 10:30pm, prepare my meal for the next days lunch and in bed by 11 - 11:30pm. In less than two weeks that will change and I will have my evenings free again, so I'm sure I can find time then.