Should I cut carbs? Should I count calories?

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I really want to be successful this time trying to lose weight. I can't afford to buy shakes, or pills, or supplements. I will be doing it the old fashioned way through diet and exercise.

But how do I start? I have cut added sugar, soda, cigarettes, alcohol, sweets, and very processed foods. But now what? Do I get rid of carbs all together? Do I eat what I want but stay under a certain calorie intake? I don't know what is right for me. Please help!!

Replies

  • pogiguy05
    pogiguy05 Posts: 1,583 Member
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    I would say no not all together. Veggies and fruits are healthy carbs and you need some carbs for energy. The other thing that help is patience. Like myself it took 25 years of neglect to put the weight on and I cannot expect it to just melt off. MFP gives me 1910 calories to eat for a 2 lbs per week loss, but if I dont loose 2lbs a week I am not gonna give up. this is about changing my lifestyle and I am human and I do cheat. I do need to cut out the bad carbs more. Sugar is my drug and although I have cut back a lot I have not cut it out completely. Many people are going to say it is not what you eat, but calories in and calories out that matter.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
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    Start by logging on MFP and take note of how you feel. Go back and see where you maybe were eating extra calories or what you were eating on days where you felt hungry and not so hungry, satisfied and good vs. not so good. (It may not only be food choice, of course.)

    Options: do this before counting calories to get a sense of your current diet and where it's easy to cut; or, if you really want to get started, do this while first counting.

    You may find lowering carbs is helpful, you may not. But for the record NO, obviously you should not cut out all carbs, vegetables are carbs, logging your diet will help you understand what's in what foods.

    For me, the biggest helpful things were to focus on getting enough protein and eating a healthy balanced overall diet with lots of vegetables. I also think fiber might be more helpful to focus on than fat or carbs. (For protein, at least hit MFP's goal, and you might find even more if helpful, but I wouldn't overcomplicate it at first.)
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,763 Member
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    Limiting carbohydrates is only helpful to weight loss if you find it makes it easier for you to stay in a deficit and it's sustainable for you to do. Some people do find this to be true, others don't.

    Counting calories is a good way to ensure you're consistently in a deficit, the only thing that is required for weight loss.

    Eliminating things like sugar, soda, alcohol, sweets, and processed foods isn't required for weight loss. If you find it makes it easier for you to be in a deficit, then continue. But many people lose weight while still including these in their diets.

    Eliminating cigarettes is a great move for your overall health, but kinda of a side topic to weight loss overall (some people do find that smoking -- or the lack of it -- impacts their appetite, but since they don't have calories they aren't going to directly impact weight gain/loss).

    You can lose weight eating whatever you want at a calorie deficit, but many people find that being at least somewhat mindful of the foods they eat helps them hit their goal. Paying attention to how you personally feel after certain meals may help you decide which foods you want to focus on.
  • JuliaBold
    JuliaBold Posts: 1 Member
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    I’ve tried cutting simple carbs sugar all king most of fruits and go keto. It helped at the beginning ( I lost 20 lb over short period of time ). But it is king of hard to keep restricting yourself so much and I’ve gained 10bl back. Now I got back to my regular eating BUT I’ve learned how not to eat sugar and some other type of foods that rase your blood sugar . I just got back to MyFitnessPal today .
    I was using it for a while and stoped . Desided to try again . You can eat complex carbs in the morning no problem. If it is bread try Ezikel yo can get it in the supermarket in the freezer. I like avacado so I would eat a salad with avacado tomatos some leaves and maybe add some protein. Evening - salad and protein or I do no protein sometimes . I usually do not snack . Check out intermittent fasting . I do not follow it 100% but I feel better when I skip lunch . I must eat dinner . Some soup that I make myself or salad . Sweets .... I buy Lylis sugar free chocolate bars . A bit expensive but it lasts for a long time for me .
    ... sorry for spelling mistakes if any
    I must run my kids have swimming competition today
    Talk to you later
    Good luck
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,763 Member
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    JuliaBold wrote: »
    I’ve tried cutting simple carbs sugar all king most of fruits and go keto. It helped at the beginning ( I lost 20 lb over short period of time ). But it is king of hard to keep restricting yourself so much and I’ve gained 10bl back. Now I got back to my regular eating BUT I’ve learned how not to eat sugar and some other type of foods that rase your blood sugar . I just got back to MyFitnessPal today .
    I was using it for a while and stoped . Desided to try again . You can eat complex carbs in the morning no problem. If it is bread try Ezikel yo can get it in the supermarket in the freezer. I like avacado so I would eat a salad with avacado tomatos some leaves and maybe add some protein. Evening - salad and protein or I do no protein sometimes . I usually do not snack . Check out intermittent fasting . I do not follow it 100% but I feel better when I skip lunch . I must eat dinner . Some soup that I make myself or salad . Sweets .... I buy Lylis sugar free chocolate bars . A bit expensive but it lasts for a long time for me .
    ... sorry for spelling mistakes if any
    I must run my kids have swimming competition today
    Talk to you later
    Good luck

    You can eat complex carbohydrates any time of day.
  • MichelleWithMoxie
    MichelleWithMoxie Posts: 1,818 Member
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    Just keep it simple. Eat less calories than you burn, and you’ll lose weight.
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,396 MFP Moderator
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    Personally, i find it better to eat foods that you enjoy and that fill you up the most. For me, it's protein and carbs. So I cut fats when I lose weight. Ultimately, what works for us will be different from you. So I'd recommend playing around with food combinations to see what works best for you.
  • StatsGuy99
    StatsGuy99 Posts: 35 Member
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    psuLemon wrote: »
    Personally, i find it better to eat foods that you enjoy and that fill you up the most. For me, it's protein and carbs. So I cut fats when I lose weight. Ultimately, what works for us will be different from you. So I'd recommend playing around with food combinations to see what works best for you.

    psuLemon's point is a good one. Just eat foods that you enjoy and which leave you feeling full. I enjoy eating higher amounts of protein and fat (e.g., steak), which fill me up much more than do carbs. Others on MFP eat mostly carbs and are successful. Just make sure that you meet your caloric goals and meet recommended minimums for your macros (e.g., too little protein can result in muscle loss).
  • mmapags
    mmapags Posts: 8,934 Member
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    psuLemon wrote: »
    Personally, i find it better to eat foods that you enjoy and that fill you up the most. For me, it's protein and carbs. So I cut fats when I lose weight. Ultimately, what works for us will be different from you. So I'd recommend playing around with food combinations to see what works best for you.

    This^. Cutting carbs gives you no advantage from a weight loss point of view other than losing water weight. Unless you have issues with cravings or trigger foods that are carbs, eat the foods you like within your calorie budget.
  • GottaBurnEmAll
    GottaBurnEmAll Posts: 7,722 Member
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    I think that both psulemon and lemurcat12 make excellent and helpful points.

    You need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, no matter which foods you choose to eat.

    However, choosing which foods to eat can help make eating that calorie deficit easier. Spending some time logging your regular way of eating and then looking for areas where you can cut back is a good place to start.

    Once you're eating that way, you can pay attention to what meals leave you feeling satisfied and which meals don't. This will vary from person to person. Some people find meals with lots of protein and fat satisfying. Others need protein and fiber. Others need protein and starch. Still others need some combination of all of these elements.

    You will eventually find what works for you.

    The most important thing is to manage your expectations and look at this as a long term project towards learning new, sustainable eating habits.
  • dwilliamca
    dwilliamca Posts: 325 Member
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    Good to you for making so many healthy changes. I slowly have changed my food habits over years replacing ones like you list with healthier choices. I still eat plenty of carbs although my numbers have naturally dropped some since I no longer eat refined sugar and little white starch. I primarily eat foods I like, try to hit my protein and fiber numbers, and enjoy and treat myself to sugar-free desserts and other low-cal snacks which keeps me from binging. I even allow myself one or two low-cal alcoholic drinks if I have room in my budget. Your main focus now will be to stay within your calorie deficit and add some exercise as you can. Don't change too much all at once. You'll figure out what works for you as you go along.
  • kimny72
    kimny72 Posts: 16,013 Member
    edited November 2017
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    OP, for weight loss calories are king. You don't technically have to count them, but regardless of how, what, or when you eat, you MUST be in a calorie deficit to lose weight.

    Macros, processed or whole, meal timing and other specifics can help you to feel satiated and control cravings to help you stay at the correct calories, but which ones will work for you is different for everyone. The key is finding a way of eating that you enjoy, is sustainable for you, fills you up, and keeps you at the right calorie level. Don't make it too complicated, that just makes it harder to stick to. I eat all the things you mentioned cutting out (except cigarettes!), and I've been maintaining a healthy weight for 2 years now.

    Good luck!
  • pmm3437
    pmm3437 Posts: 529 Member
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    After you get the recommended minimums for proper metabolism/nutrition, the rest is all subjective and open to personal interpretation, sans a medical condition.

    Eat at a deficit ( CICO ) and you will lose weight.
  • Aaron_K123
    Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,122 Member
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    Eat what you want that will provide you with adequate nutrition and saiety but stay under a certain caloric intake. Certainly do not recommend you do anything unnecessary and extreme like going from what was likely a carb heavy diet to no carbs.

    Try to make the least number of changes to your natural diet as you can while still hitting the goal I gave in the first sentence. Don't make it harder than it needs to be.

    As for something to try I'd recommend the steps you took plus eating more protein. Protein tends to be highly filling relative to the number of calories. Simply limiting your intake of low nutrition "junk" foods and upping your protein intake while tracking calories may be all that is needed.
  • Fuzzipeg
    Fuzzipeg Posts: 2,298 Member
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    May I suggest you start off by keeping to your MFP calorie restriction, from there if you do not achieve the 1 or 2 lb a week loss, (with 28 lb to loose I lb a week is best to set to) then you can look at what you eat normally, within your restriction, this will reveal your your carb pattern there may be space for lowering carbs when you understand what you are doing better. Noting you are a recent member.

    People with underlying health issues, for example do find eating lower carbs helps health wise and for weight loss. it is not necessary to eliminate to the point of ketosis. Working to be 10 grams fewer a day may help, then you can choose to increase your deficit in carbs as you wish. Reducing by 50 grams a day helps the vast majority but do it by increments, its best to find your personal best place.

    Also, if you are able to prepare your meals from scratch, you know exactly what goes into them. You will discover what you really like. This is preferable to swallowing shakes and things which teach you nothing about nutrition and its really rather chemical.

    All the very best, do what is right for you and you alone.