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Stop counting calories - Harvard Health

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  • PsychgrrlPsychgrrl Member Posts: 2,902 Member Member Posts: 2,902 Member
    Me either. Lost almost 120 pounds and kept it off for 5-6 years. Calorie counting works for me. “Healthy eating” alone didn’t.
  • davepiratdavepirat Member Posts: 9 Member Member Posts: 9 Member
    Yikes, isn't Harvard supposed to be a good school? This reads a lot like those silly blog posts trying to sell you weight loss supplements...
  • psychod787psychod787 Member, Premium Posts: 3,853 Member Member, Premium Posts: 3,853 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    Name one weight loss plan that DOESN'T require eating fewer calories to lose weight? I've seen so many people switch to "healthy eating" and GAIN weight. Even switching to "non meat diets", "organic diets" etc.

    Again, I'll bring up prison inmates. The worst quality food, they eat it 3 times a day, and for many for years on in. What is the current obesity rate in prison? I'll bet you that only about 15% of the population are overweight that have been in there for 5 years or longer. If quality of food mattered that much, these guys should be dying of overweight related issues by the thousands. But that ain't happening.


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    I can't speak for your home state, but in mine, the rates of overweight and obese is lower than the street. Higher than 15% though. I have worked in prison medical for some years now and have seen some very interesting things. I have seen 400lb guys walk out 220lbs without hunger issues. Most guys here do lose some weight, but don't think they don't have access to the foods we eat on the outside. They do, if they have the money in their accounts to buy it from the canteen. What I have observed is the guys who do eat more of the outside foods, the less weight they lose or might even gain weight. As far as food quality of the chow hall, the "quality" is not really that bad. Lots of fruits, vegetables, rice, potatoes, beans... ect. Now the "meat" quality is in question. They do eat quite a bit of TVP. The taste? Pretty bland honestly. I have had to eat it on multiple occasions D/T natural disasters and being stuck at work. Yes, guys here do die from "overweight". Complications from diabetes and hypertension are not uncommon. The big take away is that most animals adapt to their environment. No different here.
  • Dante_80Dante_80 Member Posts: 105 Member Member Posts: 105 Member
    davepirat wrote: »
    Yikes, isn't Harvard supposed to be a good school? This reads a lot like those silly blog posts trying to sell you weight loss supplements...

    Harvard Medical School is legit, and it's nutrition database and archives one of the best sources for proper information into the subject in the world.
    This specific article is a hit and a miss imho, although I think this is more a matter of improper wording than substance.
    edited October 4
  • Rhumax67Rhumax67 Member Posts: 188 Member Member Posts: 188 Member
    Show me the studies, please!
  • paperpuddingpaperpudding Member Posts: 6,180 Member Member Posts: 6,180 Member
    The truth is that even careful calorie calculations don't always yield uniform results.

    No kidding, article writer.

    Of course there is variation between people and calorie calculators are only an estimate - usually a reasonable estimate but certainly not going to be xactly the same for everyone.

    And "calories are not created equal" - going on to say some sources of calories are more nutritious than others - again, No kidding.
    Nobody ever disputes that, do they?

    Ending with the promotion of weight loss med's - well, yes, you would want us to think calorie counting doesn't work if you are trying to sell an alternative. ;)
  • paperpuddingpaperpudding Member Posts: 6,180 Member Member Posts: 6,180 Member
    But I did hear an interesting theory about the overeating of process food and the theory was that your body will crave more food until it reaches the NUTRITION it needs and not but calories and that since the unprocessed food has less nutrition, one will continue to eat. I'm actually trying to run with this theory since cravings and no "off" switch are my key issues. It may be helping.

    Yes, I can see there could be something in that.

    Known fact that children eating dirt and pregnant women craving strange things - almost always down to iron deficiency anaemia.

    This craving issue could well apply to other nutrients as well
  • nitaliebennitalieben Member, Premium Posts: 644 Member Member, Premium Posts: 644 Member
    Well, sure. I'd like to not count calories for the rest of my life, but I've seen what happens when I don't.

    For me, it has been and continues to be effective.

    It is possible to still overeat on healthy, high quality foods. Heck, give me avocados, a bowl of quinoa, some nuts, some spinach, some chicken, some eggs, some salmon (all nice and healthy, good quality, right?) and I'll munch it all. So, sure. good quality, healthy food. But I'd still overeat. And I'd still gain weight.

    In the light of the above, getting surgery wouldn't exactly be very helpful if I'd keep overeating, would it? In fact, surgery might require me to be even less active while healing, and I'd probably be back to square one in a while.

    Sure, this approach might work for some people. But demanding people to stop counting calories while this approach hasn't helped them in the past but counting calories has? Eh, nah...
  • derekoh1234derekoh1234 Member Posts: 11 Member Member Posts: 11 Member
    Diatonic12 wrote: »
    Intuitive Eating. Set Point. Clean Eating. That's what they were talking about in a nutshell.

    Intuitive Eating sounds good on paper but very vague if you're trying to put it into practice. It lacks any real direction. People want direction and a road map to get there. Just listening to your body...most people who have struggles with food lost touch with their body's hunger cues a long time ago.

    People want a strategy and a plan. Just following your hunger cues can lead you around by the nose and flying by the seat of your pants if you don't know how to go about that. Just do whatever works for you.

    Turn all of that dieting dogma into ACTION. We can have the answers to absolutely everything and still not be able to do anything. CICO is easy. Just track your data points.

    its more than want... most people NEED to have a guide and a set of rules to follow, intuitive eating is great in theory but for morbidly obese people its just unrealistic for losing weight.
  • Dante_80Dante_80 Member Posts: 105 Member Member Posts: 105 Member
    Intuitive eating is not great in theory. It is great in practice too since the majority of the world population is following it without any weight problems.

    The problem is that intuitive eating is not working for someone that already has an unhealthy relationship with food. We have essentially trained our brains via our eating disorders to trick our bodies where eating is concerned. Judging from myself, I don't think I'll ever be able to have a healthy relationship with my food like the rest of the world. I'm trying, but I don't think I can succeed in re-routing my brain for this long term. It is not impossible, but certainly a lot more difficult than losing the 240 pounds I have to.

    CICO and calorie tracking was, is and will forever be a part of diet culture. No buts or ifs. They may also be the only way though that I can lose my excess weight, and possibly keep that weight away for good.

    All I know is that it's currently working. And "listening to my body" - for now - certainly doesn't (it is after all what brought me to this condition in the first place). :|
    edited October 16
  • SModa61SModa61 Member Posts: 575 Member Member Posts: 575 Member
    Dante_80 wrote: »
    Intuitive eating is not great in theory. It is great in practice too since the majority of the world population is following it without any weight problems.

    The problem is that intuitive eating is not working for someone that already has an unhealthy relationship with food. We have essentially trained our brains via our eating disorders to trick our bodies where eating is concerned. Judging from myself, I don't think I'll ever be able to have a healthy relationship with my food like the rest of the world. I'm trying, but I don't think I can succeed in re-routing my brain for this long term. It is not impossible, but certainly a lot more difficult than losing the 240 pounds I have to.

    CICO and calorie tracking was, is and will forever be a part of diet culture. No buts or ifs. They may also be the only way though that I can lose my excess weight, and possibly keep that weight away for good.

    All I know is that it's currently working. And "listening to my body" - for now - certainly doesn't (it is after all what brought me to this condition in the first place). :|

    I am similar. Smaller, but similar (my "high" was 168.8 at 5' 4.5" female). I have concluded that I have a broken "off" switch and have very unhealthy instincts relating to food. I need rules to guide my brain to know when I should be done. Not sure how I developed this. I remember closet eating and stealing food as a kid. My father hid food as well, unlike my mother and 2 sisters. So there is a possible genetic aspect there. I was also labeled as chunky (at 125, adult height), and got referred to as the "missing link" when my father my skull x-ray in preparation for my braces. So, some self esteem issues are likely added to the mix, especially since at 59 I am still referring to those incidents.

    Anyhow, MHP track, WW tracking, and other "programs" I have tried, are what I need to continue to embrace to get to and stay in a healthy place.
  • SquatcleananddeadliftSquatcleananddeadlift Member Posts: 13 Member Member Posts: 13 Member
    The problem with their guidelines is that it is arbitrary and no way to properly measure. CICO gives you an ability to measure.

    I dont understand why it is one or the other for people? You can CICO and develop a healthier diet simultaneously. With that said I think I ate one piece of fruit today...
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