So, its officially been 2.5 days of counting calories for me, and all I can say is WOW. I am humbled.
I haven't counted calories for well over a year (since going "paleo"), but before I stopped counting them, I had been counting calories off and on for years, and even religiously the entire year before I stopped (using LoseIt on my iPhone). I had a really good grasp on what was what, and how much I was consuming. Everyday I would enter in my eats to my app, and pretty soon I got to the point where I would just know roughly what a meal was calorie wise, and how many calories I had left for the day (but I still entered). The fact that I got so good at it gave me confidence in my calorie counting abilities. Apparently, counting calories is not "just like riding a bike" and you can not simply be as good at it after a year PLUS of not doing it as when you are in the habit everyday. Facepalm.
One of the major selling points of Paleo for me was the notion that calorie counting was uneccessary. My first 3 months of paleo sans calorie counting supported this as I shed 25 pounds. I'll admit, the break from having to enter every single thing I ate into my phone was glorious. I felt great (seeing as wheat was a major cause of irritation to my body) and ate Paleo approved foods with reckless abandon. Nuts by the handful, fruit, fatty chunks of meat, chicken skin off other's plates, salads, avocado, etc. I was invincible! "Watch me eat this bacon-guacamole sandwich for breakfast and not gain a pound!" True, but I also wasn't really losing.
The only thing I was watching was my carb intake. It took me awhile to figure out that calories matter (um, ok, I just figured it out). Facepalm. But...for me, its not as simple as a calorie is a calorie. For some, it is. Some can eat 1400 calories of twinkies everyday and lose weight, where as I need to make sure I'm eating 1400 calories (or whatever) of protien, fat, veg, fruit only. Refined sugar/carbs/etc. cause my blood sugar to swing wildly. The swings make it nearly impossible for me to have any restraint/willpower against overeating. Simply restricting my intake on the Standard American Diet (SAD) is not a sustainable way for me to lose weight. (I could also go into a book of a blog post about how just reducing any calories will result in weightloss, but a significant chunk of that would be muscle, in which you would need to further cut your calories to continue to lose, and you would not be giving yourself any additional help of increasing your base metabolic rate, because of said muscle loss and would gain back weight faster and more of it...sound familiar?) Where calories come from matter.
I've written before about how in order to lose weight, someone needs to figure out how they can eat less calories. For an extended period of time. For as long as needed. Possibly forever. Its a highly personal thing to figure out. Everyone is different. DNA is some tricky shit. I'm still trying to find my "go to" best losing strategy. I've found a lifelong way of eating, I just need to tweak it to find the losing range. Enter paleo with calorie counting/fasted workouts.
So, the past 2.5 days have been a GREAT exercise in me getting my ass handed to me by the myfitnesspal app...Unlike previous calorie counting streaks, I'm not hungry these first few days as I adjust to eating less. Since my blood sugar doesn't swing, I rarely notice hunger. I'M JUST BAFFLED BY HOW I'VE BEEN THINKING THAT I'VE BEEN EATING WAY LESS CALORIES THEN I HAVE. I know I am cocky at times (ha, my friends are saying "at times?") but I admit when I'm wrong. Seriously, I just thought this whole exercise would be me, eating what I normally eat, and seeing the caloric totals. WRONG. Its been more like, ok, just had my normal lunch of.... 2 sausages, a yam, strawberries, some veggies sauteed in olive oil, and WHAT?!?!? I only have 300 calories left in my day?!??! Facepalm. Ok, that's a little dramatic, but you get the idea.
Lesson of the day? I can not just "eyeball" calories today because over a year ago when I was counting them everyday I could. Facepalm.