I have a serious problem with counting calories. In my opinion, this is no way to live. I want to take pleasure in what I’m eating and not worry about counting up what’s going into my mouth down to the very last kcal. That’s what initially attracted me to the Paleo/Primal diet and one of the biggest reasons why I still enjoy it. I don’ need to worry about how much, I just eat to satiety from the approved foods. Its easy, keeps me happy and full, and has allowed me to effortlessly drop my bodyfat down to levels I never thought possible.
Deciding to put on some muscle mass, though, has gotten me rethinking portion sizes. I’ve noticed that as the volume of work I’m doing at the gym has increased, so to has my appetite. But beyond that, I’ve made a serious effort to increase my caloric intake. How much? Again, my aversion to counting calories comes into play…I can’t tell you how much exactly I’ve increased by, but instead of having 4 meals a day, I’m now having perhaps 5, and each of them larger than usual. I know I’m seriously stuffing my face, but its based on hunger. In other words, I’m not force feeding myself. I’m also staying 100% Primal.
I’ve gained roughly a pound a week, sitting at 135 lbs from 132 when I began. I’d like to say this is pure muscle mass, but due to the speed the weight is coming on I have to imagine some of it may be fat. If I continue down this path it will be interesting to see what my body does in a month or two. Its led me to consider a few things. Prior to this change in focus I was under the firm belief that the overall quantity of daily calories I ate would have little bearing on body composition as long as the right type of calories were being consumed. I have to wonder if perhaps some of the success I experienced on the Primal diet is due to an overall reduction in calories consumed through elimination of the hyperdense carbohydrate sources? I’m sticking with the new habits and new goal and we’ll see what my body composition resolves itself into after a month or two.
Edit: Doug McGuff, author of the excellent book, “Body by Science,” published a blog post hitting on the relationship between diet and exercise for physique here. It’s a good read!