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Looking for suggestions:best way to count calories?

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Old 03-11-2010, 08:27 PM   #1
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Question Looking for suggestions:best way to count calories?

I have quite a bit to lose, so I am looking at in in small goals (10% at a time). I am trying to exercise 5 days a week (I have a walking exercise video I do if I don't get outside to walk). I am trying to count calories using an online system (I put in my foods and it automatically calculates how many calories for each meal and snack). I am looking for suggestions as to how many calories should I plan for each day? Any suggestions for sites to use to keep track of calories? Any suggestions for weight loss would be appreciated! Thanks for your help!
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:16 PM   #2
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Hi saksn4 and welcome.

I count calories using the fitday online program.

My basic early plan was that I cut all sugar, white flour, pasta, rice and sweets, and then built my diet around mostly veggies, some fruit, and lean protein.

Since then, I've added a lot of foods and tweaked. Fitday lets you add custom foods and you can just click off recent foods, if you eat the same stuff over and over again like I do. It takes a while, but after a while you can do it on auto-pilot.

Regarding how many calories, it depends on how old you are and how active you are. It seems like a lot of people starte between 1500-1800. I started at 1200 because I'm older and wasn't too active, but there are people who can lose on more than that. You can pick a number that seems reasonable to you, and see if you lose on that, if not, tweak downward.

You'll get TONS of advice from smart people here, so stick around.
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:30 PM   #3
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I use sparkpeople.com and love it.

When I was counting, I had to eat about 1600/day AND exercise 30 min most days to lose. That was in the mid 200's. You will figure it out! You just adjust as you go along.
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:26 AM   #4
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There are websites that you can go on to tell you how many calories you should eat to lose weight. You use your age, weight, height, and activity level to determine you recommened calorie intake. I have a slightly higher calorie level (1800-2100) because I am heavier. I was also told not to go lower than that to avoid starvation mode, but you should do whatever helps you lose weight, at the speed you want to lose it. Also make sure that you get in lots of different types of exercise.
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:19 AM   #5
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I love fitday.com to track my calories for the day. I was told by my Dr. that the average healthy woman needs aprox 2200 cal per day. If you are trying to lose weight it should be less than that. I was also told that you should never ever go below 1200 cal per day because 1. your body needs more than that to function properly and 2. because you will go into starvation mode and not lose. So I think the number is determined by how fast you want to lose the weight and what you can sustain long term.

I would love to lose quickly but anything under 1500 cal for me is just not enough. I am bigger and I just would feel hungry all the time and that's a plan for disaster. I know there are sights that tell you to eat x calories if you are xyz and want to lose ###lbs. But I feel like you need to test the waters with a number and adjust acording to what is right for you.

Hope that was helpful.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:10 AM   #6
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Thanks for the information/advice! I am trying to stay around 1500-1800 calories and exercise regularly. The hardest part is knowing what to eat! I do like this site for information and support. I am going to look around at other sites to find a calorie counting site! Thanks for the help! I appreciate the support!
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:31 AM   #7
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I completely agree with the previous posters. When I first started, I wasn't paying as much attention to my calories as I was to cleaning up my diet. I ate only whole foods. That alone will cut calories because it's really hard to eat the number of calories I did before-hand on whole foods.

Then, my weight loss kind of plateaud so I added more strict calorie counting and began the fitday account. I have seen a lot of progress with it! I try to keep the whole foods concept there, but really focus more now on total calories. Of course keeping to 1400 calories/day requires eating mostly whole foods or you would go crazy with hunger.

I like calorieking better, but fitday is free. I commonly use the counts I find on caloriking to create my custom foods on fitday. Like pp said, once you get the stuff in it that you usually eat, it's not as time intensive. If you go to recent foods and click on more from the drop down, it will take you to a screen where you can see everything you've eaten in the last week. Then, you can just put a check mark beside the things you ate that day and click on add to log at the top. Then, adjust quantities as necessary from your main food log page. (I had been picking one by one.)

As far as what your count should be, I agree again with pp, it's up to what works for you. The nice thing about fitday (or any food/weight journal) is that you can see what you ate and when and compare it to how much you lost. It gives you the data you need to figure out what's ideal for you. I try to look at that about once a week.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:45 AM   #8
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I count calories in the simplest way I can. Everyone will recommend journaling, even me. But I don't journal. I divide my allotted calories by six and I eat six equal meals throughout the day.

For me, I eat 1200 calories. Divide that by 6 meals to get 200 calories per meal. So I never have to add anything higher than 200.

This method works great for me. But I'm also very conscious of where those calories are coming from. My breakfasts and snacks are pretty automatic now and I make sure my lunches and dinners contain a protein, veggie and a starch (good, healthy fiber). If there's anything I could do better it's to add more veggies.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:55 AM   #9
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I'm another Fitday fan. At this point, I can input my entire day's worth of food in about a minute because it's almost all just clicking on past entries and adjusting the quantities as needed.

As for how much to eat - I aim for 1200-1500 calories a day. In the past, I was averaging 1450 per day, but I've cut back slightly so now my average has been about 1350.

However, regardless of how many calories I've had, if I'm truly hungry, I will eat something. My test is whether I want something like a piece of fruit, and if yes, then I consider that true hunger and will have the fruit. If my answer is no, I really want something like a cookie, then I know I'm not really hungry, I just *want* to eat a cookie or I'm bored or whatever, so I try to address that without eating.
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:25 PM   #10
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Peanuts - I do the same thing with my girls. "Mommy, I'm starving!! Can I have a cookie?" "No, but there is some leftover broccoli in the fridge." One of my daughters will scarf up the broccoli and the other will tell me she decided she could wait. LOL!
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:54 PM   #11
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BeachBreeze -

I realized that I was doing that with my 5 year old son but not with myself! But it definitely works for me as well as him.
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Old 03-12-2010, 02:13 PM   #12
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I like the "vegetable" snack idea! I am not big on raw veggies, but I will eat them cooked. I will have to keep cooked veggies on hand for those "I need a snack!" times.
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