Weight Loss Support - Alright...I'll do... it how to begin?

06-21-2009, 04:04 PM
So after the bazillionth attempt at developing healthier eating habits and exercising, I ended up bingeing for 4 days straight and as I lay there on my couch with a belly that looks like I should be expecting in a month or so I realize that I need to take a different approach if I'm going to be able to make this a lifestyle change! :stars:

I've read countless magazine articles and books about weight loss and calorie counting and the calorie deficit and all the math stuff and I've always cringed at having to count calories in and calories burned for the rest of my life but I realize now that if that is what it's going to take then I better just suck it up!:yes:

Although I've read bunches and bunches on calorie counting and what not, I have absolutely no idea how to....get started. How to plan my meals and how to actually know how many calories is in what and how to accurately determine what i'm burning when I exercise. I'm a messy disorganized person by nauture and the thought of having to have my days and weeks organized by a plan kinda scares me, but this crazy disorganized world i'm living in is the reason I am overweight. Are there any calorie counters out there who would like to share their stories and advice with me? Anything you ladies could add is greatly appreciated!

Thank a bunch!:wave:

06-21-2009, 04:23 PM
Good for you :)

Calorie counting is not that difficult. I actually LIKE doing it now. The initial thought was a little like yours...just too tedious.

The reason I like counting now is because you get better at it. At least I have. You start seeing how you can eat MORE and stretch those calories out and still feel really good about the choices you make. And a lot of the stuff you eat is memorized. The only thing I recommend you not try to memorize, at least right now is exact measurements. No eyeballing. If you don't already have some, you need to get yourself some good measuring spoons/cups and also a foodscale. I got my scale from somewhere like WalMart for just a couple of dollars. You don't need a state of the art. This will help with meat portions and stuff. There are calorie tracking sites where you can keep a log of everything you eat, get meal plans, exercise tips and a lot of other things. I do mine by hand in a little spiral notebook. Why, I have no idea. But I use SparkPeople, Fitday and LiveStrong when I want to look up the calorie content of something I haven't eaten. Since you you think you may be a bit disorganized, those sites can keep all your data neatly in one place.

Like me, I think you have realized the time has come to stop reading/researching and start doing. Good luck :hug:

06-21-2009, 04:39 PM
Calorie counting is quite simple when you get accustomed to it. Like all things, once you know it - it becomes easy. Looking back, hindsight and all, it seems ludicrous to me that I was leaving something so vital up in the air. My caloric intake. Why guess with something so important? It sets my limits, tells me when to stop eating, is built in accountability and is quite liberating in fact as it frees me up to live the life of a fit, trim and healthy woman. DEFINITELY worth it.

Take a look at this info from the Calorie Counting Forum.


Being healthy won't happen on its own. It needs to be planned out in advance and not left to chance. Like all things that matter, it takes thought, awareness, planning, time and effort. I think (& I know you will too) that it is time and effort VERY well spent. :)

06-21-2009, 04:46 PM
Hi and welcome. Another calorie counter here. You've gotten a lot of good advice, and if you're completely lost sparkpeople.com will actually give you weekly eating plans where you can even print out a grocery list. The good news is, while at close to your weight I was eating 1800-2000 calories daily and loosing (and with wise choices that's a lot of food). You don't have to be hungry, and you can do it!

Alana in Canada
06-21-2009, 05:02 PM
Good for you!
It takes guts to bite the bullet and realise you need to change in order to get different results! You should be proud of yourself!

I could not face the thought of counting calories on my own, either. So, I have a chart which does it for me. All I need to do is research servings--what's a serving of blueberries, vs. what'a serving of banana (1/2 of it). Both count as 1 serving of fruit and on my plan, I'm allowed 2 servings of fruit a day.

The first thing you'll want to determine is the ratio of carbs to protein to fat.

Carbs include: fruit, vegetables, and grains.
Protein includes dairy, lean meats, eggs and cheese.
Fat includes nuts, oils, and spreads like humous and cream cheese (and bacon).

On my plan I eat 45% carbs, 41% protein and 14% fat.
It's 1600 calories.

It breaks down like this:
fruit: 2 servings (about 60 calories each)
vegetables: 4 servings (25 calories each)
grains: 5 servings (80 calories each)
dairy: 2 servings (100 calories each)
protein: 7 servings (each serving is 1 ounce: about 65 calories each)
fat: 5 servings (45 calories a serving. I'm still reading nutrition labels to get a handle on this.)
water: 8 servings (8oz each.)

I use a chart I made myself to get a handle on it all.

One concept I'm just reading about right now is energy density.

A food like nuts is a high energy dense food. If I eat one cup of almonds, I'll consume 546 calories!
On the other hand, take a food like any one of the berries. One cup equals 60 calories.

Low energy dense foods will fill you up: you can certainly eat more of them!

The other thing, for me, has been having a little bit of protein with every meal. I find that it really helps. So does a little fat--even though it is quite energy dense. Sauteeing my veggies for an omelete in 1/2 teaspoon on olive oil keeps me satisfies for a lot longer than merely sauteeing it in pan spray (in a non-stick pan). It's 1/2 a fat serving and "on plan" so why not?

I'm sorry, I'm writing a book, here.

How to start?
Keep a food journal. Write down every morsel for a week. Look up the calories. Write them down. Start tweaking!

And post here, often!

06-21-2009, 05:35 PM
Thank you ladies! Thank you thank you! This info will certainly get me on my way to a slimmer and healthier me. You are all making such wonderful progress on your own that it excites me to get there, too! A question I had was, once you know what percentage of fat carbs and protein to eat, how do you actually divide it up that way? Like...how do you convert it from numbers to what's on you plate? I got my percentages from "winning by losing" by good ol' jillian michaels. They are 20% carbs 50% protein and 30% fat. You'll have to excuse me if i'm being dense here, math is not my strong point...:p

06-21-2009, 05:38 PM
Once you get your favorite foods logged into the software, calorie counting isn't so hard. I used Fitday PC, but any of the programs mentioned work great!

I strive for a 40/30/30 balacne (carbs, protein, fat) which works for me.

:congrat: on realizing that you NEED to make a change. And, for the record - it really IS worth the effort!!!!!

06-21-2009, 06:11 PM
how do you ladies track your exercise? Do those websites you mentioned have something for that? or do you have one of them fancy heart rate monitors? What do you reccomend?

06-21-2009, 06:16 PM
Fitday has a place to track your weight, exercise and calories (even your mood if you so wish).

I believe the other sites do as well. Check them out and pick the one that seems easiest for you to use.

Recommendation: once you pick one, stick with it. I went from the online version of Fitday to the PC version, and it was a PAIN to re-type everything in so that I had a complete history.

I changed to a Palm app (Calorie King's Diet Diary) the last few months of my journey and I didn't enter all the old stuff in. It would be nice to have it all in once place!

06-21-2009, 06:30 PM
how do you ladies track your exercise? Do those websites you mentioned have something for that? or do you have one of them fancy heart rate monitors? What do you reccomend?

There's also an exercise accountability thread in the exercise forum. I LOVE that thread--it really does help me keep myself accountable. I still usually enter my exercise in FitDay, to get the calories burned, but I have been posting in the accountability thread daily since last spring. Stuff gets entered in FitDay as, "Calisthenics, heavy effort (ie pushups, situps), 20 min; Calisthenics, light to moderate effort, 20 min; running 15 min,"--and it will tell you calories burned as well--but looking back on the FitDay record in six months I would have no idea that I had done my trainer's program! Typing it all out in a way I can understand when I look back on it is helpful, to know where I've been, how far I've come and what I can do to keep improving.

06-21-2009, 07:28 PM
The first thing I recommend you do is purchase some digital food scale. I bought mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond for about $30 and they are accurate to 0.05 grams. Keep them on your kitchen counter (if you stick them in a drawer, you will not use them). Begin by weighting everything. It only take a minute once you have the scales. For example, I put my bowl on the scale and remove the bowl's weight (automatic on my scale). Next, I pour in me cereal (weight and record). Remove the weight of the bowl and cereal and then add fruit (weight and record). Remove the weight and add milk/yogurt (weight and record). You just have to get a process in place.

Create an account at FitDay.com and record your weights. With Fitday, you get graphs/charts and nutrition information. I do this everyday, but I've re-learned portion amounts. Thanks to FitDay, I can look at most foods and know about how many calories it contains.

Read food labels!!!!!

06-21-2009, 07:28 PM
I also use Fitday PC to track my calories. I love it because I can custom add foods, save to favorites, and catogrize to folders. Makes things much easier.

I don't track my exercise, other than to keep track of duration. I have read to many things that say how different programs and the machines themselves can't be trusted to tell you how many calories you have really burned. So, I don't bother. Plus, I would never think to use my exercise to control my calories. I just think of exercise as a wonderful bonus for weightloss.:smug:

06-21-2009, 08:42 PM
I'm just like you! I can be totally messy and disorganized and I avoided counting calories for years because I didn't want to deal with the hassle. It's turned out to be a lot easier than I thought it would be. I use SparkPeople (you can track your fitness there too) and I want to echo the measuring cups and food scale recommendation. I use my scale every single day and it lives on the counter. I also have about 4 sets of measuring cups and 3 of measuring spoons. Because I'm a little messy and hate to wash dishes, I can throw the 1 cup in the dishwasher after breakfast and still have another clean one for lunch.

06-21-2009, 08:44 PM
Yeah, I don't track my exercise either. The one month I tried that (in The Daily Plate), I only lost 1.5 pounds because it was instructing me to eat back my calories. So now I track calories there, and just make sure I exercise every day.

I'm not as precise as many people. For instance, I don't track fat/carbs/protein. I measure cereal with a measuring cup, but I don't fret over how many grams my banana is. It's either "banana" or "large banana"; it all evens out in the end. I weight all meat and pasta, because I still have trouble knowing how big a portion is. I measure most everything else, especially things that I'm apt to go over on (butter, mayo, etc).

Calorie counting does sound like a pain, but most of the online trackers keep a list of your commonly-used foods, so it's not like you have to look them up and do math for everything you eat. The way it helped me was to realize that that huge bowl of popcorn with butter was TONS of calories, but I can still have a 100 calorie bag and it's fine. It was an adjustment to become accustomed to what a true serving size is, for sure. But today I was on the road and I bought a deli chicken breast (I removed the skin and fried stuff on the outside) and a yogurt. I was FULL after having that for lunch. The old Windchime would have added a bag of Doritos and some candy to that lunch and polished it off on the drive.

06-22-2009, 09:08 AM
I use an exercise ticker. If left to my own devices, I would happily read, compute, watch TV, knit, sit , sit , sit ....

So, the first time I made one, I used a small number of minutes for each day, over did it and finished before the month was up. This one is based on 20 or 25 minutes a day ... everyday. Intentional exercise! It has no bearing on how much I eat. I just need to get up from sitting more.