Weight Loss Support - Calorie Counting -by day or by week?

08-15-2009, 06:58 PM
Ok, I've finally gotten serious and decided I need to lose about 80 pounds. Doing great for the past two weeks. Decided to put myself on a 'no restrictions as long as it is under 2000 calories per day' diet (recommended by various calculators based on my weight, height and activity).

I count the calories meticulously with an iPhone app called "lose it" (which I highly recommend). Here is my question...

For the past two weeks, I've ended each week about 1500 calories under the 14000 calories. I could just say, "cool" and keep going. But, I'd prefer to reward myself with a nice dinner out once a week on the 'banked' calories.

What do you all think? Am I setting myself up for failure by doing that? Is it cheating? Will having 3000 calories one night a week, but still keeping the total under 14000 sabotage the diet?


08-15-2009, 07:06 PM
i think the biggest potential problem with using that method is that you are using food as a reward. this could cause you to not eat enough on some days to ensure you have a lot of calories left over for a "splurge". its important to be consistent. while i know a lot of women cycle calories (i.e. 1400 one day, 1000 the next), it seems pretty extreme to give yourself an extra 1500 calories in one day. i learned after a few months that using food as a reward is a bad idea. you need to change your relationship with food so that you dont view food as a "punishment" or "reward". i save "splurge" days for a few times a year (thanksgiving, my birthday, etc.) but otherwise, you have to think of your diet as a 24/7/365 thing. having "cheat" days every week or saving calories for one big piece of chocolate cake isnt a balanced approach.

just my opinion tho!!

08-15-2009, 07:50 PM
I agree. Using food as a reward just keeps a bad cycle going.

Calorie counts aren't all that accurate anyway. If I were in your position, I would just say "Great!" and go on to the next week. Sometimes eating a lot in one day can stall your weight loss for several days.

Just stick with your plan. 1500 calories is way too much for a single meal. If you want to go out for a dinner, that's OK, but adjust your calories within the day for it, and don't go overboard on the dinner.


08-15-2009, 09:17 PM
I agree with Jay. Stick to what you're doing. Calorie counting is good in the sense that it is flexible enough to allow a "treat" from time to time. Plan for it and be sure it is within your calorie limits for the day and it should be okay :)

08-15-2009, 11:38 PM
There's nothing inherently wrong with eating more calories one day than the others. Weight Watchers kind of does this with points on one of their plans, I believe. You eat so many points a day, and then have also additional points you can use for the week.

But I do to think that to be successful you do have to watch the weekly binge mentality. It can be detrimental in the long run for a number of reasons, many stated above: using food as a reward can be problematic, it is too easy to let the binge roll .... past dinner or into the next day, and it IS hard to count calories, esp eating out.

08-15-2009, 11:57 PM
I think that pattern of eating may be a problem for some with binging, or not getting back on track, or having cravings. But for lots of others it just isn't. Only you can tell if it does or doesn't work for you.

08-16-2009, 08:17 AM
I agree with everything everyone posted so far. My question is a little weird...why do you want to treat yourself to a big dinner? Is it because you are hungry throughout the week and dreaming of that dinner? If you are hungry, up your cals by 100 per day and get another healthy snack in so you feel full. If you're satisfied everyday, but still falling short of 2000 cals, I say GO WITH IT! You'll be happy when you see the numbers on the scale move. :D

08-16-2009, 09:33 AM
I think you should be allowed a delicious treat every now and then but that you should start rewarding yourself by going out, going shopping, getting your hair done etc... As cliche as it may sound it will stop your reinforcing the need to celebrate with food!!!
good luck

08-16-2009, 10:05 AM
weight watchers does allow you to save points. for my weight its a max of 4 a day and they must be used up within the week, or else they are lost. so i am never allowed to eat less than 22 points a day.
i think that if you have an event coming up then there is no harm in storing some extra calories to allow for an enevitable blow out, but i agree with the other posters, doing it on a weekly basis is not changing the mentality that food is a reward.
it sounds like you are doing really well apart from this one problem so i really hope you manage to sort it!!!

08-16-2009, 10:21 AM
I wonder why you want to reward yourself with food. I rewarded myself for every 10 pounds lost, but not food, earrings, a new cd, a houseplant , candles, perfume anything biut food. An occaisional treat won't cause any harm....but I think you're planned weekly big meal could cause problems.

08-16-2009, 12:34 PM
Thanks, everyone, for the thoughtful advice and encouragement. Good points about using food as a reward. I guess, in my mind, the reward was the social aspect of a nice night out without having to worry so much about pre-planning what I was going to eat.

Right now I'm in the middle of breaking several bad habits (what I reach for in a snack, stopping at fast food, good food but bad portions...) and that causes me to be extremely 'organized' in my food intake now, which is a big change and a little stressful. I much prefer spontaneous. But, since I prefer being back to a normal weight and healthier, I feel like I'm sacrificing a lot of spontenaity (spelling?) and that is what I miss (more than the food).

I wasn't so much interested in making it a big meal as I was looking forward to the spontaneousness of enjoying a meal with friends without running the options through the Lose-it app first. Though I have to admit that I have been craving the Alfredo Gorgonzola with Steak at Olive Garden since day two of the diet. ;-)


08-16-2009, 02:11 PM
Though I have to admit that I have been craving the Alfredo Gorgonzola with Steak at Olive Garden since day two of the diet. ;-)

Which, by the way, contains 1,310 calories and 43 g of fat... :eek:


08-16-2009, 02:21 PM
Dang that is almost my daily calories in one meal :o

08-16-2009, 02:44 PM
I see nothing wrong with eating something special that you don't normally eat. I don't try save up calories for it though, I just work it into what I eat for the day even if that means I can only eat 1/4 of the serving. I don't know how that would work out since you work out your calories by the week.

Last night for dinner we had pork ribs which we all know are very high in calories. I really wanted them though. So I worked it into my calories for the day. I admit that I ate less for breakfast and lunch so I could work my dinner in, but I didn't starve myself for breakfast and lunch. I made sure I ate enough for those two meals so I wouldn't feel hungry or tired. It worked out great and I still had a few calories to spare after dinner.

It was nice to be able to do that and maintain some control. And I know it was all because I planned everything out. If I didn't plan it could have turned into a disaster. Which has happened to me in the past.

08-16-2009, 03:06 PM
Dang that is almost my daily calories in one meal :o

yes, that is more than my daily calories and fat in one meal! however, (im sure a lot of us use this trick), if you really want it, go to the restaurant, order it, and immediately put 1/2 of it in a doggie bag. that way you can clean your plate without worrying, AND save 1/2 the fat and calories. just make sure you count it and plan your meals accordingly for that day. i usually save the the half for the next day, but for something this high in fat and calories, i might just give it to husband or kids. (also skip out on the breadsticks, i used to work there, those things are like heart attacks in a basket).

my advice is that if you have to use a night of eating out as a reward, dont do it once a week, save it up for big occasions (like every 10 or 20 lbs you lose!)

08-16-2009, 08:09 PM
1310 calories that are delicious! But, like someone else suggested, these days I'd be fine with immediately putting half of it in a doggie bag and having it for lunch the next day or sharing it with my teenage son. And, I'd probably do what ya'll are suggesting and get by on less for breakfast and lunch that day to enjoy that meal on a Friday night. So, I'd only end up going over by 400-500 calories for that day.

I appreciate all the great advice and 'food' for thought.