Calorie Counters - Is it bad to eat large volumes of low cal foods?

01-15-2010, 04:51 PM
I am quite new to calorie counting (and worse writing it down), but it works quite well until now.
I have a question on my favorite weekend dinner. As I like food (and big amounts of food), I eat always a large bowl of green salad (700 g) with two tomatoes, one onion and a can of tuna (in brine) and sometimes 100g of black beans. This should not be more than 450 kcal. Dressing is no oil, just vinegar and water
However I feel sometimes so full and I am a bit concerned that I put such a big amount of food into my stomach.... I think it might stretch out and all the crunches that I am doing are for nothing. But the large amount of food makes me also feel satisfied and happy and not binge on other unhealthy stuff
What are your thoughts?

01-15-2010, 04:58 PM
Part of dieting is also portion control. Sure, what you're eating is low-calorie, but the portion is more than you need. Cut it in half.

01-15-2010, 05:07 PM
You know, I never once worried about portion control for meals cooked at home (out, yes, because I can't control the calorie density). I am a girl who likes to eat. Sometimes, I like to eat large quantities of food. That's me, and knowing that, I had to make my plan one where I could eat large quantities.

I regularly eat huge plates of food for meals. Since the food is mostly veggies, lean protein, and small amounts of whole grain, I'm in my calorie range and I reached my goals. So for me, portion control of the meals that I COOK was not important for weight loss. Again, and I do have to stress this, this doesn't apply to meals out, nor does it apply to calorie-dense things. I'd say that I control the portions of my fats, grains, and proteins really well to keep calories down. But I really don't worry about controlling portions of low-cal, non-starchy vegetables, and I enjoy my large plates of food.

01-15-2010, 05:16 PM
I see no problem with eating a bunch of something healthy. I can eat a TON of veggies, such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower or squash, with smaller portions of the higher calorie foods to get full.

Heck, for that matter I can make an entire MEAL out of roasted broccoli and baby carrots...

01-15-2010, 05:19 PM
I'd do it in steps. First, I was most concerned with reducing calories and if I had big portions, lol, not my problem!! But once I got a little confidence with that, especially from weight loss, I reduced the portion size just a little. Now, I eat less and I still feel full - comfortably full, not stuffed. I eat about the same calories, however, because I snack a little more often (I should say... now I have calories to snack a little more often) and I don't get that post-meal coma. If you try to eat little plates of food under X calories, trying to lose 5 pounds in a week, drink 8 glasses of water a day, etc etc all in one go, you're setting yourself up to crash. Take it easy! =)

01-15-2010, 05:27 PM
Until recently, I would regularly feel an urge to just eat, eat, eat, eat, eat. And if I spent too long controlling my portions, I was guaranteed to flip out and eat the house one weekend. So, I did a deal with myself. Once a week I went to a salad bar, and got a ridiculously, redunkulously HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE salad. No fatty add-ons, a measured portion of seeds, beans and berries, but as much greens, cukes, broc and colli, peppers and other green stuff as I could possibly stand. I'd use a reduced calorie dressing and then just eat that salad until I was so insanely sick of eating it wasn't even funny. I won't pretend this method is the healthiest, mentally, but it worked for me. I rarely, rarely have the urge to eateateateateateateateat now. Now, I am just watching fatty foods and daily calories. But if I want to stuff my face like it's going out of style, I'll wander over to the salad bar.

I think I could have paid money for this, and it would have been called aversion therapy. I called it a $7 salad and damn am I sick of eating until I'm that full!!


01-15-2010, 05:30 PM
Remember that what we often call our stomache isn't. The stomach is not the same as belly or abdomen. It is the internal organ only. Crunches strengthen your abdominal muscles. No matter how much you stretch your stomach (the internal organ), it can't undo that.

The stomach is meant to stretch, and it can stretch quite a lot without harm.

That doesn't mean that frequently eating to the point of discomfort is a great idea (but I'd also recommend against doing most other things to the point they become uncomfortable). Discomfort should be a sign to stop (or in practicality a sign that you should have stopped before you got to that point).

If you're staying in your calorie alottment, there's no reason you can't eat whatever fits into that alottment.

01-15-2010, 05:44 PM
I'm in the camp that things large portions of healthy foods like veggies are fine, but you don't want to ever feel TOO full. Can you try to eat more slowly and pause from time to time, to give yourself enough of a chance to decide that you've had enough? Not strictly portion control in the sense of measuring out less food and saying that's all you can have, but it sounds like you are likely to find that you can stop before you finish the full amount you are eating right now, and you'll be comfortably satisfied.

01-15-2010, 06:06 PM
I share your worries about my own eating patterns.

I think there are three parts to the "eating thing" that I have had to work through, some of which I am still working on:

1) What I put in my mouth -- the stuff, the nouns, as it were.
2) How I put it in my mouth -- the behaviors involved in the act of eating.
3) Why I put it in my mouth -- the motivation, the feelings, the thinking.

When I eat too much of the healthy stuff, I've dealt with the first issue, but not with the second or the third. To me, overeating of any kind shows me that I've got a ways to go & still must continuously work on my troubled relationship with food & eating.

So, if you are like me, I think you may also need to pay attention to why you're overeating and what you are actually doing on the occasions when you do it. I mean, like watching an instant replay film to see just what happened, how you accumulated it all, in what way did you eat it & etc. A little too fast, as if it might be taken from you at any moment? For me (though maybe not for you) that's a warning sign that I was not in a completely mindful, healthy place, as I've been striving to be.

01-15-2010, 06:24 PM
I eat a ton of salad packed with veggies daily. I love a plate of broccoli or asparagus. They are mostly water but technically 1/2 of that should fill you. I have to satisfy my hunger or I will snack alllllll day and night so I wat until I am full.

01-15-2010, 06:54 PM
I share your worries about my own eating patterns.

I think there are three parts to the "eating thing" that I have had to work through, some of which I am still working on:

1) What I put in my mouth -- the stuff, the nouns, as it were.
2) How I put it in my mouth -- the behaviors involved in the act of eating.
3) Why I put it in my mouth -- the motivation, the feelings, the thinking.

This is a very good analysis, thank you. While I occasionally "binge" on vegetables, it is still a binge and bingeing (binging?) is a behavior I would like to get rid of.

Of course, eating mega-veggies is not destructive in the sense that I go over calories, because I don't. But it speaks to your #2 and #3. Why am I bingeing at all and what purpose does it serve mentally?

I actually rarely do this anymore, I have really tried to unlearn this behavior. Maybe it's just a habit. Or maybe it's trying to stuff down feelings or some other psychological reason. I don't know but I would like to. Eating large quantities of food in a short time is not really a good behavior because it is so mindless.

01-16-2010, 04:41 AM
Thanks a lot for the answers! I think @saef, you are absolutely right.
I eat this huge amounts every Saturday and Sunday - and not in a mindful way, I always read next to eating. The behavior is already so conditioned in my mind, it is very difficult not to. And I perceive it as a huge treat...
I will try to reduce the portion of the salad - it does not make a difference on the calories, but on the portion size...
Thanks a lot for your comments and encouragement