Calorie Counters - Thinking of maybe switching, but a couple questions?




MakingSkinny
01-16-2010, 10:44 AM
So I'm currently doing Weight Watchers, which is so far working out ok. I'm intrigued by the calorie counting concept, though, and have some questions.

1st, when keeping track of your calories for the day, do you pay any attention to the fat/fibre counts at all? I mean besides the basic logic of lots of fat=bad and lots of fibre=good... or do you focus primarily on the basic calorie count of each food? I hope that makes sense.

2nd, what's possibly pushing me towards CC instead of WW... we eat on a pretty tight budget. I have to plan and shop for our meals very carefully. As a result, I make a lot of casseroles, stews, soups, etc. Things that easily make more than one meal for my family of 5 and leave leftovers for my husband's lunch the next day. Since deciding to lose weight, I'm making these using healthier options, etc, but I'm finding it's really difficult to work out the WW points values of a plate of a mixed up dish like a homemade casserole. I'm wondering if figuring the calories might be easier? I do have a really good digital food scale, if that could be helpful in any way? Like if I know the calorie count of a whole dish of sheppard's pie, is it fairly easy to figure out how many calories are in a cup of it?

Thanks!


fitbyforty
01-16-2010, 10:54 AM
I don't know if you know this.The message boards on weight watchers.com are free.I like the recipe review.They have a ton of casserole recipes on there.They can't post points anymore but do post nutritional data if they have it.On the board click show threads for all,it will give hundreds of pages.That is where I started. There are plenty of family friendly recipes.
Facebook also have a group for. sharing recipes.
I have a huge word file of recipes I could share with you if you give me your email.

fitbyforty
01-16-2010, 10:56 AM
Sorry didn't notice this was on the calorie counters board.I saw weight watchers and I am one so I replied.


tiffany0809
01-16-2010, 11:07 AM
The first thing I pay attention to is the calories per serving. I personally don't pay much attention to the fiber, but I do look at fat, sugar and sodium. As a calorie counter I generally eat healthier low calorie foods, so the fiber is usually high and the fat low. But the thing I like about it is that if I want to treat myself to something, I work it into my count for the day. If I happen to go over one day, I make sure I'm a little under the next day. So not only do I count on a daily basis but try to keep track of where I am for the week as well. Because if I go over by a few calories each day, it really adds up and I'll wonder where those extra 5 lbs came from!! :)

Everyone has a plan that works for them and for some reason I just find counting calories easy. I can easily get the calorie counts for most foods online, and some restaurants even have their nutritional information posted so I can plan ahead if I'm eating out.

Hope that helps! :)

mortonpixie
01-16-2010, 11:38 AM
I did WW and went to calorie counting to simplify my life. I only count calories - BUT - I try to still get 5 fruits/veggies and 3 servings of lowfat dairy a day.

I, too, have a large family and cook like you do (I just made shepheards pie on Wednesday!) I just keep a running total on the white board on the fridge - but - you can track on www.fitday.com or other free sites. If you can't find the info on the package (such as with home canned items, meats, etc) I like this site www.nutritiondata.com to help me figure it out.

The digital scale will help you tremendously! Also, if you are interested in how many calories you should eat this site http://www.hussmanfitness.org/bmrcalc.htm will figure how many calories you burn if you stayed in bed all day. As an example - my number was 1550. I have 4 kids and a daycare and homeschool. I eat 1800 and loose just fine.

As far as eating on a budget goes - the only thing I have observed that I don't like to eat on my program is PB&J. One sandwich weighs in at 410cals and it's just not worth it to me! Also, with MacNCheese, I cut the butter in half and use skim milk to save the cals. You probably know these things already. :) We eat a lot of soup and sandwiches these days!

Best wishes!

Karen925
01-16-2010, 02:26 PM
As a former successful loser with WW, am a life time member, I like calorie counting better for the reasons you cited. I do not count fiber because veggies fill me up, are cheaper, and are low calorie. I have drifted to them quite naturally.

I currently feed 8 people in the house and here you about budgeting. CC has been easier for me money wise as well.

But each needs to do what works best for them.

Heather
01-16-2010, 02:35 PM
You don't have to count anything other than calories - though many of us find after a while that we want to pay attention to the other stuff for a number of reasons. One is health and a second is how filling something is. I can eat 200 calories of crap that leaves me hungry in an hour or 200 calories of high protein, high fiber etc that keeps me full a few hours. Like the food budget, when the calorie budget is tight, you get picky!

As for homemade... I weigh everything in a meal and enter it into my database (like fitday), then I just figure out per serving. It's easier now that i have a lot of recipes in my database.

Eliana
01-16-2010, 07:17 PM
I only count the calories, but I've also carried over some principles from my former days on South Beach. That is to say I eat lean meats, fruits/veggies, wholesome un-refined carbs and dairy. I try to stay away from processed junk. I already know what those foods are, so I don't need to check the fiber counts or sugar grams or anything like that. But I'm also pretty much not eating anything that comes from a box, except maybe spaghetti.

For analyzing a family favorite recipe, I love this site: http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php?process=resubmit&count=80

You plug in the ingredients to any family recipe, tell it how many servings you'd like to get out of it and it tells you how many calories are in it.

L144S
01-16-2010, 08:12 PM
I gave up on WW when they changed the program and lots of foods I was eating changed to a higher point value, I was hungry already!WW felt like a game to me and although it was fun to play on the way down, points ultimately ment nothing if TPB at WW could come up with new math to change the values and they start with calories too to figure out the points...
I gained back some of my weight and last year started counting calories and here is why

All foods have a calorie count regardless of fat/cabs/protien and it was/is really easy to look up the calorie count on any food/resturaunt and I could figure out the calories on recipies if it was not already done for me.

all exercise is messured in calories. so again if I subtracted my food from my calories burned.... I finally felt like everyone was speaking the same language.
OH and calorie counting is free

kaplods
01-16-2010, 08:37 PM
Even when I was in Weight Watchers, I saw points as a "shorthand" form of calorie counting. When I didn't want to mess with complicated math, I just divided the calories by 50. 1 point of fat = 35 to 40 calories. 1 point of food with 4g of fiber = up to 100 calories. For most foods 1 point = about 50 to 60 calories.

Basically, I see the WW program as a way of calorie counting that gave you a little added incentive to eat a lot of high fiber fruits and veggies and a little added incentive to limit fats.

It's a pretty easy transition to plain old calorie counting (knowing that more veggies and less fat is a good game plan).


I use a different form of calorie counting - an exchange plan (which WW had always been prior to the introduction of Points). It's a little more structured than simple calorie counting or point counting, but I choose that because it reminds me to eat for balance, not just calories. I'm likely to overeat or undereat in some food groups otherwise. For weight loss, it might not matter - but for IBS it's not really smart for me to eat 10 servings of fruit, just because I can fit them into my calorie alottment. That's an extreme example, but I find that eating about the same proportion of fat/protein/carbs daily, does cut down on flares of the IBS, so for me counting my exchanges as well as my calories, makes the most sense.

In general, I trust counting plans more than unlimited portion plans, because whether it's steak or cherries, I can overeat enough to stall weight loss. Tell me I can eat all I want (or even imply it) and I'm going to abuse the privilege. Atkins and South Beach worked great for me in terms of not gaining, but after the first few weeks, not so great for losing.

mulder1921
01-17-2010, 05:48 AM
I did weight watchers for years because I thought it was easier than calorie counting. I also thought that paying for meetings was going to keep me on track. Instead, I just wasted a lot of money and time. I am finding calorie counting easier, mostly because there are soooo many resources online and especially on my iphone. I've made calorie counting fun and now I like to do it.

bacilli
01-17-2010, 08:54 AM
My mom does WW, and I calorie count. When I go to her house and cook for the family, I figure out points per serving for her.

Since I do both, on a fairly regular basis, I gotta tell ya ... I love calorie counting. I use The Daily Plate and can save meals in it, so only have to figure out the calorie counts once. I *do* track fiber, protein, carbs, sodium, etc - but not because I wanted to at first, but because TDP does it for me. Now I pay attention to all of the counts.

When I cook, DH and I get our portions, then everything except one additional portion gets put into containers for lunches and goes in the fridge. If DH is still hungry, he goes for seconds, if not it too goes in a container. Then I divide the total recipe by the amount of servings to get the counts per serving.

MakingSkinny
01-18-2010, 10:27 AM
Thank you everyone for the great advice and resources you shared. I think I'm going to try it for a couple of weeks and see how it goes.

Sorry didn't notice this was on the calorie counters board.I saw weight watchers and I am one so I replied.

No problem! Thanks for the reply :)

I did WW and went to calorie counting to simplify my life. I only count calories - BUT - I try to still get 5 fruits/veggies and 3 servings of lowfat dairy a day.

I, too, have a large family and cook like you do (I just made shepheards pie on Wednesday!) I just keep a running total on the white board on the fridge - but - you can track on www.fitday.com or other free sites. If you can't find the info on the package (such as with home canned items, meats, etc) I like this site www.nutritiondata.com to help me figure it out.

The digital scale will help you tremendously! Also, if you are interested in how many calories you should eat this site http://www.hussmanfitness.org/bmrcalc.htm will figure how many calories you burn if you stayed in bed all day. As an example - my number was 1550. I have 4 kids and a daycare and homeschool. I eat 1800 and loose just fine.

As far as eating on a budget goes - the only thing I have observed that I don't like to eat on my program is PB&J. One sandwich weighs in at 410cals and it's just not worth it to me! Also, with MacNCheese, I cut the butter in half and use skim milk to save the cals. You probably know these things already. :) We eat a lot of soup and sandwiches these days!

Best wishes!

Hey! Thanks for reply! I homeschool also :) My oldest is in 2nd grade, and my middle son will start kindergarten this summer.

stellarosa27
01-18-2010, 01:41 PM
I started on WW but then switched to calorie counting because after a while it just wasn't working for me. I only count calories, but I do "pay attention" to my sodium intake. As long as I'm eating lower-calorie foods, the fat/fiber isn't really an issue, but the sodium does me in every time. I think WW is a good start and taught me about portion control, getting fruits/veggies/fiber in.

I also do find it easier to figure out what the calorie content of recipes is with CC than WW.

stellarosa27
01-18-2010, 01:42 PM
I started on WW but then switched to calorie counting because after a while it just wasn't working for me. I only count calories, but I do "pay attention" to my sodium intake. As long as I'm eating lower-calorie foods, the fat/fiber isn't really an issue, but the sodium does me in every time. I think WW is a good start and taught me about portion control, getting fruits/veggies/fiber in.

I also do find it easier to figure out what the calorie content of recipes is with CC than WW.

beachbabe8406
01-18-2010, 05:35 PM
I did WW for a while also, but found it gave me too many opportunities to cheat by using those 35 extra points. I would just use them on the weekend to drink the night away. That has changed now that I have been calorie counting for almost a year.

MakingSkinny
01-21-2010, 01:28 PM
I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for your advice, etc. I've been counting calories for almost a week and already notice a difference in how simple it is. Somehow, it's also helping me to feel more full, though I'm so far still losing consistantly :)

Eliana
01-21-2010, 01:31 PM
Hey, that's great! I'm glad to know you've had success with it. I know it's scary to start something new.