Weight Loss Support - What is an easier way to count calories....




hoping1281
07-01-2011, 12:47 PM
I just want to know if anybody have any tips in regards to counting calories. I try to limit myself to 1600 calorie per day for now and I will reduce it gradually as my weight loss slows down. However, I will not have it below 1200cal/day. The thing is that I make home made food and I find it difficult to monitor my calorie intake during a meal. Does anyone here use a tool as a guideline when it comes to counting calories. I need help on this part of my diet. Thank you. :carrot:


DCchick
07-01-2011, 12:52 PM
I use www.fitday.com. You can enter 'custom foods' i.e. homemade meals, and also just select from a list of your 'recent foods' which i find really helpful and fast. I east alot of the same foods during the week and it only takes a couple seconds to go to the 'recent foods' list and click on the ones I ate that day, instead of having to look them all up individually again.

zoodoo613
07-01-2011, 01:06 PM
I calorie count, and it is difficult. I also use fitday, and occasionally create custom foods. I think if you eat a lot of processed food, it's probably a bit easier, because you just read the package. Or if you eat VERY simply, it's not too difficult. But that's not the way I eat. I like complicated, multi-ingredient meals. So I estimate. I know a lot of calorie counters frown on this, but it's the best I can do. I've been at this for 3.5 months this time, and I think I'm doing OK. I have a spreadsheet where I track everything, and from what I can tell, I've lost within a couple pounds of what I'd expect to have lost based on my estimated calories eaten and burned.

As I get closer to goal, it might not work, and I'll have to reconsider my strategy, but for now I'm sticking with it.


MaryB75
07-01-2011, 01:09 PM
I use a website called

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

It makes everything really easy and there is a lot of support on there. They have a huge database of foods and you can also enter the ingredients for a recipe and it'll figure it our for you.

JoJoJo2
07-01-2011, 01:16 PM
I also use My Fitness Pal and it works for me. Also, as time goes on, it will become easier for you to figure out the caloric count of what you are eating.

Best of luck to you on your weight-loss journey. :wave:

tuende
07-01-2011, 01:19 PM
Calorie counting is just hard. For me, the only thing that made it easier was sticking with it- it's like second nature for me now. When I first started, I would have to look up everything and when I cooked, I would just find recipes that had calorie counts on them, so I knew what I was eating. As I did it more and memorized calorie counts for things that I eat all the time I can pretty much estimate calories in whatever I make now (or what I eat on the rare occasion that I eat out). Granted, I'm not a very good cook, so I don't make things that are very complicated :). It also really helps your mental math skills!

envelope
07-01-2011, 01:35 PM
If you measure your ingredients and input them into myfitnesspal or any of the other Calorie trackers, then divide the recipe into portions you have your accurate calorie counts. Sure you have to add another step, but once you get used to doing it, you do it with out even thinking of it.

raebeaR
07-01-2011, 02:55 PM
I use LoseIt!, which is available as either an app or their website (loseit.com). Same as the others, you need to compile your recipes, but once they're entered, it gets a lot easier.

I, too, make everything homemade, including breads, yogurt, etc. I actually find it interesting to know how many calories my recipes come out to. The hardest part was working out how many servings each recipe made. But after awhile, I got pretty good at that, and now I feel like I have an excellent tool to eat as I choose and keep track of my calories. It doesn't take that long and was well worth the initial effort.

Hope this helps!

Bac0s
07-01-2011, 03:16 PM
I have tried them all, it seems like. Sparkpeople, Livestrong, Fitday, LoseIt!. I've found myfitnesspal.com to be BY FAR the most user friendly. I haven't had to manually enter a food in there yet, and they have all my local stores (grocery stores like Giant, or Acme, here) and Walmart brands in their database. You can save meals with all the individual components, and then add that to your day and delete a few things from that meal if you need to. Also, they even have most of the recipes from www.skinnytaste.com in there, even, already entered. Finally, there's a recipe calculator that will allow you to save the recipe just for yourself or add it to the site's database.

It's unbelievably easy, and the app is great, too. If you have a Droid, the app even has the ability to scan barcodes of food and enter all the nutritional infor straight into your food diary. And there's a pretty active forum there, too.

Lori Bell
07-01-2011, 03:27 PM
If you cook a lot of your own foods, I would highly recommend a decent food scale. One that has a tare weight, and measures in grams, ounces and pounds....Oh and some sturdy measuring spoons and cups. That will totally help with portion control. Casseroles and skillet meals are a little more tricky, so you will need to add up every single calorie in the dish and then divide it into serving sizes. Just make sure you record it somewhere so that you don't need to bother with it next time you make that dish. You will find though, that many casserole type dishes have way more calories than you might think, so you very well could end up with more simple meals.

I never used any of the on-line calorie trackers, I just used pencil and paper, but I did use a couple on-line calorie counters to get accurate counts. After a while, you will memorize most everything you eat. I made up a little cheat sheet of the stuff I ate most often and kept it in my food journal.

For locally owned restaurants, that don't have nutritional information available, I used on-line counters of similar restaurant foods, and just averaged. For example, we have a nice little Chinese place in the nearest town, and they have no nutritional info for anything, (mom & pop type place). So I went to several different Chinese restaurant chain websites and looked up calories for the things I like to eat at our local place and then just averaged the calorie count for different items. I wrote it all down in my journal, and I always have a pretty good idea how many calories I am eating.

Just remember it doesn't need to be an exact science. As long as you are taking in less calories than you burn, you will lose weight.

bargoo
07-01-2011, 04:43 PM
I am a pencil and paper recorder , too. I use The Calorie King Calorie Fat and Carbohydrate Counter to find calorie counts. This book has loads of info beside calorie counts it includes restaurant foods including many well known restaurants, ethnic foods, fast food chains plus much more. I can look up calorie counts anytime and don't need to be online. This is a personal preferance , others prefer to go online. Whatever works best for you is the way to go.

duckyyellowfeet
07-01-2011, 04:57 PM
Things like calorie counting get easier as you do them longer. Remember, most people tend to cycle through 20 or so recipes that they cook often...so as long as you record those values, you won't have to recalculate them over and over again.

I would also suggest trying to find new recipes online that include serving size and calories per serving as well. This way, someone else has already done the work for you

ERHR
07-01-2011, 05:32 PM
I use Excel to track my nutrition data (far more than calories). I like the total control and it's easy to create a document for a recipe and come back to alter it if necessary.

gagalu
07-01-2011, 05:46 PM
use measuring cups and invest in a food weigher! there's a great one by weight watchers that you can order through amazon.com, but i'm fairly sure they've got them at walmart as well!

Angie
07-01-2011, 06:21 PM
I use loseit as well -- the app and the website.

I rarely eat processed foods and love complex recipes. In this app you can enter your ingredients and get a final count for your recipes. As someone already mentioned, the trick is to figure out how many servings it is, but you get the hang of that before long.

I was not a big fan of calorie counting when I began; I knew it worked for people but I wasn't enthusiastic about the actual counting itself. It's been easier than I anticipated though, and I'm getting pretty good at just knowing the calorie count for things.

hoping1281
07-01-2011, 07:36 PM
wow these are great. Thanks for the tips and I will make sure I get the essentials in helping me calorie count.

kaplods
07-01-2011, 09:12 PM
My favorite way to count calories is through an exchange plan, because it has built-in balance and I've found it easier over time to memorize exchange values than exact calorie counts.

Nola Celeste
07-01-2011, 09:40 PM
If you decide to go with exact counts, they get easier as you go along because you'll have those foods stored as custom recipes. I love variety from day to day, but overall I eat pretty much the same foods from month to month, aside from trying new fruits and vegetables--and those are simple foods that probably already exist in FitDay. If they don't, I can always Google and add them.

Exchange plans are another good way of streamlining the process.

lin43
07-01-2011, 10:07 PM
If you cook a lot of your own foods, I would highly recommend a decent food scale. One that has a tare weight, and measures in grams, ounces and pounds....Oh and some sturdy measuring spoons and cups. That will totally help with portion control. Casseroles and skillet meals are a little more tricky, so you will need to add up every single calorie in the dish and then divide it into serving sizes. Just make sure you record it somewhere so that you don't need to bother with it next time you make that dish. You will find though, that many casserole type dishes have way more calories than you might think, so you very well could end up with more simple meals.

. . .

For locally owned restaurants, that don't have nutritional information available, I used on-line counters of similar restaurant foods, and just averaged. For example, we have a nice little Chinese place in the nearest town, and they have no nutritional info for anything, (mom & pop type place). So I went to several different Chinese restaurant chain websites and looked up calories for the things I like to eat at our local place and then just averaged the calorie count for different items. I wrote it all down in my journal, and I always have a pretty good idea how many calories I am eating.

Just remember it doesn't need to be an exact science. As long as you are taking in less calories than you burn, you will lose weight.


Great points! I do the same as you do when it comes to estimating non-chain restaurant calories.


To the OP: Calorie counting can be hard to get used to at first, but as others have said, it gets easier, and it allows for so much more eating freedom than many other diet plans. For example, today, I had an intense craving for a piece of chocolate cake that was in the refridgerator. So, rather than ignoring it (and obsessing about it all night), I took out my scale, cut a piece of the cake & weighed it, and calculated it in with my day's calories (I use an app that makes this so simple). As it turns out, even with that piece of cake, I only reached 1300 calories for the day. On any other diet, I would think I had blown it with that piece of cake. With calorie counting, nothing is off-limits, so occasional treats are fine.

Esofia
07-02-2011, 02:23 PM
I thought calorie counting would be time-consuming and depressing, but to my surprise it's pretty easy and weirdly fun. I use FitDay, though I gather that MyFitnessPal is meant to be really great. You quickly get used to adding the ingredients individually when need be, and saving your favourite recipes. I cook everything myself too.