100 lb. Club - Your Experience with Calorie Counting

01-11-2013, 07:37 PM
I don't think I've really ever counted calories. The only other time I lost weight I was on WW, so I counted points.

Is there anyone that isn't calorie counting? My current plan doesn't require calorie counting or points. I avoid all things processed and I eat until I'm full, which doesn't take too much. However, I wonder if I'm going to get to a point where my weight loss stalls and I will have to start doing some calorie math to make the pounds start moving.

What has your experience been with calorie counting? Is it fun? A bit overwhelming? Less overwhelming with the inventions of smart phones?

01-11-2013, 08:02 PM
I'm on a medically supervised diet but I still calorie count. Once I am at my goal weight, I will transition back to eating like a normal person (fruits, veggies, protein, grains, little to no processed foods). :)

I took a long hard look at what I was eating before and what I am eating now. Granted, my calories are already figured out for me now and as long as I stay on plan, I will continue to lose weight every week. But part of my nutrition plan with my doctor is to learn how to eat normally once I get to my goal weight. If I don't calorie count, I don't know how I'd ever do it. It's actually pretty easy on my phone with myfitnesspal.com. My husband uses it now too.

The only thing I am shocked about is that I don't need the 4000 (more or less) that I was eating a few days a week. It makes me sick to think about it now. I don't even remember eating it, it was just a habit. A bad, sad habit.

01-11-2013, 08:34 PM
its just counting. it takes 20 secs or less a meal and ive lost 120lbs doing it. thats my experience lol

01-11-2013, 08:47 PM
I've lost 135 pounds by not counting calories. :D But to be fair, I do try to stay "calorie aware," meaning that I still check labels and look up menu items for restaurants. I don't want to accidentally eat a 1000+ calorie meal, lol.

At this stage of my journey, I just avoid added sugar, watch my portion sizes (I don't even measure), write down everything I eat, and try to use some common sense. I have issues with anxieties so the less I obsess over numbers, the better.

Of course, everyone's a little different. It took a long time to figure out what works best for me. This is something I can see myself doing for life. :)

01-11-2013, 08:47 PM
My experience has been very good with calorie counting. I lost all my weight with it and have been maintaining with it as well. I'm a very low tech calorie counter and just use pen and paper but I would think the websites and apps available would simplify things.

There are plenty of people who lose without calorie counting; it just comes down to trial and error and finding what works for you.

I would love to be able to eat until I'm full, but I think my full switch is broken!

April Snow
01-11-2013, 08:53 PM
I'm doing a low carb plan now, so I'm not counting calories - although the reality is that low carb plans are usually low calorie, too. I just personally find it relatively easy to stick with low carb because I have more energy and I get less hungry than if I were eating an equivalent number of calories which included more starches.

But I have successfully lost weight on calorie counting too. I think for some people, it gets a little tedious over time because you have to keep closer track of what and how much you eat. However, for many people, the ability to eat a very wide variety of foods is what helps them stay on track - and really, nothing is off limit when you count calories, you just have to plan properly and watch your portions.

And despite what the promoters of all the different types of diets claim, I personally think that almost any diet works, as long as you stick with it. So I think it's mostly about finding the one that personally feels easiest to stick to! :)

01-11-2013, 08:54 PM
as long as whatever youre doing works for you, but if it isn't, calorie counting isn't scary or hard and works for many people. its simple, fast, organized and relatively guess free. Theres not much 'oh I hope this works' with calorie counting once you're at a calorie range that leaves you in a deficit. Thats why I like it and why its worked for me. Most organized diet plans like ww work on a calorie deficit system you just dont see it its in the form of points or some other thing. some people have just winged it and thats brilliant to be able to just use common sense and guesstimate and have it work out but most people need some guildlines like myself :)

01-11-2013, 09:22 PM
I am a calorie counter, too. I like it because it is flexible and I still use it in maintenance. Among the other things that have been said about calorie counting that is a definite plus. It is FREE !!!!

01-12-2013, 12:28 PM
I'm a calorie counter but only because my idea of a portion size and what the actual portion size should be are miles apart. By measuring and weighing and calculating, I can see the impact of having a smaller or larger portion. I need to, but as many have said, it's whatever works for you!

Pacifica Bee
01-12-2013, 12:39 PM
I'm another that pro-calorie counting. For me, it helps me keep in touch with reality. I took a year off of counting, and I soon forgot that such a tiny amount of <insert something yummy here> is THAT many calories. It is actually pretty mind-blowing that I thought I was eating small healthy portions for a year, but ended up gaining 31 pounds even with no sugar and no flour in my diet at all.

Yes, it can be a burden. Once you get into the swing of it though, you can start taking shortcuts that make it easier (for example, I have the same breakfast every day for a couple of weeks, so I never have to count breakfast calories after the first day since I know how much it is). You get used to it and when you see the scale going down continually, you will realize how worth it counting is.

01-12-2013, 12:48 PM
I have just recently started to use a calorie counter app, and it is making a big difference for me, mostly mentally which makes me so much more aware of what i'm eating, by using the counter I'm using it makes me record everything and when I look back at my day I can see where I strayed ( 3 beers ugh ugh), verses when I really am doing well.

01-12-2013, 03:14 PM
You know, when I was first starting to research weight loss and finding success stories, I would find people who had cut out certain foods, etc. and decide: "well I am not losing weight because I refuse to give up x." The idea of a restrictive diet turned me off completely.

I totally love that I can have whatever the **** I want and maintain my weight loss. The fact that I have no restrictions doesn't leave me feeling deprived!

Now, upon learning calorie counts of the foods I eat, there are MORE than a few I simply don't eat any more. I've become one of those people that cut out (or drastically reduced) certain foods without really planning to.

01-12-2013, 03:45 PM
I counted calories for most of the first part of my weight loss. I dropped 64 pounds doing that plus exercise. I loved it for the most part. I started around 1800 cal/day and eventually was down around 1500 with daily exercise and not losing at all (around 215 pounds). After an almost 2 year plateau/partial regain while still mainly counting calories, I switched to Medifast and dropped another good chunk of weight. When I got sick of Medifast I tried low carbing with calorie counting and regained a bit and stalled out again.

I have found that I am too hungry and cave to cravings when I calorie count now if I don't pay attention to carbs, so I have to count those as well. But right now I am back on Medifast because the counting is pretty much done FOR me when I stay on plan, and that is easier.

I intend to switch to Primal/Paleo eating when I reach goal. I hope I don't have to count calories then, but will if I have to.

01-12-2013, 11:52 PM
Calorie counter here, lost 160 lbs. that way. Only had to do it the first month or so, and then a few times a year after that to be sure I was on track.

I had NO IDEA what a portion size was, it was a real eye-opener!!

I wasn't someone who completely changed everything I ate -- I like some foods that aren't great for me, but I knew I couldn't say "I'm NEVER eating xyz again!!" or I'd just want it more lol With calorie counting, I can have whatever I want as long as I"m willing to 'spend' the calories on it!

01-12-2013, 11:54 PM
When it comes to food, I don't have an off switch. So counting calories and points helps me to eat reasonably.

01-13-2013, 12:05 AM
I count calories using the MyFitnessPal app on my phone & love it. It is super simple & takes like 20 seconds. If I had to manually get a piece of paper and write it down & look up all the calories in things in a book, I would NEVER do it. It has a barcode scanner so I just scan in what I'm going to eat & most of the things I eat are already in there so it's very easy to do/use. Actually sometimes it feels "too easy" but it is working so I'm sticking to it. Good luck, whatever you decide to do.

sistah phat
01-13-2013, 12:58 AM
What The Glue said. I have been using an app too. The hardest part is getting started and building up your own food library. That takes a little searching. After that, it's a cinch to just select from your library. I also had to adjust the target calories for my metabolic rate. The app calculates a target but I found that it was just a bit too high. Since then I have been steadily losing 1.7 to 2.0 lbs. week for a total so far of 67 lbs. And yes, it feels "too easy." It's so easy that I plan to make it a way of life. Oh, and FREE is a very good thing too.

Best of luck.

01-13-2013, 06:42 AM
I have used calorie counting at times too. It's very straightforward. It's a good way of keeping track. There are many sites that can help with that... like Sparkpeople.

There's an calorie counters forum here at 3fc. You might get some more opinions there, too.



01-13-2013, 09:28 AM
Strictly counting calories and recording it all would make me nuts. Instead, I looked up typical things I ate, wrote down some calorie values for those foods, and became very aware of portions size and which food were more calorie dense than other similar foods (corn and peas over beans and cauliflower, for example.) I estimated 1300 to 1500 while I was losing (90 pounds in 8 1/2 months) and jumped to about 1800 a day most days with extra allowed on "party" and "social engagement" days. At my age and weight, 1800 is a little low for maintenance, but it allows the extra on special occasions without too much worry or planning. The winter holidays take a bit more effort - there are too many party days mixed in with the normal days.

I think we need to become aware of what we eat - especially the things we forget about, like a handful of nuts, a brownie offered by a coworker, etc. that were never in our day's plan to begin with. That and portion size (general calorie awareness) worked for me.

good luck with whatever you decide to do. It's all calorie counting when you get to the bottom line.


Misti in Seattle
01-13-2013, 10:19 AM
I don't think I've really ever counted calories. The only other time I lost weight I was on WW, so I counted points.

Is there anyone that isn't calorie counting? My current plan doesn't require calorie counting or points. I avoid all things processed and I eat until I'm full, which doesn't take too much. However, I wonder if I'm going to get to a point where my weight loss stalls and I will have to start doing some calorie math to make the pounds start moving.

What has your experience been with calorie counting? Is it fun? A bit overwhelming? Less overwhelming with the inventions of smart phones?

I debated about responding until I saw your question whether there is anyone else who is not calorie counting. That would be me. :)

For one thing, I don't think it is necessary if you are educated on what is healthful and what is not (if not you can become so). I know that I can eat all the red bell peppers, etc. that I want, for example, without gaining weight... but not all the chocolate. :)

Also, I am a firm believer (and interestingly, it is now being proven) that our bodies process healthful, natural foods FAR more efficiently than they do "junk" (i.e. chemicals, fake sugars, and all the incredibly appalling stuff that is added to process food). For example, I don't think our bodies were designed to process wood ashes (yes, a lot of our "food products" contain that) or all of the other stuff that is added to "food." We can eat a lot more calories of wholesome, natural foods, and still lose weight, than if we eat the same number of calories of stuff our bodies can't process.

And yes, I know this will be challenged. :) That is okay; but I've lost 76 pounds this way, am almost never hungry, seldom have cravings, and all my medical labs have dropped back into the acceptable range. My doctor, chiro and surgeon are all thrilled with me. My complexion has become quite rosy... and my energy level has soared.

Soooooo.... this is just meant as my opinion; not something I plan to debate with others. :)

Since you asked.... :) And wow... you have lost 91 pounds!!! I would stick with your plan!!! :) For sure.

01-13-2013, 12:10 PM
I have to count calories. Not obsessively, although in the beginning it felt that way, as I just quit searching for foods in the food library on fitday or myfitnesspal, and just made my own. I had no idea what portion sizes were, especially manufacturers portion sizes vs what I was putting on my plate. Now, I check portion sizes on things I buy, not for calories (although yes, I'm checking for that), I'm mainly checking the size of their portion. Frankly, if I'm going to break down and buy something I normally wouldn't, it had better be a good portion size. 200 calories for a tiny sliver of a portion just isn't worth it to me.

Now that I'm restarting, yeah I'm more careful with my calories and portions and logging, but when it was successful before, I could eyeball a portion and be pretty accurate and as long as I watched that, I was fine. It's road trips and those, 'tiny little bites' of brownies and things that began to add up.

I honestly think portion sizing and caloric awareness should be taught in schools, not at the high school level but at the 1st-4th grade level, I really do. Even my kids are surprised by the size of a portion vs what they're eating, and they're 7 and almost 9.