Calorie Counters - Why did you choose calorie counting? & some other questions




Paisleymama
12-05-2013, 12:10 AM
I just have a few questions for you all. I'm trying to understand what I'm doing here!

With so many options out there, why did you choose calorie counting? Do you combine it with other weight loss diets?

I chose it because I don't have enough food options available to me here to follow a lot of diets correctly. It's the easiest way for me to incorporate the fresh produce that I can get into a program of sorts. I also find it makes me accountable for every morsel that I consume and ties up with my polar watch.

I'm eating sensibly but not following anything in particular. Some of my numbers such as daily requirements for carbs, sodium and fat are always under by at least half. Do I have to bump up one in order to supplement the other? Is it ok to just leave it? I don't want to do any permanent damage or hinder progress... vitamins are always on target.

I'm also not eating back burned calories and netting less than 1200, I've read that I shouldn't be doing this but some days I struggle just to eat the 1200 in a healthy way or I'm just not that hungry.


Paisleymama
12-07-2013, 03:18 AM
bump

Rhiko
12-07-2013, 08:52 AM
I combine calorie counting with exercise and eat the foods I like because I'm both fussy and lazy. :lol: To get those extra vitamins into my diet, I take a multi-vitamin called Centrum rather than use foods.

I don't think there is a written rule that you must have 100% of your vitamins, but the choice of whether you want to do this is ultimately up to you. However, you do need to make sure you are hitting your minimum 1200 calories because your body needs all that energy to function. Our body's have a minimum amount of calories to burn everyday from sleeping, breathing and the daily things we do (walking, etc). For me, my minimum is 1258 calories per day, based on my height, weight and age. You can find out yours here (http://evilcyber.com/losing-weight/how-to-lose-weight/). To build up my calories when I don't eat enough, I have my sugar-free ice cream and fruit or I have a small snack after dinner or when I'm not full. Also, if you are planning to exercise, have a heavier meal depending on the time of day you run to make up the difference.

Hope this helps :)


skinnyki
12-07-2013, 12:34 PM
After coming to my wits end and trying other diets like weight watchers, hcg, atkins ...I stumbled upon calorie counting and its just make sense to me. Expenditure in ..expenditure out and deficits... I like the factual part of it with the numbers and everything. I also like the fact that you can still have what u want in moderation no deprivation in this diet. It still takes will power and control but I feel it is something I can continue for the rest if my life. It is free. ! No meetings necessary I can do it with in my own home. It is great and it works! if done correctly.

envelope
12-07-2013, 02:43 PM
I calorie count because when I do, I make better choices and I lose weight. When I do not cc I do not think about what I am eating and I end up gaining weight.

I have also discovered that I make better choices when it comes to exercise when I am ccing.

I do not pay too much attention to individual daily allowances for fats/carbs/proteins, but I have noticed if I am low on one of those consistantly, I start to have cravings.

Another aspect about ccing that I enjoy is that when faced with a treat while out and about, or if my hubby decides to bake, I like to determine the calories then compare it to how much walking or jogging it would take to burn that many calories. I often decide that it is not worth it, but there are also times when I decide it is worth it and thoroughly enjoy it. No guilt involved! I have also at times decided to eat something, then take a bite or two and decide that it is not as good as I thought it would be and I choose stop eating it, because it is not worth it after all.

CalCounter1003
12-07-2013, 04:13 PM
Calorie counting was the first diet I did many years ago. In the early 80s when I had gained college weight. Then I had kids and gained it all back and many, many more pounds. So after that I tried nearly every diet known to Amazon (always thinking a new book on dieting was the next secret way to lose). I would lose some, but couldn't stick with it too long because it would always be strangeness that you couldn't live with.

So this time when I realized I had to start a diet I looked at My Fitness Pal and it was showing calories. So I thought... I guess I will just count calories. And now I love this way of dieting. As was stated earlier you can pick whatever you want and it doesn't matter. Of course, it wouldn't be wise to have all desserts (which would be my preference) but if I wanted to, I could.

The only thing I discovered this week is that mixing up meals is important. I tend to get stuck in a rut and eat the same thing every day. (For instance all 80 school days this year I have had a salad with some form of chicken, then a Greek yogurt and apple for a snack). But this last week when I was on a field trip and had different meals each day, I lost weight! I think my body has gotten used to the same lunch meals. So I am going to try to mix up my meals for the rest of my diet. Although, I probably won't do it next week since I already bought the salad ingredients. :o But I might make different dinners!

This is the longest I have stuck with a diet and the most I have ever lost and my goal is within reach. I think that after I reach goal I can figure out how to maintain it by continuing to calorie count.

I did start taking a multi-vitamin about a month ago - I take Shaklee. I am eating really healthy so I probably don't need it, but then again, with my repetitive meals, maybe I do!

Paisleymama
12-08-2013, 12:19 AM
I try hard to stick to at least 1200 but it seems as though I unintentionally zigzag my calories. Overall, I think I'm consuming enough to keep my body going.

I really should switch up my foods, I get comfortable with what I'm eating & stick to it for months on end.

FickleHearts
12-08-2013, 11:29 AM
I've done every fad diet out there and then some. I like calorie counting because it's free, mostly easy, and it's something I can stick to long term.

I just go by MFP's recommendations. 1210 is my daily goal, but I do work out at least 5 days a week and I sometimes eat a portion of my exercise calories back. BMR/TDEE just confuses me. I find that keeping things between 1200-1600 works pretty well. I too often net below 1000 though. I don't feel as if I'm starving and I'm not sluggish, no headaches, no fatigue, and actually most days I have a decent energy level.

I like the fact that I'm not really depriving myself. If I really really want something bad, I eat it, count it, and incorporate the rest of my meals around it. For instance, my hubby loves Mexican food and we tend to eat there two to three times a week. I always get the chicken fajitas with no rice or beans. I just eat the onions, chicken, a little bit of sour cream, lettuce and 2 tortillas. Every now and then I eat a little of the chips and salsa, but not that much and I measure them out. I don't like to eat a lot of sweets though. They make me crave more and then that just gets out of hand LOL.

One day a week I give myself a small break and call it my cheat day, but it's usually my most active day so really I end up eating my work out calories back. Sometimes I go over, but up until Thanksgiving I was losing just fine.

That one holiday seems to have messed everything up LOL.

Secret Swan
12-08-2013, 02:04 PM
Calorie counting was the first diet I ever did, and now it will be the last. I like it because it's free, effective, and I can eat anything I want (just not everything I want). I tried weight watchers briefly once and gained weight (not their fault, because I didn't know how to eat a balanced diet at that point), Atkins and couldn't go to the bathroom, and various other self made plans that just made me miss whatever food group I was limiting. This way I do eat less bread, yes, but that's because I have no self-control. I'm slowly working it back in in modified quantities when I miss it, and that right there is what makes this work for me. If I want a burger and fries, I don't have to cheat. I just have to plan. Which is what I should have been doing all along.

tefrey
12-09-2013, 01:14 PM
Different people have different needs, so I would never try to tell people how to eat ... but I do think calorie counting is a great tool to add to any diet. As long as you are getting results and are mostly not hungry, you are probably doing fine.

Now as far as what you eat, that is where you need to listen to your body. Some people can't do carbs ... others of us need them. It sounds like whatever you are using to calculate your nutritional needs may be set wrong. Lower is usually better for sodium, and it's hard (but not impossible) to get too little salt. Calories come from carbs, fat, and protein. If you are under on both carbs and fat, I can only think of two things that could be going on. One, whatever you are using is calculating your targets based on a higher calorie level (so you might be eating 1200 calories but if the numbers are based on 1700 they will always be under). Two, you might be eating high protein but the numbers you see are based on a diet with a more balanced mix of calories ... in which case you need to switch the ratio around. Without knowing more, I'm guessing the targets you see have been set wrong, and how you are eating is right. You can find out how to reset them, or not worry about them. My diet is high fiber, high protein, medium carbs, and low fat ... but I never worry about the actual percentages.

Good luck! Fresh veg is the best for dieting!

Changergirl
12-10-2013, 02:30 AM
I chose calorie counting because for me it's not a diet. It's a lifestyle which I am going to keep up with once I hit my goal. I know if I stop keeping track I'll end up eating too much and put it all back on.

I'm also really lucky in the sense that I don't have food issues. There's no reason for me to cut out carbs or fat or anything else. The only thing I needed to do to lose weight is realize my portions were way off and I ate junk way too much and start eating a proper amount. Calorie counting allows me to do that.

TooWicky
12-10-2013, 03:04 AM
This is the first diet I have ever tried in my entire life, and I chose calorie counting. I wanted a diet that was like living in the real world, with a lot of flexibility of choice - a diet I could continue for life without too much imposition. I have found this type of diet extremely educational for someone like me that really knew next to nil about proper portions and specific nutritional content of food. It's been a real eye-opener! I guarantee I was eating 3 times as much food before I went on a diet, and I really had no idea :o embarrassing! In my quest for more food bang for my buck so to speak, I have switched the great majority of my diet to much healthier choices - healthier food choices are so much more filling, and I can really tell that they fuel me better, if that makes sense. Although I started dieting last April, I have probably been calorie counting since about May/June. I was pretty much flying blind until I joined 3FC with all of the wonderful and informative people that post here.

Earlier in my dieting journey I was targeting around 1100-1200 cal/day. I just sort of picked that number out of thin air. I did not know how to choose what my daily goal should be. I was not even exercising, and I was pretty seriously hungry. I upped my max cal/day to 1400 a while back, and it's working great for me. I have averaged 2 lbs /week loss over the last 5 months or so, so I believe my calorie target is okay for the time being. Beyond regular life and work, I am not formally exercising yet. I don't worry about eating back any calories from physical activity. I personally just watch my results (lbs lost per week over a period of time) and as long as that's on target (not losing more or less than 2 lbs.) then I just keep doing what I'm doing. I'm very informal, lol.

I very much admire other posters here on 3FC that closely analyze their nutritional intake - I am much more casual, in that I basically ensure I get some protein, fiber, veggies, dairy, etc.; I don't do any further analysis than that. I might "graduate" to being more attentive to details like that, but right now I have just enough discipline in life to do what I'm doing and nothing more, lol. I currently don't combine calorie counting with any other type of diet plan.

Paisleymama
12-10-2013, 06:33 AM
It sounds like whatever you are using to calculate your nutritional needs may be set wrong. Lower is usually better for sodium, and it's hard (but not impossible) to get too little salt. Calories come from carbs, fat, and protein. If you are under on both carbs and fat, I can only think of two things that could be going on. One, whatever you are using is calculating your targets based on a higher calorie level (so you might be eating 1200 calories but if the numbers are based on 1700 they will always be under). Two, you might be eating high protein but the numbers you see are based on a diet with a more balanced mix of calories ... in which case you need to switch the ratio around. Without knowing more, I'm guessing the targets you see have been set wrong, and how you are eating is right. You can find out how to reset them, or not worry about them. My diet is high fiber, high protein, medium carbs, and low fat ... but I never worry about the actual percentages.

Good luck! Fresh veg is the best for dieting!

My target is set at 1350, most days I hit just over 1200.
The ratios are about 40% carb, 30% fat, 20% protein
Carbs aren't from white starches & refined sugar content comes from dark chocolate or whatever is added into the whole wheat crackers etc...

I emailed my dr with the details of my diet & exercise plan so hopefully I'll get some insight as to whether it's all good or some numbers need to change.

Tilly5
12-10-2013, 07:02 AM
With so many options out there, why did you choose calorie counting? Do you combine it with other weight loss diets?

8 years ago I was a participant in a weight loss study at Harvard’s School of Public Health. They compared people on 4 different fat-carb-protein ratio diets. I successfully took off 60lbs and got to goal weight, but I hit a wall after I got to my goal weight. The study forced me to keep track of everything. So not only did I have to stay within a certain calorie count, but I also needed my fat-carb-protein to be a certain percentage.

The punch line of the study was that “weight loss depends on cutting calories rather than on any specific diet.” So I believe strongly that I need to watch my calories.

The punch line for me personally is that I totally believe in counting calories and know now exactly what amount of calories to target for weight loss, but it drives me crazy to count everything all the time. Mostly because of the way I cook, I find it difficult to count everything. So I consider myself a PARTIAL CALORIE COUNTER. I count my calories for breakfast and lunch and never exceed 500cals. For dinner, I just watch my portion. I use a luncheon plate rather than a dinner plate. This works out well for me because for dinner I like to just throw in a little of this and a little of that and not measure everything and figure out how many servings I am preparing. So in a way it is like combining it with PORTION CONTROL.

But in general I really believe in calorie counting. And I agree with the sentiments already expressed.
**This is lifestyle eating.
**It is a free diet.
**Any food is okay (but healthy are preferred).
**There are lots of free/cheap tools for keeping track of calories.

melodymist
12-10-2013, 07:09 AM
But in general I really believe in calorie counting. And I agree with the sentiments already expressed.
**This is lifestyle eating.
**It is a free diet.
**Any food is okay (but healthy are preferred).
**There are lots of free/cheap tools for keeping track of calories.

Same this side!

SparklyBunny
12-10-2013, 07:27 AM
I was wondering whether to respond to this or not, because I do count calories, but then I don't :-)

I'm of the school of thought that calories do matter, but that it is not the only thing that matters, that it is always going to be only an approximation and that in certain individual cases where people have issues with metabolism or the eating is in either extreme (too little or too much), the calorie counting stops being accurate.

Right now I do count calories, and try to stay on a deficit for most days, except try to eat at maintenance levels once per week to keep the hormones in check (though that still requires counting calories). It is still clear to me though that overall it's more important to focus on what I eat (macronutrient ratio depending on the day's exercise levels and quality of food).

I just know that if I eat according to what my body wants, I'll stall and right now my goal is to lose body fat. Obviously my body doesn't want me to lose body fat, so I need to outsmart it by counting calories and using other tools to consciously manage my energy input and output. My weight gain has always been due to obsessive eating (eating large amounts of foods even when I acknowledge that I am not hungry or even craving anything), so counting calories isn't needed for me to maintain a certain level. If I listen to my body, I pretty much can regulate things with portion control and with the knowledge that I have of nutrition. It's just not enough for my current goal, so I am counting calories.

Munchy
12-11-2013, 10:41 AM
I count calories because it's a no-brainer. However, I also happen to fall under several other umbrellas because they overlap! I'm gluten free, lower carb, I eat "clean" and I'm an intermittent faster (I just realized that I always eat from 11:00-6:30!). It's not on purpose (except for the gluten) but just happens to be the best way to get the best calorie/nutritional bang for my buck.

mygirlvj
12-11-2013, 12:52 PM
I started calorie counting for 2 reasons: It was easy and nothing was off limits.

When I started being aware of the calorie content of things my eating habits gradually changed. I would go home for lunch and think I can have A or B either 1 would be good. Then my mind would switch to - well is it worth the calories? Quite often I would chose the lesser calorie option because it would satisfy me, I wouldn't feel deprived and I still saved lots of calories. On occasion if I want the higher option then I would start to think about the adjustments I would make for dinner to allow me to have this indulgence.

Slowly my grocery shopping changed little by little to again account for the calories in a serving. Was it worth those calories or not? If not I would skip it and find something else.
Now it has just become habit. I have days where I overindulge I just make sure it's 1 day and I'll be super careful the next couple of days to be on track. I just find that this is a lifestyle I will be able to carry on forever without having to dwell on it all the time.

CrabNebula
12-11-2013, 06:50 PM
I do it because I don't do other forms of dietary restriction. It just wouldn't be sustainable for me to go gluten/dairy/meat free or low carb. I want to be able to eat whatever I want within moderation.

I've lost 19lbs since Labor Day, so I think it works reasonably well.

lulanilu
12-11-2013, 07:24 PM
I like it because it is easy, I can eat whatever tickles my fancy, and it inspired me to make choices that wouldn't keep me hungry, as low calorie food that is healthy tends to be more filling than high calorie foods. I need to be careful to not get carried away, as I struggled with anorexia as a teen and survived on anywhere from 300-500 calories a day

sumu1
12-31-2013, 10:55 AM
I agree with everyone who does this method. It's easy ( I use my calculator on my phone to track, no app necessary ), no food has to be off limits, as you progress you become more conscientious of what and how you eat. I'm in it for the long haul. I eat the most calories available at my activity level ( around 1900 ) and I am taking the longest time humanly possible to lose to make sure I get it through my thick skull :-) that I can eat and lose and then eat and maintain for the rest of my life. And definitely don't eat below your RMR, that's what your body needs to just run itself, you don't want to eat into that. Hope that helps.

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12-31-2013, 03:30 PM
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This is a misconception. Many women have a RMR (resting metabolic rate) of 1,300 to 1,500 cals. If we eat less than that, our bodies dip into our fat stores, which is exactly what we want to happen. We can eat more than our RMR and still lose weight, as long as we're eating less than our TEE (total energy expenditure). But we'll lose weight faster (to a point) if we eat fewer calories. There's nothing wrong with eating, say, 1,200 cals per day, which is lower than most people's RMR.

F.

sumu1
01-05-2014, 11:24 AM
I stand corrected :-)

Selina
01-05-2014, 01:58 PM
I love calorie counting because it gives me an idea of how much food is enough to keep me full but not stuffed. It's free and once you get used to weighing food and tracking what you eat, you quickly see results.

tdiprincess
01-10-2014, 01:46 PM
Tilly5:But in general I really believe in calorie counting. And I agree with the sentiments already expressed.
**This is lifestyle eating.
**It is a free diet.
**Any food is okay (but healthy are preferred).
**There are lots of free/cheap tools for keeping track of calories.

This pretty much sums it up for me. I think paying for a diet weather a book, food or program is a waste and a rip off. *I know there are nutrition books that are great, but I'm talking about fad diet books*. I've seen many people do fad diets, they lose a ton of weight quick and then gain it all back and then some. I can do the same thing with calorie counting, but at least it's free! LOL
I also honestly notice personally, that when I count my calories and exercise, I lose weight. It's that simple. It's just doing it! It can drive me crazy too, so sometimes I take a break for a couple of days. Especially at the beginning. For example, I'll count for 5 or 10 days straight and then take a day or two off. This seems to reduce the crazy! I try to still be careful about what I eat though.

As far as other programs go though, I know that weight watchers works pretty well. My M&FIL do it and, kinda like calorie counting, as long as they follow it they lose weight. Realistically though, it's the same thing as calorie counting. It just breaks it down into different values and encourages healthy eating through a support network. (Which is why this site is so great! It provides that, for free!)

So I suppose, I should add 3FC to my equation for success to! :)

imabehot
01-10-2014, 06:06 PM
For me it's because It worked for me 3 years ago-lost 65 pounds. It'll work again yea I gained it back but that was my fault. It won't happen again.

Velvet bean
01-12-2014, 06:34 PM
I choose this diet, because I can still go to every restaurant I want and don't feel uncomfortable on family dinners and I don't have to explain myself about what I can and can't eat.

To be honest, before I joined this forum, I thought I was the inventor of the calorie counting diet. :dizzy:

edoetsch1
01-12-2014, 06:42 PM
I choose calorie counting because I feel its the most realistic option. There is never a NO food that I can not have because it dont fit the "program". I can eat whatever I want as long as I accept the calories that come with it.

Koshka
01-12-2014, 07:01 PM
I combine calorie counting with Weight Watchers. I feel that I need both of them.

I like calorie counting because I like to have a lot of information about what I eat. I record it at My Fitness Pal so I can see what I'm eating, not just the calories. I send that data to my Fitbit and then it tells me what kind of calorie deficit I have which is motivating to me.

On the other hand I get benefits from WW also. For me, going to the meetings and weighing in each week is crucial to my success. If I stop going to meetings and stop weighing in each week I tend to start overeating. Calorie counting alone doesn't keep me from that. I think part of it is that it helps give me a short term goal. Follow the calories you want to eat until Friday (when I weigh in). I will think about it at times. Just 3 more days to weigh in or 1 more day. It helps me stay on track.

ReillyJ
01-12-2014, 08:47 PM
Simply because it's SO easy to underestimate the calorie count of food and also the belief that if one is clean eating or eating healthy that one is going to lose weight.

grinchygirl
01-12-2014, 09:02 PM
I calorie count but it doesn't guide my choices exactly. For example, I won't choose a snack based on which has less calories. I pick based on which I fancy to eat.

My weight gain is due to overeating and lack of exercise. I was raised with fruits and veggies, no junk food, no eating out, no sodas/juices (dear lord if I ever hear another doctor tell me I should think about cutting soda, lol). But the portion size was out of control. Too much of everything. Calories counting works for me because it make me look at the package to check serving size, how much is recommended, and that prevents me from overeating.

I'm not fixated on a deficit, but now that I'm vegetarian I rarely find myself wanting more calories than I aim for (1200-1500).

BettyBooty
01-14-2014, 02:21 PM
I chose calorie counting after I had my second baby and was too cheap to sign up for WW again. MFP was free, and I believe it tracks physical activity expenditures better than WW.

NorthernChick13
01-14-2014, 02:43 PM
I chose CC because I can eat whatever the **** I want! If I want 1400 in vanilla ice cream I'll still lose! If I want 1400 in mashed potatoes, I'll lose! lol you get the idea! I've lost all my weight eating horrible junk food much of the time, but watching how much of it I eat. I love it!

diamond_girl
01-14-2014, 08:28 PM
I chose CC because I can eat whatever the **** I want! If I want 1400 in vanilla ice cream I'll still lose! If I want 1400 in mashed potatoes, I'll lose! lol you get the idea! I've lost all my weight eating horrible junk food much of the time, but watching how much of it I eat. I love it!

Exactly! :D