Calorie Counters - Is it hard to stay within your calories?




tinamariefitforme
05-01-2014, 02:38 PM
I am thinking about counting calories, but am wondering how hard it is to stay within your calorie range?

Any tips for a newbie calorie counter?


Munchy
05-01-2014, 03:18 PM
#1 tip is to plan ahead. I've been counting calories or points (sometimes both) for a long, long time. I still have no idea how people "wing it!"

I take a few minutes to write down my exact calories with condiments for each meal and snack that I plan to eat. I do this BEFORE my day starts so I know exactly what I'm going to eat.

I actually take it a bit further and cook many things in advance so that I can grab and go, but having a plan is key.

FleurDeLis
05-01-2014, 04:49 PM
I plan somewhat ahead like Munchy does, but not to that extent. Mainly, before I make a meal I total up the amount of calories of everything I will eat. As Munchy pointed out, don't forget to include condiments. I add up the whole meal and then subtract it from the amount of calories I have for the day. This helps me to know how much I have left for the day. Usually, by the evening I'll make my dinner and still have some calories left for a snack later in the evening.

It's trial and error. You'll get into a habit that works for you. I like to use the method above, as well as right everything down in my journal. I also include my exercise for the day. This helps me to look back and see how I've been doing. The key for me is to make sure I'm not starving. If I'm really hungry and not just thirsty I will eat something. I will however make sure it is something healthy. Mostly, I've realized that when I think I'm hungry I'm just really thirsty.

Hope this helps. Good luck!


ChickieChicks
05-01-2014, 04:55 PM
I kept track as the day progressed. When I added up dinner, I would figure out what I had left over for the day and pre-plan my snack. Nights are hard for me, so it helped to have a set snack, no deviating.

Koshka
05-03-2014, 12:00 AM
It isn't hard, but I consider it a range. That is, I want to average a certain amount of calories per day and I don't want to eat below a certain amount. But, beyond that it is fine with one day is higher than another.

mars735
05-03-2014, 12:41 AM
If it's okay to add a follow-up question here, I'd like to ask how people decided on their daily calorie range. Thanks!

Pattience
05-03-2014, 12:57 AM
I think don't think you need to be religious about a few calories here or there over your limit. Obsessing about it to that extent can be to make a ton of extra work and probably cause you more distress and possibly even failure if you are very sensitive to disappointment.

You are far better to use some common sense and design your meals around healthy foods and alter your portion sizes and use your calorie counting as a double check method. Its a lot easier. And you should not have any trouble losing.

In the longer term, you want to be able to give up completely counting calories because its tiresome and time consuming, so if you start out now with learning to estimate the right amount and types of food to achieve your daily calorie quota and using the counters to double check, you will have a much easier time of it and probably more long term success.


If you count calories after your meal, and let them total through out the day or even at the end of the day and you see you are maybe even two hundred calories over, if you have kept a record of what you've eaten you will see which things you need to cut back on and how to do it. You won't need to fret about the numbers so much. It will become more intuitive.

You will gradually work out how much is the right amount.

To start with,you know that fats have more than twice as many calories as carbs and proteins so you know from the outset that you have to be careful with high fat foods so restrict those to very small portions, even the good fats. Use them for flavouring and making cooking more agreeable e.g. so you can fry somethings and not have to steam or boil everything.

Also most refined sweets foods are more calorie dense for less satisfaction and lasting energy. So minimise those severely.

As to the rest, do it the way that seems easiest and most useful to you.

What i have done over the past three months was pretty much what i said above. I started out doing a bit of calorie counting after working out what i should be consuming but mostly focused on the food and the food log. After a few days, i stopped counting calories and would only do it periodically, for a particular meal, or new food, or if i wanted to reduce or increase my calories.

Pattience
05-03-2014, 01:06 AM
I actually didn't really answer your question. I got sidetracked by the other answers i think.

It is hard to stay within your calorie range if you eat a lot of processed foods, takeaways and generally high calorie foods. \

If you eat a lot of fruit and vegetables and other unprocessed foods with small portions of flavoursome foods like cheese, nuts, seeds, oils and condiments added to your vegies and meals in general, you will not find it hard to keep within your range. If you are always treating yourself, you will find it hard.

You will also find it hard if you restrict your calories too severely. I restricted my calories minimally and lost a good deal of weight in three months. I really only had to reduce my daily in take once in that time. So if you are weighing and recording your weight and food daily, its easy enough to keep an eye on things.

you just have all these variables to take into account. They are:
calories, your hunger, degree of boredom, your daily weight, the amount of formal and informal exercise you get, where are you at in your menstrual cycle, the quality of your nutrition, your mood/stress, quality of sleep, your salt intake and no doubt other things. There's a lot in the mix so we can't accurately predict things and we may not understand why our weight goes up or down when it does. Given all these things its best to eat nutritiously, eat enough to get us through without causing unmanageable hunger, keep emotionally balanced, and happy.

If one of those things becomes too strict or extreme over a period of time, it will make it hard to reduce weight and to keep doing it.