General Diet Plans and Questions - They say counting calories is hard, it's easy!!




suzie1955
06-03-2004, 03:18 AM
You read a lot about how they think it's so tough to count calories. Well whether you are weighing & measuring, counting points, counting carbs, doing exchanges. Those are all ways of montoring your intake. But I think counting calories is the most accurate thing you can do. Because if you consume too many calories, no matter whether it comes from twinkies or turnips you will gain weight. I like to know my caloric intake for three reasons: 1) You find out how many calories it takes to start reducing 2) How many calories that you start to gain on 3) It's very important to know especially when it comes to maintaining your loss. Calorie counting has been the only way I have been successful in taking my weight off. It comes down to the simple old fashioned basics. Watching the calories and exercise. You don't have to starve yourself, depends on your activity level. I have lost weight consuming between 1400-1800 calories a day. I would really appreciate any input.


a broad abroad
06-03-2004, 03:49 AM
Yes, I find counting calories is quite easy too. As a matter of fact I've been doing it for a month now and lost 5 pounds, but I'm frustrated because I feel like I should have lost twice that amount. If anyone has any input I would appreciate it.

Here is the background. On 5-5-04 I started counting calories every day and writing it all down. (by the way SW was 170; CW is 165) I have been eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at regularly scheduled times, with occasional snacks. The eating plan consists of the well balanced amounts of protein, veg and carb. Everything is freshly made (no frozen, pre-fab meals), so I can accurately measure and count the portions and calories. The snacks are a cup of low-fat yogurt or fruit, but not every day. (I use some of my several weight loss books for guidelines, reference and recipes including Dr. Phil, Weight Watchers and the Healthy Gourmet)

I've been staying between 1200 - 1400 calories each day, but on six days it was under 1000, and on five days it was over 2000. The first couple of weeks I walked 30 - 60 minutes three times a week and am now walking 45 min. (with hills!) every day.

I hope that's enough info to get some helpful and supportive input. Thanks everybody.

gma22
06-03-2004, 05:07 AM
Calorie counting got a bad rap because it is time consuming. The good thing is that pretty much everything except meat and fresh fruits and veggies have nutritional info on the container, which makes it easy. I also have a list of meats etc with nutritional info so I just use that.

I stay around 1600 cal and 400 fat cal though I get as high as 1800 on occasion.

Everyone good luck and great success!

Faye


dixiedog6
06-05-2004, 05:21 AM
ITA, that is the only thing that worked for me. I can have just about anything in moderation.

Meg
06-05-2004, 05:51 AM
It worked for me! I tracked everything in Fitday (still do) and started at about 1600 calories and ended up at around 1200. Like you all said, it works because I could do it my way. I HATE being told what to eat.

Don't forget to exercise, ladies -- that's just as important as watching the calories. ;)

lilybutt
06-05-2004, 10:36 AM
Putting in my 2 cents......works for me too.....tried Atkins and Weight Watchers and the only thing that works for me is moderation and counting calories and exercise. Been using Fitday and staying between 1200 and 1600 cal. a day. I am with you Meg...I HATE to be told what I can and can not eat. If I want pizza I have it, just keep it to 2 slices. If I want ice cream, even the really good kind, I have it, just little. Works for me!!!!
Lily

Bev
06-05-2004, 02:01 PM
I am in the process of trying to figure out what works for me. I did ww this week but I gained two pounds. I don't know how that is possible. I only slipped up one time. And I worked out 5 days this week.
This might seem like a really dumb question ( so I am sorry) but how do you know how many calories to eat. Thanks

Meg
06-05-2004, 02:46 PM
Hi It's My Life! :) Trust me, there are NO dumb questions, so don't be embarrassed about asking anything around here. Chances are that someone can help. ;)

How many calories to eat? I assume you mean for weight loss and the answer is that it depends on a number of variables, like how much you weigh now, whether you're male or female, how much and what kind of exercise you do etc. I'll share my experience with you and maybe it will give you a starting point: I started off losing weight the LAST time weighing in 257 pounds and lost quite nicely at about 1600 calories/day, about 45% protein, 25-30% good carbs, and 25%-30% good fats. I also did an hour of cardio a day and lifted weights four to five days/week. As my weight dropped, I gradually had to drop my calories to keep losing since a smaller body takes fewer calories to keep running (darn! :lol: ).

Perhaps you could pick a number of calories, like my 1600, and track what you're eating for the week and see how you do. You can adjust from there, if necessary.

Hope this helps -- please come back and ask any more questions you might have! :)

TexNurse
06-05-2004, 03:35 PM
I am a newcomer to this thread. I have been posting over on the LAWL thread but doing the Michael Thurmond 6 week body make over. It is such a restricted plan and today I am feeling very down thinking of the food I have been eating and that it isn't enjoyable and takes a lot of work to cook and plan and make sure you don't put anything in my mouth that isn't on the plan. I have dieted all my life so I pretty well know all of the plans. I get really frustrated when they start out by saying "no counting calories, nothing to count, just eat healthy foods in correct proportions" and then it ends up that you have to count points, measure portions, eliminate food groups, can't eat one thing with another thing, can eat somethings only 3 days a week, etc. All of them are work. WW counting points is basically the same thing as counting calories (in my opinion) just the numbers are smaller (but each point is based on a certain number of calories). I agree with you and think your plan is the plan for me and it is all fine and good until I come to eat something that is someone's special recipe and there is no way to sit there and try to figure calories BEFORE I decide to eat it, then I am frustrated because I don't know. I know there is fitday and all but I am talking about if you are in a situation outside the home away from your computer. In that case I would suppose you just eat a normal portion unless its something that you just know is higher calories. Counting points is fine too but the same situation comes up. they have books with points for everything until its that special grandma's casserole or something and then I get thrown off. I have 190 lbs to lose so I want to make this the final choice. I went through a horrible 22 year marriage where he watched everything I ate, I've worked hard all my life and am still working (psych nurse) but I don't like to be told what to do or what to eat by anyone, therefore probably the answer to why every 'diet' I have ever tried has failed. Some days I'm really in the mood for the chicken and rice and broccoli with no salt, no fat, no dairy and no sugar but then there are days like today that I would love a sandwich with whole wheat bread with lite mayo with low fat chicken or bologna or some baked Lays or something. Just got finished reading a great book called "Fat *** No More" and that's exactly what she did. Stopped dieting and just watched portions and ate less (basically counting calories in). OK, well thanks for listening.
Debby :coffee:

LaDean
06-05-2004, 08:23 PM
Hi, i started eating what i want and portions. if i have something no idea the calories. i figured hey what does it have in it then i go from there. look all the things up and so forth. this helps me.. i figured it this way what goes in my mouth i have to work off. i never eat the same amt of calories each day. i varie it. i think this helps. pick a number of calories then go for it. if you gain lower it if you lose then go for it. I pray alot. i do not we have to be sensible with our eating. drink that water and exercise. keep those inches. when the scales are not moving then look the inches may be. keeps my inthusium going. well good luck. i come to the boards often it helps me alot. i figure when at the computer i am not in kitchen and eating. ha if you have any space at all plant some vegies. i do my best during garden season. just run out and grab something and eat it.. can put them in a pot the little cherry tomatoes. my grandbabies mother did it for them. they have so much fun. its on the deck and they love going out and getting some when they want.. so we can figure out what to help us. I changed my attitude alot. it alone has helped me.. so i wish all of you a good losing week.. get that plan and go for it.. LaDean

Ilene
06-05-2004, 11:15 PM
Counting calories works for me too... From Sunday to Friday I count religiously, unless life happens and then I can't, no big deal IMO, I go to Plan B and make the healthiest choice I can...Most of the time I eat as plain and as unprocessed as possible... But when I am in a situation that I must have a sandwich with whole wheat bread with lite mayo with low fat chicken or bologna or some baked Lays I do, and in my book for one day that is NOT falling off plan... Having a whole x-large pizza is falling off plan...

Oh, and I exercise my butt off too... "Calories IN, calories OUT!!"

Amarantha2
06-06-2004, 02:01 AM
It's My Life: the Harris-Benedict equation can give you a rough idea of your metabolic rate, e.g., how many calories you're currently burning. To lose approximately a pound a week, you'd need to subtract 500 calories from that figure daily. If you google "Harris-Benedict metabolic calculator" you'll find sites with automatic Harris-Benedict calculators. The formula really works, IMO, but sometimes people think it's kind of high ... dunno, that may be because they're miscalculating the amount or intensity of their exercise level. No one should go below 1200 calories a day and never try to lose weight without talking to a doc.

a broad abroad
06-06-2004, 02:55 PM
Counting calories and portions on a regular basis can help you learn how to estimate how many calories are in granny's casserole or other dishes where there is no way to know what it "costs." You will never be able to get the exact number right but you could have a general approximation that will be able to fit into your day's allotment range. Whenever I get into that situation I estimate high. Yesterday I made chili but I had no idea how many calories were in it so I looked in my *3* different calorie counter books and got an average for the portion I had and felt optimistic that it was close. I used 92% lean beef (which probably wasn't what was used for the ratings in my books) and the other ingredients were canned, but with nothing added.

Yes you can have your sandwich on wheat bread with either chicken or bologna. All of the items that will go on a homemade (by you) sandwich will have the calorie listings available for you to count. You will see how high in calories bologna is for what you get, and probably choose the healthier chicken. It's all about choices, as Dr. Phil would say, "you choose the consequences of your actions." For too many years, my whole life actually, I would say "I'll just have this because it is homemade and I know Aunt so-n-so is a great cook" or "I'll just have another garlic-cheese biscuit at Red Lobster because it is really good and it is paid for and I don't eat biscuits very often."

Well, I've stopped telling myself that "just this one time" won't matter because it does, whether I like it or not, and I will have to be very conscious of my choices for the rest of my life. Today I made a conscious choice to have a serving of tiramisu, and at 400 calories it was a big decision, but it fit within my calorie count for the day.

I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but now that I've made up my mind that now is the time to lose once and for all, I sometimes have to force myself to eat something more to get within my proper caloric range. Usually its a fresh salad. It feels good to see the jeans getting baggy.

As you know, most people that make casseroles aren't counting the calories and they may be good, but remember the old adage "nothing tastes as good as thin feels." You have the rest of your life to eat on a daily basis so think of how lucky we are to live in a time of great variety and freshness at our fingertips.

Here's a funny casserole story: For the last few years we have been gathering at my brother and sister-in-law's home for Christmas dinner. She is the casserole queen. She will bake a turkey and then she, her sis, and their mom will proceed to make 5, yes five, casseroles to go with the turkey. Finally, last year I couldnt take it anymore so I made some fresh cooked greens and brought them along. They were a big hit and she wasn't offended (who wouldn't welcome someone bringing a dish for a holiday gathering?) Casseroles are OK, but the kind seen most frequently tend to make the dish into a big glob of unidentifiable ingredients. I have fine-tuned my taste buds to prefer food "closer to the earth," in other words, less processed and more similar to the way it is found in nature.

There will always be times when you will not know the calorie count of something being served to you, but you have to use good judgement and educated guesses. If you want some of granny's home cooking then have it, but perhaps opt for lighter fare the rest of the day.

I have a bunch of cookbooks, most of which are not reduced-calorie oriented, and sometimes I go through them looking at recipes I have no intention of making but reviewing the nutrition information per portion. I've found this to be a good lesson in serving size and caloric content. Recently I was browsing the Williams-Sonoma "Cooking for Yourself" and was flabbergasted at the calorie count of most of the recipes for one serving, 500, 700 and 1000 calories for one meal.

Just remember, everything adds up and not just the calories. Among them age, height, lifestyle, quality of food, attitude, mindset, and most importantly exercise.

Well, I hope this is helpful to others out there. It has helped me! Thanks for listening.

Stephs1998
06-07-2004, 02:05 AM
Thanks yo all of your posts I have decided that I am going to start counting my calories. I have done ww and atkins but never been fully satisfied with either of them. I have often thought about counting calories but thought it was way too much work. However, after reading all this I am ready to do it. I have fitday on my computer so it will be easily accessible eve without the net. If anyone has any tips for me that would be great! Thanks!

debbiejarrell
06-09-2004, 10:23 AM
I used to count only calories and could not figure out why I was not losing. I started counting fat grams also and have been loosing steadily since.

debbiejarrell
06-09-2004, 10:37 AM
I found a good website to calculate how many calories to consume to maintain a certain weight. Go to http://www.ivillage.com/diet/tools/healthcalc/ and type in how much you would like to weigh.