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Old 10-28-2008, 02:48 PM   #1
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Question WW or Calorie Counting??

I would like to get some advice from those who have either done WW (points)
or counting calories. I have done WW 123 Success Program, this is where you get a point range and my range was 18-23 a day. I could lose weight if I kept my points at 18 (and sometimes below) but as soon as I would go even near 23 points I would gain weight As you know 18 points is not a lot of food.

I would like to try calorie counting and maybe even the calorie cycling.
I have a question.... Do we ONLY count the calories? Do we need to look at the fat,carbs,fiber, etc.. For example I eat a Grapeseed Oil Vegan Mayo that has 90 cal. per TBS. but it has 9 grams of fat. So even though 90 calories doesn't seem that much, 9 grams of fat seems like a lot if I eat it a couple of times a day.
I just want to make sure I understand before I decide which plan to go on.
I think I would really like the calorie counting but I want to make sure calories is all I have to worry about.
Any other info you may want to share would be great too
I did look at the FAQ and that did give me some info.
Thanks
Cathy
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Old 10-28-2008, 03:10 PM   #2
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I've done both WW and calorie counting (I CC right now and have for the last 2 years). I found WW to be too "fiddly" for me. Keeping track of points was ok, but I wound up converting them to calories in my head ... or comparing points vs. calories. And I can look up a calorie figure just about anywhere or figure out a recipe with a few quick calculations, but WW points I'd have to stop and look up specifically.

For me calorie counting is just more straightforward and logical. Obviously YMMV.

As far as counting other nutrients - it really just depends. As with any diet, you can stay on plan or within a range and still be unhealthy. I could limit myself to 1500 calories a day of McDonald's hamburgers, fries, and soda and I would lose weight for a while, but I'd be massively unhealthy and eventually my weight loss would stall as my body craved the nutrients it was being deprived of. So it's to your advantage to at least be mindful of nutritional values - to make sure that whatever calorie level you're eating at, you do so in a healthy way - lots of veggies, complex carbs, and lean proteins.

However, I have to say that as I've learned more about being healthy, it's become important to me personally to also keep track of my macro-nutrients (i.e. carbs / protein / fat). There are a fewreasons for that:
~ One is that I found myself eating too little fat (yes it's possible) and it was affecting my health. I bought into the low-fat mindset and failed to differentiate between healthy fats and not-healthy fats. As a result I wasn't eating enough fat and my hair, skin, nails, and overall health suffered. Now I get about 25% of my daily calories from healthy fats (mostly olive oil, avocados, peanut butter, etc.) and I can tell a huge difference.
~ Two is that when I began lifting weights, I began reading about the benefit of eating more protein. I started watching how much protein I was consuming and eventually set myself a daily goal that I would try to reach 35% of my calories from protein. I've discovered when I meet that goal on a regular basis, I lose weight faster and I see more defined progress from my workouts.
~ Three, I realized that for me, eating carbs at night tends to stall out my weight loss, even if I'm perfectly on plan every where else. So I wanted to manage my carbs; to eat complex and healthy carbs, to try to pack them into my morning and daytime meals and avoid them at night, and to keep my carb level around 40%.

Do you HAVE to manage these things to lose weight? I dunno. Some people don't. I didn't at first. But more and more as I got closer and closer to my goal - and ESPECIALLY after I dropped below 200 lbs - I found that managing my macros as well as my calories made a HUGE difference not only in how well I was losing, but in how I felt.

And aside from all of that, I think no matter what plan you're on, everyone should have a basic awareness of how much of most of those things they're consuming - fiber, fat, protein, etc. are all important to our health. Even if you don't track them faithfully, keeping them in mind when you make a choice of what to eat (e.g. an apple vs. apple juice for the fiber, or a boiled egg for a snack vs. a bag of low fat chips (both about 80 calories)) is important.

.

Last edited by PhotoChick; 10-28-2008 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 10-28-2008, 03:31 PM   #3
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Default Thank You

WOW, than you so much for taking the time to write all of that!!
I am going to look at your blog later to see if I can learn even more from
you.
I know you are right when you say look at all the areas of the food. My body does not like carbs very much at night either but that is when I really crave them
I think I will sign up with FitDay or Daily Plate and watch what happens.
I also want to add in exercise (which I can't stand) but I know that I need to do it.
Thanks again, I love this site!!!
Cathy
p.s. I saw you were from the deep south, where abouts? I live in Georgia.
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Old 10-28-2008, 03:33 PM   #4
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Glad I could help!

I really like the Daily Plate - I use it to track calories and to manage macros. I don't use it for my exercise at all - just too confusing the way they have it set up.

I'm in GA as well - in the Atlanta area.

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Old 10-28-2008, 03:38 PM   #5
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I think point counting, calorie counting, and exchange plans have more in common than not. It boils down to how precise you want to be, and what factors you consider important. I've done all three and settled on an exchange plan, for personal reasons that may not apply to you, but I'll share what I liked about each plan and how I did them.

Most of my experience calorie counting was done in the old days before I had a computer (pre 1995). My first calorie counting probably occurred around 8 or 9 (I know I had my very own calorie counting paperback book by 10 years old). So the concept and the math involved is pretty basic. Looking everything up was a pain at first, but by highschool I had most common foods memorized. I only considered calories, which meant 400 calories worth of cake was worth the same as 400 calories worth of chicken. I tried to make healthier choices, but I also spent alot of calories on junk when I was a kid. In my late teens and early 20's I got rather obsessive about the small numbers of calories. I obsessed over trying to be more and more specific, and I stressed over small numbers of calories. I'm not anal by nature, but when I try to be precise, I tend to overthink it and stress. My first experience with online calculators wasn't very good (the data bases were small, and it seemed to take forever). I tried some online versions recently, and they are much, much easier to use and even if you're not worrying about other nutrients, the programs often calculate them anyway - often with USDA recommendations alongside, so you're reminded if you're significanty deficient in some nutrients.

Points were easy for me to count in my head. If I didn't have my slider with me, I just estimated 1 point per 50 calories (it doesn't always work out this way with very high fat or very high fiber foods, but overall it's a good estimate). I liked the "range" idea, because I tended to see even one calorie over my target, as "cheating." If I were to calorie count again, I would choose a range of calories for my daily target, rather than a specific calorie level.

I have insulin resistance, and had two doctors recommend low(er) carb and low GI dieting, before I gave it a try. I found, by keeping track of my food in my journal for several weeks, that I lose more weight on 1800 calories of low carb, than I do on 1800 calories of higher carb (and I'm a LOT less hungry on the low carb). Too low (especially since I'm on metformin, a blood sugar lowering medication), and I feel sick. Too high and I feel starved, exhausted and more prone to flares of my fibromyalgia (high carb diet seems to trigger flares for a lot of people with fibromyalgia). I tried South Beach, but I found I needed a portion control component. I found that I could overeat "good" carbs almost as easily as bad ones. Following the plan, I didn't lose weight, but I didn't gain it either. When I reach goal, it might be a plan worth considering again.

I found a couple low carb exchange plans (the Duke Diet book and the hillbilly housewife website were my initial inspiration), so I modified it slightly for flexibility (I include a few optional exchanges so I have a bit more flexibility. I don't deliberately cycle, but there's about a 500 calorie discrepancy between my minimum and maximum exchanges).

I like the exchanges because it reminds me to keep my diet fairly balanced. My hubby noticed that I have a tendency when not keeping track to eat a very weird diet that's probably balanced overall, but will have days very skewed toward one food group, for example a mostly protein day, or a mostly vegetable day... (mostly vegetable days are bad, because I have IBS, and too many veggies can be very bad. A fat day would be just as bad). On my computer, I made my own worksheet/journal pages with exchange boxes to check off as I eat them, but there are exchange plans online where you can print out tools to make the exchange system easier. For example, tops.org has free deal-a-meal style cards you can print out and worksheet/journal pages with little boxes to check off the exchanges.

So, that's been my experience, for what it's worth. Even though I'm on an exchange plan, I don't see the plan as inherently superior to the other counting plans, but I do see counting plans in general as the place for most people to start. I'd generally recommend calorie counting and exchange plans over points, because there are more free online resources. If someone has no experience at all with a balanced diet, an exchange plan provides some of that balance (but that's also it's downfall. For folks used to an unbalanced diet, eating from food groups they've avoided, can be difficult.)
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Last edited by kaplods; 10-28-2008 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 10-28-2008, 03:41 PM   #6
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Oh I definitely agree with the "range" concept of calorie counting. I have my daily calorie goal set at 1500, but if I were to stress out about hitting that every day, I'd become a basket case. Practically I aim for between 1400 and 1600 calories and I try to eat more towards the low end if I know I've eaten towards the high end the previous day. 1500 is my "median" number ... and most days I'm around 1480-1560.

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Old 10-28-2008, 03:43 PM   #7
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I like WW because it's much easier to remember points IMO and the accountability can't be beat.
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Old 10-28-2008, 05:09 PM   #8
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Photo Chick

Did you ever figure out how many calories were in 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
popped? I love popcorn too and I was wondering what the cal. would be. I know when your counting WW points it is 2 pts for 1/4 cup kernels.

I live out here near Athens (North East) Sure is cold today!!! I do not like the cold!!

I noticed your goal weight is my goal weight. I am a little under 5'7 and I weigh 140 right now. I would love to get below 130 even if it was 129
I know it's just a number but the 120's sound good.

I did get to 129 last year when I did very low carb. I could only keep it at 129if I ate very little and what I did eat was low carb and lower fat. I was miserable!!!

I fell off the bandwagon in March and can't seem to get back on a program. I start one, then after a week I give up, and eat whatever.

Now I'm back up to 140. I do not like how I feel at 140.
I gain weight in my hips and fanny. I don't like how my pants look or feel when I'm over 137.

I was also exercising, but have stopped that because of being lazy about it.

I have 4 kids who I homeschool, and very busy. I am not a morning person so when I do exercise it's in the evening. But the evenings are when I do things I need to do or want to do. I know I need to get back. I like doing Leslie Sansone tapes. She has a new one out for the legs/thighs/fanny. I like her 4 mile boosted walk. When I did these I really toned up and lost my back end
That is the part I would like to lose the most.

My goal is to start exercising and STAY ON TRACK from Nov. 1st to Thanksgiving. Enjoy some thanksgiving food without counting and then get back on track the next day.

I don't know why I can't get back with it. Last year I did great from Sept. all the way to March. I even did perfect during the holidays.
Now it's like I can do great all day, then BOOM night time comes and I don't care what I eat. My weakness seems to be Ice Cream, chocolate, peanut butter, and cookies.
I buy the low fat and healthier versions for me (from Whole Foods) but I grab the high fat unhealthy ones that are my husbands or kids. Even though mine are right there, I would rather have the Moose Track Ice Cream

I know it's will power and it's all up to me and my choices. I just need to bite the bullet and decide to jump in and do it!!! Every night I keep telling myself I will start tomorrow and then I do great till night again.

Does anyone else have a problem with craving unhealthy things at night?
Better run, gotta go do math with my son
Cathy
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Old 10-28-2008, 05:49 PM   #9
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Night time is definitely my time for cravings, especially carbs. But, if I'm going to eat a high carb food (whether it's an on-plan high carb food, or something more junky) it's generally got to be early morning or late at night.

Early morning works for on-plan carbs. High fiber carbs like oatmeal stick with me, and tend not to cause out of control cravings. Less nutritious carbs tend to trigger intense cravings, so I try to avoid them all of the time, but if it's something I can't get out of my head, and I decide I'm going to go for it - I have better control if I have the high carb snack as late at night as possible (so I fall asleep before the urge to binge hits).

Playing with junky carbs, really is like playing with fire for me. I know I shouldn't do it at all, but sometimes the urge overwhelms my common sense. Like last week, I was craving a brownie so badly, it was all I could think about. The cocoa powdered almonds I got at Sam's club, just weren't doing it as a lower carb substitute, so I got a real brownie. From past experience I know that if I eat a sugary food any time before midnight, I'm going to end up eating a lot of stuff I shouldn't. But, if I wait until after I've taken my night meds and am starting to get drowsy, I can eat a sweet treat and fall asleep before any cravings hit. But the key is buying just one serving, doing it rarely, and I've got to already be sleepy enough to fall asleep shortly after eating it.

In essence, I really see this as not a terrific idea though. For me, it truly is playing with fire, or russian roulette may be a better analogy, and I think when I kick the sugar habit entirely, I'll feel alot better. My rationale isn't a healthy one, it's more akin to a smoker trying to kick the habit without going completely cold-turkey.
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Last edited by kaplods; 10-28-2008 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:06 PM   #10
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Kaplods,

Thanks for all your advice and suggestions!!!
I want to write a lot more, but I am on the way out the door, and will not be home till tomorrow afternoon. I am having a sleep study done at the hospital.
I will tell you more about that later

I love this site so far!! People actually respond to my post
I've been on other boards and I feel like I'm the only one on there.

"See y'all tomorrow"
Cathy
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Old 10-29-2008, 08:15 PM   #11
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I am a fan of Calorie counting but only because it works! I have lost 164 pounds since Jan 1st 2008 by counting calories and it really is easier than I thought it would be.

As far as the fat and only counting the calories, I would say yes and no as long as you don't go over your calorie limits it matters not where they come from, sort of lol , now that doesn't mean I would suggest eating lots of that mayo because too much fat is counter productive I don't really count the fat/carbs/protein that I eat but I do try and keep it equal, balanced and try to keep the fat as low as possible without cutting it out completely, but I do enjoy eating whatever I want for the most part and watch the calories mainly. I have days where I eat more carbs than protein and vice versa but it is not something that I keep a log of, its my belief that if our food is eaten in moderation and nice and balanced meaning something from all of the food groups spread throughout the day that our bodies respond accordingly, and thats whats worked for me so far for all 164 pounds that I have currently lost. that is why I am a firm believer in calorie counting

feel free to check out my blog, lots of times I list what I ate for a given day and its calories, link is in my sig. I wish you luck with your weight loss.

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Old 10-29-2008, 08:19 PM   #12
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calorie counting is the only diet that has ever worked for me! I've lost almost 40 pounds in the last couple of months doing it. Two questions to ask yourself when you choose..

1. Do I need the personal support of meetings?
2. Do I need to be able to feel like I can have what I want every once in a while without "cheating"?

To me, these are some of the key benefits of each plan. I love calorie counting because I don't feel like I have to use tons of "willpower" all the time. If I want something, say a cookie, I choose a lower cal one, work it into my day, and lose even more weight than with ww.
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Old 10-30-2008, 12:20 AM   #13
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Botzz
Your story is amazing!!! Way to go for sticking with it!! I will check out your blog. I like getting ideas of what people eat.

Kelly you are doing a great job too!!
Your questions were good. Number 1, I will not be attending WW meetings. And #2 yes I like treats
That is great you have lost that much weight in that short of a period.

Well my sleep study did not go well. I have to go back this Sat. night for a second night study. I had many episodes all throughout the night, and then there was one hour I stopped breathing 27 times. I do not snore, and I do not lay on my back. I breathe through my mouth, but my breathing is very shallow and slow. They said I dream A LOT, more than the average person. In my REM sleep is when I would stop breathing. I did not enjoy my stay
So if I don't pass Saturday night then I guess it's a CPAP machine for me.
If it makes me feel better during the day and keeps me awake when I drive, then I'm all for it.

I think I have decided on Calorie Counting instead of WW, at least for the first few weeks, so I can compare it to WW points, and see what fits my lifestyle the best.

Do you have any good websites that have recipes for "meals" like dinner with the calories already figured out? We have 6 in our family so I like everyone eating the same thing. I just find it hard to fix casseroles or crockpot items and know the calories per serving.

Any other tips that have helped you along your journey would be great.
How about when you go out to eat? How dependable are the nutrition facts that the restaurant gives?

Anyone ever figure out the calories in 1/4 cup popcorn kernels popped?

Thanks
Cathy
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Old 10-30-2008, 01:44 PM   #14
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Great information from everyone! I've done WW and calorie counting. On WW I found myself passing on healthier food choices to eat not so healthy stuff. Calorie counting is working for me!

Have a great day everyone.
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:11 PM   #15
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I have done the weight watchers point system in the past & currently I'm favoring counting calories. Weight watchers didn't work for me, I lost probably about 10 lbs, but it all came right back on when I stopped counting points. I've been calorie counting since mid Aug and have lost 32 lbs. It works a lot better for me! In the beginning I counted only calories. But that is bad for so many reason ( I didn't know that when I first started!) Now I belpong to DailyPlate.com. You can input your food into it, most foods are already input into the site, and it keeps track of calories, sodium, protien, fat, carbs, everything! It is a totally useful tool for me. I don't know how many grams of protein I'm supposed to eat in a day!! This gives you the % of the daily recommended value. I find it very useful! It isn't hard to do & takes only a few minutes to input a days worth of food. might be worth checking out! Either way you choose, stick with it & it will happen. Best of luck!
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