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Why did you choose calorie counting? & some other questions

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Old 12-04-2013, 11:10 PM   #1
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Default Why did you choose calorie counting? & some other questions

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.
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Old 12-07-2013, 02:18 AM   #2
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Old 12-07-2013, 07:52 AM   #3
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I combine calorie counting with exercise and eat the foods I like because I'm both fussy and lazy. 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. 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
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:34 AM   #4
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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.
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Old 12-07-2013, 01:43 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 12-07-2013, 03:13 PM   #6
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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. 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!
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:19 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:29 AM   #8
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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.
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Old 12-08-2013, 01:04 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:14 PM   #10
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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!
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Old 12-10-2013, 01:30 AM   #11
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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.
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Old 12-10-2013, 02:04 AM   #12
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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 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.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tefrey View Post
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.

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Old 12-10-2013, 06:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paisleymama View Post
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.
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:09 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tilly5 View Post

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!
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