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Starting to count calories this week

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Old 05-25-2014, 01:06 PM   #1
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Default Starting to count calories this week

I've only started dieting, seriously, about a week ago. I set up a mini goal for last week, and stuck to all of it. I'm feeling like a million dollars, not just because I was able to give up on some of the things I know are unhealthy for me, but because I actually stuck through with it, even when I really didn't want to (even took the dog for a walk in the rain because I knew I wouldn't get my walk in that day if I didn't)

This week starts the hard work. I'm going to add a little more exercise in this week, and TRY to start counting calories (I honestly have never even paid attention to calories before). This is going to be a challenge to keep track of. I've stopped going out to eat, so much, and have started to cook for myself, but I feel like that's even harder to keep track of the calories. At least if I go out I can look up online how many calories are in a dish on the menu. As for cooking at home; how am I going to figure out how many calories are in a homemade pasta sauce, or a pot of soup?
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Old 05-25-2014, 01:15 PM   #2
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It's definitely a pain at first, but it gets easier! You start becoming very aware of portion sizes and you'll start accumulating a database of calories in various foods you use often, but the initial looking up everything can be a pain at first. So, your first week will probably be a lot of work looking up the calories in all the ingredients of your home cooking, but the second week you'll have those initial look ups to refer back to, so it's a bit easier.

If you'd like to use a calorie counting website/app, I recommend MyFitnessPal. I tend to eat a lot of the same thing (my fruit is always strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, and I tend to eat the same 5-6 vegetables through the week and 2 types of meat), so it's easy for me to choose the calorie entry from previous entries. It also has a recipe feature where you can enter the ingredients for a meal you make often and can then start referring to that meal rather than the individual ingredients.

When I first started counting calories I used pen and paper though, and that worked just fine too!

I would also recommend you consider investing in a food scale. Measuring non-liquids using tablespoons and cups is not as accurate as following the weight of the food. For example, if a serving size of oatmeal is half a cup, or 40 grams, if you weigh out 40 grams it's typically less than if you had measured with a half cup. It'll also give you a good education on portion sizes, rather than trying to eyeball how big 3 oz of meat is.
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Old 05-25-2014, 02:49 PM   #3
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I love my fitness pal, it makes things easy.
I will recommend that you don't go to low in how many calories you allow yourself. I have just started back to counting calories and in the past I have gone to low and I was starving, so it was easy to give up. Try to eat good healthy food and don't let your self get totally crazed with hunger.
Good luck.
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Old 05-25-2014, 02:54 PM   #4
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MyFitnessPal is good, and I like The Daily Plate on Livestrong personally. Seconding what atmos said on weighing and measuring - I actually own 2 full sets of measuring cups and spoons as well as a food scale so I can always measure my portions if I need to.

Having two sets was important at first because I was measuring everything and so my cups were always dirty. Now I have a lot of tupperware containers where I know the volume and know that, for example, if I fill one halfway with strawberries and halfway with yogurt, its 4 oz of fruit and 4 oz of yogurt.
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Old 05-25-2014, 03:48 PM   #5
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Ooh I didn't know about the recipe feature on mfp...I need that!!
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Old 05-25-2014, 10:25 PM   #6
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I'm just starting to calorie count to. The only time I had *real* success with weight loss was when I was counting. Boy, was it a pain. But now smartphones exist...

Jessica has great advice
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsmejessica View Post
I will recommend that you don't go to low in how many calories you allow yourself. I have just started back to counting calories and in the past I have gone to low and I was starving, so it was easy to give up.
I'll second this. It's a very important point! It's important that this be sustainable and works in your daily life. You might lose weight slower, but you're more likely to (a) stick with it and (b) keep off the weight you lose.

My first go around with calorie counting I tried to stay in the 1000-1200 calorie range every day. I dropped weight fairly quickly, but I put all that weight back on again. Then lost it. Then put it back on.

This go around I'm trying to stick between 1520 and 1900 (I'm short with not much left to lose). The weight loss is going very slowly, but my hope is that I won't put it back on once again.
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:49 PM   #8
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I use sparkpeople.com to log my food. They have a recipe calculator and I use that a lot because I make pretty much everything from scratch and I love to try new recipes.
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Old 05-26-2014, 02:37 PM   #9
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Thanks so much everyone for the advise. It's going to be rough at first, but I think counting calories is really the way to go. I purchased a small food scale today on Amazon, and I've downloaded the Arise app to my phone to keep everything in check. I've also started looking up the calories in all of the foods I normally eat so I can start trying to figure out how many calories are in my meals. Gonna be a long week.
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Old 05-26-2014, 03:10 PM   #10
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EllyM I've found I actually like weighing and measuring food and adding up the calories But I'm weird like that.
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Old 05-26-2014, 03:57 PM   #11
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congrats! I like how you conquered the first mini goal the first week, and 'felt like a million dollars' achieving it! and that gave you confidence to move on! And congrats on getting the scale!

For when you are going to make a homemade sauce or soup or chili, it will take a little effort the first time, but then follow your exact recipe each time and you'll know..you'll need to assemble all your ingredients, look up the total calories in everything (not just the 'serving size' but the whole can/container/item) and record those numbers..then cook your sauce/soup; then you will need to portion it out completely til it's all gone. Count how many servings you got; then divide the total calories number by the portion number. Did that make sense?
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Old 05-27-2014, 12:36 PM   #12
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Yea cupcake, that makes sense, but what a pain in the rear. Oh well.

So I'm a big fan of cooking everything for the week in one day. That way I don't have to worry about what I'm going to eat at night when I get home. I'm guessing instead of putting everything in big tuperware containers I can portion them out into single portion containers, and then write the calories of the meal on the container.

Maybe I should invite pinkpowerranger over on cooking day and let her handle all of the counting ;-)
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:58 PM   #13
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EllyM, that's what I do. I make an entire meal and portion it into small containers to freeze. It makes calorie counting very, very easy because once you add the calories for your ingredients and portion it out, you can label each one with the calorie count depending on how many portions you get.

Another option is to look for recipes that already have calorie counts so you can just divide into the number of portions recommended.
www.skinnytaste.com, www.cookinglight.com, www.eatingwell.com, www.slenderkitchen.com, www.skinnymom.com
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EllyM View Post
Yea cupcake, that makes sense, but what a pain in the rear. Oh well.

So I'm a big fan of cooking everything for the week in one day. That way I don't have to worry about what I'm going to eat at night when I get home. I'm guessing instead of putting everything in big tuperware containers I can portion them out into single portion containers, and then write the calories of the meal on the container.

Maybe I should invite pinkpowerranger over on cooking day and let her handle all of the counting ;-)
LOL, the pain in the rear will = a smaller rear

I will also check out the links Munchy provided for already calorie-counted meals.

The fact that you want to cook everything for the week in one day is awesome!! I found relatively inexpensive small containers/lids at our local dollar store. A small investment.
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Old 05-28-2014, 05:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EllyM View Post
Yea cupcake, that makes sense, but what a pain in the rear. Oh well.

So I'm a big fan of cooking everything for the week in one day. That way I don't have to worry about what I'm going to eat at night when I get home. I'm guessing instead of putting everything in big tuperware containers I can portion them out into single portion containers, and then write the calories of the meal on the container.

Maybe I should invite pinkpowerranger over on cooking day and let her handle all of the counting ;-)
Hehe gladly-I pretend I'm doing science experiments
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