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Waning off of calorie counting?

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Old 07-07-2011, 11:03 AM   #1
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Question Waning off of calorie counting?

Hey 3FCers,

I started on here about a month ago and have been fairly faithful to calorie counting through FitDay. I'm not really a binger or emotional eater, so I think my problem is mostly portion control and a diet nutritionally insufficient. However, I never intended for calorie counting to become a permanent lifestyle, just a way to learn a bit more about what a normal sized meal looks like.

I read "The End of Overeating" by David Kessler and thought it was really great. He seems extremely qualified and knows first hand about weight loss, and he said he had seen only one woman who had lost significant weight through calorie counting and kept it off for a long time (I think it was 10 years). I can totally understand how regaining could happen to calorie counters as it demands a lot of attention (and I feel this way after only a month!). I'm 21 and I don't want to spend the next 50 or 60 years logging calories. I just want to learn how to live and eat well without having to measure or calculate everything. I do intend to keep logging my food in some way, even if its just writing it down in a notebook.

Has anyone gone from calorie counting to a more intuitive eating plan focused on portion control and balanced nutrition? I am trying to but I still have numbers in the back of my mind tallying everything I eat.


I'll just add - I don't mean to insult anyone calorie counting, I really do think it works to get the weight off. But for me, it requires too much attention to detail and I don't have the right mindset or personality for it.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:27 AM   #2
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I don't agree with David Kessler, many people calorie count and keep it off for long periods of time. I still calorie count and have maintained for about 3 1/2 years. It becomes a way of life, not tedious at all. I think of it the same way as my checking account I just have so many dollars/calories to spend. As for attention to detai, it was the lack of attention to detail that brought me to over 200 pounds.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:36 AM   #3
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Here's my experience, for what it's worth.

I've lost weight several times before. In my past attempts, I counted/logged calories for a few weeks and then stopped. I was able to continue losing weight successfully for another couple months. So yes, it's possible to lose weight eating intuitively. However, after those couple months, I stopped doing it and went back to doing all the things I had been doing wrong and regained. So this time, I'm not stopping, in an effort to keep myself making the right kind of decisions.
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:02 PM   #4
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Calorie counting demands a lot of attention? Really? I mean, yeah, when you first start there's a bit of a learning curve, but I devote 5 minutes (that's a very generous estimate) a day on it, and most of that time is spent figuring out what we're going to eat for dinner... which I'd be doing anyway.

I am sure intuitive eating works in theory, but it seems to me that if it were going to work for someone, the person wouldn't have become overweight/obese in the first placed.

Of course, different plans work for different people. Do whatever is going to help you.
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:13 PM   #5
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One Pound At A Time -- that says it all.

I think most of us have been on so many different programs over the years that we've learned about counting calories and counting carbs, etc. We know from all of our experiences what works best for us. I've stepped away from counting, journaling, etc. But I know what healthy eating is and I haven't stepped away from that. Using common sense - good food selections, portion control - that's what works. Remember, we have to eat every day of our life, and for me, I can't imagine counting calories and journaling for the rest of my life.

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Old 07-07-2011, 01:40 PM   #6
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I HAPPILY have done so successfully! I'm 44 yrs old and my most recent weight gain was brought on by quitting a 20+ yr long habit of cigarette smoking. I gained 60 lbs in one year. Out of my 44 yrs of life, I have have normal to low BMI for about 42 of those years so I think that would qualify me as a successful maintainer.

That said...in prior years, although a healthy BMI, I didn't have correct knowledge of nutrition, etc believing that certain foods were the enemy (namely...carbs!!!) I've been through every sort of diet, and even suffered with a mild form of body dismorphia (undiagnosed). I thought I was fat, when in fact I was 138lbs!!!

My most recent 9 month weight loss stint (calorie counting) has taught me that 1) no food is OFF LIMIT; 2) how to listen to my body and eat in moderation and 3) the scale is only 1 measure of success...the mirror, how your clothes fit and your naked reflection are more important measures! YOWZA!. There were many other lessons calorie counting has taught me, but I am here to attest that you can actually GRADUATE from calorie counting into simply portion control with absolute joyous success!
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:41 PM   #7
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Just as we all chose/choose different methods to lose weight, we can choose different methods to maintain the weight loss. Whether its effective is a different matter.

That being said, if intuitive eating works for you - do it. If calorie counting works - then do that. Each person's experience is different, each persons success is different. There is no wrong way or right way to this thing. Do what work for YOU.

I know what works for me and I am sticking to it like glue cuz there is no way I want to be FAT again!
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:49 PM   #8
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I should start off by saying that I have not done this, so my post is not exactly about being experienced with this particular transition.

We have to find what works for us on the long term. Something working means we can live with it, and it helps us lose weight/maintain depending on our goals. We won't know if something we're interested in will work or won't work until we try it.

However, I would keep in mind that vigilance is still likely necessary even for transitioning to a less restrictive type of plan. You might even want to evaluate after a month. Or maybe you'll find a happy balance between the two.

I just wanted to wish you the best with what you decide and hope it works for you!
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Old 07-07-2011, 04:56 PM   #9
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I just don't buy stuff that are a nightmare to count, like take-away food.
Most things from the super market have labels on them anyways in our days, so it isn't really that hard or time consuming.
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:28 PM   #10
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Counting calories has never really worked for me, per se. I tend to go by how my clothes fit, particularly my swimsuits. The looking good in a swimsuit is the gold standard for me, lol. Measuring food on a scale and plugging numbers into a calculator seems boring and a big waste of time IMO. I just try to eliminate the white refined flour and sugar and up my intake of clean food like: fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plenty of water. But everyone's different in their approach. I say, whatever works for you.
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:56 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for your input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bac0s View Post
I am sure intuitive eating works in theory, but it seems to me that if it were going to work for someone, the person wouldn't have become overweight/obese in the first placed.
I disagree - I think many people here are stellar examples of how much we can change the way we eat and the way we think about food.


Quote:
Originally Posted by noregrets4me View Post
Using common sense - good food selections, portion control - that's what works. Remember, we have to eat every day of our life, and for me, I can't imagine counting calories and journaling for the rest of my life.

Mary
This really resonated with me! Since counting calories is not feeling quite right, I'm worried I won't stick with it through maintenance even if I get to goal by counting. Journaling is working for me now, but I think it's meant to just create awareness and accountability for what you're eating and after a few months or a year of journaling, I think I should be reprogrammed when it comes to being honest about what I've eaten in a day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunflower75 View Post
When I sit down to eat dinner, I can just focus on the conversation and enjoying my food instead of staring at my plate and calculating. When I go out to eat or on vacation, I don't have to worry about trying to find the calorie information, I can just enjoy myself.
This is what I'm hoping to reach eventually. I know in the beginning, it's important to be diligent about your plan but eventually (hopefully!) becomes normal and not something you need to think a lot about (but not forget about either).

Quote:
Originally Posted by joyfulloser View Post
There were many other lessons calorie counting has taught me, but I am here to attest that you can actually GRADUATE from calorie counting into simply portion control with absolute joyous success!
Thank you for your post!! Very encouraging to know someone has done it successfully. It sounds like you spent a LOT more time counting than I did - perhaps I need to just pay my dues to calorie counting before graduating to eyeballing portions and maintaining.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chubbykins View Post
I just don't buy stuff that are a nightmare to count, like take-away food.
Most things from the super market have labels on them anyways in our days, so it isn't really that hard or time consuming.
You're right about it being a nightmare - eating anywhere but home is really tough for counting. I look at labels in the grocers and try not to buy anything bad so that at least if I over do it, I'm hopefully over doing it on not-awful stuff.
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Old 07-07-2011, 08:09 PM   #12
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If you're already burned out from counting calories, I think it is wise of you to search for another way to lose / maintain your weight. Usually the first few months of any program are the "honeymoon" period, so your disilllusionment at this stage indicates that you need another program. Years ago (in my 20s), I lost tons of weight by restricting myself to just three, one-plate (no seconds) meals a day. I allowed myself only fruit inbetween. I ate that way for two years, and I got down to the lowest weight of my adult life. However, I was too strict: Unless I went out to dinner or was on vacation, I NEVER allowed myself any sweets (and they're my weakness). I fell off the wagon two years in and regained all my weight and then some.

As for Kessler's point about calorie counting, I'll bet he could look at any number of other programs and find similar dismal statistics for how many people have kept off the weight over the longterm.

I like calorie counting because I've realized over the years that I am a POOR, poor judge of . . . almost anything to do with weights, portions, measures, etc. I tend to either underestimate or, more frequently, actually overestimate the calories in something. When I do that, I feel deprived and hungry because I don't eat enough, and that eventually leads to overeating.

At least when I calorie count, I know when I can "afford" a treat at night. If I was just "watching" what I eat, I can't seem to discern what is meant by a treat "once in a while." I tried intuitive eating a few times and failed miserably each time.

I think that regardless of which plan you follow, people who have a weight problem are generally always going to have to be more aware and focused on food than those who are "naturally" thin.
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Old 07-07-2011, 08:48 PM   #13
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I do calorie counting. I have been working on it for about 6 weeks now. The first few weeks though weren't as structured as now. However, I still give myself a day off from counting. Even if I'm not going to eat out or eat anything crazy bad. I just take the day off from counting and see how I do.
My rules that day are: Don't weigh anything. Eat how I want to. I still eat a healthy breakfast and snacks. I just don't worry about it.
That kinda keeps me goin and also is a way to learn how to eat without calorie counting. Kinda test yourself out and see how it goes.
I think tomorrow will be my day to not count :P

Oh and sometimes I will do it for a few days depending on how I feel. Sometimes I get a bit obsessive.

I don't know, this might help you out!

I also loved some of the points in here!! Thanks guys!!
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdiprincess View Post
I do calorie counting. I have been working on it for about 6 weeks now. The first few weeks though weren't as structured as now. However, I still give myself a day off from counting. Even if I'm not going to eat out or eat anything crazy bad. I just take the day off from counting and see how I do.
My rules that day are: Don't weigh anything. Eat how I want to. I still eat a healthy breakfast and snacks. I just don't worry about it.
That kinda keeps me goin and also is a way to learn how to eat without calorie counting. Kinda test yourself out and see how it goes.
I think tomorrow will be my day to not count :P

Oh and sometimes I will do it for a few days depending on how I feel. Sometimes I get a bit obsessive.

I don't know, this might help you out!

I also loved some of the points in here!! Thanks guys!!
What an awesome idea! I think this would be a good way to "train" myself to get better at recognizing what is "normal." Even though I believe I will always have to calorie count to some extent, I would like moderate eating to become more second nature than it is now. I may give this a try to see how it goes. Thanks!

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Old 07-08-2011, 09:14 PM   #15
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I have just started calorie counting (and plan to combine it with IF).

For me, calorie counting has been a real eye opener. It has made me aware of what and how much I eat, since I need to know this to determine how many calories I am taking in.

It is surprising to me how many calories are in some foods!!

Now, I am not overly strict with my counting...if I happen to go a little over one day I will just adjust to a little less the next.

And personally, I find it empowering to know how many calories I am putting in my body. I don't really find it restrictive....if I really decide I must have that mochafrappacino, I will still have it, but it is with the knowledge and conscious acceptance of that choice.
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