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is it true that its not what you eat, its how much?

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Old 05-01-2009, 09:28 AM   #1
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Question is it true that its not what you eat, its how much?

I've been sticking to a diet of between 1300 to 1500 calories a day without subtracting the calories i burn from exercise but its been three weeks and I haven't lost a pound. I have been trying to eat better, but it can be hard to get completely healthy food on a college campus so when I do eat stuff like pizza, I only have one slice of plain and I blot off as much of the grease as I can. How much of dieting is based on the foods you eat and how much is based on how much you eat?
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:43 AM   #2
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Science and nutritionists will tell you it is a calories in/calories out thing.
But most of us who have gained and lost over the years will tell you it is not that simple.
I find it easier to lose if I cut out certain foods (processed, simple carbs). For one they trigger binges in me and I find it easier to be full from proteins and veggies. Here again they will tell you you are just simply losing because you take in less calories if you cut out those carbs. But I do think in the long term it is easier for me and therefore I lose.

another thing is the fact that you may underestimate your calories if you eat pre-prepared foods. Sometimes it helps to weigh your food or to only eat stuff that is pre-portioned out to get a grip on calories. I for one started doing fitday and I was amazed how quickly I get to 1300 calories once I account for it... the first few days it was by lunchtime if I remember correctly.
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:51 AM   #3
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I find that it does boil down to calories in / calories out. I also think it is VERY easy to underestimate your calories as the pp mentioned, I tend to weigh all of my food and it is amazing how quickly you can get to your target # of calories for the day. Which, by default, encourages you to eat healthy things because they are lower in calories!

Pizza, is one of my major trigger foods (I ADORE it) so it's not a good choice for me. However, I do choose it sometimes, and I just expect that the scale will be up for a day or so, until I can drink enough water to flush my system. Same goes with anything high in sodium. So maybe if you are eating a lot of prepared foods, that could be partially the culprit?
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:58 AM   #4
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I agree with Linniet.
Though it does boil down to a relatively simple equation of energy needed, and then the defecit between that and what you take in, there are many factors which affect how much weight you will lose.
Definitely try and make up most of your calories from fruit and veggies, and lean proteins, and when eating Carbs, pick high fibre options.
Also, I find that lots of water really makes a difference, i try for at least 3 litres per day.
Don't forget about hidden calories in seemingly healthy options like fruit juice!

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Old 05-01-2009, 10:14 AM   #5
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Personally I have tried to diet that way and it didn't work for me. On WW I would eat anything I wanted which included lots of 100 calorie packs, ice creams, cakes, chips, etc. I stayed within my points but did I lose, nope. I find that when I watch my calories and what types of foods I eat I do much better. I ditto what the other poster said about eating refined carbs and such. I do better with a whole foods approach and watching my calories.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:17 AM   #6
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For me it does, in essence, boil down to calories in/calories out. But I have had to modify my food choices because certain foods have proved impossible to eat in a moderate fashion, thereby blowing the whole "calories in" part of the equation.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:20 AM   #7
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it's just hard because I live in a dorm on a college campus and there are healthy options that I try to stick to but there isn't a huge variety. I track all my calories using an app on my iPod which is with me all the time. a lot of the foods here they have labeled as far as calories go too. I'm going home for summer soon so maybe I can rething what foods make up my 1300 calories!
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:25 AM   #8
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I do better controlling my hunger eating a higher protein diet, with regularly spaced meals. However, it really is a case of maintaining a calorie deficit**. As others have said, when you don't prepare your own food it can be hard to make sure that your calorie counts are accurate. Sometimes it can be the little things that do you in, especially with prepared food (I'm assuming a cafeteria). Oil adds a lot of calories fast and you really don't know how much is used. I know the apples I buy are pretty consistent at 6 oz but it was only by weighing them that I got used to knowing what a 6 oz apple looks like.

- 6 oz apple - 92 cals
- 8 oz apple - 123 cals

Now I know, nobody likely got overweight from a single apple, but visually there isn't a lot of difference. Calorie-wise though it's 33% more. All you need to be is off about a few different things and they add up.


** I say this because I spent 5 months out of the country a few years back with almost no control over my meals (I could eat or not eat what was made for me), and managed to come home about 10 lbs lighter. In hindsight I should have packed a scale and could maybe have come back even lighter as I know I lost a lot at the start of the trip and then gained some of it back.
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:05 AM   #9
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The answer is, "within limits."

You can eat 1300 calories by having 13 tablespoons of butter. You won't feel happy with that, and it's not good nutrition.

People do best with a balance of nutrients, meaning carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Yes, some fats are essential.

One piece of pizza can be a lot of calories (around 300 or more) but not very filling. There must be other choices you could make, even on campus.

Yesterday I was away from home without any food. I stopped at a store because I was starving. Really bad planning on my part--but this store had a rack of snacks, most of them candies. All of them had about 220 calories. I chose the peanut butter crackers instead of the Skittles. I got half as many carbs, and a little bit of protein. That was the best choice of what was available. But in reality, I should have planned ahead better than I did.

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Old 05-01-2009, 11:11 AM   #10
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It is hard as a student, I know.

I guess you don't have access to a fridge do you?

There are a few things you can carry with you that are high in protein and helps to tide you over when you are starving and dont want to start eating junky carbs.
Tuna pouches work well. Once you open them you have to eat them in one go, I know, but even so it is just 220 calories and will fill you up. If it is very dry you can add some low fat mayo, you get those in packets too. Also, high protein bars - they are somewhat pricey and some of them pack about 350 calories but you can break them in two and have one piece. I have all these things in my purse....
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linniet View Post
Science and nutritionists will tell you it is a calories in/calories out thing.
But most of us who have gained and lost over the years will tell you it is not that simple.
I find it easier to lose if I cut out certain foods (processed, simple carbs). For one they trigger binges in me and I find it easier to be full from proteins and veggies. Here again they will tell you you are just simply losing because you take in less calories if you cut out those carbs. But I do think in the long term it is easier for me and therefore I lose.

another thing is the fact that you may underestimate your calories if you eat pre-prepared foods. Sometimes it helps to weigh your food or to only eat stuff that is pre-portioned out to get a grip on calories. I for one started doing fitday and I was amazed how quickly I get to 1300 calories once I account for it... the first few days it was by lunchtime if I remember correctly.
I agree with this. I've spent a lot of time losing weight and lose better/faster when I make smart food choices over poor food choices, no matter that the calories are low. It was an eye-opener to me when I lost 2.6 lbs in one week, instead of .2 or .4 lbs, when I changed my lunch to include salad.

That said, I'm currently reading "The Eat-Clean Diet" by Tosca Reno, and she says don't calorie count, just eat right. I don't think I can do that... too paranoid
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:20 AM   #12
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You've been given good solid advice in this thread. I'm just going to prattle to reinforce some of it

Counting calories appealed to me because I could eat whatever I wanted. All I had to do was account for it. During that process, I learned the nutritional values of food and gradually my intake became much healthier.

Healthy weight loss is a learn as you go journey.

Also, you have to work with what you've got. Financially we're able to eat lovely fresh foods most of the time but we do eat canned vegetables and packed food some of the time. It's what I can afford.
For you, it's a matter of what's available. You may just have to hang in there until you get home, where I assume you'll have a wider variety to choose from.

I'm going to off on a tangent here ... and it's mostly my thinking so anybody can jump in and say what they think, please.
I think there are several stages to weight loss. In the begining we cut back our food and start moving more and the fat begins to melt. As we draw closer to a thin, fit weight ... the minutiae of nutrients and macronutrients becomes more pertinent because we are working on a smaller frame in order to build a sturdy network of bone, muscle and healthy fat.
When we hear fitness gurus extolling the importance of 40/40/20% and circuits and intervals, it is good, it is noteworthy but I think it's like an advanced class.

Is this coming out very clearly?

Training like an athlete is not a different process ... it's just several stages away from losing the first five pounds. I don't think the stages are exclusive. Lots of folks start by running, cutting back fats and adding protein. And I don't think the same tweaks work the same for all people. I eat way less carbs than a lot of folks do.

I think that since you're already mindful of what and how much you eat, you'll do very well once you're home. And I wouldn't be surprised to hear that your jeans are fitting differently even though the scale isn't moving.
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:28 AM   #13
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i always say eat waht u want in moderation so onlt eat the bad stuff as a treat. dont totally deprive yourself. And eat healthy. But also have portion control. Best way i find to do this is eat slowly and you will be full by the end of your meal , and if that doesnt work have your own plate a little smaller that your average dinner plate. you will soon get used to these portion sizes as your stomach shrinks. I find calorie counting to controling and demanding to my life. I like a more laid back approach so find eating the right foods and portion control works for me and im not constantly on edge worring about calories.
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:43 AM   #14
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Food you eat out of the house has a lot more calories than you think, and even more than they report on their websites. They've done studies of the food in restaurants and when they analyze it in a lab it always has more calories than they report. I imagine you are eating more than you think. Also, lots of studies show that almost everybody underestimates how many calories they are eating. That's why it's important to journal every bite you eat! And the little bites here and there count!
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:47 AM   #15
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You've gotten a lot of great advice. My only question is how much are you exercising? If you're really sticking between 1300-1500 calories, it's POSSIBLE that you need more calories, if you are burning off a lot. If your body isn't getting enough calories, it will hold on to what it is getting, and you won't lose weight.
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