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Need your opinions PLEASE! Do I HAVE to count cals?

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Old 04-26-2012, 11:30 AM   #1
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Exclamation Need your opinions PLEASE! Do I HAVE to count cals?

Doubt is creeping in to my "logic" and I need to hear the truth and I know you all will give it to me! I seriously do want 100% honesty!

It's been about 6 weeks since I started now; I started this round at 219.8 lbs. The first 2 weeks I counted calories diligently, but I was starting to get obsessed with the numbers as I always do when I count, it was taking up hours of my time as I would recalculate every meal before I ate it to get the optimum amount of calories. Then I did a 7 day challenge that was all veggies and some protein to kind of cleanse and detox myself off of processed foods because that's what I overeat, that's what triggers me, so I want to try to stay away from that kind of food as much as possible.

It's been a week and a half since that ended and since then I've just been eating healthy (lots of veggies: probably 5 - 9 servings/day, some fruits: 1 - 4 servings/day, lean protein: 3 times/day usually like eggs/eggwhites, chicken, fish, tofu. nuts: 1-2 times/day, and fats like EVOO and Coconut oil 1 - 2 servings/day and trying to stay away from grains because that is also a trigger for me) and not counting calories., but I still weigh portion sizes with the exceptions of veggies. I have slipped once food wise (eating processed foods) and 2 other days I know I went over the calories I try to aim for. I also decided to try Eat Stop Eat this week, I did my first fast Sunday and today is my 2nd. I joined a gym Sunday and have finally been working out steadily (although I realize it hasn't even been a week, steady exercise has been missing until now), cardio and weight training. Also I drink at least a gallon of water per day, and have cut out coffee for green tea because coffee was upsetting my stomach come to find out.

Ok, so here's my question: am I fooling myself into thinking it's possible to NOT count calories and still lose weight? I really really really don't want to have to count!!! But do I just need to bite the bullet?

I weigh daily and haven't lost at all in about 2 weeks, I go up to about 206.8 and back down to 205. I probably just need to put the scale away because it's starting to get in my head. But I really am wondering if it's just a silly scale thing or if I am doing something to not lose weight.

I am annoyed with myself for even asking this because I feel silly. But help me please. I really am in a place where I'm willing to do whatever needs to be done to be healthy, and lose weight, so I don't want to make any excuses for myself or get in my own way! Do I just need to chill the heck out or does something need to change?
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:37 AM   #2
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No, you don't have to count calories but IMO you will have better success if you do.
I plan my meals for the day staying within my calorie allotment. I do not have to think about each meal when I sit down to eat as I have already counted my calories for each meal. Once you get used to planning your daily menus you will find it doesn't take that long, I spend about 5 minutes a day planning my meals. In the evening I plan my meals for the next day . If I am unable to do that I do it early in the morning. When I got up this morning I knew exactly what I will be eating today. I don't think that is obsessive, just smart planning.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:39 AM   #3
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yep.

until you retrain your eating habits, you have to measure and count everything.

but seriously - plan your food out the day before, make sure you've weighed everything properly, and don't go recounting and recounting. your body isn't THAT concerned with +/- a few calories here and there. you might even consider preparing your food the day before and keeping them in the fridge in containers labelled "breakfast", "lunch", "dinner", etc - and then you don't have to keep reworking and recalculating.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:41 AM   #4
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you don't HAVE to. i lost weight without counting calories, and just trying to eat healthier, but it did help a lot more when i did count them & had a food journal just so i could be sure of what i was eating.

how did you count them before? there's lots of apps/websites you could use (if you haven't yet), that make counting calories really easy & fast.

maybe if you don't want to count or be strict about it, you should at least keep track of what you're eating though. it will help a lot in the long run.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:52 AM   #5
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@delyn - I had been using sparkpeople.com, and I do really like that website.

I guess it will be a matter of planning and counting and leaving it at that and not letting it consume my day!
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Old 04-26-2012, 12:50 PM   #6
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You absolutely do not have to count calories.

You do need to limit your calories one way or another because contrary to popular mythology calories are the reason one gains or loses fat.

Thus, if you do not want to count calories you will need to follow some strict rules instead. What those rules are is really up to you.

I typcially suggest that people who do not want to count calories follow strict Paleo because when you're eating meat and vegtables only it is going to be pretty difficult to over eat. However South Beach or Atkins are other low carb diets that also tend to make it difficult to go to high on the calories as well and have a little more flexibility on food choices.

Counting calories allows for one to be quite flexible in food choices but if you're going to obsess than it is counter productive.

I haven't counted calories for about 18 months and I've been able to maintain but I haven't been able to get to my goal weight either. I did count calories for over a year straight so I have a reasonable idea of how many calories various foods have and I don't eat many calorie dense foods like pizza except on rare occasion.

Feel free to experiment a little and find what will work for you.

Side note: there is no benefit to doing any kind of a clense or detox diet.
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Old 04-26-2012, 12:54 PM   #7
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@JohnP - I'm glad you commented! I did gain a benefit from the "detox diet" in that I realized how much better I felt not eating crappy foods, so in that sense it was beneficial for me, but I see what you are saying. I will give counting another shot and see if I can do it without getting obsessed. If not I will just have to consider going Paleo. Thanks for you feedback!
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Old 04-26-2012, 12:54 PM   #8
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I would also shoot for a range if it's messing with you so much. Between 1400-1600 (just as an example) is a lot more flexible than 1500 exactly every single day. You're doing great with all of the healthy choices food/exercise wise. Keep it up!
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:06 PM   #9
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@JohnP - I'm glad you commented! I did gain a benefit from the "detox diet" in that I realized how much better I felt not eating crappy foods, so in that sense it was beneficial for me, but I see what you are saying.
I understand what you're saying but the benefit you gained was not from the "detox diet" it was from eliminating crappy processed foods. There is a big difference.

It reminds me of when people talk about how much better they feel when they started eating a vegetarian or vegan diet. When you ask what they were eating before it was donuts, cheeseburgers, fries and other processed garbage.

It's not eliminating meat that made them feel better it was eliminating all the garbage.

(Sorry for the rant this is just a little pet peeve of mine ...)
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:11 PM   #10
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I understand. And you are right! I have little things that peeve me as well, so I get it.
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:25 PM   #11
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I agree with most other posters here. You dont have to count calories but if you aren't eating maintence or less your going to gain weight. And if you aren't consuming less calories than you burn you are not going to lose any weight. I have lost weight in the past not counting calories at all. But I had to eat a very strict diet. Like John mentioned, if you are only non starchy fruits veggies and lean protien then its very difficult to eat too may calories. And when I stuck to a strict diet I lost weight a few times in the past, and the loss was successful.

The reason I am counting calories this time is the same reason I am back here and needing to lose weight again. I couldn't transisition to maintenence mode because I didn't know how to limit the unhealthy foods. I know now, from numerous losses and gains, that I can't successfully eat only clean healthy lower G.I. foods all the time. I wish I could, and maybe someday I will get to where I do (I hope so because I believe its the best thing for my health). So this time since I am counting calories, eating something processed or unhealthy doesn't mean uts a loss and I may as well throw in the towel on the day. I feel better, feel more full, and am more successful at meeting my calorie goal when I only eat good nourishing foods, but since I can eat crap and still stay on plan in sorts, well I think this way has more staying power for me. I hope .

Good luck and I hope you find a way that works for you!
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnP View Post
I understand what you're saying but the benefit you gained was not from the "detox diet" it was from eliminating crappy processed foods. There is a big difference.

It reminds me of when people talk about how much better they feel when they started eating a vegetarian or vegan diet. When you ask what they were eating before it was donuts, cheeseburgers, fries and other processed garbage.

It's not eliminating meat that made them feel better it was eliminating all the garbage.

(Sorry for the rant this is just a little pet peeve of mine ...)
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:32 PM   #13
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You don't have to count calories, but unless you reduce your caloric intake you won't lose weight.

Like JohnP suggested, a restricted diet like Paleo is a great way to lose weight without counting calories because it's REALLY HARD to overeat on it. Trust me, I went Primal for a while (which is a close cousin to Paleo) and I had a hard time getting all of my calories in to maintain. If I were to not count calories on it I would have lost weight easy.

If you don't want to restrict WHAT you can eat then you have to be accountable somehow. If you don't like calorie counting, you can try an exchange plan. I don't know much about them, but other members have had success with them.
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:33 PM   #14
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To the OP: No, you don't have to count calories, but you must be mindful of what you are eating in some fashion, as others have stated. SBD, McDougall, and the WW simply filling technique all have livable plans that limit the types of food you can eat, but do not require calorie counting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnP View Post
I understand what you're saying but the benefit you gained was not from the "detox diet" it was from eliminating crappy processed foods. There is a big difference.

It reminds me of when people talk about how much better they feel when they started eating a vegetarian or vegan diet. When you ask what they were eating before it was donuts, cheeseburgers, fries and other processed garbage.

It's not eliminating meat that made them feel better it was eliminating all the garbage.

(Sorry for the rant this is just a little pet peeve of mine ...)
JohnP, I respectfully disagree. Many people do, indeed, feel better from the simple elimination of animal products, with no other variables. I, myself, have been a vegetarian for over a decade and recently cut out dairy products and have noticed a huge difference for the better.

TETO, YMMV, etc.
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:38 PM   #15
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Right now I am eating mainly veg, some fruits, lean meats, some nuts, and some oils (EVOO and Coconut); I'm not very familiar with Paleo but it seems along those lines from what little I've read in the past 20 minutes? I haven't been eating any grains or legumes, wait are peas a legume? Anyway, I wouldn't mind tightening up my diet as to avoid the calorie counting especially if I'm basically eating along the lines of Paleo anyway (just googled Paleo food list).
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