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Old 07-13-2013, 08:13 AM   #1
Lifestyle Changes
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Default Am I stuck on the idea of counting calories?

The thing about calorie counting that I like is that it's a numbers game. I know if I'm doing well or not because I counted.

I also tried an experiment where I quit counting calories and I just tried to eat homemade food to satisfaction but I ended up gaining weight because I was eating too much. My brain tells me to keep eating.

I can't honestly say I do know exactly when to stop eating. I'd like to know, of course. I know genuine hunger but I don't know genuine 'fullness', at least not very often.

Counting calories has always been my go-to, because I know how it works and I can make it work. Except it doesn't last. It doesn't last because I get tired.

My fear is that if I tried to eat to fullness I'd end up overeating because I can't tell when to stop.

What do you guys think about this? How many of you count calories/WW points? Have any of you lost significant weight by just eating less and eating healthier things? I know it can be done but for some reason I've got it in my mind that it wouldn't work for me.

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Old 07-13-2013, 08:30 AM   #2
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I have to calorie count because I'm small. If I just ate until I was full or every time I was hungry, even if I were doing it sensibly then I would almost definitely not be eating at a deficit. No deficit, no weight loss.

Even if I were eating homemade 'wholesome' or nutritious foods, it's very easy to pack in 300 calories worth of cheese or some other high calorie food in one meal without even knowing! It's easy to make unhealthy food at home
Personally I don't find eating to satisfaction a method to lose weight, but rather a method of maintenance, which even then must be controlled. For me, eating for weight loss means being restrictive, and yes I do get hungry, but to me some things are just a sacrifice I have to make in order to lose the weight. It's taken me a long time to get over that.

One cheese for every 5lbs gone forever!
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:31 AM   #3
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I've done well being "calorie aware" without actually counting anything. I keep a food journal and watch my portion sizes. For me, keeping on top of reasonable portion sizes and staying mindful throughout the day with the journal has been an enormous help. I still read labels and watch for nutrition info in all situations, and I don't rely on hunger cues or whether or not I feel full. Once when I'm done with my pre-determined portions, I'm done. Not sure this approach would've compatible with you but maybe it's something to consider? I hate counting calories myself so this saves me a lot of frustration.

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Old 07-13-2013, 09:48 AM   #4
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I am a confirmed calorie counter. I can't trust myself to limit portions and when I try to estimate I find I am eating much more than I think. I have found calorie counting works best for me.
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Old 07-13-2013, 10:02 AM   #5
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I do WW and calorie count just to verify how much I am eating. I WISH I was able on my own to Portion control. If I could I would be thin. I have to be accountable for everything that goes in my mouth or I would just gain!
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Old 07-13-2013, 10:08 AM   #6
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I have 4 or 5 go-to items for each meal. I know approximately how many calories they have, so I don't need to keep counting. When eating outside the home, I (usually) take the "calorie aware" approach.

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Old 07-13-2013, 10:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by showchinesecresteds View Post
I do WW and calorie count just to verify how much I am eating. I WISH I was able on my own to Portion control. If I could I would be thin. I have to be accountable for everything that goes in my mouth or I would just gain!
That is exactly how I feel.
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Old 07-13-2013, 10:21 AM   #8
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In my honest opinion, counting calories is probably the one of the best methods for weight loss, at least for myself. I am not as strict as I used to be though, I have a general idea of calories in what I have and the portion size since I have so much experience with calorie counting in the past lol

But definitely, counting calories is a great tool. You need a calorie deficit to lose weight, and counting calories will tell you if you met that deficit for the day.

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Old 07-13-2013, 10:55 AM   #9
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I've lost most of my weight without any counting, but by using portion control with a primarily whole foods approach. I use the following tricks:

-- smaller plates & bowls at meal time
-- when serving myself, I take a little less than I think is reasonable, unless it's raw vegetables; then I take more than I think is reasonable
-- don't go back for 2nds
-- don't eat after dinner; tell myself that "the kitchen is closed"
-- always have more raw fruits and vegetables than anything else during a meal or snack

Although I occasionally count calories, I find it really tedious since I make most of my own food, and never the same way twice, so figuring out the per serving calories for everything is never-ending.
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:37 PM   #10
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I'm a calorie counter. I HAVE to do it to keep myself on track.
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Old 07-13-2013, 02:04 PM   #11
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I count calories most days. Only on special occasions/holidays do I not count, and on those days I practice portion control. I've learned to judge how much I'm eating, and giving me that day every once in a while lets me gauge how well I'm doing at it.

I never let myself not count for more than a day because the longer you don't stick to plan, the harder it is to get started again. I want to lose weight more than I want the fleeting satisfaction of the food. I know there are going to be times where it's hard to stick to plan, but I'm not going to throw myself off the mountain if I eat more than I should for one day.

As I get closer towards maintenance (I have a long ways to go yet), I'll probably give myself a day every couple of weeks to practice portion control without counting, because I don't want to always count calories. I know it's something I'm going to continue to do throughout my life, but when I get to maintenance I want to be able to count maybe twice a week instead of every day, and be able to use good judgement the rest of the time.
Started Weight Watchers May 5th, 2013
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Old 07-13-2013, 02:27 PM   #12
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I don't have to count calories to lose, but I do pretty much have to count something. My preference is diabetic food exchanges, which is really a shorthand version of calorie counting with portion counting for six food groups.

It sounds more complicated than it is, but once you've become familiar with the exchanges, it's easier to remember food values than to remember specific calorie counts. For example most fruits come out to 1 fruit exchange and about 70 calories. Melon and berries are lower calorie, so you get more (for most berries you get about a cup. For strawberries you get 1.25 cup).

There are many printable exchange plan journal pages for exchange plans, and all you have to do is check off the boxes.

I've been experimenting with "The Simple Diet" right now, as I haven't been up to doing much food prep lately, because of pain and mobility issues flaring up.

It's a meal replacement plan of 3 shakes or soups, 2 entrees, and at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. Calorie, protein, and fat guidelines apply.

For me it boils down to counting something and documenting the count in my food journal. Those two things are my bottom line. I can do them, or I fail.
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Last edited by kaplods; 07-13-2013 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 07-13-2013, 03:22 PM   #13
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I'm a calorie counter, it's been my go to for the past 8 months

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Old 07-13-2013, 03:44 PM   #14
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I do WW points and calorie counting. You see, I'm broken when it comes to food. I just don't have a natural off switch. So, points/calories supplies me with an artificial off switch. Maybe some day, I'll be able to give it up but for right now, counting is what I need to do.
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Old 07-14-2013, 12:34 AM   #15
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I started out calorie counting, and I still keep mental estimates more often than not. However, after a few months of being completely wheat-free [because of an allergy] (and calorie-controlled and eating pretty healthy, but personally I think wheat made the most difference), I discovered a mental and physical off-switch for food that I never knew I had. Since then I can truly trust myself with food for the first time.

Good luck!

Last edited by Chronostasis; 07-14-2013 at 12:35 AM.
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