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The word "diet" and calorie counting

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Old 06-03-2014, 09:40 AM   #31
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To be honest, on the way down and especially at the beginnng it was a diet. I cut drastically and with full focus and energy and I am glad that I did because those pounds that shifted fast really motivated me. A year plus on, I am still trying to lose the last few pounds but my diet really isn't an exercise in restriction any more. Yes, I count calories but I eat much more balanced so that I eat quite a lot.

What I have learnt, is that this whole game is a law of averages. It's not so much what you do one day or another but how everything shapes up over weeks, months and years based on how your body works. So a bad meal here and there is not going to make much difference. Nor is a concerted effort to cut calories that only lasts a few weeks. Which is why I have strongly come to dislike branded diets because they don't teach you much about what to do when you've finished with them, lost the weight and need to maintain.

So diet to lose. Make a lifestyle change to maintain. And don't let any day freak you out mentally on what will need to be a long journey of getting the averages right.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:15 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by IanG View Post

What I have learnt, is that this whole game is a law of averages. It's not so much what you do one day or another but how everything shapes up over weeks, months and years based on how your body works.

... Make a lifestyle change to maintain. And don't let any day freak you out mentally on what will need to be a long journey of getting the averages right.
Well said.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:17 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by IanG View Post
So diet to lose. Make a lifestyle change to maintain. And don't let any day freak you out mentally on what will need to be a long journey of getting the averages right.
This!

Re comments about cliches, omg I need to go back and do some editing I always refer to weight loss journey because it was just that for me. Weight maintenance, on the other hand, is more like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. They're distinct, imo, because weight loss is more goal-oriented. Even if you adopt the same WOE for both, there is a mental endpoint to weight loss while maintenance is "forever", until death anyway.

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Old 06-03-2014, 11:48 AM   #34
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I like to think of it as a healthy lifestyle change. Mostly because I think for me it is so much more then just food. Its probably 80% mental! I am changing far more then just my diet.

I LOVE calorie counting. I lost most of my weight & got to my lowest weight counting calories. I think it taught me alot more about nutrition, what is in food, and to pay attention. I also think it is just so easy to guess wrong about the food you are eating.

But I just recently started over after a big fall out. I decided I just can not count calories right now. I have anxiety disorder and it really causes me to dwell on every small aspect far too much. I get overwhelmed, feel like I am doing it all wrong-not eating enough/eating too much/not eating the right things and it turns into a nasty cycle. It was fine when I was in a good positive place but I am just not there right now. So attempting to count calories was kindof just too much for me to start with.

Instead I am just focusing on portion control, eating far less processed junk, and eating healthy food. Adding fruits and veggies galore.

Once I have balanced out being able to make good choices and eat well. I will add back in calorie counting to clean it up more.

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Old 06-03-2014, 12:06 PM   #35
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Kaplods thanks for the chuckle!
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Besides which, how often do you ever hear anyone's "forever plans." Do you ever hear anyone say, "I showered, pooped, and brushed my teeth this morning, as I plan on doing every morning until I drop dead"?
Munchy this is me, except it's about 2 or 3 yrs on my current constantly evolving plan
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Agreed! My diet is one that I've followed for six years and plan to for the rest of my life (with minor tweaks as I go). It encompasses many facets of many different "diets" but it's just the way I eat.
Ian love this
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So diet to lose. Make a lifestyle change to maintain. And don't let any day freak you out mentally on what will need to be a long journey of getting the averages right.
This has been a great read, I can't find the other thing I wanted to quote, about how sometimes it's easier depending on who you're talking to, to say I'm on a diet...I really don't know what terms I use, but as some have said, whatever works for you, keep doing that, if it stresses you out or feels like you're in a straight jacket, quit doing that, but don't quit what works, even if you're only doing a small part of some "diet" it'll help.

Best to all
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Old 06-03-2014, 12:47 PM   #36
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I find the word journey useful. As i've done a lot of travelling in my time its a meaningful term. I've been on other sorts of journeys too. Of course it might not be so meaningful to others. They may even find it pretentious or pointless but that's how i feel terms other people use.
I like that word, too. I use it a lot for my religious practice (well, path, but with a quite similar meaning). I don't really hold a negative connotation to the word "diet" when other people use it. I try hard not to judge the way others eat and think that one's weight loss journey is really a matter of different strokes for different folks. But for me personally, dieting is not a useful thought process.

For me, I am counting calories because if I don't, I won't lose weight. It helps to have a calorie goal to prevent a potential binge in the evenings. It also is getting me used to eyeballing portion sizes such that when I'm at the point of trying to maintain a loss (I've been able to maintain my original 20 pound loss from 160, but keep bouncing between 130 and 140 for years now) I won't have to continue to track calories. That's my hope, anyway.

I don't really think of myself as on a diet, rather I'm trying to accomplish a variety of goals that are not pure weight loss. I want to reduce my body fat percentage, improve the quality of my food intake, and quit using binge eating as a way to deal with my negative emotions. I also want to improve my physical fitness and my dance abilities via a variety of exercises. And hike better.

If someone asked, I'd say yes I am trying to lose a bit of weight. But I don't really think of it as dieting, in the traditional sense of the term due to a fixed start and stop point as well as a goal of weight loss only. Similar to Pattience, it's more of a path for me. It will continue to evolve, and there is really no end point in sight until, well, I die.

As with any path, while there is enjoyment in the accomplishments there is also enjoyment in the journey. When I go for a hike, I feel very accomplished at certain milestones (made it up that steep incline, made it above treeline, reached the summit). But I also enjoy being outside, breathing the fresh air, stopping to examine an interesting bug, or to check out a particularly nice overlook.

One of my favorite phrases is, "Anail a Ghaidheil, air a mhullach!" This translates basically to, "The Gael's breathing [resting] place, on the summit!" I cannot rest until I reach the summit of my path. And this particular path, like so many others in life, has no ending. So, with my quest to increase the quality of my diet and exercise consistently, in turn improving the quality of my life, that is for life and there really is no stopping point, no rest.

I'm okay with that.
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:16 PM   #37
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I call it "diet" because it's shorter, but philosophically speaking (as a life philosophy) I take it as a lifestyle. It started out as a diet, and I had a goal weight in mind (I still do) but as time progressed I started incorporating other healthy foods that were not "allowed" in my diet because I realized that once I reached my weight goal, I was going to have to continue eating healthy or I'd become one of those "why diets fail" statistics. I didn't want to become a statistic. I wanted a change in my life, I wanted something permanent. And so I shifted from dieting to just having an overall healthy diet, and exercising a few times a week (I'm not much of a fan of working out unfortunately). I hate calling it a "diet." That's not what I'm doing. I'm just having a healthy lifestyle, but I guess that's too long for me. :P
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:23 PM   #38
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3FC helped me a lot with the phrase Way of Eating. I first saw it as WOE. It really helps me to have the word diet out of it completely.

I just saw this interesting recent article and it is a short read:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/abby-la...b_5428908.html

Jonathon Bailor has come out with the Calorie Myth which I find interesting also.

Also typically even using scales and trying to be super particular in counting calories you are going to be wrong 10 to 15% on calories. Then unknown sauces eating out, or even sauces at home, etc. So 10-15% off would be for world-class estimators and world-class packaging and asking about every ingredient in everything when going out.
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Old 06-03-2014, 03:17 PM   #39
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3FC helped me a lot with the phrase Way of Eating. I first saw it as WOE. It really helps me to have the word diet out of it completely.

I just saw this interesting recent article and it is a short read:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/abby-la...b_5428908.html

Jonathon Bailor has come out with the Calorie Myth which I find interesting also.

Also typically even using scales and trying to be super particular in counting calories you are going to be wrong 10 to 15% on calories. Then unknown sauces eating out, or even sauces at home, etc. So 10-15% off would be for world-class estimators and world-class packaging and asking about every ingredient in everything when going out.
It is definitely important to keep in mind all the potential and/or likely sources of error when trying to estimate one's calorie intake on a daily basis. But the key word there is "estimate". A calorie counter must understand that it is all, in the end, an estimation and one of many tools for weight reduction and control.

I understand that for many people calorie counting is not a good option. I don't think these people should think calorie counting is the ONLY WAY. We must all do what works best for us, and that involves some trial and error. I find calorie counting the best approach to weight loss/weight control for me personally.

To address each piece of the article from my point of view:

1) I track mostly calories, but I'm also considering the macro- and micronutrient contents of the foods I eat. It can help me decide if a glass of milk or a banana is better to include in my meal depending on my needs for the day. I'm not going to delude myself to think that a day of eating 1500 calories of potato chips and ice cream was as healthy as a good mix of meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains (yes, I eat grains and function well on them) like I would typically aim to do. There is a difference between trying to lose and trying to eat a healthy diet. My goal is to marry the two.

It's fine by me that I am just estimating calories. I do like to weigh my foods to help visually judge portion sizes for when I cannot weigh them, like at a restaurant. I don't go out to eat much, but when I do I very rarely eat at chain restaurants. That means I must try to visually judge from my meal what the approximate calories were. If I estimate a little under/over I don't mind. I also don't bother with the estimation until after I enjoy my meal, so I have no anxiety over going to a restaurant and enjoying my meal with friends.

At the moment I'm very much enjoying a chocolate cookie from the cafeteria. I'll worry about calories later. Right now all I can think is how delicious it is.

2) I don't feel compelled to eat more in a day when I'm not hungry unless I'm severely low on calories towards the end of the day (like under 1000). Likewise, if I feel hungry and have eaten a sufficiently large number of calories, I will still have a snack. I have a large window of about 400 calories width that I aim for. I think this also helps addresses accuracy issues. I think having a large window could help with this effect, but if you are the type of person who must absolutely hit exactly 1500 calories every single day, then perhaps you should seek another method.

I do have issues with binge eating, where I eat when I'm not hungry. This has nothing to do with my calorie counting, though.

3) I've found the "net calories" method to be helpful in driving home the fact that one cannot out-exercise a poor diet. I go for a 30 min run, feel like I should be able to eat a ton, only to see I had burned about 200 calories only. That's a few crackers and a piece of cheese. The only time I've been able to burn a significant amount of calories is if I do a big hike, something on the order of 10 miles with a few thousand feet of elevation gain. In which case, I really should eat more that day and I do.

Because of my difficulty tracking the amount of activity I did to estimate calories burned, I decided to switch up my method to taking a deficit from my total daily activity and existence. I estimated this based on a combination of several online calculators as well as my average calorie intake over a long period of weight maintenance. This approach has been working very slowly, but very well overall. I no longer need to worry about changing the amount I eat based on exercise, unless of course I have something like a 1000 calorie burn on a long hike.

4) I ignore such predictions. If one finds it triggering, I would suggest they use an app without this function or change their methods.

5) I definitely understand where this point is coming from and agree this can be triggering for some individuals. This is one of the many reasons why a person may not find calorie counting a suitable practice for them. For myself, I have no obsessive thoughts associated with the practice.

I'm a little disappointed that my chocolate cookie is now gone.
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Old 06-03-2014, 05:31 PM   #40
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I never answered the calorie counting part of the question. So now i am.

I find calorie counting useful but time consuming and tedious. So i've done it. But i haven't done it for well over a month now and the days on this diet since the beginning of the year that i've done it have been less than 20.

Instead i keep a food diary and pay attention to the scale. This combination lets me know i'm on the right track. Of course in doing this, i understand the scale and don't freak out by its unpredictable fluctuations.

More recently i've learnt another method that will reliably replace calorie counting. And that's monitoring hunger and satiety before and after a meal or any food intake. I'm still not doing this strictly according to the instructions but i believe it is a reliable method. I have noticed how my awareness of hunger and satiety has improved and how i'm ready to quit eating before fullness but when satisfied. Its a very easy system.

I think for the systems i've used to work successfully, one must be eating healthy food not processed foods not because you can't notice satiety etc, but because if you eat primarily processed foods, you hunger signals may not reflect what your body actually needs so well. And even if i was keeping a food log, i think i would have been too hungry to stick to the plan. So i need to eat whole foods in order for my food log, hunger monitoring and weightloss to work.
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:52 PM   #41
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I don't call it anything and I don't talk about it. I prefer to just think of myself as a gym rat. It's the best stereotype to be IMO but I definitely did make a lifestyle change...one that is permanent.
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:13 PM   #42
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I am not a big fan of terms like "lifestyle change" or phrases like "This is permanent!" It's a bit too much for me. I mean, if you maintained for 10 years but got sidetracked because of some major life change, did your diet or exercise regime fail you?

I like the idea of just not talking about it. Or just talk about the positives, ie. "I love to run--my route this morning was so beautiful!" or "I ate this great sandwich with whole wheat bread!".

In terms of self-talk and self-motivation, the terms don't much matter to me. I just do it.
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:52 PM   #43
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I am not a big fan of terms like "lifestyle change" or phrases like "This is permanent!" It's a bit too much for me. I mean, if you maintained for 10 years but got sidetracked because of some major life change, did your diet or exercise regime fail you?

I like the idea of just not talking about it. Or just talk about the positives, ie. "I love to run--my route this morning was so beautiful!" or "I ate this great sandwich with whole wheat bread!".

In terms of self-talk and self-motivation, the terms don't much matter to me. I just do it.
Permanent in the sense that I'm going to run for as long as my legs allow me...but otherwise yeah I don't talk about it.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:42 PM   #44
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If someone asks me if I'm on a diet, I would probably say either " No, I'm just paying more attention to what I eat. " Or I may say " No, I'm not paying the slightest bit of attention to what I eat and I wish you wouldn't either. "

When I think about the way I eat, I'll think to myself " I'd like to make this change to my diet," or " I could use a little more of this in my diet. "

I never follow someone else's diet, so I guess, like some others, I don't think of the word " diet " as anything other than another way to say " how I eat ".
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Old 06-04-2014, 11:24 AM   #45
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Diet is too strict word for me. I am new here and decided to change my life. But i think first you need to start with at least healthy food and lifestyle. When you get results i am sure you will already have some understanding of what restrictions you need to have in your life. Motivation is a great power. Just START to do at least something. after getting results no one will be able to stop you from getting body of your dreams;-)

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