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Old 09-20-2011, 10:28 PM   #1  
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Default For those of you who count calories...

And I know there are a lot of you out there!

I am wondering if you eat pretty much whatever you want... to your calorie count?

I keep seeing posts and stories of people who cut out sugar, white everything, meat, etc... and I feel so overwhelmed by it all.

I'm just starting this journey (for the 100000000th time) and I really want to find something that is realistic for me. But I need to be realistic with myself also, in that I have to do something that will work. It needs to work. I have to lose this weight, or I'm afraid I'm going to die.

Getting back to my original question... I feel like I don't even know where to begin. But I am getting a lot of encouragement here and I am starting to figure out what I need to do. It's just an overwhelming feeling right now.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:36 PM   #2  
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I count, and I count everything and still try to eat everything! I know I've just limited on how much sugar, white everything and things I eat. I am not trying to take them out of my life completely. For me? That's unrealistic, because when I finally do eat those, I don't want to put back on the pounds.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:41 PM   #3  
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I try to eat as normally as possible, I don't have any forbidden foods. I try to not eat a lot of sugary desserts and candy and I watch the fried foods, too. Lean meats, fish and chicken , fresh fruits and vegetables make a sensible diet. I count every calorie that goes into my mouth.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:46 PM   #4  
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I need to start counting again, I generally stuck to lower cal options and had a routine when I effectively calorie counted (because once I knew how much a snack was it was . But I had room for various things like I counted out exactly 12 doritos one time because I wanted doritos. (there were some at work) and recorded the calories etc, I find it easier to MOSTLY stay away from those sorts of things though, having them on a regular basis is too tempting to over indulge to me.
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:03 PM   #5  
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I eat as normal and close to regular as I can. I used to do low carb and I would lose, but as soon as put those items back into my dietI would gain. Its all about portion control for me. I have added alot of veggies and more fruit to my diet and whole grains. I make banana biscotti in a mini size. That way when I want a cookie I grab one or two of them, and at 24 calories a piece, I can curb my craving. I weigh and measure everything I eat. So far i am managing to stay on plan.

Last edited by miatutu; 09-20-2011 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:29 AM   #6  
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I'm only counting calories and keeping an eye on sodium. There's nothing that I have cut out completely. I even have sips of soda on occasion, like maybe two-three sips a week? Haha, yeah, that little. There are things I don't buy anymore, like candy and pizza bites (because I know I can't stop at one serving), but if someone offers a little of theirs I might have some if I have room for it that day.

You can do this! It doesn't have to be overwhelming or all-or-nothing! What about just drinking nothing but water 2-3 days a week to start? Make one small change and stick with it. Once you have that one small change down, make another small change. Like maybe the first change is not drinking your calories anymore and then the second could be parking further away from the store when you go out. It's ok to take baby steps as long as you are taking steps at all.

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Old 09-21-2011, 01:26 AM   #7  
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If you've checked around the site, you will see that there are a million different methods around. It can definitely be overwhelming when we're just starting out.

This process doesn't have to be overwhelming or even complicated.

If you've chosen to Calorie Count, there are no "rules" save that your food should stay within your calories. Some people find that avoiding added sugars or certain ingredients or carbs or... etc... help them to stay on track.

There is no one right way. You simply have to experiment over time. As Martini mentioned a lot of it will come down to getting the most bang for your calorie. The most nutrition/volume. However, there can still be room for treats if you want it that way. (I certainly want it that way for me. Life wouldn't be worth living if I couldn't have a cannoli every once in a while!)

When I started out (and by the by I'm counting WW Points... but it's VERY similar to counting calories) I simply decided to track everything that I ate. I didn't make any changes whatsoever. I just tracked down what went in my mouth.

Here I am five months later, and I've made a lot more changes. However, if I hadn't started there, I likely never would've gotten the ball rolling.

3FC is a very supportive place, but there are a lot of different ideas out there. You don't have to conform to every opinion given. You'd drive yourself nuts! Not to mention probably make yourself sick. Start with where you're comfortable. Then change things as you go along.
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:32 AM   #8  
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I limit what I eat: stopped eating sugar and processed/white carbs. I eat tons and tons of veggies, lots of fruit, lots of lean protein, and a limited amount of fats, red meat, and dairy. For me, this is just easier since I LOVE to eat and I love food and I love feeling full. I can't feel full when I have used up all my calories on something stupid like ice cream. Limiting the types of food I eat has made the calorie counting process MUCH easier and I get to eat like a pig still
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Old 09-21-2011, 03:11 AM   #9  
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Find a website with tools--I've seen fitday and livestrong listed on the forum and there certainly are others. I am currently tracking at calorie count. If you google "calorie target" I'm sure plenty of hits will lead you to sites where you can add in your particular info, current weight, height, age, gender, and your goal weight, then a daily calorie count will be suggested for you. I have played around with that on a few sites, but using my starting weight and a small goal, say 10 pounds, and a mid-way weight of 30 pounds, and a fantasy weight that I will probably never reach, lets say 60 pounds. Its quite interesting to see the results.

So that may be a good place to begin. Find and set a reasonable daily requirement for yourself. Don't do anything drastic because there is no need for drastic. All you need to do is create a 3500 weekly deficit in calories, 500 daily deficit, to achieve weight loss. If you immediately give yourself a too low target of 1200, you'll be don't set yourself for failure. You deserve success!!!

Also, don't put into place an all or nothing program where you eliminate all of the supposed evil foods where if you do treat yourself, its then "off the wagon" and stay off. Incorporate some decadent treats into your plan--you'll be able to so long as said foods aren't a trigger that lead you to consume endless amounts of it.

Try to eat a variety from all the food groups. Unless you have special dietary needs, do eat some fat/oil daily, have veg, fruit, dairy, meat/beans/poultry/fish, and starch/bread/grain. Your body utilizes all of those foods.

Lets face it--we all know what's healthy and what isn't. If you can make changes from whole fat foods to reduced fat, great. Replace Wonder bread with whole wheat or whole grain, or light. Choose 2% dairy products over whole. If you drink, lite beer over regular; wine spritzer over wine. Little changes like that add up, and you may not taste a noticeable difference, but you will see it on the scale.

Become knowledgeable and use that to your best advantage. You know what you like to eat, start with those foods. Locate the calories in those foods. For the worst offenders, eat less quantity, and eat it less often. Modify where possible; eat less when not. has some fantastic "diet" versions of classic dishes. For instance, there's a no-bake cheesecake that is amazing...and it doesn't contain artificial sweetener and even if you're not on a diet its you could bring it to a party and everyone could enjoy it. Personally, after the 1st time I made it, I eliminated the sugar altogether--I found it too sweet, but it still was quite delicious and decadent tasting! I've been meaning to try the oven baked crumb coated eggplant. There's also an onion ring recipe there. It isn't always the ingredients that change, sometimes it is just the cooking technique -- oven "frying" instead of pan frying in a vat of grease.

After you find your daily calorie target, get comfortable with a website that you like and can log your foods at (or at least locate the calories of foods at if you prefer to write it all down). It really is quite an interesting process. The more you do it the easier it becomes. The values of foods become repetitive and familiar, as we are creatures of habit and tend to make similar choices.

Good luck to you. Donna
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:16 AM   #10  
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Hey Jen Jen! I've been counting calories through the livestrong/myplate website. It's been easy. I have not cut out any food. I know if I try to forbid something, it automatically becomes the one thing I HAVE to eat NOW.

Football Sundays are a big trial for me, endless buffets of not very healthy choices. I did have rotel dip with tortilla chips and I did have a peanut butter brownie. BUT, I did follow the serving size guidelines & deducted a whole lot of calories from my day because of those splurges.

I just think it's a lot more realistic to allow myself a little of the bad things. The challenge is keeping those choices few & far between.
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:27 AM   #11  
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I count calories, and the calories have to (at least 80% of the time) come from low sugar, low sodium, low starch, and low saturated fat sources. Vegetables, whole grain, lean protein, minimal fruit.
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Old 09-21-2011, 11:28 AM   #12  
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Hi there !

Well, it seems like you're about in the same boat that I was when I started here, except I was at 330 (not far off).

At the beginning, I was only concentrating on calories because at the starting weight, there aren't 50 different factors that will result in weight loss, it's simply about less consumption. I was simply trying to stay between 1500-1800 calories a day. It wasn't easy at first because I was used to eating at a restaurant 7 days a week and sometimes twice a day so I had to find new foods that I enjoyed. I am a horrible cook and have no intention in bettering myself so I needed to find foods that are fast and easy. I ended up finding some salads that are premade. I simply provide a bowl, and unwrap the salad, dressing and whatever extras that come with the packaged salad. So I now had a few 400 calorie salads that filled a huge bowl and that could fill me up. Those would help me avoid going to restaurants for lunch. For supper, I introduced a lot of chicken and veggies in my meal. You can eat tons of chicken so that can also fill you up. All in all, I would eat about 400 calories for lunch, 600 calories for dinner for a total of 1000 calories. This left me with 500-800 calories for breakfast and snacks.

Over time, my weight would go down drastically and sometimes not move at all for a week or two. After doing more research, I found out that I needed to drink MUCH more water and get my sodium down to avoid water retention. The switch took about 3-4 days for my body to adapt and the weight started melting off again.

Now, I've added a few more things that seems to work well for my needs. I've added 100-calorie fiber bars as my snacks and CHEAT DAYS ! *WOO*

A typical day now is something along the lines of:

7AM: 100-calorie fiber bar + 2 big glasses of water.
10AM - 100-calorie fiber bar + a glass of water
12PM - 400 calorie salad or 300 calorie Healthy choice gourmet meal (frozen section at market - all kinds of meals and taste amazing)
2PM - 100 calorie fiber bar + a glass of water OR a 180 calorie booster drink with proteins if I plan on going to the gym that day.
6PM - 600-800 calorie meal usually composed of chicken and veggies.
9PM - water water water.

Total: 1300-1500 calories

This may not be the recommended meal plan but obviously, I have no issues eating the same thing over and over again and I'm not much of a breakfast guy. This plan works for me and you'll need to find something that works for you.

When I feel like I need to cheat, I do. Once of twice a week, I'll order a meal. If I know that I will be eating a 2000-calorie meal for dinner, I'll cut down a little during the day and be sure to work extra hard at the gym the next day.

Anyhow, I know I went way above what you were asking but I hope it helps.

So far I've went from 331 to 294 in 2 months of this type of plan. 37 pounds in 2 months seems like a winner to me so I'll keep at it until I get fed up and change a few things in it.

Oh and Drink tons of water !!!

Last edited by plangevin; 09-21-2011 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 09-21-2011, 11:52 AM   #13  
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I just count calories and aim for a protein goal (100g/day).

My current plan:I am currently aiming for 1500-2000 (~100g protein) during the week, and going higher (3,600, my estimated maintenance at 242#) on Sat.-Sunday.

I am shooting for losing 5#/week initially.

In the gym I am lifting heavy 3xweek using free weights in a 5x5 scheme. I am using the eliptical trainer for Cardio.
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Old 09-21-2011, 11:53 AM   #14  
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I limit what I eat: stopped eating sugar and processed/white carbs. I eat tons and tons of veggies, lots of fruit, lots of lean protein, and a limited amount of fats, red meat, and dairy. For me, this is just easier since I LOVE to eat and I love food and I love feeling full. I can't feel full when I have used up all my calories on something stupid like ice cream. Limiting the types of food I eat has made the calorie counting process MUCH easier and I get to eat like a pig still
I do the same and it's been working for me. By limiting your sugar to 15G a day (check all products, sugars are listed) and limiting carb servings to 6 per day aroung 20g each, it eliminates the craving that would sabotage my dieting in the past. Always, I would crave cabs/and or sweets in the evening when willpower is weakest, and I'd eat junk. Just remember that there is lots of sugar in fruit and even in milk, so they must be limited, too. A calorie is not just a calorie when you compare healthy lean meats, MU fats and non-starchy vegs to empty, sugar-filled calories.
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Old 09-21-2011, 02:57 PM   #15  
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Just a calorie counter here. I've tried almost every diet out there (except Atkins I think) and for me it seems to work the best. I finally got me one of those smart phones and found an app I can use to track it all for me that works on the phone and the computer (myfitnesspal) and started using that. Before that I was a long time user of fitday, (10 years) but they only offer their mobile app to iphone users so I made the switch.

My ultimate goal would be to eat healthier foods but right now I'm all about convenience for me. I'm a working mom who has enough trouble trying to fit in time for exercise. Hubby and I are slowly adding in healthier recipes for dinner. Once we get a nice rotation, then I'll work on my lunches but for now I eat mostly frozen dinners, sandwiches, and soups in cans.

BTW trying to limit sugars, carbs, white grains, etc overwhelms me too.
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