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Old 05-21-2009, 04:30 PM   #1  
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Question How do you do it...?

How do you all count calories all the time? When I eat something that is packaged, I can do it. But when I eat other things, like grilled chicken breast or fruits, I can't count the calories because I don't want to weight and measure everything I eat. How do the rest of you manage to measure and weight every single thing you eat? It would drive me nuts.
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Old 05-21-2009, 04:34 PM   #2  
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I know I'll get killed for saying this, but I never measured anything I ate... I simply at small portions & if I think I ate more then 1 portion, I counted it as 2! I would imagine though, once you have really been measuring & weighing food for a period of time, like calorie counting itself, it becomes second nature & you can eye ball what you eat & know how many servings it is....
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Old 05-21-2009, 04:44 PM   #3  
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I never did weigh things, but I did measure most everything for a long time. I think it doesn't matter so much if you're making progress. But if you're stuck, it's probably a good idea to spend a little time measuring and weighing to get an accurate count.
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Old 05-21-2009, 04:51 PM   #4  
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I use a good calorie book. The Calorie King Calorie Fat and Carbohydrate Counter.It also lists ethnic foods, fast food and restaurants and loads of information and is small enough to carry in my purse.Measureing, counting, weighing is soooo much preferable than regaining it and having to start over. It only takes me about five minutes to plan a menu for one day.
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Old 05-21-2009, 04:53 PM   #5  
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I love weighing things. Im a bit OCD like that. I get picky about making it exactly right on. I have a scale that has nutritional information for 998 things pre-programed and has space for 99 additional things. This scale makes it a lot less time consuming.
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Old 05-21-2009, 04:54 PM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlessedBe View Post
How do you all count calories all the time? When I eat something that is packaged, I can do it. But when I eat other things, like grilled chicken breast or fruits, I can't count the calories because I don't want to weight and measure everything I eat. How do the rest of you manage to measure and weight every single thing you eat? It would drive me nuts.
It drove me a LOT more nuts to be morbidly obese then it does to count calories.

I personally do not weigh and measure everything I eat. I have weighed in the past, so I know what 4 oz of chicken breast looks like. So now I just approximate it, always estimating on the high side.

As for fruit and veggies, I estimate the weights on that too. I count an apple as 100 calories. Sometimes, it may be 120, others 85, although I always look for the smallest one. Same thing goes with the massive quantities of veggies I eat. I guesstimate it. It all evens out in the end. So far, I've had no trouble (weight stall or gain) using this method.

I don't eat very calorie laden things, so there is a bit of room for error. If it were peanut butter, butter, oil, salad dressing, mayonaise and the like, I might be more tempted to get an accurate measurement.

I've been doing this long enough that it is second nature to me and not a burden at all.
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Old 05-21-2009, 04:54 PM   #7  
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I admit that I weigh and measure pretty much anything calorie dense. It just becomes a way of life. When I buy meat, chicken, etc. I divide them up, weigh them and use magic marker on the baggies before I pop them in the freezer. Tonight when I take my snack (hummus with flatbread) I'll count the flatbread, but I stick the hummus container on the scale, zero it, then lift out my portion onto a plate. The longer I do it the more I think I could probably do it without the scale, but... it's there and it takes about 5 secs more to grab it as I'm getting my plate.

For things like apples / oranges I usually buy a bag / box at Costco and measure a couple, use a high average number until we move on to the next bag. I use the scale when I bake as well, although frankly, it gives me way more consistent results when I weigh the ingredients (my uncle who runs a bakery told me that years ago).

Last edited by RealCdn; 05-21-2009 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 05-21-2009, 05:14 PM   #8  
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I personally weigh everything because I am a numbers person, and I want to know how many calories I am eating because it has a big effect on how much weigh you lose. It really isn't that hard, all you have to do is throw the food on the scale, remember the number that pops up and record it. Also, I have seen so many times how a food label can be misleading. For example, I bought some sourdough rolls the other day that said they have 90 calories in each one, but when I went home and weighed one of the rolls, it weighted almost TWICE as much as it was "suppose" to, so there were many "hidden" calories. I have found that almost all baked goods weigh more then the package says they will. So, in the end, I guess I do it because I don't trust what the package says, I know I will under-estimate how much I eat if I do not weigh my food and I am a type A personality and want to be "in control" of my weight loss.

I have two suggestions if you absolutely refuse to weigh things to help you with your weight loss:

1. Buy everything pre-portioned. You can get cut up apples, pre-portioned baby carrots, even frozen veggie singles and pre-portioned chicken breasts.
2. Go on Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, or similar plan. They pre-portioned everything for you, so it takes the hassle out of it.

Another thing you could do is go to CalorieKing.com. It gives you options such as "one medium apple", "one large strawberry" or "1/2 chicken breast", so you can get a general idea as to how many you are eating without weighing.

Last edited by babes315; 05-21-2009 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 05-21-2009, 05:46 PM   #9  
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I love weighing and logging,it's a positive pleasure for me, so it's no hardship. I use dietpower and sparkpeople to give the calories and nutrients for what I'm eating.
If I eat out, I pick the thing that I can most estimate the size and content thereof.
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:36 PM   #10  
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I measure everything except vegetables. I just eyeball the portion of vegetables or just count a handful as a serving, I figure the calories in them are so little, more or less won't hurt much at this point.

I try to portion other things out... if a package says there is 2 servings, then there you go, just eat half. If it's 5 try to count out how many is in a serving, or get 5 plastic baggies and separate the portions. If a recipe says 6 servings portion out the servings.

I don't have a kitchen scale yet, I'm hoping to find a good deal or sale on one. I realize I don't really know what a portion sized apple and other fruits really looks like. It would probably be easier to just weigh things than fitting in them into a measuring cup also.
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:49 PM   #11  
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After you have weighed and measured for awhile, you get better at estimating. You get used to how 1/2 cup of rice looks on a plate, what 3 ounces of chicken looks like, etc.

It's not that hard! If you cook, you measure foods anyway, so what's different from that? For example, the granola I eat has a serving size of 1/3 cup. I measure 1/3 cup and put it in my bowl. I like to have 1/2 cup of 1% milk with it, so I measure 1/2 cup. I slice up 1/3 a banana, add a couple of tablespoons of sliced strawberries. Not a big deal.

Really--it just becomes second nature when you get used to it.

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Old 05-21-2009, 06:52 PM   #12  
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Calorie counting for me was also about giving up the idea that I had to be 100% perfect, all of the time, in getting my numbers right.

For example, lets say I'm out, I get an apple at a convenience store, and I don't have a food scale handy (actually, I've gone this whole time without a food scale...just not necessary, for me). I eyeball the size and enter it into FitDay. Is it probably off by 10 or 20 calories? Sure. Does it matter? Not really...it'll balance out in the end.

I also use package weights for things to estimate my ounces/serving. So lets say I use a 1 lb package of chicken breast, half of an 8 oz box of pasta, 2 bell peppers, 4 cups of zucchini, and a 16 ounce jar of tomato sauce to make a meal, and that meal is then divided into 4 portions. When I record it, I'll say each portion has 4 oz of chicken, 2 oz pasta, 4 ounces sauce, half a bell pepper, and a cup of zucchini. Is it likely that one portion has slightly more chicken in the mix, and another has slightly more zucchini, or that I don't scoop the servings into exactly equal portions? Absolutely! But again, that sort of estimation error goes over/under equal amounts, so it all works out in the end.

I don't think it's crucial to know -exactly- how many calories are in something, for weight loss purposes, and truth be told, you really CAN'T know...the calories in that apple depend not only on its weight, but also on how it was grown, how long it was on the tree, its variety, and how much sunlight it got. Any calorie count can ONLY be an estimate, because living things vary in their growing conditions and therefore vary from plant to plant or animal to animal.

I think people get caught up in being 100% precise, get overwhelmed, and quit calorie counting...it's a lot easier to promise you'll estimate as closely as you can, and then let it go. If your estimates are WAY off, your body will tell you with a lack of loss, and you can start being a bit more specific then.
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:32 PM   #13  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Extasee58865 View Post
I know I'll get killed for saying this, but I never measured anything I ate... I simply at small portions & if I think I ate more then 1 portion, I counted it as 2! I would imagine though, once you have really been measuring & weighing food for a period of time, like calorie counting itself, it becomes second nature & you can eye ball what you eat & know how many servings it is....

I second this 100%!!
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:43 PM   #14  
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At home I measure so when I am out my guesses are more educated.
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:54 PM   #15  
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I measure using a little of both JayEll's and Mandalinn's methods. For breakfast cereal, I measure (also with the milk). For dinners, I weigh my meat and maybe the pasta if I'm having it, simply because I had no idea before what 2 oz of pasta looked like. I want to be as accurate as possible.

But I also don't obsess over whether this is an 80 calorie apple or a 115 calorie one. I simply choose "apple" from my list on Daily Plate and use that, every time. I don't use a measuring spoon to measure out the sugar in my morning tea.

Basically the things I count really carefully are things that it's easy for me to get carried away with. Like today--I made a few frozen french fries to eat with my lunch. I weighed those, because otherwise it's too easy to throw a huge handful on the tray and have it turn out to be 4-500 calories.

I'm just cooking for myself, so that makes it extra easy. If I was cooking for a family, that would make it tougher.
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