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Down for the Count-Counting Calories a Bust



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CSNYFAN76
SparkPoints: (1,227)
Fitness Minutes: (368)
Posts: 16
11/18/11 7:08 P

Seems like lots of good advice here. One thing I would add is not to forget about the quick tracker thing. You can't track everything but it could still be helpful...



MELO1968
SparkPoints: (297)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 100
11/18/11 6:20 P

In our society, I think it is common to hear things like, "It's too hard to calorie count" or "It's not normal to live life counting all the time." But we would never think of saying those types of things about balancing our budgets or cleaning our house or any of the many other obligations we do daily, weekly, monthly.

Up until the 80s, people couldn't really calorie count that well because manufacturers were not required to put calorie counts on foods. When the government started requring it, it became easier to track calories. Now, with the advent of smart phone apps, it's even easier. I would say that it takes me about five minutes at most to enter my food & exercise into my smartphone application. My "frequently eaten" and "recently eaten" meals are saved, and after a while, I end up eating many of the same foods.

I, too, used to get upset that I had to calorie count, but I finally realized that if I just accept my own limitations, I can accept the tools I need to help me. One of my limitations is that I am not a good estimator of food. When I don't track, I tend to overestimate the calories in food, hence giving myself less food, which makes me end up feeling deprived; finally, I quit. So, I view calorie counting as a valuable tool that helps someone like me----just as people who aren't good with finances might buy a spreadsheet program or even hire an accountant,

You admit that tracking calories works for you and that when you stop doing it, you gain. So, you have to make a choice about which is the greater sacrifice.



HOLISTICDETOXER
SparkPoints: (32,314)
Fitness Minutes: (20,400)
Posts: 2,704
11/18/11 5:54 P

Let's think of a parallel. If you were wheelchair bound today, you'd probably find it really hard to get around your house. But you would develop a system that works- you would install handrails and ramps. After a few months you'd get really good at moving around your house with the help of the handrails and ramps. Would you then take away the ramps and handrails? No! You would keep using them! Because they are a support that works! Think of tracking as being like a wheelchair ramp- it's a support that you need to continue using in order to have continued success!



LIVINGPROOF006
Posts: 918
11/18/11 2:36 P

I think tracking on paper is a great idea!!! I would do that when I couldn't go online and track but then when I got a few spare minutes I would log on to sparkpeople and log what was on paper into the nutrtion tracker. It worked great for me. Or even just writing it down on paper can be wonderful!



CHEETARA79
SparkPoints: (73,340)
Fitness Minutes: (51,273)
Posts: 3,486
11/18/11 11:23 A

2 ideas:

#1 Just track on paper. Carry around a small notebook and a pen and write your food down there. It will hold you accountable even if you can't see the calorie count.

#2 Pre-track. Track your food in advance. You could do this the night before or even do a full week in advance.



LAETU5
Posts: 1,405
11/18/11 10:39 A

When you stop tracking you will still need to kinda keep a running total in your head. For instance, if you had oatmeal for breakfast and a small dry salad for lunch you'd know that you've only had 200-300 calories that day and can afford to have a larger afternoon snack. However if you had a doughnut for breakfast and a piece of cake for lunch you'd know that you could have easily already had 900 calories and need to slow down on consumption for the remainder of the day.

Basically, even if you aren't actually tracking you still have to strike a balance. You know from tracking how much of a food is a serving and what combination of foods creates a proper meal size. So, you'll easily know if you are under or over eating as long as you remain mindful. If you overeat you have to offset it by being especially good the next few meals or by exercising more.

Not tracking is not an excuse to go back to old eating habits.



LUANN_IN_PA
Posts: 15,936
11/18/11 9:41 A

"when I record everything I eat I loose weight, when I dont I gain."

Well, you know what works for you. That's HUGE.
You just have to get committed enough to DO it!



BRITOMART
Posts: 7,381
11/18/11 9:11 A

I agree with IVY. Tracking works. If weight loss is a commitment you want to make, work it into your life. Once the main foods you eat are in the system, it doesn't take long. Weighing/measuring does take time, but, for me, that's the only way to stay 'honest' (it's amazing how fast 1 tablespoon grows, and 1 cup...oh, my!)

If you store your food after it's prepared in one-portion size containers, it simplifies the process a lot.



IVYLASS
SparkPoints: (112,700)
Fitness Minutes: (35,044)
Posts: 6,517
11/18/11 8:32 A

It takes a committment, but the Nutrition Tracker was a real eye opener for me. It can take a while to get your more commonly eaten foods into your library, but once you do, tracking shouldn't take more than about ten minutes.





LILOLME105
Posts: 842
11/18/11 8:18 A

So i've been on sparkpeople off and on since 11/2006. I've lost weight i've gained weight but it's all centred around when I record everything I eat I loose weight, when I dont I gain. I find it hard to transition to recording my meals only periodically and still managing to lose weight. It's like I totally lose my focus if i'm not contantly recording. And Im at a stage now where I cant be recording food all the time, to me that's not how you can live a life. What can I do to help make that transition. Any input you can provide would be appreciated.

Thanks.



 
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