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SUSIEMT Posts: 8,099
8/7/13 8:20 P

Normah you did what you could! You tracked it! When you know for sure about what you are eating that is one thing when you have no control over what is served you did good by looking up similar items. They say if you eat right 80% of the time you should be okay. Try not to obsess over it. I track everyday. For me I track unknown food as best I can and don't worry about it. Good luck to you!

NORMAHI SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (5,161)
Posts: 8
8/6/13 9:06 P

went to a covered dish meal at my church today. Knew what I ate but not at all how it was seasoned,etc. I just guessed at the calories from dishes that seemed close when searching the items on line in this program. Have been on and off using sparkpeople but hope to be better. Not knowing calorie count has been a problem for me.

EXCELDREAM SparkPoints: (85,750)
Fitness Minutes: (48,855)
Posts: 160
8/3/13 8:35 A

YayRah! emoticon . So glad to hear it!

SUSIEMT Posts: 8,099
8/2/13 9:43 P

Yea you!!!! Woo Hoo!

WANNATHIN Posts: 811
8/2/13 1:53 A

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who's taken the time to reply to this question! The best advice was definitely to have a small amount of everything and be complimentary of the food. It worked, 2 weeks in a row now! :)

I have been using the nutrition tracker more regularly and I have found it helpful. I have relaxed myself about pretty much everything and it's actually had great results. I've now lost 10kg in 6 weeks and I'm still going strong.

If I ever have another "unknown food" that I'm worried about, I will definitely hunt it down on the food tracker or ask for the recipe and work it out.

Thanks again, all y'all!!

SUSIEMT Posts: 8,099
8/1/13 11:19 P

Wow! Oakashandthorne went above and beyond the call of duty on the answer for you! I also would have done a search on it and enter an average or so.
I have been on my healthy lifestyle journey for the past 5 years. When I joined I decided I knew nothing about dieting since I failed so many times in my life! I have pretty much followed the sparkpeople coaches from day one! I decided to weigh and measure my food and log it in the nutrition tracker as well as my fitness. My team leader .Dusty. from 300 lbs plus said to make my spark page, my nutrition tracker AND my fitness tracker public! Wow, that was really hard for me to do but I did it. I have since lost 155 lbs. I don't let anything get me to crazy, especially not knowing the exact calorie count. It is what it is and if I get it wrong or not quite close enough I will survive! For example today was not a perfect day I didn't get to do any real fitness or walking and my food wasn't what I had originally planned but I am still here. I have been fortunate in that I am living with my sister Thoms1 and her DH so I have a built in diet and fitness buddy. Be kind to yourself and take some baby steps. I would encourage you to weigh and measure your food until you get the hang of it and then if you stop and start gaining pick up those measuring cups and spoons and get back on track. Not everyone can do this journey without those kind of aids. Good luck on your healthy lifestyle changes.

7/31/13 12:06 A

I just tried an experiment: I Googled "fish pie calories"" and got a large number of hits. One of the links (at MyFitnessPal) had a list which I copied and pasted below.

Why not take a good average, and go with that? Looks like a lot of the entries are about 400 calories per serving.

Also, you might want to sit down and talk with the in-laws about your new healthy lifestyle, and why you are doing it (improved health, etc.) BUT I would have the conversation some other time than BEFORE a big family dinner party to avoid stepping on toes, or causing insult or threat.

If you present your point of view in a reasonable, non-threatening, non-critical (of their habits and lifestyle), who knows. . . .? They may want to join you!

Best wishes!

Fish Pie - Good Food Reciepe (Homemade)
Serving Size: 1 portion, Calories: 413, Fat: 15g, Carbs: 30g, Protein: 42g
Fish Pie (With Cheese Sauce, Mashed Potato) (Homemade)
Serving Size: 1 cup, Calories: 466, Fat: 24.4g, Carbs: 28.2g, Protein: 33g
Admirals Fish Pie (2011) (Youngs)
Serving Size: 300 g, Calories: 274, Fat: 11.4g, Carbs: 34.2g, Protein: 16.1g
Fish Pie (Homemade)
Serving Size: 1 individual dish, Calories: 350, Fat: 0g, Carbs: 50g, Protein: 0g
Fish Pie (Sainsbury's Taste the Difference)
Serving Size: 400 g, Calories: 399, Fat: 12.8g, Carbs: 40.2g, Protein: 27.6g
Creamy Fish Pie (Tesco Finest Classics)
Serving Size: 400 g, Calories: 420, Fat: 18g, Carbs: 36.4g, Protein: 24g
Count on Us Fish Pie With Haddock, King Prawns & Salmon (Mark & Spencer)
Serving Size: 400 g, Calories: 340, Fat: 7.2g, Carbs: 34.8g, Protein: 29.6g
Fish Pie (Jamie Oliver's)
Serving Size: 1 serving, Calories: 405, Fat: 18g, Carbs: 22g, Protein: 38g
Fish Pie Mix (Tesco)
Serving Size: 100 g, Calories: 90, Fat: 0.6g, Carbs: 0g, Protein: 20.6g
Fish Pie (Weight Watchers)
Serving Size: 1 meal, Calories: 196, Fat: 1.1g, Carbs: 28.1g, Protein: 12.8g
Classic Creamy Fish Pie 400g (Cheese Topped-In Plastic Tray) (Tesco Finest)
Serving Size: 400 g, Calories: 515, Fat: 28g, Carbs: 30.7g, Protein: 34.8g
Cod & Salmon Fish Pie (Sainsbury's Be Good to Yourself)
Serving Size: 450 g, Calories: 363, Fat: 8.6g, Carbs: 41.1g, Protein: 26.6g
Joyces Fish Pie With Parsley Sauce (Rjp)
Serving Size: 1 Portion, Calories: 752, Fat: 11g, Carbs: 91g, Protein: 72g
Healthier Choice Fish Pie (Co-Operative)
Serving Size: 400 grams, Calories: 290, Fat: 6.8g, Carbs: 32g, Protein: 22.4g
Fish Pie (Admiral's)
Serving Size: 360 g, Calories: 362, Fat: 16.4g, Carbs: 0g, Protein: 0g
Admiral Fish Pie (Youngs)
Serving Size: 340 g, Calories: 330, Fat: 10.2g, Carbs: 0g, Protein: 0g
Fish Pie With Salmon, Smoked Haddock and King Prawns (Sainsburys Taste the Difference)
Serving Size: 400 g, Calories: 381, Fat: 12.8g, Carbs: 41.2g, Protein: 28.4g
Admirals Fish Pie (Youngs)
Serving Size: 340 g, Calories: 304, Fat: 13.1g, Carbs: 0g, Protein: 17g
Fish Pie With Mashed Potato (Homemade)
Serving Size: 100 g, Calories: 155, Fat: 8.3g, Carbs: 7.4g, Protein: 12.7g
Fish Pie (Sainsbury's Be Good to Yourself)
Serving Size: 1 pack (450g), Calories: 363, Fat: 8.6g, Carbs: 41.1g, Protein: 26.6g

WANNATHIN Posts: 811
7/29/13 3:45 A

Pitter6, I love your comment. It is a journey and there will be unhealthy stops along the way. That's a great way of looking at it. As long as the train starts moving again quickly after the occasional unhealthy stop, I should be fine :)

GRACED777 Posts: 4,348
7/26/13 9:54 P

I appreciate the ideas about portion control at special times-that really helps me stay in check when I find it hard to track. The damage, if there is any, is minimal.

PITTER6 Posts: 4,524
7/25/13 12:28 P

emoticon It's only one meal in your life! Enjoy the company and eat slowly, talk a lot and smile. So it's a more calories than you want or need. tomorrow is another day. We are on a journey, there will be unhealthy stops along the way.

CAFALL Posts: 46
7/25/13 10:37 A

Another way to deal with in laws who really encourage you to eat is to fill your plate either will loads of veggies, or with little scoops of things but put on your plate so it looks like you have a lot on there, and then eat slowly, so that when you're done everyone else is too and it's time to put the food away. I do this with my own in-laws at Thanksgiving to avoid second helpings.

Edited by: CAFALL at: 7/25/2013 (10:45)
HFAYE81 SparkPoints: (21,822)
Fitness Minutes: (12,388)
Posts: 287
7/25/13 10:14 A

Darn!!! That does make it difficult, didn't even think of that.

WANNATHIN Posts: 811
7/25/13 10:04 A

I did actually ask for the recipe and looked through it, but then my mom-in-law said that she didn't actually follow it exactly and change this and that and the next thing, added this, took that out. So it wouldn't have helped anyway.

I will remember that for future, though. I''ve never used that recipe calculator.

HFAYE81 SparkPoints: (21,822)
Fitness Minutes: (12,388)
Posts: 287
7/25/13 9:35 A

Such great advice!! I always just try to eat a little if it seems unhealthy, and I try and guesstimate the calories etc just to have something on my tracker. I just search for the dish in the database, and pick whatever seems close (I try to overcompensate). A way to know exactly is to ask for the recipe...and then you have given a complement as well emoticon You can use the recipe calculator when you get home and know exactly what you've eaten!

GLORIAMAJDI Posts: 5,939
7/25/13 8:40 A

I agree with others, just make your best effort on tracking by selecting foods that might be close or similar....but opt for mostly veggies and fruit if available. I am often faced with situations where I don't know the calories and I just make sure to take just a bit of the food. Also, could you ask MIL for the recipe? Then you could calculate the recipe yourself in the SparkPeople recipe section and get a good guess of the nutritional content.

EXCELDREAM SparkPoints: (85,750)
Fitness Minutes: (48,855)
Posts: 160
7/25/13 6:57 A

Yay for the loss. I know the numbers aren't everything, but happy for you anyway! emoticon

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (243,918)
Fitness Minutes: (41,124)
Posts: 26,620
7/25/13 2:46 A

emoticon .... and I'M 'super-chuffed' for you emoticon


WANNATHIN Posts: 811
7/25/13 2:36 A

Thanks so much for all the advice, guys and girls.

I DID have a half portion of fish pie last night, which was actually made with mashed potato and not pastry (thank goodness)! I also had a small portion of the peace and apple crumble for dessert. It was delish!

My in-laws do try to consider my nutritional restrictions during their dinners, but shame, they're used to cooking a certain way and I can't expect them to make an entire meal just to suit me. My mom-in-law definitely does think about what actually goes into what she's cooking, but her "healthy" and my "healthy" aren't always the same thing. LOL

I will definitely use the approach of eating healthy MOST of the time, but having the occasional meal where I use portion control rather than calorie counting. I think that's going to work for me.

And on a positive note, I weighed again this morning and I've lost a further 400g, so I'm super chuffed!

MCFHARPIST SparkPoints: (61,296)
Fitness Minutes: (66,564)
Posts: 1,795
7/25/13 2:32 A

Enter the food into your Nutrition Tracker search bar. I love the tracker. Have been hopelessly addicted to it for over two years. It has made ALL the difference in staying at or near goal. I highly recommend that you make the Nutrition Tracker your BFF. It's the best tool ever since the beginning of time, except for that one invention known as the wheel.

Spark On!

7/25/13 2:06 A

I used to be so obsessive with tracking that it was actually detrimental, so I understand where you're coming from. Now, I track nearly every day, so I don't feel all that bad when there are unknowns sometimes. I try to estimate, but if there are a lot of them that day, I skip tracking and mind my portions, or if it's just a meal, I'll write out what I had in the notes section (like dinner last night, in fact). I know it makes my calorie total messed up for that day, but the important thing to me is knowing what I'm eating, and it's just one day here and there.

EXCELDREAM SparkPoints: (85,750)
Fitness Minutes: (48,855)
Posts: 160
7/24/13 12:10 P

All of the comments sound very useful. One possibility, though, is to recruit your in-laws as your support team. If they understand you are trying to be thoughtful and careful of your nutrition, maybe they would not only understand your small portions, but might even be considerate enough to slant the menu to more healthy items. In that way, you might end up helping their health as well.
I track almost everything and also try to find something similar if there is only 1 or 2 items I'm not familiar with, just to have an total in my tracker. But there has been an occasional day when I've let the tracker slide because there was too much unknown during the day and I felt it would not even be a realistic estimate. When you know the things to look out for (as mentioned before - more vegetables, less fried, creamed, sugared), I've found that those days don't cause too much disappointment on the scale.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
7/24/13 10:57 A

When I don't or can't know the calorie content, I just take a guess. For example if I were served fish pie, i'd see if there were any entries available on the nutrition tracker (there are) and i'd just choose one that seemed "close enough" - there's an entry for "Creamy Fish Pie" that puts a 400-gram serving at about 500 calories. Done!

I do find it emotionally challenging to accept "rough guesses" - heck, I have a tendency to count the cilantro and basil that I use in a recipe!! But when it is out of my control, I figure that a "guess" is going to help me more than not recording it at all.

MOOSLADY Posts: 208
7/24/13 10:41 A

When offered something I think is too many calories, and need to keep the peace, I take about a tablespoon. Then if offered more, you can say, that was really great but I am stuffed. I don't even try to count calories at family celebrations, it seems out of spirit with the occasion and definitely do't avoid people you care about because you fear the food. I think they fill the plate mostly with fruits and vegetables strategy is the best. take a small spoonful of everything that interests you and fill most of the plate with the fruits and veggies. Some with desserts, take anything, why agonize over a a tablespoon? In the greater scheme of things, one meal, one day, is not going to make or break your success.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
7/24/13 10:10 A

You can also compliment whatever is on the menu that you fill most of your plate with. Even if it's just boiled veggies. "Wow, this broccoli is really good, must be super fresh this time of year." :)

I agree with Zorb -- for obviously unhealthy things on social occasions I tend to just serve myself a rather small portion and fill up on other things. (I also don't track calories, but if I did I'd probably just take a wild guess and leave it at that? Don't know. You could put a written comment in the notes about how much you took portion-wise and how you feel you dealt with the challenge.) One meal on a rare occasion isn't going to make a difference anyway, so just think of it as good practice in moderation for real life.

WANNATHIN Posts: 811
7/24/13 7:01 A

Thanks, Kris. I will follow your "this looks yummy" advice. It's actually pretty brilliant! :)

I've also asked my husband to "have my back" tonight, so he can intervene if the family starts to pressure me to eat stuff I just don't wanna eat. At least then I won't be the one constantly saying no.

I know I'm eating well and working out, so the weight should continue to drop. I'm not worried about whether or not I will lose weight in the end, since I'm doing everything right.

I just tend to obsess over the little things and tracking isn't actually emotionally helpful to me at all (I've found). I decided to try it after I got that advice, but it actually just doesn't work for me.

I already obsessively weigh myself, so I'll allow myself that one obsessive behaviour. I'd rather not add another....

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (243,918)
Fitness Minutes: (41,124)
Posts: 26,620
7/24/13 6:50 A

I have the odd day where I eat a ton more than others. That is just part of life. The trick is to balance it and ensure that it isn't a regular occurrence. Perhaps if you aren't too sure, you might like to have a small serving of that, but have more of the veges. You will find that if you regularly eat with family and you continuously say "I can't have this" or "I'm not allowed that" they will soon start to get pretty tee'd off with you. Instead making a comment like "This looks really yummy" and taking a small serve leaves them feeling good and removes a lot of unnecessary stress from you. It won't impact on your weight-loss efforts. What we eat in ONE day doesn't really make that much of a difference - it is what we do over time and on a regular basis.

It might sound a bit strange (from me) but IF counting calories (keeping track in the Nutrition Tracker) is an obsession that causes you unwanted angst/anxiety, then perhaps you would be better off to use a small dinner plate and use the 1/4 lean protein, 1/4 carbs (not processed) and the remaining half a rainbow of colour with veges. Swap some less favourable snacks for healthier versions, and I am sure that you will notice a big difference to your anxiety level while still continuing to lose weight.

Good luck,

WANNATHIN Posts: 811
7/24/13 6:16 A

Thanks for the advice.

It is very difficult for me to NOT obsess over every little thing. I try hard to be laid back and take it as it comes, knowing that the overall picture is what counts and not every brush stroke. But it's so HAAAAARD!!!

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (195,897)
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Posts: 26,970
7/24/13 6:06 A


Zorbs made some good points. If the food is something that is fried or high in sugar, then you know it may be high in calorie as well. So, you might want to be mindful of that portion size.

And even if the thing you ate was a little high in calorie, one less than perfect meal or even a day or week of overeating WILL NOT make or break your healthy lifestyle. While we do need to be mindful of the calories we eat, you shouldn't obsess about every single calorie either.

The fact is, there are going t be days you eat more than others. As long as that doesn't happen every single day, you'll be fine. As long as you are eating healthfully MOST of the time, not all of the time, you'll be okay.

You don't have to be perfect to be healthy. If you're unsure of the item, have a small portion and don't fret.

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (191,844)
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Posts: 15,780
7/24/13 5:17 A

Online Now  • ))
If the item seems kind of unhealthy (fried, creamy, sugary etc) then eat only a small portion of it. Or estimate.

I don't count calories, so I would go with the former.

WANNATHIN Posts: 811
7/24/13 4:57 A

I've been trying to track my calories for the past 2 days, since many members posted on another thread that it helped them. However, today I'm having dinner with my in-laws and I'm so very worried about the number of calories in the fish pie that's on the menu.

If you really have absolutely no way of knowing how many calories will be contained in a certain food, how do you deal with that / track it? Should I just not worry about it and just cut back on my portions? Should I not eat it at all?

These family dinners really stress me out, since I keep being offered foods I don't want to eat and I keep having to politely say no. I feel like I'm offending my in-laws and I don't know how to deal with it anymore. My husband likes fish pie, so he's going to eat it, no problem.

I have about 500 calories remaining in my range today, but that would put me at the top end of the range. However, yesterday I ended well below the minimum of my range. Would the two days cancel each other out?

I've never tracked calories consistently before, so I'm pretty clueless about it all. My main stressor is just the NOT KNOWING. I won't know how many calories I'm eating and that freaks me out!

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