I plan out my entire week on Sunday morning, and make a grocery list. Then I just follow the plan for the week. I don't figure it out daily, or obsess. I have always known that the food was not that good that I ate, and knew eating less would result in weight loss. Anyone of average intelligence knows this. However, we didn't get results, so why would eyeballing our diet be a good plan. It failed us for decades.
This is like shooting at a target blindfolded, and someone saying that you missed, and shooting again. You might want to know how close you got, or if you are even firing in the right direction. That is what pre-planning does. If I eat an average of 2100 calories a day, and gain 1/2 a lb a week, I can then adjust by 250 calories, and see if I lose some weight. If I ate without any range, varying day by day, what would I change if I gained 3 lbs? I would probably drastically cut my calories, with no idea of how many I ate in either week.
You want to stay in a range, so that you can say.. I lose 1/2 a lb a week at 1600 calories for example. Then you know you break even at 1850, and lose 1 lb a week at 1350. I would just follow the range that SP gives you, and just think about it one day a week. You can't obsess about something that you don't think of for 6 days a week. You do need to know what you ate though.
Fitness Minutes: (622)
26 5/22/13 11:26 P
Do whatever works for you. Sometimes I get tired of logging every single thing I eat and slack off for a few days. That week, my weight either stays the same or goes up. As soon as I start tracking religiously for a week or two, the weight comes back off and then some. Every. Single. Time. for the past year. You think I'd learn. ;)
Anyway, until you get the handle on exactly how many calories are in portions of your favorite foods, tracking is pretty vital to getting a hang of staying within your allotted calories. Some people can stop tracking if they eat the same things every day (for example, I know the apples I eat have around 80 calories, 2 tbsp of Jif has 190, etc), but, for me, I'll never be able to stop tracking. It's not obsessive. It's smart. :)
Compare it to a bank account. You track your finances to make sure you don't spend too much and overdraft your checking account, right? The calorie tracker is just like a check register.
Fitness Minutes: (6,082)
505 5/22/13 9:34 P
You have to do what is right for you. Do you use SP food tracker? I find it easier to plan my meals in the morning and add them to my tracker so I will know if I am going over / under my caloric intake, and I can adjust it accordingly. Keeping track of your food should not be a chore, it should be a tool. I know that I have portion distortion so using the food tracker is vital to my success. Just find what works for you. Good Luck!
Fitness Minutes: (52,961)
4,637 5/22/13 9:12 P
I do see your your brother's point -- and I myself have sometimes felt that my relationship with food had gotten unhealthy at times since joining SparkPeople. I've gone through many phases during my long journey -- and some of those have felt not-so-healthy.
However ... by continuing to explore my feelings and relationship with food, I seem to always "come through to the other side" OK. For me, it's just been a "normal" part of the process of developing a new lifestyle. I've had to deal with some deep emotional stuff in relation to my body image, weight, eating habits, etc. It hasn't been as simplistic as just "watch what I eat and get a little more exercise."
It's a process with ups and downs, twists and turns. Just monitor yourself and deal with any unhealthy attitudes/behaviors that might emerge. Do what feels what is right to you and works.
I definitely see where your brother is coming from. I have a personality that can get too obsessed with things and too frustrated and then I take it too far. So, I really work to keep myself in check like that.
Here is the thing. I LOVE tracking my food. It helps me to see what I am eating, where I could screw up, but more than that, it helps me to see how I can fit ANYTHING I WANT into my plan and still come in my calorie range. I don't think that I have seen how to eat healthy and have a little splurge (pizza, burger, cake, anything) and still feel like I am doing it all right!!!
It actually helps keep me on task, because when I track and I have eaten a little treat and I am in my range, I feel like a huge success.
Fitness Minutes: (2,874)
5/22/13 10:17 A
It's really not up to your brother. You need to do what works for you!
I have much greater success when I track what I eat. I look at it as being educational (there have been a lot of eye-opening moments where foods turn out to have far more calories than I realized, which - to me - helps me understand how I got in this pickle in the first place), rather than obsessive.
Someday I bet that we'll all be at the point where we know how to eat properly and in a healthy way. But until we've reached our goal weight and learned how to navigate the maintenance phase correctly, why deprive yourself of a very useful tool?
while intuitive eating is a great goal to work towards, it's not the best starter strategy imo. if you have never had an issue with weight, then sure it works. but if you're off weight from where you should be, then that means that something else got into that feedback loop. calorie counting is a way of calibrating your system back to where you should be so that you can start trying to pay attention to how you feel to get back to that intuitive loop. think of calorie counting as hooked on phonics for food. also, when you say "getting worked up over the numbers in 1000" what do you mean by that? are you trying to eat fewer than 1000 cals? because unless you're rather elderly or very short [like well under 5' tall short], that is far too few calories. most people can't get the basic nutrients they need in fewer than 1200 cals. and most people, particularly people with little weight to lose, need a lot more calories than that.
5/22/13 7:56 A
It's a personal choice and depends on what works for you. I know if I don't track my food in some way I gain weight. I have been able to lose weight without tracking.
5/22/13 7:51 A
While I cannot determine what is best for you, I know for a fact, if I slack up on recording my intake (even if it's just an estimate, because I've eaten somewhere besides home); I find that I am uncomfortable with it.
Now, it MAY be obsessive, compulsive, or any other negative things you wish to say.
However, if I look at my intake as compared to how the numbers on the scale or measuring tape fluctuate, I can see patterns.
Fitness Minutes: (12,886)
5/22/13 6:33 A
I don't think counting calories and obsessions/anorexia are necessarily linked. Certainly anorexics are obsessed with calories. But the mere counting of calories alone is simply a tool. It depends on how one uses that tool. We use tools everyday to help us achieve our goals.
Only you or someone who knows you can say whether you fall into an unhealthy use of a tool to good health. :-)
Fitness Minutes: (166,060)
51,372 5/22/13 4:06 A
With this journey it is up to you what you do and if it works then stick to it. What you are doing may not work for others.
I must admit that it make my blood boil when someone tell me how to run my plan unless they are trying it to.
Good luck and stick to what you are doing
Fitness Minutes: (6,549)
18 5/22/13 12:11 A
So, I was eating and jotting down food on my entry when my brother looked at me and asked what I was doing. I told him that I was jotting down food and he told me not to do that. He suggested that I should look into my schedule when I'm eating lunch, dinner, etc. and to prepare the meal and then eat rather than just eating the meal because I'm not enjoying it as much. He told me I could feel obsessive about calories that I will deprive myself of other foods. I'm already there but I'm not deprived. I'm just watching what I eat and I learned that counting calories are just another tool for understanding how much I am eating something. He told me the obsession could lead to anorexia and that's true but I would never do that. When he heard me say this, he said "Well, you didn't think you were going get here." Meaning I didn't think that I was going to count calories. I feel that calories have taught me what to discard and how much to take in a portion of a food. For example, a portion of pasta should be smaller than a portion of vegetables. I have found a PDF that was descriptive to all the foods in the food pyramid and how much should intake them. I don't think he wants me to completely discard calories but the feeling of not doing it gives me a relief because I think I would enjoy myself much more. Now, I am a healthy eater and I have learned moderately take in an junk food so I'm not struggling with eating or my weight. My goal is to have a slim tummy but if it means to worry and get worked up over the numbers in 1,000 than I might stop. But, I don't know...I have several concerns. For example, what happens when I have a week of indulgence? I'm sure I will be watchful and that I swap the junk for much healthier and less processed food however what if I overeat? Meaning over consuming the calories? Not ALL calories are created equal. If I was to completely quit counting calories, it might be short term. I hate doing it and it's kind of useless because I just obsessive over the numbers but still it keeps me on track on how much I am eating. So, my question to you guys is should I continue counting calories or should I stop?
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