Fitness Minutes: (24,530)
565 5/19/13 3:28 P
I agree with tracking in advance. I try to plan things out a few days ahead. Not only does that make it easy to know that you're getting all of your nutrients, but it makes packing your lunch and snacks for the day a snap, and you already know what you're going to eat for dinner when you get home. Good luck!
Because of the way I had been eating (skipping breakfast, carb-heavy fast-food lunch), I tended to feel FAMISHED by dinner time. I now know that this feeling of being "absolutely starving" was actually not even real hunger, but was more related to fluctuating blood sugar levels, poor overall nutrition and erratic starve-then-stuff eating patterns - I know that NOW, but at the time, I believed it to be real hunger, and quite honestly I feared it - it can be such an overwhelming feeling of "needing to eat anything/everything in sight right now"....
So, I start counting calories. Believing I would need LOTS of calories to see me through the "starving dinner/evening hours" it was my natural tendency to try and "save" lots of calories to be available for that time of day.
But of course, eating like that only perpetuates the problem.
I decided to just "suck it up" and try to eat more at breakfast and lunch, even if it was going to leave me with a mere 500 calories for dinner/evening snacks... and just see what happened. If worse came to worst, maybe I would have to go over my range to get me through a bad day - I accepted this as a possibility and promised not to get down on myself if I did find myself "over range" from having "squandered" too many calories early in the day and needing extra ones at night.
But an amazing thing happened!!! When I ate that breakfast instead of skipping it, and traded in the fast-food lunch for sustaining, healthy, nutritious choices.... those late-afternoon/pre-dinner hyper-ravenous feelings.... didn't happen. Yeah, sometimes I was still hungry after my 500-calorie dinner, sure, can't say I have never felt HUNGER.... but the panic-crazy-desperate-need-food-now feeling? Gone.
Over time, I have learned to trust that if i make NUTRITIOUS food choices at regular intervals through the day, I don't have to worry about "running out" of calories at night. But I still sometimes worry... for example today - going to a buffet banquet tonight, dinner is at 6-ish... and here I am making brunch at 11am, thinking... if i eat my breakfast/lunch calories right now, will i make it through ok till 6? Or should i save a few calories for a light mid-afternoon lunch/snack? I went with the former, and I'm PRETTY SURE (but not positive) I'll be alright. Only time will tell - and if i've messed up, I MAY find myself going slightly over. Then again, I may not.
It's a process, learning to trust that you will be OK. The only way to work through that process, though, is to start. Plan your meals for the day... watch their composition! Make sure there's protein, and fat (these keep you full longer), minimize added sugar and refined carbs (these can mess with your hunger cues). Know that you have a healthy delicious dinner planned, to look forward to. Make it through the day... do it again tomorrow. Every day won't be perfect, but it's when things 'go wrong' that you can start to identify just specifically WHAT went wrong, and learn to make adjustments to avoid the same problems from arising in future.
Instead of thinking about calories, think about nutrients. The reason you have a bottom limit is that you need at least that much food to get enough protein, calcium, iron, fiber, and so on. You'll notice that here (and most places) the tracker is called a NUTRITION tracker, not a a calorie tracker. Set it up so that it shows protein, calcium, fiber, and at least one other nutrient that's important to you. Then forget about your calorie goal, and focus on those nutrient goals instead. Promise yourself some sort of (non-food) reward for every day when you hit at least the minimum amounts for all of those nutrients.
A lot of people find that when they start hitting all of their nutrient targets, they lose weight even if they sometimes go over their calorie range. And you'll probably also find that you don't go over your calorie range because foods with high nutritional value are also usually very filling. Once you get your nutrients, you don't have room for junk food!
Think of calories the way you think of money. It's good to be thrifty, but not miserly. Thrifty means you save money AFTER you pay the rent, the electric, and transportation to work. It doesn't make sense to have money in the bank but end up getting frostbite because you wouldn't spend it on heating or warm shoes. Your minimum calorie allowance is like that-- it's what you NEED to spend to stay healthy. If you want to "hoard" the other 200-300 calories in your allowance after your budget basics are met, that's absolutely fine.
if you're not someone who can plan meals and follow through on eating them, then plan out your calories in increments. in other words, instead of looking at 1200-1550 for the whole day, starting breaking it out. let's say you're a three sqaure meals person. breakfast is the first meal of they day, so we'll say you need to eat 300 cals by 10 am. lunch is next and we'll call it 400 cals, so you need to be up to 700 cals by 2pm. then you move on to dinner, which we'll say is 500 cals. so you need to be at 1200 cals for the day by 7pm. if you like snacking more and meals less, you can accommodate that too. i tend to snack and not eat meals and my general guidelines are to make sure i am eating 200 cals every two hours that i am awake [my ranges are a little higher]. i can do that with one big meal or multiple snacks, so long as i am hitting that 200 cals every 2 hours average.
Fitness Minutes: (120)
2,171 5/19/13 2:34 P
I agree w/ planning ahead. I put everything in my tracker in a week ahead of time and tweak as I go, and I usually will leave 150-200 calories for some wiggle room each day. I usually end up using it for a dessert after dinner. I too was hoarding calories and I found that planning ahead ended that, plus it helped me stay on track with the calories. I never have moments where I am staring at the fridge saying "what the hell am I going to have for dinner, screw it, I'll order a pizza", because it's already planned out.
Edited by: YOJULEZ at: 5/19/2013 (14:35)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
16 5/19/13 2:25 P
We need to eat to lose weight. What about trying the menu planner. That has it all figure out for you and you can substitute foods/meals. Good Luck.
First thing in the morning I'll try to plan out my calories - I'll figure out what I'm having for dinner and put that in to the tracker first (or while I'm eating breakfast) and then work backwards to lunch, filling in snacks and extra side dishes in between.
Also, are you worried about running out of calories because you're used to eating more/you've gone over several times? I had that same issue when starting (1200-1550 just isn't enough for me!) so I added exercise and also added a little time to my goal so that I could eat in a more comfortable range for me. Now I'm in a range (1500-1850) where I don't feel I'll "run out" often, and I don't have to choose between eating a piece of fruit and not eating at all, because of how valuable those 100 calories are.
I'm new here but not new to food tracking, calorie counting, dieting- what have you. I am trying very hard to do this the right way this time. I find that whenever I know I am counting calories or tracking my food intake I am almost afraid to use the calories I am allotted. For example, with this plan I am told to eat between 1200-1550 calories per day. I find that having that number is intimidating. I am afraid that I will run out and I am hoarding those calories for later. I have no idea how to change that mindset. I'm not "saving them up" for poor food choices later- I'm just not using them. If you've experienced this- how did you overcome? I want to evenly spread them throughout the day but my silly mind is having difficulty with that concept. At 1:40 pm I have only allowed myself to eat 365 calories. This is not good and I know that. I want to fix my head. Where do I start? Sorry for the rambling. 3 children 3 and under has limited my ability to think clearly.
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