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KKKAREN Posts: 12,753
7/14/13 4:42 A

I recently heard: count your fibers not your calories to lose weight.

OLLIEHAY39 Posts: 56
7/14/13 1:46 A

Is there a way to turn calorie tracking OFF in the sparkpeople counter? I would like to still keep tracking macro and mirco nutrients. Don't care that much about calories, I find them distracting and that they feed my diet mentality. I was doing really well at staying off the scale until I weighed myself one day (doing low carb moderate protein diet, gave up grains altogether including rice and corn) and realised I lost 12 lbs so far. Now I want to weigh myself all the time. I'd like to track my food other than calories. I hope to start measuring my progress more by measurement (waist, hips etc) than by numbers on a scale.

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,617
3/8/13 8:30 A

Pre-planning meals is key for me. Also, counting calories isn't as much of a pain as it appears to be in the beginning, especially if you tend to eat the same things. Making sure you get enough nutirents is just as important as how many calories you consume.

ANGUSSANDY Posts: 10,516
3/8/13 6:40 A

I think that if you are going paleo, at least, counting carbs is worthwhile. I try to keep them under 100.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,408
3/8/13 6:33 A

I suspect that for many people who blog about tracking calories and not losing weight, are saying that because they haven't lost weight 'that week' - while they actually are losing fat, but it's being temporarily masked by changes in their water weight.

But certainly there are plenty of situations, especially for various endrocinal issues (eg. hypothyroidism), where people can eat at the recommended levels and have trouble losing weight. This isn't really a tracking issue, but a medical one, but it does mean the scale is slow to shift.

But you raise a valid point - not all calories are equal. Looking at your ratios of carbs, fats and protein, and whether they are in the recommended ranges, is one place to start breaking it down further. Chief on the nutritionists 'nasty list' these days seem to be simple carbs and trans fats - but they are pretty comfortable with complex carbs and 'healthy fats, so you may need to break it down even further than just carbs/fat/protein.


LIVELYGIRL2 Posts: 4,184
3/7/13 7:31 P

Good info about ingredient lists. Thanks! I didn't completely get this years ago.

I mean I know that if it is number 1-4, there is a good amount of whatever, but you think when there are 10-25 ingredients, its diluted, correct ?

I picked up a taco mix at Trader Joe's, for Tacos. I wasn't clear on the liquid amounts because of the print on he back. Besides that, turn on the light, why don't you?

Usually one uses a entire pack of seasoning and water or tomatoes in some form. Usually, the amount of fluid is 1/4 to 3/4 cup. I used the full package and added a decent amount of water.

After all I've made similar products for decades. Didn't you think only men don't read instructions...???

My husband and I ate our meal. The tacos were so spicy, we were amazed and alarmed. I went and dug around in the trash to find the package. It said, to use 1/2 half the package ( (traditional size packaging ) and 14 ounces can of tomatoes. It had about 10 ingredients,and cayenne was number 3.

Burning shocked mouth... and blowing our noses.....

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon


I hope you enjoyed my dinner story.

TOKIEMOON SparkPoints: (53,941)
Fitness Minutes: (37,666)
Posts: 2,467
3/7/13 6:21 P

I agree with all those who choose to use portion control to lose/maintain weight. I used to weigh and measure (per WW), but that's so time consuming as well as impossible to do when not preparing my own meals.

After so many years of starting over and over with WW, I KNOW what I should eat as well as what I should only occasionally eat. Portion sizes are 2nd nature at this point as well. The only exception is cereal. I still weigh this because portion size varies so much.

MAYBER SparkPoints: (120,147)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 9,764
3/7/13 5:50 P

do not like to count calories because they vary so much
prefer to do portion control and write down everything in a notebook
One day at a time

LAWLI56 Posts: 1,476
3/7/13 5:18 P

Usually I don't just track calories but try to get the proportions right. When I eat more protein and healthy fats I lose weight otherwise I generally eat too many carbs. But I also try to make most of my carbs oats, rice, vegetables or fruit as wheat - specifically bread - appears to have a detrimental effect on my weight loss.

Edited by: LAWLI56 at: 3/7/2013 (17:19)
GOOSIEMOON SparkPoints: (235,431)
Fitness Minutes: (106,538)
Posts: 6,680
3/7/13 4:49 P

Portion control is the most important thing, IMO.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
3/7/13 3:40 P

I use portion control mostly, and I've settled on a routine that takes most of the guesswork out of things, most of the time. There's only about three things I normally eat for breakfast, and the same for snacks -- I know they're all fine. For lunch and dinner I just keep my portions (of anything but salad or green vegetables) to about half what it used to be. For the most part I don't vary my routine often enough to worry about it -- if I'm eating like that five days out of any given week I don't worry about the details of one or two meals on the last couple of days, I figure as long as I make an effort to keep things reasonable it'll all work itself out.

I also don't snack (aside from planned ones) or eat sweets very much at all, save for special occasions, and only drink water and sometimes coffee. And I exercise. So all that helps in itself, I expect, since there's less room for things to go unexpectedly wrong.

So far so good. (23 pounds in about 3 months) I don't plan to count calories or track unless something stops working and I have to figure out what it is.

JOYOUS1917 SparkPoints: (19,811)
Fitness Minutes: (10,248)
Posts: 196
3/7/13 3:22 P

I plan my day of calories on the food tracker ahead of time. I am learning portion size so I will not have to log in all the time. In the real world we will not always have access to the computer! Thanks for all the tiiips! emoticon P.S.: Homemade Soups help me a base is usually squash. emoticon

Edited by: JOYOUS1917 at: 3/7/2013 (15:24)
GALINAZ Posts: 743
3/7/13 2:27 P

Thanks for this thread, its very helpful. I've been eating in my calorie range and exercising but no change! This discussion helps me understand that I'm not eating the right foods, particularly too many processed foods and not enough protein.

3/6/13 12:31 P

In my opinion the first key to good nutrition is cooking your own meals (confession I am a committed foodie). Preparing your own food from scratch allows you to know exactly what you are eating, how much in each portion and ensure the proper balance of macro nutrients. Each meal and snack should have a balance of macro nutrients, I use the Zone Diet ration of 40% complex carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% good fats.

If you are using a prepared product use the Rule of %, if it has more than 5 ingredients on the label it is not good nutrition. Learn to read food labels and pay attention to the information they contain. Note the portion size against the calories stated, labels are often stating less than normal portions to lower the calorie count.

The rule of the hand for portions is the size of your palm both the area and the volume. One palm for protein, half a palm for carbohydrates and a double palm for vegetables is the ratio.

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (190,504)
Fitness Minutes: (282,733)
Posts: 26,505
3/6/13 12:27 P


If you don't want to track calories, you will have to be mindful of your portions. Spark People has a chart of portion sizes you might want to use if you don't want to track calories per se.

Another thing to do is eat off smaller plates. there have been studies that showed that if a person was given a larger plate, they'll put more food on it so that it doesn't seem like they are being deprived. Consider reading this book by Brian Wansink called Mindless Eating. It's another great resource on why people eat the way they do.

Do you have a food scale ? If not, you may find a food scale or measuring cups helpful.

3/6/13 12:25 P

In the morning, I enter all my planned food into a counter. I can see my ratios, my calories, my sodium, and everything else so I know if I need to adjust. I think planning ahead and laying it out in front of me is what works (for me).

JCWIAKALA Posts: 347
3/6/13 12:20 P

Most successful "dieters" count something, whether it's calories, points (ww), carbs, or protein. I like watching the ratio of carbs/fat/protein.

STDWYNWEN SparkPoints: (11,698)
Fitness Minutes: (4,601)
Posts: 577
3/6/13 11:50 A


You can use portion control instead of counting calories.
A good gauge of portions is as simple as using your hand.

Google it and you'll get many good guides you can use.

MPLANE37 SparkPoints: (76,409)
Fitness Minutes: (66,777)
Posts: 2,170
3/6/13 11:37 A

That is exactly the point. You need to get both right for sustainable fat loss.

SUSAN_FOSTER Posts: 1,229
3/6/13 10:58 A

You don't have to take calories out of the equation to eat better. Start tracking both calories and nutrient ratios (carbs/protein/fat) and see where that takes you.

ZELDA13 SparkPoints: (77,448)
Fitness Minutes: (26,215)
Posts: 3,332
3/6/13 9:43 A

I find it helps me if I plan my meals in advance. It's easier for me to be sure to incorporate enough veggies and protein while meeting my calorie range. If my calories or nutrients are low, I can make adjustments and eat healthier. For instance, I might add a slice of bread with cream cheese and top with fruit for a snack. If I need to cut back, I can easily make a change instead of tracking after I eat and it's too late. I try to add veggies to every meal to get enough for the day.

JENSTRESS Posts: 5,403
3/6/13 9:42 A

Nausikaa is right. You can still lose weight eating crap in the calories, but your body might have a harder time letting go and turning it into proper energy. If you use the spark people tracker, it does help because it also balances fats/protein/carbs out. That being said, you really do need to eat more whole foods. Or at least, unprocessed foods. As a snack, whatever you do, try subbing fruit or veggies at that time. For example, an apple for a granola bar. At dinner, make sure that you are eating a lot of veggies. Those foods will help you to balance anything else. I try to eat less processed foods, like cereals and such. I make myself fruit smoothies in the morning. I put fresh spinach, frozen strawberries, frozen mango and frozen blueberries in my blender and ta-da! I have a delish breakfast that is all natural. (I do have to add water.)

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
3/6/13 9:23 A

Unless I track calories, I lose the game. So, calories are absolutely essential. However, it's fine to have more than one measure. I eat clean + track calories. This works for me to insure that I get enough of the good stuff but not too much. (Clean eating = eating as little processed food as possible / food as unprocessed as possible. I still eat processed foods, for example whole wheat pasta is processed but acceptable to me.)

PSCHIAVONE2 SparkPoints: (20,629)
Fitness Minutes: (13,280)
Posts: 783
3/6/13 9:16 A

I keep seeing people on SP talk about not loosing weight but sticking to the right amount of Calories. I have found for myself, that I can eat 1800 calories in a day and still manage to eat poorly. The Calories are there but not the nutrition. Is there a better way to track without using calories for the base?

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