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SCIFIFAN Posts: 1,117
1/10/14 3:11 P

In a case like this, I think you just have to make the best estimate you can (whether you eat all of it, half or 3 bites) and then don't worry about it. For most things it is almost impossible to know the calorie count down to the calorie, or even 100 calories or more, due to variations in foods, serving size, preparation, etc.

Even something simple like an apple is just an estimate; I suppose weight would be the best estimate, but still some apples are denser, some sweeter, some less sugary or more watery, different varieties have different nutrients, etc. You just have to do the best you can, realizing that 'close' is good enough, as long as you are not fooling yourself with portion sizes and other factors.

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 13,882
1/10/14 12:21 P

If you ask your server, they will slice the piece of cheesecake in half.

The three bite rule doesn't work for me. If something is really yummy I cannot stop, one bite leads to another.

I am also doing weight watchers to help my mother (and me) and I found out that my favorite appetizer at Longhorn. Three bites is all the points I am allowed for the day. I don't want to dig into my bonus points or activity points for something like that.

Somewhere out there is nutrition information for the Cheesecake Factory. In one of my state counties, they require nutrition information, but the info is still so vague. For instance the Bistro Shrimp pasta is 1000-5000 calories per serving. So I have no idea how accurate the information is.

Edited by: MANDIETERRIER1 at: 1/10/2014 (12:23)
OMENDER Posts: 231
1/10/14 9:55 A

What if you choose to partake in the 3 bite rule for EITHER the appetizer or the dessert? In the case you mentioned I would not eat any of the cheese bread since you are having the same basic thing with a flat bread for your meal, have 3 bites of the chocolate cake and track it as 1/2 or 1/4 of the serving depending on the size of the cake.
I almost never order appetizers or desserts at restaurants and instead choose to have an indulgence (if I want one) at home where I have more control over it and it probably tastes better anyway- for me, restaurant desserts look 10X better than they actually taste.

1/10/14 8:01 A

1/10/14 12:49 A

What's a bite?

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (66,733)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
1/10/14 12:04 A

"The problem with the 3 bite rule is that more and more people are discovering that they have certain trigger foods which cause hunger, most of them carbs, and more specifically the stuff that is added to them. Chemicals, preservatives, salt, and sugar. So a calorie is not really a calorie. "

Exactly. Cheesecake Factory is probably the absolute worst offender for this sort of thing in restaurant meals. If you eat even half of one of their entrees, you don't NEED an appetizer or dessert.

The most precise way to track a commercially-made dessert is not to eat it at all. Baring that, split it vertically instead of horizontally and you can eliminate the vexing question of how to deal with the pointy shape.

Edited by: AZULVIOLETA6 at: 1/10/2014 (14:37)
IVERSENT Posts: 63
1/9/14 10:37 P

No prob. We don't eat out.

SJESSUP7361 Posts: 82
1/9/14 9:45 P

I really like Russell_39's advice about the trigger foods. I like the idea of saving my desserts for special occasions. There are quite a lot of holidays and there are 6 of us in our family so I think I'm probably already over once a month for cake or pie. It's something to look forward to. Valentine's would be my next special one. No birthdays or cake/pie/Krispie Kreme donut worthy events in January.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
8/12/13 2:22 A

Personally I would just have dessert once a month, and have it all, and avoid it the other 30 days.

Most restaurants give you 2-3 meals at one setting anyways, so I have no idea why one would get another meal as an appetizer. Most restaurant meals are over 1000 calories. Even split in 2, it is 1-1.5 meals.

The problem with the 3 bite rule is that more and more people are discovering that they have certain trigger foods which cause hunger, most of them carbs, and more specifically the stuff that is added to them. Chemicals, preservatives, salt, and sugar. So a calorie is not really a calorie. With certain foods, 1 bite would be too much, since it would make you ravenous. For me cheesecake would qualify, as well as all sweets, which I never eat. For me dessert would be some berries.

A calorie is NOT a calorie, if 30 calories of a food causes a binge. A 3 bite rule sounds great, but are you hungry afterwards? The best way to avoid overeating is to never be hungry. You may need to avoid certain foods completely to accomplish this, and 3 bites will destroy the entire day.

Don't eat an appetizer, or dessert just because they are available. They are just empty calories. I know everyone talks about " everything in moderation ", but eating pie or cake more than once a month is not normal. They are meant to be for special occasions. If you ask your waitperson, I am sure they would substitute a fruit plate.

CARRIENIGN SparkPoints: (38,054)
Fitness Minutes: (30,620)
Posts: 419
8/12/13 1:32 A

I agree with Dragonchilde--just leave wiggle room in your calorie range and/or be a little more strict with your intake on subsequent days. I don't have a three bite rule, but if I REALLY want something, I will allow myself a taste, savor it, and be done with it. I'm sure it's one of the more significant aspects of my approach to healthier living that has allowed me to be successful, because I have SERIOUS sweet tooth syndrome! Moderation, moderation, moderation...

JWOOLMAN SparkPoints: (1,132)
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Posts: 261
8/12/13 12:28 A

Sounds awfully complicated. If half is more than you want- can't you just eat 1/3 or 1/4? If you put your share on a separate plate, that would be a lot easier. You could count your bites for your share if later you wanted to figure out calories per bite for future "I'll just have a bite" reference. Don't get too obsessed, though. Calorie counts for foods are just approximations anyway, even if stamped on a box they could be off by quite a large percentage. Tracking just helps you avoid going overboard, it's not exact. The idea of bringing a scale to the restaurant was pretty funny, though.

ANARIE Posts: 12,522
8/11/13 3:01 P

You know, it all kind of depends on how bad you want it. If you really want to control your health and weight, you'll work it out. For example, sells a pocket-size digital scale for under $20. If weighing is the only way you can control portion size and you really want to control portion size, you'll make room for that little index-card-size scale on the table for 90 seconds. If you don't want it enough to deal with that level of embarassment, you'll figure out something less precise.

By the way, if what you really want is the dessert, eat the dessert. You don't *have* to order an entree. Even an entree from the 500-calorie section of the menu is 500 calories. If you skip that and eat the 1000-calorie dessert instead, you're in the same boat as if you had eaten the so-so entree and half the dessert, except that you "spent" all of your calories on what you really wanted.

The same goes for side dishes. If you look at the menu and they have a steak with smashed potatoes and shallot-glazed green beans, and your brain says, "Mm, those potatoes and green beans sound good. And the steak is okay," then order the side dishes a la carte. You don't really want the steak, so don't eat it. You'll be amazed at how totally willing restaurants are to do this for you. They overcharge you for the sides, but you're still saving money by not paying full price for the part you don't really want.

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,578
8/11/13 1:20 A

I think it is easier to just take a portion that you can eyeball and then eat that. bite sizes are different each time so that's going to be hard to guesstimate.

FTSOLK Posts: 1,296
8/10/13 9:41 P

Dragonchilde- I can understand that. Personally, I am a big sweet fan. I'm not so much a fan of CANDY, but I love cakes, pies, etc. I love froyo, but I'm pretty neutral about ice cream.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (58,001)
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Posts: 9,673
8/10/13 9:04 P

Honestly, no, I don't. I don't care much for sweets, and they're rarely worth the calorie bombs that they're associated with.

If I DO have a bite, I always make sure I have room in my calorie range. If you're so close to the top of your range that three bites of something is going to make or break you, either skip those bites or find someplace else during the day to cut back and make room for them.

LADYREDCOMET SparkPoints: (46,313)
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8/10/13 5:20 P

Actually, I go out and I have the entire dessert/appetizer/whatever if I want it, and then I deal with the consequences by making sure I am extra mindful of my food and exercise for the next several days.

No one ever said eating healthily would be easy, or that it wouldn't be awkward to bring a scale or say "no thank you" to the person offering you a bite of their food. As for how to track if you do accept that bite - guess. Find something similar in the nutrition tracker, or enter the nutrition information on the restaurant's webpage, and then estimate how much you had compared to the full serving size. Personally I always try to over estimate what I ate when at a restaurant, to give myself a little leeway. There is no way to be 100% accurate with your food tracking, especially if you do not prepare the food yourself.

CERTHIA SparkPoints: (21,845)
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8/10/13 5:15 P

Yes, I figured bringing a scale would be over the top, but it sounded like you wanted a very precise method.. I should have been clearer on my other suggestion though, I was thinking you could weight your bite of something with similar density at home, not at the restaurant, and base your calculations on that.

Personally I am not very anal about my tracking when I eat foods I have not prepared myself, since this is not something I do too often. I will happily live with the uncertainty of +-300 calories when eating out or at someones house :)

CORTNEY-LEE SparkPoints: (58,178)
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Posts: 3,282
8/10/13 5:14 P

I divide it in my head - there are many times you see in my tracker 0.25 serving of XXXX or 0.125 serving of YYY - it might not be 100% dead on, but it is close enough.

FTSOLK Posts: 1,296
8/10/13 5:05 P

I want to track accurately, but I don't want to be ANAL about it. Seriously?! First off, half the time the table is barely big enough for plates and our drinks- so there isn't enough room for a kitchen scale. Not to mention it is very awkward, impractical, and humiliating.

So I take it nobody here ever goes out and has a taste of someone else's dessert. I've been out in larger groups and I've been offered a taste of someone's food- and I would like to know how to track if I only have a bite or so of the while thing.

LADYREDCOMET SparkPoints: (46,313)
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Posts: 395
8/10/13 3:56 P

Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for this type of thing. Can you ask your friend to order things that don't tempt you so much instead, at least for now? Otherwise you are just going to have to make the decision to eat in moderation (split dessert, only eat 1/4 of the appetizer, eat half of your entree and take the rest home), even if it means going a bit over your calorie goal for the day, and stick with it. Going over once in a while isn't going to make you gain 30 pounds overnight, just make sure you don't use it as an excuse to continue the unhealthy eating into the rest of the day/the next day/the next week/etc. The trick is to just jump right back into your healthy habits and not let a splurge meal derail all your hard work.

CERTHIA SparkPoints: (21,845)
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Posts: 764
8/10/13 3:54 P

Bring a scale? No honestly, if you wish to track it very accurately this would be the method, granted you know the calories per 100 g. Or weigh a spoon/bite of something of a similar density at home and make calculations based on that?

FTSOLK Posts: 1,296
8/10/13 12:16 P

Here's the deal. If I go to a restaurant and my friend orders an appetizer and dessert that I love and I sit there and watch him eat, it is going to make me feel regretful and deprived- to the point where I end up binging later, so I need to figure out a way to enjoy these things in moderation without it blowing my calorie budget,

FTSOLK Posts: 1,296
8/10/13 12:13 P

If I look at a slice of cake and eat to a halfway line I draw, I likely did not eat half the cake because of the shape of the cake which makes eyeballing that more difficult. Estimating that I ate 3 tablespoons of ice cream (just under 1/4 of a cup) will be easy to track, but since most restaraunt desserts aren't labeled with measurements, it makes it more difficult to do that.

I wouldn't do the three bite thing for EVERYTHING when eating out. Say I go to Cheesecake Factory. I will order a flatbread and a arugula salad for my main course (that is actually my plan for my next trip to CF), but if we order, say, the new garlic cheese bread, I will only have 1-2 pieces (out of like 6), and I will limit myself to 3 bites of the chocolate cheesecake we order for dessert. In some cases, it is just easier to mentally divide up portions than others.

ANARIE Posts: 12,522
8/10/13 12:05 P

Make an egg-white and vegetable frittata the size of a cheesecake. Cut it into slices the size of an average restaurant dessert serving. Count the bites as you eat it. Divide by three, and that will give you an appropriate fraction for when you eat three bites of a cheesecake serving. If you're eating a layer cake, assume that the number of bites in the whole serving would be frittata bites times the number of layers.

I think you'll be shocked at how many calories you get even with the 3-bite rule.

CMCOLE Posts: 2,667
8/10/13 8:15 A

hope you're able to figure it out for yourself.

I'd go with the suggestion of dividing it up either physically or mentally before consumption, I guess.

DROPCONE Posts: 1,547
8/10/13 8:05 A

I think it might be hard to find info for that small an amount. So that risks not recording it and then not accounting for it in your eating plan.

Depending on the desert, you could parcel out the "bites" first and then eyeball it. Or, you could go by teaspoon/tablespoon measures and also make a guess. A bite of cheesecake for me would probably be two teaspoons to a tablespoon (maybe a little less); probably a bite of ice cream would be a tablespoon, depending on how runny it is and the size of the spoon I'm given at the restaurant.

HELZIE Posts: 509
8/10/13 7:29 A

I have tried sticking to a three bite rule (or five in my case) when eating out, but I can honestly say it didn't help me very much. After all, three bites of vegetable will never equate with cheesecake! I think as long as you work foods into your intake, you should be able to enjoy dessert if you like, or make up for it in other food choices.
When measuring anything, there is a pretty useful visual guide on Sparkpeople somewhere that shows grams to eyeball measurements, so whatever you decide to do you will be able to track using a visual method, ie...30g of cheese is the size of a domino (possibly). But don't worry about it too much, just enjoy it!

Edited by: HELZIE at: 8/10/2013 (07:30)
FTSOLK Posts: 1,296
8/10/13 1:01 A

I am trying to conquer my biggest challenges with eating out: appetizers and dessert. My best friend is in between diets, so there are compromises on those parts of the meal since we usually share.

I have been considering giving the three bite rule a go rather than simply eating half the portion. That way, I can indulge in the cheesecake without blowing my calories.

The only problem is tracking. It's hard enough eyeballing how much of a slice of cake I have if I'm eating it on my own. The shape of it just makes it difficult, but it's nearly impossible with someone else taking bites. So how would I track it? Say I ate 1/8 of the dessert? 1/4? 1/3? I don't plan on taking super giant forkfuls- just normal bites.

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