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Tip: Tracking food, a very fast and simple method

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

This is a simple method to track calories only when you are in a hurry and don't have the time or info to enter a new food.

It can be overwhelming at times to track every bite accurately. I have spent a lot of time 'searching' for a food item only to have to enter it all myself because I just can't find an exact match. I got frustrated with spending several minutes entering an item, especially those things I knew I would probably not eat again such as when you eat out or at a friend's.

So I came up with a simple method for tracking 'calories only' that is quick and easy. I went to the Nutrition tab, then search, then clicked on "Enter a food not found". I named my food "100 calories" and entered calories of :100. Then I made sure I saved it to my favorites list of foods.

Now if I eat something unusual I can just track it using the food "100 calories" and adjusting the serving size to reflect the correct calories. So if I ate 250 calories, I use 2.5 servings. 1,000 calories is 10 servings, 50 calories would be .5 servings, etc.

The Good: Simple, fast, works for any food.

The Bad: No nutrition info, not as precise. Hard to know if you tracked something because all the foods you track this way just say "100 calories" for the food item

The Bottom line: For me -very fast and it beats not entering anything and I mainly (for now) just keep track of calories and not the specifics like protein, carbs, etc

My advice: Use it only when in a hurry or for those odd items when you have a rough idea of calories, but don't want to spend time searching for or entering an item you don't eat often.

Now I am either a genius or I just broke every rule there is on tracking food.

Hey, you didn't hear this from me!
I may not do it perfectly, but I won't quit because quitting isn't an option!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHARTHESTAR 4/15/2014 8:14PM

    great idea. I should have thought of this.

emoticon for making our life a little easier on days when we don't have a lot of extra time.

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SONGBIRDPAULA 4/11/2014 6:10AM

    emoticon A great idea and is very doable! Thanks for sharing!

Paula emoticon

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    Good thought for the day thanks for year

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ROXYZMOM 4/10/2014 7:21AM

    Awesome idea! You are a genius!

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LIVINGFREE19 4/10/2014 1:51AM


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IRON_RESOLVE 4/9/2014 11:30PM

    Thanks Shamrocky2 for sending us the link to this blog

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IRON_RESOLVE 4/9/2014 11:29PM

    So bizarre l should catch this blog in an email today of all days as i did attept to log and needed to add so many foods. As a newbie, l lost a ton info when l inadvertently pressed enter, and item went in 3 times, and hit cancel, and removed additional correct food items for which l missed adding to favourites! Le sigh....
It's all good,because l am only at the beginning stage of logging.
So thank you very much, as this idea will iron out more than a few bumps along the road to success in logging all foid and exercise!
What doesn't kill me, makes me stronger,
Or as my dear Mother used to say, 'Could be worse'
Thank you to our Positve Sparker for pointing us all to this blog!

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DJSHIP46 4/9/2014 9:33PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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MOMMY445 4/9/2014 7:41PM

    so well said!

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NYKIMMIE 4/9/2014 6:35PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SHAMROCKY2K 4/8/2014 11:46PM

    emoticon You're a smart cookie! Great for busy days indeed! Spread the word far and wide!

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CHERIJ16 4/8/2014 11:01PM

    emoticon Whatever works for you is right for you.

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SUZIPAM1 4/8/2014 4:41PM

    quitting is never an option

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Tips for newbies! Eat out, don't 'pig' out!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dinners out wrecking your resolve? Recently, someone asked how to handle going out for Chinese, so I thought I would offer some tips that have helped me. This applies to eating out in general as well as having any higher calorie day.

One of the most important keys to losing weight is tracking everything you eat. It really helps you realize how much you are eating, when you eat, what you eat, protein/carbs/etc. There are MANY reasons to track. It is a pain at first, but it gets easier-promise. Enter foods manually if you will eat them more than once. That takes time, but it pays off. You only have to enter them once and then save. Remember to save to your favorites in the tracker!

So here is one thing that has really helped me manage calories. After you figure out your calorie range and you track everything as best you can, look at the bottom of the nutrition page. You will see calorie totals for 7 days. Add them up and divide by 7 to get your average calories per day for the week. If you are in range (on average) you are doing great! You will rarely have 2 days exactly the same or exactly on any given number. It is the average you are eating that is more important. So if I know I am going out to eat on Friday, I will eat a little less during the week and my average will usually come out ok. Some people call this 'banking' calories to 'spend' later. And it works. It also may keep you from binging when you know you have a high calorie day because you are going for an average.

Another thing that helps is setting a number in your head that you do not want to go over and use it like a stop sign. For example, my current range is 1500-1700/day. I use 2000 as my big, red stop sign. If I track food and it gets close to that number, or goes over, I know I need to stop for the day. I can't afford too many days like that if I want to lose significant weight. This week I had 2 days that went over. Yikes! But, I ate less on other days and my average came out to 1670. Still in range and nothing to panic, quit or binge over. Use whatever numbers work for you of course. Note: I am not recommending going over your range, just saying when it happens, keep it in perspective. Retrain yourself to use a 'bad' day as a 'stop sign', not a 'green light to overeat'.

I personally don't plan 'cheat' days either because life brings enough of those higher calorie days on it's own. Teaching yourself to manage your calories will help you lose and maintain loss. I say, enjoy your Chinese, or whatever special meal you are having, but, reduce your calories for a couple days and maybe do an extra workout to help offset it. See, you CAN have your cake and eat it too!

As for me, I will not quit, panic or binge…quitting is not an option!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHAMROCKY2K 1/19/2014 7:32PM

    Great advise! I never thought about averaging out the calories for the week. I actually do that though occasionally.. like when we have a weekend away.
2000 is definitely a good stop sign.

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Why quitting is not an option. You CAN do this if I can!

Sunday, July 07, 2013

One year ago I thought I was going to 'try to lose some weight'. I had no idea the journey I was about to begin.

Today, as I reflect on the past year, I realize that it is so much more than just losing weight. It is learning to eat to live and not live to eat. It is choosing to be kinder to my body by giving it healthier foods and plenty of water. It is discovering that I still can find exercise that works for me at the weight and physical condition that I am at any given time.

And if you have been active on this site for any length of time, you know it is so, so much more. Finding new friends that believe in you and encourage you and doing the same for them. Celebrating with this community of new friends and supporters when you lose a pound or fit in a smaller pair of jeans. Giving and getting pat on the back or a kick in the butt when you need it.

There are highs and lows. Good days when it seems easy to stick to your calorie range and put in a good workout. And tough days when you feel like staying in your pj's and eating junk food 'til you puke. Mostly there are the in-between days when you choose to 'do the work'-eat right, drink water, exercise, not because it's easy or fun, but because you know it's the right thing to do if you want to be healthy.

And if you stick with it through all those up and down days, you get healthier. You lose weight. You feel better physically and emotionally. You can do things you couldn't do a year ago. Fit in clothes you couldn't fit in 6 months ago. Heck, fit in chairs you couldn't fit in 6 months ago!

I guess what I am saying is this. I may not be where I want to be...yet. But, I am so much better than where I was on July 7th, 2012. It's taken effort. And it will take more effort, but it is worth it.

If I can do it, so can you. Don't quit on you! Don't give up because you had a bad day, week or month. Get up every day and try again. Do the best you can each day and you WILL get results. Get involved with a team or board who are willing to offer you support along the way. You won't regret it.

You and I will have good days and bad days, but don't quit...because quitting isn't an option!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHAMROCKY2K 7/7/2013 10:16PM

    emoticon Congrats on your 1 year anniversary!
GREAT blog too. emoticon Keep up your fantastic spirit!

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TERIANA 7/7/2013 3:52PM

    I agree--the key to success is standing up again after every fall.

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SANDYCRANE 7/7/2013 3:46PM

    WOW. That was great because I am having one of those eat until you puke days. I have been doing so good but I am starting to crack. I am not giving up. I have to remind myself I did this to control the diabetes, I have and I am down to one pill. I also want to live a long time in a healthy sized body. So thanks for the blog, your timing was great.


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LAWSON1446 7/7/2013 3:37PM

    Keep going! Keep posting... your words are inspiring! Life is the journey... emoticon

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Hitched up without a Hiccup. (The Wedding.) Phew!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ah, yes. The wedding. So , so many months, weeks, days and hours of preparation and hard work…gone in day. If you have been there, you ‘get it’. Was it worth it? Yes. Would I want to do it again? Not anytime soon!

Quick recap: Our youngest son, Ben (27), got married in May. He and his bride decided on a rustic wedding to match the log-sided lodge where the reception took place. I was asked to help quite a bit as the bride’s mom lives a ways away and would not be able to help as much.

So here are the promised photos for those who asked. I just don’t like too many personal photos of other people floating around out there. Please do not copy the pics of the bride and groom/or other people. Thank you. Now, on to the photos…

The wedding took place in a historic brick church. It had some gorgeous stained glass windows.

The moms and grandma got wrist corsages.

Inside view of the historic church.

Ben wrote a song for Cheryl and his friend sang it during the ceremony. It was very sweet.

This shows Cheryl’s beautiful gown. Direct from China at a fraction of the cost, it was spot-on to the designer one!

The back had a huge, beautiful bow.

The guys wore these socks just for ‘kicks’…haha.

The hall is in the park right on the MIlwaukee River.

The table numbers I made from their engagement pictures. My hubby cut the branches for them and the centerpieces, which were simple mason jars, river rocks and floating candles. The card box was made from a suitcase my mom owned. (Photo taken before set up.) And a photo of all the table numbers at my house. You can see how he cut them on an angle. (No photo of the rocks, but I have several on my photo page. They were a big hit!)

The rings. Her diamond had belonged to her late great-aunt and is a beautiful European cut that sparkles like crazy. It’s huge too. Ben had it put in a new setting.

Bridal bouquet. The flowers were lovely and very reasonable.

This shows the hall with an upper balcony and rustic lantern lighting. Cameo by Sue/Elm Grove. Can you spot her? Notice the mantel. We used our own frames with a few repainted to a more rustic look. Then we took mason jars and laid them on a slice of log. When the bridal party arrived, we used the girl’s bouquets in those jars. It turned out very nice and was a really pretty backdrop behind the head table. The next photo shows the pretty candles in the fireplace after the tables were removed for dancing.

The cake on top was a special fancy chocolate one. The cups were ‘dirt cakes’ for the guests. Tasted like a chocolate mouse and each one had a gummy worm on top. What can I say, they like dirt cakes and it went with the rustic theme. They tasted really good!

It was a wonderful day and evening and went off nicely considering all the panic we had the week before. We have some great memories and funny stories to look back on for years to come. Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement during my stressful days. I wish you could have all been there and hope you have enjoyed a peek at it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHAMROCKY2K 7/11/2013 3:36PM

    I guess I was dosing cause I totally missed your blogs about the wedding. Yes! The guys did manage to pull it off! Love how the socks matched the shirts. Beautiful pictures! You look happy and rested. Glad for no hiccups. I remember waking up even a month after our daughters wedding and thinking .. now what is left to do. PHEW!

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CECELW 6/19/2013 9:52PM

    Carol...the wedding pics are stunning! You worked your heart out for this wedding. Totally worth it i'd say. Your truly a special mom. Cindy

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SUTERSPACE 6/18/2013 2:07PM

    Carol the pictures are wonderful!! What a LOT of work you did and it sure paid off. I'm looking for a girl for my son - anyone out there looking? LOL. Just thought I'd put it out there!!! Seriously, the wedding looks beautiful!!

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2JUSTME 6/18/2013 11:11AM

    It was a wonderful wedding. You did a great job!

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JAGRIF 6/18/2013 8:40AM


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You can't out-exercise a bad diet. Fact.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Wow. Light bulb-going-on moment when I read those words somewhere here on Spark recently and it has been stuck in my head ever since.

I have been maintaining for a couple months now. I am in a tight 2-3 lb. range. Not altogether a bad thing. I'm not gaining and that is great. However, life got busy and I have slacked off on tracking my food. I really think that is a key for me. Yes, I have kept exercising regularly and I think that has helped me maintain rather than gain, but if I want to lose (and I do!) then I have to reduce the calories. No matter how much I exercise, it's a piece of cake to out-eat the calories I burn off. (I know...groan...sorry, couldn't resist the pun.) I can burn maybe 400-600 calories per workout, but I can eat 2,000 in less than 20 minutes if I let myself. (Big mac, fires and a shake, anyone?)

You can exercise all you want, but you HAVE to control the calories if you really want to lose weight. It's work to stay on track, but I won't quit, because quitting is not an option. Fact.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ARTZWOMAN 6/12/2013 4:03AM

    Well said, friend, well said. Now I'll have those words stuck in my head too (which is a good thing)!

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SHAMROCKY2K 6/11/2013 12:26AM

    Keep on tracking my friend! It definitely IS the trick. I have gone times thinking.. well I sort of am keeping mental track of my food. Shortly I would forget altogether. The scale tells no lies though..

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