I think of my calories as the amount of money I have every day. Every calories is a monetary value. So if I have eaten about 1000 calories by dinner time I feel really happy and proud of myself to say that I have "500 calories" left to spend that day!
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I picture lost calories as money and I am trying to save for a specific special reward. Every day that I eat less than my maintenance level (1500 cals.) I mentally put "money" in the bank; when I exercise, I add the "money" to the bank; and if I overeat, then foolish"debt" is eating my account.
In both my money budget and calorie budget I try to live within my means and at all costs stay out of ruinous debt. What you save for is a personal choice, but when you reach your goal, you must treat yourself to that reward. My "account" gives me more immediate feedback than my scale does.
I tend to think of calories as money. When my range is used up, I have to stop. There isn't any 'credit' in calorie-counting! :)
If I happen to have some left-over calories at the end of the day (after dinner) then I may treat myself to something special within that range. Gives me something extra to look forward to if I've been particularly diligent.
When I eat out, I order what I really want and ask for a to-go box with my order. As soon as my food comes I put half of my meal in the box for later. Saves calories and money as you get 2 meals for the price of one!
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