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GMADEBRA SparkPoints: (0)
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9/7/12 8:56 A

It is hard indeed to count calories! IF I had to actually count them, I'd of given up long ago!

My solution is to simply NOT worry about them at all. My story is that, after my forties, I sure packed on the flab. Oh boy. I was up to a size 18. Who knew how much I weighed? I do not have a scale. But I have a tape measure ( I sew). I took stock, size 18? Waist size... um... 36????????? I had to face the truth- I was a whale.

All I did was to STOP the sugary snacks. Just stop them. Only eat real food. Subbed lemonaid made with stevia for my soda.

And just began to walk. Walk as far as I could, slowly increase. Dance and move to the music, do stretching throughout the day!

The trick of small plates DOES work! Just having a policy of "if God made it, eat it" works... I just skip anything processed for the most part.

A typical breakfast for me is fruit, whole grain cereal and some yogurt. AND coffee with REAL cream in it!

Lunch is a sandwich and fruit, or a small bowl of of whatever leftovers I might have or Ramen noodles if I feel like it.

Dinner is typical meat/starch/veggies. With butter on those veggies! I don't believe in suffering whatsoever! No fake stuff for me, never. I just watch that I do not eat like a ten ton bessie anymore. No supersize platter anymore.

I won't deny myself a half cup of real good ice cream couple times a week either! LOL I just do not eat the entire pint anymore in one sitting.

I am now a size 8-9.

It took THREE years to go down, slowly. I slowly increased my walk length, and speed of walking. I am now actually able to jog a little bit! I will slowly increase that. I have begun to now add some weight training to my routine. I should have done that long time ago! Wow.. I am seeing changes already from it.

Don't give up! Do not try to hurry. Don't count calories!!!! Don't make yourself starve! If you are hungry- eat a plate full of fruit. I adore apples and some nut butter to dip them in, or some cheese with it.

JUSTPLAY1 SparkPoints: (609)
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Posts: 36
9/7/12 8:07 A

CATMAGNET that was the most un-motivational post I have ever read! It was downright mean, if that is allowed to stay and make the original poster and other members read, this site sure isn't for me. I'm discusted.

MOMKAT4310 Posts: 1,024
9/6/12 9:55 P

Yes, it is hard. If it was so easy, there would be many less fluffy people in the world. I have fought the battle since I was 7 years old, now 62. I have been up, down and all around. Now just round. I have studied nutrition for all my adult life, and if I were doing this again, I might just become a dietician. But - just for me - I think I have found an answer. I have become Vegan. This is a very personal choice, I do not recommend this to anyone. It changes a lot of the choosing. I follow strict guidelines to stay healthy. I am at a point that something has to change. I got started with RealAge, lost about 20 pounds, learned more than I thought. Then found SparkPeople and lost another 10 pounds and they have stayed off for 3 years.I got started swimming at the local wellness center. But I was never serious enough. This feels right for me, but nothing involving a lifestyle change is really easy. Must say, I feel more energetic and sleep better. Good thing as I am a special needs teacher with a room full of high needs kiddies. Best Wishes to everyone who is trying, working toward a better lifestyle, making decisions for their own reasons. Yes, I agree, it does get easier.

LARISSA_NY Posts: 200
9/6/12 6:50 P

You know... yes, it is hard. Any time you make a big change to the way you eat, it's going to be hard. The good thing is that now that you've realized that, you are halfway to harnessing the awesome healthy-living powers of inertia and laziness.

No, really. I used to eat at McDonald's all the time. That's just not the way I eat anymore. So all this week I've been tired when I get off work, and promising myself that I'm going to splurge and get McDonald's.

Then I get close, and I just... don't. It's too much trouble. I'd have to fight traffic to get in, and go aaaalll the way through the drive-through, and I really just want to get home, and I already have chicken thawing in the fridge anyway. So for a week I've been telling myself I'm going to get McDonald's, and for a week I've been too lazy, and I've eaten healthy food instead, because that's what's in my refrigerator.

It does get easier, but you can certainly help the process along.

MAYBER SparkPoints: (120,147)
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9/6/12 6:21 P

Many good comments and yes it does get easier
I prefer portion control instead of calorie counting
Do not eliminate many foods from my daily eating
one day at a time

WHOLENEWME79 Posts: 951
9/6/12 4:17 P

I know what you mean! When I first joined spark it seemed like all I did was enter food into the tracker, log exercise, enter new recipes, etc. Please know it gets much easier! I found that entering in my foods to favorites cut down on track time. One day I sat down and entered in some of the more common recipes I used, too. Now that we have the recipe tracker on our food tracker, that made it easier as well.

So now, it's just a few minutes I spend each day, though it did take a while to get here. Take advantage of all that spark has to offer- It really can make your life easier.

Best of luck!


CLARK971 SparkPoints: (29,686)
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Posts: 827
9/6/12 4:11 P

baby steps. if you overwhelm yourself-you are going to get flustered, think you can't do it and give up.

Don't try to change everything overnight. You didn't gain the extra weight and develop your unhealthy lifestyle overnight.

MOONDREAMERLUNA SparkPoints: (2,589)
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Posts: 8
9/6/12 3:45 P

Wow, I was just coming on here to post almost the same thing. I'm so frustrated and stressed (not just about trying to lose weight, but also about a lot of other stuff going on in my life). I just want to be able to grab quick, easy, comfort food. And too often that's exactly what I do.

I have successfully lost weight in the past, but I put most of it back on, and now, even though I remember how much better I felt at a lower weight, I just can't seem to stay MOTIVATED to do what I need to do. I'll hang in there and keep trying if you will! Maybe we can help each other stick with it.

SADY1969 SparkPoints: (0)
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9/6/12 11:59 A

Your topic statement is right on - eating healthy and counting calories is HARD. Making any lifestyle change is probably the hardest thing you'll ever do. But, if you decide you want to do it, find that thing within you that made you decide to do it and lean on it to get you through this tough part of the journey. It will get easier - we can attest to that!

I made the decision nine months ago that I wanted to change my lifestyle, get healthy and lose weight. There's a lot I can't control but I can control what I put into my body and what my body does with that input. What I did was decide to set a caloric goal for the day and track to that goal (I use MyFitnessPal because it's on my phone but the tracker on here works well too). I focus on calories rather than protein, fat, carbs, etc. I figured out quickly that portion control was the key to tracking and maintaining my caloric goal. I measure, I weigh, I compare food choices - all to get what I want, which is a full stomach at the right amount of calories. It took a lot of time the first few weeks to read labels, weigh and measure things, but now, it's automatic and I've got a good sense of portion control by sight.

Along the way, I learned a few basic principles - 1) protein and fiber keep me filled up; 2) sugar and junk food are a waste of my precious calories and if I have to have them, I budget them into days where I have a heavy workout; 3) I can have a lot of veggies and certain fruits because they don't have a lot of calories and they fill me up.

If you think of this each day as your reward to yourself for making the choice to be healthy rather than it being a chore, you too will get to the point of having a better relationship with food.

Good luck and keep working! The journey is worth it!

SHRINKINMAMMA SparkPoints: (0)
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9/6/12 11:51 A

I started with small steps...drinking more water....eating less processed foods. I only food journal when I have plateaued for a while ( journalling keeps me honest about how much I am eating and helps me recognize my triggers....but I have found I can't keep journalling for more than a week at a time, so I stopped stressing about it).

You can do this!!!

Maybe you could try planning your meals and snacks for the week ahead so you don't have to be working on it daily.

Be proud of the success you have already had and keep building on it one SMALL step at a time.

YOU CAN DO THIS ! YOU can be healthier and leaner.

MYTHINWITHIN SparkPoints: (0)
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9/6/12 10:58 A

I think there was a lot of good advice given on this topic. But CATMAGNET maybe you need to take a step back and truly remember what it was like when you began your journey. Not everyone catches the "Spark" in the beginning. She has recognized she needs to lose weight and is struggling with it. And with all the information available it can be extremely overwhelming. I think this post was placed in the "PANIC! Button" section because she needs EXTRA support right now. Not someone to be condescending to her. Props to all those who gave her a "you can do this" response! Hang in there!!

LOVEXAVIE SparkPoints: (42,867)
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9/6/12 10:55 A

Wow, what great responses to a great post.

Here's my two cents:
What Zorbs said is right: choose your hard. Without a doubt, being overweight is hard! It's certainly not for the faint of heart.
Yes, you may spend more time "up front" in preparation, etc but it will yield untold benefits during your journey and beyond. These benefits will extend for the remaining of your life. Seems like a small effort when you think of it that way. Belive me when I say it IS worth it.

Do you know how unbelievably great it is to be able to get ready for work, etc much quicker because you don't have to fret over what makes you look thinner? To be able to just throw on a pair of shorts (!) and run to the store w/o having to throw on & off stuff based on how fat you look? No more fear of running into people that knew you when you were thin....ex-boyfriends, school chums etc. No more avoiding life! Those of us who have lived life uncomfortably overweight so appreciate these "little" things / gifts, which really aren't so little.

Being overweight colors everything in your life! Conversely, so does being healthy!!

And SH9719 also had an excellent point: you pay now or pay later. The choice is up to each one of us. Nobody gets through w/o paying one way or another. Accept that and move on.

As far as nitty-gritty of food prep, yes, you have GOT to employ an attitude shift. And yes, it will get easier. I am now fine-tuning at this point, but I still write down what I eat 95% of the time...just to keep myself on track. I find I have memorized (without really trying - probably because I wrote it down so often!) favorite things to eat and just know what the calorie count is.
The thing that takes the most time for me is the washing and cutting up of raw veggies (I usually eat mine raw) but I am so frigging grateful to have them, I really don't mind!! They have been the absolute KEY to my losing weight and if I ever get remotely whiny about all the prep, I stop myself cold and remind myself why I am so grateful and how far I have come and how, w/ all this new knowledge, I know I will never have to be fat again.

BIKINGTOLEAN, you really can do this. I am no smarter nor less lazy than you! : ) I just got sick of being less than I could be. Find your ah-ha moment and go for it. No all-or-nothing thinking. I banished that, and now I will never have to diet again (thank God!).

Good luck!

Edited by: LOVEXAVIE at: 9/6/2012 (11:26)
CATMAGNET SparkPoints: (40,431)
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Posts: 1,183
9/6/12 10:41 A

If it's so hard for you to count calories, why are you here? Seriously, you have a great tool at your disposal that forces you to be accountable and makes the task relatively painless and you're STILL going to scoff at it and whine that it's SOOO HAAAAAAARD?

If it's this difficult to do things that are going to make you healthier, then maybe you should really think about what exactly is motivating you to live a healthier life and how willing you TRULY are to make the necessary changes to live a healthy life. If it's not an internal drive, it's going to be a frustrating journey for you. Trust me, I speak from experience.

SH9719 SparkPoints: (40,217)
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Posts: 1,304
9/6/12 10:16 A

There is no getting around it, eating healthy is more time consuming than eating poorly. It can be like learning how to walk aging the correct way. It does get easier and more natural. The further into it the more you will have a tool box of quick and easy healthy things to make. You will also know better what you like and do not like. My favorite days are leftover days. Make extra when you cook so you can relax the next day with what you did the day before.

I try to avoid platitudes in posts because everyone has heard them and they lose their meaning or impact after a while. But the pay now or pay later platitude applies here. Healthy people pay more in time and money to stay healthy. Un healthy people have years when their main worry is image. (The old fat and happy myth.) Downn the road these people pay more in health care costs and often time in therapy to deal with broken down parts of their body. Worse they often pay in shorter lives.

Finally, if it was not hard everyone would be healthy.

9/6/12 9:29 A

Stick with it!
You'll get much quicker at doing things like prepping veg as you do it more and more often.
You've mentioned that things like soup seem to take ages to prepare - but don't forget that when you make a big pot of soup it's usually at least 6 portions and therefore the time it takes for each bowl of soup really isn't that much.
Have you got space in your freezer? My freezer has become my new best friend, I take an afternoon here and there to prepare lots of soup/chilli/curry etc and individually portion them up and freeze them. Everything is in old margarine tubs so at first glance I look like the crazy lady with 30 tubs of margarine in her freezer, but I've scribbled on them all with a marker so I know what's inside.
You need supernatural help? Imagine the good wishes of everybody who has read your post. Add all of those good thoughts put together and I'm pretty sure we're at least close to the force that you need.
Good luck!

ELMAYNET SparkPoints: (0)
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9/6/12 7:56 A

I've learned a few tricks along the way to make prep time much easier, I can have my nutritious meal on the plate in about 5 minutes now. When you get home from the grocery store, portion your protein (chick, fish, beef etc.) into 100 gm./3 oz. portions and put each in it's own ziplock bag. Makes it easy to grab without defrosting a big portion etc. I find I can even steam that sized portion of chick/ fish in the microwave in 3 minutes and then finish it in a pan for color and crispness. Have an onion chopped and bagged in the fridge and a few days worth of veggies ready to go. It takes two minutes to steam a cup of asparagus in the micro and then I add it to the pan with my protein and some lemon juice and spice. Eat your apples, strawberries etc. whole, no need to chop or prepare!
Also, start thinking of the preparation as a gift to yourself each mealtime, and make tracking become the final step of each meal and it will become an easier habit.
You CAN do it! If I managed anyone can and it's the first few weeks that seem difficult that charts the course for a lifetime of new healthy habits. My daughter promised me when I started going to the gym that it would become a habit if I stuck it out for 21 days and she was right :)
Hang in there!

9/6/12 7:01 A

You're building a foundation for a healthy relationship with food. Of course its going to be hard. However, if you stick with it, and go through it - and you can - you will find

a) new foods and meals you love that are healthy for you
b) you'll have a much better idea what choices are healthy for you and which aren't, and start making those choices almost automatically at the store, restaurants, etc
c) tips and tricks to make meal prep go by faster (some people prep all in one go, or plan out everything one day a week so they don't have to think about it all day every day, that will probably work for you)
d) a pantry, fridge & freezer full of healthy foods that you don't have to think about when you need to throw together a quick meal
e) what realistic portion sizes actually look like, so you don't have to be quite so vigilant with measuring (I'm pretty damn accurate when I look at a slice of cheese now and can say, that's .5 oz or 1 oz and be right when I test myself against the scale)

You can do this. If it really is that overwhelming right now, then step back and change one thing this week - more veggies, or writing down everything you ate. But not all of it. Then next week add something else, and so on, so you build that foundation nice and slow and solid.

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (256,922)
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9/5/12 10:31 P

Another thing I wondered about was whether you started this journey off with baby steps. The Nutrition Tracker can actually be part of that baby step process partway through having made some changes, and then you shouldn't notice this so much.

For me it really WAS a very important step to achieving my goal tho'!


TRIXYMAHOGANY SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 333
9/5/12 10:25 P

It really does get easier. I was the same way you are a few weeks ago about prepping meals and cooking and counting calories, but you get used to it and it becomes not so hard. Eventually, instead of agonizing over everything, you're able to keep a semi-accurate running tally in your head; it goes from "Let me plan every little thing so I know" to "Okay, I'm about here, should I eat that? No? Okay, I'll eat something else".

Also, vegetables are NOT difficult to cook. You can even buy fresher vegetables that are pre-prepped, and then they spend ten minutes in a steamer basket.

Take one day at a time and try not let yourself get overwhelmed. You could always take a day to relax, sounds like you need it.

BRITOMART Posts: 8,341
9/5/12 10:06 P

Frozen veggies take 3-4 minutes in the micro. They mix in well with other things (like tuna salad, for instance, with peas, or pasta with tomatoes and broccoli).

Prepping in advance, bulk cooking, packing things in portions--these all help me about 90% of the time--and I HATE cooking.

I found it was more about changing my priorities and attitude than it was about anything else. And I have discovered that the foods that have long shelf life also have less value/taste than fresh things do, so there's a joy in eating I didn't have before. (I cannot face a potato chip anymore; they are so salty they make me gag...who'd have thunk it?)

9/5/12 10:01 P

first of all ~ you CAN do this. i'm quite the lazy cook myself, so i try to find the path of least resistance in as many cases as possible. i don't mind having the same thing everyday for breakfast and lunch, as long as it's quick and gets me out the door. this is usually a carb and protein for breakfast (multi-grain english muffin w/ a veggie chicken patty & mustard or a lean pocket/morning star quick breakfast (2min in the microwave & it's done)), easy mac or lean pocket for lunch, and then for dinner i always make a salad w/ 2c of lettuce & whatever veggies (translation: no cooking, minimal clean up if you have to cut up something). i get the salad from bags and usually my carrots/brocc/cauli/snap peas from the pre-made bags, too (zero prep, except washing the veggies). i love using wraps/pitas for dinner: measure out your protein (find easy visual cues to remember for comparison), and just mix in whatever veggies (lettuce, cukes, tomatoes, onion, etc) you want. then save your "fancy" dinners (the ones that require more planning/cooking for when you have the time and energy for it. for me, this makes my "fancy" dinners (i.e. spaghetti, tacos, hot dogs w/ chili) extra special because i'm not stressed over it. as far as keeping track of calories, i find it easiest to sit down for a few minutes at the end of the day to log all my foods. this way, i'm not constantly thinking/stressing about the calories i've eaten vs. what i have left. you may have a bad day or two, but you'll start seeing where you can rearrange your eating schedule so you're eating where you're hungriest and leaving off unneccessary/stress calories when you don't need them. hope this helps. you can do this. don't give up. good luck!

FIREMOM31 SparkPoints: (16,349)
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9/5/12 7:51 P

About all I can tell you is that it does get easier as you find quicker ways to cook. It's all about reading, learning, then experimenting with what you learn. It does eventually become second nature to make healthy choices. Look at all the progress you've made. Isn't it worth it?

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (202,124)
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9/5/12 7:36 P

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (256,922)
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Posts: 27,300
9/5/12 7:10 P

Another thing that you can do is to bulk cook some healthy meals and have them in the freezer in individual serves. I do this with soups, casseroles, really healthy pasta, smoked fish in mornay sauce, (which I also eek out with lentils, sauteed onion and cabbage) and even some sandwiches - things like Roast Beef with horseradish sauce smeared over it. It is YUMMY heated in the microwave and having with a vege soup or salad. It takes less time to heat that than cook your pasta, and you don't have the extra clean-up either :-)


SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (256,922)
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9/5/12 7:06 P

It isn't as hard as a lot of people think, except sometimes at the beginning. That is my experience, anyway.

I weigh all of my food for increased accuracy and enter everything I eat into the Nutrition Tracker, every day. I eat a huge variety of food but it still doesn't take me long - probably about 5 minutes in a complete day. At the moment the extra time probably comes into it for you because you are learning what are safe, healthy foods and which are best left alone most of the time.

You CAN have pasta - a lot depends on how you do it. I actually use wholemeal pasta and only use a little, but add red lentils to it for extra fibre/protein/lower calorie. I also saute onion and shredded cabbage to extend it. I use canned tomato and tomato paste for the sauce. OR make a "cheese sauce" which has a lot of it's cheese flavour from chicken stock powder. This reduces calories immensely and also reduces saturated fat. By using Tasty Cheddar or Parmesan you use less cheese. It makes for a LOT lower calorie and healthier pasta.

Also, SP isn't about deprivation - it is about portion control and healthy choices MOST of the time. There is no reason why you can't have a meal once in a while of the foods that you particularly enjoy! When I was in weight-loss mode I allowed one day per every two weeks to eat whatever I wanted - this helps to prevent craving/binging or throwing in the towel. Now that I have reached my goal (have been maintaining for quite some time) I still consume the calories as tho' I am in weight-loss mode, but have my "whatever I want" day generally weekly now. Most people can manage this really well if they eat toward the lower end of the range most days.

If after a while and still finding it very difficult to 'count the calories' try downsizing your plate; don't come back for seconds; pay attention to your portions; ensure that you eat plenty of fruit/veges, but be aware that SOME fruit is rather high in calories; ensure that you eat all of your meals and if needed some healthy snacks, and ensure that you remain well hydrated. If you drink alcohol, remember that this is high calorie and no benefit nutritionally. Ensure that you get a good amount of exercise, and you may find that you start losing your weight and get heaps fitter in the process.

By eating wisely and exercising wisely, you shouldn't be getting hungry to the point that it becomes intrusive in your life. IF you have an Eating Disorder, tho', it could be that you need help with that. Sometimes therapy helps - it gives you the tools to cope with this. IF this is a problem for you, then it may be that you need to talk with your Dr and discuss the options open to you including asking for a referral to a Therapist.

Good luck,

9/5/12 6:48 P

I am so tired of counting calories and preparing so much for food! All I think about all day is food : Make sure I have enough fruits and vegetables, make sure to cut and prepare them, make sure to count them, make sure to eat and then think about the next meal and the one after. I can't just have pasta for lunch and dinner everyday like I did before, I am looking online for recipes and all but it is HARD!!! All I want is to just sit back, relax and eat when I am hungry! NOT think about this!!! ( Of course when I just eat when I am hungry you know pasta takes 10 minutes to cook? OR tuna and mayo over bread? It is almost instant!) But vegetables? Salads and soups? The stuff is taking over my life ( It is a voice I need to shut that says that, the reality is what is taking over my life is all these lbs I keep carrying)
HELP! How do I do this? How do I continue in this insanity of counting calories? I want to give up because I am lazy ( obvious no?) But I am not! I don't want to give up... How do I stay motivated? I am crying as I write this. I need help from a supernatural force!

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