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SUSIEMT Posts: 8,635
6/27/14 6:15 P

I have been on Sparkpeople since July 2008. I have lost 166 lbs. I weigh and measure most everything! I have a spark buddy who is also my exercise buddy and nutrition buddy. Fortunately she is my sister Thoms1. I happen to live with her and her DH. I have been maintaining my weight loss for 4 years. Like everyone else I have had my ups and downs (mostly downs lb wise LOL) I also track my fitness...well not really. I let the Spark Activity Tracker do that! I have my tracker linked to my nutrition page and it adjusts my calorie range for me. This is a lifestyle change for sure! I hated hearing that all the time when I first started with Spark. After a year or so I realized that was right on target though. No other way to put it! I have all the foods I love, however, I found out what my trigger foods are and try to stay away from them. If you have any questions or need help please feel free to spark mail me. I would highly recommend setting up a spark page. You will get a lot more encouragement from other sparkers if you do. Welcome to

Edited by: SUSIEMT at: 6/27/2014 (18:17)
MZANGELFACE SparkPoints: (12,079)
Fitness Minutes: (10,354)
Posts: 69
6/27/14 3:33 P

I love you guys' answers! :-)

NIRERIN Posts: 14,327
6/27/14 3:00 P

eelpie and icedemeter have the right idea.

one benefit to slow weightloss is that it gives you the time to learn how to manage what you eat. which in turn means you're less likely to gain it all back. those "five pounds in a week!" diets are great for a fast loss, but most people put the weight and a few of its friends right back on. slow losses are better if your goal is to lose weight and keep it off.

if you aren't willing to weigh and measure everything, then you're probably going to have hard time of it. that being said, weighing and measuring doesn't necessarily mean you have to do it forever or for everything. when you weigh or measure a portion of a food and track it the goal is to see the physical size of a portion of that food and then compare it to the calories it has. most people have to do this at least once for each food they eat. but as you do this you will realize things like where your portion size is off or if there is a "healthy" food that has a lot more calories in a portion than you thought [like nuts or avocado]. once you have a good idea of the portion sizes of foods you can switch to a method like the bikini [1/4 plate protein, 1/4 plate starch, 1/2 plate veg] or even just ticking off the servings of food that you need for the day. but in order to do that you do need to know that a portion of meat is 3-4 oz and have a vague idea of the size of that. otherwise you could be serving yourself 2 oz or 8 oz and be none the wiser.and this isn't something that you learn in a week. if you were to measure or weigh only three foods a day with a focus on choosing foods that you know are calorie dense or that you eat frequently, you'd gain a good deal of knowledge from it.
i think i stress this because so many of us don't want to weigh and measure everything. and we do it slapdash for a bit while not much is happening. then we actually weigh and measure and either find one big thing or several moderate sized things that we were just plain off on. it's identifying those sorts of things can add up to 500 cals a day, easy. 500 cals a day adds up to a pound a week.

JENNIEQKA SparkPoints: (34,772)
Fitness Minutes: (19,560)
Posts: 128
6/27/14 1:09 P

EELPIE, I wish there was a 'LIKE' button here emoticon emoticon

ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,332
6/27/14 11:45 A

This may sound harsh, but if you are "not going to actually measure or weigh everything I eat", then there may be very little point to you tracking at all. A cup off either way isn't going to make much difference with lettuce or spinach or broccoli, but with 8.8 calories per gram of olive oil (very roughly 5g per teaspoon - 15g per Tbsp), being off by just a little bit on your estimation can make a big difference. I find it impossible to eyeball amounts of meat, and can easily be off by 2 or more ounces (which can be 100 calories or more with pork or steak). These seemingly little things add up over the day, and can end up with you being not just over your weight loss range, but over your maintenance range, too.

What some folks do is weigh and measure everything for a few weeks, and then just occasionally to double-check that they are estimating pretty closely. Others have ways of serving that help with that (using a ladle that they know holds 1/2 cup when serving soups or stews or stir-fry, or knowing that the decorative stripe on their cereal bowl is 1 cup, or that 1/2 of their dinner plate piled to about 1" high is 2 cups of veggies).

We each need to figure out what is going to work the best for ourselves, and you might find that you are more comfortable with the plate method, or with some other method that doesn't rely on tracking.

For myself, I've developed the habit of weighing or measuring almost everything (it's such a habit that it takes as little thought/motivation/willpower as brushing my teeth) and tracking. As others have mentioned, once you've gotten past the first few weeks and have your favourites entered, it takes 5 minutes a day.

I lost the weight staying at the upper end of the weight-loss range the whole time - and most definitely indulged in foods that I thoroughly enjoyed every day. I ate in restaurants (although not as often as I used to), with family and friends, and still visited my favourite bakeries. I did not lose weight fast, but I stayed in the range that is now my "maintenance" range at my goal weight, and have learned how to live my life and enjoy food in a way that should keep me at this weight for the rest of my life. For me, this means that I will be weighing and measuring and tracking most of my foods for the foreseeable future (since I am totally lame at estimating) and I see it as just another of those every-day chores that we don't necessarily like but just do anyways (brushing the teeth, clipping the nails, washing the dishes, doing the laundry).

What I think may be depressing you about looking at this as a lifestyle change is that you are seeing it as deprivation and restriction and discipline - which would absolutely be depressing to have to do for life! Instead, maybe start making little changes that you enjoy, and that make you feel happier and healthier. Those are the changes that will stick, and won't make you feel restricted. They won't drop those extra pounds instantly, but consistent little changes will get you where you want to be with a much higher chance of staying there.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
6/27/14 11:05 A

When they mean lifestyle change - what it means is that you learn about food. You learn how to moderate your eating in order to lose weight....and here's the kicker...keep it off for life.

If you are the type of person who enjoys losing 20 pounds (or whatever you need to lose), then going back to the *Exact same way of eating that caused you to gain the weight - leading to you having to go back on a diet 8 months later in order to lose those 20 pounds again - losing the 20 pounds - going back to eating the same exact way causing you to gain the 20 pounds again...causing to go back on a diet to lose the 20 pounds....* Go for it!!!!

That's called yo-yo dieting - and most people hate it with a passion.

What this place does is teach you how to lose the weight - and keep it off for life.

Now....what does that mean?

Well, it's different for every person.

Once you get to your goal - you are gonna pretty much know what works for you.

And...maybe it will always involve some sort of tracking....maybe not. Who knows...until you get there. Why put the cart before the horse?

Some people here have lost the weight and have kept it off for years.

What do they do?

Well....some track every bite, every day. Some don't track at all - and keep a good fitness level going. Some use the plate method (ask if you don't know what that is, please). Some just track on weekends. Some just track dinners.

The point? They found what works for them.....after they hit goal.

Yes, tracking in the beginning few days can be tedious. Once you get your database built - it will take you about 5 minutes a day.

I lost my first 25 via tracking alone. Nothing else. So....yeah, those 5 minutes a day were very well spent. I guess I did get a little exercise. 5 minutes a day of using my brain and my fingers.

Indulging. We all do it. I learned how to do it, guessed it!! Using my tracker. Easy peasy. Can I eat that ice cream? Hmmm. Let me check my tracker. Holy smokes! I can eat it! Wow. I've eaten 1200 calories so far, and my limit is 1500 - so, joy of joys! Guess who gets ice cream?

And yeah - you will have to keep your eye on what you eat for the rest of your life - in some form or another. That's reality. What you need to figure out is if you want to be overweight for the rest of your life. Or do you want to do something about it?

Edited by: EELPIE at: 6/27/2014 (11:07)
JENNIEQKA SparkPoints: (34,772)
Fitness Minutes: (19,560)
Posts: 128
6/27/14 10:50 A

Dear friend, this is the best thing that has happened to all of us, sparkers, to stick to this and to look forward to the possibility of living like this for the rest of our lives. It is a journey with lots of ups and downs, but totally worth it. We have all been where you are at some point in our journey and yes, it takes years to get where you want to be. And yet, look, we are all travelling, not perfect, not always making the best choices, indulging in bad food from time to time... but still here, willing to get up when we fall and go on.
My advice to you is this: if you are always near the upper limit of the calorie range and tend not to measure everything or track everything, you might be eating more that what you need in order to lose weight. You can either adjust your SP plan to lose less and more slowly over time or you can add a little bit of exercise. SP is not a quick 'fix me' program. It's a lifestyle. Take your time. You've got your whole life ahead. Start SMALL. One change a week. or one change a month. it doesn't matter. Just stick to it and be positive and happy for your little accomplishments. We are all here to give you a hand.
Keep it up! emoticon

ARILEA70 SparkPoints: (1,762)
Fitness Minutes: (804)
Posts: 6
6/27/14 10:23 A

So I am relatively new to SparkPeople and have been tracking my food and fitness for a week or two. Am I correct in thinking that if SparkPeople gave me a certain recommended calorie range to stay within that this range is thought to be able to help me lose weight? Even if I am always at the upper end of my range? I have consistently stayed within it by my calculations although I know it is not an exact science. I may not put something in exactly right and I am not going to actually measure or weigh everything I eat. I am hoping to see some results soon. But I am easily discouraged especially at this point. It just seems like it takes so long to lose even a pound when I could probably put it on in a day of bad eating. And that I have to constantly try to keep up my motivation and willpower for weeks at a time to see any improvement. I am not good at that. I always have times I want to indulge a little. I hear people say to not think of this kind of thing as a diet but as a lifestyle change. I understand that but to tell you the truth that kind of makes it even more depressing to realize this is how I am going to have live the rest of my life. Constantly tracking everything I eat and battling to keep my weight down.

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