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MARITIMER3 SparkPoints: (212,216)
Fitness Minutes: (120,231)
Posts: 9,440
2/21/13 7:43 P

Simple answer is yes, I count my calories because I know that for me, at least, it's important. When I just estimate in my head I always under-estimate what I've eaten... and then I regain weight. i expect to count calories and track my food for the rest of my life.

LIZZIE723 Posts: 184
2/21/13 7:37 P

I have had the most success at weight loss when I diligently kept track of my food. It's amazing how easy it is to consume too many calories. It is time consuming, but well worth the commitment.

SONO918 Posts: 36
2/21/13 6:18 P

I am counting all the calories. They range from 1200 to 1550. Most days I am on the lower range or just below. Feeling very blue with this weight because of increased pain with weight. When i weighed less I felt soo much better. Dont know if the values are correct for carbs, calories, fat, protein. I added to track fiber and sodium. Having trouble losing the weight, but also have sedentary lifestyle because of pain. Vicious circle. I weigh about 161lbs. Have lost about 5 lbs in one mos but feel like I am getting no where. Don't know if I should be eating more calories or less. Any suggestions?

JCWIAKALA Posts: 347
2/21/13 12:57 P

A friend of mine who's skinny as a rail told me she tracks her calories and has done so for years. It's just here way to stay in check. She's about 50 and realizes that it doesn't take much over eating to gain weight. That was eye-opening to me (at 220 lbs) that counting/tracking might be a part of my life forever. And I'm okay with that. I don't think there's anything wrong with having pizza or an indulgent dessert every now and then. But the simple act of tracking your food keeps one in check. So I'm on board and probably will do so forever.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
2/21/13 12:50 P

I don't count calories and I'm really, really resistant to the idea of doing so. My whole idea for what I'm doing here isn't weight loss as such (though that's really nice and necessary), but simply living better. Tracking calories every day doesn't fit into my vision of how I want to live. Nor do I really think it's something I could keep up for the rest of my life, so I'd just be setting myself up for failure.

I do watch portion size, I do limit snacking (especially on junk food, which is allowed to the tune of nearly nil), I don't eat unless I'm hungry, and I do weigh myself every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I'm now used to how the scale can fluctuate any given time I step on it and how my weight is affected by hormones every month, so I keep myself honest that way. So far there has been no long-term stoppage of weight loss (at most 1-2 weeks), so I haven't had to reassess.

I just signed up here, I've lost 17 pounds since mid-December, and SparkPeople thinks I should try to lose another 23 by August, for context.

JILLP124 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 48
2/21/13 11:28 A

Thanks for all of the input and advice!! It really helps to know I am not alone in this =)

I had 1300 calories yesterday and decided to weigh myself this morning (BAD IDEA). I felt like I had lost, but I have gained weight so I am frustrated. Although I know weight fluctuates, it is still frustrating. But I just need to stick to it and it will help. Can't hurt!!

RIET69 SparkPoints: (47,087)
Fitness Minutes: (11,285)
Posts: 3,116
2/21/13 11:14 A

I track and count everything that I eat and drink.

SHAKESALOT Posts: 1,334
2/21/13 10:21 A, I sometimes just guess.

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
2/21/13 9:47 A

CLARK971 - Your experience sounds familiar to me. I don't actually "naturally" overeat by all that much, but the sad/frustrating thing is how little you have to overeat in order to gain weight. Only 100 extra calories per day (which is less than a single banana) adds up to 10 lbs per year or 50 lbs in 5 years. That's about right in my experience.

My problem is very straightforward: unless I count calories, I literally HAVE NO IDEA if I can eat the 2/3 of a banana or not.

2/21/13 9:11 A

I do great when I count calories. (track my food.) but I have a 3 yr old and a 10 month old and I don't have enough time. Free time is spent cleaning up after them. I am not on my computer that often and when I tried tracking it literally consumed my day and I fell behind on house hold stuff. I think initial Tracking is necessary so you can see how much things add up and what servings should be and to read every label and pay attention to nutritional information. It helps you make healthier choices. That being said once you are aware of your actions and are paying attention to labels and have a general Idea you can make your own knowledgeable healthy choices with out tracking.

I tend to have a lot of go to meals that I know I can eat like omelettes, oatmeal, smoothies, salads that I know fit in my range.I am still loosing weight and am not tracking.

If you are eating out a lot. Look ahead and find healthy options so you know what you are going to eat before you get there. Lots of calories at restaurants!!! and always drink water! Knowing is half the battle.

I do like tracking my food at spark people and think it helps a lot. I find most of what I eat in spark people and if I don't I find a reasonable substitute or enter my own.But I am still losing without tracking so I think if you are able to be honest with yourself you will be okay if you cant track.

PSHOWS SparkPoints: (6,492)
Fitness Minutes: (1,305)
Posts: 445
2/21/13 9:03 A

Just typing what you eat on the food tracker here will give you the calories.

2/21/13 8:42 A

The only times I've ever lost weight were when I counted calories. Counting points on someone else's program or estimating calories has never worked for me. I really like knowing how many calories I'm eating, and knowing the basics for estimating how many calories I'm burning. Without knowing that basic equation, for me -- nothing happens.

CLARK971 SparkPoints: (29,686)
Fitness Minutes: (23,835)
Posts: 827
2/21/13 8:38 A

my weight background is different, but i am like you-i really need the tracking to keep me on track.
when i started sparks my bmi was 25.6. just barely overweight. I spent most of my life in the low to mid normal bmi. In my mid thirties, the pounds slowly started to creep on At first I tried to eat healthy, but saw no change. It wasn't until I tracked that I got a grasp on what I was eating, portion sizes. After I reached my goal weight and maintained for a few months, I tried to go back to just "knowing" what to eat. but i found that without tracking, I snack a little more than I should. (like grabbing a handful of chips when making the kids lunch)

I would like to be able to track less, but am not there yet. i would like to be able to estimate tracking someday.

ANGUSSANDY Posts: 10,516
2/21/13 7:33 A

I don't count every day.

CASEYSAUER Posts: 1,553
2/21/13 7:16 A

I try to be as honest and as correct as I can but I am only human/

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
2/21/13 7:10 A

I have only two modes, and this is a huge problem in my life that I have struggled with for years, but it is my reality: mode A: track calories - every single one - and lose weight; and mode B: rely on hunger and fullness cues, eat a clean diet in moderation but without weighing everything in grams and tracking it, and gain weight. I cannot maintain my weight period; and unless I track, I gain, period. It's awful, but bear in mind, I'm NOT the average person -- I was obese starting as a very young child. Many people like me, whose bodies know literally nothing but obesity, cannot experience a healthy weight without counting calories. Of course there are exceptions - but I'd love to talk to those exceptions 10 years from now and see what happened with their weight over the 10 year interval.

NANLEYKW SparkPoints: (76,244)
Fitness Minutes: (31,253)
Posts: 867
2/20/13 10:50 P

I track pretty much everything I put in my mouth and definitely think that's a major reason I've been able to lose 60 lbs. It's helped me be aware of my portions and it's kept me from snacking mindlessly. When I know that I'll have to track whatever I eat, I'm a lot less likely to eat something I don't really need to. (If I eat an extra half-cup of broccoli or carrots or the like, I don't worry about tracking it now--though I would have when I first started.)

As a previous poster said, I use restaurant websites to get nutritional info for restaurant meals. If I eat somewhere that doesn't have nutritional info online (or if I eat at a friend's house), I just pick something close from the tracker.

Honestly, it doesn't take all that long to put everything in--maybe a minute or two per meal, so something like five minutes a day--and it is so, so worth the effort!

35BYMAY SparkPoints: (1,477)
Fitness Minutes: (555)
Posts: 281
2/20/13 10:16 P

I start out strong with calorie counting, and then I get absolutely sick of it as I begin to make all my meals from scratch... it is way too frustrating for me to enter 100 ingredients at every meal (I am exaggerating), so I kind of stop. If I am still losing, I never worry about it, but if the scale creeps up, I go right back to tracking.

I am sure my lack of dedication is why I am still fat, lol.

Edited by: 35BYMAY at: 2/20/2013 (22:17)
APRILLPHILLIPS SparkPoints: (8,058)
Fitness Minutes: (3,634)
Posts: 136
2/20/13 10:07 P

I count everything but that is because I tend to really go off track if I dont

JOYFUL452003 SparkPoints: (64,779)
Fitness Minutes: (58,881)
Posts: 920
2/20/13 9:37 P


GRAPHICS2 Posts: 13,944
2/20/13 9:30 P

No I dont count my calories

SONICB Posts: 4,381
2/20/13 7:03 P

I tracked obsessively for several years before weaning myself off of it. These days, occasionally I'll track a day or two out of curiosity... but I like to think that I've learned and incorporated healthy eating habits by now.

JILLP124 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (40)
Posts: 48
2/20/13 4:16 P

Doing pretty well my first day counting calories (for a while). I bought a calorie counter book (Calorie King) and am excited to see a lot of info on things, not just calories but protein and carbs, alcohol, weight grid, etc. Not too excited my height and weight put me in the obese catagory though!

WILLOWYGIRL SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (16,538)
Posts: 103
2/20/13 3:25 P

Although the idea behind sparkpeople is calorie counting, I haven't been. I've done it in the past and failed but this time I'm looking at specific habits and changing those one at a time.

For example, instead of getting a sub sandwich and chips and a soda for lunch ill eat yogurt and fruit, or fruit ans nuts with water, or a homemade cucumber sandwich, etc. So even right there my habits are healthier and lower calorie. Usually lower calorie foods are the healthy and filling ones anyway.

I'm still writing down what I eat a couple times a week, just on paper, and I don't usually bother with calories. For me, i can usually tell how the day went just by looking at what i ate.

Edited by: WILLOWYGIRL at: 2/22/2013 (00:35)
BERKANA_T Posts: 138
2/20/13 1:26 P

I don't generally track calories. I've used the tracker to determine protein intake recently, and every now and then I'll track a favourite meal to see where it falls in the calorie department, but generally I just don't stress about how many calories I'm consuming. I focus more on making better choices and portion control, rather than worrying about how many calories are passing my lips.

I've done the obsessive calorie counting in the past. I know it works for some people; for me, it just makes me crazy and ruins my enjoyment of the food I'm eating. And that just leads to me quitting. I'd rather have a slower long term weightloss, characterized by healthy choices, than a faster weight loss through calorie counting which is negated as soon as I get frustrated and quit. But that's just how it is for me.

CLARK971 SparkPoints: (29,686)
Fitness Minutes: (23,835)
Posts: 827
2/20/13 1:19 P

along with calories, tracking helped me see what i was eating. at first, even if i was within my calorie range, i was still eating too many carbs, fat, and not enough protein or calcium. tracking also helped with my portion control.

i enter things i eat together regularly together in groupings, or in the recipe calculator. then i don't have to re enter every ingredient when i eat it.

if i had leftovers, i just copy from a previous day and change the amount if necessary.

LUCKYNUMBER23 SparkPoints: (12,425)
Fitness Minutes: (15,322)
Posts: 449
2/20/13 12:56 P

I don't count green vegatables, but I don't everything else

2/20/13 12:42 P

I count everything. I feel like it's the only way I can truly keep track of my weight loss. I do food prep on Monday & Wednesday evenings & I use a mini food scale I bought off of Ebay for super cheap to weigh and measure everything. I enter my calories the night before so I know what I can eat throughout the day the following day. I am kind of a control freak! emoticon

EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
2/20/13 12:34 P

Of course, I *see* them on the Nutrition Tracker. I sometimes ponder about it, but it's not my primary focus. Of course, I have to set a desired range in order to get my other values to line up! Other than that, calories are pretty much a non-issue for me.

For whoever it was who said they'd never met anyone who lost any weight without counting calories, you can now remove that notion from your thought processes. I don't count calories, and I've lost over 150 pounds -- so far.

In answer to finding nutritional data on restaurant foods - and a *ton* of other listings as well - check .
I think the SP database is a great resource, and I use it the most of any. But sometimes there are omissions, or there are several entries all with different values, and I feel the need to recheck with an outside source. That one has been very good for me.

I do enter all the values I can find for every morsel of anything I put in my mouth. The only things I omit are things like a tiny bit of spice, or taste-sampling of cooking foods (I don't mean a couple bites, I mean a TASTE!). I make "recipes" for the simplest things...dips, typical short/snack meals, etc. Then I can go to that "recipe" and enter a representative sample portion in my tracker. For example, I made a "recipe" a couple days ago for a diluted version of a honey-mustard dip to go on some seafood bites. Not too involved, you know? Just some honey mustard cut with a little mayo. But the values aren't the same as either of the ingredients nor a simple combination of them. If I make my own salad dressing, all the more so!

The side benefit of making all these "recipes" is that, in order to be able to replicate it, I have to enter the real amounts of things I've put in it - not just eyeballing them. I've gotten lots better at estimating volumes since having to do that. Portion control of foods in general is easier than it used to be.

Calories? meh
This works for me!

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,521
2/19/13 5:39 P

I also estimate if I don't know for sure. I figure I can't be perfect and trying is the same as winning.

YELLOWBUMBLEBRI SparkPoints: (1,159)
Fitness Minutes: (425)
Posts: 12
2/19/13 5:02 P

I estimate if I don't know for sure. If it's something like spinach, or lettuce I don't worry about it too much. But if it's something more starchy or calorie dense, like peas, or carrots, or sweet potatoes I try to be as accurate as I can be, or estimate a little high.

KIMBERLY19732 Posts: 289
2/19/13 5:01 P

Yes, and no.
I try to follow my hunger and fullness cues. I do use the food tracker and that has naturally led me to watch fat and carbs more. I try not to get TOO uptight about it.
The negative of that is my weight loss has been very slow. The positives- I'm never hungry, I don't need any special foods.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
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Posts: 9,717
2/19/13 5:00 P

It is tedious at first, but as you get used to it, it doesn't take nearly as long. Once you have your regular foods under favorites, it's just a matter of click and go!

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
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Posts: 2,171
2/19/13 4:58 P

The best site is the restaurant's own site as it will be up to date. You can take the info from there and enter it on the SP tracker by using the "enter food not listed" link.

JILLP124 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 48
2/19/13 4:43 P

What is the best site for restaurant calorie counts? I can't find some of the restaurants I go to on SP.

CHARLOTTE1947 SparkPoints: (44,675)
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Posts: 1,751
2/19/13 4:17 P

I count only when I want to lose weight. :)

HOTDISH2DIE4 SparkPoints: (27,864)
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Posts: 146
2/19/13 4:08 P

Sure do!

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
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Posts: 2,171
2/19/13 3:55 P

Once you get into it the counting gets easier. I tend to have the same breakfasts and snacks, so that makes it easy, and my lunches are usually leftovers from dinner, so doing one count covers both meals. It's also a lot easier if you meal plan ahead of time that way you aren't having to keep as close track when you're actually eating. I plan out up to a week ahead of time, and just do small tweaks on the day of.

2/19/13 3:51 P

I definitely do, I started using this site years ago because I wanted to track calories, I couldn't figure out why I couldn't lose weight, and it was because I wasn't getting enough calories. I do much better when I keep track, and I'm healthier.

JILLP124 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (40)
Posts: 48
2/19/13 3:51 P

And that is true, I did WW in the past and I lost almost 30 pounds. Kept it off for a couple of years. I think I know I need to count something but I put too much pressure on myself to be "perfect". And in the real world, there is no perfect. Thanks all, keep giving me advice and friend me if you would like! emoticon emoticon

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,521
2/19/13 3:50 P

I am counting my calories, including vegetables.

JILLP124 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 48
2/19/13 3:48 P

Good points everyone, just seems so tedious. I feel a little anxious about it =)

Edited by: JILLP124 at: 2/19/2013 (15:49)
WARRIORK63 SparkPoints: (11,190)
Fitness Minutes: (12,551)
Posts: 70
2/19/13 3:41 P

My program doesn't require calorie counting, but I do it anyway via tracking. it really helps to know where calories are hiding.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
2/19/13 3:35 P

I am counting calories; in the past I have counted WW points.

You have to count something, until you really internalize "portion sizes." Which for me at least is, I think, going to take quite some time.

ANARIE Posts: 13,192
2/19/13 3:27 P

The only people I know who have lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off without calorie counting (or WW-style point or serving counting) are people who gained the weight very suddenly and from a specific cause. If you're someone who was always thin but then had a short period of abnormal eating/lack of exercise, you might be able to just focus on getting back to normal habits, and lose weight that way. If you're like me and you were always overweight, then "normal" won't cut it; my "normal" was too many calories. Even now, 8 years after I started, I still have to track and count or I will slowly start drifting to the "old normal."

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
Posts: 2,171
2/19/13 3:13 P

Yes, I count everything, even veggies. I'm not sure how you could determine whether or not you are eating too much if you aren't counting calories. You need to measure using a scale or measuring cups to figure out the amounts of your veggies.

GRAMCRACKER46 Posts: 1,778
2/19/13 3:13 P

Calories or points...whatever the "plan". Tracking what you eat is important for most people to lose; it is for me. But more importantly I find it very educational as far as nutrition goes. SP has the best tracker for that.

Edited by: GRAMCRACKER46 at: 2/19/2013 (15:14)
2/19/13 3:13 P

I count everything I consume. Even if it's just a gram of spinach in my eggs. I feel accuracy is key.

JILLP124 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 48
2/19/13 3:11 P


Edited by: JILLP124 at: 2/19/2013 (15:13)
JILLP124 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (40)
Posts: 48
2/19/13 3:07 P

Does everyone count their calories? I get frustrated trying to do this at times. Is this completely necessary to do for weight loss?

Also, how do you count your veggies? Like if they are mixed in eggs, pasta, etc. Free or just estimate amount?

Edited by: JILLP124 at: 2/19/2013 (15:13)
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