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TOPIC: I hate calorie counting!

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August 21, 2013 6:29 AM
I have been struggling SO much with the whole calorie counting thing over the past few years.

While I do get to points where I can last up to a month or so (though less than two months) counting calories and losing weight, ultimately, SOMETHING gets me off track. Last time, it was a vacation. Other times, it will be not getting a lunch break at work and going from 8am to 6pm without eating.

Whatever the reason- circumstantial or hormonal- I go from losing weight and eating right to binge eating for days. Sometimes, it's not a sudden turn around. Indulging in some good food while in NYC can lead to the downfall- simply because I went over my limit a little.

I've noticed that calorie counting triggers this diet-binge cycle, which makes me question whether it even works- for me, that is. At the same time, I do like how calorie counting allows me to have the freedom to eat whatever I want (though I do try to focus on whole foods).

At this moment, I'm tracking the types of food I'm eating in a little notebook (without measurements or calorie counts) just to get an idea of what I'm eating and how often I'm eating. I am trying to operate by the rule "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial" in hopes that it will guide me in the right direction (ie: buying a yogurt instead of a GoPicnic meal when I find myself out later than expected and I'm ready for another meal, etc.).

I'm just questioning whether it's possible to lose weight without counting calories.
August 21, 2013 6:34 AM
That sounds like me, and it's why I've never successfully lost weight in the past for more than a couple of weeks at a time.

Things are different now. I only really restrict calories 2 days a week. But on those 2 days, I limit myself to 600 calories. 3 days a week I count, but I eat much more, like 2000, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on calories. On Saturday and Sunday, I don't count at all.

That DOES NOT MEAN that I allow myself to eat loads of garbage on the no-count days. I still make good choices and limit my alcohol intake. I just don't penny pinch the calories on those days.

That being said, I'm not a big cake/chocolate/crisp eater, but I do eat cake/chocolate/crisps.

It's called 5:2 intermittent fasting. Read up on it.

I've done it for 2 months, have lost 20 lbs and 4% body fat. I love it. It has transformed my life.
Edited by jetlag On August 21, 2013 6:36 AM
  2652893
August 21, 2013 6:36 AM
In short,no. If you're watching what you eat,avoiding high sugar
Foods and processed foods and sticking with oats,vegetables,fruits,low calorie foods then
Yea you have a better chance at losing weight without.counting.because calorie dense foods fill
You up more...but it still comes down to calories regardless. I would practice logging and weighing/measuring
Food for a while until you get better at it then you can basically go days without logging but still know "about"
What you ate, calorie wise. It starts to.come natural. In the end it's calories out> calories in = weight loss and the most
Efficient way is to log accurately, not guess, assume, or avoid.counting.
Good luck!
August 21, 2013 6:38 AM
Of course it's possible to lose weight with out counting/logging calories. But a lot of what you say in your post... well, they're real cop outs. We all have days when we have to skip lunch, we all go on vacation... I have no idea what those things have to do with logging your food. As a side note, I'm also not sure why you are keeping track of what types of food you are eating? If you can do that, why can't you log the actual food on MFP?

I know that none of this was helpful, but I really think you need to just decide what's important to you and do it... Understanding that there will be bumps in the road. Good luck!
  41719204
August 21, 2013 6:47 AM
Provided you are eating a sufficient number of calories (i.e, not under-eating), it's not the calorie-counting that triggers the binge eating, it’s you. Not trying to sound harsh, I suffer from binge eating myself so I know exactly what you mean, but it’s taken me a long time to accept that it’s my mentality that causes me to binge and NOT circumstances. I would concentrate on the reason why you binge and your feelings around that time. It can be a long process but one that’s worth doing.

As for your question, yes, it is possible to lose weight without calorie counting, but you still have to have a deficit to lose weight, whether you are counting it or not. If you eat 2000 cals of healthy food and your TDEE is 1800 cals, you will still gain weight.

Like I say, tackle your binge eating issue and the rest will sort itself out.
  2276902
August 21, 2013 6:48 AM
Sure, lots of people lose weight without counting calories. You can make an effort to make lower calorie choices when you eat or restrict certain food groups or increase your exercise (while being cognizant of eating about the same as you were before increasing the exercise). You could also look up something like intuitive eating.

Personally, I also only can handle being on a deficit for about a couple of months. After that I need a couple of weeks break (often coinciding with a vacation or something like that, like you said...and the timing depends on when I just decide I want to eat more) and I eat at maintenance level for a while.

If you think that deliberately increasing your calories periodically could keep you from binging, then that might work for you, too.

You may also want to consider whether you have your weight loss goals set too aggressively and could benefit from decreasing your deficit.

But if you don't want to count calories, don't count calories! There's no point in being miserable and if you think that it's actually making your goals harder to attain or is bad for your mental health then you should try to find something that works for you.
  22110641
August 21, 2013 7:30 AM
I dislike counting calories too- it's time consuming and just a paint to measure and weigh everything, write it down, look it up, etc. BUT I've found counting calories really reminds me how much a serving of something is. It makes me pay attention to just how many calories are in certain things. After counting calories for a little while, I have a better grasp of what I'm eating. With that info fresh in my mind, I make better choices even when I'm not counting. So I do my best to count for a little while, then maybe just a few days/week. When I notice I'm putting on weight or just know that I'm not eating right, I make myself count calories more religiously.

It's also helpful on MFP if most of the foods you regularly eat are there and just need to be checked and added to your food log.
  7380877
August 21, 2013 8:39 AM
I count calories so I know when I can have a treat, guilt free. Before, I would eat clean, then have a treat, feel bad about it, thinking I've blown my diet anyway so why bother, and binge... Now I see I have the calories for pizza or ice cream, no guilt, and it's been working great.

Everyone is different though. I just find it much harder not to count, because I feel that I can't eat anything 'bad' then, and it's much harder on me.
  35451968
August 21, 2013 8:54 AM
QUOTE:

But a lot of what you say in your post... well, they're real cop outs. We all have days when we have to skip lunch, we all go on vacation... I have no idea what those things have to do with logging your food.


I kind of agree with this. I just quit my job recently, but my job I had no lunch breaks, everyday that I worked. You know what I did? I prepared my food ahead of time and brought with me. And I'd eat it at my desk. It's not my fault the company is breaking labor laws! LOL. Point being, you make time to eat, and if you prepare in advance, you can make it work.

Also, I understand the counting/weighing/measuring can be a little tedious, but really, it only takes a few moments out of your entire day. Being lazy about that kind of stuff is what brought most of us here to begin with. It's fine to not count things on vacation, but you can be sure if I went on vacation, the next day I'm home I'm right back on the horse and ready to go. Don't let anything get in the way of your goals, including yourself!

Keep at it and you'll reap the rewards!
  106209
August 21, 2013 11:17 AM
I do pack a lunch (or did, I am currently unemployed), but there were days when I was unable to get to the staff lounge to get my lunch (I worked in a daycare). Or there was the time that my coteacher had a severe pineapple allergy so I wasn't allowed to bring my lunch into the classroom.

For me, numbers stress me out. I honestly feel like I would do a lot better if I define what a "treat" food is for me and give myself a certain number of treat foods per week. So, if I give myself 6 treats (and that can be anything deep fried or high calorie desserts, etc) and I go out to eat and get French fries and split a slide of cake that will cover 2 of my treats (so I can use them all at once, or I can split them up and have a piece of chocolate every night).

Honesty, for the past couple of days, while my diet hasn't been very good in many way, I have been thinking a lot more. Today, I decided to pick up a Chobani yogurt and watermelon slices as a snack when I was out. I'm avoiding the Lucky Charms because I am trying to limit and/or eliminate the food dyes. I'm putting more of an emphasis on WHAT I am eating and less on the numbers and measurements.
August 21, 2013 12:23 PM
If you don't like counting you could try good old fashion portion control. Serve your meals like you would normally do, eat half or 3/4.
  21421561
August 21, 2013 12:47 PM
I love to eat. If I eat as much as I want, I weigh too much -- twice what I should, to be precise. Therefore I must change my habits or continue to weight twice what I should and die young. On the one hand: change and get healthy. On the other hand: eat whatever I want and die young. I hate change, I like to eat but dying young is not something I am willing to do. Therefore, I must change me.

So, that's the situation of all of us. You have a choice. You can continue to eat the way you do, watch your health go downhill, and die young OR you can change your eating habits. Those are the only two choices.

Continuing to eat any way one damned well pleases is easy to do. However, it makes EVERYTHING else, from buying clothes to having sex, harder to do. So, choose to do the one hard thing and change your eating patterns. No one can do it but you.

For many of us, using the food diary to keep track of what we eat helps. Think of it more as a handy diary than as "counting."
  39776585
August 21, 2013 12:52 PM
It is absolutely possible to lose weight without counting your calories. If you are eating clean and sticking to veggies, fruits and lean meats chances are you're going to come in under your maintenance calories anyways. Adding exercise to the mix you could be almost certain to come in under. There is a new book out by Jillian Michaels that goes over all these tips and tricks to losing weight, maybe have a read through it or check reviews online and then purchase.

I agree that at times it seems cumbersome to calorie count, however, I have the program easily accessible on the computer and m cell/ipad. As well, I generally eat the same things Monday-Friday so I can use quick tools. This way I know where I'm at calorie wise and I also know what I'm eating. If I do have a day where I'm over (see my Monday/Tuesday this week), then I move on and make better choices the next day. Heck, sometimes I make the same choices a few more days in a row. The key is, stay accountable to it and make yourself log them. I went camping last week and didn't log any of the calories but I knew that when Monday rolled around I back to logging. The hardest part, make your rules and stick to them. If not counting works for you, don't count.
  12477661
August 21, 2013 12:53 PM
Try something different then. There are ways to lose that don't involve "counting calories".
August 21, 2013 12:56 PM
Whenever I feel counting is too much of a hassle, I think of the mothers here on MFP, that are in employment and juggle that with raising small children and housework. I think about the people that work shifts and night time, that have sabotaging friends, family or co-workers, those that struggle with disabilities that affect their daily life.

That puts my life into perspective. If I can't bother to log food maybe 15 mins a day (if at all), then clearly I have different priorities than all the people I just mentioned.

If you don't want to do it, don't. Stop making excuses. Pineapple allergy?? Come on!
  47260128
August 21, 2013 12:56 PM
I hate it too, but it's beneficial, so I persevere. Once I got my main go-to meals into the counter, I can just click on them again and again each day and don't have to enter each food into the system again. That makes it easier, I think.
  45681463
August 21, 2013 12:57 PM
QUOTE:

I love to eat. If I eat as much as I want, I weigh too much -- twice what I should, to be precise. Therefore I must change my habits or continue to weight twice what I should and die young. On the one hand: change and get healthy. On the other hand: eat whatever I want and die young. I hate change, I like to eat but dying young is not something I am willing to do. Therefore, I must change me.

So, that's the situation of all of us. You have a choice. You can continue to eat the way you do, watch your health go downhill, and die young OR you can change your eating habits. Those are the only two choices.

Continuing to eat any way one damned well pleases is easy to do. However, it makes EVERYTHING else, from buying clothes to having sex, harder to do. So, choose to do the one hard thing and change your eating patterns. No one can do it but you.

For many of us, using the food diary to keep track of what we eat helps. Think of it more as a handy diary than as "counting."



Very well said!
August 21, 2013 12:58 PM
QUOTE:

I have been struggling SO much with the whole calorie counting thing over the past few years.

While I do get to points where I can last up to a month or so (though less than two months) counting calories and losing weight, ultimately, SOMETHING gets me off track. Last time, it was a vacation. Other times, it will be not getting a lunch break at work and going from 8am to 6pm without eating.

Whatever the reason- circumstantial or hormonal- I go from losing weight and eating right to binge eating for days. Sometimes, it's not a sudden turn around. Indulging in some good food while in NYC can lead to the downfall- simply because I went over my limit a little.

I've noticed that calorie counting triggers this diet-binge cycle, which makes me question whether it even works- for me, that is. At the same time, I do like how calorie counting allows me to have the freedom to eat whatever I want (though I do try to focus on whole foods).

At this moment, I'm tracking the types of food I'm eating in a little notebook (without measurements or calorie counts) just to get an idea of what I'm eating and how often I'm eating. I am trying to operate by the rule "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial" in hopes that it will guide me in the right direction (ie: buying a yogurt instead of a GoPicnic meal when I find myself out later than expected and I'm ready for another meal, etc.).

I'm just questioning whether it's possible to lose weight without counting calories.


I don't know. Isn't that kinda like trying to stick to a budget with keeping track of how much money you spend?
  30267599
August 21, 2013 1:00 PM
Counting isn't the only way. There's actually a counter-culture that is raging against it. LOL Seriously. They say it drives the wrong behavior. Well, maybe, mabye not. i get great results from counting. But, any method that works for you , works. And, that's it.

From reading what you wrote, though, I would strongly argue that any other method will not work, as if you cannot control your eating, counting is a good way to get control.

The people who don't advocate counting are usually paleo or vegan. if you just eat the right food until satiated, you don't have to worry about how much you eat. That's the argument.
August 21, 2013 1:02 PM
When my dad died and I went home for the funeral, I took myfitnesspal along! There were many days I went over my calorie goal. Knowing I I was still going to be held accountable (if only to myself) I really did consider what I ate. Some days, I ate the desert anyway. Being together with family was more important to me than scrimping one more time.

The day I felt like taking a nap because I ate too much? I took a walk after dinner. I didn't burn off all the calories, but I felt better because I made a effort. What it all comes down to is tomorrow is another day. Try to do better. It's not something I stress out about too much anymore.
Edited by tress29 On August 21, 2013 1:02 PM
  43510920
August 21, 2013 1:08 PM
Of course you can lose weight without calorie counting...I lost my first 20 Lbs or so without counting. Actually, the only reason I started counting was because my doctor told me that in addition to losing weight I should watch my sodium consumption for my hypertension and my saturated animal fats and processed carbs for my cholesterol and triglyceride issues.

For me it was really beneficial in learning how to actually eat...what a portion looked like on my plate...how to get all of my proper nutrition through food every day, etc. I didn't obsess so much about the calories as I did about the nutrition. I don't count now at maintenance and have been maintaining for about 5 months easily...I attribute that to calorie counting and learning how to eat via calorie counting. I could see how it could go the other way for some people though and end up causing a lot of disordered thinking.
August 21, 2013 1:09 PM
I would just cut everything your normally eat in half! with at least some good healthy snacks in between!
  8048539
August 21, 2013 1:12 PM
Look at it this way, you haven't been counting calories and now you're here needing to lose weight. Why do you think not counting calories this time around will be successful? You could eat all the healthy things in the world but still eat too many calories and still gain weight.
  31066216
August 21, 2013 1:14 PM
Out of the 108 pounds I have lost.......100 was without counting calories.

I have actually found it harder losing weight as when I track as it becomes almost an obsession.

So I track only once in awhile just to see what my diet looks like.

I am at the point now where I don't need to count calories to know what I should eat.

So counting doesn't work that well for me but it is very interesting to see the breakdown of what I am eating.

Lots of protein......probably should up my fiber.....mostly lower carb except on beer days......

But everyone is different and you need to do what works for you.
Edited by Wetcoaster On August 21, 2013 1:17 PM
  41299147
August 21, 2013 1:17 PM
It is all about calories in, calories out. However, there is no reason you have to always be losing. Sometimes not gaining is enough. Every 2 months, I spend a week at my maintenance goal. It gives me a break, and then I don't feel so beaten down by calories. Also, if you have been dieting for a long time, you might just need to hang out in maintenance to let your body reset its normal...especially if you have lost 10% of your starting weight.
  13306345

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