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View Full Version : Do I really have to count EVERY calorie?



fmanning
06-30-2004, 12:20 AM
I've finally started my road to better health. I've been eating much better as of late, mainly just cutrting out the crap (fast food/junk food), and replacing it with more sensible stuff. I'm 6'2", and hovering around 270lbs (with a very large frame). Almost all of my fat is above my waist, mainly located in the giant crotch canopy that I call a stomach. Basically, I want to get back down to around the 220-230 range before I start building my body.

When I come on here and check the Diet threads, I always notice that the majority of the people are VERY detailed in their calorie counting. Do I really have to be this meticulous in order to shed my body fat? The last thing that I have time for during my hectic day is counting every little tiny calorie that I eat. If I just focus on eating good, natural foods (as opposed to crappy, processed foods), is that as effective?

I'm also weight training right now (not really a cut...just doing 3 sets of 8-12 reps on my exercises to maintain my muscle mass while I shed the fat).

TheGimp
06-30-2004, 02:22 AM
I'd say it really helps, even if you only do it for a week or so in order to get a general idea of whether you need to eat more or less. Cutting out crappy foods may be sufficient, at first, you'll have to try it for a bit and see whether you lose weight.

BIG C
06-30-2004, 03:24 AM
Just don't drop too much weight to fast, or you will lose muscle along with fat.

Gradual weight loss is a lot better for sparing muscle.

Aspect
06-30-2004, 05:51 AM
Focusing on natural foods is a great start, but you'd still be best off tracking your calories, at least some of the time. It doesn't need to be a lifelong obsession, but it's very useful to keep you on the right track.

Get a book and write down everything you eat for a couple of weeks. Try to be as precise as possible, but don't feel you need to take some kitchen scales or a mass spectrometer to a restaurant with you. Work out, as closely as you can, how many calories you eat each day over that period. Also make a note of what your exercise levels are like etc. (i.e. are you doing a lot more cardio that you normally would).

This doesn't have to be too time consuming. Carry the book with you and just write in what you eat (e.g. "10am: 1 apple, 100g low-fat cottage cheese" etc.) You can work out the caloric values at a later date, when you have some free time, as long as you write in everything you eat, including portion size.

Also, at the start and end of the period, weigh yourself. Do this at the same time of day e.g. first thing after using the toilet on a Saturday morning or whatever.

Now, look at that period of time. Did you lose weight, gain weight, or stay the same? If you stayed the same, then what you ate was roughly your "maintenance calories." You need to cut back roughly 300-500 calories per day from that figure. If you lost a couple of pounds while keeping the list, then keep eating the same amount as you did that two weeks. If you gained weight, you need to cut back even further, but do so gradually (cut back 300-500 per week for 2-3 weeks, then cut back a further 200-300 for 2-3 weeks, then a further 200-300 etc. until you begin to lose weight).

You may need to track what you eat for a week or two more, until you get used to what constitutes your desired number of calories. After this, just keep an eye on your weight every couple of weeks to check it's coming down slowly, and maybe track your food for a week every month or two to make sure you're keeping on track.

The key is to lose the weight relatively slowly (1-2 lbs per week). To do this you need to eat slightly under maintenance calories and/or add more exercise. To get this right you need to have a good idea of what you're eating at present to determine that maintenance level.

TheGimp
06-30-2004, 06:17 AM
Top advice from Aspect.

geoffgarcia
06-30-2004, 07:47 AM
Do I really have to be this meticulous in order to shed my body fat?depends on what your bf% is now and how low you want to go


The last thing that I have time for during my hectic day is counting every little tiny calorie that I eat.it takes less than 1 minute to input all the data into one of these tools...if you had time to write this post you had time to track all ur food.


If I just focus on eating good, natural foods (as opposed to crappy, processed foods), is that as effective?no.
it looks like ur looking for excuses NOT to do this... :scratch:

fmanning
06-30-2004, 08:17 AM
it takes less than 1 minute to input all the data into one of these tools...if you had time to write this post you had time to track all ur food.

no.
it looks like ur looking for excuses NOT to do this... :scratch:
I was talking more along the lines not having time for weighing, measuring & getting EXACT calories to fit a certain daily amount. I do input everything I eat into fitday.com....perhaps you should have asked first, rather than jumping the gun

And I was asking opinions on my question...I wasn't asking for people to judge me. Don't even think that for one minute you know what is going on inside of my head. When people are new at something, they ask questions to get opinions & do the best they can do...and all you gave was stark criticism & character bashing. I believe that in this case, the "thumper rule" definitely applies.

ElPietro
06-30-2004, 08:23 AM
I think if you adhere to a good diet, you'll find that you are eating similar foods and amounts. For example, you may buy bulk chicken breasts, so if you weigh it once, you know what you are getting each time. If you stick to weighing or keying in food for a few weeks as stated above, you'll find it's really easy to guestimate pretty closely what you are getting and breaking it down. After a while you can do it all in your head and don't necessarily need to use fitday or other tools as often. It does help keep diet front and centre though, when you have to input the foods. I would say you don't need to be too exact on calories unless you are on a very strict bulk or cut. Some people may only drop calories 500 from maintenance, which if you are a big guy, can add up quickly if you are off 50 calories here and there.

HemiVision
06-30-2004, 10:02 AM
I think it's important to be very diligent in weighing, measuring and counting. Studies have shown that most people are no good at estimating their portion sizes. A few wrong guesses a day can mean the difference between losing weight and accomplishing nothing.

Eating right and exercising is time consuming and difficult. Think of the time you spend in the gym, the sacrifices you make not to eat the calorie-rich foods you crave. The extra bit of time it takes to be more specific with your calorie counting is not a big deal by comparison, but it could determine how effective the rest of your fitness effort is.

geoffgarcia
06-30-2004, 10:21 AM
I do input everything I eat into fitday.com...
perhaps you should have asked first, rather than jumping the gun

I wasn't asking for people to judge me.
Don't even think that for one minute you know what is going on inside of my head.

all you gave was stark criticism & character bashing

I believe that in this case, the "thumper rule" definitely applies.
who pissed in ur cheerios today?

I neither judged, criticized, nor bashed you
I simply gave valid opinions based on ur inital post
and I used the appropriate "scratching head" icon to indicate that I was confused

attica
07-06-2004, 06:41 AM
I think if you are onto fitday.com then you are off to a good start. Personally, I'm on my way down to 205 from 265, and I've found fitday to be CRUCIAL to my loss. I have a particular calorie count that I want to meet, plus the golden ratio of 40:30:30 (actually, I've been leaning towards 40:35:25, but that's just me).

My hardest time when it comes to caving in is when I get home from work. My wife and I are decent in the kitchen, which has it's pros and cons ;-) Fitday let's me sit down during the day and figure out how much of what I should be eating for dinner. And the good thing about fitday is that you don't have to keep track of anything except portion sizes, it figures everything else out for you.

I'm not going to try to figure out what's in your head (heh), but it sounds like you are where I was about 4 months ago, and fitday has definitely worked for me. Then again, my OCD has kicked into overdrive and I weigh myself twice a day (AM & PM), enter everything into a spreadsheet and track it with graphs and charts...