Calorie Counting

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Good morning!  I slept horribly last night and just wasn’t in the mood to cook breakfast.

 

Cue: cereal!

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I had 3/4 cup Grape Nuts, skim milk, and banana.  With a coffee, of course!

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And, in relation to this AM’s post discussion, Grape Nuts is one of the only cereals I portion out, as it has 300 calories in 3/4 cup.  It’s easy to go overboard on the crunchy goodness! 🙂

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To Calorie Count or Not to Calorie Count?

 

Yesterday,  I received a very interesting question on calorie counting.  This question is worthy of a longer response AND input from readers, so here we go!

 

  • Sarah asks, "My question is in regards to counting calories or more specifically, how to stop counting them? It is almost an automatic response to add them up for the day in my head. How did you stop counting? Any tips/tricks that might be helpful?"

 

I’m going to speak from my own experiences in answering this question.  I began calorie counting about three years ago when I decided to buckle down about diet and exercise and finally lose the last stubborn 10 pounds. 

 

I had a basic understanding of "if calories out > calories in = weight loss."  I used an online calculator to figure out my Weight Maintenance Calories (according to the calculator, it was 1,650. I just want to say that I think this is too low.  I believe my base is currently around 1,800).  Then, I tried to create a 250 calorie deficit through diet and/or exercise everyday, and over time, I lost 10 pounds.  After all, 1 pound = 3,500 calories. 

 

My calorie counting began simply — I would tally up calories on a notepad.  After a few weeks, I realized I needed to be able to compare day to day trends, so I began to use an Excel spreadsheet.  The Excel spreadsheet slowly evolved into this highly detailed tracker that tallied my calories, fat calories, protein, carbs, saturated fat grams, sugar, fiber, etc.   I kept a "data" spreadsheet so I could just copy and paste the information for my most common eats.  After a while, I had about 200 foods in my speadsheet! 

 

By this point, I had been maintaining my weight loss for about 6 months.  And judging from my Excel spreadsheet, I was basically intaking the same amount of calories everyday.  I felt I had a good handle on portion control.  Basically, I was ready to quit calorie counting because (let’s face it) it’s a tedious and time consuming task, and you can’t go on counting calories forever.

 

Here are my tips for quitting calorie counting without gaining all your weight back:

 

  • Instead of calorie counting, switch to "eyeballing" your meals and snacks for a week or two and then phase out counting and estimating all together.
  • Rely on your own ability to portion control sensibly. You know what a normal serving of meat looks like!
  • Focus on food groups, not calories.  Look at the parts of each meal and make sure you have some protein, fruits, veggies, fats, and complex carbs. 
  • Seek out whole and natural food.  It’s hard to go overboard when you’re eating steamed veggies and lean proteins.
  • With plating your food, fill up on nutrient-rich, low-calorie foods like vegetables instead of piling on the mashed potatoes.
  • Don’t freak out if you feel like you overindulged one day.  Indulgences are part of life, and you aren’t going to gain weight from 1 weekend of eating tailgate food and drinkin beer.
  • Exercise!  The best way to maintain a weight loss is to stay active and challenge yourself physically.

 

Of course, the most obvious way to tell if you are eating sensibly without counting is whether your weight changes.  If you are overeating, you’ll gain.  I used to weigh myself weekly to keep tabs on my progress.

 

If you do gain after quitting counting, carefully consider what this means.  I gained three pounds back after I stopped calorie counting, and then the gain stopped. I realized that my lowest weight wasn’t maintainable in "the real world."  I could only maintain my lowest weight when I was counting, so I changed my expectations regarding my "happy weight."  With the exception of a brief honeymoon-related weight gain (FYI which is gone now!!), I’ve maintained my happy weight for more than 2 years.

 

What’s your opinion on or experiences with calorie counting?

{ 56 comments }

 

  • Mica February 17, 2009, 5:15 am

    Thanks for the tips, Caitlin! You’ve got such a healthy attitude and outlook; it’s awesome!

  • Rose February 17, 2009, 5:23 am

    Great topic for this morning’s post!
    I am currently in the process of beginning to really Calorie Count using Calorie King, so I’m not sure if I can give much advice to stopping counting calories. I think the most important thing is that you know your body and you know good nutrition when you do stop. My body is the type that if I don’t track my food in some way – I will inevitably overeat and gain weight. I can gain weight so quickly it seems – so counting works for me. But I’d say if you’re trying to stop, just be mindful of how your body reacts to certain food – and another thing, just keep up the exercise!

  • just me February 17, 2009, 5:41 am

    Those are really great tips Caitlin! You couldn’t have put it better…such a great way to see how food should be eaten instead of simply labeled as a number (which was how my food used to be).

    Unfortunately I can’t suggest how to stop counting because I’m still in the process, but your suggestions sure are going to help!

  • VeggieGirl February 17, 2009, 5:50 am

    I count in order to make sure that I don’t undereat – I have extremely high nutritional/caloric needs, due to my Crohn’s Disease (and because I’m training, trying to gain muscle mass).

    Happy Tuesday!!

  • bb February 17, 2009, 6:02 am

    I am currently caught up in the throes of calorie counting so thanks for the tips…great post!

  • Erin February 17, 2009, 6:06 am

    Interesting topic! I’ve never been a big calorie counter, but I also often have some idea in my head. I portion a few things, like oats out, but rarely anything else. I think calorie counting on occasion can help you see what your needs are and that’s good, but it’s certainly not a daily activity! It’s definitely best to just focus on eating healthy, whole foods. It seems the weight takes care of it self at that point.

  • Sarah February 17, 2009, 6:07 am

    Caitlin, thanks for answering my question. After counting calories for 4+ years, I’m trying to stop basing everything on that number for the day. On one hand, I feel like it is helpful to know if I’m eating enough during the day to fuel my workouts. However, I also realize that I used it as a basis to ‘binge’- my thinking goes something like, “ok, I’m over my limit, so might as well go all out now and tomorrow will be a new day and I’ll never do this again”. Well, it seems like tomorrow there is always another holiday or work party and opportunity to overeat. In my college years, I pretty much ate whatever I wanted and maintained a lower weight than now, so I feel like allowing myself some treats and eating when I’m hungry and focusing on healthy food is the best way to go. I do tend to eat a lot of fruits, veggies and grains anyway. My not allowing myself “fun food” I make them taboo and all that more desirable.

  • tryingforatri February 17, 2009, 6:09 am

    Great tips! I’ve been maintaining my 20 lb weight loss for for about 5 months now and I’m still counting calories online. I just don’t feel ready to stop yet! Plus, I like knowing how much sodium, protein, etc, I’m getting. My goal is to ween myself off of it this summer so I can get back to normal eating again, but I’m kind of scared!

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 17, 2009, 6:12 am

    sarah – interesting! i think a lot of people have an “all or nothign mentality” when it comes to eating. i definitely used to! one of the ways i stopped approaching food like that is to take it on a meal to meal basis instead of on a day to day basis. that way, i could get back on the bandwagon immediately instead of telling myself “i already blew it for the day.” because, trust me, your body doesn’t think “ok, she’s eaten 500 extra calories today, time to stop counting, she’s screwed!” hahah your body counts ALL the extra calories.

    and youre right, there’s always an excuse to overindulge. that’s definitely something i still struggle with. i’m trying to train myself into determining what is really a special occasion. i was pretty proud of myself because i didnt eat a bunch of chocolate after dinner just because it was in the fridge. i told myself, “you know what? that chocolate will still be there tomorrow…. and the next day… and the next.” it made it easier to say no. the same concept applies to office birthday cake. there WILL be another coworkers birthday! 🙂

  • jenngirl February 17, 2009, 6:27 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience about calorie counting caitlin. I really look up to and admire you for where you are on your road to healthy living! I think you do such a wonderful job of balance in the real world, while enjoying life, love and happiness. Thank you!!!

  • Summer Slim February 17, 2009, 6:35 am

    thanks for the calorie counting advice. it’s something that i’m trying to move away from, although i still find myself estimating in my head. i’m working on having 3 well-rounded meals. i think i often eat lower calorie meals and then end up snacking, which leads to actually eating more calories. i’m trying to be more intuitive with my eating. your suggestions are really going to help, thanks!

  • Adi February 17, 2009, 6:41 am

    Thanks Caitlin, great advice. I needed to hear that as a on again/off again calorie counter. I won’t even try to guess how many calories were in the massive bowl of oatbran I just ate! 🙂

  • Amy February 17, 2009, 6:55 am

    Those are great tips. I did some form of counting for about 4 years. I first used weight watchers and sporadically would switch to Calorie King. It helped me lose and maintain a 20 pound weight loss for three years. I’m still maintaining but now I’m trying to lose the last 10 pounds without calorie counting. Instead, I keep portions small and eat lots of fruits, veggies, and lean protein. I’m also increasing my exercise and adding more strength training. If I get to a point where my portions seem to grow or I start gaining, I will probably count calories just long enough to get everything back in check. Overall I enjoy not counting more than counting. I find that I eat healthier foods and am less inclined to binge as I sometimes did on WW.

  • Betsy February 17, 2009, 7:00 am

    I’ve never, ever counted calories – I feel like it’s too much hassle. Plus, I don’t think I’d even know where to start… and it hasn’t hindered me from losing weight!

  • Amanda February 17, 2009, 7:19 am

    I started to count calories my freshman year of college after I put on 10 lbs in one semester. Unfortunately, I became pretty crazy about it and instead of realizing that cutting a little bit (i.e. 250 cals) per day would be healthy, I strived to get the LOWEST amount possible … plus excessive exercise.

    When I was sent to a nutritionist to GAIN weight, I had to journal my food … not in terms of calories but of food groups to make sure I got enough fruits, veggies, grains, protein, dairy, etc. This approach worked so much better for me – instead of focusing on the numbers (in my mind, the lower the better) I was able to make sure that I met the recommended number of healthy food groups!

  • Beadie @ What I Ate Yesterday February 17, 2009, 7:23 am

    Great post!!! Thanks for the info!

    Be sure to check out my blog today for this week’s BSI ingredient!

  • Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) February 17, 2009, 7:34 am

    I’ve been counting calories to help me lose weight for my wedding. It’s definitely time consuming. Currently I’m not working out as much as I want to so I’m not creating much of a deficit.

    But I tend to overeat so this is helping me. I hope that eventually I will be skilled enough to eyeball things rather than having to weigh them or measure them or etc.

  • ksgoodeats February 17, 2009, 7:39 am

    Fabulous tips!! I agree with other commenters, you have such a refreshing outlook on what it means to be healthy 🙂

  • Meg February 17, 2009, 7:43 am

    Great tips for quitting calorie counting. I find that calorie counting makes me think too much about numbers related to food rather than enjoyment.

  • Justine February 17, 2009, 7:46 am

    Great tips! I’d like to add that you should also be sure to LISTEN to your body. Once I stopped counting calories I started relying more on my body to tell me whether or not I needed to eat instead of what time it was (oh, 3:00…time for my snack!) or how many calories I had left. It can be difficult, but you’ll start to realize that your body is pretty smart and knows when it needs food or not! Just be sure to make those foods nutritious!

  • kath February 17, 2009, 8:11 am

    Great post Caitlin!!!

    I wholeheartedly agree that if you put your focus on eating the healthiest possible foods and ingredients, there’s no need to count. And sometimes I have to remind myself that one meal, one day doesn’t matter if it’s a little higher – it’ll all even out over the course of a week.

  • aron February 17, 2009, 8:16 am

    awesome post! i am pretty similar to you… when i decided to lose weight/get in shape in college i started counting my calories and i had a big spreadsheet for it. now i eat a lot differently (focus on more nutrient foods, less processsed, etc) and i can just kind of tell where i should be. plus with running so much i know i need more and i focus more on the areas i need to get enough of (fat, protein, carbs) rather than how many calories i have eaten. i think once you get in the habit of eating well, you just have to phase out the counting part and before you know it, you dont really think about it too much.

  • Thinspired February 17, 2009, 8:25 am

    This is so helpful! I actually did not count calories during my weight loss, which is weird, but I am counting them now because I have no idea how many I need to maintain. I don’t want to do it in the long-term, and I think your point about maybe having to accept a 2-3 lb weight gain after that is realistic.
    I am also struggling to define weight “maintenance,”–obviously we all have fluxuations here and there; we can’t wake up every morning at the exact same weight. But how do you know if you’re just up 2lbs because of last night’s pasta dinner, or if it’s real weight gain? That’s why I am counting calories right now, but it sucks, so when I’m ready to phase it out I will look back on this post. Thank you!

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 17, 2009, 8:30 am

    thinispired – i think thats why its important to NOT weigh yourself everyday. its a bad habit to get into because your right, you fluctuate naturally. when i did weigh myself, i would weigh myself once a week on the same day (usually a wed) when i know any bloat from the weekend’s activity would be gone.

  • RhodeyGirl/Sabrina February 17, 2009, 8:30 am

    oh i love this caitlin. i completely agree with all of it and my path was similar. i don’t count calories now but i DO measure out portions still when i am home and do things like count out my nuts (as you know ha). I also definitely think about food groups and eat more consciously for HEALTH now since I know I can eat mostly healthy things and maintain my weight without counting. I put on 3 lbs after stopping counting but that bothers me so i did my own version of crap free eating for a few weeks (south beach) to get it back down and have more energy. it worked.

  • tfh February 17, 2009, 8:36 am

    I’m pretty sure throughout high school I used to eat about 1000+ calories worth of Grape Nuts daily. And that was just my after-school snack. 😉

    Calorie-counting didn’t really “work” for me because once I was going for certain numbers, I would do things like switch my daily banana and orange for, say, a small piece of cake, because the software only focused on calories and not on vital nutrients.

  • Leanne February 17, 2009, 8:46 am

    I think this is an interesting topic because if you’re interested in nutrition, it just kind of happens automatically (calorie-estimations). I never really measure stuff though unless I’m following a recipe.

  • Anonymous February 17, 2009, 8:47 am

    Personally, calorie counting drives me nuts because I think it is way too easy to become obsessive with it (as I have once before when I did it). Given that I do regular high intensity training, I do not try to limit myself too much. What I do now instead is just try to make sure the majority of my calories come from food that I can use as fuel, rather than sugary junk. I mean, Im not going to beat myself up about eating an extra banana or some whole grains. =)

  • Danielle February 17, 2009, 8:50 am

    Thanks for all the great tips, I am still undecided as far as counting calories go, but I suppose it’s in my best interest to give it a try.

  • Brandi February 17, 2009, 8:51 am

    Good tips!

    I’ve never counted calories, but I have done WW in the past, and technically still do (although I’ve been maintaining for 4 years).

    I’m trying to figure out the best way to move from following WW to just eating healthy and balanced and not worrying about “weekly points”. This is just what I needed to read 🙂

  • Angie Eats Peace February 17, 2009, 9:08 am

    I feel the same way. I can get too obsessive with calorie couting, so I choose to be more mindful of what I eat, rather that flip out, if I forgot to log something.

  • Missy February 17, 2009, 9:12 am

    Thanks for the great tips! I tried the calorie counting for a little while but I became to obsessive so just trying to eat whole foods and lowering my portion sizes is most helpful. The food blog def. helps too.

  • Emily February 17, 2009, 9:12 am

    Currently on weight watchers, I’m obsessed with counting. But like you, I just need to get off my last 10 pounds! I do have a question though concerning an older post of yours. I recently purchased Hodgson Mill Insta-Mix and am dying to make some pancakes and waffles! Do you use the recipes on the back of the box or do you substitute other options? I definitely need to pick up a healthier syrup alternative. Thanks for your help as always!

  • Sarah (lovINmytummy) February 17, 2009, 9:15 am

    Do you think you slept poorly b/c of the TV in the bedroom? They say you are only supposed to sleep in your bed…and well, something else, but no TV. Whatever. I think so long as I wasn’t drinking a triple shot espresso in my bed, I could sleep no matter what.

    Calorie counting drove me nuts. I don’t know how accurate it was for me either, because while my goal was gaining lean mass, I still was having a huge calorie deficit each day but GAINING weight. So then I just thought, forget it!!!

    Blogging is much more fun than inputting calories on the Daily Plate anyway.

  • robinbb February 17, 2009, 9:15 am

    I can’t wait for the day when I can stop counting calories, I know I am a long way from there. Thanks for all the information.

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 17, 2009, 9:21 am

    emily – yes i follow the recipe on the back, but i dont add as much oil (i just kind add a “small glug”) and i skip the added sugar (unnecessary). the best kind of syrup is the all natural maple syrup kind!! 🙂

    lovin my tummy – i did get sucked into several hours of law and order, but i do turn off the tv when its night time. 🙂 i could sleep through a tornado usually!

  • Olga February 17, 2009, 9:36 am

    thanks for answering the question in such details! It’s very useful. I try to “eyeball” my meals too instead of tedious counting.

    I agree with you, it’s so easy to go overboard with GrapeNuts!

  • Laughing Lindsay February 17, 2009, 9:41 am

    I became TOTALLY obsessed with counting calories. It got to the point where I’d ONLY eat boxed food so I knew how many calories it contained. It sucked!
    I don’t think I’ll ever do that again. My personality is black or white, all or nothing so I didn’t handle it well.
    I think it’s great for general portion control to get someone back on track, but long term use it’s tough to break.
    Awesome post girl. Thanks!

  • Amy February 17, 2009, 9:45 am

    Caitlin – I really appreciate reading your tips. I am still counting calories b/c I am still trying to lose my last 10 lbs. I realized recently that my cals have inched up over the last few months which explains why I’ve been maintaining. I need to cut back some in order to start losing again. I’m glad I kept detailed records or I wouldn’t have known why I wasn’t losing.

    Also I sent you an email yesterday, did you get it?

  • HangryPants February 17, 2009, 9:52 am

    Very cool post Caitlin! I like how you realized that the 3 extra pounds meant living an enjoyable life in the real world. I’ve never been one for calorie counting, but I’ve often been curious about it and my nutrient intake. Thanks for all the info.

    Oh and thank you for commenting on the Chinese beliefs about raw foods, which honestly, make much more sense to me. I am looking forward to learning about raw foods, but I can’t say I totally buy into it.

  • Sharon February 17, 2009, 9:54 am

    What a great post! Thanks for all the tips. Since my injury, I have been forced to count calories as I am not able to be as active as I was in the past. Running was such a huge component for me in maintaining my weight. Now I have to be a little more careful! It is definitely very tedious!

    Thanks again for being such a great example! You are so sensible and such a great source of information 🙂

    Have a wonderful day!

  • kate February 17, 2009, 10:28 am

    This is a really great post. I would like to stop counting as well but sometimes my brain just goes off on its own, counting away. sometimes i stop myself but other times i find comfort in knowing what my intake is. slowly but surely i am trying to just eyeball servings, and i really force myself to not look at labels as much. also at college, with premade meals on campus it is difficult to know the calories, which has actually helped me a lot to calm down about it. does your brain ever just subconsciously add them up even though you don’t really want to?

  • Julie February 17, 2009, 11:02 am

    I recently just stopped calorie counting by the advice of a nutritionist. I have such an unhealth relationship with food, it needs to stop. I tend to restrict things I love too much in order to stay in my “calorie range” so whenever I allow the “bad” food (special occasions only) I really over do-it. I need to create a healthy balance and for that to happen I need to some to terms with the “bad” foods and not see them as that anymore. I need to clue in to my body more and not rely on calorie counting but how I feel.

    I feel like a weight has been lifted because I’m not counting every claorie of every food from every meal anymore. I can just eat my food and enjoy it. I can’t lie though, I still have a rough estimate in my going head…but I think it’s just automatic now because of all the years of writing it down. I suppose it’s not a bad thing to have an estimate because I don’t want to under or over-eat.
    I feel like it’s a day-to-day battle with me!

  • Jen February 17, 2009, 11:07 am

    My last post was riddled with too many spelling and grammar errors because I typed it too fast! Anyways, one way to stop counting calories is to start listening to our bodies…we were all born with an internal system that worked perfectly the day we were born, telling us when to eat and when to stop. As adults, however, we eat right over our feelings of fullness and the feelings that would come up if we stopped eating when we were full (such as I DESERVE to eat this whole chocolate cake because I have been eating carrot sticks all week!) Whatever you all do, don’t get too obsessed with the calories! Get in touch with your emotions, instead.

  • eatingRD February 17, 2009, 11:47 am

    I would have to agree with your tips! When I first got interested in nutrition, I counted everything in my head religiously. I actually thought it was fun crunching numbers. Now, I have loosened the reigns a bit, but I try to follow the mypyramid recommendations for a well-balanced meal plan. This doesn’t work out every day of course, but overall it’s a great tool. Another thing I do is use my hands for portions like the palm of the hand for a 3-4 oz meat serving and about a handful for a 1/2 cup, etc. This works good for me and of course I think physical activity is the best for my weight maintenance, especially since I have stopped dancing as much.
    -kristen

  • eatingRD February 17, 2009, 11:50 am

    Oh I forgot! Speaking of calorie counting, I recently posted about having the nutrition facts posted on restaurant menus. What do you think about this? I think it would be beneficial to have it available so if people wanted to know the information and could understand the labels, they could make smarter food choices based on their needs.

    -kristen

  • skinnyrunner February 17, 2009, 11:59 am

    great tips, i think they are all right on and healthy without being neurotic or overboard. way to go!

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 17, 2009, 12:06 pm

    you all leave such interesting comments.

    eatingRD – i think restaurants should be required to present this information. when i was in NYC, i must admit dunkin donuts was “ruined” for me because i *knew* the calorie count for donuts, but that helped me make a healthier food choice, so YAY!!!

  • Tammy February 17, 2009, 1:37 pm

    I can’t even tell you how weird it is that you posted this today. I have had an eating disorder for 13 years, and my weight is constantly going up and down. Because I’ve been counting calories since I was 13 years old, I’m terrified to stop. My husband and I were just discussing how I might be able to, and then, there was your post. Wow. For me, I think it’s going to be a lot harder than just stopping . . . I do think I’m going to need to go to counseling. The problem is, everywhere I’ve looked for help, they force you to eat with them or have rigid ways of going about it. I think everyone’s different, and I really want to find someone who’s going to work with me. In the meantime, I find your blog so useful to understand what healthy eating “looks like.” I think that your blog is a great first step for me on the path toward healthier eating. I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t even go out to eat unless calories are on the menu, so it has really taken a turn that makes living a normal existence difficult. I know that I need to make some changes, and I dream of the day that I can eat healthy foods without knowing exact calorie counts. While calorie counting is useful, it can become an obsession, and I would love to turn back time and make that obsession never start.

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 17, 2009, 1:41 pm

    tammy – it’s corny, but this is true. i think the first step to breaking any addiction is to admit its a problem. it might be helpful for you to write a list of why you don’t want to calorie count any more — like calories aren’t an indicator of how healthy a food is, calorie needs vary day to day, you want to be able to eat at restaurants freely, etc. maybe tape the list to a fridge or your mirror? reading the other comments in the blog might help you too. i’m sorry you’ve struggled with eating. but im really glad i can help! thanks for commenting, you are so sweet.

  • Kirsten February 17, 2009, 5:43 pm

    So, I was just listening to the news and heard that a fashion designer from Germany stated that Heidi Klum was “too heavy” to walk the runway!! I almost fell over dead, this is just plain rediculous! Just wondering if you had heard this or if anybody else had and what their thoughts were!

  • jane February 17, 2009, 6:55 pm

    i am really inspired by your last comment about gaining 3 pounds after you stopped counting calories and realizing that was your happy weight. you are so realistic and honest with your body, and you truly realize what it’s like to be both physically and mentally healthy. you are quite an inspiration to the rest of us caitlin, and i thank you for your wonderful advice and fun blog!

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 17, 2009, 7:15 pm

    kirsten – uh, that is fucking ridiculous. seriously. the fashion industry has pretty skewed perceptions of what is and is not healthy, and it’s sad. hopefully it won’t stay like this forever! chubby and pale girls were hot in the 1920s!

    jane – thank you sooo much. that was nice to hear.

  • rebecca February 17, 2009, 7:31 pm

    thanks for this post! i never ever ever (ever) thought i could do away with calorie counting, but i've been calorie-count-free for about a month now, and it's great. i've been recovering from years of anorexia&bulimia, and initially went to a treatment facility that would not allow us to eat 5 calories over or under our mealplan… BAD IDEA. i now count by exchanges so i know a starch is roughly a piece of bread or a 1/2 cup of rice (and i eyeball everything rather than weigh or measure), and i know the average calorie equivalents of exchanges, but it's rough enough that i don't feel the need to count religiously. after all, if i choose a banana here and a plum there, will it really matter?! i haven't even been counting my total exchanges until the end of the day, and it's comforting to see how similar my intake is from day to day, without really trying. i say stick to healthy foods (for the most part)… and don't trust those "calorie calculators" to determine how much you need, as most of them calculate way too low.

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 17, 2009, 8:30 pm

    rebecca – i am so glad you are well into recovery, you seem very smart about it!

  • Tammy February 18, 2009, 9:40 am

    Caitlin, Thank you for your kind words and advice. I think I’m going to try making that list this weekend! You’re great!

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