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Dietitians say counting calories bad

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  • AndreaTamiraAndreaTamira Member, Premium Posts: 109 Member Member, Premium Posts: 109 Member
    I just find it easier to eat as healthily as i can and to actively keep my portions small. I also make sure i do exercise every day. The weight comes off but slower. From personal experience I'd rather lose it slowly and keep it off, rather than lose it quickly by focusing on calories and putting it all back on again anyway. But that's just me.

    Anecdotal stories do not supersede science such as the law of thermodynamics.

    Obviously not, and this poster just has found a way to be in a calorie deficit without counting the calories. If it works for them and makes them less stressed out that's pretty good, though. - It's just sadly such an individualised approach that it may not work as advice for many other people.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,907 Member Member Posts: 5,907 Member
    Bluetail6 wrote: »
    SnifterPug wrote: »
    "- I won't, for example, weigh an apple, eat the apple and then weigh the core to discover precisely to the calorie what I consumed."

    I'm pretty precise in my tracking.... This never occurred to me, lol. For the record, it doesn't appeal to me either.

    I don't like eating an apple by biting into it, but prefer it chopped up, so I usually weigh it, and don't weigh the part I don't eat (which can be a non-insubstantial amount). If you didn't want to log cals you did not eat, I can see weighing the core or just estimating a bit lower than the weight of the whole apple. This doesn't make me especially obsessive, though. Even when I am weighing regularly I have no issues with estimating the size of an apple I eat out of the house or a banana or so on (if at home I probably would weigh the banana without the peel or weigh the peel, as it helps me be a better estimator going forward). On the other hand, I've also never weighed a single size something from the store or bothered to double check the serving size weight. I lost weight just fine.

    Basically, I think most of us come to our own preferred "weigh or not" way of logging based on what feels comfortable and what seems to be necessary (if one isn't losing, more care may be needed). For example, lots of people think weighing greens is crazy, and I don't think it's necessary (I often eyeball salads when eating outside the home or if I just forget to weigh, which is often), but when possible I prefer a gram number vs guessing at the amount (or trying to fit it in a cup). I was adding some chard to a soup just now (making lunch) and weighed it since that seemed easier than estimating and took no real extra time. Not saying anyone else should do this, but don't assume something is obsessive or unpleasant or related to an ED just because it's not something you do. (Not saying you personally were, just a more general statement.)

    Relevant to this, I suppose, is that I like to hit the nutrition goals in Cron, and don't want to inflate my amount of greens beyond what I really ate, so again people have a variety of different reasons for what they do. I find the Cron goals thing helps motivate me to be interested in logging, which I do only off and on.
    edited November 21
  • b120in2021b120in2021 Member Posts: 14 Member Member Posts: 14 Member
    So much talk about weighing apples! I agree with a previous comment about being more concerned with weighing calorie dense foods. If I'm going to eat peanut butter, I weigh that. If it's an apple, I count it as a medium apple, bite into it, and enjoy. I don't weigh apples. If it's the end of the day and I'm making dinner with 80 calories remaining, I will eat as much broccoli as I want and not worry about weighing it. Do you know how much broccoli you have to eat to eat 80 calories worth? It's a lot!

    As for the original question, I do think that calorie counting can be a problem for people with eating disorders. For everyone else, it can be super annoying and make one hyper food focused. For me, a solution for that is to eat the same things over and over. I don't mind the lack of variety. If you don't, then that could work for you as well.
  • sakurablossoms82sakurablossoms82 Member Posts: 48 Member Member Posts: 48 Member
    Honestly I'm not that accurate with weighing everything I eat. I assume the weight in the package is correct and an apple is an apple. I don't check if that apple is 100 grams or 200 grams. Or a hand of blueberries, never weigh it. Could be 20 grams but also could be 50. I once did weigh a hand of almonds. I was assuming that was 30 grams but it turned out to be only 16. Since I started my weight loss journey back in june I never really gained weight so far and most weeks I lost weight. Sometimes it was 1KG, sometimes 500 grams or less. So I don't feel the need to be more strict on myself.
  • sakurablossoms82sakurablossoms82 Member Posts: 48 Member Member Posts: 48 Member
    When I started MFP I was obese and MFP gave me only 1500 kcal a day. I noticed that for me that might not be enough. So I did some research online and I found out 1500 is close to/ or is a crash diet and then I asked a friend who is a dietitian and she said I should eat more too. Then I came across a video of a Dutch dietitian explaining MFP and her advice on it. She mentioned that it's best to set your activity levels to the lowest and your weight loss goal for a week to the lowest as well and log exercise. So my settings are not active and 250 grams a week. It gave me 1710 kcal a week. Much better! And on 80% of the weeks I lose more than 250 grams as I do exercise daily.
    edited November 21
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 17,070 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,070 Member
    b120in2021 wrote: »
    So much talk about weighing apples! I agree with a previous comment about being more concerned with weighing calorie dense foods. If I'm going to eat peanut butter, I weigh that. If it's an apple, I count it as a medium apple, bite into it, and enjoy. I don't weigh apples. If it's the end of the day and I'm making dinner with 80 calories remaining, I will eat as much broccoli as I want and not worry about weighing it. Do you know how much broccoli you have to eat to eat 80 calories worth? It's a lot!

    As for the original question, I do think that calorie counting can be a problem for people with eating disorders. For everyone else, it can be super annoying and make one hyper food focused. For me, a solution for that is to eat the same things over and over. I don't mind the lack of variety. If you don't, then that could work for you as well.

    Maybe it depends: I ate 134 calories worth of broccoli on Thursday night. It didn't seem like a lot. That's just a little over a pound, raw weight.

    But I'm just joking around, saying that. Weigh stuff, don't weigh stuff: If weight loss is working, not too fast, not too slow, any method that produces that is fine.

    Personally I weigh most things, though generally not the single-serve packs of things (I don't eat large numbers of those) or eggs. For me, it just works best to not go through a thought process about whether to weigh a thing or not. If it were sometimes-yes, sometimes-no for weighing, I'd forget or make more mistakes more often when it actually mattered, with calorie dense things - just how my brain works. I'm better off weighing stuff, doing it on autopilot.

    Still, it's not obsessive. If I do forget (like I get distracted before noting the weight or something, and don't realize until later), I just eyeball/guess, and go on, no stress or concern. Ditto for meals out, and that sort of thing. (I'm horrified at the thought of limiting my social life just because I can't weigh food in the social context. Estimating is fine, when needful, in my world. My social relationships are more important to me than a hundred or so calories here or there, if I have to estimate.

    Hasn't prevented weight loss, or maintenance, in 5+ years of counting, so far. But that's me. If others want to cut out social events for that reason, it's about their life balance in their view, not about me. Also: For me, not eating varied things so as not to have to weigh food or to make counting easier . . . that would be an unpleasant sacrifice in quality of life, for me. If it's not a sacrifice for others, but a helpful practice instead, go for it.)

    Like Lemur, I like knowing how much of certain nutrients I get, too, and weighing keeps that more useful. Also, I have veggie/fruit servings goal in grams, which I spot check on days when I'm not sure I've hit my target, so it's good to have accurate data.

    Can't imagine weighing the spoon to subtract, if I licked it, though. Gotta put that jar on the scale, dip out a portion, read the negative weight to see what I took out, put it in the meal from the spoon, then lick the spoon. 😆

    I get that weighing would be obsessiveness-generating, for some people. If you're one of those people, don't do it. If you don't want to because it's annoying even though not obsessive for you, don't do it.

    But maybe don't psychoanalyze people who are different from you (generic you), and assume that they feel/react just as you do? Often, we don't. Drama and emotion over food/eating - guilt, shame, stress, obsession, annoyance, etc. - are pretty alien to my nature, psychologically speaking. I know that's not everyone's nature, but it's mine.

    Calorie counting is a just a big, fun science fair project for grown-ups, in my world . . . with amazing payoffs in health and quality of life.
    edited November 21
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,907 Member Member Posts: 5,907 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    b120in2021 wrote: »
    So much talk about weighing apples! I agree with a previous comment about being more concerned with weighing calorie dense foods. If I'm going to eat peanut butter, I weigh that. If it's an apple, I count it as a medium apple, bite into it, and enjoy. I don't weigh apples. If it's the end of the day and I'm making dinner with 80 calories remaining, I will eat as much broccoli as I want and not worry about weighing it. Do you know how much broccoli you have to eat to eat 80 calories worth? It's a lot!

    As for the original question, I do think that calorie counting can be a problem for people with eating disorders. For everyone else, it can be super annoying and make one hyper food focused. For me, a solution for that is to eat the same things over and over. I don't mind the lack of variety. If you don't, then that could work for you as well.

    Maybe it depends: I ate 134 calories worth of broccoli on Thursday night. It didn't seem like a lot. That's just a little over a pound, raw weight.

    Yeah, 250 g of broccoli is 85 cals. Doesn't seem like all that much to me, although I also think for weight loss purposes eyeballing broccoli would work fine. It's more about personal preference. As I noted before, one of my incentives to log is trying to hit all my nutrition goals at Cron, and if I just logged 2 cups of broccoli based on eyeballing, I (or someone else) could easily be deluding themselves about how much broccoli they ate, and for nutrition purposes broccoli is a powerhouse, so for me -- not for most people, I'd imagine -- that would be cheating.

    But the main reason I usually weigh broccoli is that I weigh when I am cooking (mostly when I am chopping stuff up), and thinking "this ingredient to too low cal to log, so I will estimate it" would add more time to my process than merely noting the numbers and remembering them to log at my next cooking break. (It's a fun memory exercise for me, although it would be easy to note them down if not.)

    I feel like there's a bit of judginess that some are expressing toward those who log/weigh differently than they do, and if so I think that's not helpful. That one prefers weighing and using 195 g vs. a volume estimate has 0 to do with ED tendencies, IMO.
    But I'm just joking around, saying that. Weigh stuff, don't weigh stuff: If weight loss is working, not too fast, not too slow, any method that produces that is fine.

    Yep. When I first started I didn't weigh and lost as expected or more. That I started weighing was more because I was curious about trying it and then found it fun and slightly easier.
    Still, it's not obsessive. If I do forget (like I get distracted before noting the weight or something, and don't realize until later), I just eyeball/guess, and go on, no stress or concern. Ditto for meals out, and that sort of thing. (I'm horrified at the thought of limiting my social life just because I can't weigh food in the social context. Estimating is fine, when needful, in my world. My social relationships are more important to me than a hundred or so calories here or there, if I have to estimate.

    Exactly this.
    But maybe don't psychoanalyze people who are different from you (generic you), and assume that they feel/react just as you do? Often, we don't. Drama and emotion over food/eating - guilt, shame, stress, obsession, annoyance, etc. - are pretty alien to my nature, psychologically speaking. I know that's not everyone's nature, but it's mine.

    Calorie counting is a just a big, fun science fair project for grown-ups, in my world . . . with amazing payoffs in health and quality of life.

    This too.
  • b120in2021b120in2021 Member Posts: 14 Member Member Posts: 14 Member
    Y'all pretty judgy for people who have an issue with "judginess".

    I did not psychoanalyze anyone. OP was concerned about calorie counting and eating disorders. There was additional discussion of this in the thread. I confirmed that calorie counting can be an issue for those who have an ED. I went on to explain that calorie counting can make anyone food focused and annoyed with it and I offered my experiences with this as help to the OP. That's what this forum is for.

    I don't regret anything I said and I hope that what I wrote is of value to those looking for suggestions on concerns with food focus and how to be less annoyed with calorie counting.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 17,070 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,070 Member
    b120in2021 wrote: »
    Y'all pretty judgy for people who have an issue with "judginess".

    I did not psychoanalyze anyone. OP was concerned about calorie counting and eating disorders. There was additional discussion of this in the thread. I confirmed that calorie counting can be an issue for those who have an ED. I went on to explain that calorie counting can make anyone food focused and annoyed with it and I offered my experiences with this as help to the OP. That's what this forum is for.

    I don't regret anything I said and I hope that what I wrote is of value to those looking for suggestions on concerns with food focus and how to be less annoyed with calorie counting.

    FTR, I explicitly did not intend to accuse YOU of psychoanalyzing - that was the point of "generic you" in my post. The thread has had a good bit of "behavior X has Y effect on me so it must have Y effect on everyone". That's the "psycholanalyzing" I was talking about. I quoted your post only to comment in a joking way on the bolded part - that what portion of a food is "a lot" is a pretty individual judgement. Beyond that, I was simply continuing the virtual conversation, offering my opinions about several of the general topics in the thread, much as you did.

    I appreciate you sharing your opinions and experience: A diversity of opinions being shared is a good thing, as different strategies work better for different people, and different ideas will resonate with different readers.

    BTW: I do disagree, pretty emphatically, that "calorie counting can make anyone food focused and annoyed". Sure, it can make some people food focused and annoyed. Those people shouldn't calorie count, as I mentioned in my PP. Overall, I think your advice is good and reasonable, but would quibble at phrasing it as a (counterfactual) universal.

    I wasn't trying to be offensive, and if my post was offensive because I communicated unclearly what I did intend, I certainly apologize for that unclarity.
  • b120in2021b120in2021 Member Posts: 14 Member Member Posts: 14 Member
    I probably shouldn't have replied/explained as that can be perceived as escalating. So thank you for clarifying.

    At the risk of beating a dead horse, Ann, I like your point about calorie counting annoyance. Many on here comment that they've been calorie counting for years. As such, it clearly does not annoy everybody. Your point was a good one. When I said calorie counting could make anyone food focused and annoyed, I mean that one doesn't have to have an eating disorder to think it's a major pain. I was trying to alleviate the OPs concerns about developing an ED from calorie counting.

    Good health, healthy eating, and fitness for all!
  • ngairedixon48ngairedixon48 Member Posts: 1 Member Member Posts: 1 Member
    I'm eating a very healthy plant-based wholefood diet under the guidance of my GP. Since then markers for pre-diabetes, heart disease and painful joints have dropped (no meds; yay!) and snacking has become a thing of the past as my body feels satisfied. However, at 72 years of age, even though I'm exercising at a high level for my age, I still find it difficult to lose the little weight I need to lose to make exercise easier. SO, I've gone back to calorie counting. What I've found is that I was eating more than I needed (eg I halved my rolled oats for breakfast without feeling hungrier) so calorie counting has shown me that my portion sizes were too high and I was totally unaware of the fact. I'm hoping this will teach me, without becoming obsessional, exactly how much I need to eat for my metabolism and what this looks like (so I won't be counting forever but be able to judge by eye).
    I'd suggest that if you still feel hungry after a meal, wait 20 minutes for it to be digested before eating more - try doing something else or have a drink instead and you may find that your hunger has disappeared in 20 minutes. If you are craving things, look to see how balanced your diet it. A craving for carbs may be telling you that you are eating refined carbs and need more wholegrain products or fruit and vegetables. Don't feel deprived if you cant eat fast foods, candy, soda and refined foods but feel privileged that you have the wisdom to give your body what it needs rather than what you fancy. It will pay you back with extra energy and a pain-free existence.
    Personally I believe a nutritionally balanced diet is more important than counting calories but keeping on eye on calories in and calories out, if you are the type of person who gains weight easily or finds it hard to lose weight, is another tool to get you to where you want to be.
  • paperpuddingpaperpudding Member Posts: 6,180 Member Member Posts: 6,180 Member
    bubus05 wrote: »
    msalicia07 wrote: »
    bubus05 wrote: »
    msalicia07
    Well done if you have succeeded, I would argue with the 99.99 percent success rate though with your suggested method. But if it works for you amazing.

    The method is CICO. Unless you have one of the rarest conditions in the world, it will work because that's physiology. There wasn't a single obese case in any POW situation ever recorded in the history of the earth. Why? Because human physiology determines you will lose weight in a calorie deficit. This is not debatable, it is a fact. And it doesn't matter what the individual eats as long as they're in a deficit. To maintain weight loss, however, it's best to have a diet that you can sustain and enjoy. You cannot provide evidence that someone will gain fat in a deficit, no matter what they ate, because no such evidence exists. I'll wait.

    I can't argue with that. If there is calorie deficit one will lose weight. The problem arises though when I try to calculate accurately what my BMR rate is. I found that for me anyway the BMR is not an absolute figure but constantly changing for me almost on a weekly basis if I look at the scale. That's why I dont really like to only depend on what my alleged BMR is because I just dont trust the figure. As a consequence I find it difficult to calculate where my calorie deficit begins. For me it is essential what I actually put in to lose weight and hope for the best I am in calorie deficit. But that is me, if you can lose weight eating what you really like hats off congrats.



    I know some people on MFP love detailed information and calculations.

    Yo don't really need to calculate your BMR or TDEE though.

    I never did - I just put my stats - height, weight, gender ,age into MFP and ate the net amount of calories it told me to.

    Do that as accurately as you can for 1 month.

    Then adjust the calorie amount depending on results, if you need to.

    This is assuming you are using MFP calorie counting method - but works for other methods too - ie reduce your calories by cutting something in your day if you are not actually counting - just would be more approximate and estimation

    There was a post from somebody in maitenance saying they dont count any more- they just weigh themselves and if their weight is creeping up they omit dessert for a week or so - same overall method, cut calories somehow, based on real life results
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,907 Member Member Posts: 5,907 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    b120in2021 wrote: »
    Y'all pretty judgy for people who have an issue with "judginess".

    I did not psychoanalyze anyone. OP was concerned about calorie counting and eating disorders. There was additional discussion of this in the thread. I confirmed that calorie counting can be an issue for those who have an ED. I went on to explain that calorie counting can make anyone food focused and annoyed with it and I offered my experiences with this as help to the OP. That's what this forum is for.

    I don't regret anything I said and I hope that what I wrote is of value to those looking for suggestions on concerns with food focus and how to be less annoyed with calorie counting.

    FTR, I explicitly did not intend to accuse YOU of psychoanalyzing - that was the point of "generic you" in my post. The thread has had a good bit of "behavior X has Y effect on me so it must have Y effect on everyone". That's the "psycholanalyzing" I was talking about.

    Yes, this is how I understood it. There were posts earlier in the thread that suggested that some ways of logging/weighing are weird and wrong or inexplicable, so I wanted (in the prior comment, quoting a different poster) to explain why one might do such things, while still being pretty loose as to logging in other ways.

    I do think (as I said upthread) that there are plenty of different approaches to logging/counting (or losing without doing so) and that so long as it works for the person they are all great.

    (Also, I'm the only one who used the term judginess, I think, so I'd love to know what I said that is supposedly so judgy, as I suspect I was misunderstood. But who cares, I suppose.)
    edited November 22
  • paperpuddingpaperpudding Member Posts: 6,180 Member Member Posts: 6,180 Member
    Dieticians are statistically terrible at helping people to lose weight and keep it off, why listen to them?

    I wouldn't agree with that.

    I would say actual advice from qualified dieticians (not 15 seconds from who knows who on Tiktok) is good at helping people lose weight and keep it off.

    What is terrible , statistically, is people correctly following such advice.

    It isnt the advice that is the problem.
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 43,323 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 43,323 Member
    Dieticians on Tik Tok............................hahaha. Okay.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

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