Hacks for easy calorie counting

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Replies

  • Gisel2015
    Gisel2015 Posts: 4,047 Member
    I'll let you in on a little secret.

    Calories - input and output - are always estimates.

    Being consistent in counting matters more than being precise. Precision can definitely matter, but I don't use a scale at all, use cups and spoons to keep my portions in check and do some guesstimates where I make sure I take a higher rather than lower entry.

    It's been a year. I'm a healthy BMI. I started as obese. It's fine.

    So, that's my hack. I don't worry about being precise at all. I just log and let the over and under estimates average themselves out over time.

    This is really bad advice to persons who are just starting on this journey. (No scale, cups and spoons) But, good for you. You're just all aces.

    I didn't use a scale until I was in maintenance, and I did just fine. Using a scale is a tool, a good one, but not the only way to manage portion control.
  • wilson10102018
    wilson10102018 Posts: 1,306 Member
    Gisel2015 wrote: »
    I'll let you in on a little secret.

    Calories - input and output - are always estimates.

    Being consistent in counting matters more than being precise. Precision can definitely matter, but I don't use a scale at all, use cups and spoons to keep my portions in check and do some guesstimates where I make sure I take a higher rather than lower entry.

    It's been a year. I'm a healthy BMI. I started as obese. It's fine.

    So, that's my hack. I don't worry about being precise at all. I just log and let the over and under estimates average themselves out over time.

    This is really bad advice to persons who are just starting on this journey. (No scale, cups and spoons) But, good for you. You're just all aces.

    I didn't use a scale until I was in maintenance, and I did just fine. Using a scale is a tool, a good one, but not the only way to manage portion control.

    It the words of the esteemed weight loss sage, Jesse Ventura, "you just have to push back from the table."
  • MichelleMcKeeRN
    MichelleMcKeeRN Posts: 446 Member
    I meal prep the exact same thing for several days at a time. For example, I made tiki masala with chicken and veggies. Huge pain to count all those weights and calories but now I have 6 meals worth. I ate one on the spot and am giving one to my friend so I am covered for the next 4 lunches.
    I make snack boxes with cold meat, veggies, cheese stick, olives or nuts. These are super easy to make for several days.
  • Onedaywriter
    Onedaywriter Posts: 319 Member
    I estimate - a lot. Because I eat some of the same things over and over, I can pretty closely “eyeball” a serving or whatever.
    After a while, I can now put 1/2 serving of peanut butter on a slice of toast, measure 1 1/4 cups of my favorite packaged cereal, and estimate 8 oz of skim milk etc. Fruit and things like chicken parts are always “medium” for me but sometimes I have a big banana or apple etc and sometimes a smaller one. Fresh veggies I usually don’t even count- I’m trying to eat more of these so the “free” calorie mentality helps me. Beans, rice etc I use measuring cups as serving spoons.
    This is all +/- probably 5-10% but these pluses and minus seem to balance out. So I don’t weigh stuff that often anymore.
  • ehju0901
    ehju0901 Posts: 324 Member
    I know this probably doesn't fit the "norm" for most people, but I don't do much cooking at all, so I like to buy things that I can scan the barcode and enter it in my journal that way. I like buying single serve items for easy logging...for example when I am at the office I like to have those little cups that are prepackaged with like 6 black olives in them. It's easy portion control and makes logging easy. Is this cost-effective? Not really, but it has made my life easier.

    When I do cook, I know I need to set aside more time for logging and creating the recipe in MFP. I'm still not very well versed in this feature, but I'm getting better!
  • wunderkindking
    wunderkindking Posts: 1,616 Member
    I estimate - a lot. Because I eat some of the same things over and over, I can pretty closely “eyeball” a serving or whatever.
    After a while, I can now put 1/2 serving of peanut butter on a slice of toast, measure 1 1/4 cups of my favorite packaged cereal, and estimate 8 oz of skim milk etc. Fruit and things like chicken parts are always “medium” for me but sometimes I have a big banana or apple etc and sometimes a smaller one. Fresh veggies I usually don’t even count- I’m trying to eat more of these so the “free” calorie mentality helps me. Beans, rice etc I use measuring cups as serving spoons.
    This is all +/- probably 5-10% but these pluses and minus seem to balance out. So I don’t weigh stuff that often anymore.

    The day I start accounting for the calories in the slice of tomato on my sandwich, personally, is the day I hope someone stages an intervention.

    It can be perfectly good and healthy for some, maybe even most, people. For me it would be a sign that I've gone off the deep end into full on obsessive and my relationship with food has turned toxic and into a source of major stress.
  • wilson10102018
    wilson10102018 Posts: 1,306 Member
    There are a lot of diet plans and a lot of advocates for every one of them. CICO is just one of many. People say they have lost weight on the grapefruit diet or Mediterranean, or Keto or fasting. Not caring a whit about the number of calories. I'm happy for them.

    But, if a person embraces the science that the number of calories consumed being less than the calories expended or expelled as the methodology for weight loss, then the implementation of that is to count calories. End of story.

    No one has to count calories. But, if they don't then they are either not adopting CICO as their weight loss method or they are in denial as to their real goal. We could tiptoe around it to avoid hurting feelings, but I think it needed saying. And, its not controversial until someone who is in denial reads it, and blames the messenger.

    I hate to repeat myself but these threads have a way of getting things turned around. I simply believe that if you adopt the CICO science as the fundamental to weight loss, you have to count calories. Not every calorie, not with a razor sharp accuracy. But, you have to count them. Or, you are doing something else to lose the weight.
  • MargaretYakoda
    MargaretYakoda Posts: 1,944 Member
    As usual, the arguments against calorie counting emphasize the extremes to prove the point that counting is not a necessary part of a diet plan based on a numerical value of caloric deficit. Its like saying I'm not going to record my expenditures in the checkbook or evaluate my credit card bills because I refuse to count every penny I spend.

    Just another excuse for not facing the truth.

    Now we’re talking a method I understand completely.

    Budgeting.

    I like the YNAB program.
    Yes, one rule is “give every dollar a job”
    But sometimes people get hung up over finding a tiny error.
    .05¢
    It’s not worth it to others to spend half an hour or more tracking that down.

    Some people go so far as to not count anything under a dollar. Rounding up or down as needed.

    And some people have dollars assigned to a “fun money” category, which isn’t on budget anymore once the dollars are assigned to that category (categories in YNAB are basically envelopes for those familiar with that old school method)

    No one says assigning dollars a job is bad.
    But if rounding, or putting some dollars in a non-tracked section of the budget works for some people? More power to them.
    As long as they’re still budgeting.

    Yeaaah, shocking news but when I budget my money I round up to the next dollar for 25 cents or more over a dollar, and down to the next dollar for < 25 cents, too. Few times a year I sweep the 'overage' (and with that rounding there's always some) into 'fun' saving, too.

    Still works.

    The YNAB community wholeheartedly would accept you.

    DR? Not so much.

    Guess why I don’t do DR, but love YNAB?

  • lynn_glenmont
    lynn_glenmont Posts: 9,556 Member
    There are a lot of diet plans and a lot of advocates for every one of them. CICO is just one of many. People say they have lost weight on the grapefruit diet or Mediterranean, or Keto or fasting. Not caring a whit about the number of calories. I'm happy for them.

    But, if a person embraces the science that the number of calories consumed being less than the calories expended or expelled as the methodology for weight loss, then the implementation of that is to count calories. End of story.

    No one has to count calories. But, if they don't then they are either not adopting CICO as their weight loss method or they are in denial as to their real goal. We could tiptoe around it to avoid hurting feelings, but I think it needed saying. And, its not controversial until someone who is in denial reads it, and blames the messenger.

    I hate to repeat myself but these threads have a way of getting things turned around. I simply believe that if you adopt the CICO science as the fundamental to weight loss, you have to count calories. Not every calorie, not with a razor sharp accuracy. But, you have to count them. Or, you are doing something else to lose the weight.

    Everybody is doing CICO all the time. No way to avoid it. If I lose weight -- long term, not talking about hydration or digestive tract variations -- I have "done" CICO to lost weight.

    Your argument is the equivalent of saying if I take a medication prescribed by my doctor, but I have no idea what it is or what it's supposed to do for me, but my condition improves, it didn't improve because I took the medication.
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 7,985 Member
    There are a lot of diet plans and a lot of advocates for every one of them. CICO is just one of many. People say they have lost weight on the grapefruit diet or Mediterranean, or Keto or fasting. Not caring a whit about the number of calories. I'm happy for them.

    But, if a person embraces the science that the number of calories consumed being less than the calories expended or expelled as the methodology for weight loss, then the implementation of that is to count calories. End of story.

    No one has to count calories. But, if they don't then they are either not adopting CICO as their weight loss method or they are in denial as to their real goal. We could tiptoe around it to avoid hurting feelings, but I think it needed saying. And, its not controversial until someone who is in denial reads it, and blames the messenger.

    I hate to repeat myself but these threads have a way of getting things turned around. I simply believe that if you adopt the CICO science as the fundamental to weight loss, you have to count calories. Not every calorie, not with a razor sharp accuracy. But, you have to count them. Or, you are doing something else to lose the weight.


    I do not agree with this at all. Nor, it seems, did the other posters replying to you.

    People can adopt the CICO science to weight loss and not have to count calories.
    At all, not just not with any accuracy

    They don't have to do the calorie counting method at all.

    They can do whatever other method they use - as long as it creates a calorie deficit over time they will lose weight

    One can understand CICO and not do calorie counting and still lose weight - many people do

    (although of course, such people are under represented on this forum since it is a calorie counting site therefore that is the method most of us are using.)

  • wunderkindking
    wunderkindking Posts: 1,616 Member
    Here's an analogy.

    CICO = A math formula.

    You can show your math and do the whole equation.
    You can round the numbers to get a rough estimate.
    Whatever, because at the end of the day the question on the test is a true false: Is calories in = to or < for weight loss.

    You don't have to know the numbers for that.
    You have to know you lost weight.
    If you know you lost weight you burned more calories than you ate.
  • wilson10102018
    wilson10102018 Posts: 1,306 Member
    I love the analogies. They are so wrong it is hilarious. Here is one. You accept the science that the Earth rotates and the Sun illuminates the Earth in a 24 hour cycle. The human response to this is called the circadian rhythm. You have a brand new Apple Watch that reflects that. However, you do not look at the watch but go to work when you feel like it and sleep at different times each day. Everything is working great. You got a raise and a promotion. But, are you operating on the circadian rhythm. I don't think so.
  • lorib642
    lorib642 Posts: 1,942 Member
    I know weight watchers used to use “points” not sure if they still do, that approximated calories. For some people things like that are easier to keep track of. I understand the wanting to simplify. I log but sometimes I know I must have forgotten something.
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 7,985 Member
    I love the analogies. They are so wrong it is hilarious. Here is one. You accept the science that the Earth rotates and the Sun illuminates the Earth in a 24 hour cycle. The human response to this is called the circadian rhythm. You have a brand new Apple Watch that reflects that. However, you do not look at the watch but go to work when you feel like it and sleep at different times each day. Everything is working great. You got a raise and a promotion. But, are you operating on the circadian rhythm. I don't think so.


    no idea what point this analogy is making.

  • glassyo
    glassyo Posts: 7,069 Member
    Wait...wait...wait. I think he was actually making our point for us! The watch keeps ticking but you can still succeed even if you're not a slave to it!