Does anyone just eat and estimate the calories?

Sometimes, I'll count the calories of a meal in my head and estimate the 1200 I'm supposed to have. I'm still seeing progress. Was wondering if others do that too. Instead of always logging it. It seems to take some of the anxiety away.


  • sardelsa
    sardelsa Posts: 9,812 Member
    Yea I do. I used to track years back so I have pretty decent calorie awareness so now I just go with the flow. I do try to estimate my protein levels... I'll roughly add it in my head per meal/snack ex. "30+20+40+20+40". Sometimes I use the food diary to check calories or protein amounts here and there. I also use other tools to gauge my progress (for me that is satiety, weight trends and visual). But I also have a lot of calories to spend. If you are on only 1200 cals you don't have a lot of flexibility so many people have more success tracking. However if what you are doing is working you can stick with it until it doesn't.
  • swirlybee
    swirlybee Posts: 497 Member
    Yup, add me to the list who estimates. I also used to track meticulously several years back. Every once in a while I'll log again just to make sure I'm still on track.
  • lgfrie
    lgfrie Posts: 1,449 Member
    I do estimate from time to time but I've noticed a strong correlation between estimating and not losing weight. I don't gain weight when I estimate; I just stop losing.

    What's weird about it is that I'm a good calorie estimator. More than a few times my wife made a meal and calculated the calories precisely; then we played a game of "guess how many calories are in this plate of food". I have never been more than 10 % off and usually much less. If I guess 700, it's almost definitely in the 630-770 zone and likely to be between 675 and 725.

    Nevertheless, there is a very strong linkage for me between "ballparking" calories and not losing weight, so .... something doesn't quite work with ballparking and we continue to count as precisely as possible most of the time.
  • rainbow198
    rainbow198 Posts: 2,245 Member
    edited April 2020
    This works for me. I've been estimating my calories through my entire weight loss and maintenance journey (maintaining an 80 pound loss for 7 years now).

    I keep a food & exercise journal and plan out my meals and give a rough estimate of what I plan on consuming. This is very helpful for me when fitting in treats and higher calorie meals.

    Edited to add...I also eat a lot of the same things and rotate. I have a binder full of personal recipes where I break down my meals (macros/calories etc.) I find that helpful too.
  • mlrtri
    mlrtri Posts: 419 Member
    I log everything I eat - but I don’t weigh my food. I try to measure food but frequently I estimate. It keeps me going. If I am too strict with myself then I stop when I mess up. If I forget to measure I estimate and move on. It’s better, in my opinion, than not being accountable at all. Or worse, stopping altogether.
  • briscogun
    briscogun Posts: 1,135 Member
    There are times when I have to estimate a certain food or meal just because I didn't make it and there's nothing in the database but that's about as far as I get off the reservation. I'm still in full measure and log mode...
  • Lolalikeslolagets
    Lolalikeslolagets Posts: 142 Member
    I would love to be free of logging but like another poster shared, I have a tendency to overestimate, even if it’s just by a few hundred calories. Over time that adds up. I finished up a 3 month cut middle of March and have been maintaining until now mostly not tracking, but have a slight jump in weight that doesn’t line up with my cycle or training inflammation so back to tracking I go... sucks but I’ve just had to accept it.
  • jo_nz
    jo_nz Posts: 595 Member
    I mostly estimate, and I think it works better for me overall.

    I just pay attention to the direction of the scale, and if it's not going where I want, then something has to change (eg log more accurately, eat less, estimate higher values). For me, if I go for more accurate, I tend to get a bit hung up on the details, and it just takes over and leaves me feeling miserable about it all. I find estimating gives me a better balance.

    That said, I will have the occasional day where I try and weigh & log super accurately - gives me a chance to check my estimates to see if I've let my portions creep up etc.
  • RomeMaple
    RomeMaple Posts: 7 Member
    I find even recording afterwards means you are eating more mindfully and I think that is at the core of healthy weight loss and maintenance
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 8,467 Member
    edited April 2020
    I never try to estimate. Though when I was losing weight I had lunch in the office canteen and had to estimate there. The food was mostly Indian and Arabic, and often high in fat. There was nutritional info available, but the numbers seemed widely off. Unless the fluffy and dry white rice really contained a massive amount of fat. I still logged it with this info, sometimes taking a plastic cup with what I would call a serving size to my desk to weigh it. There I also learned that portion creep is totally real: What I thought was a similarly full service spoon of rice for example became more in a course of just a few days. So I always tried to get food from the top of the tray with more veggies or meat and less sauce.
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 8,531 Member
    I dont just estimate my overall calories - but I do take a loose approach to logging and not measure everything accurately either - and law of averages evens out.

    There is a spectrum between a) total guesswork and b) weighing every crumb of everything.

    if either extreme works for you - that's good.

    I am somewhere in the middle
  • Jelly_Belly_Jim
    Jelly_Belly_Jim Posts: 24 Member
    I used to weigh everything on my food scale when I was really focusing on weight loss. After losing weight and now being in maintenance, I’m not as strict. Plus having used a scale for so long I can eyeball portions really well. Once in a while I’ll eat like crap for a few days and to get “locked back in” I’ll use the food scale, but not too often. And I TOTALLY agree with you about the anxiety part! 😜
  • New_Heavens_Earth
    New_Heavens_Earth Posts: 610 Member
    I round up calories on my go to foods and total them from there. But I do weigh and measure as needed.
  • sashimimaniac
    sashimimaniac Posts: 71 Member
    it’s just impossible to measure everything if you are the type who eats out most of the time. a muffin in one place is going to be different from a muffin in another and who the heck carries a weighing scale around with them on the go? i mean, kudos to the person who carries around a packed lunch everyday but i would rather someone who’s a better cook than i am prepare me a delicious hot lunch 😂 i estimate all the time and exercise enough that i have a little wiggle room for bad estimation. so far, it’s all good 😎
  • megalodon182014
    megalodon182014 Posts: 8 Member
    I write it down every single day. It will help to do so. That way you know what you are eating at the same time losing weight. You can switch to different low calories food if you dislike eating same thing over and over again. Eating same food can cause mood swing. And it is best idea to write it up. Eat something that make you happy and full. Good Luck.
  • swimmchick87
    swimmchick87 Posts: 458 Member
    I maintained for awhile doing that, and then the weight started creeping back on. I think it's hard to estimate because even just 100-200 calories every day really adds up over time. Thankfully I don't really mind logging. I do estimate when I go to restaurants. I'm bummed when they don't have calorie info available, but I'm not going to let that stop me from going out to eat. Same thing for potluck type situations (if we ever have those again!)