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Feeling out of Control

gooz71gooz71 Member Posts: 93 Member Member Posts: 93 Member
I have a huge mental struggle with counting calories. I want to keep track of my calories, but then when I do, my thought is “I’m not letting this app tell me how many calories I can have.” And then start to binge because I went over my allowed amount. But if I don’t count calories, I feel out of control not knowing how much I’m eating (to lose weight). I’m making myself insane and feel so hopeless 😢

Replies

  • yirarayirara Member Posts: 6,727 Member Member Posts: 6,727 Member
    How many calories does MFP give you? It's also possible that you want too much too fast. If you go slow, and set a slow calorie deficit it will be easier.
    You could also set the app to Maintain Weight for a while to learn how much you can eat without gaining weight.
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,874 Member Member Posts: 31,874 Member
    So set your calories yourself at a higher amount.

    Then log as accurately as you can.

    I would make it about learning to log food. Here's a great link:
    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/1234699/logging-accurately-step-by-step-guide/p1



    I have my own calories set manually because I ran the experiment over a period of time. I know how many calories I need to eat to maintain my current weight and I know how much exercise I need to get weekly. It's all about finding those numbers - yourself. I mean, the app is guessing...it's your experiment to run and your body keeps the score regardless.


    As far as the, "I screwed up I might as well keep eating," thing? That's common, but beating myself up or self-sabotaging just is a miserable cycle and I don't like to feel miserable. So get rid of the butt-kicking machine and just eat at maintenance for a while. Eating at maintenance will teach you that under-eating and over-eating are different ends of that same rope. The key is finding a COMFORTABLE number where you can stick to it without binging and yet still make some progress. Not being pulled back and forth because you're trying to fight Mother Nature who will always win by making you eat.

    Weight loss is one place where all-or-nothing is really self-defeating.

    Start again. :)
  • gooz71gooz71 Member Posts: 93 Member Member Posts: 93 Member
    All good ideas! It has me at 1,600 calories.
  • mylittlerainbowmylittlerainbow Member Posts: 796 Member Member Posts: 796 Member
    "All good ideas! It has me at 1,600 calories."

    It did that to me, too, but I manually set it to 1400 calories and I'm maintaining just fine. You have control over the macros and the calorie goal depending on how your own body is working.
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 25,095 Member Member Posts: 25,095 Member
    gooz71 wrote: »
    All good ideas! It has me at 1,600 calories.

    1600 calories to lose how many pounds per week? How far away are you from your goal weight?

    When many of us first came to MFP, we set overly aggressive weekly weight loss goals. I sure did!

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  • Ddsb11Ddsb11 Member Posts: 607 Member Member Posts: 607 Member
    Maybe you can reframe how you look at your calorie goal a little differently. It is just a guide to help you meet your goals.
    Do you look at your bank account with the same "this account isn't going to tell me how many dollars I can spend!"? I sure hope not. Your calorie budget is the same way. It lets you know what you've got to work with. Make good choices, maybe don't eat some high calorie "expensive" foods everyday, substitute for some "cheaper" foods, and make that number work for you.

    Love this perspective. Well said.
  • gooz71gooz71 Member Posts: 93 Member Member Posts: 93 Member
    lgfrie wrote: »
    I totally get where you're coming from, OP, as far as binging b/c of going over even a little bit on the calorie goal. I have really struggled with that over the years. I've only managed to conquer it in the past year, and even then, I do sometimes go 20 or 35 calories over, meaning it isn't going to be a perfect diet day, so then I allow myself a few hundred more cals because it's kind of a day-off day, then I'm still hungry so I decide I'll eat up to maintenance, then accidentally eat 25 calories over maintenance, and feel like the day failed ... and then the 3,000 calorie binge commences. The all-or-nothing mindset has been my Achilles Heel with dieting for decades.

    As @cmriverside said, the all-or-nothing mindset is really self-defeating. I'd go further and say for a binger, the all-or-nothing mindset is THE mortal enemy of a diet.

    I did come up with one halfway decent technique that (mostly) helps me avoid this destructive behavior. I've defined an "outer perimeter" that still qualifies as a "solid diet day" if not quite a "perfect diet day". For me 1800 calories is perfect. In the past, going over to 1820 or 1830 would eventually lead to binging - one cookie or piece of cheese at a time - but then I defined 1950 as a "solid day". It's kind of like having a secondary line of defense for when 1800 doesn't work. It gives me a second chance to end up with a day I can feel good about, which has enabled me, many many times, to grab victory from the jaws of failure by not feeling like things had turned into an off-day, and therefore stopping when I hit that second line of defense calorie level.

    But most of all I really want to recommend continuing to count calories even after you miss the calorie target, and drawing a line in the sand at your maintenance calories. For me, that's 2350 and I've gotten really good at stopping there most of the time. If you're not gaining weight, all you've done is lose a day - no biggie. If you prove to yourself 3 or 4 times in a row that you can chop a binge off at the knees when you hit maintenance calories, you'll be well on your way to being more confident that you can handle this aspect of dieting, which will make it all a lot easier.
    lgfrie wrote: »
    I totally get where you're coming from, OP, as far as binging b/c of going over even a little bit on the calorie goal. I have really struggled with that over the years. I've only managed to conquer it in the past year, and even then, I do sometimes go 20 or 35 calories over, meaning it isn't going to be a perfect diet day, so then I allow myself a few hundred more cals because it's kind of a day-off day, then I'm still hungry so I decide I'll eat up to maintenance, then accidentally eat 25 calories over maintenance, and feel like the day failed ... and then the 3,000 calorie binge commences. The all-or-nothing mindset has been my Achilles Heel with dieting for decades.

    As @cmriverside said, the all-or-nothing mindset is really self-defeating. I'd go further and say for a binger, the all-or-nothing mindset is THE mortal enemy of a diet.

    I did come up with one halfway decent technique that (mostly) helps me avoid this destructive behavior. I've defined an "outer perimeter" that still qualifies as a "solid diet day" if not quite a "perfect diet day". For me 1800 calories is perfect. In the past, going over to 1820 or 1830 would eventually lead to binging - one cookie or piece of cheese at a time - but then I defined 1950 as a "solid day". It's kind of like having a secondary line of defense for when 1800 doesn't work. It gives me a second chance to end up with a day I can feel good about, which has enabled me, many many times, to grab victory from the jaws of failure by not feeling like things had turned into an off-day, and therefore stopping when I hit that second line of defense calorie level.

    But most of all I really want to recommend continuing to count calories even after you miss the calorie target, and drawing a line in the sand at your maintenance calories. For me, that's 2350 and I've gotten really good at stopping there most of the time. If you're not gaining weight, all you've done is lose a day - no biggie. If you prove to yourself 3 or 4 times in a row that you can chop a binge off at the knees when you hit maintenance calories, you'll be well on your way to being more confident that you can handle this aspect of dieting, which will make it all a lot easier.

  • gooz71gooz71 Member Posts: 93 Member Member Posts: 93 Member
    1600 calories to lose 1 lb a week. I’m female 50 years old and 5’4.
    I love the idea of figuring out my maintenance calories and at least try not to go over that.
    Since you all have been so very helpful I’m just putting myself out there but I just get in my head sometimes. I feel like I’m always looking for the “right way” to lose my 50+ pounds. I don’t care for veggies or legumes etc so I’m trying to find my own way to do this. Hoping the healthier eating will come with time. I just feel lost and have a hard time believing just counting “good ole calories” will actually work 😢 my husband is sleeping and I’m sitting in my closet in tears. I don’t eat “healthy” so feel like I’m not doing it right. Thank you all for listening.
  • charmmethcharmmeth Member Posts: 933 Member Member Posts: 933 Member
    There is no "right" or "wrong" way of doing this, except that if you eat more than you need, you will gain weight and if you eat less than you need, you will lose it. The challenge for me personally is figuring out a sensible estimate of what I need, and mfp is a tool that helps me do that. If you want to eat 1600 cals in cookies or candy (is that the right translation for biscuits and sweets?), then that is up to you (though your dentist might not agree). The problem for you is that you might also not feel very satiated doing so.

    What are you eating at present? What do you really like and not want to miss? Some people strip out all their enjoyment in food to get to their calorie goal. For myself I can't do that, so I still drink wine and eat the things I enjoy (including cake and chocolate mousse, for instance). I like cooking from scratch and we both like veggies, though we don't eat beans (is that legumes?) much. My husband would love to eat more fish but I am not a fan; I would love to eat more chicken, but he's not keen, so those are two "healthy" options we rarely eat at home. Given the level of meat, cream and desserts we eat some would say we are not eating healthily but it does us well. What I am trying to say here is that you need to to work out what a healthy diet looks like for you. If you don't like something, don't eat it. But think about how you might acusing hieve balance with things you do like.
  • OneSmallThingTodayOneSmallThingToday Member Posts: 139 Member Member Posts: 139 Member
    gooz71 wrote: »
    1600 calories to lose 1 lb a week. I’m female 50 years old and 5’4.
    I love the idea of figuring out my maintenance calories and at least try not to go over that.
    Since you all have been so very helpful I’m just putting myself out there but I just get in my head sometimes. I feel like I’m always looking for the “right way” to lose my 50+ pounds. I don’t care for veggies or legumes etc so I’m trying to find my own way to do this. Hoping the healthier eating will come with time. I just feel lost and have a hard time believing just counting “good ole calories” will actually work 😢 my husband is sleeping and I’m sitting in my closet in tears. I don’t eat “healthy” so feel like I’m not doing it right. Thank you all for listening.

    Oh, hon, I'm sorry that this is causing such sadness and frustration for you. That you're here, motivated to change, and reaching out to others is a HUGE step. I'm 53 years old and 5'4" with ~ 140 lbs more to lose. I've lost ~ 60 lbs and it's taken me a year and a half so far. I'm changing my life one habit at a time, and only making changes that I know will be sustainable in the long run, since more than losing a specific amount of weight, I want to make sure that whatever I DO lose, will stay lost.

    I definitely don't believe that there is one universal "right way" that will work for everyone. Not every habit I've tried to develop over the last 18 months has worked. If I find that a habit truly doesn't work for me after giving it a real try, I ditch it and work on something else. One of my habits is to start my lunch with something green. Here's the thing: I LOVE VEGGIES!!! So this is a great goal for ME, but since you don't care for veggies, that's not a great goal for you. Focus on doing better at/more of what you love, and ditch what you don't.

    Ultimately, losing weight is about taking in fewer calories than you need to stay at your current weight. While there is data to support that what you eat may make a small difference here, it still doesn't change the basic equation. I would strongly encourage you to eat as healthy as you can, but do so within parameters that work with YOUR dietary preferences and lifestyle, so that you can keep at it for the long haul. Make small, sustainable changes. You can keep eating the food you love, just eat less of it. Or make small changes like switching to whole grain bread, or "hiding" veggies in your food.

    Good luck, and I hope you find and embrace what works for you.
  • domeofstarsdomeofstars Member Posts: 480 Member Member Posts: 480 Member
    Maybe just take a complete diet break for a while, it sounds like you need to. I know its frustrating because you're wanting to lose weight and its not happening, but binge eating sounds to me like you'll be fighting an uphill battle if you keep trying to force yourself to calorie count.
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