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One of the more difficult tasks when you're trying to get healthy is figuring out how many calories basic foods are. What's a "medium-size" carrot? How many serving sizes per package? A friend of mine was confused by an Internet site that listed scrambled eggs at much more calories than was reasonable. And what if you make changes to that coffee drink from "regular" to "lite"?

Let's do the math. It's not that hard...thank goodness, it's not geometry.

Daily Kos Weight Loss is a community at Daily Kos dedicated to weight loss, maintenance, and support. As with all communities, trolls are calorie-free and will be munched should they engage with us. Please feel free to jump, jog, skip, dive, or walk in.

First of all, if you're using the Internet for your calorie estimates, remember two things: they are estimates, and check more than one site. Also, preparation style makes a difference. "Scrambled" eggs in the microwave don't require added fat, but usual pan-scrambled eggs have added oil and milk, which add calories.

Check on portions. 70 calories a serving doesn't seem like much, but if there are five servings in a package, that is 350 calories for the whole thing.

Low-calorie substitutes can be an option to help you cut calories, but they don't mean you can eat unlimited amounts of the substitute. Also, some low-calorie substitutes include sugar alcohols, which can upset your digestive system. Have small amounts at first until you figure out what your tolerance is.

Check out volumetrics if you're feeling too hungry on your reduced-calorie diet. Eating more basic, natural, high-fiber foods like soups and vegetables will give you good energy and will help you feel fuller. Also consider cutting out most of your calories from drinks. I gave up all regular calorie-containing drinks other than my morning coffee so I could get more of my calories from food, helping me feel less deprived.

Don't cut too much, either! Most reputable diet plans I'm aware of recommend you go no lower than 1200 calories/day for women and 1500/day for men. If you're doing less without a doctor's recommendation and feeling intolerably hungry, try increasing to at least those levels. I lost my weight by going to an average of 1500 per day, mostly from foods.

So, how are you doing? Did you decide to try our One Pound, One Week challenge? How'd it go? Is the scale being evil and stubborn? Maybe we can help.

140 on the scale for me today. Bad week overall; recurrence of my bursitis has made me skip most of my walking since Sunday, and I had to take ibuprofen again today for the pain. But the sun is out, our roleplaying game is ramping up, and the weather is fine. I think Spring might finally arrive, which is always good news.


A Lady at the Library 3 by Windthin on deviantART

A certain bird has also decided to be a Bad Bird today, not only trying to follow Luna round and being chased off, but trying to chase me away from her. Maui is this close from getting jailed.


Maui Behind Bars 2 by Windthin on deviantART

Hope all is well with you and you're moving and grooving the day away!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Veggie jar. (15+ / 0-)

    Carrots are a favorite snack food of mine. :)

  •  You look fantastic! (6+ / 0-)

    I can't imagine you'd want to lose any more weight.  Healthy foods and exercise, but you look perfect in that photo.

    Congratulations!!!  

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 09:32:09 AM PDT

  •  Been a while since I checked in here! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allergywoman, NormAl1792, HoundDog

    February really put me in hibernate mode with all the snow we had; thankfully March is shaping up better.  

    I've managed to maintain most of my loss from last year's wellness program at work, although I'm 5lbs above where I was by the end of last year.  Working on the basics again, journalling food, watching portions, etc.

    I tend not to worry overly much about whether my fruits/veggies are 'medium' or 'large' or whatnot, since they're whole foods and I'd rather not stress about eating them.  I'm more careful with stuff like added oils, nuts, etc.

    Miss Aji? She blogs here now.
    I’m a feminist because the message is still "don’t get raped" not "don’t rape."

    by Avilyn on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 09:32:59 AM PDT

  •  Forgot to mention - (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allergywoman, NormAl1792, HoundDog

    I found a good new motivational tool if you're into gaming - HabitRPG.  You create an avatar, and set up "habits", "daily tasks", and "To Do" lists.  

    Habits can be positive, negative, or both (eg "Eat Whole Foods" is positive; "Smoke a Cigarette" would be a negative, and "Track Weight Daily" could be both - the positive ones give you XP & Gold when you track them; the Negative ones Lose you XP/Gold; the ones that are both either gain or lose you XP/Gold depending on whether you did the habit or not.

    Dailies are things that you do each day or most days (it lets you pick days, so you can set stuff up for weekdays or weekends); as you cross them off, you get XP; if you don't check it off by the end of the day, you lose health & XP.

    It's neat to see your progress toward future levels and a good way to motivate you to do something (if you're into games, anyways).  There is an app, although it's a little clunkier than the website, IMO.  Both website & app are free, although you can contribute/subscribe to remove ads.  If you get multiple friends on there, you can form a 'party', but I haven't done that yet so I don't know how it all works.  For now, I'm using it to encourage myself with tracking, using my desk cycle, eating whole foods, that sort of thing.  

    Miss Aji? She blogs here now.
    I’m a feminist because the message is still "don’t get raped" not "don’t rape."

    by Avilyn on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 09:41:59 AM PDT

  •  Good point about portions. (5+ / 0-)

    I've eaten canned soup all my life, but it wasn't until I started counting calories that I realized a can of soup is at least two portions.  Come on, Progresso, how many of your customers are eating a half-can of soup at a time?

  •  I've lost over 60 lbs in 2 years (4+ / 0-)

    My minimum goal is 15 more, and I am 30 away from what I think is my ideal weight.

    My biggest problem is that I still fall into old habits of certain portion sizes for certain foods.  Bread is one of my biggest problems.  For example, I can't just have one sandwhich in a nice roll/kaier.  Or even 2.  Nope, it's always 3, and I kick myself every time for doing it.  Or like last night: lamb chops!  Yum!  I'll eat two because they are always sold here in packages of two, even though I should probably only eat one...

    I also simply cannot save leftover portions for the next day.  Everything I cook gets eaten that night.  Even if I pack it away ahead of time it gnaws away at my mind until I finally go out and eat it.  Terrible.

    As a result I find myself eating waaaay too much processed, packaged food.  The calorie counts are on the package and so it's easier to count and mentally budget calories.  It's also more convenient to cook so I don't find myself making multiple portions with the intent of saving some for later.  But of course it's hardly the most healthy way to eat.

    So even though I've lost a lot of weight and exercise a lot, I've been stuck at around the same weight since November.  It gets frustrating.  I think I've been limiting my calories enough and exercising enough that I should still be losing a few pounds a month, but it just doesn't seem to be happening.  I cannot reasonably exercise more or harder than I am right now (60-70 minutes of cardio and 20-30 minutes of weight/strength training every single day) so obviously I need to eat less.  But at this point it's the old habits still holding me back.

    •  Dear me. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NormAl1792, Avilyn

      That does suck.

      Could you at least shop for the lowest-possible calorie foods more often so you aren't stuck eating so much?

      •  Oh, I have been (4+ / 0-)

        For example, I like hamburgers.  One of the reasons I got so fat in the first place.  So now I don't get fast food, I get lean ones I can grill at home.  And I also get the smallest hamburger buns that I can find.  Result?  Each thick, juicy burger is around 320 calories including a bit of toppings (according to packaging labels at least).

        I love grilled meats.  Burgers, steaks, sausages.  I tried vegetarian ones a few times but they tasted awful.  Maybe new varieties taste better?  I don't know--I'm scared of trying them again.  I have tried switching to more chicken/turkey variations of things instead.  On the rare occasion I eat bacon is turkey bacon.  Alas, the chicken/turkey burgers are really bland.  Last summer Costco carried these really low-calorie sausages that were great, but I haven't been able to find them over the winter.  Hopefully they will be back soon.

        Or pizza.  LOOOOOOVE pizza.  But now I try to avoid the take-out kind, and instead buy frozen, thin-crust pizzas.  The calorie difference is night and day (literally half the calories), even if it's still not that healthy.

    •  You might also be eating a particular thing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allergywoman, NormAl1792, Avilyn

      That is causing you problems.  For example, you mentioned eating a lot of processed foods, which could contain MSG.  That has been known to cause problems.

      Also, how much of your intake is from carbohydrates?  A lot of people have a limit over which it is difficult to lose.

      "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

      by blackhand on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 10:20:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For now I have just been counting calories (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        allergywoman, NormAl1792, Avilyn

        I still eat too much meat and too few veggies.  I still eat too much carbs from things like bread or potatoes.  But trying to track everything to that level is kind of daunting.  It's hard enough just trying to keep track of calories.  So what I do is count total calories, but cognizant that certain things i should try to avoid in lartge amounts.  However, I can never really give up things entirely.  Food is one of the few things I really, really enjoy in life, and so I've been focusing more on trying to take the things I like and make it better, or slightly smaller/healthier.

        Simple example: turkey sausages instead of beef/pork.  Typically about 2/3 the calories and less fat.  To me they taste the same.

        •  And if you can keep on hand the vegetables you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NormAl1792, Avilyn

          like, that could help, too. :)

          •  Only veggie I truly like is corn (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NormAl1792, allergywoman, Avilyn

            I have an absolute craving for sweet things.  If I could I would smother sweet BBQ sauce on everything.  Sigh.

            What I have learned though is that with a good sauce I can eat any vegetable.  I am trying to do more stir fries to get veggies, and then using shrimp as the meat in it.

        •  How are you tracking your calories? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          allergywoman

          Are you using an online tracker, or writing them down in a journal through the day?  I ask, because if you're using say an online tracker, you might be able to switch to one that has more nutritional information in it so you can see the carb/protein/fat breakdown.  I use MyNetDiary, but there's others as well like Fitday that also contain this info.

          Another question is are you drinking a lot of diet soda / diet drinks?  There have been studies lately where artificial sweeteners actually end up increasing your hunger (because the body still produces insulin thinking it's going to be getting sugar, then when the sugar doesn't materialize we get hungry).  So unsweetened drinks may help with the hunger issue.

          Miss Aji? She blogs here now.
          I’m a feminist because the message is still "don’t get raped" not "don’t rape."

          by Avilyn on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 11:25:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I use Fitday (it has gotten very slow though) (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Avilyn, allergywoman

            I can track nutritional info after the fact, but it's harder to plan various balances ahead of time because my rather unpredictable work schedule makes it hard for me to plan my meals (among other things).

            I figured the most important thing for now is to lose weight, and that means focusing on calories.  I always figured that lower calories by it's nature was always going to reduce fats and carbs as well, and it has.  Though not as much as I would like.

    •  I seem to be able to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allergywoman

      break those automatic behaviors more easily if I avoid the triggers entirely --- which you are also doing of course, but not in a way that is satisfactory.  Could you maybe cook your multiple portions, then pack and put away the extra in the freezer immediately -- before eating a single bite -- such that by the time you finish your first and supposed-to-be-only portion it's already so cold you'd have to reheat it?  

      No suggestion for the sandwiches other than to just eat different foods for a while.

  •  212 this morning. (4+ / 0-)

    I need to start being better in my eating habits again.  Rehearsing for a play usually helps, but our schedule so far has been sparse.  On the positive side, my lovely wife & I joined a fitness center and I have been working out at least three mornings a week, so my weight is at least getting firmer.

  •  Okay, all, I'm out for the day. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avilyn

    Doesn't mean the conversations have to stop. Or the exercises. Best to you and yours from us and ours!

  •  i don't track calories (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allergywoman

    i do weight watchers points. all fruit and most veggies have zero points. woo hoo!

    missed this week's weigh in. i wonder what i weigh. maybe the same.

    Shame cannot survive being spoken. It cannot survive empathy. -Dr. Brene Brown

    by thankgodforairamerica on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 12:06:23 PM PDT

  •  I have to go weigh myself. I'm glad I found your (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allergywoman

    post, as I was thinking I lost track of you all.

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 12:44:52 PM PDT

  •  144 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allergywoman

    doing fine. With this, anyway. :)  Cheers everyone.

  •  I'm using My Fitness Pal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allergywoman

    It shows what my nutrient ratio is.  Potassium seems to be my obvious downfall.  It has a good data base of foods to choose from and easy ways to log portions.  Not enough cross over to lunch breakfast and dinner lists though.  My wii says I weigh 122.  I'm 5' 1".  I'm looking to slightly lower my BMI but mostly maintain, as my genetics tend toward unhealthy weight gain.  I'm moderately active but could use some more aerobic and strength work.  I prefer dance and yoga based exercise.

    I didn't know there was a group for this.  Nice to see,

    "You want to be a bit compulsive in your art or craft or whatever you do." Steve Martin

    by Kristin in WA on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 01:08:58 PM PDT

  •  Try Open Faced Morning Star Cheeseburgers..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allergywoman

    That way you get a touch of bread so you feel like you're still getting that burger, but you cut the carbs in half.

    If you use a bagel, take out the doughy part in the middle leaving the crunchy crust.  Or try the thin buns, bagels & wraps.  Half the carbs, half the calories.

    Instead of mayo use hummus or a little dollop of avocado.
    Try a Mexican black bean salad.  Rinse the beans, add diced tri colored bell peppers, cherry tomato halves & a few chunks of avocado.  Drizzle w/ a little ranch dressing.   Super pretty little salad, quick & good for you.  

  •  I don't like tracking things closely. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allergywoman

    I DO like vegetables - much better than fruit.  I've eaten a pre-made spinach salad for lunch, both yesterday and today.  I dumped the included dressing - I've never much liked salad dressings - which cuts a great deal off the calorie count.  

    I have run through all my food that was suitable for lunches, so I had to buy a couple.  Today is payday, so I do some shopping tomorrow.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 02:31:47 PM PDT

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