Counting Calories

I’m on a mission to lose some weight. During my vacation at the first of September I put on 5 pounds from eating and drinking out all the time. Then somehow I managed to put on 5 more pounds between then and the new year.

Now it’s time to get rid of some of this unwanted weight. My first task is to take off the 10 pounds I put on in the last 4 months of the year. My second task will be to shed a few more pounds after that.

Of course one method of losing weight will be through exercise. Another important method is to count calories.

I’ve used the “Lose It” application on my iPhone to track what I’ve been eating and calories. Although this is a good way to count calories I found it a little frustrating because there were a lot of items not listed in food categories.

Recently a friend told me about Livestrong‘s “My Plate” food diary. This is an  free online service where you can log your consumption and expenditure of calories.Of course they have an upgraded paid service as well that offers more reports, features, and saves your information for a much longer time, if not forever.

I thought I’d check it out. Turns out, it’s a great tool! The food listings are quite extensive and easy to modify if you make a mistake. I use this religiously throughout the day to log my food and estimate how much I can eat for dinner without overeating. (This also lets me know if I can splurge on a piece or two of chocolate after dinner.)

You start out by inputting your age, weight, height and how many pounds you want to lose within a certain time frame. Then you start logging your food and workouts. If you weigh yourself on a regular basis then you can update your weight as frequently as daily to track your progress.

After using this site for almost a week I”m happy to report I’ve lost 3 1/2 pounds. That’s pretty significant. Of course I know that it’s always much easier to lose those first few pounds that it is to lose the last few.

The important thing to remember is this helps to keep me motivated. So much so that I almost dread having dinner with friends Friday night. It will be harder to track the calories I take in by eating something I haven’t prepared myself. That’s a great reason for eating at home as opposed to eating out, which is what got me to this point in the first place! Still, I enjoy eating out and it will be a social event with friends we haven’t seen in a while. I’ll just have to be smart about my food options throughout the day and leave a little room for a bit more consumption, just in case there are some hidden calories in my restaurant food.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out MyPlate and are in the market to count some calories, I recommend giving it a try. And for those of you with iPhones, yes, there is an app for that!


5 responses to “Counting Calories

  1. Counting calories was not only a great way for me to lose weight (just the brute numbers staring back at me was sobering) but a phenomenal money saver. Just like you’ve said, the unknown nutrition of prepared foods scares me off a lot into preparing all of my own meals. When you count the calories and the grocery bill you start realizing your own homemade crab-cake, rice and veggie combo is so reasonable compared to restaurant mark-ups! Of course, I am a Thai-food connoisseur, and completely inept at cooking it myself which is the one eating out exception I make (and possibly the worst considering the coconut milk!).

    I would also suggest

    I use it religiously

    • Thanks for your comment and another link! So many free and useful tools easily accessible.

      It is amazing how much weight one can lose from just eating healthy and cutting out prepared foods – not to mention the money saved. It does take a bit more time to prepare but I find that I cook on the weekend and eat leftovers for the week so I’m eating healthy without cooking all the time. Perhaps the coconut milk has added health benefits to justify the extra calories???

  2. I appreciate the justification! I will definitely have this in mind next time I’m wolfing down panang curry.

  3. There is also an app for use with BlackBerry.

  4. Hey Dana,
    I enjoy your blog (and twitter posts). I used “Lose It” last summer and found myself pretty addicted to the app. I do agree that it required a lot of user input as far as entering foods etc..
    Today, I begin using “My Plate”. I’ll see how it compares to “Lose It”.
    I was able to reach my weight loss goals last year while using the “Lose It” app, going from my heaviest ever of 163 down to 149. I led a very sedentary life during the winter of 2008-2009 and was shocked to see I had exceeded 160. I’ve gone back up to 153 lbs. (grumble at the holiday goodies) since Nov. 2009. I have now set a new goal of 145 lbs. by the time “The Trek Across Maine” hits.
    Time to go figure out my new app.

    Quote “Carbs are the enemy” ~ Fat Bastard, Austin Powers

    Great job, Dana! Cya out there.


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