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Question about starting a food/weight loss journal

Hey everyone

So I have 89 weeks till my wedding (yes I know its alot lol) originally I was going to try to lose all my weight super fast by pretty much starving myself and taking phentermine a doctor prescribed me. But now Im starting to think the best option is going to be doing it properly minus the starvation diet and the pills.

I want to start a food/weight loss journal pretty much consisting of what I ate during the day as well as a regular exercise routine. However my question is with these journals are they "calorie counters" or just aiming for smarter choices and portion controls? If it is suppose to be a calorie counter how do you take into account food you eat when you go out or any food you eat that really doesnt display its serving size/calorie like a piece of chicken my fiance cooks?

Thanks a bunch!
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Re: Question about starting a food/weight loss journal

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    First off, yay for no starvation diets and stupid pills.  Congratulations on deciding to make a healthy choice.

    The way I see it, journaling and calorie counting are similar.  However, when you call it journalling, there's often much more than calories involved.

    I use The Daily Plate (TDP) (through Livestrong.com) to track all of my food each day, and while I do aim for a certain calorie amount, I'm much more interested in how much carbs, protein and fat I'm getting. 

    For me, journalling has made me much more aware of portion control and sizes.  I found that one portion of something is usually all one needs.

    As for foods that don't come with a specific nutrition label, that's where somewhere like TDP comes in handy.  There is a whole database of different foods.  So for the chicken breast your FI just cooked, you'd enter in "chicken breast" and it give you a number.  If he cooked it in olive oil, you say "olive oil" and you can acount for that.  Sometimes it take a bit of work, but if you eat the same things often, you can set them up as meals.

    As for eating out, a lot of places publish nutritional information on their websites now.  If I know where I'm going in advance, I'll look up the info and try to pick something out ahead of time.  If they don't have it, you really just need to estimate based on what you can see (and what info is in the menu).
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    To me a food journal & calorie tracking are related, but not necessarily the same thing.
    FI was never one to be bothered with counting calories, but for a while he was writing down all the things he ate and how he felt (health wise). He learned he can't tolerate eggs, some kinds of fried fish gave him cold sores, etc.
    Now calorie tracking is essential to my weight loss goals. Also TDP allows you a space to write a food 'journal' to talk about anything food related you want to keep track of, be it your emotional eating habits, other health concerns, and so on.
    As far as figuring out exactly what you're eating: buy a kitchen scale. It's really the only way to be sure what you're eating at home. I also like to weigh my leftovers from eating out, so even when I can't be 100% sure how something is cooked, at least I know how much there is. You'll get better at estimating things when you go out as you measure more and more things at home.
    and one last thing:
    HOORAY for your good sensibilities! You'll be making changes that last a lifetime and you'll feel that much better about yourself for doing it the right way!

    BabyFruit Ticker
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    I've tried tracking calories before, and I found that it drove me nuts and made me feel like I had to limit myself to a certain calorie number every day, which made me more hungry. I've considered trying it again, and right now I just pay attention to how much i eat, and what I eat every day.    

    To those of you doing it, do you feel that its more of a good way to keep on top what you eat, or do you also focus on eating a certain number of calories every day?  


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    I have been on phentermine a few times, and it works great. But with that being said, it only works while you are on it. As one would expect. When I went off of it I gained all my weight back because I didn't learn to eat right or exercise while on it because you didn't need to.

    Also I think it has screwed up my metabolism in the long run. Losing the weight slow and steady I think is key. Don't go on phentermine its not worth it at all you will be so much better and healthier in the long run if you just do it slow and steady.
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    edited March 2010
    Setting a calorie goal (limit) will help you lose the weight, the basic principle being you have to burn more calories than you consume.
    When I first started, I was definitely hungry, and sometimes very frustrated, but making sure I got plenty of protein & fiber and also drinking LOTS of water helped me adjust. And it's not the end of the world if you go over your calories, you just have to work on being consistant in the long term.
    It also helps if you make sure you're getting enough fruits and vegetables. They make great snacks & can be easily paired with protein rich foods like peanut butter, yogurt or cheese.
    Using a tool like The Daily Plate will help you set your calorie goal properly; in case you're inclined to eat too few. Since my eating habits have changed, I use TDP to make sure I'm getting enough calories and getting a good nutrient balance.
    The most important thing to keep in mind is your body WILL adjust to proper caloric intake, it just takes a few weeks of hard work and persistance.
    BabyFruit Ticker
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