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Getting in Shape

counting calories and is it enough?

Hey ladies... just looking for some feedback here.

 

I recently got back into using MFP app bc I was eating like crap. So I track my calories and I am on week two of the insanity workout. My goal is two drop maybe 5 to 7 lbs and tone up. So I have two questions.

 

When it comes to tracking calories what do you do when you have a meal that you can't measure everything out exactly. For example - last night I made a stir fry with chicken, some frozen veggies and garlic qunoua. I measured out a cup and a half of the stir fry and 1/4 of the quinoa. But the stir fry was a mix of veggies, chicken and some seasoning so how do you track that when you don't know exaclty how much of each ingredient you have?

 

And is 1200 calories enough? MFP is reccomending I stick to a 1200 calorie diet and I'm having a hard time. I've come in under goal the last two days but I find myself hungry at the end of the day. Last night I was hungry after dinner so I ended up just going to bed to stop myself from snacking.

Re: counting calories and is it enough?

  • xcalygrl said:
    I try to estimate stuff like that. I scooped out this much, so it was probably 4 ounces of chicken, an ounce of green beans, 2 large mushrooms, and 2 ounces of corn. I would track that all separately. You should net 1200 a day. So, you eat 1500 and work off 300, netting 1200. Or you just eat 1200 and don't workout. But if you're hungry, try upping your calories even if MFP says you're over. MFP isn't perfect and calories aren't a one size fits all kind of deal.
     
    This may be why I'm hungry. I'm not logging my workouts to MFP. So I'm working out and coming in between 50-100 calories below the 1200.

  • I like @xcalygrl 's idea that if you're still feeling hungry you should eat. Yes, correct your net calorie intake, but beyond that if there is a day where you are truly hungry but you've already eaten all your calories for the day, go ahead and eat a healthy snack! It's also possible you're filling your calories with carbs and starches that aren't keeping you full long-term. Look at how much protein and fat you're eating...that could also be a culprit.
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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I use the recipe option for things like stir-fry.   






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  • When I am cooking, I measure/track the ingredients as I am cooking and then divide the total calories into the number of portions (I only have to cook for FI and myself, so basically I divide the total in half).  Or I do things like, I added half a red bell pepper and will end up eating half the stir fry so I will add 1/4 bell pepper to MFP.  And so on for every ingredient. 
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  • I try to be super accurate with things like that, because I feel like it's possible to estimate way wrong. I use a scale, and measure every ingredient and write it down before I dump it in the pan (with spices I use measuring spoons... not weight). Then I weigh the entire stirfry afterwards to get a total in grams (you could use ounces). I make a recipe in MFP using my ingredients and say that the number of portions is the number of grams total. Then I can take any amount out of the fridge or freezer and know that 1g = 1 portion (so it looks in MFP like I ate 200 portions of something) - and that way I know exactly how many calories I'm consuming.

    Mind you, it's a little time consuming at first - but once you get used to it it's no big deal. And I like knowing exactly what's going in.

    I also make things like stirfry in large batches so that I can freeze some so I don't have to do it as often, lol.
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  • Sarah5200 said:
    I try to be super accurate with things like that, because I feel like it's possible to estimate way wrong. I use a scale, and measure every ingredient and write it down before I dump it in the pan (with spices I use measuring spoons... not weight). Then I weigh the entire stirfry afterwards to get a total in grams (you could use ounces). I make a recipe in MFP using my ingredients and say that the number of portions is the number of grams total. Then I can take any amount out of the fridge or freezer and know that 1g = 1 portion (so it looks in MFP like I ate 200 portions of something) - and that way I know exactly how many calories I'm consuming.

    Mind you, it's a little time consuming at first - but once you get used to it it's no big deal. And I like knowing exactly what's going in.

    I also make things like stirfry in large batches so that I can freeze some so I don't have to do it as often, lol.

    I may try this. I don't know how disciplined I can be with measuring the spices but I can definately try it with the chicken and veggies. Last night I justified not being EXACT by the fact that there really wasn't anything unhealthy in the meal and I still measured out my portion so I didn't over eat to the point where I was stuffed.

    Most of the time we will just grill chicken with a veggie on the side so measuring it is usually fairly easy. I found couting calories overwhelming at first so I just tried to "eat clean" but I found myself eating portions that were too large or just constantly snacking. I was basically working out just so I could eat crappy and my body stayed the same.

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    The food scale has been one of the most important purchases I've made in this journey.  It's real eye opener.   Serving sizes on packages are a joke.     And not always on the side of overeating.  

     For example,  I have a bag of carrot crinkles that says 1 servings is about 5 carrots (3 oz).   Well when you actually weigh it out it was more like 10+ carrots.  If I'm going to be charged for 35 calories damn-it I want to eat all the carrots not half.  

     On the flip size proteins like chicken were more dense than I realized and I was eating half or more than I thought which over time adds up.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • GiaspoGiaspo member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    I kind of do a mix of what everyone has said.  I estimate the veggies as best I can and measure the meats/chicken/fish (and, like lyndausvi said, I wind up guestimating less than what the serving really is) and any carbs/starches because that's where the bulk of the calories lie.  

    Entropic is right... what you're eating might have something to do with it as well.  I loosely adopted Paleo a few months ago and focused more on proteins and less on empty carbs.  I also upped my calories and began to eat back what I burned (thanks to this board suggesting so).  It made a HUGE difference and the first few lbs came off easily.  
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  • SJM7538 said:

    Hey ladies... just looking for some feedback here.

    I recently got back into using MFP app bc I was eating like crap. So I track my calories and I am on week two of the insanity workout. My goal is two drop maybe 5 to 7 lbs and tone up. So I have two questions.

    When it comes to tracking calories what do you do when you have a meal that you can't measure everything out exactly. For example - last night I made a stir fry with chicken, some frozen veggies and garlic qunoua. I measured out a cup and a half of the stir fry and 1/4 of the quinoa. But the stir fry was a mix of veggies, chicken and some seasoning so how do you track that when you don't know exaclty how much of each ingredient you have?

    And is 1200 calories enough? MFP is reccomending I stick to a 1200 calorie diet and I'm having a hard time. I've come in under goal the last two days but I find myself hungry at the end of the day. Last night I was hungry after dinner so I ended up just going to bed to stop myself from snacking.

    MFP has recommended 1260 calories per day for me, and I also find it really hard to stick to, even though I eat fairly healthy (1 light meal per day of a large salad with an egg, fruits, veggies, the occasional protein bar prior to workouts, rice cake with PB). But, it adds up quickly, and it's discouraging and disappointing to go to bed hungry. BUT, last year, I lost 8lbs in 2 months by policing what I ate, and doing boot camp twice a week. Like, I seriously policed, and would snack only when it was dire.

    As for 1200 calories being enough, I think it depends on activity levels to begin with. I work a desk job, so not many calories are burned throughout the day. A girlfriend of mine, however, eats 3000 calories a day, and she's extremely small. But, she's also extremely active for work and leisure. Also, try upping your water intake; water tends to fill a person up a bit. I've also found that a really good snack that sticks with me for awhile is: 1/2c 0% greek yogurt, 1T. ground flax seed, about 1tsp. honey, and a cut up fruit. Golden delicious apples or nectarines are my favorites.
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  • Giaspo said:
    Entropic is right... what you're eating might have something to do with it as well.  I loosely adopted Paleo a few months ago and focused more on proteins and less on empty carbs.  I also upped my calories and began to eat back what I burned (thanks to this board suggesting so).  It made a HUGE difference and the first few lbs came off easily.  
    Giaspo, could you please clarify this? I'm not sure what it means, but it sounds like something I would like more information on.

    Thanks!
    Alesha
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  • @Alesha1978 - what Gia is saying is that say MFP has you eating 1500 calories a day, and on that day you workout and burn 500. You should be eating around 2000 total calories that day to "eat back" what you have burned.

    If you'd stuck to the original number of 1500, you'd have a net of only 1000 calories. What this can do over time is put your body into starvation mode and cause you to hold onto any energy you take in, because your body see's it as not really knowing when it will have enough calories, so it slows your metabolism down and becomes more efficient so that you can still function.

    hope this helps!
  • bwils35 said:
    @Alesha1978 - what Gia is saying is that say MFP has you eating 1500 calories a day, and on that day you workout and burn 500. You should be eating around 2000 total calories that day to "eat back" what you have burned.

    If you'd stuck to the original number of 1500, you'd have a net of only 1000 calories. What this can do over time is put your body into starvation mode and cause you to hold onto any energy you take in, because your body see's it as not really knowing when it will have enough calories, so it slows your metabolism down and becomes more efficient so that you can still function.

    hope this helps!
    Excellent, thanks for the clarification!
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