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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 10-23-08, 09:32 PM   #1
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Calorie Counting

Over the last year, I have been on a weight plateau and no matter what I did, I could not come off of it. In an effort to change some things up, I signed the family up for a membership at the YMCA and added some strength training and some alternative cardio training. Yet, still no appreciable weight loss.

A friend of my wife recommended I join site called SparkPeople, just a weight loss site with lots of great info on nutrition, exercise, overall health and member based support group. Very similar to Weight Watchers only free . Anyway, I hate counting calories and while I used Fitday in the past, I really found it a pain in the butt and very time consuming. I found SP calorie tracking much simpler and much easier to add foods to the database. One feature I like is the ability to add a food to the database and share with the other members and it breaks out the proteins, fats and carbs.

My diet is excellent, lean meat, lots of veggies and fruit, no fat milk, reduce fat yogurts, etc. I started cataloging my calories 7 days ago making no changes to what I typically ate and discovered I was typically 500 to 800 calories short of what my minimum caloric intake should be, but on the flips side, I was within the correct zones for my protein, carbs and fats. Just short on overall calories so I was forcing myself to eat additional good calories to make it to or slightly above the minimums and as of today, I have lost 6 pounds.

I guess I new the caloric minimums were needed, but ultimately not knowing how far under I was might have been the real issue. Hopefully the weight loss will continue and I will have found the problem and corrected it.

So for any others that seem to be on the snide when it comes to you weight loss, you might want to check you calorie count and see
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Old 10-24-08, 02:48 AM   #2
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Does SparkPeople have a better food database than FitDay? I think the FitDay database sucks. Most of the time I have to create "Custom Foods" when I can't find it in their terrible search engine.

GJ on your 6 lb. drop!
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Old 10-24-08, 02:53 AM   #3
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Over the last 2 years I have went from 237+ to just over 200 right now. I run and ride and lift weights, at least one of those every day (ok, almost every day). I have not watched my diet at all. I try to stay away from the grease, but it looks like if I want to lose another 25 lbs (the plan) I am going to have to work on my diet. I will check out this sparkpeople site today. thanks for the tip.
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Old 10-24-08, 03:30 AM   #4
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I've tried Fitday and Spark and many many others and the best I have found yet is myfitnesspal.com

Free, HUGE database, good forums, etc.
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Old 10-24-08, 05:18 AM   #5
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Yea, I think Spark has a fairly good database, the calories and other nutrition listings seem accurate. I have about 6 items in my custom foods. You can also group foods, so if you know you are going to always eat them together, like cereal and milk, then you can just go to the group and put it in your meal. It also gives you the ability to add different meal listings. I added two, during exercise and post exercise to account for anything eaten during those times.
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Old 10-24-08, 08:53 AM   #6
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thedailyplate.com also has a big database of foods. THere is a free version and a pay version. I use the free version and have always found the foods I am looking for. It is part of the livestrong group of sites and that may help it keep its database up to date.
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Old 10-30-08, 11:59 AM   #7
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Jax turned me on to Sparkpeople in another thread where I was complaining about the Fitday food database. Sparkpeople database is waaaaaay better, not to mention it has about 100 other features that Fitday doesn't have. The one (seemingly obvious required) feature that Sparkpeople has in their food database is the ability to group foods. You can look up components of a food, and group them as "some food".

Sparkpeople is awesome. Thanks Jax for turning me on to this.

There are TONS of articles on a variety of health/weight loss subjects, videos of things like workouts, forums/groups on just about any sub-topic you can think of, blogging, friend/social networking if you care to use it, a motivational reward system, built in planner, recipes (which you can save to your own customized online cookbooks), etc.....

I'm only just starting to find the features and I'm already blown away. I know there's stuff I haven't even found yet. I think this site rocks!!!


Here is a very cool video about the guy who started SparkPeople. He started it as kind of a "giving back" type of charity. He started it with his own money and isn't trying to make money off it.
http://www.myfoxchicago.com/myfox/My...1&locale=EN-US
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Old 10-30-08, 06:33 PM   #8
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discovered I was typically 500 to 800 calories short of what my minimum caloric intake should be,

Do I understand correctly that you had to ADD 500 to 800 (good) calories to your daily intake in order to lose 6 lbs. in the past 7 days?
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Old 10-30-08, 07:46 PM   #9
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You got it. I am now down 8 pounds in 2 weeks by counting calories and maintaining at least 2100 to 2500 calories a day. I know, it's weird.
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Old 10-30-08, 09:35 PM   #10
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That's nonsense. There's something else going on here. There is absolutely no way that consuming more calories and doing nothing else different would cause you to lose weight. That would violate the laws of physics.

Further, there is no such thing as a "good" calorie or a "bad" calorie. A calorie is simply a measure of the energy content of the food.
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Old 10-30-08, 09:42 PM   #11
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Further, there is no such thing as a "good" calorie or a "bad" calorie. A calorie is simply a measure of the energy content of the food.
Good Calories, Bad Calories
http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/d...=9781400033461
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Old 10-31-08, 03:57 AM   #12
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That's nonsense. There's something else going on here. There is absolutely no way that consuming more calories and doing nothing else different would cause you to lose weight. That would violate the laws of physics.

Further, there is no such thing as a "good" calorie or a "bad" calorie. A calorie is simply a measure of the energy content of the food.
If you were not consuming enough calories to "fuel" your body, then your body will enter into what some call starvation mode. You will/can stop losing weight, as your body tries desperately to simply function on the calories you are given it and will hold onto anything you feed it for the purpose of simply living. This can result in weight loss slowing and/or stopping. By increasing your calories to the level that you are providing your body enough to function without overfeeding it, your weight loss will resume.

This is why it's hard to lose weight while doing a lot of exercise, such as cycling, as there is a delicate balance to find how much to provide your body to fuel it to the exertion level you're demanding of it but not over-fueling it. I have found this to be almost impossible in my case.

Many people make the mistake of cutting their calories too drastically in the beginning--you'll see a large weight loss for a bit, then that will drastically slow and/or stop as your body no longer has enough to function and will enter "starvation mode."

FYI--I initially reduced to 1100 calories a day--lost 45 pounds in 3 months. Weight loss slowed then stopped. I increased to 1300 to 1400 a day and began to lose again; albeit at a much slower rate but at least now I'm losing again.

I use myfitnesspal.com, and a lot of people on there can testify that the only way they were able to resume weight loss was by increasing their calories.
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Old 10-31-08, 04:46 AM   #13
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your metabolism will slow down if you don't get enough calories, when you eat your body says i better hold onto these calories because i might not get anymore for a while. when you do eat the proper amount what goes in goes out in a smoother manner. this is what is taught at weight watchers and also what my cardiologist spoke of.
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Old 10-31-08, 08:54 PM   #14
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That's nonsense. There's something else going on here. There is absolutely no way that consuming more calories and doing nothing else different would cause you to lose weight. That would violate the laws of physics.

Further, there is no such thing as a "good" calorie or a "bad" calorie. A calorie is simply a measure of the energy content of the food.
I beg to differ...

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If you were not consuming enough calories to "fuel" your body, then your body will enter into what some call starvation mode. You will/can stop losing weight, as your body tries desperately to simply function on the calories you are given it and will hold onto anything you feed it for the purpose of simply living. This can result in weight loss slowing and/or stopping. By increasing your calories to the level that you are providing your body enough to function without overfeeding it, your weight loss will resume.

This is why it's hard to lose weight while doing a lot of exercise, such as cycling, as there is a delicate balance to find how much to provide your body to fuel it to the exertion level you're demanding of it but not over-fueling it. I have found this to be almost impossible in my case.

Many people make the mistake of cutting their calories too drastically in the beginning--you'll see a large weight loss for a bit, then that will drastically slow and/or stop as your body no longer has enough to function and will enter "starvation mode."

FYI--I initially reduced to 1100 calories a day--lost 45 pounds in 3 months. Weight loss slowed then stopped. I increased to 1300 to 1400 a day and began to lose again; albeit at a much slower rate but at least now I'm losing again.

I use myfitnesspal.com, and a lot of people on there can testify that the only way they were able to resume weight loss was by increasing their calories.
What Squirrel said...

I lost 80 lbs and then stopped, I never got beyond that number. I have had two nutrition specialist tell me now that this is possible if I am not getting enough calories. All I know is I am down 8 lbs, so it seems to be working for me.
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Old 11-01-08, 08:42 AM   #15
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That's nonsense. There's something else going on here. There is absolutely no way that consuming more calories and doing nothing else different would cause you to lose weight. That would violate the laws of physics.

Further, there is no such thing as a "good" calorie or a "bad" calorie. A calorie is simply a measure of the energy content of the food.
A Calorie is simply a measure of food energy, in that you can use other scales just as effectively like joules, kilowatt hours and even horsepower hours. However in weight loss the calorie is currency, so it's what you get for your calorie. If I have a calorie budget, say 2000 Calories, then I want the best value for my calories, For example I have a bottle of pop, costs say 350 Calories, and a bottle of orange juice also costs 350 Calories. The pop has a nutritional value of zero, the orange juice contains several vitamins and minerals making it a better deal, because I would need to consume something else to get those vitamins and minerals, something which may have it's own cost in calories.
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Old 11-03-08, 02:27 PM   #16
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Jax told me about the site and I've been using it for about a week or close to it now. When it calculated the calories I should have for the day, I found out quickly that my problem had been not enough calories too and often not good calories of what I did consume (like Wogsterca pointed out).

I'm not only eating slightly more calories (about same range as Jax it sounds like), but its tracking other things like carbs and protein too so it helps me keep them all balanced (in range).

It's only been a week but I can already feel that I've lost a pound or two (though I haven't weighed to confirm).

The point system is nice because its an easy way to track that you are going the right direction. If you aren't doing much you won't get many points.
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Old 11-03-08, 02:37 PM   #17
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Counting Calories and keeping track is the best way for me to lose weight.. I try to keep my calories under 2000 for regular days and 2500 for days I am riding..

I use the Calorie King Pocket Book.. 8.00 at any bookstore.. Covers all foods and most food served at restaurants in the USA..

http://www.amazon.com/2008-CalorieKi...5744509&sr=8-1
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Old 11-06-08, 06:07 AM   #18
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Jax told me about the site and I've been using it for about a week or close to it now. When it calculated the calories I should have for the day, I found out quickly that my problem had been not enough calories too and often not good calories of what I did consume (like Wogsterca pointed out).

I'm not only eating slightly more calories (about same range as Jax it sounds like), but its tracking other things like carbs and protein too so it helps me keep them all balanced (in range).

It's only been a week but I can already feel that I've lost a pound or two (though I haven't weighed to confirm).

The point system is nice because its an easy way to track that you are going the right direction. If you aren't doing much you won't get many points.
Excellent, glad it worked out for you or seems to be working out for you. I had a slow week this week as far as the weight loss. Lots of work and less exercise, so my loss was not as much, just about a pound, but it's still a loss. Hoping to get some good miles in this weekend and do some more weights and do less time behind the keyboard.
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Old 11-06-08, 07:14 AM   #19
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I've heard good things about the book Eat This Not That. I think I'm going to grab a copy after my visit to the doctor today. I hear it's a good book to reference if you're going to dine out, as well as the food choices you make at home.

Also, as the others have said. You have to add fuel to the body in order for it to burn energy. Calories = Energy.

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Old 11-06-08, 11:58 AM   #20
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I've heard good things about the book Eat This Not That. I think I'm going to grab a copy after my visit to the doctor today. I hear it's a good book to reference if you're going to dine out, as well as the food choices you make at home.
I had not heard of it until a month or two ago. My girlfriend said she had thumbed through it when her sister or something had it. We ended up buying a copy and try to keep it handy for when we go out. It is a very good book to help you judge when eating out. I wish it were a little more thorough, but its a good start.
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Old 11-06-08, 01:34 PM   #21
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I have "Eat This, Not That" and just picked up the kids version for my daughter who is very excited about it.

As a resource it's a good start and helpful but if you go to McDonalds for breakfast and eat what it tells you and go to Chili's for lunch and eat what it tells you and go to Red Lobster for dinner and eat what it tells you you're not going to lose any weight.

I count calories and it's been remarkably successful for me. Eating out is something that you have to do in moderation like all things and I agree with what the OP said in this thread. If you don't eat enough either you're body will shut you down.

I'm no fan of calorie counting but it's like needing a medicine that you have to take. I have to count calories all day every day or I screw up. I've been doing it religiously for about a year and a half and it just plain old does not fail. It works, it works every single time. Eat the right amount of calories, do some exercise and drink lots of water and the weight WILL come off.

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Old 11-06-08, 04:46 PM   #22
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I have "Eat This, Not That" and just picked up the kids version for my daughter who is very excited about it.

As a resource it's a good start and helpful but if you go to McDonalds for breakfast and eat what it tells you and go to Chili's for lunch and eat what it tells you and go to Red Lobster for dinner and eat what it tells you you're not going to lose any weight.

I count calories and it's been remarkably successful for me. Eating out is something that you have to do in moderation like all things and I agree with what the OP said in this thread. If you don't eat enough either you're body will shut you down.

I'm no fan of calorie counting but it's like needing a medicine that you have to take. I have to count calories all day every day or I screw up. I've been doing it religiously for about a year and a half and it just plain old does not fail. It works, it works every single time. Eat the right amount of calories, do some exercise and drink lots of water and the weight WILL come off.

John
Ahh yes I agree 100%. I'm not planning on eating 3 meals out daily. In fact I do most of my eating here at home, and take a packed lunch on work days. It's just for those times when a home brewed meal just isn't an option. I use www.livestrong.com for counting my daily calories.

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Old 11-07-08, 10:45 AM   #23
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I have "Eat This, Not That" and just picked up the kids version for my daughter who is very excited about it.

As a resource it's a good start and helpful but if you go to McDonalds for breakfast and eat what it tells you and go to Chili's for lunch and eat what it tells you and go to Red Lobster for dinner and eat what it tells you you're not going to lose any weight.

I count calories and it's been remarkably successful for me. Eating out is something that you have to do in moderation like all things and I agree with what the OP said in this thread. If you don't eat enough either you're body will shut you down.

I'm no fan of calorie counting but it's like needing a medicine that you have to take. I have to count calories all day every day or I screw up. I've been doing it religiously for about a year and a half and it just plain old does not fail. It works, it works every single time. Eat the right amount of calories, do some exercise and drink lots of water and the weight WILL come off.

John
Excellent points. I've always HATED calorie counting, but have finally broken down and started doing it. You are right that its the only way to know what's "coming in". You'll have major trouble losing weight if you don't. The SparkPeople website has a decent food data base and lets you "group" foods into dishes and import manually entered foods from other members, so that makes it much easier than systems I've tried in the past.
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Old 11-08-08, 07:27 PM   #24
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Just a heads up, since starting the counting calories thing, down 10 lbs. Should have done this a year ago.
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Old 11-09-08, 05:45 PM   #25
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Anybody tried http://caloriecount.about.com ?
I think it's even better than the SparkPeople one.
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