Thursday, October 28, 2010

Portions and calories, Need advice!!!

Ok. so this is a quickie. I have probably skated around this question before but I need some opinions.  Hopefully I can make sense of it all while writing it. It's hard picking out logical ideas from this here head! haha

So here's the thing...which is better or should I say more prone to weight loss:

A. Eating smaller portions of not mindblowingly semi healthy foods


B. Eating larger portions of super healthy food

For example.... a small cup of broccoli and cheese soup for say, lunch  OR 3oz of meat and a green vegetable for lunch.

The point I am trying to get to is I know that counting calories works. But I find my counting calories method and my counting carbs method keep clashing in my daily thinking. It's like I keep trying to count calories and carbs at the same time and that makes me bored because then the only foods I have left are basically meats and veggies. I get B for bored when that's all I eat and I end up straying from any kind of plan all together and gaining again.

I read something in a magazine the other day about some trial study they did a while back to test that limiting calories does produce weight loss. They did a survey on some people and alot of them said even when they stick to a 1200 calorie a day plan they still don't lose weight. And the doctor said if you stuck those people in a room and gave them 1200 calories a day they would lose weight without a doubt and that the problem is people don't realize how much extra calories they are really consuming daily. That people lack the ability to recognize calories or estimate them.

I think this is me. I count calories and I SWEAR I can eat my daily target to lose so many ounces a day and I still don't lose. I don't get it. That leads me to thinking well I will have to count carbs too because it has to be the carbs that are keeping the weight on, right???? I don't know!!!! WHAT IS IT???????

I read blogs daily and so many times some of you provide your daily menu and it seems like some of you eat so very little. I just read on one that she only brought a couple of protein bars to work and a piece of fruit and that she would probably not eat lunch at all. HOW THE HELL DO YOU DO THAT?????

I keep telling myself that all I have to do is eater smaller portions of high calorie foods and decent portions of low calorie foods and I will lose but it just isn't happening. Like some of you can just have that one little cup of soup for lunch and think well I stayed within a good amount of calories but in my head that seems unhealthy to only have some soup for lunch (even though I ate less than that on the pre-op diet). I just can't bring myself to eat less because I am afraid I am not eating enough but compared to some of you I am eating like a frickin cow!!!!

Does this all make sense? I know I am babbling but I really need as many opinions as possible. Maybe you can just tell me in short detail the rules you follow with eating.

Wow, this isn't short at all....oops! :)


  1. How do you come to a calorie count? The only way to get good at it is to do it a lot WITH measures and WITH a scale. That is, you measure or weigh EVERYTHING until you get a feel/eyeball for what is what. When a bag says 1/4 cup cheese, you may THINK you know how much that is, but if you measure it, it looks like so little! Ditto tablespoon, ounces, etc.

    So, if you think you suck at counting/estimating, then you HAVE TO measure/weigh.

    I think for people to help you with this, you ahve to give a very detailed post of exactly how you calculate calories now--your technique--and how you journal those calories/protein/fat/carbs.

    You need to get the optimal nutrition from the smaller quantity (ie, learn to maximize foods while having some enjoyment), because one day you will probably have to be UNbanded. Once unbanded, it's only the good habits you can develop WHILE BANDED that will keep you from regaining the weight. More than one unbanded person I've seen has regained, so it's definitely something to keep in mind. LEARN NOW HOW TO EAT so that when the band comes off, you're in the habit of maximizing enjoyment with minimal calories.

    If you can only have, say, 1200 or 1000 or whatever, then sit down and figure out a general meal plan with X number of meals and then plug in stuff you like to eat in quantities that allow you to stay in that range and still get ENoUGH PROTEIN and PRODUCE (if you don't eat high nutrient, you will suffer in the long run). If you love creamy soups (high in calories), you may only be able to have a very small amount, unless you get a healthier version with more broccoli and less or no cream and using milk and lowfat cheese instead. Creamy soups are landmines. But you can get a recipe for better versions.

    If you are bored of meat and veggies, then find ways to make protein+ produce more interesting (grilled shrimp and kale chips, turkey fricasse with pumpkin and chard). If you make enough, you can have several meals for the week and cut down on prep time.

    Remember to follow your doc's/nutritionist's advice on how much protein/carbs/fat so you don't harm yourself.

    Ultimately, you find a balance between the higher calorie foods and the nutrient rich ones.

    But you need to write down every bite you take and measure/weigh until you're a portion pro.

    I know most people suck at counting calories. Seen it firsthand that they estimate X calories for Y salad and I know for a fact (I'm really good at calorie estimating) that it's TWICE as much or more. People tend to underestimate. That's just how it is. So, invest in good tools if you don't already have scales/measuring cups/measuring spoons.

    Best of luck. Hope you figure it out and make it work for you!

  2. Oh Sweetie-pie. I feel your pain. I went from the 180's to low 170's only after another fill which really didn't let me eat more than about 1000 calories a day. I was happy. But I'm stuck. I can eat lots of junk and not gain and then eat healthy and low cal and not lose. I think it is our body hitting a set-point.

    I know in the past that I always lost when I just kept unde 1200 calories. Problem was I couldn't keep to that. And we can't without the band. Maybe a small fill to get you back to a sweet spot. I vote for the larger healthy meals. I miss veges so am not making pureed vege soups and then try to eat some protein. I also need to get back to the gym-a promise I make every day. We are heading into winter and snow so I need to make it a habit to just go to the gym (stop smirking as I know you don't get snow!). After all this, I say, try sticking to 1200 calories or less a day. If you are hungry, you will need a fill. In my aged experience, the 1200 calories didn't really matter if it was a healthy diet or three chocolate bars. But you feel like $H!^ if you eat like that every day. Sorry this is so long. You will break your plateau. We will all get there. Trust in the band.

  3. Your post made me tired and stressed. JK But really, I think you are putting way too much energy into this. I don't count calories or carbs or anything else for that matter. I also never measure anything. I agree with you that when I read the small portions people report consuming, I think, "Holy f-ck! I eat TWICE that!".

    What has always worked for me is to eat three meals a day with no snacks (unless I am hungry). I have coffee in the morning, Greek yogurt for breakfast around 10:00, lunch is a 1/2 sandwhich and chips or a WW frozen meal or cup of soup & crackers and dinner is whatever I am making for my family. I only have dessert on weekends (unless it is a special occassion). I eat full-fat items like cheese and cream and I never eat SF foods.

    My lap-band keeps the portions small enough that I do not overeat. If you do not have good restriction then that may be the problem. Otherwise take a look at how often you are snacking, drinking alcohol and eating dessert. I exercise every day, but nothing super-strenuous. I walk my dog for 30 minutes and ride my bike 2-3 times a week.

    Feel free to email if you have any questions We were banded about the same time. You are smaller than I was to start (I weighed 280), but I've lost 92 lbs. and am now at 188.

  4. Hi Jess! I think it's important to keep it all in perspective. That day I only had 2 protein bars and fruit at work then a regular dinner but the day BEFORE that, I ate like a freakin' cow. I read one person's blog who says he keeps a weekly target of his calories instead of daily. I like this approach because it allows for piggy days like I had last week and low cal days like I had at the end of last week and it can all balance out in the end. I truly believe that's it's mostly about portions though.


Thanks for the comment! Appreciate it!