Does anyone counts calories? How is it working?

posted 3 years ago in Fitness
Post # 3
221 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Well done on your weight loss! Oh that’s a hard one… I count calories, and have been for the last 7 years or so, and it’s worked well enough so far, but I have slipped many times… I went from roughly 190 lbs to my current 145 over about 7 years. So I wasn’t “huge” to start with, and I’m neither huge nor skinny now (I’m 5’4). I am still counting calories on a daily basis, and I’m trying to lose weight, and I find that it’s the best way for me to go about it, but my partner who needs to lose quite a bit of weight, hates counting calories.




–          Easy: weight food, check the calorie content

–          Simple as long as you cook (can count individual ingredient calorie content) or calories are listed on package

–          Accountable: you can’t delude yourself

–          Scientific: if you consume less calories than you burn, then you’ll lose weight

–          Easy! No cutting out foods (or even worse: food groups)

–          Teaches you to look at food differently: you could have a lot of fruit and veg (which will fill you up) for the same amount of calories as a chocolate bar (which will give you a sugar rush, then you’ll crash and feel like crap, and most likely will get you reaching for another bar)




–          Can be tedious

–          You’re one of “those” women who count calories

–          Hard to know calorie content when you eat out or at someone else’s house

–          Doesn’t take into consideration other factors when trying to lose weight: stress, too much salt in your diet, lack of sleep, over-exercising/ under-eating will prevent you from losing weight; although on paper, you’re doing everything right

–          When you lose weight, you might be tempted to restrict your diet even more, and not eat enough, which is counter-productive


I think this covers everything… Do you use myfitnesspal or similar website/ app?


Good luck!

Post # 4
221 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Sorry, that’s a really long post, was just trying to be comprehensive!!

Post # 5
11772 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

@candy11:  I am the QUEEN of calorie counting–from January 2011 to March 2013, I lost 51 POUNDS mostly by calorie counting. I went from 5’7″ and 173 to 122!

That’s a size 14 to a SIZE 2!

I LOVE the Livestrong My Plate program. And I always guessed more than I actually thought I ate. Studies have shown that thinner people tend to overestimate their calories, while heavier people tend to underestimate theirs. So always guess high!

And when you eat a combination of something, try to think about what’s in it, and put in the ingredients individually.

I found that after 6 months of putting in everything I was eating, that I had a really good idea of what my daily calories were, even without putting them in!

I also weighed myself every day to see what my weekly weight fluctuations look like, and to make sure I was on a downward trend!

Post # 6
221 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013


Wow that’s amazing, well done on your weight loss!! You’re obviously a lot more diligent than me! Well, a lot of people are. I just wanted to comment on what you said: “I found that after 6 months of putting in everything I was eating, that I had a really good idea of what my daily calories were, even without putting them in! I agree and I can pretty much guess the amount of calories I consume every day, which is fine for maintaining my weight, but found that if I stop for longer than say a week or two, I start increasing my portions bit by bit, and that’s when I have to be careful. So at this stage, when I’m still trying to lose weight, but not too fast (no danger of that, but just in case!), I still count calories but am a lot more relaxed than before the wedding. I’m kind of eating like I will when I’m maintaining, but a little better so that I still lose some weight.

Post # 7
6171 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

@candy11:  i don’t count calories (i used to) but i think the most valuable tool is writing down what you eat. 

one of the instructors at the gym i used to belong to complained to me that she wasn’t losing weight.  she told me she was eating so healthy.  i told her to write down everything she put in her mouth for a week and i would look at it the following week.  right away i could see she wasn’t eating enough calories for the amount of exercise she was doing.  she started eating more and the weight started falling off.

it is important to eat the right foods.

you could eat a snickers bar, a bagel and cream cheese, etc and only eat 1000 calories a day but they are not nutritional calories.  but eat grilled chicken, vaggies, oatmeal, salad, etc and you could eat 1600 and have a super nutritional diet.

so the person eating 1600 would be healthier than the person eating the 1000 calories.

Post # 8
2695 posts
Sugar bee

I use to count calories but now I’m a bit lazy. It was the ONLY way I was able to lose any kind of weight. I didn’t lose weight working out 4 days a week because I ate so much during the day. Once I started calorie counting with it, I very slowly dropped 20 lbs. I gained 10 back from living with DH (large portions and no exercise) but I’m now working on working out more and then will add in calorie counting.

I’m 5’0″ and went from 155 lbs to 135 lbs and then gained 10 lbs back. I would really like to crack into the 120s though. I’m also of a stocky, muscular built so 135 lbs looks really good on me but 125 lbs would look even better (size 4 pants, size s to xs tops).

Post # 9
6977 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I keep a general count in my head but I don’t go so far as to write it down or weigh my food or anything. It works for me.

Post # 10
1157 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014 helps a lot with my calorie counting.

Post # 11
68 posts
Worker bee


Congrats on your current weight loss 🙂

I started counting calories about two years ago with the app My fitness pal. My starting weight was 210 lbs and I am currently in the 150s. Like a PP, I like to weigh myself in the morning, to keep mentally accountable throughout the day.

Some days I forget to weigh myself and that’s fine too. When you get used to eating healthier foods, you automatically keep a natural count in your head of how many calories you’re taking in, so you may begin to use the app/counting system less and less.

On top of calorie counting, I got into working out at least three times a week for about an hour or so. Some days I did dancing, walking, Jillian Michaels etc…Drinking more water and getting to bed earlier helps a lot too. My goal is to hit 130lbs (I’m 5′ 3), at least by the end of this year so we’ll see.

Lately it’s been a little difficult for me though, as I’ve realized every ten pounds you lose, the amount of calories you’re allowed to take in, inorder to keep losing weight, decreases. And with the counting and working out, there have been two months in this year that I lost a total of ten pounds by months end. When that happens, I noticed my period skips, and resumes the next month instead. After those months I try to eat a little over my calorie in take and lose a little slower.


Wishing you the best on your journey, and hoping that something I’ve written can be of use 🙂

Post # 12
1327 posts
Bumble bee

Congratulations on your weight loss!  I’ve also successfully lost weight counting calories – I lost 55 lbs. last year.  I think @sweetaure:  covered all the pros and cons pretty thoroughly; it’s a great method but you have to be mindful about not overdoing it.

I used CalorieCount ( and I think it’s a fantastic tool – I LOVE the custom foods feature and the food database is pretty extensive.  The metabolic rate calculator is a good tool for figuring out how much you should eat – basically, you should never eat less than your basal metabolic rate (how many calories you’d burn in a day if you were lying in bed and didn’t move at all – i.e. how many calories it takes to just keep you alive). A lot of people eat 1200 because it’s the very minimum doctors recommend but it’s much lower than most people should go.

Also, the forums are very helpful because they’re very much about losing weight in a healthy way and not starving yourself.  I also love the analysis feature because it taught me to eat higher quality foods – things that are rich in nutrients and fiber as opposed to just eating junk but staying within a caloric limit.

One problem I found was that it was very hard for me to document ethnic foods and sometimes all you can really is guess.  But after doing it for a while, you develop better habits, and I find that I don’t have to count as strictly before (I actually weighed food – you’d be surprised what real portions look like!).

Good luck!!! 😀

Post # 13
752 posts
Busy bee

@candy11:  If you’re the kind of person who has any type of addictive tendencies it might not be the best idea.

Yes, it worked for me in that I lost a bunch of weight that I needed to, but I kept losing and couldn’t stop.  It became a game of numbers and I got really, really good at keeping that total number of calories down.  I got to eating like 800 calories a day (telling myself “wow!  Great job!  And I’m not even that hungry!”) before realizing that at 110 pounds and my 5’6″ height I looked pretty gaunt.  At that point people were not congratulating me on my weight loss efforts but widening their eyes and looking concerned.  

Now I’m a good 25 pounds heavier and look and feel great – it’s definitely the “right” weight for me.  I stopped counting and began eating for the joy of it, and I began to pay close attention to when I actually am hungry, and to stop when I am full.   

I would challenge you, if you need to lose weight, to write down what you are eating to begin the mindfulness process that accompanies healthy eating.  Not necessarily calories per se but the actual foods, condiments, dressings, etc.  

This is of course my own opinion brought about by my own experiences, and your path may be different than mine.  Good luck however you go about your journey!   

Post # 14
1069 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

MyFitnessPal is amazing if you have a smartphone! There are lots of Bees on there too 🙂 

I’ve lost 20lbs since the beginning of May (13lbs since joining MFP) and I’ve been eating between 1200-1400 cals/day. I’m 5’6″ and went from 168 to 148. I want to lose 25 more, to be back where I was 6 years ago! Slow and steady is the best way to lose weight – it stays off better that way!

Post # 15
8850 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

@candy11:  I think it’s a great thing to do for at least a couple weeks – you REALLY learn how some things add up crazy quick (eg alcohol, easy snacky foods, that one slice of pizza) and some things you can eat all day without it adding much (eg veggies).

I use the app Lose It on my phone.

Post # 16
490 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I love the LoseIt! app.  Calorie and exercise counting all in one convenient spot.  I love how I can scan barcodes of food so I don’t have to search and scroll through the database.  I’ve been seriously doing it for 5 weeks and I’ve lost 5.8 pounds and about fifteen overall since February.  Not a lot, but as someone who has struggled with weight it’s a pretty good feeling.

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