Weight Loss Wednesday–How Many Calories Should I Eat?

Today I’m headed back to California! Ben and I have a super early flight out of Sarasota then a layover before finally getting back to Orange County. I am very excited to be home! But, not as excited about living in airplanes and airports all day. This time I’m not even going to try and be productive – it’s all trash mags and naps for the grand finale of my trip!IMG 3781 thumb Weight Loss Wednesday–How Many Calories Should I Eat?

Welcome to the first round of Weight Loss Wednesday of 2012! Losing a few Elle Bees would be a really great thing for my running life. diet feelings Weight Loss Wednesday–How Many Calories Should I Eat?

But, how the hell does one lose weight? I’ve heard there are a few ways…

A. Go on Survivor. This is a sure fire way to not only lose weight, but possibly get on tragic reality TV spin-off and/or get invited to D list award shows. Survivor Heroes Vs Villains Cast 1 thumb Weight Loss Wednesday–How Many Calories Should I Eat?(image source)

B. Watch Tosh.O after dinner. This show has a 84% likelihood of making anyone barf. It’s gross.

C. Count Calories. Bah. The dreaded realistic suggestion.

If you want to lose weight you gotta eat less calories than you burn. It’s science. You don’t have to count calories to lose weight – you can focus on eating clean or cutting back on junk food, but it definitely is a sure fire way to weight loss.

This website is a good one for checking how many calories you should be eating a day: Daily Calorie Needs

The site said I should eat about 2000 calories a day to maintain. Subtract about 250 a day to lose without getting to crazy with it and/or hating your life and ending up at Yogurtland in the middle of the night shoveling a bucket of fro-yo  into your face and no dignity not that I’ve done that.image thumb2 Weight Loss Wednesday–How Many Calories Should I Eat?

Question: Do you count calories?

Do you count sheep?

Do you count to 10 before you scream at someone?

I should do number 1 and 3 of these, but don’t.

I’m going to count calories for the next seven days to get an idea of what I’m eating. Someone get me a calculator please!

Comments

  1. says

    I have tried to count calories and it was completely consuming. NOt that it wasn’t working..currently my goals are to get on the dreadmill and make better choices. The downfall is that I am up 4 pounds in two days. I am guessing salt, because I have been eating pretty lean, green and soup (<-salt killer).

    I am off to get my 3 miles in. (please let it go fast, please let it go fast)

  2. says

    I just want two weeks at the Biggest Loser Ranch with Bob! I don’t typically count calories, but on occasion I do use Spark People to keep track of my food.

  3. Jessica says

    I tried to count calories and in the end, I couldn’t do it. I’d constantly be checking labels, adding or subtracting, trying to figure out if I skimped on calories there could I afford the calories there (mostly to justify extra cookies). So instead I try to keep it simple. Eat smaller portions, eat slower, don’t eat shit, eat the rainbow and get some kind of decent exercise. And sleep. What’s said is true, if I don’t get enough sleep not only am I a complete crab, I eat everything in sight.

    I don’t know that my body really wants to lose weight at the moment. I’ve been at 140 for a few weeks now (I’m 5’5 1/2″) and sure, I’d love to shave another 5 to 10 lbs. off, but I think I’m ok with 140. I used to be 185 two years ago.

    I have a question though, I’m going to do Hal Higdon’s novice supreme 30-week marathon training plan, should I even worry about losing weight or just go with it? Like, if I feel extra snacky one day should I just shut up and eat? Also, my goal is the Disney Marathon 2013, should I hold off for a few weeks since it’s an entire year away and the training plan is for 30 weeks? I’ve done a 5k and I run about 10-15 miles a week right now. And on the low mile days of the plan, should I toss in some strength training or just let it be? Should I worry about strength training at all or just focus on running?

    Ok, so I had a few questions. :) Hope you have / had a safe trip back!

      • Regan says

        I agree totally with Monica. One thing that helps is when you are hungry, just remind yourself this is fuel…food is fuel. It really helps when you put it in that frame of mind. Good Luck to you!

  4. says

    I have tried to count calories in the past- but it has never worked. I always felt panicky when my limit was approaching, then deprived when I reached it.

    For me, eating ‘healthier’ usually works, saying no to needless calories i.e. the chips when you eat at a mexican restaurant, the second (or third) beer, a sneaky afternoon chocolate bar etc.

  5. says

    I always count calories. Just a habit I guess. I don’t go too crazy if I go over a little (occasionally) and I don’t go too crazy if I am under. I focus a lot more on eating plenty of protein. :-)

  6. says

    I don’t count calories but I do keep a food, exercise, weight log. It helps me stay accountable and on-track without the complete science of trying to count calories.

  7. says

    I’m right in the same place as you for calorie needs. I do great for a week and then I just can’t be bothered with the time….ugh! Could be why my weight doesn’t change all that much! Good luck this week and I hope you had a safe flight!

  8. says

    I find that the only way I can lose weight is by counting calories. I also think it’s important to track how much protein I’m consuming especially since I eat a vegetarian diet. The downside is that I have a tendency to get obsessive about it and become borderline OCD about tracking everything…

    I love the site myfitnesspal.com, it’s super easy to use and has almost every food in their system.

  9. says

    I don’t have an official count of my daily calories but when I’m trying to lose weight I try to keep my meals at around 400 calories (give or take) drink a lot of water, and try to snack on healthy stuff throughout the day. Combining this with cardio has always worked well for me. I use to use the LiveStrong calorie counter but decided it was taking way too much time and effort.

  10. Celina says

    I recently read a really interesting article saying that the only reason people have to count calories to lose weight is because they have to cut back/limit the amount of calories from processed food/fat/chemicals/protein that our bodies are not meant to eat in large amounts or at all. If people were to eat a mostly raw diet of unprocessed, natural foods like fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, counting calories in unnecessary because you are feeding the body by nutrients, not by calories. Obviously in this day and age this is a strict/difficult way to eat for many, as well as diet programs and corporations would make no money off of people if this were the case… but its proven to work!
    Find what works for you :)

        • JessicaE says

          In a health sense, I agree of course 100 calories of veges is better than junk… but if you eat too many calories, you will gain weight, bottom line. You can overeat on peas and broccoli and apples the same you can on chocolate.

          • says

            I agree and disagree on the “calories are calories” thing. Technically, calories ARE calories, and you can’t really argue about that. But Monica has it right—it’s way easier to overeat processed food. I mean, I can down 400 calories of chocolate in a few mouthfuls. But I likely couldn’t even fit 400 calories of broccoli in my stomach…I would explode in some horribly fiber-ific fashion. So while you COULD technically gain weight on peas and broccoli and apples, it would probably be pretty hard to do so!

            For me, it’s easier to think about nutrient density—per calorie, whole foods (like the aforementioned broccoli) pack so much more nutritional punch and are much more difficult to overdo. If I just focus on eating whole, relatively unprocessed food, I find I don’t need to count calories, whether to maintain or lose (to lose, I’m just more careful of treats and portions of calorie-dense foods like nuts). So, in that way, what Celina says makes sense.

  11. says

    I have tried counting calories on many many occasions, both writing it down in a notebook and keeping track of it using Loose It, the wonderful Iphone App. All the times I have done this I give up after a few days because it’s a lot of work and I feel like i’m TOO hungry. I do a much better job managing my diet with intuitive eating.

  12. Allison says

    The only way I have ever been able to lose weight is counting calories. However, it took me years to be able to do it in a healthy way. Actually, I still work on it some days;).

    I saw Tosh. O once. Gross really is the best way to describe his show.

  13. Valeriekw says

    I like myfitnesspal.com. they have great iPhone/iPad apps and the website is really easy to use – looks somewhat like Facebook. I have a few friends and relatives on there and it is motivating to see when they have worked out, or finished the day under their calorie goal. Helps keep me a little more honest and on track. Good luck!

  14. Li says

    I used to count calories…a lot. But it got to the point where I was obsessing over what I ate and how many calories each ingredient was, it almost felt like it was taking over my life…or at least a huge chunk of my day. I used an app called “Lose it” on the ipad/ipod its free and it also will keep track of how many calories you burn and your progress over a period of time. I’m much happier not being worried about counting calories but I don’t regret spending that time because now I know much more about the foods I’m eating. Good luck to you!

  15. says

    I just recently saw the Tosh.0 marathon episode and searched the web high and low to find the full clip. I didn’t have luck on YouTube but I found it on the Comedy Central website. My friends and I have been quoting this show ever since watching it. “That was a brutal 5k”… He really is a jerk but I couldn’t help but laugh. Runnerd humor is the best.

    http://tosh.comedycentral.com/video-clips/the–150-000-tosh-0-marathon

  16. says

    I count calories periodically – mostly as a way to keep my portions in check.

    It is amazing how much I “think” a tablespoon of soynut butter is…and what it really is. I have a food scale and use calorie king when I do count calories.

  17. jenn p says

    I’ve done Weight Watchers which is points counting and I’ve dong sparkpeople.com which counts calories and nutrients. I find that I can get very OCD on sparkpeople but not for more than a week or so at a time. I was successful on WeWa, but now it’s all so much work and so much trouble. I’ve been trying to work on eating protein at every meal and being sensible. It’s damn hard. Sometimes I don’t want to be sensible. I want to drink a half a bottle of wine and eat a half a loaf of french bread sometimes.

  18. says

    I’ve counted calories off and on with my iPhone. I think the best app is my net diary. Right now, I’m using a bodybugg, so basically there’s no point in wearing it if you’re not counting calories (although their database suuucks). I have a hard time because I cook a lot and make most things from scratch. It can be very difficult to figure it out. I always try to err on the side of overestimating.

  19. says

    Monica, I dont see / understand where you think you need to lose some LBs! You are so so thin and very fit and in shape. How about adding speedwork and or more cross training to your exercise regime rather than lose weight so you can run faster. Or maybe just cut back on the amount of sugar you eat.

    I’ve tried counting calories, and it did help me lose, but sent me in a spiral of abusing laxatives and over exercising, guilt and throwing up everything I ate…. for about 2 years.

    Just learn to love yourself, the way you are today.

    • says

      Thanks Mary, you’re a doll :). I don’t think I need to lose weight on a health level, but I think cutting back on sugar would also be cutting back on calories – since cleaning up my diet would eliminate a lot of the empty cals.

  20. says

    I lost 110 pounds by using myfitnesspal.com to log what i eat.. it can get obsessive if you let it, but if you were to use that for a week or 2 you’d get a good idea of what youre eating. You are like me in that we tend to eat the same things most days, so you can see where you might need to cut back. It’s also helped me “schedule” in cheats- if I want pizza on a Tuesday night, I can figure out what I can eat the rest of the day without going over. I am up 15 pounds since September because i stopped tracking and went back to binging, but luckily I am back on track and luckily it was only 15 pounds!!

  21. says

    I counted calories religiously when I was about 12 and it led to some really unhealthy eating habits. I’m super competitive with myself anyway, but I got it in my head that I should “beat” my count from the day before, until I realized I was only eating about 600 – 800 calories and exercising 2 – 3 hours a day. I lost about 40 lbs in 2.5 months but it was not good! Ever since then I’ve tried to avoid doing it or when I do need to lost weight, to be super aware that I’m not heading down that path again.

  22. says

    I counted calories for a couple of years and got obsessed with it. I’d freak out going to dinner, I’d cry if I went over and would exercise until I burned it off. For me counting calories became obsessive, I try not to, but I still do. I believe that it doesn’t matter what you eat, a calorie is a calories, so if you ate like 10 banana’s and 50 cups of spinach it’s going to be a lot of calories, in comaprision to a candybar. I try to eat healthy and clean and I TRY to stay away from porcessed foods!

  23. says

    I have counted calories pretty consistently for over a year now. What I figured out that finally worked for me as far as weight loss was 1200-1300 calories a day. And I had to be REAL honest about every bite I was eating: it is easy for me to say I have only eaten a cup of pasta when in reality it was probably 2 cups or more.

    I use http://www.myfooddiary.com and LOVE it, but I know there are a lot of other calorie counting sites out there, too. Oh, and another tip: even though I am a runner, if I am trying to lose weight, I don’t eat any of my exercise calories. No matter what I stick to that 1200-1300.

  24. Bethany says

    Try myfitnesspal.com it also has an app for your phone it makes it very easy to keep track of what you are eating. I lost over 40 lbs 2 yrs ago and have kept it off. I still keep track of what I eat most days, it helps alot.

  25. says

    I used to count calories, because hey, it’s some sort of measurement. Then I realized that it’s over rated and started just paying more attention to eating real food and less sugar and starches. SO much better than counting calories and much more effective! And I hated writing down what I was eating so instead I started snapping pictures with my phone. Easy as pie. Just no pie allowed.

  26. says

    okay, i’m glad you posted this, because i’ve gotta know…are those recommended amounts counting the calories you burn in exercise or not? like…if i burn 600 calories, can i add 600 to the 1692 = 2292 and still lose weight?

    • says

      It depends on what calorie calculator you’re using. The one above gives you the option to input “exercises 5 times a week” or something similar. If you input your exercise it allows for that and you don’t add addition calories for exercise. If you use a basic BMR calorie calculator then you do add calories for exercise.

  27. says

    i love me some daniel tosh! he cracks me up.

    i dont count calories. ive attempted it before and its just not gonna happen. too time consuming for me or maybe im just lazy

  28. says

    I use myfitnesspal.com to count calories. I really like it because it breaks down the fat/carb/protein ratio and adjusts based on exercise you do. The food database is huge and it has an iphone app.

  29. says

    Counting calories and tracking them (and therefore stopping when I hit my daily “max”) is unfortunately the only way I have ever succeeded in losing weight. i usually use sparkpeople.com. I try to focus on where the calories come from too and eating enough protein, not too many carbs (but enough for energy!), etc but for me coutning is the only thing that works :(

  30. Robin says

    I count calories by rough estimations, it’s the way I got down to my happy weight four years ago. When I was nursing, that all went out the window, because apparently breastfeeding is the biggest calorie burner there is, bigger than running (at least, for my metabolism). I feel like calorie counting has benefited me too in that I won’t freak out by overindulging on certain occasions, as it takes a LOT of calories to put on a legimitate (re: not water weight) pound. I can see how it could easily lead to dangerous behavior, though.

  31. Dynamics says

    I was counting Protein, Carbs and Fats. The calorie count was always different. I us Calorie King and have a huge database built up so it is not horrible. This is time consuming. I now have specific dishes etc so I am keeping my portions right and hopefully my numbers will fall right into place.

  32. says

    I use SparkPeople.com and it keeps me sane. My computer went down for a week and my nutrition/calories were all over the place; I could feel the difference. I know it can be very tedious but it keeps me sane and I don’t stress out as much when I know what I am putting in my body. Thank you for the link! Very helpful.

  33. says

    I hate counting calories…. Over time I’ve just learnt what I need and have got used to it… but with upping exercise for training for endurance events I’m not sure I’m eating enough…. doing become obsessive with calorie counting it takes all the fun out of eating…. if you have to count just count the stuff that’s excessive or unusual… ie i refuse to weigh/count melon cos it’s awesome and i don’t care what anyone says there is nothing wrong with eating one in a day but I do attempt to moderate my chocolate intake (often unsuccessfully :D) anyway good luck! You look awesome anyway!

  34. alicia says

    do you think that calorie counter is very accurate?? it seems with all the running you do, you’d be burning more than that..

  35. says

    I used to count calories, actually quite religiously for a year or so… and then I stopped. I got pregnant and had gestational diabetes, and then I had to keep super-tight control of the carbs I was eating (I had a spreadsheet and everything!), and by the time I had Nora I was so burned out on it all that I just ate whatever the hell I wanted from then on. That pretty much brings us up to present day. ;)

    I have been pretty lucky in that breastfeeding (and continuing to run) has turned me into a calorie-burning machine, but now that the babe is over a year old and not nursing as much, I am starting to feel my jeans get a little tighter. Bah. Probably time to start counting again. Or not. Maybe just running more!

  36. says

    Yep I count calories. That’s how I lost my weight and how I’ve kept it off. I eat between 1800-2300 calories a day depending on my fitness/rest days. I’m not really trying to lose though, just maintain.

  37. says

    The only way for me to lose weight is counting calories. If I’m actively trying to lose, I eat about 1500 calories a day. I run a lot, but I’ve gotten to the point in my life where exercise alone is really just means to maintain, and not a means to lose. It sucks, but it works. So that’s that.

  38. says

    My answers are I try, sometimes and not often!

    I am trying to count calories too so I stay on track with eating. Have you ever been to My Fitness Pal? It is a great tracking website and there’s even an app, check it out!

  39. says

    I never count and I always yell…..I am working on it. Although I will say that it does take quite a bit to get me fired up now :) so I guess I don’t need a count down. If I’m yelling you deserve it ;)

    oh and I love your sleep mask! great idea!

  40. says

    I’ve used tracking websites in the past to get an idea of how many calories I take in. It was nice to see how many I actually ate rather than what I perceived. My Fitness Pal is recommended by the dieticians I work with.

  41. says

    I counted for the first bit of losing weight post-pregnancy to relearn portion sizes and what amounts work well with me. Now, I have ranges I shoot for with each meal and can pretty much eyeball my portions and loosely count to stay on track. I hate how cal counting gets such a bad rap. It’s very useful if not done obsessively or always trying to eat less and less.

  42. says

    I count calories on and off. I just started counting again (new years resolution to get healthier). I don’t count sheep. Feel like it makes me more awake. LOL and I definitely should count to 10.

  43. says

    Whenever I count calories, I realize I’m probably not eating enough on a regular basis and then overdoing it other times. Not a happy way to stay at the same weight or to gain weight. When I’m off balance and I use this as a way to get back on track, it’s a good reminder of how to eat healthy and NOT binge. If I consistently undereat (even if it’s by accident OR if it’s as an attempt to lose weight), I end up bingeing and overcompensating. Slow and steady works for me and to be honest, I think eating healthy (with room for a few indulgences) happens naturally. Or that’s the theory I’m putting to work right now!

    Are you done seeing the nutritionist you were before? I think it’s way cool you talked to her–I have her book! :)

  44. says

    I count calories, but until yesterday, I was basing my caloric needs on a free diet program. I was always hungry on the plan. Using a book I have, I measured my calories I should be eating and I am WAY under! I used the calculator above and it measured almost exactly the same as the book. Guess I need to eat more!

  45. says

    Start your day with a delicious low glycemic food,a portion controlled shake that is a completely balanced meal with protein, carbs,vitamins and the right amount of fat! Full Strength provides hours of satiety while turning on the fat burning, turns off the appetite and will help you manage your blood sugar levels. Full Strength is a meal replacement shake that creates what we call insulin momentum.

  46. says

    Hahah! Going on Survivor is a guaranteed weight loss move indeed. Although when contestants get eliminated, they tend to return to their normal weight. Probably because they pig out when they return to the real world.

  47. says

    I am curious to find out what blog platform you happen to be utilizing?
    I’m having some small security problems with my latest website and I’d like
    to find something more secure. Do you have any suggestions?

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