Sunday, June 1, 2008

Calorie Chart

Here's the chart I use for counting calories. I couldn't figure out how to upload a file to this blog so I've uploaded it to a website I own, but am not using. Anyway, the file is available in Excel or as a PDF file.

This file isn't complete, I put it together from a website my sister used, but it's a great place to start. There are a bunch of other websites out there to help with counting calories too. I just printed the document, stapled it together, highlighted the categories, and kept it in the kitchen right next to the notebook I used for counting calories.

In my notebook I wrote down my starting weight (although I've heard that taking your measurements is a better way to track weight loss) and then began writing down how many calories I had each day and adding them AS I go. When I finish I circle my final count. I have gone days, weeks, and sometimes even months without counting calories. The thing I've learned though is that if I do it, it works, but sometimes you need to give your body a break... I think it's healthy to sometimes maintain weight instead of constant dieting.

Here are some pics I took of my calorie counting journal to give you some idea of how I've done it... it's pretty easy once you get going and it really gives you a sense of control as you see what you're eating and learn to lower portion size. The first image is when I first started counting calories in August of 2007. At first I worked to stay between 1400 and 1600 calories a day. Now, since I've lost weight and actually eat less I try to stay under 1400.

Click image to Enlarge!
This second image is from a few days in May. As you can see my note taking isn't as strict as I got the hang of counting calories. Note: these images show some of my good days when I recorded everything I ate for the whole day, so don't be discouraged if you sometimes have trouble with it, I've had plenty of trouble... just keep trucking along.

I also record my weight loss in the back of my notebook but only update it every few months or so. Here's what my record says:

Beginning of 2007 = 182+ lbs (size 18)
09/2007 = 165 lbs (size 14) after walking during the summer of 2007
12/2007 = 154 lbs (size 12) after joining a gym and calorie counting from August to December
02/2008 = 149 lbs (size 10-12) I didn't count in Dec but gained weight then re-lost it in Jan
06/2008 = 145 lbs (size 8-10) I didn't count in Feb and March, but started again at the end of May.

As you can see it has taken me time to lose weight. When I'm not calorie counting I'm still working out and maintaining my weight so I don't gain it back, except at Christmas time! :-) My goal is to lose another 5 lbs by July 4th which gives me a month. This is a realistic goal that I know I can achieve instead of making a really tough goal (like losing 8 lbs by July 4th) which would be really hard (if not impossible) for me to achieve and would fill me with discouragement and depression. So when making a goal, make it achievable for you, one that you know you can do, then it will fill you with hope and happiness when you do it!

My sister and I have the same height/body type and we've figured that losing 7-8 lbs for us = one dress size. Of course sizes vary for every type of clothing and design/make out there!

Tips for Counting Calories
Tip #1
Find someone to report your calorie count to. My mom, sister, and I email each other our daily calories although we haven't this past week. I won't be counting calories this week either as I'm moving into a studio apartment (after living with my wonderful family for the past 3 years) and am too excited to be packing, moving, and unpacking to count calories. But I'm still working out every Tuesday and Thursday and going on walks when I can.

Tip #2
Give yourself one day a week that you don't count calories, it's a splurge day. If you don't splurge the rest of the week you'll be fine for one time. Just don't go TOO crazy.

Tip #3
You're going to mess up- it's not a big deal! Just start fresh the next day and forget about yesterday.

Tip #4
If you're hungry- eat! Just try to eat something healthier than you usually would have if you weren't calorie counting. (I need to work on this one and eat healthier in stead of always eating junk. I just eat less junk but I still eat too much of it. Oh well.)

Tip #5
Drinking more water will make you less hungry. Sometimes we feel hungry when our body is really telling us it needs water, we just usually don't know that. You can keep track of how much water you drink each day as you mark your calories down, this is a great way to know if you're getting enough water. Another great idea is to drink a full 8-16 oz of water RIGHT when you wake up in the morning. After a long night your body needs water.

I believe our focus should be on having a healthier life style, because the only way I've been able to truly lose weight is when I've made little changes to the way I live, eat, and exercise. It takes time, but it's worth it. You have more energy, hope, and happiness when you're healthier!

Update: Calorie Counting Tip #6


Rachel said...

I'm getting a photo shoot done sometime over the next two weeks when my aunt is in town so I'll post before/after pics then. They're shocking!

Marie said...

This is some GREAT info and your tips are wonderful!! I'm guessing you started to keep track of frequently eaten items so that you weren't always looking at lables. I think my goals this week will be to try to start keeping track of what I eat, and to start trying to have smaller portion sizes. Once I can eat a little less I will then start actually counting things like calories. Thanks Rachel!!!

Kristen said...

Wow! I did count calories briefly, but my record was pretty sad compared to yours. Maybe this week my goal will be to start a notebook and counting system again. Thanks, Rachel! This is great!

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