Q Rachael, on my Facebook page, isn’t sure how many calories to eat and adds, “I’m 5 foot 2 inches and 210lbs. I can’t help what I eat to be honest, and it’s hard when I’m trying to calorie count without changes my partners meals and over eating. Really don’t know what to do 😦 “
Let’s address the calories first since it’s the simple part. Rachael is using Fatsecret for calorie counting, the same site I used. Fatsecret allows you to enter your activities and food and calculates your caloric deficit for you. All you have to figure out is how much to eat.
Many users of this site find it overestimates calories burned. I found this myself. The way I compensated for it was to leave my activity at resting and sleeping and only enter focused exercise. So I never entered anything like “desk work,” “driving,” or other daily activities. But I did enter it if I exercised. When I did that, it worked very well. The same has been reported by quite a few of my buddies.
The idea behind these calorie counters is to burn 500-1000 calories more than you eat. So if you burn 3000 calories a day, you would want to eat 2000-2500, ensuring that you are being accurate about how much you enter. If you bite it, write it. Do your best to measure portions. Don’t forget to add oils, butter, and dressings. These things add up fast. If you enter things in, you will start to learn which foods have a good “bang for your buck” and keep you fuller longer. ideally, aim for food with nutritional value and not snacks and junk.
Now about the hard part of the question:
Everyone has something in her life that makes it more difficult to change habits. Our habits are our habits for a reason. My biggest obstacle was my job. It’s very demanding and there are expectations that I am constantly available to take care of last minute emergencies as well as work overtime to meet deadlines. This was holding me back two ways: I was always rushed, so I would often find it easier to get take out or go out to eat than to cook for myself, and I had a hard time imagining where in the day I would fit exercise.
Where there’s a will there’s a way. I found ways to work around this challenge and you can too. Sometimes it involves tough choices. There are things that may make this more challenging for you, but there’s no impossible situation.
The first thing to realize is that you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to do better. A common issue is not having control over what you eat because someone else buys the groceries and cooks dinner. Or maybe you have a husband, wife, or family who isn’t ready to come along for the ride. This will be a challenge, but it is not a road block.
You really can lose weight eating anything. Case in point, the man who lost weight eating nothing but Twinkies. This isn’t a question of good or bad, there are many grey areas in between. There is always room for improvement. We don’t have to change everything at once. In fact, I’m quite sure that you’re more likely to stick with many small changes over time than one huge one. Never let perfect be the enemy of the good.
Eating nothing but Twinkies is a bad idea for many obvious reasons. But the lesson is that it’s the amount of food you eat that matters more than anything. If your family is having chicken, mashed potatoes, and vegetables you are in luck. Those foods are perfectly healthy things to eat as long as you consider the portion size. You might want to skip the potatoes or have a small portion, but you can look this all up ahead of time using any number of websites. If your family is having pizza or fast food, it will be harder but still not impossible. The calorie counters will truly become your friend if this is the case. You can figure out the best choice at each restaurant your family visits. Never feel bad or guilty for not being able to make the absolute best choice, just make the best one you can in your situation.
I have a friend online who lost a significant amount of weight eating fast food almost every day. I myself didn’t change what I ate until I had lost nearly 70 pounds. I only changed how much.
It’s not easy to mind your portion sizes when nobody around you cares. I can relate to that. My boyfriend bodybuilds and he eats around 4000-5000 calories a day. This bothered me at first, but somewhere along the way, I realized that if I wanted to do this, it had to be my choice. There will always be temptations around you and you will always have someone else to blame if your make bad choices. But the only valid person to blame is yourself. Just because my boyfriend makes a habit of eating Carl’s Jr $6 Western Bacon burgers with Waffle Fries, doesn’t mean I have to. Before I stopped eating meat, I would just get a small burger, no cheese no mayo, and skip the fries. A tough choice to make at first, but it gets easier.
Another challenge with the people you live with is that people have a hard time with change. They may not approve of your desire to change at first. They may even actively try to sabotage you by offering you abundant treats or making fun of your new choices. Here is where you will need to rely on your own will-power. Remind yourself why you want to change your eating habits and all the benefits you will get. It really is worth it, I swear! Nothing worth having is easy to get.
You need patience, perseverance, and determination. Be willing to accept that you can’t 100% control everything, but you can always do a little better. It’s all a learning experience. Definitely use the community on Fatsecret for advice and support. When you aren’t getting support at home, you definitely need to find it elsewhere. And you may find that in time, your success might inspire your family to change too. But we can’t wait for that to happen if we’re ready to make changes ourselves. In the end, you do it for you and you alone.
If you have a question or subject you’d like me to address, feel free to post it on my FB page or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org