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So I started using myFItnessPal when I got home from the hospital 3 weeks ago (had surgery 5/26) and I'm a bit of a perfectionist...I'm having trouble with measuring and estimating the calories in my food. Sometimes I do well with measuring, especially when it's only a few ingredients (like the refried Beans, salsa, cilantro combo I do for pureed), but I'm normally the type of cook who doesn't follow a recipe and just throws things in and estimates amounts.

The only problem I have with MyFitnessPal is that searching for some foods will give you several different results and it's hard to know which to use.

So my question is, for those of you who do track calories/everything, how accurate would you say you are? Do you just make educated guesses or do you really try to get it exact? How do you do it for home-cooked meals?

It's not too hard to track right now in the pureed stage, but I'm worried about when I get to normal food that it's going to very hard for me to keep tracking, so any advice now would be greatly appreciated! I've heard of people who religiously bring a measuring cup with them and measure things everywhere so they don't overeat. Anybody do that?

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That is why I have a problem with MyfitnessPal. I'm kind of an all or nothing person, and if I can't do it RIGHT, I don't want to do it at all. So I track off and on. Off when I'm actually losing, and on when I've hit a stall and need to get things going again or maybe tweak some things. That's when I will break out the measuring cups and spoons and use them at home but not at restaurants. I just can't bring myself to bring them out at a restaurant. So between not finding the accurate food counts, and not bringing measuring utensils with me out, I guesstimate quite a bit. But I must be close enough, because my weight loss, aside from a few stalls, has been pretty steady most of the time. Slow, but steady.

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That is why I have a problem with MyfitnessPal. I'm kind of an all or nothing person, and if I can't do it RIGHT, I don't want to do it at all. So I track off and on. Off when I'm actually losing, and on when I've hit a stall and need to get things going again or maybe tweak some things. That's when I will break out the measuring cups and spoons and use them at home but not at restaurants. I just can't bring myself to bring them out at a restaurant. So between not finding the accurate food counts, and not bringing measuring utensils with me out, I guesstimate quite a bit. But I must be close enough, because my weight loss, aside from a few stalls, has been pretty steady most of the time. Slow, but steady.

Yes, I'm the same way!! Probably why I've had so much trouble losing weight in the past....if I can't do it well enough, it's not worth doing...

I tend to obsess over things, and I've found myself spending an obscene amount of time scanning barcodes for every little ingredient I use, entering details myself, searching MyFitnessPal for comparables, or staring at the serving sizes trying to make estimates because I measured in tablespoons but apparently the serving size is 1/3 cup, so I convert both to mL to get the correct amount....and that takes a ridiculous amount of time when I'm only measuring guacamole.

It's nice to hear from someone who is having tons of success without tracking all the time. Maybe that will calm me down a bit.

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I track my food intake via SparkPeople on a daily basis. It's the only way I can be fairly certain that I'm getting the Protein grams recommended by my NUT and surgeon and keeping my calories within range. My husband and I have been weighing and measuring our foods for years as he is an insulin dependent diabetic who figures his insulin dose based on a carb to insulin ratio calculation, so weighing and measuring is old hat for me. For the home recipes, I enter the recipe in the SparkPeople recipe calculator and let it figure the nutritional information for me. I do not feel the need to carry a measuring cup to restaurants because I eat so little now during a meal. In fact, we now order only one entree and share. Even if the numbers aren’t exact for all food tracked, I at least have a very good idea which way I'm headed.

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Yeah there's a lot of wishy washy entries in Myfitnesspal. That being said, food is naturally going to vary quite a bit just like the calories you burn in a day. I think it's a good habit to log food and physical activity. If you stall or start to go up you can take a look at your data and formulate a course correction. I don't obsess over it. I just try to remember to get it all documented.

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@@Sara51692

Oh, there are lots of us who aren't sticklers for tracking (some don't track at all) who have had success :)

There are the sticklers who have also had great success. VSGAnn comes to mind. She's a stickler, and has been at goal already long before her year and actually keeps losing. So maybe it's working TOO well for her? ;)

I think ultimately it's all about accountability. Whether you track or not.

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I track my food intake via SparkPeople on a daily basis. It's the only way I can be fairly certain that I'm getting the Protein grams recommended by my NUT and surgeon and keeping my calories within range. My husband and I have been weighing and measuring our foods for years as he is an insulin dependent diabetic who figures his insulin dose based on a carb to insulin ratio calculation, so weighing and measuring is old hat for me. For the home recipes, I enter the recipe in the SparkPeople recipe calculator and let it figure the nutritional information for me. I do not feel the need to carry a measuring cup to restaurants because I eat so little now during a meal. In fact, we now order only one entree and share. Even if the numbers aren’t exact for all food tracked, I at least have a very good idea which way I'm headed.

Good point - I know I'm always going to have trouble getting the Protein in.

I'll check out SparkPeople -- sounds like a good resource!

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When I tracked religiously, I wouldn't even eat at restaurants that didn't put their nutrition online. I put everything we cooked into a recipe calculator so I would know the exact calorie count and macronutrients for everything. I am vary OCD. It really drove my relatives crazy. I would literally make my parents and in-laws give me lists of not only ingredients, but BRANDS they used in any meals they prepared for us.

I resolved that after I had my sleeve, I would NOT live that way. Now I will just do occasional "spot-checks" of my food on random days to make sure I'm where I really think I am in terms of calories and Protein, and leave it at that.

I don't even have a calorie target in mind post-op. All I care about is getting in all my Protein and that's easy enough to just keep a running tally of in my head most days.

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I just ballpark it. I really don't think our bodies are as sensitive to the minor fluctuation as our minds are. I mean at the end of the day whats the difference between a 220 calorie piece of salmon or 240? It is a miniscule amount in the grand scheme of things.

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Once I have something, it is on my list in MFP. I am not obsessive about it yet but who knows how I will feel at 6 weeks out and I can begin introducing more foods. I agree with @@Babbs, as long as I am losing and I can't eat very much at this point anyway.

I do keep a close eye on fluids and my Protein daily.

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I'm a stickler for most things. I have a kitchen scale, and I weigh things going into recipes by the gram and enter each ingredient separately. I also do this for things like apples -- I cut the apple into slices, weigh the slices I am going to eat in grams, and record that way. Most of the standard type food entries in MFP have a "100 grams" serving size available, so it's super easy -- if I am eating 76 grams of apple slices, that's .76 of of a 100 gram serving.

liquid ingredients I so measure by the liquid ounce. If I use a couple of tablespoons of something and it turns out the serving size available in MFP is a third of a cup, I use online tools to convert that to an appropriate percentage.

The only exceptions I make are for items sold as a single serving that I will eat all in one go (a cheese stick, for example), or that I will split in two and eat in two different meals. Like, if I have a four ounce can of tuna and I'm going to have two ounces for lunch today and two tomorrow, I don't weigh them out. I eyeball it and enter two ounces for each day.

Yep, it is kind of OCD but it works for me and I won't change it any time soon. Once you get used to doing it, it's like second nature. And if you repeat ingredients, you'll be able to enter them almost automatically.

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I use SparkPeople, and do pretty much what @@Bufflehead just said. I enter most stuff easily, but if the portions aren't accurate for me I use decimals. If a serving of fish is measured at 5 oz, and I only had 2 oz, I just enter .4 of a serving (which would be 2 oz) and call it good. I find that I can usually get exact measures... but I don't stress if I don't. I stick with good choices and really just track to make sure I am getting my Protein in.... the carbs and calories stay naturally low at this point.

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I don't count calories. It'd make it way to hard for me lol.

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I really believe tracking will help me even though it somehow feels like torture when I can't record everything perfectly. I think I'm going to invest in a kitchen scale finally. I've had one in my Amazon cart for almost a year but just haven't really felt the need for it before

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I use the Loseit app because I found the entries to be more accurate and more options available than my MFP app. Have been using it for 15 plus months now. It's also compatible with my Fitbit and Runkeeper app to track my exercise

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