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I am also using my fitness pal. I am pretty diligent about it. If I'm at home I use my scale. Its been pretty easy, much easier than measuring, I just put a plate on it and tare it back to zero before adding each item. If something is going into a pot, I just put the pot on it and tare it.

This is the scale I use, it has worked well for me. http://www.amazon.com/EatSmart-Precision-Digital-Kitchen-Silver/dp/B001N07KUE

For home made foods, my fitness pal allows you to create a new food and then recall it later, so once you have your recipe in there you are good to go for the future.

If I'm eating out, and the place I'm eating doesn't have nutritional information I will try to find a similar entry in my fitness pal. If that fails I will just skip the meal.

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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?

Hi Sara,

I was very diligent about tracking everything right after my surgery. I tried to be as exact as possible with My Fitness Pal, but I didn't include all veggies, so the daily calories were approximate. For me, tracking and measuring everything I put in my mouth was very helpful. I like My Fitness Pal because it was easy to use, even if the calories were not exact.

Good luck!

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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

Whether you track or not, you should definitely get a kitchen scale. I don't track my food anymore (did back when I was dieting over the years pre-op). But I still weigh a lot of my foods daily, just to measure out servings or partial servings. This was ESPECIALLY true in my early days post-op when I wasn't supposed to eat more than 2 oz. at a time. I would weight out 2 oz. of cottage cheese or whatever. Not for tracking purposes, just to be sure I didn't eat too much at once.

Now that I'm 9 months out, I weigh food just to get correct serving sizes. Like I always pack a little Kashi Cereal or granola to add to my afternoon yogurt at work. I measure out 13 grams (1/4 serving) of that. First of all, because it's carbs and I do try to be mindful of carbs, even though I don't track them. And second of all, because loose stuff like that is hard to eyeball the right amount. I also use my food scale every single day when I add soy milk to my coffee to make sure I'm only adding 2 oz. Any more or less than that and it doesn't taste right!

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Thanks everyone! I'm definitely going to have to experiment and see what app will work best for me. And I've been approximating for most of my meals lately except ones where its very easy to measure, so I should probably get better with that to make sure I'm not eating too much!

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I don't use MFP but I'm pretty pleased with the one I chose. I think it does a good job most of the time.

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For me, tracking food and using a good kitchen scale is clearly the key to losing. I'm 8 months plus post op and had continued to lose but was slowing down. I had stopped tracking and weighing and carbs were reappearing more in my meals though in small amounts. Recently I restarted drinking Protein shakes once a day for a meal, tracking in MFP, and weighing things with a great kitchen scale. I'm losing faster now. I'm not obsessive about the tracking and I'm sure I'm "off" from time to time, but I think I'm very close when I weigh things, log it all, and use the MFP barcode scanner.

My advice is to read this forum, weigh food, log it, exercise and include both cardio and strength training, and treat each day as a new one that you can do better in. Don't assume you can wing it, but don't obsess. No guilt. Just a new start each day. And find a support person in your life. My hubby gets me to the gym when I don't want to go and I do the same for him. Makes a big difference! And when I cook light, he benefits. If he wants to eat "bad" he's on his own. 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

I picked up a nice one at Walmart for less than $20. It is great... set the plate/bowl on it, tare back to zero, and it will accurately weigh the food as you put it on the plate. I have never used a scale before this, so I was impressed, LOL.

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I track everything I put in my mouth. I don't weigh and measure everything any more, but I do spot check to make sure I'm not slipping on my eyeballing portion sizes. I try to choose things as accurately as possible, but I know it's not 100%.

I think the key is consistency. I read an article recently that said most people underestimate their calories by 30% or more, but that's not as important as the fact that they actually track. The tracking increases awareness. Also, I believe I can maintain on 1400 calories/day based on what I currently track. I might actually be getting more like 1800 if I'm underestimating, but the point is I'm watching and doing it consistently, so I'm able to maintain.

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I've tracked 100 percent of everything I've ate so far but I'm so nervous I'm going to stop. It's definitely not always accurate but if I'm tracking at all, I agree it's better than not.

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I picked up a nice one at Walmart for less than $20. It is great... set the plate/bowl on it, tare back to zero, and it will accurately weigh the food as you put it on the plate. I have never used a scale before this, so I was impressed, LOL.

I'm debating whether I should order one on Amazon or go pick one up at Walmart - we'll see!

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I do not count calories at all. The way I eat follows they Paleo style of eating. I eat about 5-6 times a day. The only 2 things that I count are my Fluid intake and Protein amount on a daily basis. At this point, I am only 8 lbs away from my goal weight. With myself, I have to keep it simple or I won't stick with it. With 3 kids, it was the only way to go for me. I am the healthiest that I have been in 15 years. For me, it works.

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@@Babbs ... ;)

I weigh things out pretty well -- and have also learned the sizes of certain kinds and amounts of foods because I've been doing it so long now.

If I see 4-5 confirmations of a food in the MFP database, I trust the data. When MFP gives me "zero confirmations" I look for corroboration of the cals / nutrients elsewhere.

If I can't find listed in the MFP database a specific dish from a specific restaurant, then I just look for that dish or a similar dish from a comparable restaurant.

I try not to let it make me crazy. Bottom line -- it has worked for me. I'm still using MFP and probably will for the first 6 months of maintenance. I have a lot to learn still -- am only 1.5 months into maintenance.

And yes, I've lost another 5 pounds past my goal. But I'm also now lifting weights and doing strength machines at the gym, so I expect I'll gain some muscle weight.

Trust me, I do NOT want to turn into a skinny minny. :) And I doubt I will. :)

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You need to balance OCD with the reality that if you under-report you will have problems. For instance, if you need 1000 calories a day, and you only under-report 5% that is only 50 calories...right? Well over a year that is 18,250 calories or five pounds of added fat per year.

So you need to be as accurate as you can be. I am always tracking Protein, calories and carbs. If I see a bad trend starting, I can go back in the journal and correct.

And I use myfitnesstracker site and some of the numbers seem off, and when they do, I check the web. I don't use their calorie counts on exercise, I use my heart rate monitor and then use web tools to figure out the calories burned. I try not to make The Perfect, the enemy of the The Good.

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By now, I don’t track much, but I completely understand and sympathize with your problem! It is so frustrating to be trying to count calories and not being able to get it accurate.

What I usually do in those situations is just try to get it to say the correct amount of whatever it is I’m tracking – in this case, calories. So if I know whatever I ate had 100 calories, but myfitnesspal (or whatever program) says the serving is 125 calories, I’ll just put in 0.8 servings so it comes out right at 100 calories. Or, if possible, I’ll add the 100-calorie serving to the database and save it as one of my foods.

Over time, it'll get faster and less annoying.

It’s good you recognize your potential to have the all-or-nothing mindset – don’t let it overcome you! You can always figure out a way to beat the app – don’t stop tracking just because the app’s wrong!

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In the beginning I used to track everything with a app on my smart phone...even scanned bar graphs of food packaging...

To be honest, it drove me nuts...and I was not making any significant progress.....

For me, personally, the most liberating milestone in this process was when I stopped charting everything, quit counting calories and measuring portions, etc....

I simply ate when I was hungry (very seldom) and stopped when my band said stop..(very small portions) Thow in daily exercise on top of that to burn off more than I ate per day.

That was over 4 years ago and still living that same basic, easy ans simple lifestyle that has led to 100% success and completion of this WLS process.

But that's me...what works for one person is not always right for the next person...plus these WLS are different in how they affect individuals.

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