I have not had much success with diets, but about 6 weeks ago, I loaded an app onto my cell phone that lets me track calories. It calculates my caloric needs for the day and deducts 500, 750, or 1000 calories to arrive at a calorie budget depending on the amount of weight I want to lose each week.
The app is connected to a website but is quite self-contained. It provides charts, nutritional information, allows you to add friends to help motivate, and awards badges for achievements.
As I enter food into the log, I am often surprised by the calorie content. Things that I thought would be high in calories are actually much lower than those foods that I thought were low. A cup of granola cereal with raisins has about the same calories as six slices of bacon, who knew?
At work, our office provides bagels for the employees, making available a tub of butter and cream cheese. Although it may be healthier for me than a donut, it would cost me about 400 calories from my budget, a glazed donut would only cost me half that. I am finding that breads, biscuits, and rolls contain lots of calories.
Another surprise was going to a burger restaurant and finding that their fruit and nut salad had 300 hundred more calories than their regular burger. Most vegetables can be my friend. An entire cup of broccoli, cauliflower, or green beans is only 30 calories. A medium banana or apple has as many calories as two cups of sliced strawberries. Eating out is more interesting. The app allows you to explore menu items for many national restaurants. A potato encrusted fish entrée, at one of our frequent eating spots, with broccoli and glazed carrots are just over 300 calories and not only tastes wonderful but is quite satisfying.
Creating low calorie meals can be interesting. We usually rely on stir fry vegetables with lean meats and light sauces. Chicken breasts and strips usually fit the bill. We have also switched to low calorie drinks. It is amazing how many calories are contained in soft drinks and fruit drinks.
I found that eating slowly and matching up protein with carbs allow me to feel more satisfied. So far, I have lost 14 pounds. I don’t feel deprived because I get to pick out what I eat allowing me to feel more in control of what I consume. If I have enough calories in my budget, I sometimes have a portion of a candy bar or other treat. My diets have never lasted this long. I think it is because I don’t actually see it as a diet per se, but a lifestyle change. I want this to become a habit — a life-long habit.