Originally Posted by ProfCrash
I strongly recommend using a website like Live Strong to track your food intake. You tell it what you weigh, your age, and height. You tell it if you are trying to lose weight or maintain and how active you are in your day to day life. Based on that, it tells you the number of calories you should be aiming for on a given day. You track your food there and it helps you stay on track.
I know there are other sites, I happen to have chosen Live Strong because I like the articles on the site as well as the food journal.
I know I have a tendancy to think that I am eating fine and then I look at what I have eaten and how it adds up and go "wow" I would go so far as to say that most Americans have no idea what a true portion size is and how much they are actually eating. Being conscious of what you are consuming and honest with yourself helps to bring your food consumption into better alignment and makes it easier to lose weight and to maintain that weight lose.
Five years ago I weighed 205. Today I am at 175. I would like to get to 160, a number set by my Doctor, and am committed to getting there this year. I wish I had been working on it the last month but getting pneumonia twice has derailed that. I am thrilled that I have maintained my weight. I had weighed 180 at my Doctors appointment in November so I am moving the scale in the right direction.
I use a similar site and I think it helps a lot. But there is still such a huge uncertainty for many things I eat. The caloric value of a bowl of lentil soup depends on what the ingredients were, how brothy it is, and how much I ate. Each of those can be hard to judge especially if someone else made it. I'm often left just guessing.
To get my head and appetite calibrated to a specific daily caloric intake, I had once decided I should eat breakfasts as usual, weighing everything, but then to eat only prepared, packaged meals for lunch and dinner (e.g., microwaveable). After a week of hitting the same calorie total every day, I should be able to get used to what a 1200 (or whatever) calories/day diet is like and what appropriate volumes really look and feel like for each meal. I never tried it but it's still on my list of options for the future.