Week 1: It’s All That Home Cookin’

June 25, 2012

I’m frustrated and it’s only been a week.

I exercised 4 times (although once I was sick and only did like 15 minutes). I started yoga up again, and Bella did it with me (so cute). I felt great about all of that.

But. That isn’t the problem. The problem is the food.

I lost 0 lbs and I know why. I didn’t track everything I ate so then as time went on I stopped tracking at all – because it is really, really hard to do when you cook every meal each night from scratch.

And I’m not here to be all, “Omg, I’m the most amazing cook and nothing in my house comes from a box” – but I seriously do not want to enter every single item of my 7 bean chili into My Fitness Pal. And I did. It took like 20 minutes and after – I had to guess how many portions it was all going to add up to.

People – there were like 10lbs of chili all up in that crockpot. A lot. A lot of portions. The End.

So this is very discouraging to me. On Weight Watchers, there were “no point” items – and on MFP app there are none of those – everything has a calorie value. Which means that I really do have to enter it all, and that is taking forever.

Honestly, I’m not sure what to do about this. I picked up Lean Cuisines with veggies to add for lunches – because that’s super simple to add into the app. But leftovers? Dinners? Crockpot meals? Not so easy.

I’m thisclose to throwing in the MFP towel and going back to Weight Watchers. The only reasons I want to hang on are that it’s free and the supportive community of people I actually know (you all) has been really inspiring.

Help me out here. What should I do to make this easier and not such a pain with entering recipes and guessing portions?

Have a post of your own? Link up the url to it below so we can come read it!


  • Sara

    August 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Just wanted to say thanks because you’ve inspired me! I just signed up with MFP and yes entering breakfast kinda made me want to pull my hair out BUT thanks to all the comments I will carry on knowing it gets better. Take care, I wish you good luck in your journey.

  • misch

    July 2, 2012 at 4:17 am

    scan the barcodes alot faster that way

  • Sandra

    July 1, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    I love Myfitnesspal, only I use it to get my ‘minimum’ calories in. I’ve lost 35 since Jan on the 17 Day Diet and love it. No calorie counting (although they suggest a min. of 1200 for females) and all clean eating. It’s based on a low glycemic plan and has been fabulous for my family. The girls love the food (the hubby likes it but would prefer a cheese laden lasagna) and we have not touched fast food since Jan. All the food is cooked at home. I usually pick one day a week and make big batches of chili, meatballs, soup etc. for the week. My girls now love oatmeal, go figure. Good thing about MFP is a lot of recipes are already in, bad thing is you aren’t sure how accurate people are. Good luck! BTW, I was raised in EP and visit my fam as often as possibe…horrible for my ‘lifestyle change’ of clean eating!

  • Katie

    June 28, 2012 at 7:24 am

    this is the EXACT reason why i ditched MFP. I don’t eat packaged meals or fast food anymore because we are trying to eat more “real food”, so I cook a lot. this also gives us leftovers for lunches. it was so much time and effort to put it all in MFP I just gave up.

    that being said, by choosing “real food” items, I just sort of started losing weight anyway. So there was that.

  • Rebecca

    June 26, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Ok, a few things…

    1. Even though I read you everyday, I miss you and would love to chat 🙂
    2. HOLY ONE MILLION COMMENTS. You’re rocking the socks off the blogosphere and I love it!
    3. I am practically heavier than ever so I’m probably the last person on earth to weigh in on this (pun totally intended) but I used the LoseIt app and although I cook from scratch and it was a pain in the ass, I entered recipes as an investment of time and the app saved them so I could just measure my potions and select the meal from then on. It seemed kinda worth to know the “exact” cals of my face recipes.
    4. I have a long-distance crush on Kim from Baby Feet and thought you should know. Lol

    1. Rebecca

      June 26, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      *fave recipes.

      Autocorrect I hate you.

    2. Diana

      July 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      i loved this comment so much. Oh my. 🙂

  • Molly

    June 26, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Switch! WW is easier and way more feasible when cooking from scratch. You can enter in recipes too if you use their online tool. Plus, they have an affiliate program. Basically, you could be making a small percentage of any sign ups you send their way. And you could be linking to them in all of your WW posts. Just thought you might want to look into it, especially if you begin endorsing them! Might as well make a little cash if possible for your adoption:).
    PS: I DO NOT work for WW, they have no idea who I am. I have done WW throughout the years and have had great success!

  • Kristina D.

    June 26, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I love, love, love MFP…but it can be tedious to enter in all of that information. I make sure that I set time aside either in the morning, or at night to enter everything into it. They also have a nice mobile app where you can scan your food and it will come right up.

    I have been using choosemyplate.org lately and they have a SuperTracker that you can use, which is just like MFP but it’s for clean, healthy foods. The basic idea is that you build your meal by your plate….on one side you have a starchy vegetable or whole grain and a lean mean and on the other veggies along with your fruit (not on your plate) and milk. I have to say it’s really working…I feel satisfied with the food I am eating and I am snacking a whole lot less! Plus, I’ve lost 8lbs in the last 2 1/2 weeks.

    It is wonderful that you make things from scratch and eat healthy…that is a job in and of itself! Once you get the hang of things you can eat and how much, then it’s not so bad. Just hang in there! Don’t give up yet! 🙂

    I am kristina509 on MFP.

  • Sarah Hammond

    June 26, 2012 at 9:24 am

    I feel the same way about having to keep track of calories. I just gave up on the whole idea. I’ve been using this cookbook, “The best of clean eating” I found on amazon and along with the clean eating factor it does include all the calories and nutritional information, so I try to keep a loose track based on that. The end of the book has a meal plan section where if you follow the whole thing breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner you’d come in at under 1500 a day mostly. I haven’t tried that yet, but it’s probably as far as I’d go calorie counting. I like to think that working out everyday makes a diff.. but I doubt it lol.

  • Beth Anne

    June 26, 2012 at 7:47 am

    I hate losing weight.

    That’s all.

    I’d rather have Mike Tyson bite my ear off.

    1. Nicole at Mommy Moxie

      June 27, 2012 at 10:59 am

      Okay, seriously, I just spit Diet Coke out my nose after reading your comment BA…and it hurt. But I’m still laughing!

    2. Diana

      July 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm


  • Laura

    June 26, 2012 at 6:37 am

    I feel the same way. Not to mention all the food that people from our church have given us – I never know what the caloric value of what I’m eating is! I miss Weight Watchers too!

  • Katie McAleece

    June 26, 2012 at 5:02 am

    You’re right, it sucks keeping track of every detail on MFP. It isn’t easy, nor is it fun. Ever.

    I have no brilliant advice here to make it more simple for you. However! I will say this: (What I’ve learned from experience)

    MFP is tough the first few months but eventually you get so good at knowing exactly how many calories are in everything, you can stop using it because you calculate in your head. It sort of trains you to know your calorie intake.

    And that is a big redeeming factor! Perhaps you should press on! It may be worth it. For me, I know it has been.

  • Jayme

    June 26, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I guess a lot with my fitness pal. I will type in ‘homemade chili’ and just pick one. Sometimes I have better luck if I use the computer for finding stuff similar to what I ate than the app.

  • bethany

    June 25, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I love My Fitness Pal and I do a lot of homecooking. I don’t enter every ingredient, I just enter what I’m making. I have a personal trainer and he says it is okay to not know/enter every single ingredient. You just want a good estimation of calorie intake.

  • Tracy @Liberating Working Moms

    June 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    MFP will get easier to use with recipes. And once you have them saved, it’s easy to repeat them. I promise. It will get easier. I’ve done WW and I prefer this more so. Thinking in calories instead of points makes it more real…makes me feel like I’m really taking control of my life. Does that make sense? Maybe spend some time writing down some recipes and getting them entered in so when it’s meal time it’s easy. Plus I repeat lunches. Like a lot. I don’t mind eating the same for a bit, b/c it’s just easier on my brain.

  • Stephanie

    June 25, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I totally know what you mean. It’s a whole different ballgame when there ARE no nutrition facts to look at on a box! This is the exact same problem that I encountered when I started counting calories.

    So, my solution was to calculate calories by first entering all the ingredients into a recipe calculator (I use this one: http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/account/flog_add.php?tab=new_recipe I don’t know if there are better ones out there, but in my mind as long as you’re using the same thing consistently it should be okay) and then I estimate the number of portions in the recipe. By doing this, the recipe calculator gives me the nutrition info per portion, but more importantly it gives me that portion by weight, in grams. So I would then weigh out my portion based on what the recipe calculator said (and sometimes it was off since I was guesstimating number of portions so I might need more than I thought or less, but at least it gives you a starting point and you can adjust the calories per portion accordingly) and then input things into my calorie counter (I actually used LoseIt, but it’s similar to MFP).

    So instead of listing each item in the calorie counter that was in 7 bean chili, I would just put in (for example) 7 Bean Chili, 200g, 300 calories. It really is a big commitment (and a PITA, much harder when you don’t just have nutrition facts on the side of a box!), but it will become second nature for the most part. Now… when you are starving and have a toddler screaming for their dinner and your husband is waiting on you so he can fill his plate it can be kind of a huge PITA to weigh everything out and then enter the info in your calorie counter, but it has to be done if you’re committed to it 🙂


  • amy

    June 25, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I am trying to figure myself which I like better and may just have to go back to WW

  • Amber

    June 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Question about yoga:
    what do you use for this? a video/DVD?
    have wanted to try it… any suggestions would be awesome!

    1. Diana

      July 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      I use the Namaste Yoga DVD’s. I loved them on FitTV but once we ended cable I couldn’t find them again. I got a disk set for Christmas and LOVE doing them at home.

  • Felicia

    June 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I followed WW but had to save money, so I started MFP and have lost more Weight with that that then with WW. I just joined them together. So, I give myself my fruit and veggies free just like WW and I make sure I get in my healthy eating stuff, just like in WW. I used to make sure I used my points for my healthy guidelines I do the same for calories on MFP. Because no one gets over weight by eating to many fruits and veggies. It is just making it work for you, I know it is a pain but once you input your recipes they are in there and just make you best estimate. For example the Chili you talked about. Use a measuring cup, give yourself one cup and base it from there. The ww measuring spoons was the best thing I ever spent money on. Just WW it takes a little time to get used to You can do it!!! I know you can. Good Luck!

  • angela

    June 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I am kind of backwards about it. I figure everything out on paper, then find something that matches in their database calorically.

    For example, the smoothies I make in the morning, I figured out my calories, then searched “Protein Berry Smoothie with Flax” and adjusted the serving size until it was “right”.

  • Kristen

    June 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Also, most of hte cooking light recipes are already stored which I personally love. Same with their broader site, ‘myrecipes.’ Cooking light includes a calorie count and will say the portion size in MFP and its easy to find!

  • Kristen

    June 25, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I use MFP-and I also cook most of my food. They include recipes from online sites as well, so its usually not too hard to find ‘turkey black bean chili’ from their archives. Theres usually several choices and I always one with a calorie count thats slightly higher than the average. I think its worked out really well!

  • Anne-Marie

    June 25, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I was using Fitness Pal to keep track of what I was eating for a nutritionist I saw pre-conception and 1st trimester; it was really frustrating trying to enter everything in. The only times I stuck with it were when I used my phone to scan the bar codes in the ingredients. I’d use the app to scan stuff and then go online to fix it all up at the end of the day. Are you entering everything in the computer or are you using the app?

    1. Diana

      July 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      Both, but this week I seriously amped up the barcode use. I found it was a lot easier to do when I wasn’t entering everything on earth!

  • Noelle

    June 25, 2012 at 11:41 am

    We don’t use recipes and make so many different types of meals from scratch that it would be impossible for me to figure the exact calorie content. I just search for something similar that’s already on there and do my best to guesstimate it. I have my daily intake set to 300 calories less the n I want to eat to make up for my non-perfect method. Good luck! Definitely got to go with what works best for you.

  • Amber

    June 25, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I had gestational diabetes with my last pregnancy and it was the first time I actually learned how to eat correctly! Sad it took me that long. i basically ate the same things (lots of peanut butter) because I knew what the amounts/calculations were. It wasn’t hard, just had to keep track. It’s probably the only diet i ever followed because it actually was affecting my baby inside of me,.Do i still follow it?..nope. But you are making me want to do it again!

  • Meg

    June 25, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Feel your pain – we pretty much make everything from scratch/recipes. It does take a bit to enter every single thing (Arg!), but as some have said — once it’s entered it’s there forever — and that’s given me a little peace. Maybe give it a full month to see if it will still drive you crazy? Then make a decision. That would be my approach. 🙂

    PLUS — total side note here — on lbs, and scales and all that: After the first kid, I went from a size 12 to size 8 and lost a small amount of weight according to the scale. However I lost a lot of inches! Maybe measuring your various arm/hip/thigh inches every so often will give you a better result then what the scale says.

  • Elisabeth

    June 25, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Entering in the recipes is a total pain, BUT like so many others said, once it’s there, it’s there forever. When I meal plan for the week I try to go ahead and enter any new recipes into MFP, that way they are there and I’m not scrambling to do it when I need to be doing other stuff (like cooking dinner!).

    I think that’s the issue with any calorie or point tracking system. You are still going to have to track everything that goes into your mouth, whether it’s a calorie or a point. When I did WW it was the same way, anything that calls for a recipe has to be planned out.

    Annoying, but totally worth it for me, since as of this morning I’m down 15 pounds in the last 10 weeks! It’s taken me a LONG time (like 5 years) to come to terms with the fact that this is a way of life for me. I’m never going to be able to just eat, since if I don’t see the numbers in front of me, I can easily ignore the fact that my plate of delicious food is really worth 1,000 calories!

    Keep it up for another couple weeks, if it still makes you crazy, look for something easier! Also? I had no idea MFP had a barcode scanner. I’m totally checking that out!

  • Dollops of Diane

    June 25, 2012 at 10:49 am

    I found the first 1-2 weeks with My Fitness Pal to be the hardest for the exact reason you describe – taking forever to log everything. However, once you have tracked for a while then all of your favorite foods are stored so you can add them in the next time way more easily. In the end, I loved it and still use it (although not every day) to maintain my weight.

  • Rachel @ The House of Burks

    June 25, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I struggle with MFP as well. It really does take a lot of time to try to enter every ingredient in a meal, and I get all twitchy when I can’t find exactly what I’m looking for. I try, but it is a daily chore. I wish eating healthy came easy to me!

  • Lynda

    June 25, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Everyone has to approach this in their own way. To me, My Fitness Pal is perfect. It keeps me honest and I always know where I am on my journey. I hate tracking on paper, did that at WW, so this app is great. Yea, recording recipes can be a hassle, but once it is in there, I can just use it again and again. You have to know portions in a recipe no matter what diet you follow.
    It really just boils down to what works for you. And the only way to find out is to try it. Keep looking till you find it!

  • Kayla

    June 25, 2012 at 9:50 am

    I’m anxious to see what path you take because I’m in the same boat. I’d love to join WW but it’s essentially the same thing as MFP except MFP is free and I think we can all agree that free = good. But the entering of every.little.thing. is driving me batty. Good comments though. I actually tend to do the same as a few others; just put in “beef stew” and pick an option and go with it. It can’t be that far off, right?! Good luck! Looking forward to following along!

  • Meredith @ La Buena Vida

    June 25, 2012 at 9:32 am

    I tracked with MFP for a while because it was free and we couldn’t afford WW, and I had the same frustrations. If I saw I had 100 calories left, I’d want ice cream, rather than 100 calories worth of broccoli. Had I been on WW where the broccoli was “free”, I’d have eaten that instead. For awhile, I did decide to lower my overall daily calorie goal a little, and just not worry about entering fruits and veggies on MFP.

    But also? I HEAR YOU on entering recipes. That was a PITA. Sometimes, I could find a similar recipe online, and would base servings and such off that, but it was still a major pain. Is WW any easier in terms of entering home-made recipes though? I’ve always assumed I’d still have to type them all in individually…

  • Sarah

    June 25, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I have 2 days left of my first week and I’m feeling just like you. Discouraged. Working on changing that around today! It’s hard, I’ve gotten into routines (read ruts) over the last 2.5 years of pregnancy and life as a mommy. I’m having trouble figuring out where workouts will fit into my life/schedule now and Pumpkin is 19 months old! It’s not like I’ve rushed into getting my body back! HA!

  • Jennifer Ross

    June 25, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Hey there, I am a Health Coach and struggle with guessing the portion size, calorie count etc. Nothing drives me crazier than to get a cook book that tells me the calories and entire nutrition count for the WHOLE recipe, says it serves 4 and then doesn’t put the portion size. REALLY? I have seen this on the best recipe book promoting healthy eating and nutrition. Too many variables. My best advice is to find recipes you like with everything laid out for you from nutrition breakdown to serving size and calorie count. You can go back to those other recipes here and there when you are close or have reached your goal and you are not at that starting point where every ounce lost is a victory ( been there) Haven’t read the other comments so I hope this isn’t a repeat. Rooting for ya!

  • Christine

    June 25, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Adding your own recipes into MFP is really time consuming and can be discouraging. I would enter every ingredient in my dishes and it took forever and then I’d decide how big my portion size should be based on what MFP was telling me. I’d just keep changing the amount of servings until I found a calorie total that I felt okay with and then that was how many servings I’d divide my dish into.

    I wish I could think of a more simple option because that really is a PITA.

  • Miranda

    June 25, 2012 at 9:18 am

    If you’re looking for an app that’s maybe easier to use, try the MyPlate app from Livestrong. It’s not a free app, maybe $1.99, but it has meals in it with their approximate caloric value as well as a lot of pre-packaged items and restaurant dishes and their nutritional facts, too.

    I should really blow the dust off that app and start tracking things myself. :/

  • Jen

    June 25, 2012 at 9:11 am

    on MFP, You can also print recipes from their database and serve those instead of your normal food. But one you enter a recipe once in MFP, it is saved forever. So getting started seems to be painful, but after a while it will be easier.
    I did WW online and spark people too and you have to enter the same things on those too to get a truly accurate measure.

    It is painful and I keep telling myself it shouldn’t have to be this hard but then I ask myself one simple question- Do I want to be right or successful?
    Easy hasn’t worked for me in the past so some extra tracking efforts are good for me- makes me more accountable for what I am putting in my mouth

    1. Rebecca

      June 25, 2012 at 11:15 am

      Ooh, thanks for the tip about printing recipes. I hadn’t noticed that!

    2. Diana

      July 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      This has stuck in my head all week “Do I want to be right or successful?” THANK YOU!!

      1. Jen

        July 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm

        I am glad this helped! I ask myself that a lot at work and started using that in my personal life. Helps me shift my mindset 🙂

  • Amber

    June 25, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I decided that I am going to give it a try again – dinners are toughest for the exact reasons you said. But, I am going to try adding more recipes into my dinner routine that have calorie counts and all that (and simple ingredients) from places like Cooking Light etc and see if that helps!

    (PS – you inspired me to give this another go :))

  • Emily

    June 25, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I lost one pound as of Friday then gained two over the weekend. It’s so hard to track everything in MFP, so it basically is just an estimate.

  • Abbey

    June 25, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I’m telling you…the no flour, no sugar diet is the way to go. No counting, you just know what you can and cannot eat. You can still eat rice and potatoes. I lost 3.5 lbs in the first two weeks I was on it…

    1. Rebecca

      June 25, 2012 at 11:15 am

      I would go crazy and binge if I cut out flour. Instead, I allow myself smaller portions of grains, and have definitely upped my veggie intake.

      As for the sugar… well, I’m hypoglycemic so I learned to reduce sugar intake years ago. Just need a refresher every now and then to avoid my sugar levels dipping low because I’ve forgotten my system doesn’t handle sugar “normally.”

  • Meg Spilman

    June 25, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Maybe I cheat at MFP, but I generally just search for other items already in their database and guesstimate how much I ate. I usually am very liberal in my estimates too to ensure I stay under my daily calories. I’ve lost 30+ pounds w MFP, so I guess I’m doing something right. For me it’s less about the calories and more about being held accountable for everything I’m eating. Also, I joined 24 Hr Fitness and started going to Turbo Kickboxing 4x a week (they offer this class other places too — google Turbo Kick). Pretty sure I owe that class a huge part of my success as well. It’s an AMAZING workout. Good luck! I know you can do it!

    1. Rebecca

      June 25, 2012 at 11:12 am

      I do this, too. I’ve entered something like 8 recipes of my own now and it’s only because I suspected I put healthier ingredients than the database items. It’s a good way to check and to continue to improve your recipes by entering one or two every so often. Otherwise, pick someone else’s and run with it. Less work!

      For me, it’s not as much about tracking every single calorie, but more about learning what portion sizes are appropriate for me. And limiting drink calories whenever possible!

      I’m also going to research a tip from my husband and give it a try – allowing one day a week to go over the calorie goal to avoid the dreaded plateau. We’ll see if it works!

  • Jessie

    June 25, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I meal plan and have around 20 meals I use. I have started calculating the calories (and cost of meal) when I make them. Yes, it is a pain in the butt to calculate every calorie, but I figure I’ll only have to do it once and then I’ll have it calculated per serving the next time I make it.

  • Carrie

    June 25, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I do WW, I need the tracking and accountability, and I *love* that fruits and veggies are free. Also, I don’t know if you can do this in MFP, but with WW you can save recipes/meals, so once I figured out the points for a huge pot of beef stew and the # of servings, I didn’t have to do it again. I knew how many cups were in the pot, and I just made each serving 1 cup. I’ve lost 30 lbs in 4 months with WW and still going strong! Whatever you decide to do, best luck – and remember, any changes you make to improve your health are for the better, regardless of what the pesky scale says!

  • Misty @ The Family Math

    June 25, 2012 at 8:54 am

    If you have the MFP app on your phone, it has a barcode scanner that can make entering recipes MUCH easier.

  • Rachel

    June 25, 2012 at 8:52 am

    You could find a healthy eating cookbook that gives you calories and portion sizes (lots do), but my preference is just to follow a few guidelines like

    – Whatever goes into the home cooked meal should be the best possible thing for you – good fats, lots of veggies, lean meats, complex carbs, moderate dairy.
    – You don’t have to avoid fat, oil, cream, butter, sugar etc altogether as long as you are sparing with it and only use it where it really makes a difference
    – With mixed foots like chili or casserole, compare the portion sizes you are serving yourself to what you might get in a lean cuisine or other diet portion – generally something the size of your fist unless it’s like, a salad
    – Follow standard portion sizes for carbs like rice or pasta (1oz/1/2c) and meats (4oz).

    I think the biggest takeaway for me is that you really only need to count calories for the really calorically dense foods like bread/pasta/rice, meat and fatty dressings/toppings – eat as much as you want of veggies and legumes, and a couple portions of fruit a day.


  • Meagan Stromer

    June 25, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Hey Diana,
    I did Body for Life by Bill Phillips who is from here in Colorado. It is great and really easy to follow. 6 balanced meals a day that include a protein and a carb. They even have a cookbook (with pictures of every meal) which I love. My kids will eat pretty much everything in it. 🙂 It’s also nice because every week you get a full day off to eat whatever you want and not exercise. This was great for me because I have a hard time with committing to a long diet plan with no cheating. I lost 25 lbs. in 12 weeks and have kept the majority of it off. It’s really about a change for life. It’s so hard for me being busy all the time with the kids and life that I needed something easy to follow, and something that was flexible. You can go to bodyforlife.com or pretty much any library has the book. Best of luck to you. 🙂

  • melissa

    June 25, 2012 at 8:50 am

    I’m a believer in not eatting high fat foods and watching my sugar intake (being a vegetarian helps a lot) an and I just try to control my portions. Granted I’m eatting all the tine cause I’m nursing, but on the days I’m starving I just try to eat frequently and not any meals. Planned diets never work long term for me. Good luck lady!

  • Hanan

    June 25, 2012 at 8:48 am

    This is what I have found with MFP and eating better. The more “natural” you eat, like fruits, veggies, whole grains, meat, and dairy the less you need to figure out. It’s all those “meals” we feel the need to make that make it more complicated.

    I try to limit the amount of foods that go into a meal. Also, sticking to the same types of meals for breakfast, snacks, and lunches makes it a little more easier.

  • Jo

    June 25, 2012 at 8:48 am

    I ditto what Andrea says. I hate entering recipes the first time, but I have several tried and true recipes that I make regularly, so once they’re in there, they’re in there.

    I hated WW when I tried it a few years back because I felt it relied too much on packaged foods and I had a hard time using it because I just don’t eat that way.

    The first couple of weeks I used MFP, I put every single thing in and watched as the calories ticked up and up and up. Now I use it some days and not others. Those first few anal retentive weeks gave me a good idea of how/where I was overeating and now I just sort of wing it and am doing well.

    I try not to stress about the exactness of it all, but aim for ballpark numbers.

    Now you’re making me realize how much I’ve ditched my Operation Hot Mother efforts. It’s probably time to post an update on my lack of progress and try and get my butt back in gear. Sigh.

    1. Michelle

      July 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm

      That’s exactly it. I use it loosely too, and it really helps. Exercise and food is the big thing for me, especially in the winter.

  • Kelli G

    June 25, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Yes, entering recipes is a pain in the arse. I do most of it online instead of on my phone, which I find easier. Except for the stuff that’s easier to scan, that I add on my phone. And like Andrea said, once you do it, it’s in there forever.

    As far as portions, I use a 1 cup ladle and count how many ladles I use to serve my fam, then count how many ladles I use to put the leftovers in a container. So I always start out with one ladle for myself til I know how many cals it is and if I have enough left for the day (if I’m still hungry).

    You can do it sister!

    1. Kate S.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:14 am

      Exactly what Kelly G. does! For big meals (double batches) or anything soupy that goes in the crock pot I guesstimate 10 servings at least. Usually we are good about eating 1 cup of things like that. So after everyone is done I count as I put it away. Yes, it’s time consuming. But just in a month that I’ve been really tracking everything I put in my mouth I’ve lost 10+ lbs.
      You do what’s best for you. But don’t get discouraged. Give MFP a few more weeks. You CAN do this!

  • Sarah

    June 25, 2012 at 8:45 am

    I have the EXACT same problem with MFP and Spark People, basically anything that asks me to track calories. WW worked for me, but I tired quickly of putting in all of the ingredients for the recipes I made. I am a big proponent of real food, and I don’t think it would be good for me to start eating more prepackaged food so I could track it on my phone. So for now, I’m just following some basic rules for myself- no snacking between meals (coffee is okay though), no eating after 7 pm, drink at least 72 oz of water each day. And then I’m trying to be more aware of how full I am getting at mealtime. It’s bound to help, I figure.

    1. Michelle

      July 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      I agree. Water’s a big thing. That’s what has helped me loose what little I have, along with everything else.

  • Andrea

    June 25, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I hate entering recipes too, however, if you do it once, it’s saved there forever. So if you have a lot of time to waste one day, enter your favorite recipes and save them all, and honestly, I just guess at portions and if I think I’ve had two portions instead of one, I track it as two servings. Good luck!

    1. Jessica @ The Happy Monster

      June 25, 2012 at 6:43 pm

      Ditto this. It does take time, but you will get used to it. I’ve been on it for a year now and I’ve got a lot saved. But you’ve got to find what will work for you and MFP isn’t a be all end all. I hardly ever finish a day out on it, but it’s still nice to track.

      1. Michelle

        July 1, 2012 at 7:25 pm

        I’m the same way. I’m mdermott on mfp. I love it. For your foods that have a bar code, it has a scanner, and like it was mentioned earlier, it’s all in there when you put it in. I love that. I follow it loosely, and try to do the right thing. Put your favs in, and see how you do. It’s up to you what you do, but I encourage you to keep going, wherever you go.

  • Misty Pratt

    June 25, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I don’t follow any program, but I aim for the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy stuff each day (veggies, fruits, whole grains, non-meat protein sources) and 20% non-healthy stuff (muffins, cookies, chips etc.) I also try to pay attention to portions, and I try to be mindful about when I’m becoming full so that I don’t overeat. If my pants start getting tight, I just limit my “rules” a bit more, so that I’m enjoying treats only once or twice a week. Perhaps try checking in a bit more for a whole week, and just see where your eating habits lie? I think if you are investing this much time in cooking meals from scratch, you’re already on a great path to healthy living 😉

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife

    June 25, 2012 at 8:26 am

    This was the exact reason why I quit MFP. It’s a great app in theory but in real life application it’s another job…I just couldn’t do it.

    A friend gave me a great way to measure my portions: the protein and carbs on your plate should each be no bigger than your fist and veggies are unlimited. Pretty simple to follow and be mindful of when I’m plating food.

    Also, don’t get so discouraged about the scale just yet. It’s only week 1. There are going to be weeks that you lose and weeks that you stay the same and dare I say it, weeks where you gain. You have to take into account where you’re at in your cycle too…water weight is a killer for me when it comes to the scale.

    And don’t stick with something that isn’t working for you. It took me almost five months to find a routine that worked for me and even then I don’t always stick with it.

    You can do it!

  • stephanie

    June 25, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Seriously check out sparkpeople.com. I am finding a very supportive community there. I loved MFP but for the same reasons you are saying I just couldn’t stick with it. I am doing WW and have been successful in the past following that plan. Let’s just see what happens this week! I’m here for you!

    You got this!


    1. stephanie

      June 25, 2012 at 8:27 am

      I forgot to add that I am nlay79 on sparkpeople if you decide to check it out. I still haven/t been great at tracking but they literally lay it all out for you. And, it’s FREE!

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