August 05, 2021

Some FAQ's About How I'm Losing Weight

This post feels premature to me because I've only been back to calorie counting for 10 weeks and I'm still 30 pounds above my target weight. (I don't really want to say "goal weight" because I'm not sure what that is, exactly. I know I feel best at 130-135, but if I am only able to get to 145, I'm cool with that. I start feeling uncomfortable in my own skin when I'm above 145, so I am loosely aiming for something under that.)

Anyway, the last time I was under 145 was actually in early 2018--so it's been quite a long time! I am just hoping that I don't write this post and then stop seeing progress in taking the weight off.

I was about 130-135 pounds here, which is where I feel best.
Clearly, though, I was stronger back then. That tree was heavy AF ;)

I've gotten a lot of questions about how I've been losing weight and the details of how I count calories, so I wanted to write an updated post to 'How I Calorie Counted My Way Back to My Goal Weight').

Before I get into it, I REALLY want to stress that what works for me may not work for others. Everybody is different, and bodies respond differently. What works for others may not work for me, and what works for me may not work for them. I think it's super important to experiment and find out what works for you (especially if there are dietary restrictions for medical reasons to consider).

This post is actually going to be quite boring, because my biggest "secret" is that I keep it SUPER SIMPLE. Over the decades of dealing with my weight, I've learned that the simpler I keep it, the more likely I am to stick to it. So here are some frequently asked questions (and my answers):

Q. Do you track just calories, or do you track macros too?

A. In the spirit of keeping it simple, I only track calories. I would feel way too overwhelmed trying to track anything else in addition. And each time I've counted calories, I've been successful at taking off extra weight. I've tried all sorts of diets but nothing ever worked for me except for eating less food in the form of counting calories.

Q. Do you limit carbs?

A. Like I said with the previous question, I don't count anything but calories. So no, I don't limit carbs. I just eat whatever sounds good to me and I weigh or measure my food to log the calories.

Q. How many calories do you aim for each day?

A. I don't have an exact number. I roughly shoot for 1600, but I don't feel like it's mandatory to hit that number. If I'm feeling less hungry that day, I eat less; if I'm ravenous, I eat more. But when I average out the numbers, it's about 1600 per day.

Q. Do you add calories for exercise?

A. No, I don't--since I don't have a target calorie count, it doesn't really make sense to add in calories. If I'm hungrier on the days I run, then I just eat a little more. I usually find that I'm less hungry on running days, though!

Q. What exercise do you do?

A. I started the Couch to 5K plan the same day that I started counting calories. It's only three days a week and I followed the plan exactly as written--it starts out at about 20 minutes per workout and at the end, it took me about 36 minutes per workout. After completing the plan, I'm now running 3 miles, 3 days a week.

Q. What kinds of foods do you eat?

A. I eat anything that sounds good to me--I try to eat what I want most because that is what will most satisfy my appetite. I eat a lot of grapes (because I LOVE grapes!) and this week I've eat so many peaches that I feel like I'm going to turn into one. I usually eat a really light breakfast and/or lunch because I like to save most of my calories for my main meal (dinner).

For dinner, I usually just cook something that I've already posted the recipe for (you can find the recipes page here). Something that I make a point to avoid is changing the ingredients in recipes to be lower in calories. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but I like to use whole milk, real butter, full-fat cheese, real pasta versus subbing in cauliflower or something, and I don't cut back on those ingredients.

The reason for this is that I prefer to choose quality over quantity. I'd rather eat a smaller portion of rich, cheesy lasagna than a huge portion of zucchini "noodles" with plain tomato sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. (This is just my personal preference; if I liked zucchini more than pasta, I would choose the zucchini!)

I've also noticed that I lose weight much more easily when I eat a smaller volume of food. Even if I eat the same number of calories, my body prefers smaller portions of higher calorie food than large portions of low-calorie food. I don't feel hungry when eating smaller portions as long as I get enough calories.

Here is a variety of what I've eaten over the past couple of months:

Also, I love dessert--I usually have something sweet every day. This is something I did throughout my entire 125-pound weight loss.

Q. What do you do when you don't know how many calories are in something?

A. Another lesson I've learned over the years is not to take calorie counting to the extreme. If I don't know the calories in something but I want to eat it, then I just search on my app to find something similar and I count the calories that way. For example, my mom made a "hummingbird pie" and brought some over. It looks like an apple pie with a streusel topping, but it's made with peaches (she got a box of peaches from The Peach Truck, too!). I didn't have her recipe and I didn't worry about that--I just ended up counting it as an apple pie with streusel topping.

When Luke stayed the night last weekend, we made homemade lemonade. We also had a movie night and made popcorn (and Luke asked if we could add a handful of Skittles to it, and as his fun aunt, of course I said yes). It was all about spending time doing something fun with my nephew, and I didn't want to worry about measuring out exact portions so that I could count it correctly. I just guesstimated it later by looking up similar things on my app.

We watched the movie Cars (which is why I used this filter) and sent this
"Jerry face" selfie to Jerry (he was in Wisconsin at the time).

So basically, I don't take it super seriously. If I'm going to have to count calories forever to lose/maintain my weight, then I want it to be something that I can fit into my lifestyle.

Q. What app do you use to count calories?

A. Currently, I use Cronometer, at the suggestion of a reader. It's very detailed and numbers-oriented, and as a "numbers person", I love that (even though I only actually count calories). I pay for a subscription for it, though.

The first app I always recommend to people is actually Fat Secret. I used that for a long time before I switched to Cronometer and it's the best free app I've tried (and I've tried a lot of them!). It's very user-friendly, there aren't ads, the database isn't overwhelming with hundreds of entries for the same item, and it's easy to create and save recipes (for easy tracking later). I highly recommend it.

Okay, I think that about covers the questions I've been getting lately... if I didn't answer something and you're curious, feel free to ask! Remember, these are things that work best for ME and MY preferences; it's important to figure out what works best for you. This post explains that in more detail--how to make changes that work for YOU.

Now, I just hope that I continue to see progress! I feel very confident that I have the determination to see this through--and beyond. I've learned just how easy it is to put weight back on, and I definitely don't want to have to lose the weight yet again ;)


  1. Thanks for addressing these items again! I totally agree with everything you said… if it’s something especially that you want to see through long term it has to be simple or it is too easy to want to quit!

  2. I feel my best at 135 also (I think we are around the same height), but sometimes I feel like its so hard to maintain. My target weight is also 145 right now because I feel that's easier to maintain for me. I have 10 lbs to go! You got this girl and you are doing amazing!

  3. Thanks for the useful answers! Go you! Love following your journey.

  4. I definitely need to try the more relaxed approach to calorie counting. I get so caught up in doing it perfectly (like making sure to find the exact thing I ate) and then I get overwhelmed and end up quitting.

  5. You are so inspiring. Do you eat much fast food? Also, I know you say you don’t worth about macros. Do you consider protein or anything? I thought about getting a individual oatmeal packet with some peanut butter, but I start overthinking if I need fiber etc etc, or if I can just eat fruit without pairing it with protein. I guess what I’m asking is do you think about any of that or just eat? I would love to just eat what I want, watch the portion & not obsess over the rest.


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