Any advice on how to count calories - Weight Loss NHS

Weight Loss NHS

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Any advice on how to count calories

Minniewinny5 stone
β€’33 Replies

Confession time... I have absolutely no idea "how to know" what food has what calories.

I've always said "that to give food a number which could then restrict it or remove it from my plate is just rude!!" πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

However, I'm not loosing weight, I've cut my portions down and not snacking.. not cheating!! 😫

I am aware of the box on the back of packets, but which numbers to read / take notice of I am not sure..

And what do you count for vegetables, fruits, or pasta, rice are they uncooked or cooked values?

Does baking an apple change its calorie value?

Is a dry baked spud more or less than a jacket or boiled?

These may sound silly questions... But I honestly have no idea, I've looked on the list to the right, and googled how to count calories... but I'm still none the wiser.

Any advice welcome... πŸ—£πŸ—£πŸ—£πŸ—£ πŸ‘‚πŸ»πŸ‘€πŸ‘‚πŸ»

33 Replies
oldest β€’ newest

Only advice I can give is that I used my fitness pal app, and that works out pretty much everything xx

When your looking in the packets your looking at Kcal and to check if it's per 100 gram or portion of the packet.

It is tricky tho, have you check your daily calorie intake in the BMI calorie thing on this site? Make sur your eating enough calories.

There are some useful articles on here, I'm sure Admin could probably provide the links xx I will have a look see if I can find it for you xx

I'm sorry I've not been much help, hope you manage to get your head round it xx


Minniewinny5 stone in reply to Rosie173

Thanks Rosie173 All advice is welcome, most seem to repeat your recommendation, hence I have downloaded MyFitnessPal, will give it a try. Wishing you continued success with your goal.

Hi. I feel your pain. I don't count calories as I cut out potatoes, bread, rice and processed food (apart from milk and natural yog) and that is working for me. I am sure people on here do though and will be experts. Hope you get some help with it 🀞

Minniewinny5 stone in reply to EllaMidlands

Thanks EllaMidlands it is a minefield!! Wishing you continued success with your plan.


It's not a silly question Minniewinny 😊

Have a look at this

Then get a good set of kitchen scales, ( I have digital ones, and I can put a plate on, set dial to zero and then weigh the food) It will take time but you can do it 😊 As we tend to eat similar foods it does get easier. Keeping an accurate food diary is important, not only to keep,track of calories but it seems to make me realise how much ive eaten,

Another option is to follow a portion counted plan similar to this

And a third option is to use an app like MyFitnessPal, many people have great success with it.

Have a think, and just start writing the foods you eat down. Use the daily log sheets from the 12 week plan. And ask if you are unsure 😊

Ps the numbers in the backs of packets are very confusing, you're not alone there!! They normally give you Kcals (calories) per 100g, which is about 4 ounces in old money.

Haha, knew you would find it quicker than me!!!

Minniewinny5 stone in reply to IndigoBlue61

Thanks IndigoBlue61 i have a scales that you can set to zero and add to, I will take a look at the links. It seems a relevant query after All! Wishing you continued success on your journey.

Minniewinny5 stone in reply to Minniewinny

Both links really useful, Thanks for that.

Hi Minniewinny for things that aren't in a packet I just weigh stuff and google exactly what it is e.g "how many calories in 120g baked potato" or "how many calories in 100g raw carrots" and Google always gives me an answer. I don't weigh everything as it would get too frustrating but it's a good idea to weight salad/veg a couple of times so you get an idea, I now know that half a bell pepper and 8 cherry tomatoes is approx 50 cals, of course there's variation but with salad and green veg it would be hard to underestimate by a lot. The ones you would need to weigh are the more starchy veg as these have more calories and therefore easier to get it wrong. It's surprising how little sweetcorn you get for 100 cals!

Minniewinny5 stone in reply to Fran182716

Hi Fran182716 I will give google a try.. Thank you for taking time to respond. Wishing you success on your goals.


I leave the counting calories to the experts. I guesstimate portion sizes, and for things that are easy to misjudge, use a measure e.g. I use 1/3 cup for whole oats.

I have full-fat real foods as opposed to low-fat processed junk.

Minniewinny5 stone in reply to Concerned

Thank you Concerned like you, I have reduced my portion sizes, but so far have lost a total of 5-6 pounds in 14 weeks as compared to my husbands loss of a stone and 1 pound in the same time! I am aware that men generally loose quicker than women.. but this has been disheartening!!

Not giving up.. I just need to find what works and so many use the calorie counting as a way to success. But it is confusing!! Anything worthwhile is worth the effort!! Onwards we go!

Hi Minniewinny I find MyFitnessPal is brilliant, they have a barcode scanner which makes it really easy to log your calories. I've got a small digital scale in my kitchen and weigh everything (solid and liquid!!) it helps me stay on track with portion control - it REALLY surprised me at the beginning what a portion actually is!!!

Minniewinny5 stone in reply to Folliegirl

Hi Folliegirl I have downloaded this and will take a lookie. Thank you for your reply, I have a scales, so will give it a try. Wishing you continued success with your goals.

I recommend MyFittnessPal too! Easy to use.

Minniewinny5 stone in reply to PippiRuns

Thanks PippiRuns - I will give it a go. Wishing you continued maintenance... Well done on reaching your goal. πŸŽ‰

PippiRuns1kg in reply to Minniewinny

Thank you, Minnie. It is worth all the hard work. Keep at it.

Hiya , would recommend downloading My Fitness Pal. It's free & works it all out for you. Good luck x

Minniewinny5 stone in reply to Chuffington

Hi Chuffington Its now on my iPad and ready to explore. Wishing you well on your journey. Thank you for your encouragement.

nteapea1st 7lbs

I use my fitness pal but also the hairy dieters because that have worked out all the calories in their recipes already which makes it a lot easier

Minniewinny5 stone in reply to nteapea

Good morning nteapea Thank you for your response, I will take a lookie at the hairy dieters, I usually find cook books don't really give what I call everyday food recipes.. but suggest things that are good occasionally, but not already in my freezer or cupboard ready to use!

Wishing you continued success with your plans and goals...

Use My Fitness Pal.


Minniewinny5 stone in reply to Smiler69

Thanks Smiler69 I will give it a go. Wishing you a good week and success for your goals.

The main thing is to know how much of everything you're having. For that you need to know weights. It's good advice to get a set of kitchen scales but I've managed without. I use a Tala dry measures cone, and measure my rice, oats etc in there before cooking. If you're having something from a packet e.g. tinned tomatoes, calculate how many calories are in the whole packet (start with the 100g figure and multiply it accordingly), then divide it e.g. if you're having half. Veg, fruit, eggs etc are more tricky but generally the portion sizes will be standard, so you'll only need to find them out once e.g. 1 chopped onion is about 20cals. A baked apple is the same as a raw apple if you just put it in plain, use google or myfitnesspal for that (beware bramleys are about twice as much as normal apples). If you start adding butter, raisins etc you need to calculate the calories for those things too. You can guesstimate a lot of weights using spoons. E.g. a level teaspoon is around 5g, a level tablespoon is about 15g. This is how I measure olive oil. Once you have a record of all the raw ingredients and their weights then you can work out the calories. It starts slow but by the end is second nature :)

Minniewinny5 stone in reply to Ruth_canal_runner

Good morning Ruth_canal_runner - thank you for your response and encouragement. I'm not familiar with a tala cone.. I will look into that.. I've always been a handful each and one for the pot (rice & pasta) kinda gal.

It obviously has worked for you as a maintainer.. Well done on reaching your goals and still here to encourage us all. πŸŽ‰

I used to be like that and I thought things like 100g rice was a sensible portion. I now regularly have 50g and don't feel deprived as I know there is also carb in veggies, beans etc. As a vegetarian I thought everything I was having was healthy but it turned out my portion sizes were way out. The journey continues even when you maintain. The habits need to sort of 'bed in' :)

I agree, It is for life if we want to keep it off and be healthy.

Hi Minniewinny

It's a good question and you've had lots of excellent advice.

I'm doing my own calorie controlled and portion controlled diet, but I like to keep things as simple as possible, so don't actually weigh out anything, ever. It drives me crazy entering data, and life's too short lol, although I know that many swear by fitness pal and it is great for calorie counting. πŸ˜€

As we're creatures of habit we tend to eat the same things fairly often, potatoes, milk, eggs, chicken etc, so you quickly learn the calories of those staple items and you learn to know that generally, weight for weight turkey has the least calories, followed by chicken, fish etc with lamb having the most, so it's wise to eat mostly turkey, chicken and fish and have beef, pork, lamb very occasionally for a change.

Veg, except potatoes, is good and I eat lots of it with most meals, always without potatoes, having a baked potato with tuna once a week. Then I eat rice fairly often as I like curries, but smaller portions. I've cut out pasta for now, snd will return to that in moderation on a maintenance diet.

As for nutritional value labels on packs, you need to look at the Kcal value not the KJ number.

Hope this helps for now πŸ˜€

Minniewinny5 stone in reply to Chuckyegg

Thanks Chuckyegg i like your keeping it simple.. and having lost a stone - you certainly have freedom of speech. Wishing you continued success.

There are lots of apps out there and food lists. Also many have the calorific vaiue on packaging now. A rough ready reckoner I keep in my head is for one ounce - 28 grams it's roughly:

Lean meat - 40

Fatty meat - 50

White fish - 25

Oily fish - 40

Staples - (bread, spuds, pasta, rice, pulses) 30

Whole fruit - 20

Green and root veg - 10

Thats very rough mind but useful

Minniewinny5 stone in reply to Meg41

Thanks Meg41 a good ready reckoner

Mulemay2020 June

Hi I think it’s just looking at packets and u will get to know fruit , I wouldn’t bother counting veg

Minniewinny5 stone in reply to Mulemay

Thank you for your reply Mulemay I used MyFitnessPal and made progress as I’ve now lost the extra weight and I’m maintaining for the last year and a half.

Cheering you on to reach your goals πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

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