T Nation

How to Count the Calories?

I’d like to believe I’m getting past the beginner stages of my training. Not in terms of size just yet but in terms of knowledge. I’m seeing a lot of results but I can’t seem to put on weight.

I’ve made a few simple changes that I thought would be enough to do it. I was doing 1 protein shake a day with 0% milk. I’m now up to 3 protein shakes a day with whole milk with very little change to my workout or diet otherwise. I would’ve thought the additional milk would be enough to see some slow gains but something. I’ve not budged at all though on the pounds. So it looks like if I really want this which I do I need to start counting calories a little and maybe trying this carb cycling thing.

It all seems very difficult to me and I’m looking for advice on how to get started. Not the macronutrients and percentages and shit but some simple advice. Like maybe how to begin counting the calories I’m currently taking in, figuring I’ll then add a couple hundred at least and being able to make sure I get those in each day.

So to begin let’s look at what I’ll be eating for dinner tonight: A sweet potato of average size, a bunch of asparagus, and a chicken that I’ll probably just pan fry in some olive oil because its raining out so no BBQ.

How would I go about figuring out the calories in this? What about on the once or twice a week I go out? I eat more than anyone I know including guys bigger than me and still I can’t get any increases on my weight.

Should I lay off things like Sweet Potato and Ezekial Bread and go straight for some regular Potato and Whole Wheat Bread?

Any and all advice would be welcomed, I’m really getting frustrated on this aspect of my training.

fitday.com + food scale

I would say a good start would be to use a website like fitday.com and set up a food log and get an idea of exactly how much you’re taking in on a regular basis then post back. If you’re not gaining weight, then you’re simply not eating enough of the right foods. I’ve trained so many guys who have a hard time gaining weight that say they “eat a ton” and then they come to me with their fitday print out and it’s like 2200 calories if even. Now I’m not saying that you’ll want or need to be counting calories all the time, I do it because it works for me, this is mainly just to help you get a better idea of approximately what you’re taking in so that you know what you need to fix. Also post your training.

NutritionData.com

Has logs, calculators, a pretty damn good database of foods and their breakdowns, and plenty of other tools to help you keep track and stay on it.

[quote]BONEZ217 wrote:
fitday.com + food scale[/quote]

Sometimes I think you’re my clone based on your answers.

What about things like mixed dried fruit that I might just eat a few pieces of regularly throughout the day and similar things (trail mix or nut mixes for example or a handful of blueberries) does either fitday or this nutritiondata have a way of recording that?

I guess I have to get a food scale for that type of thing? Any suggestions on a cheap place to buy a food scale?

[quote]Enders Drift wrote:
What about things like mixed dried fruit that I might just eat a few pieces of regularly throughout the day and similar things (trail mix or nut mixes for example or a handful of blueberries) does either fitday or this nutritiondata have a way of recording that?

I guess I have to get a food scale for that type of thing? Any suggestions on a cheap place to buy a food scale?[/quote]

Yes, check out ND.

I got a very nice scale off of Amazon for $25 shipped. It comes in a lot of different manly, girly, and neutral colors.

[quote]Enders Drift wrote:
Any suggestions on a cheap place to buy a food scale?[/quote]

Check Target. I got mine there. Don’t remember exactly how much it was, but I’m thinking around $30. It was a higher capacity model (~11 pounds).

If you have an iPod Touch, get the LoseIt! application. Show’s all the macros and lets you add your own foods.

I don’t think you need to count anything. You know, roughly on average, what you typically eat in a day. Either eat more of those foods or replace some of those foods with more calorie dense foods (ie, replace chicken with beef).

And also, FTR, I don’t think shoveling in a few handfuls of dried fruit or trailmix will help. It’ll probably just delay your next meal because you won’t be hungry yet. Most people who have trouble gaining weight (including me, at one point) get past sticking points by literally forcing food down when they weren’t hungry. Eat the biggest meal you can possibly eat, then throw down a milkshake.

Soon your body will adapt and you won’t be forcing food down anymore. You’ll just be hungry all the damn time and it will take those big meals to be satiated.

I use dailyplate.com. same idea.

  • food scale

I think it’s useful to get a baseline idea of just what the hell you’re eating, so you can look at diet/meal ideas and figure out if they’ll work for you.