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15 Stages of Tracking Your Calories

You know that one of the best ways to lose weight is to track your calories. (And at least some experts agree.) But actually signing up for a food logging site can come with a few surprises. Here's what you can expect when you take the plunge.

1. As you create your login, you feel pumped. This is going to change your life!

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You'll lose weight! Your skin will clear up! You'll start eating smoothie bowls! (Try one of these 10—they're all under 500 calories.)

2. You diligently enter everything you ate yesterday and—whoa—there are how many calories in your favorite Juice Press oatmeal?

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Try not to think about all those mornings you had two for breakfast.

3. Addiction sets in.

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You're logging the bite you took of your friends' burrito at dinner, creating entries for foods that are missing in the database, calculating exactly how much yogurt was left in the cup when you tossed it...

4. This is getting a little annoying.

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Why are there so many wildly different entries for apples? "Verified" means nothing, apparently. (Don't be put off; apples can help you lose weight, along with these other perks.)

5. You start to question the formula the site uses to calculate your calories.

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I mean, 1,200? You usually eat that by 3 p.m.

6. You fall down the "Community" wormhole.

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WOW, people are really opinionated about carbs. (We're on the pro side. Here are 10 Reasons You Shouldn't Feel Guilty About Eating Bread.)

7. You become convinced that you're about to die.

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Have you ever, even once, actually hit your goal for iron or calcium? This is probably bad, right?

8. The site goes offline for a few hours right after lunch and you check it obsessively until it's back online.

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You're not freaking out. Nope, not at all.

9. You swear off tracking your calories on the weekend.

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It's normal to eat three days' worth of calories in a Saturday, right? Cheat days are healthy! (Err... Just read this.)

10. Serving sizes—what are those?

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You start getting a little more generous when you eyeball what four ounces of wine ortwo tablespoons of peanut butter really looks like. (Need some easy ways to estimate serving sizes? We've got you covered.)

11. Cracks start to appear.

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You only ever log the lowest-cal apple you can find. You quit logging wine. (You pee most of that out, right?) You keep "forgetting" to log anything after lunch.

12. You rue the day you joined.

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You used to be able to look at an apple and not automatically think, "80 cals. 22g carbs. 5g fiber."

13. You gain weight and recommit. For a day.

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This used to feel fun.

14. After extensive research about TDEEs, you manually change your calorie threshold.

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FREEEEEDOOOOMMMMMMM

15. You find a balance.

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You log meals, snacks, and water (duh). Desserts can be between us.

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