Monday, November 4, 2013

Count bites, Not Calories!!!!!

           Quote from Family Circle 1977

Count bites, not calories-- a doctors new technique for losing weight

                    by Samuel Mines From Family Circle September 1977

 Here from the famed Seattle pain clinic is a simple effective way to cut food intake-- and lose weight--without changing your style of eating or giving up your favorite treats The trouble with most reducing diets is that theyre too complicated--the dieter gets tired of the whole thing and gives up. Is there a simpler, more effective way to reduce?

Yes. Here is a technique devised by Dr. Richard G Black (now in practice in Baltimore) while was assistant director of the famous Seattle Pain Clinic at Univeristy Hospital and also serving as associate professor of anestheseoology at the University of Washington Medical School. It has been used for over seven years on about 200 patients in a hospital setting and has produced good results. Countless others have heard about it and put it to work for themselves.

Why from a Pain Clinic?

 Patients suffering chronic intractable pain often have emotional problems, and obesity is a frequent result. Putting such patients on strigent diets can add to their difficulties. Pain makes patients more or less sedentary too; food becomes their comfort and solace, and the result is often a considerable weight gain. For these people, Dr Black needed a sure and uncomplicated system to take off weight without adding to their burden of suffering. Counting calories wasn't the answer. Restricting food wasn't the answer.

What was needed was a simple, less stressful method to enable the patient to reduce his intake of food, and give him short term goals that would mark his progress visibly and also offer encouragement. Dr. Black found a simple, workable tequnique: Count bites, not calories. It consists simple of using a tally register (see Weight Loss Plan page 159) to check off every bite or swallow you take, keeping a register of your weight and the number of bites taken every day, and establishing a baseline for the number of bites that lets you lose weight at the rate you find comfortable.

 Dr Black has seen this technique work with patients who cant adjust to any other method. It offers simplicity with the incentives of short term goals and day to day progress that rewards the patient with measurable results. And it is scientifically sounder than many diets that depend on changes in types of food eaten. Keystone of the system, says Dr. Black, is the realization that people find it difficult to change lifelong habits. A method of weight control was needed that could adapted to the person's usual style of eating. It had to be based on the reconginition that people will return to the eating style they like, to the patterns of long custom. They will not for any extended period of time stay with an unusual or unpalatable diet

. Some measure was necessary to control the quanity of food intake, not necessarily the type of food intake, which is more controlled by the individuals lifelong eating habits. A simple convenient method was to measure actual intake, not by portion, but by bites, as people will always revert to their standard size bite, no matter how much they might attempt to take extra large or extra small bites at the beginning. Attempts to cheat are inevitable, but not lasting. The individual relapses quickly enough to his normal bite pattern The simple expendiency of counting bites is therefore an adequate measure of food intake. It remained only to relate this to the patients weight and to inform him immedietly of his progress--whether increase or decrease--in order to achieve a satisfactory method of weight control.

 One of the advantages is that once you have established your baseline, you can control your own rate of weight loss much more precisely than ever before Radical changes in weight are not desirable, says Dr Black, because of the stress they put on the body and because losses achieved through sudden changes are not generally maintained. The bite diet is intended to achieve moderate changes of two to five pounds a week, but, more important to set a lifelong pattern of eating that will maintain these changes.

  To your surprise you will find that when you begin to reduce the number of bites, it does not entail as much self denial and anguish as you expected. The reason is the little tallier in your hand. As the days total climbs to the mark you've learned is critical, you know you cant afford another piece of bread, or a second helping of whatever. Without knowing precisely what you've eaten, its just to easy to go on. The count tells you exactly where you are, and it becomes relatively easy to stop a few bites short of the original mark. The count gives you a remarkable sense of security. Without it your never quite sure of what you've eaten or how little or how much, but with the counter, You always know.

The simplicity of the bite diet is that you don't have to worry too much about the kinds of food you eat as long as you are on a generally balanced, nutritional diet. The bite technique takes much of the urgency out of limiting the types of food you eat. YOu do not have to give up everything you like. Bear in mind that an ounce of meat moderately fat has about as many calories--75 to 77-- as an ounce of bread. So you don't have to cut out all the foods you prefer.

No Matter what you eat, if your chart shows no weight loss, you simply have to take fewer bites.

  Theoritically, you could live on potatoes alone and still lose weight as soon as you found the number of bites below the critical level that maintains your weight.

  No Matter what you eat, you will lose if you eat less of it.

Small bites, large bites, Rich foods or lean foods-- all these choices become less critical.

Your tallier gives you a positive lock on your progress at all times, and you need no complicated computations to know whether youre eating too much, too little, or just enough. Your record of progress is always in front of you. The long waits, the long term goals are reduced and your enthusiasum doesn't wilt.

 Is carrying your tallier around with you embarrassing?

 Not a bit. If you hang it around your neck on a cord, like a referees whistle, people either don't notice, or they put it down to some kind of project. Youll probably find out that no one even asks what it is. When eating out, you can keep the tallier unobtrusively in your lap and quietly press the lever. When a question is asked, you can explain what you are doing with it. You may even make a few converts to the count-bites technique. Don't leave it at home when you go out, because if you try to count bites mentally for recording later, you'll find that it just doesn't work. The weight loss plan Equipment: You need a sheet of ruled paper and a pencil, a bathroom scale and a tally register--a handheld device sometimes used to count people going into a building.

The weight loss plan Equipment: You need a sheet of ruled paper and a pencil, a bathroom scale and a tally register--a handheld device sometimes used to count people going into a building. It has a ring that slips over your finger, and a plunger to press every time you wish to add a number. Its available at a sporting goods or stationary store for $5 to $7. Draw up a tally sheet: Take your paper and pencil and mark off columns with the following headings:

Date                Weight                  Number of bites 



-- You will need 14 horizontal lines for a two week period, 30 to 31 for a month.

 How To Start

--Begin by weighing yourself first thing in the morning--before breakfast.
--Then, on your tally sheet, write down the date and your weight
--When you sit down to breakfast, have your counter with you.
--Everytime you put food into your mouth or swallow a liquid, press the plunger on your counter.
--Don't diet. Don't try cutting or changing anything yet. Eat in your normal way for this starting period. Just count your bites and record your weight everyday.
-- Leave the breakfast total on your counter. You can make a separate note of this subtotal if you wish: you may find it helpful later as a closer guide. But for now, you want the days total of bites. Add your lunch total to your breakfast total, and do the same at dinner. If you have any snacks or drinks between meals, or in the evening, be sure to add the bites or swallows as you take them
--At the end of the day, put down your total number of bites you have taken in the proper column across from that days weight.
-- Do this for a week or two, just counting the bites you normally take.
--Youre establishing a baseline.

How to establish your baseline:

Check your weight at the start and end of the first week.

-- Are you gaining, losing, or staying at a stable weight?

--What is your average number of bites a day?

-- If you are gaining, you are obviously taking too many bites.

--If you are maintaining, your weight, and wish to lose, you are again taking too many bites.

--In either case, you have to reduce the number of bites that you take a day

For example: If you find that you are taking 150 bites a day and slowly gaining, you m ay discover that at 100 bites, you are holding still, and that between 80 to 90 bites, you will lose. If at 150 bites a day your weight is stable, you may find that you can lose two lbs a week on 80 bites. You can slow weight loss to a lb a week by raising your intake to 90 bites, or speed weight loss to three lbs a week by dropping your intake to 70 or 75 bites a day

  Starting your weight loss:

-- Continue to keep your tally sheet with weight, date, and bites per day, reducing or adjusting your bite count till you have the right number to lose weight at the rate you want.

-- You should try to lose weight slowly. Rapid weight loss does not give you time to adjust to a new pattern of eating, and if you are considerably overweight, it increases the risk of circulatory problems. One to three lbs a week is enough. You put weight on gradually, take it off gradually

--Once you begin reducing the number of bites, you may find it gives you better control to set a mark for each meal than a total for the day. It just may work better to hold breakfast to 10 to 15 bites, Once you begin reducing the number of bites, you may find it gives you better control to set a mark for each meal than a total for the day. It just may work better to hold breakfast to 10 to 15 bites, not get past 35 to 40 for lunch and leave yourself a decent margin for dinner. otherwise you may good past a good point buy the end of lunch and have nothing much left for dinner. This means snacking in the evening in order to stave of the pangs of starvation--and blowing the whole days total

Choice of foods

Do you, as in most diets need totally to eliminate all the foods that make life worth while? Not really. you can continue your usual diet. If you take fewer bites, you will lose weight. How about liquids? Sweet drinks like orange juice, coffee with sugar and cream, and soft drinks with sugar; soup (except boulion) and alcoholic drinks must be counted. Consider a swallow equivalent to a bite.


Will you tend to concentrate on carbohydrates because theyre more filling and satisfying? Not for long. You wont pass up the steak for bread alone, however much you like bread Will you take bigger bites? Probably for a while, but eventually youll revert back to your natural bite size. You may even go the other way and take smaller bites, especially as you begin to see results and realize how easy losing weight has become. In the long run, bite size and swallows will average themselves out, and you can stop worrying about them. But continue to count your bites. Your tallier is always there with the days total, a reliable support and guide to how you are doing. Youre bound to slip up once in a while, Everyone does, and the result is that you may lose more slowly than you otherwise would. But at least you will know exactly when and how you went over, and this is an enormous help in keeping you honest

 Weight Stabilization:

 What happens whwen you've reached your desired weight? You've now got to add some food so as to stop losing. With the bite system, you know exacty how much to add. For example, if you already found that you will hold level at 100 bites a day and lose on 80, all you need to do is go back to 100 bites to maintain your weight. IF that doesn't hit it exactly its simple enough to adjust it a few bites either way to come right on target. Continue to count your bites and keep your records so you don't start to regain the weight you have lost Can you ever give up your tallier? Possibly. Once you know your eating habits have changed and your intake is under control. But continue to keep a close watch on your weight. If a pound or two begins to creep up on you, go back to counting bites to keep your weight under control.

What is a bite?

A bite is the amount of food you take into your mouth at one time and cosequently swallow, with or without chewing.

Its a "bite" whether  you use a fork or spoon or your fingers. (with nuts, for example) to put food into your mouth, lick it up with your toungue, (ice cream cone or icepop), chop it off with your teeth (bread, candy bars, cookies and so on) or sip it (liquids except water and other calorie-free drinks) If you are sucking a hard candy or cough drop, it is the swallows of sweet liquid that count.

Though you may take bigger or smaller bitres at the start, you revert to normal bite size in a short time, Dr. Richard G Black says


LOST- 30 lbs Elizabeth P. developed diabetes in her early 20's after a childhood of being that fat kid.  She was put on a fixed diet and required daily injections of insulin.  The insulin made her hungry and her life became a see saw between eating more food than she needed and taking insulin to burn it up. By the time she was 35, she was 70 lbs overweight.  The doctor said I didnt have to live on celery and carrots--I could eat some of the things I liked, so long as I had a check on how much I was eating at all times.  With the number of the bites staring her in the face, she has a clear directive to stop when the tally limit is reached, and she's made good progress in bringing down her wieght

LOST- 24 lbs Dr Elmer F is a surgeon with a large and successful practice.  His approach to relaxation was to unwind with good food. NOt only was I a welcome sight in all the best restuarants in town, he says, but I became a gourmet cook, taking over that job, almost completely from my wife.  After a couple years of this, I found myself buying suits two sizes larger.  Dr F was introduced to the bite diet.  After three months he is still an occasional visitor to the best restaurants in town but he keeps his counter on his lap

LOST-18 lbs  Emily C works for the welfare department of  her city. Her job which she takes seriously brings her into contact with so much human suffering that she used to become discouraged and depressed.  Her dating was unsuccessful and she spent evenings alone with a book and a plate of cookies.  On the bite diet, she says,  I lost about three pounds a week. In six weeks thats 18 lbs. which is more than enough to show a difference.  With her weight loss, her mood has changed, and her social  life is livelier she reports



  1. Thank you for posting this information about this method of losing weight. I never heard of it before. My weight is currently around 220 lbs. and I need to get down to 145, where it was 12 years ago. I tend to give up on diets because of the amount of record keeping involved with counting calories or carbs. A lot of times I find myself having to estimate how much of something I ate (who knows how accurate that is)? Most nights I cook something for dinner made of multiple ingredients--the bookkeeping then becomes a real nightmare! This way sounds simple and a lot less trouble. I'm going to try it!

    1. Thanks for Commenting! It is alot simpler than any calorie/carb/point counting I have tried! ;) I started very close to your weight about 218.2 and I am 145.4, so very close to your starting and goal numbers! The same way with Intuitive Eating which I used to do, I would constantly have to put forth such a mental effort wether or not I was hungry or full. This caused it to be too much work!

      Let me know how it goes for you, highly recomend to help with keeping on track, too.

  2. It's Monday, so I'm starting to count bites today. Just checked out the Stickk website and I like the idea of putting money on the line as extra incentive! Perseverance is definitely not my strong point, so I made a contract to stick to 80 bites or less daily for this week, or donate money to a charity.

  3. Good for you, you are trying stickk! I use it for bites every week, exercise and housework ect ect. Ive been doing it stickk scince October 2013.

    80 bites is a good place to start!

  4. This is so interesting and informative! I appreciate your posting it. I'm going to try this.

  5. If you don't have time for workouts and still want to lose weight, you can try Garcinia Cambogia Extract! I lose weight and so happy about it!

  6. I'm trying to figure out if I count black coffee as a bite? Help?

  7. No you do not count plain black coffee as a bite

  8. I just wanted to say thank you for all the information you have. It was truly inspiring to read. Started counting bites last Monday, and I am amazed at the lack of hunger right now. Not that I don't get hungry, but I don't feel driven to eat. Keep focused!! And thanks again!!!

  9. I drink an extra two glasses a day of water because i read for every cup of coffee add a cup of water because it can retain water and dehydrate you, is this true? Im kind of hooked on coffee so i'm hoping it is not bad for my diet.

    1. A trainer had once told me that the body is made for survival. If you don't drink enough water, it will retain water because it doesn't know when it will get more. Whereas if you teach your body it can have water all day (meaning you drink water all day) it won't retain as much because it knows it will be replenished very soon. Did he provide textbook citations? No. But it made sense to me.

      One thing I have noticed is that by drinking just a little extra water means I do urinate a whole lot more. Some days it seems like I'm going more than I'm drinking, so maybe there is some truth to it.

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  11. I found your blog a few days ago and I'm really excited about doing this. I started three days ago and it's going pretty well. I want to congratulate you on all your success so far and thank you for having this awesome blog site about counting bites! I think this is a perfect way to lose weight and it's so much easier than tracking calories.

    1. Hi Elizabeth, I just started today and I was wondering how it was going for you. Most of the other comments are from a while back, including Amanda's, so I was wondering if anyone was doing the same thing as me at this time...

    2. Hi Elizabeth, I just started today and I was wondering how it was going for you. Most of the other comments are from a while back, including Amanda's, so I was wondering if anyone was doing the same thing as me at this time...

    3. Hi Elizabeth, I just started today and I was wondering how it was going for you. Most of the other comments are from a while back, including Amanda's, so I was wondering if anyone was doing the same thing as me at this time...

  12. hi :) tqvm for all the information .. i am 172 lbs i am trying to to loose alot of weight.. tried alot of method but it have always been a failure to me :( I am gonna give this a try .. wish me gud luck .,,

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  15. This is good starting sensible today. Tried 5 bite to restrictive. Like this better weigh 245 goal 145 will keep posted. Good luck to all

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