On Our Number One Tip for Calorie Counting Success
As promised in last weeks blog On Calories, this week I will be talking about our number one tip for calorie counting success.
Best $20 we Ever Spent
When Erin and I first decided to transition to a more healthy, active lifestyle, the very first thing we did after downloading ‘myfitnesspal’ was purchase a digital kitchen food scale. It turns out that this little gadget is not just something that drug dealers use in movies and TV shows! It’s an amazing tool and when used in combination with logging your calories and a measuring cup set it is a winning combination for getting to a healthy weight.
Walter White from Breaking Bad also used a digital scale, but for very different reasons
Before I started weighing and measuring my food, I had no idea what a portion was. Below is a comparison to illustrate. When I was at my heaviest, I would eat a large bag of chips like it was one serving. Turns out that a serving of chips is 50 grams, so a large bag typically has about 4-5 servings depending on the brand. Side note, Maple Bacon chips are delicious.
Reading what a portion size is on food labels or by using myfitnesspal and then measuring / weighing out those portions was a very eye opening experience for me. It made me realize that there are no bad foods or foods that I ‘can’t eat’, only appropriate portion sizes.
"It made me realize that there are no bad foods or foods that I 'can't eat', only appropriate portion sizes"
A kitchen food scale is also great when making a large number of pre-portioned meals. Making these pre-portioned meals and using a food scale to find out how many calories are in each meal makes it super easy to plan out a weeks worth of calorie conscious work lunches.
A weeks worth of portioned lunches. Roasted root vegtables and lentils!
I am no longer focused on losing weight and am instead focusing on maintaining a healthy weight, but I still use the food scale and measuring cups when I am eating calorie dense foods, like potato chips or chocolate covered almonds. Otherwise, I might grab a handful of chocolate covered almonds, thinking it’s half a serving when in fact it’s over a serving. That distinction is important, especially for calories dense foods.
Making a transition to a more healthy, active lifestyle is all about creating new habits. The habit of weighing and measuring food, to ensure accurate portion sizes and calorie counts was a critical new habit for Erin and I. It might sound daunting or time consuming, but once you get into the habit of it, it’s super easy and only adds a few seconds to your food preparation.
"It might sound daunting or time consuming, but once you get into the habit of it, it's super easy and only adds a few seconds to your food preparation."
Small Changes Over Time
If you saw the article online this week about our story on Global News, you would have read that we lost a combined 200 pounds by making small changes over a long period of time.
You will read a lot on our blog about what those small changes have been and how they can lead to big results. One sunny day does not make a summer. We didn’t get to our heaviest and unhealthiest weight overnight and we didn’t lose it overnight either.
Erin and I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables now, but when we were transitioning to a more healthy and active lifestyle, we still ate a lot of potato chips and ice cream. The small steps of using a food scale, measuring our food and logging our calories made it possible for us to balance losing a healthy amount of weight without denying ourselves the food we loved.