Hello friends! Hope your week is off to a great start. I wanted to touch base with you about something I think is important to success in weight loss and keeping it off.
Write down and track what you eat.
Studies have shown that people who take inventory of what they are putting in their mouths are far more successful than those who simply eat aimlessly. We eat to live, not live to eat. It’s also important to know how many calories we actually need each day. This link will help you calculate how many calories you need each day to maintain your current weight.
If you want to lose weight, you would decrease the amount of calories. Talk to your doctor about the amount. Going too low in calories can sabotage your metabolism by slowing it down. If your body thinks you’re starving, you won’t lose weight efficiently. A healthy way to lose weight is 1-2 pounds a week. It takes 3,500 calories to equal 1 pound. So cutting 500 calories a day and working out daily should yield a 1+ pound loss a week.
Back to the point of this post. Tracking what we are eating. If we don’t read labels or log our food choices, we could be consuming more than our bodies need. This is true not only of unhealthy foods, but also of healthy snacks. Great example from my food journal. Last week I picked up an energy trail mix. Only 140 calories a serving. The problem is I ate three servings! Yikes. When I logged my calories for the day, I was shocked I had gone over my normal eating routine by over 500 calories. Do that daily for weeks on end and guess what, you’ve gained weight.
Many items have multiple servings and restaurants serve portions that are for 2 to 3 people. If we eat an entire bowl of pasta from our favorite restaurant we may have consumed an entire day’s worth of calories in one meal and enough fat for days. Food places are required now to post nutrition info online. Look into your favorite places. You may be surprised the amount of calories, sugar, sodium, and fat are in 1 serving.
What to track:
2. Fat (want to limit especially trans fats)
3. Sugar ( it is not, I repeat not your friend)
4. Sodium (many foods are low in calories and loaded with salt. Salt makes you retain water and plenty of it)
5. Fiber (helps maintain blood sugar and promote proper digestion)
6. The carbs and protein (Especially if you are eating for your unique metabolism-see previous posts)
7. Vitamins-A, B, C, D…Zinc, etc….are you getting the daily recommended dosages of vitamins?
How to track: I recommended these resources in a previous post and have added them again. I also track my workouts. I track inches lost.
- http://www.sparkpeople.com. I like Spark People because it’s loaded with information and it’s free. So no excuses about not being able to afford it. There are forums, you can log exercise and food intake, they have a smart phone app, and you can join groups and meet people.
- If you simply want to track your calories and workouts check out these Free Online Fitness Tracking Tools, http://www.fitsugar.com/Free-Online-Fitness-Tracking-Tools-20376377. Many have apps you can add to your smart phone.
Lastly, what if you say, “Erin I don’t want to track everything I eat, it’s time-consuming and I don’t have time for that.” I will say if you want to lose weight, tracking is the best way to do it. No exercise program can compensate for a poor diet. Food is meant to be fuel. Some people are killing themselves at the gym and they aren’t seeing results because they are eating more calories than they are expending or eating too little. Some aren’t getting enough vitamins or water. If you don’t track it, how will you know? Once you reach your goal, you may not need to track calories or what you eat. This isn’t the law, it’s a tool. It’s a tool to help with success. I can guess at the calories I’ve eaten for the day, but I it takes time to know proper portions, and how much is enough.
Wishing you the best friends! These are simply suggestions. You have to do what works for you. I hope my suggestions are helpful!