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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category


Eat this.

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Most weight management sites use a simplified equation based on age, gender, height, weight and activity level to calculate the number of calories we should eat to lose or maintain our weight.

For example, I recently visited a popular calorie calculator, entered an age of (38), male, height (5’ 9”), my weight (213 pounds) and chose the “Active” activity level.

I provided the age and weight I was prior to the losing the 50 pounds I lost a few years back as I wanted to see what the calculator would have suggested to me back then. I’m 43 now.

I hit the calculate button and it suggested that to maintain my current weight I should eat 2619 calories per day, but if I wanted to lose approximately one pound per week, I should eat 2119 calories per day.

I wanted to lose one pound per week.

Flash back to 2008. I lost my excess 50 pounds by eating no more than 2200 calories per day. That was the magic number that worked for me (however, I arrived at that number quite a bit differently than by the logic of a calorie calculator).
It took me about 10 months to lose the weight for good, but it was a challenge to stick to that number day in and day out.
Prior to discovering I could eat 2200 calories and be both satisfied while still losing weight at the same time, I was unconsciously averaging 3400 calories per day and getting heavier and heavier by the meal.

Ok back to the calorie calculator results I received. Their suggestion of eating 2119 to lose a pound a week is slightly lower than the calorie goal of 2200 I used to drop my excess weight, but not by too much. The main issue I have with calorie calculators, other than the fact they merely provide “a general guideline for information purposes only”, is the real missed opportunity to invest the time to get to know our current eating habits; to first take into consideration what isn’t working (how much food am I currently eating). They’re unable to personalize initial recommendations for each individual eater.

We’ve got to know where we’ve been to know where we’re going. Everyone is different. Now, I’ll be the first to agree that following a general guideline has got to be better than continuing to over eat, but easier said than done.

To greatly improve our chances of long-term success we must slowly transition (over a month or two) how much we eat now (usually too much) to how much we should be eating (each week) to trigger excess pounds to automatically skid-addle on weigh-in day.

It’s a metamorphosis that retrains our eyes, our stomachs and our minds allowing our bodies to get used to the whole idea of eating less.

The kicker is that it takes that month or two to arrive at an eating goal that’s personalized just for you.  The only way to arrive at that number, and make it stick, is to have patience (let it happen) and be consistent (don’t quit).

It’s taken years to master our over-eating habits. We make the same mistakes so frequently it has become second nature. It’s how we eat.

It’s gonna take at least a few months of initial time investment to break those habits in a way that fricken works. Had I tried to go from averaging 3400 calories per day directly down to 2200 (in one shot) it would have been like telling myself to only breathe for 18 out of the 24 hours available in the day. I wouldn’t have lasted long.

» Bryan

I ate, I said, I did.

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

I’m working on some mockups to be able to include additional meaningful stuff to everyone’s food log. It’d be cool to be able to add thoughts and activities amongst all of the delicious foods we eat.

The i ate: option would be for adding food (it would always default to i ate), the i said: option would display thoughts (in blue) and the i did: option could display workouts or other activities (in purple).

Food tab with thoughts, workouts, links, etc.

I’m also playing around with adding links to our favorite stores, restaurants, food products, etc. » Bryan

Thanks for the inspiration Windy.

How much food did I just eat?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

We all want to be in control of our food (and not the other way around). The more often we weigh our food (especially when eating at home) the less likely we are to over-eat.

You may think that weighing something you’re about to eat sounds like a drag but it’s not. On weigh-in day, losing pounds and feeling good about it is no drag.

Using a food scale also gives us really good practice in visually confirming how much a portion really is. The more we do it the better we get at spotting too much food.

How many calories is a serving of french bread, almond butter or dark chocolate? When we figure it out it opens our eyes.

With so many foods packaged with multiple servings all mixed in together or recipes that contain lots and lots of different ingredients, it’s often times difficult to know how much we just ate.

Taylor makes an affordable “Biggest Loser” scale available at Bed, Bath & Beyond for about $19 bucks. It’s nice and roomy so you can fit large bowls or medium plates and still see the display. It weighs up to six pounds of food and can measure in both 1 gram and .1 ounce increments so it’s pretty much got you covered. Another plus is that it uses lithium batteries which last longer than traditional alkalines.

Taylor Biggest Loser Scale

Scale (noun) The relative size or weight of something.

Here’s how I use my Biggest Loser scale to quickly figure out how much food i’m about to eat.

1) I’m about to eat some almond butter. I turned the scale on and toggled the units from ounces to grams (left button). I put my almond butter jar (with no lid) on the platform and it weighs 439 grams.

Weigh the whole jar.

Reset scale to zero.
2) Once I had an accurate weight, I pressed the power button again (right button) to tare out the weight (set it back to zero). This is important because whatever I eat out of the jar will display as being minus this much. Like this:

This is what I scooped out of the jar.
3) I scooped out 30 grams of almond butter for my sandwich and the scale just totally helped me see how much gooey deliciousness I’m about to eat. Pretty cool huh?

Look at serving size and calories.
4) Lets take a closer look at the nutrition label* to translate my 30 grams of almond butter into an accurate amount of calories.

The most generally useful items to look for on a nutrition label (aside from healthy, unprocessed ingredients) are Serving Size and Calories. Since I’m using a gram/ounce scale I chose to use 32g instead of 2 Tbsp for my measurement. Turns out my 30 grams of almond butter was slightly less than a full serving (32g).

[ Fats, sodium, carbs, sugars and proteins are also important macro-nutrients, but I'm not particularly concerned with them in this example. ]

Now that we know how much a full serving is and how much my scoop weighed, here is a cool way to use some basic math to figure out the calories.

Much like a spreadsheet, you can type in a little equation into the calories field and work food out will do the math for you.

Using math makes it really quick and easy to log food items you eat regularly (no matter how much you ate).

The numbers with a gray box indicate math was used to come up with the calories. Rolling your mouse over food items with math will reveal the equation.

You can do math in the calories field.

As you can see for my “30 g almond butter” entry, I took 190 calories and divided it by 32 grams (a full serving) using the (/) symbol. I then used the (*) symbol to multiple it by 30 to help me figure out how many calories of almond butter that is. The result of 190/32 is the number of calories in each gram (6 calories). When I then multiplied by 30 it told me how much I ate.

The math I entered was 190/32*30 and work food out automatically tallied it up for me.

That scoop of almond butter ended up being 178 calories. It turned out that eating 30g instead of 32g was 12 calories less than had I eaten a full serving (190). This method can apply to any labeled food product whether its serving size is in grams, ounces, tablespoons, cups, etc.

With work food out math you can add (+), subtract (-), multiply (*) and divide (/) etc. Try it.

Get used to using math (when applicable) when you log your food. It’s great for when you dip into the almond butter again the next day only to pull out 35 grams instead of 30. Just reuse your last almond butter entry and change the 30’s to 35’s and you’re good to go (190/32*35). Work food out will do the math for you. Here’s a little how-to video showing another way to use math.   » Bryan