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Posts Tagged ‘Food’


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

What time is dinner?

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Have you ever thought about making a daily eating schedule? One that holds you accountable as to when and how much you can eat.

I used to eat when I was hungry or when I had forgotten to eat and was starving. Sounds simple enough, hungry = eat something. The problem was my eating habits were sporadic and out of balance. I’d eat breakfast sometimes and sometimes not. I’d eat lunch at lunchtime and sometimes not. When I would eat, my only goal was to satisfy my hunger and because I didn’t really know when I was full until it was too late, I tended to over-eat a lot.

Here is an example eating schedule that worked for me: (you’ll notice I break it down into six small meals throughout the day):

Bryan’s Daily Eating Schedule

6 am | breakfast 1 | 250 calories
9 am | breakfast 2 | 250 calories
12 pm | lunch 1 | 450 calories
3 pm | lunch 2 | 300 calories
6 pm | dinner | 700 calories
8 pm | dessert | 250 calories

Total daily calorie goal: 2200

By pre-planning how much to eat at each meal, I was able to make sure I stayed fueled up while staying within goal. This eliminated my skipping meals and throwing myself into starvation/binge mode and my consistent over-eating.

If you don’t know how many calories to set as a daily goal, make an eating schedule and write down how many calories you eat (at each meal) to learn something about yourself. When you know how much you eat, you control your food and not the other way around. » Bryan

Yum Factor

Friday, February 5th, 2010

When I first started counting my calories I really had no idea why I was doing it. All I knew was that my Nutritionist gave me the assignment of writing down everything I ate for the upcoming week. My job was to bring the completed record, to our next appointment.

If you’re anything like me, you like food a lot. The trouble was, when I’d go by yum factor alone, I’d get myself into trouble and more often than not, eat more than I should.

Yum factor is all about feel: “What do you feel like eating tonight?” It’s about texture. If it feels good going down, chances are you’re gonna down more of it.

But how much should one eat? When we pay little attention to our eating habits, it’s impossible to know where we’re at or what to do about it.

Everyone has a food number. When I started writing down everything that I put in my mouth, I was averaging around 3500 calories per day. More often than not, I’d eat over 4000.

To figure out your average, you add up all the calories you eat in a week and divide it by seven.

My nutritionist used 3500 as a starting point for what I was capable of eating in a day (my average), and using a weekly weigh-in, he’d lower my food number each week by only a few hundred calories, to slowly ease me into eating less and less. 3300, 3100, 2900, etc.

It took me 10 weeks to arrive at the number that worked for me (everyone’s number is different). At 2200 calories per day, I was both satisfied (hunger-wise) and still shed pounds more often than not (tracked by my weekly weigh-in).

Everyone gains a pound or two here and there, the goal is to have more downs than ups.

At my starting weight of 213 pounds, my target was 185. Once I hit my target, I reluctantly aimed for 170 (not ever believing I could weigh so little). I flew by 170 and at about the 50 week mark (almost a year) I hit my natural body weight of 160. I’ve been within 5% of that weight for over two years now.


It just goes to show you, we can always do better than what we often believe our best can be.

Knowing how much you can eat each day, what you’ve eaten and how much you’ve got left is pretty empowering. It gives you an edge. You can still eat all the foods that do it for you (yum factor), just less of ‘em. At the same time feel proud about how your clothes fit.

The catch… You gotta eat less of your favorite foods (which you can monitor using a food logbook) and as your energy level and metabolism increases, spend more days exercising and building up a sweat, than days you don’t.

The year’s gonna go by whether you like it or not. Might as well make it the best year of your life. » Bryan

Shut-up self.

Monday, January 11th, 2010

While learning the importance of logging what I eat, one of the things I was so grateful for was the unrelenting patience of my Nutritionist, Marco. Having someone to hold me accountable, whose job was to not jump the gun, was an extremely powerful lesson.

One of the reasons I often found it difficult to stick to managing my food portions (for long periods of time) is my mind and body would play tricks on me. When I didn’t see results fast enough, I’d start thinking stuff like, What am I doing wrong? or This isn’t working, or Why am I doing this?

I’d make a drastic change (trying to eat too little, exercise too much or avoid eating something all together).

Typically, it’s those reactive changes that throw us off course and kill our ability to achieve consistency. While drastic changes can sometimes provide instantaneous results, consistency builds context, experience and habit.

Often times, I’ve found my quick decisions about what to do next we’re wrong.

Some weeks I’d feel fit and think “I dropped some pounds this week for sure,” and end up weighing exactly the same or having gained weight. The same went for weeks I felt like a bag of sand and I’d be sure I was heavier. Those often ended up being weeks I’d surprisingly shed pounds. Go figure!

The best thing I have learned counting my calories with the guidance of a professional is staying power. If I gain some weight this week, I don’t get all crazy for that magic change agent that will guarantee results next week. I stay the course, repeat exactly what I did the previous week, only I do it a little better, with a little more purpose.

Sometimes what we need to improve our situation, is to do NOTHING AT ALL… Just keep do’in what we’re do’in. » Bryan