By keeping a record of what, when and where you eat, and how you feel each time, you can learn a lot about your eating habits. Daily food records give you clues to your personal triggers to eating, and you can also use your diary to identify dietary goals you may wish to set. It has been shown that individuals who keep such diaries are more likely to be successful in losing weight and keeping the fat off!
During weight-loss consultations, I encounter a number of patients who tell me that they hardly eat anything, but whose three-day food records reveal intakes exceeding 3,000 kcal a day! Without actually monitoring and calculating how many calories we consume, it is difficult to estimate our intake, and the vast majority of us tend to underestimate our caloric intake for various reasons, including the following:
Our impression of how much we eat is relative to those around us. If our eating companions are big eaters, and we eat less than them, we could still be over-eating.
We often order a normal serving size, without realizing that serving sizes have increased over the years. Serving sizes are not based on how much food our body needs, but on commercial and marketing considerations.
We tend not to realize how much food we are consuming if we are preoccupied with something else, such as a movie or the conversation at a social gathering.
Many people are also not aware of the high caloric value of certain foods, especially snack foods (such as peanuts) and alcohol. I have encountered many patients who think that olive oil is low in calories, just because they have heard that it is a “healthy” oil. Although healthier than animal oils, it is still oil and contains 9 kcal per gram! A practical way to get a more accurate idea of our caloric intake is to do a three-day food record:
Fill the diary three days a week, including at least one day of the weekend.
Carry the diary with you and record everything you eat the moment you eat it. Don’t leave it to later.
Record food portion sizes in everyday household measures, such as cups, tablespoons, teaspoons, slices, small, medium, large. It is not necessary to weigh food, but you can if you don’t find it too bothersome.
Be as descriptive and detailed as you can. Include the brand and type of food. For example, if you have a sandwich, note down the type of bread, filling and spread.
When you have completed your three-day food record, work out your caloric intake.
You Are What You Eat
You’ve most probably heard that what you eat reflects who you are. You may have thought it was simply a phrase used by parents who would like their kids to eat their veggies but you actually are what you eat! If you munch on a tuna sandwich, the tuna is broken down and the amino acids (proteins) from it are used in your body for building muscle and creating new cells!
You can likewise discover on the outside of your body if you’re eating junk food you may get blemishes and look fatter, but if you’re consuming healthy foods, you’ll appear thinner and healthier. So, diet is the first place to start at when you want to lose weight. There’s no point in doing lots of exercises if your diet is made up of unhealthy foods! You have to make sure your diet consists of meals that are healthy!
The next step is to determine what nutritious foods you must include in your weight loss diet plan. You want to cut back on calories so you will shed off some pounds, but you don’t want to starve yourself so much that you start to overeat junk food. It’s a good idea to slowly change your eating habits by slowly adding healthy food and decreasing the number of calories you eat.
Slowly phase in healthy meals and take out snacks and meals slowly. Hence, the first thing you’ll want to include in your diet is protein. Protein is important for growing cells and building muscle, in addition to a few other things.
It is easy to get sufficient protein by adding foods such as beef, chicken, pork, eggs, and soybean products to your diet. Carbohydrates are the second most important nutrient you should include in your diet. Nonetheless, you don’t want to overeat carbohydrates because the unused energy will become fat.
Go for foods including whole grain bread and brown rice for your carbohydrate needs. And keep in mind, you also need fat in your diet. Amazingly, your body needs fats in your diet even when you’re working to shed off some pounds.
Ingest foods containing nutritious fat like nuts and salmon. Also, consume a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits so that your body receives all the vitamins and minerals it needs.
Losing Weight Can Be A Difficult Task If You Are Not Prepared
Also are aware of the foods you must not eat. Evidently, you need to cut out as much junk food as you can and you should try eating healthy cuts of meat. Avoid simple carbohydrates including white bread and pasta and replace them with whole grain options. Stop drinking alcoholic drinks if you can since it has no advantageous value when losing weight.
Now you are aware of what you should and shouldn’t consume. Do research on a few healthy alternatives to replace your current eating habits. If you’re having issues with portion size try eating 5 or 6 small meals per day since your tummy will shrink, meaning you will feel fuller faster and therefore consume less food.
You Are What You Eat – More Like You Are What You Drink
For what seems like forever, we have all pretty much heard the first part of this title yet not so much about the latter part. Stop reading this for a moment and look at what you are drinking (assuming you are.) Do you know offhand how many calories are in that drink? If it happens to be a regular 12 ounce can of Coke you are drinking, it has 140 calories.
A Pepsi has 150 calories and Mountain Dew has 170 just to give you a general idea. There are people who easily consume up to six sodas a day and think nothing of it. Six cans of Mountain Dew have a total of 1,020 calories in them, which is close to a full day’s worth of calories just in liquids alone.
Many Have Lost Weight By Cutting Out The Sodas
People have lost quite a bit of weight just making this one change in their diets. If you know you just are not ready to cut out drinking sodas yet, at least consider cutting back. However, switching to diet sodas is not a healthy alternative. Basically, with diet pop, you are getting harmful chemicals and carbonated water.
Aspartame is in most diet drinks these days and is reported as being one of the top contributors to brain tumors. Your best source for a healthy drink is purified water. There are many different recommended amounts to consume on a daily basis but one main one is eight 8-ounce glasses or 64 ounces. It sounds like a lot but if you spread it out through the day from when you first get up, it is really not too difficult to get that amount in.
Too Much Sugar Can Do More Than Pack A Few Pounds On You
Sugar in excess has many negative factors besides cavities and tooth decay. Too much sugar raises insulin levels, which depresses the immune system. Sugar causes a spiked increase in triglycerides, which is essentially a type of fat in the bloodstream. The weight that is gained from drinking sugary sodas increases the risks of cardiovascular disease.
This is currently the number one cause of deaths in the United States alone with a few more women than men dying from this. Sugar can be part of increased blood pressure and can cause one to lose much-needed calcium, which over time can increase risks of developing osteoporosis.
Too much sugar can cause or increase anxiety levels, concentration problems, depression, diabetes, and increased irritability. It can also cause your energy levels to rise and fall, affect mood swings and can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Sugar does not have many positives going for it. If you are trying to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle, take a good look at the amount of sugar you are eating and drinking on a daily basis. Start slowly with making small changes such as drinking two Cokes a day instead of your usual three or one bowls of ice cream instead of two or three and so on.