Posted by: molander | January 28, 2010

THINK when you eat

There’s a book that’s queued up on my shelf just waiting on me to devour it (pun intended). It’s called Mindless Eating by Dr. Brian Wansink. I could have been a case study for his research. Anybody else know what I’m talking about? Crusts of bread you cut off the kids’ sandwiches, a few spoonfuls of peas when you’re cleaning up after dinner so they “don’t go to waste”, a whole bag of popcorn when you watch a movie… sound familiar? Question: Do you really ENJOY those calories? I don’t. Sometimes I don’t even remember eating those things.

So… what to do? To begin with, click on these words & follow the steps outlined in the post. Then, know that there’s one thing you simply can’t avoid doing if you’re serious about making this healthy lifestyle change: you MUST log your food. Period. End of story.

Purpose and Benefits of Food Tracking:

1) You find out what healthy portions sizes REALLY look like and as a result, you control your intake.

2) You can see patterns. Do you eat too many high carbohydrate foods and not enough protein? (Uh… that would be me.) Do certain foods slow you down? Upset your stomach? Cause a headache?

3) You become aware of what you’re putting your mouth. I’ve stopped stuffing the crusts from Thomas’ sandwich in my mouth! Save them up – coat with a little olive oil and garlic – toast for a few minutes and you have small versions of garlic toast to serve with a good tomato soup!

4) Knowing you have to write it down can be a deterrent.

xxxx a) This is another reason NOT to eat those crusts from Thomas’ sandwich. It’s simply  too much trouble to log it compared to the enjoyment it gave me to eat it.

xxxx b) I won’t put that handful of chocolate chips in my mouth because I’m embarrassed to write it down when I’ve announced I’m working to lose weight.

5) Logging food is like keeping your check register balanced. If you simply MUST have a treat, work it into your calorie allowance for that day so you don’t overdraw. (Trick: up your green vegetables — low, low, calorie + high, high nutrient value = room for a treat.)

6) Know how many calories you burn! Once you know the amount of extra work necessary to burn them up, it gives you an incentive NOT to eat excess calories in the first place! Here are a few calorie burning calculators:

xxxx a) Calories Burned Estimator

xxxx b) ProHealth Exercise and Activity Calculator

xxxx c) Calorie Control Council

Note that each of these asks your weight. All calorie burn is estimation but you can get much closer if you figure in how much you weigh while you’re performing exercise.

My throw-all-the-leftovers-together salad

Food tracking can be rather inconvenient. So one of my favorite tricks is to use your camera phone. Snap a picture of what you’re eating and record it later when you have a moment. It’s easy to forget something if you try to rely on memory alone. Looking at the picture also may remind me of things I could have overlooked if I was rushing to get it all entered… like the mayo on the sandwich perhaps??

Below is an interesting video about how we view portion sizes taken from Dr. Wansink’s interview with 20/20. After you watch it, you may want to pack up your dinner plates for a while!


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