This morning I had 3/4 c. of Special K. In the past when I flirted with calorie counting or weight watchers or low-carb, I would always eyeball measurements. Eyeballing is the enemy of successful calorie counting. When you guess measurements, you’ll end up fudging them, and this is one situation where you’re only cheating yourself. You’re not getting away with anything.
So this lesson is simple: measure your food.
If the box says 120 calories for 3/4 c., then measure it out. If, however, you gain a good deal of experience measuring your food, then you can start an experiment. You might want to take different types of food, measure them out to the same measurement and see what they look like. This will be most useful for things like tablespoons vs. teaspoons, a cup vs. half a cup, etc. You will still be unable to accurately measure 3/4 c. exactly. That’s why the smaller measurements will be more useful, especially as you cook. My theory is that so many people don’t cook because recipes look so daunting with all the measurements. If only people were more comfortable “feeling out” a tablespoon and not measuring it, they wouldn’t be so intimidated. But I’m getting off topic.
Basically, calorie counting is measuring. If you measure, you can eat anything you want. Anything. If you don’t measure, you have to be extremely mindful of the things you eat, which is basically measuring in a different way. If you don’t want to do those things, you usually end up doing a fad diet and gaining it all back. Calorie counting works because it’s simple math.
Here’s the beauty of calorie counting: you learn to eat right. By “right” I don’t mean you become a rabbit and nibble on salads forever, but when you know that a Krispy Kreme doughnut has 250 calories, you’re less likely to wolf down 14 of them in one sitting, aren’t you? You know that certain foods have certain values, and you’re better able to eat sensibly. Eating sensibly helps you maintain the weight that you want.
Us overweight folks are experts at make believe. We can pretend that we didn’t eat nearly as much of a certain food as it might seem. We’re fat because of our genes–our metabolism–and it’s just not our fault! But it is. Except for people with thyroid issues, we are fat because we’ve made ourselves that way. The good news is we can un-make ourselves. It’s an extreme metabolism makeover, and it begins with knowledge. Knowing calorie values is your best weapon against unwanted weight.