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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why Using An Online Food Journal May Help You Find Out The Truth About How Much You Eat

I've known more than a handful of ladies who swear they hardly eat and yet can't seem to lose/keep gaining weight. From my own observation of these gals, it's obvious they are in denial about how much they eat in terms of calories. They assume that having a regular salad for lunch is healthful and "lite", but don't consider that that quarter cup of dressing is loaded with calories and fat. Or they split the fatty entree with a friend/hubby, but don't consider that the entree was 1800 calories to start with, so if it's halved, it's now 900 calories (and this doesn't count sides, rolls, beverages, etc.)

Well, my observations are borne out by a study (flawed or not, it rings true to me), and the emphasis is mine:

In a 12-month weight maintenance study (other details of which are being discussed in this recent post), the subjects kept diet diaries, which were examined by the researchers at regular intervals. However, the researchers report that "it was apparent that, on average, women in both study groups had underestimated their food intake."

And not by a little bit. On average, the women reported having consumed 1370 calories per day. The researchers calculated that their actual calorie intake was 2044 calories per day. That discrepancy of 674 calories a day adds up to over
5 pounds a month!

The men, on the other hand, were spot on: They reported average intake of 1765 calories, the researchers estimated actual intake at 1771.

If you're having trouble losing weight, even though you think you're not eating that much, I suggest you visit on online food tracker--whether the one at Weight Watchers online, or eDiets online, or Fitday, or SparkPeople, and put in EVERY SINGLE THING THAT PASSES YOUR LIPS, solid or liquid or mint or gum, no matter how small. Look at how the calories come out at the end of each day. Do this for a week or more. (If you've ever been to a dietitian/nutritionist, you probably have done this, as this is part of making an appointment. They ask you to keep a food diary. An honest one.)

Be scrupulously honest. Weight and measure stuff if you are not experienced at eyeballing portions. One thing I learned decades ago is that 1/4 cup is a tiny amount, much less than you think. Measure 1/4 cup of shredded cheese and see how small it is. A cup of cereal is puny, but some cereals have a serving size of 3/4 or 1/2 cup (especially dense granolas).

Some Metabolic Mysteries are not mysterious. They're simply a matter of ignorance.

1 comment:

Anne said...

I just decided to do a 7 day journal where i even snap photos of my food. Food journaling in any form always get me back on track.

I highly recommend it!

Great post:)