Easier Than Counting and Tracking Calories…
Have you ever wanted to lose weight, eat healthier and be mindful about nutrition, only to abandon goals due to the arduous task of counting calories, and tracking food choices? Most of us are familiar with this failed attempt at better nutrition, and probably hoped for an easier method.
Counting calories, and tracking calories and food choices most definitely keeps us on track and assists with weight loss and maintenance; however, for many it is not sustainable due to the time and effort. Meeting with a professional, is part of the easy method as they will assist in determining the proper amount of calories and the type of foods you should incorporate in line with your goals. Once the amount of calories is determined, the easy method is assuring you are eating a certain amount of food from each of the food groups. For example, if it were determined that to lose a certain number of pounds based on your current weight you need to eat between 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day, then the below graphic demonstrates the amount of food you should eat from each food group.
Be sure to stock up on healthy foods from each food group to be prepared when it is time to meal plan. Check each group and circle yes or no to determine if you at the right type of food in the recommended quantity for your nutrition and weight goals. This graphic represents the amount of food need to attain 1,200 – 1,500 calories per day without having to physically count calories.
Practice the 3 keys to good nutrition: balance, variety and moderation. Balance ensures you are eating foods from all food groups to attain all of the essential nutrients needed for health, as no single food can provide all of the nutrients. By choosing food from each group, we ensure a balanced diet. When we choose many foods from a particular group this adds variety to the diet ensuring all nutrients are consumed. If we eat from the vegetable group but only eat carrots, we miss out on nutrients from other colored vegetables such as yellow squash, orange peppers, purple eggplant and greens, for example. The variety within a food group prevents boredom, offers many opportunities to be creative with recipes, and ensures the essential nutrients for health.
The hardest key to acquire is moderation. Eating in moderation is difficult in the super sized food world. To practice moderation, be mindful about what, when , why and how much you eat. Mindful eating prevents us from sitting in front of the television and finishing a bag of chips. Your fist is the size of your stomach. The food on you plate should fit in your fist to avoid stretching the stomach creating the need for more food to satisfy hunger. Eat until 75% full, and eat slowly as it takes 15-20 minutes for the brain and stomach to detect that you are full. The following graphics offer helpful information in determining portion sizes.
Keep it simple and it will be sustainable. Remember that an all or nothing approach to nutrition is rarely successful. Adopt the 80/20 rule whereby you eat well and in moderation 80% of the time and 20% of the time you are living and enjoying life. This will create balance without destroying your goals and is sustainable long term.
Plan and prep meals ahead of time to save time and keep you on track, and plan for eating out at restaurants. Consider this:
- Order A Salad Or Vegetable Soup As The Appetizer
- Order Dishes Grilled, Broiled Or Baked
- Choose Red Sauce Over Cream Sauce
- Order Dressings On The Side
- Think One And Done With Alcoholic Beverages
- Skip White Food Unless It Is Cauliflower
- Ask For Double The Vegetable And Skip The Starch
- Order 2 Light Appetizers In Place Of A Meal
- Avoid The Add-Ons On Salads That Add Empty Calories
- Ask the weight staff to pack half the meal to go before bringing your plate to the table
This method of meal planning, meal prepping and balance, variety and moderation is easier in the long term and is sustainable when compared to counting calories and tracking all food choices. As with any new habit, it takes time to develop and practice is needed. In the beginning, it is normal to take a step forward and two steps back. This is not failure. It is part of the learning process and will motivate you to continue on your journey to creating healthy, sustainable nutrition habits and weight loss.
Latest posts by Marianne Morano (see all)
- FIT Five: Five Actions, Five Minutes Per Day, Five Days Per Week! - May 8, 2017
- Metabolic Burn - May 8, 2017
- - May 8, 2017