Whenever I tried to lose weight in the past, one thing that always bogged me down and wore me out was the constant record keeping. "Write down everything you eat", "write down all the calories you eat", "write down all the exercise you do, and for how long"...ugh, the list could go on and on. Well, no flippin wonder people don't have time to work on losing weight!!
Now, that doesn't mean there's not some record keeping that has to be done. I tried not keeping track of anything - and that backfired BIG TIME!! So, with all things, I figured there had to be a happy medium. How could I keep track of how many calories I was eating without having to spend all day jotting everything into a handy dandy notebook?
Well, my friends, it basically comes down to some mental math. I have never found out the real reason why people keep a food journal. I'm not a weight loss expert, and I know that the experts have lists of reasons why it's important to forever be reminded of how much you eat every single day of your life - but that's just not for me. In my opinion, I think it's important to keep track of what I eat every single day - but once the day is over, it's over and I move on to the next.
So, mental math - right - my recommended calorie intake for my weight and height is between 1400-1600 calories a day. So, I break each meal up: 300 - 400 calories for breakfast, 300 - 400 calories for lunch, 400 calories for dinner. That gives me 1000 - 1200 calories. Then I throw in two to three snacks of 100 - 200 calories - one mid morning, one mid afternoon, and then maybe one early evening (before workout if I'm on the lower end of calories for the day). That gives me 1400 - 1600 calories. It's so much simpler to take each meal at a time and figure out the calories - then making a mental note for the next meal, and so on.
Here's an example of my typical day of eating:
Weight watchers muffin - 180 calories
Glass of Orange juice - 100 calories
Two cups of coffee - 20 calories
Total breakfast calories: 300
Banana - 105 calories
2 pieces of bread - 140 calories
2 pieces of deli ham (97% fat free) - 80 calories
Slice of fat free cheese - 25 calories
Fat free yogurt - 80 calories
Total lunch calories: 325
Granola bar - 90 calories
Glass of 1% milk - 100 calories
4ozs salmon (cooked in non calorie cooking spray) - 100 calories
1 cup brown rice - 300 calories
1 cup steamed cauliflower - 25 calories
Total dinner calories: 425
Cup of grapes - 103 calories
Total calories for the day: 1448
Now, 1448 is a crappy number to try and add up in your head - so just round. Figure out your exact calories per meal, and then round it - say you ate 190 calories for snack...just round to 200. Keeps a nice round number in your head. It's simple to figure, simple to remember, and you still keep yourself on track for your caloric intake.
I also have to throw a quick preach in here about calorie counting. I know it sounds like a good idea to eat as few as calories as possible in order to lose weight - THAT'S NOT TRUE!! Slashing your calories below your recommended range may help you shed a few pounds fast - but they will fly back just as fast once you start picking up your calories. It's safer, healthier, and more beneficial to slowly decrease your caloric intake every couple of weeks until you get down to the weight you're shooting for. Then eat the recommended calorie intake to maintain that weight.
Till next time. :)