Who's Counting?

Hey all - long time, no check-in! How are those New Year's Resolutions going? Are you meeting your goals? I hope that they're going swimmingly and that you're achieving success. But if you have weight loss goals and that weight's not coming off, I have a suggestion for you.

If you've checked out my menu of services, you've seen that I require all my clients with nutrition and/or weight-related goals to join Calorie King. Calorie King is an online food log that will eventually give you tremendous insight into what you eat, when you eat, how you eat and hopefully WHY you eat. It helps you map out your food choices for a given day or week and helps my clients fit the foods they want and need to eat into the flexible plans I give them. 

There is a lot of controversy surrounding calorie counting, and while I agree it might not be for everyone (for instance, for some, it might trigger disordered eating tendencies or severe anxiety), I think that for the vast majority, it can be a great set of training wheels, at least, and maybe even a lifelong tool for weight loss and maintenance.

Let me back up a minute. Did you know that I once weighed 40+ more pounds than I do now? As a kid and young adult, I was chunky. A regular in the Sears "Pretty Plus" section as a youngster. I was NOT athletic, instead I was inactive and preferred reading books to doing just about anything else. The summer after I graduated from college, I decided I would never be pudgy again, and I bought a giant book of calorie/nutrition data (remember, this was the dark ages when we were booting up PCs with a million floppies), a spiral notebook and a mini calculator and started logging every darn thing I ate. I also started walking and running for exercise. Lo and behold, several months later, I had lost just over 40 lbs. and ignited my love of movement.

Over the years, I've kept logging. Sure, I slacked off at times while when I was in graduate school, and right after we adopted our daughter, and definitely after I had my mastectomies . . . but I always come back to logging. It keeps me honest. It doesn't make me crazy. And it's helped me maintain that loss into my late 40's. I've weighed the same weight since 1991, friends. That's a hella long time.

It has not been effortless, but my experience is indicative of what lots of studies show: People who log their food lose weight more effectively and keep it off better than those who don't. We're just not great at estimating portion sizes or the calorie content of our meals. Once you start measuring that "handful" of almonds and that "bowl" of cereal, you might be shocked to find that you're not eating one serving, you're eating more like two or three. And when you see how much lean protein and veg you can eat for the "price" of an ounce of Doritos? Well, I'd wager you're going to save the Doritos for a special occasion.

So. Convinced yet? Do you want to try it? There are free tools you can use, like My Fitness Pal, or a new one I'm experimenting with called Lose It! Get yourself an account. Pull out your measuring cups and if you have one, a kitchen scale. Start planning your meals and snacks ahead of time. Be open. See where it gets you - and let me know what you think!