Eliminate liquid calories

Tracking your food intake will give you insight into many aspects of your eating habits. The more specific and accurate you are with reporting, the more accurate your information will be. You may begin to see that you are missing entire food groups (i.e vegetables, dairy). Each food group provides us with nutrients crucial for maintaining health, so choose nutrient dense foods from all five food groups.

Do not forget to track all the little extras; coffee creamer and sugar, condiments, candies from your coworker’s candy stash, beverages, etc. You may be shocked to find out how many calories are in these forgotten treats. As little as 100 extra calories could equate to 10 extra pounds per year. These are also easy items to cut out or substitute with healthier options.

Tracking food intake will also show you what you are doing well already. Continue with these habits so that you don’t have to start from scratch. Building on what you are currently doing and taking small steps to improve your eating habits will help you to be more successful!

What Is a Serving Size?

Instead of trying to memorize lists of ounces, cups, and tablespoons, simply compare the serving sizes of foods to familiar things.

For example, a single serving of:

  • Vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist.
  • Pasta is about the size of one scoop of ice cream.
  • Meat, fish, or poultry is the size of a deck of cards or the size of your palm (minus the fingers).
  • Snacks such as pretzels and chips is about the size of a cupped handful.
  • Apple is the size of a baseball.
  • Potato is the size of a computer mouse.
  • Bagel is the size of a hockey puck.
  • Pancake is the size of a CD.
  • Steamed rice is the size of a cupcake wrapper.
  • Cheese is the size of a pair of dice or the size of your whole thumb (from the tip to the base).

The best way to determine the amount of food in a serving is to look at the nutritionFacts label and measure it.

For example, fill a measuring cup with the proper-sized portion of vegetables, rice, etc. and then empty it onto a plate. That will help you learn what these serving sizes look like.

Watch the Portion Size

At home:

  • Use smaller dishes at meals.
  • Serve food in the right portion amounts, and don't go back for seconds.
  • Put away any leftovers in separate, portion-controlled amounts. Consider freezing the portions you likely won't eat for a while.
  • Never eat out of the bag or carton.
  • Don't keep platters of food on the table; you are more likely to "pick" at it or have a second serving without realizing it.

Even modest weight loss can mean big benefits

Even a modest weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight is likely to produce health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.

For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, a 5 percent weight loss equals 10 pounds, bringing your weight down to 190 pounds. While this weight may still be in the “overweight” or “obese” range, this modest weight loss can decrease your risk factors for chronic diseases related to obesity.

So even if the overall goal seems large, see it as a journey rather than just a final destination. You’ll learn new eating and physical activity habits that will help you live a healthier lifestyle. These habits may help you maintain your weight loss over time.


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