Feb 062012
 
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M is for Measuring Mistakes

Whenever I start to see some weight gain, the first place I look for the culprit is in my measurements. Food serving sizes and portion control are a huge piece of the weight loss equation, maybe even one of the most important parts.

It’s so easy to get off-track when we don’t measure. I used to measure pretty diligently when I was trying to lose weight. For two years I ate a turkey sandwich for lunch with one serving of Wheat Thins. (Boring, I know.) I would count out a serving of crackers and put them in my lunch bag.

Now that I’m in maintenance mode I measure less often. I tend to “eye-ball it” instead. Most of the time this is effective. I’m not restricting food, but eating in moderation within a certain calorie range.

The bad news: it’s so easy to overeat when not measuring.

Every so often I get back on track by measuring out my food. I usually know when I’m getting out of control again with my measuring. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a portion size is never as much food as you WANT to eat!

Here are a few examples of serving sizes. Let’s go with the Wheat Thin example. A serving size is 16 crackers for 140 calories. This is what a serving size looks like:

But what if you ate “just a few more crackers” than the serving size? It often seems like “just a few more” isn’t a big deal.

22 crackers–”just a few more” equals nearly 200 calories (193 to be exact). While it doesn’t seem like much, it all adds up pretty quickly when we’re not calculating the calories accurately. Pretty soon those “just a few more” bites, nibbles and snacks can be hundreds of calories in a day.

It’s easy to get lazy with “eye-balling” portions. Just a handful here…a few bites there…and soon it adds up fast. Especially if you aren’t recording those bites and nibbles. I recently decided to banish the mindless candy eating at work and so far it’s been going well. One thing I found by avoiding that Candy Room: I have hundreds of calories left over for the day. Wow! What a difference measurement, accountability and restraint makes! It fueled me to keep going and break the candy habit!

QUESTION: Do you measure food? Do you track the “nibbles and bites”?

 

A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency * F-Fast Food and Fine Dining * G-Gym Bag * H-Happy Weight * I-Intervals * J-Jumping * K-Keeping Sane * L-Losing Weight *

About Lisa Eirene
About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

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  18 Responses to “M is for Measuring Mistakes”

  1. I had been measuring and counting most things…but I am giving the eye ball method a go while on “maintenance” and like you if I start to see a weight gain will go back to it for a bit. I am trying really hard to think and ask myself…AM I FULL…AM I HUNGRY…trying to really get to know my body.
    Katie Squires recently posted..Move More, Eat Well 2012: February

    • I feel like maintenance mode should have the components of what worked in order to lose the weight, but I don’t think it needs to be as strict. I tend to eye-ball a lot now. I am a little more lax and so far have not seen a change on the scale, so that’s good. I think it’s great that you are listening to your body and trying to learn what it needs!

  2. Hi Lisa. Sooo true. Its funny how the scale refects the effort of weighing and measuring. If you measure, you are rewarded, if you eyeball servings, not so much. As always, thanks for all your great info and wisdom. Have a good week.

  3. I tend to be a little backwards – I measure out meat and fruit but tend not to measure the things that really add up the most – like spoons into the peanut butter jar, an extra this or an extra that. It’s amazing the steps you need to take when your body is used to large portions. Gotta fill up with less calorie-dense foods and go from there.
    Ali @ Peaches and Football recently posted..A ‘Super’ Weekend

  4. I don’t eat crackers much anymore but will count them out if I do. Most of my food I just estimate. BUT not nuts! I weigh them carefully t only have one serving.
    Karen@WaistingTime recently posted..The Quick Brown Fox Types Without Looking

    • Good call, Karen! I forgot about nuts. Nuts add up FAST and those definitely should not be “eye-balled.” While they are healthy, and healthier than most “snacks” out there, they are definitely high in calories.

  5. I do my best when I measure, and I prefer to weigh my food on a digital scale. I don’t like measuring out mayo, peanut butter, jelly or honey. I’ve probably eaten countless extra calories by eyeballing those items.

    I like the Portion Distortion picture! It would be great to print it out placemat size and laminate it.

    What are you doing with the calories you aren’t spending on candy during the week? Not using them at all? Eating dessert? Eating a little more throughout the day? Having a healthy snack instead? Congrats on staying away from the candy in the print room!!

    • Yeah I don’t really measure condiments, but most condiments I use aren’t super high in calories.

      Great questions! I was going to address them in a post next week! But the quick version: I do still eat dessert, just at home, in moderation, and I count the calories.

  6. I lost all of my weight measuring and counting. Now that I am trying to lose those last few pounds I am not measuring or counting as much. I really need to go back to it. I have portion distortion for sure!!!! I just get so lazy about it and as I am not at my rock bottom anymore- I have a hard time motivating myself. *sigh*

  7. Yes, I definitely measure! This is so key. I prefer weighing because it’s easier and more accurate.
    Laura Jane @ Recovering Chocoholic recently posted..Goal Setting & February’s Goals

  8. Have you tried the eyeball comparison tips? Like, a serving of protein is the size or your palm or a serving of pasta is the size or your fist. I usually follow that thinking. Curiiously, I’ve never actually tested to see how accurately I eyeball it….
    Dan @ Essentials of Nutrition recently posted..A Secret Ingredient for Healthy and Tasty Veggies

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