21 February 2008

Better the Calorie You Know

Counting calories is a bore.

I'm sure we can all agree on that. Watching what you eat makes you crabby and resentful and somehow, it makes you eat even more. I've worked with plenty of people battling with their weight and their energy levels and there are two techniques that really make them sit up and take notice of what they put in their bodies. Two simple tricks that get them changing the way they think immediately.

First - cut back on portion sizes.
As plates get bigger and restaurants go OTT with the amounts they serve us up, it can be hard to keep track of how much we should be eating at mealtimes. Websites like Diet-Blog are a great help here - they have a section of photos showing you what a 300 calorie meal (this is how much you should aim for per meal) will look like.
Another website I like is MyPhotoDiet that's great for showing sample daily meal plans, again with pictures, so you can see exactly what's required to keep you on track and get you great results. Having looked at these photos, you realise just how easy it is to over-eat and it may explain why those pounds have been creeping on..

The second trick is examining the quality of what you eat. Are you eating balanced meals? Calories, sugar, salt and fat content can really stack up throughout the day, even though you may not think you're consuming very much. I send people to the website Calorie King where you can examine thousands of different food and drink items and look in detail at what exactly what's in them. The great thing about this site is that it also tells you how much walking, jogging, swimming or cycling you'd need to do to burn off the calories in each item of food which really helps put things in context. Are you willing to do 22 mins cycling to burn off 1 low fat Latte from Starbucks? Makes you think, doesn't it?

To sum up:
Don't obsess about counting calories - just stay vigilant to the AMOUNT you eat and get into the habit of reading food labels. Visit the sites I mentioned because seeing in black and white just how fattening some foods are may help you make better choices, especially if you are trying to shift some weight.

Give it a go now.

Photograph by Marshall Astor. Flickr

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