How often do you read the labels on the foods that you buy?
I know what you are thinking. Calorie counting used to be one of those things that were unimportant to me also but, when I began my weight loss journey, it became important because I began trying to stick to a certain caloric allowance a day. I stay under more than over, but there are days that I go over.
Those labels can be tricky sometimes because not everything is written in clear terms. Sometimes you have to actually do some math when you are reading these labels to make sure you are sticking to the plan, depending on if you have a certain goal or not.
Also, there are some things you can try to stick to your goals that you may not have thought of. I had to change my whole lifestyle in order to make things work in my favor, and it did. Here are some ideas that might be helpful to you if you are.
Fat From Calories
When shopping, people tend to look at the amount of calories in the food that they are buying. If they see it contains a lot of calories in it and are striving to eat better, they might decide to put the item back on the shelf. But, what are the calories from fat against the calories in the content?
If you are striving to lose weight, perhaps that should matter. If the item you are purchasing has more than 30 percent of calories from fat in it, it has too much fat in it. Of course some of your healthy items like almonds, peanut butter or pumpkin seeds might have a lot of calories from fat, but these are healthy fats. I am talking about other foods like potato chips, drinks and some of those protein bars. Try to stick to a diet that is low in unhealthy fats (unsaturated and monounsaturated).
Also, do no neglect to look at the sodium count. A lot of those TV dinners might seem healthy because they have the name Smart Ones or Healthy Choice on it, but one meal with over 800 grams of salt is a lot of salt. Maybe you should prepare your own lunches. Cold cuts also have a lot of sodium in it. Your best bet would be to pack your own lunches from the food you cooked. Canned soups have an extreme amount of sodium in it also.
I have become a chef in my own right, cooking almost on a daily basis to try to balance the things I eat. If I cook at night after a long day of work, it is because I want to make sure to bring my lunch with me to work for tomorrow. When you prepare your own food, you probably will not add as much salt to your own cooking. Bake, sautee, boil and pack in a microwaveable bowl for the next day.
Calories Per Serving
So you are looking at that delicious bottle of Naked Drink or Power 50 and you are thinking that looks really refreshing. Sure it does because when you are thirsty, your body deserves to be quenched with a refreshing drink. But did you know that most of those bottles are made for more than one serving. Don’t let the calories mislead you.
Sure it says the bottle has 175 calories in it, but if the serving size of that bottle is 2 servings double the caloric intake by two because you just had two servings instead of one. This becomes important if you are leading a low calorie lifestyle and are trying to stay below a certain daily caloric intake. In this case, you do not only double the calories, but also the sodium, sugar and everything else in the product.
This does not only apply to juices but to our everyday foods. For instance, when you look at the box of cereal in the morning and are deciding to fill up your bowl, look at the label. One serving might say 2/3 cups. If you are trying to lose weight, pull out a measuring cup and measure it. If 2/3 cups equates to one serving, that is the calories they are speaking of. Also, one bowl of cereal does not need to be floating in a whole bunch of milk. For one serving of cereal, add a ½ cup of low fat or skim milk. The index listed on the box can actually be helpful to you if you are really trying to lose weight.
Another thing to consider is that when you are cooking and a recipe calls for oil to fry or sautee, one tablespoon of olive oil has 120 calories in it. Frying can be fattening but there are other ways to make a food look like it has been fried even if it was not. How about coating your meats with spices, putting it in the oven and allowing it to bake? People will think it was fried without it having even been in oil. But, if you must use oil, be conscious of how much you are using.
The Sweeter the Better
I used to drink about three cups of coffee a day at one point. I actually thought it was because I was adding sweet creamers and sweetener on top of it. So in spirit of that, during the 40 days of lent a few years back, I gave up sugar. Yet, the coffee habit remained and the sugar habit was kicked. I never went back to adding sugar to my coffee or tea because it became too sweet for me.
I noticed that when I was adding sugar though, one or two teaspoons or packets of sugar, was never enough. I could add at least six or seven and would still not be satisfied. But then if I used a sweetener like equal or splenda, I could add one or two packets and be okay.
Perhaps that is the answer. Maybe we should opt for the sweetener or brown sugar instead. If you are adding less and it seems like more, do it because it is better for you.
Or maybe you could go with something else like agave. All you need is one tablespoon and your tea is sweet. But here is another idea. With all the masking that sugars and sweeteners does, do you actually know what that nicely brewed tea or coffee actually tastes like? Tastes pretty good without sugar! Why not try it today?
Just because you are dieting or trying a new lifestyle out does not mean you cannot be social. If your friends invite you out, go. But just because you are out with friends does not mean you have to have everything that they are having or that you are used to having. Change it up.
Alcohol packs on a lot of calories. Opt for a non-alcoholic beverage. Remember, if you are trying to achieve a goal, stick to the plan and do what is right for you. Just hold on to your willpower and never let it go. Just because they want fried chicken does not mean you have to have it. Get something else like a salad, something grilled or a veggie platter. Your goals are yours and no one else’s and the only way to achieve them is to make sure you stay on course. So don’t give up and whatever your goal is will be met.