Friday, March 17, 2006

10. Keep a food diary for 2 weeks and then use my book to figure out how to calculate your food needs.

Well, we're a quarter of the way through the year and I'm finally finishing off my ten tips to stick with your New Year's Resolution. Hopefullly you're still going strong and I also hope that you have found these tips useful.

My final tip is to keep a food diary for two weeks and then use my book to figure out how to calculate your food needs. As I write this I realize that this is probably THE most important tip yet. Too bad I saved it for last. My bad.

For many people the weight problem isn't really lack of exercise, it's how much food they're putting in their mouths. While exercise helps counter overeating, keep metabolism pumping and allows you to eat a couple more bites a day it isn't as important as how much food you put in your mouth.

Most people (myself included) would really rather not know how many calories they eat. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard something like, "life's too short to worry about calories" I'd probably have about $20. But, I've learned that that attitude is simply denial. Just use that same argument on other things to see its folly. Let me try it.

Life's too short to...
...worry about saving money.
...look at the speedometer every once in awhile.
...visit the dentist.
...visit the doctor.
...worry about grades.
...worry about job performance.
...bother raising my children well.
...maintain my car.

Doesn't work, does it? Unfortunately, I know people with some of these attitudes and it hasn't paid off for them.

If you want to lose weight, you need to become intimate with your calorie intake. Does it take some of the fun out of eating? It hasn't for me. In fact, it's made eating more fun (more on that in a bit). Reality is reality. If you eat too many calories, then you eat too many calories whether you know it or not. I think it's much more useful to know than not know it.

So how has calorie counting made eating more fun, you ask? I rarely overindulge anymore and so I avoid the guilt and uncomfortable, overstuffed feeling that comes with it. I know aproximately how much food I can eat, so I savor my bites and stop when I'm supposed to. Also, stopping gives me quite a feeling of empowerment.

In order to become an expert calorie counter, I recommend simply writing down everything you eat for two weeks. There are plenty of resources available to give you the calorie counts. Just Google "calorie content" or "calorie counts" and you'll be sure to find something.

Usually, I can tell why someone is overweight by just reviewing a two day diary. The reason I recommend two weeks is that by the end of two weeks chances are high that you'll be able to make pretty good estimates of the calorie content of your food without writing it down and looking it up. Then calorie counting will be simply embedded in your brain circuitry. It'll become almost automatic.

I will warn you. If you are overweight, chances are that your calorie intake far exceeds your calorie needs if you were to just maintain a normal, healthy weight. Be prepard for a schock. I know I had one on my day or reckoning.

Finally, please buy a copy of my book (see the links to on the right). It'll teach you how to equate your calorie intake to your weight.

Good luck.

No comments: