ne thing I hear over and over again is this: “Doc, I am hardly eating anything!” When I hear this, I really feel their pain. I believe that my patients and my clients truly believe that they are hardly eating. I also believe that they are flabbergasted that despite not eating they are having a hard time losing weight. And I get it, it’s frustrating and defeating because we are results-driven, we want to see positive change and I believe we all have willpower to make changes. At the start of every wellness program, I encourage every person to track what they are eating. You have to assess your eating patterns honestly and closely before you know what changes you can implement. In the words of the great Albert Einstein, we cannot expect different results by doing the same thing. So start by troubleshooting and that means start tracking your food.
There are many apps nowadays that make this so easy. My favorite tool is MyFitnessPal which is free to download on any smartphone. To track, you will need to input what food you are eating, and the quantity. These fitness and nutrition apps will automatically generate the macros and calories (and even nutrients) so you can see how much you are eating over the course of a day or a week. This is so important because it will give you a true record of what you are consuming in addition to proper “meals.” From my experience, the two biggest mistakes that people make with eating that leads to weight gain are:
1. Not eating regularly which leads to overeating.
2. Frequent snacking of nutrition-poor foods that are otherwise calories-dense.
How to read food labels? You need to pay attention to:
- The serving size (cups or grams)
- Total Fat
- Total Carb
Let’s take a look at some examples.
A. Nutrition Label for Cheerios (found on the thin side of the cereal box)
- Serving size: 1 ¼ Cup or 55 grams
- Fat is 3g (per serving)
- Carbs 42g
- Proteins 7g
(Note: There are two columns of nutrition information, the column on the right is for each serving of cereal with ½ cup skim milk.)
What this means is... for every serving of cheerios, (or 55 grams), consumed by itself without milk, I am eating 3 grams of fat, 42 grams of carb, and 7 grams of protein. If you are eating more than 55 grams (or 1 ¼ Cup), say what if you eat double the serving size (2.5
Cups or 110 grams), then the macros you’re consuming will be twice that listed for ONE serving.
- Serving size: 1 banana (defined as 118 grams)
- Fat 0 g
- Carbs 27 g
- Protein 1 g
What this means is for every banana that weights exactly 118 grams you’re consuming 27 grams of carbs and 1 gram of protein, but not every banana is 118 grams. So what happens when you’re eating half a banana? I find it most helpful to use a scale to weigh your food, so you are tracking accurately. Fruits, nut butters, meats, tofu all vary greatly in their portion sizes depending on how much you eat. When you use a tracking app, like MyFitnessPal, most foods you eat are already in the inventory and you can input how much you’re eating. For instance, I can select banana, 4 oz, and it will tell me the exactly macro count.
In our wellness program, we work with you one-on-one on tracking accurately. To learn more, contact us and a team member will be in touch soon.