A few years ago I lost 30lbs and managed to keep it off.
Just over a year ago I went through some hard stuff and spent most of 2015 being indulgent and not really investing that much time and effort in my health. As a result, I gained back 20 of those 30lbs.
A month ago, I decided to gain back control over my body and that meant making a better effort to be active and to finally get back into diligently counting my calories and eating well. While exercise is great, calorie counting was the real key to my initial 30lb loss. When I tell people this they typically react badly, with comments like: "Oh, that just sounds like too much work" or "Who has time for that?!".
Enter, my no-fail weight-loss tool: The Food Scale
When I first began my health journey I was tracking my food by measuring cups and spoons...and it wasn't working very well. After reading through some online resources, I realized that the fix was to invest $15 in a digital kitchen scale. Once I started weighing my portions and tracking my calories accurately, the weight started coming off and I started to actually enjoy making meals. There are quite a few articles out there explaining the benefits of using a kitchen scale over measuring cups, the main reason being that there are simply to many variables in using cups to get an accurate measurement. Here are some examples of the difference below:
- Shredded Cheese: When shoved into a cup, the cheese came in at 36g, nearly a 30% increase.
- Kalamata Olives: The serving size on the bottle claims to be 2 olives (14g) every time I weigh them, it's 3 olives to get to 14g. I don't think anyone wants to miss out on a bonus olive.
- Pasta: With so many different pasta shapes, you can bet that throwing them in a cup will always yield different results. The cup method gave me 47g of pasta, 16% less than the 56g serving size.
- Potatoes: The most delicious of vegetables is the beloved potato, and is something I definitely don't want to be short-changed on. The bag claims 1 potato will make up the 148g serving size. Unsurprisingly, it took two of them.
The best part about using a food scale is that it trains you to be able to visualize serving sizes, thus improving your ability to make healthier eating choices. While it may not matter as much for healthy low-cal foods like vegetables, it makes a huge difference for more calorie-dense items like grains, dairy, and condiments.