Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beware of Sneaky Calories

I have recently returned to tracking my calories on livestrong.com My Plate. This past week I thought I was going to have to do something different because my weight is not moving (or when it does it is moving in the wrong direction) so I must be consuming more than I am aware of. At times it is a bit of a hassle finding exactly the right food in the list to match up with what I eat but I try to get as close as possible. Fortunately the food items I ate on a regular basis the last time I used this tool are still showing up in my list of frequently eaten foods and I have a few of my recipes figured out and added to the database. I haven't found the way to add a new food to the database this time so sometimes the food items I am buying here in Spain are not exactly the right nutritional info. I just try to get close in those cases. Of course, the fact that I am tracking every calorie means I am less likely to just graze on anything and everything because: 1. it is too much of a pain to add it to the list, and 2. I don't like having it glaring at me on the list that I ate such and such.

The other benefit of tracking my food is that I am once again very aware of serving sizes and portion control. I have gotten lazy in this area and I am sure that is where a lot of these hidden sneaky calories worm their way into my daily diet. For example, the other day I poured myself some pineapple juice at breakfast time. I used our little juice glasses and poured a full glass. Then I drank that and poured another little bit (about half) and drank that. Later, when putting the juice box away I read the calorie count on the back. It seemed really high (thinking back on it and looking at pineapple juice on the my Plate site, I must have been looking at the wrong set of numbers -- here in Spain they list kJ and then kcal) but it made me wonder exactly how much 100 ml was (the serving size). I measured out 100 ml of water and poured it into my little juice glass and it only came to about half way. That means that by drinking the whole glass plus another half I was going to have to multiply the calorie count by 2.5 or 3. Those calories snuck in and I hardly even noticed it. The same with things like butter on your toast. I love to slather my toast with butter and then put jam or peanut butter on it too. Well, now that I have to count that butter I am choosing to either 1. spread it very thin and use more like 1 teaspoon or less instead of 1 Tablespoon. or 2. more often than not, if I am going to put jam or peanut butter on I leave off the butter entirely. It may not seem like a lot, but these things add up quickly.

Pay attention to what you are eating today. Did any sneaky calories try and weasle their way in?
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