Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Health and cheerfulness naturally beget each other. ~Joseph Addison

Ok, if you are still reading, this is where your homework begins! For this first assignment: Begin tracking your calories. It is vital! Do not skip anything or cheat. It does not help you reach your goals to lie to yourself. It is OK to have slips, but it is not OK to deceive yourself. Don't worry about the fat content or anything like that, just calories for right now. If you need to buy a notebook and carry it with you to keep an accurate count, do that. If you need to post your calorie count on your fridge, do that. No excuses!

Calories are based off of a serving size. Serving sizes can be tricky depending on the product and can require you to do a little math. For example, most bags of chips may say something like the serving size is 1 oz. How the hell are you supposed to know how much 1 oz. of chips are? Well, some companies are kind enough to also say about how many chips make 1 oz. (usually about 10), but other times you have to look at the front of the bag or the ‘servings per container’ in the nutrition label and do some math. For example if it is a 4 oz. ‘grab-bag’ of chips, then eating the whole bag is 4 servings so you would have to multiply the calories for one serving by 4 (usually about 100 calories per serving so 400 calories for the whole bag of chips). Even a simple bottle of coke can be tricky. Those 20 oz. coke bottles are often split into 2 servings! So be sure to pay attention to the serving size to get an accurate count.

Keep track of your calorie count everyday for a week without changing your eating habits. After a week, analyze it to see if you are above or below 2,000 on average—daily amounts tend to fluctuate so it is better to look at weekly averages. Then, you can make the necessary adjustments to meet the goals I will discuss in the next post. Here is a website that you can use to find the calories for any food so when you go out to eat or if something does not have a nutritional label on it, you can still get a fairly accurate count of your calories. Just type the food into the yellow box, then specify your choice as much as possible.

Don’t start dieting yet! First you have to analyze your situation. You have to know what your habits are first and then you can make corrections. Don’t start with corrections because you won’t know what needs fixing. Just spend the next couple of days taking an inventory of your calorie intake. Remember not to cheat! We will discuss what to do with that count tomorrow.

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