Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

Just another weblog

Lifestyle Changes Day 2 – Swap and Drop

on January 11, 2012

Sorry I didn’t post yesterday, someone unplugged my charger and my battery went dead. Yes, MY battery, not my laptop battery. You know it’s really hard to concentrate when your brain has run out of batteries. Ask my daughter, she’ll tell you. That was her response when she got into trouble when she was about 5.

Ok, I’m back, charged up and ready to go. So, now that you’ve had a day to play with your food, well, the portions and dividing it up on your plate, how did you do? See, I told you it was easy. Did you do the whole ‘putting the fork down’ thing or the waiting to have seconds thing? Tell me about it.

That was the easy first step. The next few steps will take a little more, but you can totally do it. It doesn’t involve rocket science or higher math (thank God). What it does involve is reading and swapping. Can you read? Can you swap? Swap, trade for something, not shop. Well, it does involve counting too, I lied.

Here’s our next step: Reading the ingredient list on what you are eating, making lower calorie swaps for what you can, and counting the calories you consume. Yes, I said it: calorie counting. This is why I’m recommending calorie counting, not because I think you need the practice in higher math, but how can you really know what you’re consuming if you don’t add it all up? Basic physiology says calories in should = calories expended, otherwise, the extra calories will be stored as fat, which =expanding waistlines & behinds and those darned shrinking clothes. I know, I blamed it on the dryer gnomes, but in all honesty, they’ve likely had a little help from us. Myself included.

I think the best way to count your calories is to use a food journal or diary. When you write in it, be honest, this is for your eyes only and if you’re not honest with yourself, you will not succeed. There’s a great website where you can create an online food journal and track what you eat and drink and all of your exercise, including things like washing dishes, showering, house cleaning, and grocery shopping . Every bit of exercise you do daily will burn calories. The goal here is to burn off more than you consume, that is how you will lose weight. This website also has a smart phone app so you can do this on the go. You enter your height and weight and your goal weight. It will calculate what the calorie requirement is to either maintain, lose or gain weight. I know, not many people need help gaining weight, but this is a great tool. You should check it out and use it.

Once you get your profile set up and know how much you need on a daily basis, you can begin to do the reading part. Read the ingredient list on the food you are eating. For example, my box of Cheerios, a 1 cup serving is 100 calories. If you measure out your portion (come on, do it with me, it’s not that hard), you’ll see that a one cup serving is a good size portion, it is NOT  a full bowl. If you want to use a smaller bowl to appear to be fuller, go for it! I drink almond milk (can’t do cow’s milk, it’s really unpleasant, trust me) which is 60 calories for a one cup serving. If I start with 160 calorie breakfast, I’ve got a little room for something else, a piece of fruit, maybe some protein like cottage cheese or a string cheese for less than 100 calories, but good sources of protein and/or fiber.

I will tell you right up front, a lot of the foods that are ‘reduced fat’ or ‘fat free’, may not be as good for you as you might think. Read the ingredients carefully. Most of the time when they take out fat, they must substitute something else to make it still taste good, which is normally added sugars. so even though it may be reduced fat, or lower in calories, it’s not necessarily going to be better for you. You could simply stick with your original favorite, just use it more sparingly.

Now the swapping part. A super simple way to eliminate calories from your daily intake in a manner that you won’t even really miss them. How,you ask? Say you’re going to have a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Ok. If you look at your bread first, read how many calories are in a slice. Example: my bread is whole wheat bread (as yours should be as well, the least processed the better) and two slices of bread are 150 calories. You have some other options for your bread. The first is a thin sandwich bun. I don’t know if you’ve seen them, but I really like them. You have a few choices as far as what they are, whole grain, whole wheat, etc. And they are 100 calories. There you’ve just shaved off 50 calories.  The other option is the thin sliced bread, as in Sara Lee’s Delightful, it’s essentially the same bread, sliced thinner and two slices are 90 calories= 60 calories shaved. How easy is that? Are you still with me?

Next, your condiments. I love mayo as much as anyone, what I don’t like are the added calories. A serving size of mayo is normally 1 tbsp for 90 calories. A serving of their ‘light’ mayo is still 60 calories for only 1 tbsp. Now, what if you subbed mustard for mayo on your ham and cheese sandwich? My favorite is the spicy brown mustard, it’s really very flavorful and a 1tsp serving is, are you ready? 5 calories. YES, 5 CALORIES. So, let’s add up. If you swap your regular whole wheat bread for the thin sliced bread, and mayo for mustard, you’ve just shaved off 115 to 145 calories (depending on which mayo you started with) without any pain at all! YIPPEE!! How easy is that? And I haven’t even gotten to the ham or the cheese yet! Oscar Mayer prepackaged deli sliced ham is in the neighborhood of 50 calories for 4 slices. And adding your cheese, prepackaged sliced Swiss cheese is 60 calories. Of course add some lettuce and baby carrots on the side and you’ve got a nice little lunch. let’s add, shall we? 90+5+50+60=205 calories. I didn’t count the carrots, in my mind, you can eat all the fresh fruits and veggies you want, they shouldn’t count against you because they contain fiber and vitamins & minerals. If you drink a calorie free drink, preferably water, you’re on your way to losing the weight you want to, and not feeling like you’re eating rabbit food.

One more thought to leave you with. One pound = 3500 calories.  Each type of food component has it’s own calorie count. Carbs=4 cal/gram. Fat & protein=9 cal/gram. The more fat you can cut from your diet, the more weight you will lose, in theory. Your body does need some fat for certain functions. But not the kind of fat that’s in a Big Mac. The best kind of fats are the kind you find in olive oil or avocados, or even nuts like pistachios or almonds.

Now that I’ve given you plenty to think about, I’ll save the whole water/soda thing for my next post.

Oh, and don’t forget to set up your food journal. It will really help you realize what you’re eating and feel accountable for what you’re consuming. Check it out and let me know what you think!

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