Thursday, February 2, 2012

Be Accountable To Yourself: Stop Lying and Start Counting

Sometimes people will e-mail me or come up to me in person and tell me they're "only" eating 1,200 calories or some ridiculously small amount and they're not losing weight.

Unless the person telling me this weighs 100 pounds and is 4 feet tall, there is only one explanation for their predicament:

They're lying.

I know, I know.  They might be lying without knowing their lying.  So we'll just say they're lying to themselves, which is the worst sort of lie.  Here's the problem with somebody who tells you they're eating 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day and not losing any weight.  It's mathematically impossible.

Here is the truth behind the lie.  To be a successful calorie counter, you need two things that the liar almost never does:

1.) You must write down everything you eat.  Everything that goes into your mouth goes on that paper and is totaled at the end of the day.

2.) You must weigh or measure your portions and count the servings.  There can be no exception to this.  Because without knowing how many calories you're eating, you have no idea what to write down.  Sorry, "about" doesn't cut it.

The liar also tends to conveniently "forget" free food at work, trips to the vending machine, their morning Starbucks run (which can be hundreds of calories, depending) or food served to them by someone else.  If somebody else makes the food, how do you know what's in it?

So I tell people to write it down.  And then they bring me their food journal.  People are ridiculous when it comes to food journaling at first, because they want to lose 100 pounds overnight. So you get something that looks like this:

Breakfast - A cup of coffee and a piece of toast - 100 calories

Snack - 1 Breath Mint, 10 calories

Lunch - A protein Bar, 300 calories

Snack 2 - Plain air-popped popcorn, 100 calories

Dinner - 1 frozen diet dinner, 300 calories

Snack 3 - 1 Cheese stick and a glass of water, 90 calories

Total - 900 calories, and I'm not losing any weight

Now, I will use my powers of perception and ability to read between the lines and tell you what's really going on.  Let's examine what this person's food journal probably really should look like:

Breakfast - A cup of coffee and a piece of toast - 100 calories

Iced Peppermint white mocha coffee from the Starbucks drive-thru - 700 calories

Lunch - A protein Bar, 300 calories

Random trip to the vending machine, 1 20-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew 290 calories

Lunch 2 - Free pizza at work because of some contest or performance goal being reached, 800 calories.  Remember, if the food is free, it doesn't have any calories, right?

Snack 2 - Plain air-popped popcorn, 100 calories

Random trip to the vending machine, 1 20-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew 290 calories, plus a Snicker's bar, "because I've been good today," 280 calories

Dinner - 1 frozen diet dinner, 300 calories
More Dinner - Left over pizza brought home "because they were going to throw it away" 800 calories

Snack 3 - 1 cheese stick and a glass of water, 90 calories


Total 4,050 calories, and THAT is why you're not losing any weight

So you can see why it is EXTREMELY important to write down EVERYTHING you put in your mouth during the day.  Stop lying to yourself and start writing it down!

By the way, both of these eating plans are equally garbage.  It is just as bad, if not worse, to eat too little than it is to not eat enough.  Look at these two lists.  Where are the fruits?  The vegetables?  The lean meats?  The whole grains?  The lowfat dairy?  The water?

Eat right.  Measure.  Write it down.  Tell the truth to yourself.  And you will lose weight.  I promise!

1 comment:

  1. Posts like this are why I love your blog because it's the truth and crazy like all those crazy diets out there.

    Now, even with eating health, eating the right food and exercising the average person will lose more in the beginning fast maybe 5 pounds a week but after that you really should only lose 1 to 2 pounds a week and any dietician will agree and tell you anything thing else is unhealthy.

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