Most people associate the holiday season with gaining weight from the tasty food at parties and family celebrations, holiday party drinking, and less time and energy for exercise. Research has found that for most adults, this weight gain only adds up to one pound, not the 5 or more pounds commonly reported in the news. While only one pound sounds minor, most people don’t lose that extra pound. As we age, those extra pounds add up, leading to obesity over time. So one strategy for maintaining a healthy weight for a lifetime is to avoid gaining holiday weight, no matter how small just one pound seems. Continue reading
Have you ever kept a food diary before? Writing down what you eat is an incredible tool for eating smarter and slimming down. It helps you be more mindful of what and how much you’re eating, allowing you to spot your dietary weaknesses. In fact, keeping a food (and or physical activity) diary is one of the most effective weight loss strategies you can use. Think about it, even if you aren’t planning to change your diet, writing it down makes you think twice. Do I really want to write down that I ate an entire sleeve of saltine crackers? Maybe I’ll just take out 10 and put them away instead. [True story. I have to watch myself around those boring, dry, but somehow irresistible, refined carb goodies.]
Food diaries are also useful if you are doing some food intolerance detective work. For instance, I finally realized I have some lactose intolerance issues after keeping track of what I was eating before my stomach started hurting. Interestingly, I figured out that a glass of milk or bowl of ice cream gave me a stomachache, but yogurt and cheese (which have less lactose due to how they are made) didn’t bother me the same way. I never would have figured that out without keeping track of what I ate.
As you saw in the video, there are several different ways to keep a food diary, traditional pen and paper, using a smartphone or web app, etc. If you are online regularly, MyPlate’s Supertracker is a great program for logging your meals and physical activity. FNP also has a nice Slim Down Food Diary (pictured below) you can use. You just need to find a way that works for you. Figure out something that records as much (or as little) information as you need and is something you can stick with day after day.
If you’re trying to slim down, a food diary will help. Let us know how you’re planning on keeping track in the comments.
Bonus Tip: All the same applies for keeping track of your physical activity. Writing down your exercise routines will help you keep track of your progress and motivate you to keep going.
A few months ago, I shared this picture from MyPlate on our Facebook page. It really surprised me because 400 calories is how much most people need for an entire meal. Much of those calories are coming from added sugar in soda or fruit-flavored drinks (not 100% juice).
Why does it matter?
- We are getting way too much added sugar in our diets. Regular soda is the leading source of added sugar in our diets.
- Drinking calories doesn’t make you feel full in the same way that eating the same amount of calories would. So you end up eating more later on.
- Buying soda and fruit drinks takes away from money that could be spent on nutritious foods. This is a major issue for those of us with limited food budgets.
- Many children in America don’t drink enough water. (Read more about how much water kids need every day from Kids Eat Right.)
Water is Better.
- Water is one of 6 essential nutrients your body needs to function. In fact, our bodies are about 60% water.
- Water is sugar and calorie free. You can drink it without worrying about your weight.
- There is some evidence that drinking water before meals can actually help you eat less calories, aiding in weight management.
- Tap water is available and free, at home and in most restaurants. There’s no need to spend extra on bottled water, when a lot of times, it’s also just tap water, too.
- Water doesn’t have to be boring or flavorless. You can jazz up plain water with sliced fruit, veggies, or herbs.
Got Milk and Juice?
Milk and 100% juice have calories. But they also have essential nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, that soda doesn’t. We need 3 cups of dairy a day, but this also includes low-fat cheese and yogurt. Most days, you won’t need to drink 3 cups of milk to get all your dairy.
Likewise, 100% juice is an easy way to get fruit. But whole fruit (fresh, frozen or canned in 100% juice) has more nutrients, especially fiber, than juice. For that reason, we should limit 100% juice to just 1 cup (8 ounces) a day. For young kids, who need less fruit, ½ cup (4 ounces) a day is all they should drink.
Some beverages that contain calories (milk and 100% juice) are fine to drink, but most of our hydration should come from plain old water. Cutting out sugary drinks is better for our waistlines and wallets. Here are 10 Tips for Making Better Beverage Choices from MyPlate to help you drink smarter.