You see, throughout my years of loving cereal such as Lucky Charms I’d always seen the label, noticed that it was only 110 calories per serving, and gone to town, eating till my heart was content.
I figured each bowl of cereal I had was probably about 2 servings, not a big deal to me. It’s not like I had to worry about my weight or anything – I played sports from the time I was little all the way through college and was always extremely physically active.
However nowadays, with my athletics career over, I’ve had to be a bit more aware of what I eat due to the fact that I’m exercising a whole lot less.
So, because of my curiosity the morning of my cheat day, I decided to weigh my cereal. What I found out was that the massive bowls I had been using held 4 servings of Lucky Charms – double the amount I thought I was consuming!
You may think this is no big deal or anything, but what is the difference between 4 servings of Lucky Charms and 2 servings of Lucky Charms? An extra 220 calories!
Why is this important?
Well, a major factor in weight loss is the amount of food you eat – I’m pretty sure you understand this.
A general rule of thumb for weight loss is to eat a little less – nothing crazy that will change your hormonal balance or your metabolism, but less.
When we consume additional calories every day (like the extra 220 calories of Lucky Charms) without even noticing, they can add up quickly and a steady increase in body weight can occur.
Brian Wansink talks about this concept of mindlessly losing weight and gaining weight in his book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think
which I highly suggest you read.
He gives an example of how just cutting an extra 140 calorie soda each day from your diet could help you lose 14 pounds over the course of a year – small changes add up big time.
In his book he gives plenty of extraordinary examples of how we mindlessly eat and how the tiniest of changes can have big results.
To help you in your weight loss pursuit I’ve provided you with 5 ways to eat less and lose weight:
- Think 20% more or less. Through his studies, Brian found out that people tend to be able to eat 20% less without even noticing it. Once upping this to 30% occurs, however, we become much more aware. To utilize this concept, Brian suggests dishing out 20% less food than you think you would want. Going off of this, try adding 20% more veggies – you’ll feel fuller, but adding in more veggies in place of other higher calories foods will help you lose weight. Think of trying to eat until you are no longer hungry, not until you are a full – a useful tip from Brian and his team.
- Buy smaller boxes and use smaller dishes. You may have heard of this concept before, but it is absolutely true – when we eat out of bigger containers we eat more. The famous popcorn study by Brian illustrates this beautifully. Through this study he found that people ate 34% more stale popcorn if they ate out of a larger container. Yes, you read that correctly – they ate 34% more stale popcorn – just because they had more of it to eat. The same goes with the size of our plates and the size of our boxes of cereal – they heavily influence how much we eat.
- Dish up all your food on your plate before you eat it. Through their studies Brian and his team discovered that people eat 14% less when they put all their food on their plate first instead of taking small amounts and going up for seconds or thirds. When we actually see what we are eating we eat less.
- Weigh your food. I’m not advising you weigh your food every single time you eat, but if you never have an actual reference point on things how are you suppose to know how much you should eat? I bought a really great food scale two months ago and I love it. It takes me no time at all to use and allows me to have an accurate idea of my portion sizes. Since using a food scale I’ve noticed that I’ve become much better at estimating my portion sizes – a useful tool no doubt!
- Make things simple. If you are looking for an easier way to estimate portion size check out this calorie control guide from Precision Nutrition. With this guide you can estimate your portion sizes entirely with your hand! Making things simple is sometimes the best way to go about things.
There is a lot more to losing weight than simply eating controlling the amount of calories you consume, but focusing on that will give you a great start.
What is the next step towards weight loss?
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