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Reign In Your Diet, Part II: 3 More Ways To Get Back In Control!

We're back for a few more tricks! This week it's about estimating calories and reading some labels.

I know, I know. It takes time, it's boring, it's [insert reason not to do it here]. Being completely clueless and liberated from knowing about what you eat is how we end up here, confused, unaware and lost as to how to make a change. We're trying to get you back on track and, unfortunately, sometimes that means doing the things that you don't want to do.

1. Assume there are hidden calories!

There are tons of ingredients that aren't necessarily visible on the plate, like oils and butters, and these pack on the calories. You can eat out and still have diet success, but it requires a little bit of over-estimating calories on your part.

If you didn't make the food, you don't know what's in it and being conservative with your calorie estimates when tracking will only do more harm than good. Assume they used 3 pads of butter instead of one or 4 tablespoons of oil instead of 2. This is more likely to get you close to what you just ate.

If you want to be a little more stringent about it, add up your ingredients individually per meal and if you don't have the patience for that find the highest calorie food item that closely matches your meal and add 20%.

Remember, just because you didn't write it down, doesn't mean you didn't eat it.

2. Choose foods with less ingredients.

This can be particularly helpful if you're going out to eat. Calories accrue through ingredients and it work just like arithmetic. If you add 1+1, you get 2. Add another 1, you get 3. The same math applies to food, but it looks more like:

1/3 Lbs 80/20 Ground Beef

+ Slice of Cheese

+ 2 Slices Bacon

+ Barbecue Sauce

+ Bun

= Bacon Cheeseburger

Each of the individual ingredients have a caloric value, therefore, the more you add, the more calorie-dense your meal becomes:

1/3 Lbs 80/20 Ground Beef (386 Calories)

+ Slice of Cheese (110 Calories)

+ 2 Slices Bacon (80 Calories)

+ Barbecue Sauce (70 Calories)

+ Bun (130 Calories)

= Bacon Cheeseburger (776 Calories)

So if we want less calories, we can choose an option with less ingredients:

1/3 Lbs 80/20 Ground Beef (386 Calories)

+ Barbecue Sauce (70 Calories)

+ Bun (130 Calories)

= Hamburger (586 Calories)

By opting for the simpler hamburger over a cheeseburger, we were able to cut out 300 calories.

3. Make swaps for lower calorie ingredients.

This one works a little better when we're preparing food ourselves. Similar to using less ingredients, we can also reduce calories by swapping out ingredients for less caloric options. Using our previous example of the hamburger:

1/3 Lbs 80/20 Ground Beef (386 Calories)

+ Barbecue Sauce (70 Calories)

+ Bun (130 Calories)

= Hamburger (586 Calories)

We can swap out the meat for a leaner ground beef, the barbecue sauce for ketchup and the bun for a sandwich thin:

1/3 Lbs 95% Lean Ground Beef (200 Calories)

+ Ketchup (20 Calories)

+ Sandwich Thin (90 Calories)

= Hamburger (310 Calories)

By switching ingredients, we were able to save 276 calories on our hamburger.

You can always combine these tips!

Combining the steps of choosing less ingredients with ingredients with less calories we were able to reduce our meal by 466 calories. If we are able to make choices like this every day, we could lose up to a pound in a week!

There are a lot of ways to start to reign in calories, but it all takes a little bit of time to get used to it and a commitment to go through with it.

Just remember!

Food is all around us, if you don't have that burger today, it will still be there tomorrow. By taking the time to stop and think about what we're putting into our bodies, we can move the needle towards our goals!

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