You could write a book of nothing but cooking tips for weight loss. In fact there are probably about 1,000 of them already out there. As someone who has been on this journey for heading into 2 years and has lost 50 pounds naturally through diet and exercise, I have one tip that for me reigns above all else.
It is so simple but, it is something we rarely do. Do you know what a serving size of peanut butter is? The answer is 2 LEVEL tablespoons. But, how often do you actually pull out a tablespoon and measure out your peanut butter while making a sandwich? I’d wager never. How can we have any idea how much of anything we’re eating, if we don’t actually measure it?
I’ve tried to lose weight so many times in my life that I don’t think I could count them all. But, this time when I decided to do this FOR REAL with no gimmicks or fads, I decided that I needed to be honest about what I was actually putting in my mouth. I track all of my food in an app on my phone. Measuring keeps me honest.
I have two ways that I measure my foods. The first is measuring spoons and cups.
I have numerous sets of each. Once I started measuring everything, I realized I could no longer survive on one or two sets of measuring spoons. I may need 3 different tablespoons for one recipe depending on what I am making and cross contamination concerns. Not to mention that I may need measuring spoons for something else while the first set or two are in the dishwasher.
I have 6 complete sets of measuring spoons that start at an 1/8 of a teaspoon and go up through tablespoon. I have 4 full sets of measuring cups. I also have four 2 cup liquid measuring cups, two 8 cup measuring cups….well you get the idea. Measuring spoons and cups aren’t perfect but, they can definitely keep you from eating 4 tbs of peanut butter while thinking that it looks like only 2.
What’s this about measuring cups and spoons not being perfect you ask? Well have you ever noticed that on your food labels it will tell you the serving size in spoon size/count OR weight? I found out quickly that the weighted amount rarely matched the spoon/count amount. Yes folks, according to weight, a serving size of peanut butter is actually more like 1.5 tbs. SURPRISE! If you’ve only been using the spoons, you’ve been eating more calories than you thought you were. Bummer! And here you were trying to be good by using your measuring spoons! Harrumph!
So for me the trusty kitchen scale is also super important. Plus, on the upside, sometimes the scale gives you MORE of something than the non scale measurement. For example, a bag of pretzels will say Serving size “About 11 pretzels OR 28 grams”. Well it turns out that a lot of the time if you actually measure out your snacks on the scale, you end up getting more than 11! Woohooo! Granted it may be 13 pretzels instead of 11, but when you’re tracking things, sometimes those 2 extra pretzels can feel like a major mental win! Here is the scale I use. It was extremely affordable and works like a charm.
So there you have it. No mindless scooping. No carrying the bag of chips to the living room. Be honest, measure it out. You’ll feel better knowing you truly are eating the correct amount AND you’ll have an easier time achieving your goals.