Calories 101: Measuring Your Food
Chester J. Zelasko, Ph.D. | April 24, 2008

The first lesson is simple but requires some effort. You’re not going to like it, especially if you’ve done a calorie-counting weight-loss program at some point, but you’ll just have to trust me.

Measure all the food you eat at home over the next five weeks. You don’t have to measure everything every time--you can measure each food just once. Measure your food and keep a list of all the foods you eat on a regular basis.

Measurement should be done two ways. First, by volume. That means you can pull out the measuring cups and spoons and put the food you’re going to eat in them. This is especially critical for calorie-dense foods such as oils, salad dressing, nuts, pasta, and milk.

Second, weigh all the food you eat. The reason for weighing the food is that most nutrition labels go by grams or ounces. That doesn’t translate well to tablespoons and cups. This will be especially helpful for meats, cheeses, and other foods that are difficult to measure in cups. At Better Life, we use a Pelouze® digital mailing scale. In general, a mailing scale will do the same job as a food scale but costs much less.

You won’t have to do it forever, but it’s important. In a very short period of time, your brain will be able to determine the volume and the weight without measuring--you’ll be able to do it by sight. That may be hard to believe but remember, I asked you to trust me. Start measuring.
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