Tips & tricks

Food measurement, estimation & mythbusting.

Using a food scale

Measuring your food can feel overwhelming, but it’s the best tool you have to be sure you’re eating what you’re tracking. A food scale gives you the ability to learn portion sizes and sets you up for long term success. Adapting to your changing activity and calorie needs is easier when you know what you’re eating.

Most food scales available in stores work well for daily tracking and can last years. Place your plate or container on the scale and look for the tare option. This will bring the scale to zero and make it ready to weigh your portions.

Keep a spare battery or two and you'll be able to track uninterrupted.

Dining out

Most restaurant food contains more calories than cooking at home. Many times it's the result of added cooking oils and other ingredients that add flavor.

Consider ordering foods that have known ingredients or where high-calorie ingredients are unlikely to get added.

If you know you'll have less flexibility, try to pick the most healthy option. These are typically lean cuts of meat or veggie dishes. You can also prepare ahead of time by eating less carbohydrates and fat.

If calorie or nutrient information isn't available for something you ate, you can always estimate the details by tracking the basic ingredients. For example you might track a slice of cake by logging yellow cake and cream cheese frosting.

Remember that a time out on the town or ordering takeout isn't the end of the world. Continue to be mindful of your calorie window from week to week and focus on consistency.

Eating cakes, cookies & other treats

Eating the things you enjoy is part of a balanced approach to nutrition and health. Much like with dining out, the strategies are the same.

Be mindful of how your treat may affect your macronutrients and adjust your intake beforehand accordingly.

You can also lower your calorie intake the day after to make up for any overindulgence.

If you have no underlying health conditions, knowing what and how much you eat is a powerful tool. Cake, cookies, and even pizza become fuel for your body with known limits and ranges.

As you adapt your lifestyle, use the knowledge and insights you gain from tracking your diet as evidence of your self control and empowerment.

The truth about net carbs

Net carbs are everywhere. Unfortunately the term has no formal legal definition and isn't recognized by the FDA or American Diabetes Association.

Net carbs are calculated by subtracting sugar alcohol and fiber totals from the carbohydrate total of a food. Unfortunately this approach is flawed. To quote the American Diabetes Association:

“This is assuming that fiber and sugar alcohols are not absorbed or metabolized, but this is not always true... [T]he contribution of fiber and sugar alcohols to total carbohydrates depends on the types present.”

Tracking carbohydrates like other macronutrients is the best recommendation for accuracy. Nutrition labels are often embellished to make claims about net carbs without considering the actual impact on blood glucose.

For more information, please visit the full article titled, Get to Know Carbs by the American Diabetes Association.

Tuning your macros

Set your macronutrients based on your goals and lifestyle. Use a built-in preset or create your own ratio. Experiment to see what makes you feel your best.

Most people can have positive results by using one of the built-in presets. Desired weight changes are achieved by adjusting overall calories. Macro ratios update proportionally.

Some alternate strategies depend on specific dietary needs. Athletes should keep their protein and carbohydrate intake high to fuel workouts and recovery. People trying to lower body fat during extended weight loss periods may opt to lower fat or carbohydrates to keep protein levels consistent.

Be mindful of the impact proteins and fats can have on feeling satisfied after a meal. You may decide on higher protein and fat ratios to help maintain lean body pass or properly regulate hormones.

Talk to your doctor before making any large changes to your eating habits.

Filling foods

One of the biggest challenges when trying to lose weight is feeling full. We often miss the feeling of "being stuffed" when what our bodies need is to finish a meal feeling satisfied.

The best kinds of meals and snacks for satiety usually include a healthy serving of protein and fiber. This includes lean meats and water-rich fruits and vegetables. It’s also important to avoid sodas and fruit juices that are high in sugar. Highly processed foods and items high in sugar can cause hunger more quickly due to the quick rise and fall of blood sugar levels.

Filling, healthy meals don’t have to be boring or bland. A 2017 study by researchers at Laval University found that people who ate meals high in satiety — like a stir-fry - lost more weight and ate less later in the day.

Some good foods to keep around the house include cottage cheese, eggs, avocados, lentils, oatmeal, greek yogurt, salad, and almonds. Make the most of your meals by incorporating a variety of high satiety foods to set yourself up for success.