If you’ve bemoaned the fact you aren’t losing weight as fast as you feel you should be, you are likely eating more calories than you think. There are a lot of ways to track your food intake, from calorie counters to measuring cups. However, the most accurate way is the food scale. As the common phrase goes, “The scale doesn’t lie.”
I didn’t have a food scale for a long time. I thought I knew how much food I was eating and what a portion should be. After all, I had been dieting for years and was somewhat of an expert on food portions, at least I thought I was.
After losing weight successfully for a while, I decided it might be fun to get a scale. So I did. I bought a digital scale that measured in both grams and ounces. This turned out to be a good decision because even though I live in the United States, many food labels list food weights in grams only or have both grams and empirical measures.
Imagine my surprise when what I thought to be a portion actually turned out to be a portion and a half or even two portions. I still remember measuring rice and being surprised at how little rice 185 g or 1/2 cup really was. Even though I had used a measuring cup, I was eating more than I intended. I guess I smashed the rice down a little bit when putting it in the cup.
A digital scale makes that impossible. You can smash food into a cup or guesstimate how much is on your plate, but you can’t cheat the scale.
If you’ve never used a digital food scale, here’s a quick primer on how to use one:
– Purchase a scale with a wide surface area to accommodate a variety of bowls and dishes.
– Always zero out the scale. In other words, don’t count the weight of the container when measuring your foods.
– Add up all the ingredients and divide the number of servings into it. For example, if you are making a chicken stir-fry that has 450 g of chicken, 1/2 an onion, 1/2 a green pepper, and 4 cups of cooked rice, measure each ingredient and record the calories. If you split the dish into three servings, divide the total calories by three.
– Make use of the recipe builders on websites like MyFitnessPal or SparkPeople to analyze total calories of your recipes and measure ingredients. If you log onto the sites, you can save your recipes for future use.
- Use the zero out feature as a time-saving device for salads. Put your container on the scale and set it to zero. Then add each ingredient and zero out the scale after each addition. That way you are only measuring each new ingredient. After you’ve recorded it all in your journal, take the bowl off the scale and eat your perfectly measured salad.
The small amount of money you will spend on the scale is definitely worth it in the long run. It’s really easy to blame a lack of weight loss on everything but overeating. A food scale will hold you accountable and give you an objective way of determining exactly what you are eating and how many calories it has.