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Know What’s in Your Food

Let’s be honest and I know it’s safe to say most of us eat too much. You eat tons of calories for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without thinking about what is in the food or what it is doing to your body. If you work in an office setting you are more than likely eating way more than someone who does not. If you are truly serious about losing weight and getting back in shape it’s time to get a smaller plate. In EVERY post I talk about food I’m also going to continue to push and be an advocate for  MyFitnessPal. Like I stated before adding that app on my phone and registering for the site online changed my life. I even got mad when I thought about the days I didn’t cook and all the crap I ate on those days. I was literally killing myself. Hopefully, the information I give will help you like it has helped me. NO, I’m NOT a doctor. NO, I am NOT a nurse practitioner. NO, I an NOT a nutritionist. NO, I am NOT a certified personal trainer. As I stated in my bio I asked my primary physician to refer me to someone for weight loss and I started seeing a nurse practitioner. She gave me tons of information so I am sharing it with you FOR FREE. 🙂

One of the many things the nurse practitioner gave me was a magazine called Power of Prevention.  It has a great article written in it called “How Much Should I Be Eating?” by Dr. Elise Brett. The topic of the article is Counting Calories for Weight Management. I’m going to sum up the article for you then tell you how to read and understand food labels. Let me be the first to say counting calories is NOT easy. With soooooo many people using smart phones you can download diet and exercise apps for FREE to your phone!!! It’s way better than writing your food and exercise down. The KEY sentence in the first paragraph of the article is, “If you truly want to lose weight, it boils down to calories in vs. calories out, not matter where the calories come from.” Basically she is saying it doesn’t take a diet to lose weight you just need to manage what you eat. Next paragraph she defined what a calorie is. “A calorie is a unit of energy.” Throughout the rest of the article she explained what your calorie intake should be to maintain or lose weight. She also broke this down by gender. As I stated last week men and women lose weight different due to our bodies. According to Dr. Brett most adult women need 1600-1800 calories per day to maintain their current weight; men need 2000-2200 calories. She also talked about the REE or resting energy expenditure. The REE is the amount of calories you burn per day if you did nothing. You can also use Self Nutrition Data or Health Status which are free websites to get your BMI calculations and other information.  BUT, first you need to determine what YOU want your goal weight to be AND it needs to be a healthy weight recommended by your primary physician. According to the BMI my weight should be between 121-155. I am NOT trying to get as small as 121; I would look like a crackhead. My current calorie goal is 1500 per day but I average between 1200-1400. I know you are like WHOA NELLY you starving. Actually I’m not and since my body is well adjusted to my current eating lifestyle I cannot eat like I use too. BUT, back to the article. Most diets don’t work because people get bored with eating the same foods all day everyday. According to Dr. Brett if your goal is to LOSE weight you need to be eating 1000-1200 calories per day for women and 1500-1800 per day for men. WELL, if I go under 1200 calories MyFitnessPal will say it’s too low when I close my food an exercise diary for the day. Dr. Brett ended the article by saying, “The bottom line is: if you want to lose weight, eat fewer calories.”

SO, now that you know you need to lighten up your plate the MOST IMPORTANT thing to know is what is really on your plate. Not only do you need to watch your calorie intake you also need to pay more attention to what’s in your food. The key things you need to look at on food labels are the following: serving size, calories per serving, fat, sodium, sugar, and cholesterol. For example frozen dinners and canned foods are VERY high in sodium. They are loaded with sodium to preserve the food. According to the Mayo Clinic you should reduce your sodium intake to less than 2300 mg per day. If you are 51 yrs or older it needs to be less than 1500 mg per day. You should be eating as less fat and sugar as possible. BUT BEWARE of foods that claim to be fat free. Some of them are still loaded with sugar. ALSO, if you buy juice make sure it says “NO ADDED SUGAR” on the front. Even though some fruit juices are 100% juice they are STILL loaded with sugar per serving. I am going to show you a sample food label and it breaks down the things to pay attention too:

Notice this sample food label shows you what to look for and why! Here is another sample food label:

One thing I didn’t do was deprive myself of certain snacks I like to eat. HOWEVER, if I decide to treat myself and eat one of those snacks I actually ate the serving size. For example I LOVE me some Chewy Chips Ahoy. WELL, 2 cookies is 1 serving and that is 120 calories. NOW, what it I ate more than those two cookies? You see how fast those calories shoot up. YES, it takes a LOT of discipline to eat ONLY the serving size BUT when you get close to your goal weight like me it will be a breeze for you. Here is a link to a great article the Mayo Clinic did on reading food labels: Nutrition and Healthy Eating. I HIGHLY recommend you read it and start paying more attention to what you are putting in your body. Eat fewer calories is pointless if the food is loaded with fat, sodium, and sugar. You ALSO MUST exercise. YES, you can lose a little weight by eating less BUT exercise is a MUST to reach your goal the healthy way. You know your body better than I do. If you are serious about getting healthy and getting in shape PLEASE seek advice from you primary physician FIRST!!! I truly appreciate all the feedback and comments about my blog BUT I am NOT a doctor. I just have a head full of knowledge that was given to me and information I researched on my own. I will also provide FACTS and professional information with anything I post so you can check it out for yourself. BUT the best place to get information is from you OWN doctor.

TRUST ME, you know if you are overweight or obese even IF you don’t want to label yourself as such. You doctor will be more than happy and excited to help once they see you are serious about your health.  NOT ONLY KNOW what you are eating BUT LEARN how to eat better. It will be hard and YOU will fall off the wagon a few times BUT get back on and keep the train rolling. I’m hear to inspire, encourage, and help the best way I can. Show me some love and leave a friendly hello to let me know you stopped by. And please feel free to share my blog. Thanks again for all the love and support.


NO, I’m NOT a doctor. NO, I am NOT a nurse practitioner. NO, I an NOT a nutritionist. NO, I am NOT a certified personal trainer.


About TheHealthyHappyTeacher

Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Friend, Soror, & Goal Digger. Trying to make the world a better place one child at a time. #MyASU #IEeeeeYip #SportsFanatic

7 responses »

  1. Tam i’m viewing from my phone and trying to find how to subscribe to your blog updates.

  2. GREAT blog,with helpful information. I enjoyed reading! Thanks!

  3. You are so right about the serving sizes. People should also watch out for those 100 calorie snacks. Those add so quickly. The thought is that they are so small it’s not much and two bags a day is 200 calories. Eatign two bags between breakfast and lunch and then lunch and dinner – that’s 400 calories. I quit eating them after I took a nutrition class. Oh, and I am not trying to take over your blog but I also learned in a previous class how to cut out some very unnecessary added calories and fat. One example was, that I use today, to not use both butter and syrup on your waffles and pancakes. Cut out the butter and dip your bites into a tablespoon of syrup (as one should do with their salad dressing). Just a few tips that I felt was worth passing on.

  4. Scheryka, you are not taking over please feel free to add more information. I stop buying the 100 cal snacks as well. I started buying the small plastic bags they make for snacks and preparing my own snacks. I buy the family size boxes of things I like and measure out the serving size to place in the bags. I’ve saved money and was able to change up my snacks instead of eating the same things all the time.

  5. Hey Tam! I just want to say thanks and keep up the good work!!!!!


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