3 Essential Tools for Managing Your Weight
If your goal is to lose or gain weight, your main determining factor whether you gain or lose will be the amount of calories you consume.
Your training regimen will determine your body composition. I.e. the amount of muscle you have. For example, look at the physique of an endurance runner vs. a sprinter. The way they train determines their physique.
Even with pristine nutrition and good eating practices that get you to a desired, healthy, sustainable weight range for your body, you will need consistent application of training in strength and conditioning to stay strong, healthy, and functional throughout your life.
Hiring an experienced trainer to assess your movement and guide you through a program is one of the best ways to get started in the right direction with exercise. There is plenty of info and content out there, but nothing beats consulting someone that has put effective, personalized programming into practice and has filtered through the nonsense to point you in the right direction.
Let’s get back to the topic of controlling your weight:
3 things to start off with:
- A food scale.
- A food tracking app.
- A bodyweight scale.
First things first: Before you make any adjustments to the way you eat, track your food and bodyweight daily for a couple of weeks to see where you’re at. You need to find out whether your current eating habits keep you at the same weight, or cause you to gain or lose weight.
When you’re tracking, be sure to be accurate: For example: A heaping tablespoon of peanut butter should not be measured as 1 tbsp. A heaping tablespoon of peanut butter can contain 2-3 times the amount that a standard flat tablespoon of peanut butter should measure.
That’s a difference of 100-200 calories. Over time, a habit of inaccurate measurement can cause the difference between hitting your daily maintenance calories over time and maintaining weight, or being 200 or more calories in surplus, causing weight gain.
Being consistent and accurate will be key in achieving your goal of predictable weight loss or weight gain.
If you haven’t been tracking long enough to have an idea of whether or not you’re tracking accurately, consult an experienced trainer who has been doing it for a while. It’s common practice for me to review my clients’ food logs and nudge them in the right direction if I see something that’s off. Sometimes the list of food entries in MyFitnessPal or food labels can have wrong values. For example, I recently came across a jar of marinated bell peppers - the label read that 25g of bell pepper was 0 calories - the label was definitely wrong (a marinated bell pepper still contains calories).
It’s not uncommon for me to see a food log that has 1600 calories logged for the day, but upon further inspection, when I ask the client about specific amounts or food items, it turns out their actual intake was closer to 2000 calories. For example, a few coffees with sugar and milk that weren’t logged, or heaping tablespoon of peanut butter logged as a tablespoon.
Be comprehensive, log it all, and pay attention to detail. Track you food intake daily, track your weight daily, and you will have predictable, measureable results.
I'll have more to come on this topic.
Until then, start tracking consistently and start learning about your habits and how they affect your weight.
All the best,