How (and why) to use a food scale!
Ooooookay… hold on. A food scale? This sounds way too complicated. I’ll tell you what’s complicated.. working out SO hard in the gym and not paying close enough attention to what you’re eating, all the while staying stagnant in your weight, gaining weight or just not seeing any progress in your composition. THAT, my friends, is FRUSTRATING. The first time I ever paid any attention AT ALL to my diet was my junior year of college. It was a macro plan that was already all mapped out. Recipes, portions, measurements.. just follow the plan and awesome things will happen, they said. Well, to my surprise.. it worked! I had always been an athlete and was generally pretty active. But when college came around and all I had was MAYBE a pickup game beach volleyball or a walk around campus with many delicious food choices and no accountability, I began to put on a few extra pounds. I followed the plan (which was a 40/30/30 macro breakdown-also known as the ZONE) and started dropping weight rapidly.. like to the tune of 21 pounds in 3 weeks. Whooooaaaaaaa nelly. That’s a pound a day for 3 weeks. Sure, I was excited about this success, I was eating what seemed like ALL the time (every three hours) and there were no specific restrictions on foods (it wasn’t categorized by 100% clean, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, low carb, etc. It was just balanced macros). However, if you have any specific allergies or food restrictions, you can absolutely still apply those and still track macros!
But now that I look back on it, it was a good macro breakdown, just WAY TOO few calories.. hence the rapid weight loss. I eventually hit a wall of losing weight and my immune system became week. I was unable to keep eating such FEW calories and stay healthy, so what could I have done? If I had wanted to lose MORE weight, my mind would immediately go to 1) eat LESS or 2) work out more. Neither of those things were possible. I had damaged my metabolism and it was in desperate need of repair. I wish I had known then what I know now about REVERSE DIETING. If you haven’t read my article about REVERSE DIETING and think you may have damaged your metabolism from yo yo dieting or miseducation over the years, follow that link to read the article! It’s SO interesting!
Onto the food scale. Using a food scale is for a season, for the purpose of learning quantities, serving sizes and portions that are appropriate for your plan! Of course, there is always the option to use good old fashioned measuring cups and measuring spoons, but then… dishes. The food scale is a all-in-one measuring system to measure everything from meat to protein powder and even the cream that goes in your coffee. Hear me on this–the food scale is a great tool to use while we are really wanting to be SUPER accurate in our tracking and LEARNING what appropriate measurements and portions are. I do not take the food scale with me to friends houses for BBQ’s or to restaurants. The glory of flexible dieting is to teach us to eventually eyeball portions so we are educated to make better choices while we are out of our homes.. which is LIFE! You shouldn’t have to go to the movies and sneak your scale into your purse to weigh your popcorn 🙂 In fact, we don’t get to go to movies often, but something I often do is measure my popcorn at home and bring it in a bag! Then I know exactly what I’m getting and it’s already logged into My Fitness Pal. Other times, when I am not concerned with being AS perfectly accurate, I just choose to share an unbuttered popcorn with my husband and eat moderately without guilt.
Again, the food scale is a great tool for accuracy and ease. It took me a while to get use to, so if you are interested in trying it, give yourself grace and keep at it! Here is a link to a great http://amzn.to/2bClg9X
on Amazon.com for about $13
*Tip: I usually measure meat in ounces, liquid in mL and everything else in grams. mL is the liquid equivalent of grams. There are 28 grams in an ounce. Most ALL food labels will show servings sizes in cups, ounces or grams so you can do whatever you’re most comfortable with!
*Food scale hacks: Sometimes adding SMALL amounts of food (like drizzling a small amount of coconut oil or peanut butter) is so minuscule that it can be hard for the scale to read. Try putting the entire jar of peanut butter on the scale and then TARE to ZERO. Start taking your portion out with a spoon and what you REMOVE from the peanut butter jar will show up by way of a negative number on the scale. So, if I need 10g of peanut butter, I spoon out of the jar until it says “-10g”