Thursday, November 14, 2013

Weighing vs. measuring

On MFP, there has been a lot of discussion lately about weighing vs. measuring.  Mostly because so many people go on these diets to lose weight and get to a point and stall out.  Inevitably, someone says, "You're eating too little."  And the debate starts.  When I first joined, I was sorta on the line about this whole 'eat more, weigh less' mantra but now I'm no longer on the line.  I'm all for it.  But not in this context.  It's been blown WAY out of the water and people have gotten to where they throw it around all of the time in a different context and then BAM.  Confusion.  One member explained that 'Eat more, weigh less' wasn't referring to literally eat more than you need to lose.  They meant you don't have to be on a super restrictive calorie goal to lose weight.  In that way I agree.  But for the vast majority of people it isn't that their cals are too low, but too high.  This is where the weighing vs. measuring comes in.

I'm literally in the camp of 'you're eating too much' now.  However, I want to be clear that I'm not obsessive about it.  I do try to weigh lots of things, but I try not to obsess over it to the point where I feel like my life is on hold until I get to a scale.  I don't weigh pre-measured or pre-packaged items but I do weigh other things like meat, butter, jams, and I check fruits that are calorie dense if they are in bigger portions (my recent Honeycrisp apple purchas... 235g per apple!).  But I don't count my coffee, gum, or even mustard.  But I get now that when people get aggravated on there at the 'eat more' camp it is because the whole idea is being skewed by people who don't get it yet like I do now.  No, I'm not saying there has never been a person who upped calories and then started to lose again.  But it seems more likely they are just eating more than they think.  When they get defensive and say no, I 'measure' everything then that's when the debate gets intense.  There is a BIG difference between measuring using cups and weighing.  Not a huge difference, but a big one. 

A fine example of this is that for forever, I've just measured my coffee creamer (that I started using again over the Spring).  I THOUGHT I was only using the 4 servings that I record which is 40 cals.  Turns out I was using SIX!!!  Yes, that's only a 20 cal jump, but that is only in one cup and I can have 2 or 3 a day.  Turns out when measuring with my teaspoon, even though I level it off, it's not accurate to the 2g measurement.  :/  Annoying.  This alone isn't a big deal.  But if you start to weigh everything vs. just taking what the package says or even eyeballing it, you start to see all of those cals add up.  One girl did hers yesterday for the entire day and it turns out she was eating around 300 more cals a day than she thought!  If you're trying to cut 500 a day, there goes that! 

Before you get too hung up on that (cause I'm not) there is a flip side to this.  All food and exercise is an estimate; an educated guess at best if you are using all the latest equipment and data.  If you really think about it, it's not a big deal.  Because if you were aiming for say, 1600 and then doing that you realize that you've been eating closer to 1900, in the long run it doesn't matter.  You've been actually eating MORE than you thought to LOSE.  Which is awesome!  So, for me, when my loss starts to stall out at 1600, the logical explanation seems to be that instead of getting anal about weighing would be to just cut cals until I started to lose again.  I'm not saying weighing is bad (HELLOOOO??? I weigh stuff!), but I AM saying there has to be balance.  You are not going to want to weigh every morsel that goes into your mouth once you hit maintenance.  That is why I say to cut overall calories.  If you are a bit over or a bit under, it all balances out.  And I am just not willing to drive myself nuts over every gram.  It's also why I don't think people should go on crazy restrictive diets whether it be by cals or certain foods.  In the long run, it doesn't make sense.  Mostly because you KNOW the majority of people are not going to continue to eat that way once they get to where they want to be.  Why not start out as close to what you hope to maintain as possible?  Just makes more sense to me. And it also makes sense to not get obsessive and stress out. 

My point is I do think you should weigh so you learn true portion sizes and you eat what you want to eat and make changes where you need and want to, but you shouldn't drive yourself bonkers over the tiniest things.  The creamer thing is bugging me mostly because I had gone to just black for a long time to save some cals and I thought I was doing ok measuring, but using the scale it makes you wonder is it worth it in the long run.  Do I LOVE the creamer?  Meh, it's ok.  I like coffee period so maybe it's somewhere I could make a change if need be later.  So while I really feel the scale is a great tool, you shouldn't obsess over it but use it as it was intended... to check your food, learn, and keep yourself accurate.  Just not obsession to the point where you can't eat something if you don't weigh it.  Because in all honesty, I'd rather be a few pounds higher than stress out like that.  Life is too short and too valuable to spend it that way.  Do I want to lose weight and get healthier?  YES!  But do I want to drive myself and my family crazy?  Do I want to project those unhealthy thoughts to my children?  Do I want to NEVER have or do things I enjoy?  All of those answers are a big fat NO.

On that note, I don't think I will have a loss tomorrow.  Did my calorie average yesterday and it was over 1700.  I think even 1750.  I went back and forth on whether I should reduce my cals to balance it out for the month and get me on track, but I think I am just going to stick with where I am.  2 or 3 of the days I was over were when we were doing the heavy labor on the house and I was just starving.  To include the one night where my sugar crashed late at night and it was eat or be severely sick.  I had dried oranges and nuts for 250 cals.  The other two days were my Reunion and travel day.  So, that's a total of 4 or 5 days in the last 15 days (as of tomorrow) that I will be over.  Granted, the first two were at the very beginning of the month and the others were during days I was working my tail off.  But still.  I expect to see about 179.  I'd love lower.  Even if it was only 177 or 177.5.  But I don't expect it.  And at this point, I don't see the value in reducing cals to balance out the first two weeks.  If I am not terribly hungry and it happens naturally, that is fine.  But I'm not going to drive myself crazy over it.  It's a fresh two weeks.  I will probably attempt to be a bit more mindful with the holiday coming up at the end of the month, but I am not going to drive myself bonkers.

Balance people.  Balance and happiness.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to comment -- I love reading them and I try to respond! :D