The most common complaint I have probably heard about a thousand times is – “I keep on eating healthy and little, but I’m still gaining weight”. I have experienced this as well, and believe me, it took a while before I realized what the real problem was. Most of the people that aren’t committed diet fans and do not thoroughly record everything they eat, experience the habit of “instinctive eating”.
Instinctive eating is mainly about eating whenever you feel like it, without really thinking what exactly you are putting in your stomach and how much of it you are actually having. Your eating schedule is dictated by your food cravings and your appetite and you hardly think of counting that calorie intake or lowering your portion sizes – because they seem small and healthy enough to you. Fair enough, but is this really true? Most people do not realize that their small snacks and late dinners might not be as diet-friendly and tiny as they think.
This is what I hear from most of the sufferers of instinctive eating: “I eat like a normal person, three times a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. I even think I’m eating less that most of my friends do, and I am still gaining weight. I sometimes even tend to skip my breakfast, which means that I really don’t eat a lot, but the weight keeps pilling up”.
If you are experiencing this and you really have no clue why this is happening – you are lucky to have found this article. I am going to break your “healthy size portion” beliefs and reveal the secrets of your weight gain. There is nothing complicated to this, and in fact, it is all a matter of habit and your perception of “little and tiny”.
To start off, I would like to point out that an average daily calorie intake for women is around 2000 calories while for men it is about 2500 calories. Having cleared that out, let me give you a very good example of how most people exceed this calorie intake, which thus makes them gain weight without even noticing it.
Let’s look at your snacks first. Most of us tend to snack on average from 2 to 4 times a day between the meals. What do people usually have as a snack and how many calories does one have?
– 2 American chocolate chip cookies – 200 calories
– a slice of white bread – 100 calories
– a slice of cheese – 110 calories
– a regular serving of cake – between 250 and 350 calories
– a white bun or bread roll – 220 calories
– a banana – 135 calories
– a slice of pepperoni pizza – about 230 calories
– a cup of flavored yogurt – 120 calories
– a glass of milk – 120 calories
The list can go on forever. The point is that people tend to underestimate the real energy value of those little and innocent snacks. A lot of us tend to snack with bread or buns which might cost you 400-500 calories extra for just 1 and a half serving. And this is just the snack – what about the meals?
Let’s look at a few lunch samples and analyze them.
– Caesar salad with egg, cheese and bacon and Caesar dressing with a slice of white-bread and a chocolate muffin as a dessert – about 800 calories.
– French fries with a cheeseburger with mayonnaise or ketchup and a chocolate milkshake – about 900 calories.
– Chicken wings with a veggie salad and dressing and a cheesecake for a dessert – about 700 calories.
– A Chineese take-away with rice or noodles, beef, egg and vegetables and a fizzy drink – about 750 calories.
So let’s say you have had your 800 calorie lunch and 2 snacks during the day. That makes up to about 60% of an average calorie intake for women, and I have to admit I have been quite modest on the lunch calorie count. So if your lunch and 2 snacks normally make up to 60% of your daily calorie intake, let alone the dinner and breakfast, how are you supposed to NOT to gain weight?
Here is a list of common and dramatic mistakes that prevent people from losing or maintaining weight:
1. Many people tend to skip breakfast thinking that it will help them eat less during the day. In fact, this is essentially wrong. Starving during your first half of the day won’t get you anywhere near proper weight management. You will find yourself craving for food way more often and in larger amounts should you skip breakfast.
2. Another common source of unwanted calories are the fizzy drinks and even fresh juices that seem healthy at the first glance. An average glass of orange juice has about 170 calories, while a glass of your favorite soda normally has about 210 calories with 3 table-spoons of sugar in it. Are you already starting to think back of what you’ve had today?
3. Most people think that if they exercise on a regular basis they can allow themselves to eat more. This is a dramatic mistake that makes you pile up those pounds. One hour workout at the gym, regardless to whether it is weight lifting or cardio exercises or both, it doesn’t exactly allow you to have whatever you like afterwards. Keep an eye on what you’re eating despite the amount of exercise you’re performing. Your late-evening dinner devour can ruin your energy loss during the workout. It is useless work you’re doing there in the gym if you’re fully giving in to your temptations afterwards!
The purpose of this article is to make you think twice. Are your portion sizes really that small and aren’t you forgetting to count your little and innocent snacks you’ve had during the day? If you are experiencing weight gain despite your regular workout routine – it is clearly the result of a poor diet. Your instinctive eating makes you feel and think like you haven’t eaten much – but believe me, you’re underestimating your daily calorie intake. Think about it! I’m sure you’re doing it wrong!