Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Bite Here and There: What's the Big Deal?

Does it seem like you are gaining weight but not really eating much more than usual? Do you float through the day without at least some idea of what, where, and when you will eat? 

Without even registering on your food intake radar, those small, quick-to-be-consumed-and-then-completely-forgotten nibbles and tastes that tend to “happen” throughout any given day may be subtly sabotaging your weight loss or maintenance goals. Though seemingly insignificant alone, when added together, these random bites can total up to an unwanted energy surplus. So if your weight continues its mysterious upward creep, it’s worth it to employ your detective skills. 

Use the following example to see just how easy it is to consume more calories than you need in only a few tiny tastes. If you can relate, you may be suffering from A-Bite-Here-And-There-Syndrome (ABHTS). Don't worry, two treatment options are available (see last paragraph)!

Remember, it takes an excess of roughly 3,500 calories to gain a pound of fat. This means that even one hundred extra calories a day could lead to a 10-pound gain in a year! Also, don't forget that a caloric excess (and subsequent weight gain) can occur EVEN IF you are only eating the healthiest "real foods" possible. 

Ready to investigate? Read on: 

1st bite: A dribble of milk remains in the carton. You might as well finish it, right?
Extra calories: 25

2nd bite: There's only a smidgen of peanut butter left in the jar after breakfast—hardly enough to justify returning to the fridge! 
Extra calories: 50

3rd bite: The coffee is a bit strong-tasting today at work so you add some half & half. Adding cream is the only way you will be able to stand the taste, and you NEED your morning caffeine!
Extra calories: 20

4th bite: You take what must be the smallest sliver of the leftover birthday cake in the break room—probably the smallest piece in comparison to everyone else’s portions. That makes it ok, right?
Extra calories: 80

5th bite: Whoops! You forgot to ask Jimmy John to leave the mayo off your sub sandwich this noon.
Extra calories: 195

6th bite: Two mints, please. (Jimmy added too many onions!)
Extra calories: 20

7th bite: You grab a small chocolate from your co-worker’s candy jar—hey, you need the energy to get your report done this afternoon!
Extra calories: 25

8th bite: You snitch a second chocolate from the candy jar. You finished the report—a little celebrating is in order, no?
Extra calories: 25

9th bite: The office crew has gotten together after work. You nibble mindlessly on the peanuts your server brought to the table.
Extra calories: 105

10th bite: Woohoo--free sample day at the grocery store! A tiny piece of marinated steak on a toothpick couldn’t possibly be the cause of the increasing numbers on the bathroom scale.
Extra calories: 55

11th bite: Youre trying out a new recipe. You have to taste as you cook to get the seasonings just right.
Extra calories: 60

12th bite: Your new kale salad recipe tasted great, and theres only about ¼ cup leftover. Hardly seems worth the effort to package it up and create another dirty dish to clean tomorrow. It was too good to just toss, eat it.
Extra calories: 110

The grand total “extra bites” for the day: 770 calories.

That slow and insidious weight gain you have been noticing over the past year now starts to make sense. It may be time to (1) shut your pie hole and/or (2) start tracking your food intake, Sherlock! ;-)

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