How Healthy Food Can Prevent You from Losing 13lbs a year.

You’ve lost weight, but now you’ve plateaued. You do everything, and nothing seems to work. Your “healthy snacks” may be the reason why.

“I’m eating everything right, all good, healthy foods, but I’m not losing weight! a frustrated client emailed.  

Meet J.

She works at an office, with cubicles and a fax machine room, a shared kitchen, and a bowl of candy at each desk. Like many office workers, she sits at a desk on the regular and travels between coworkers’ cubicles from time to time.

J is an active person. She walks 3-4 miles each day and works out 5 times per week, three of which are strength training days. She enjoys working out and the feeling of strength and empowerment it gives her.

via GIPHY

 

J lost a bit over 20lbs in her first three months, but then her progress stalled. No matter how much cardio she’d done or how healthy she ate, nothing seemed to work. You probably can relate.

After a few emails back and forth, she decided to keep a food log for a week.

On the first day of tracking everything she ate, J realized that EVERY time she went to a co-worker’s desk, she popped a candy into her mouth. Keeping a food log helped her become aware of her habit of eating a candy every time she talked to her co-worker. Awareness is the first step to a habit change.

But the second discovery shocked J even more. After a bit of chatting about snacks, J realized she was consuming almost 500kcal worth of healthy foods per snack. She’d eat two of these a day.

“But I thought I was making a healthy choice, she protested.

The snack J chose to have was a “medium” sized apple with a “little bit” of peanut butter.  Except it wasn’t. The apple wasn’t medium size, and the amount of PB wasn’t even close to a single serving.

I went to the store, snapped a few pics of different sizes of apples and showed them to J. I’m about to show ‘em to you too.

In the first picture, there are granny smith and golden apples. Which one do you think is medium size and which one is large?

Take a look. I’ll wait.

Apple size

Ready?

Neither of the apples are medium size. Mind blown, I know. The golden is extra-large  (0.8lbs) and the granny smith is large (.45llbs). To compare, a medium size apple weighs around .25lbs, on average.

This is the size of the majority of apples you buy loose in a store. It’s absolutely fair you thought the ones you were eating were a medium, because, honestly none of us knows what exactly is a recommended (by FDA) medium apple size and how it looks.

But an extra-large apple can contain up to  50 kcals more than a medium apple. If you eat an apple a day, genuinely thinking you’re eating a medium one, that’s 350 uncounted kcalls a week. This can turn into 5lbs of extra weight a year.

Are you shocked? J was too.

Now let’s look at the peanut butter. Who doesn’t like ooey-gooey peanut butter? (Me. #teamalmondbutter all the way.)

Regardless of what nut butter you love, take a look at the following pictures.

This is a knife full of PB. How much do you think it is?

Peanut butter

I must admit, this looks delightful.

Do you put two of these on your toast or rice cake?

Typically, a serving size of PB is 32gr, with 16gr of fat in it. If YOUR“serving” looks more like the picture shown above, you’re eating close to 1.5 serving size of PB. That’s like eating the same amount of fat as eight strips of cooked bacon, only bacon tastes so.much.better.

What if you eat PB using your regular spoons? You take a smaller one, double load it thinking “it must be a tablespoon.” You scoop out two.

And it probably looks like this:

PB serving size. double

But an actual serving size of PB looks like this:

PB Actual serving size.

The first picture is roughly 55 grams of peanut butter and 25 grams of fat. That’s a difference of approx 95 kcals per snack. Assuming you eat PB every day, this difference can lead to up to 7lbs of extra weight a year.

Without knowing it, J’s choice of snack prevented her from making progress. You might be in the same boat. You don’t have to count calories to the T, but learning serving sizes for healthy foods could be exactly what you need to break a plateau and start seeing progress again.  

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