Since I committed to a “quantity first” approach to solving my food intake problem, I decided to pick up a food scale. Well, two food scales – one copy for home and one for work.
I don’t weigh everything I eat. I regularly weigh foods that I know are calorie-dense, bulk foods, junk foods or other foods that are tricky to gauge by appearance alone. Some examples:
- almonds – really any nuts (they are surprisingly calorie-dense)
- ice cream
- cuts of meat
Food labels can be tricky, particularly when it comes to quantities. Take for example this ice cream nutrition label. The serving size is 1/2 cup. Understandably, I’m not going to melt the ice cream to measure out 1/2 cup, and my ice cream scoop doesn’t do anything but over-portion. Also, the term “cup” is ambiguous – is that 4 ounces in volume? or 4 ounces in weight?
Bless the Metric System
The really sweet thing about the metric system is that it differentiates volume from weight (mass) more clearly than the Imperial system. In the case of our ice cream, if I weigh the portion, the volume, size and shape of what I dish out doesn’t matter. The parenthetical grams (78g) tells me exactly how much to dish out to get to 170 calories.
The other scale in my life is this beauty. Santa Claus gave it to me last Christmas, and it’s been wonderful. With a process as gradual as weight loss, it was maddening to weigh on a “strain” type of floor scale that was inconsistent by 5 or even 10 pounds every time I would step off and back on. Well worth the investment.
The pink measuring tape is important too. I convinced myself that pounds alone wouldn’t tell the whole story in the long run. I’m actually more interested in more comprehensive metrics, namely the BMI (body mass index), body fat percentage and waist-to-height ratio. More on these numbers in a separate post on goals.
In addition to the Fitbit, these scales and measuring tape have been the primary tools by which I’ve measured progress. Of course, looser fitting clothes are a pretty good indicator too.