If you are like me, the next couple of weeks are full of holiday gatherings, work parties, cookie swaps, and happy hours. And really what harm could an extra bite, second cocktail, nibble on a cookie really play on my health and weight?
Let me tell you… A LOT!! The National Institute of Health (NIH) provided evidence that most of us gain only about 1# or less during the holiday season. However the bad news is this weight gained over the holidays isn’t lost during the rest of the year.Those extra bites could mean the difference between that one pound gained that is never lost year after year.
Those extra bites I like to call the Mindless Margin! The mindless margin is a concept from one of my favorite books Mindless Eating, Why We Eat More Than We Think, by Brian Wansink. There are cues all over our environment that we don’t even realize that lead us to overeat and not lose weight.
Lets breakdown the Mindless Margin concept:
If you came into my office today and I made you eat and finish a 2000 calorie Holiday dinner, you know that you would feel stuffed! Or if you came into my office and I made you get on my treadmill and walk until you burned 2000 calories with no food or water, you know you would be starving. You physically know the difference between starving and stuffed.
But lets say you and I have lunch everyday together. I always make you a big salad with 1/2 cup black beans and 2 oz grilled chicken breast with 2 Tbsp of a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. However today I decided to give you, 3 Tbsp of balsamic vinaigrette dressing, about 100 extra calories without telling you. Would you physically or visually notice?
Nope! We do not have the physical ability to know the difference between 200 calories or 300 calories of a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
What does that mean, if each day you ate 100 calories of extra food, this can lead to about 10 pounds of weight gain by the end of the year. Let me tell you 100 calories is not a whole lot of food! That’s 8 potato chips, or 1 tsp honey, or 5 dark Hershey kisses, or 1 large orange or 1/4 cup of granola.
So if you body isn’t going to be able to tell if you had one bite too many, who is? Luckily there is an app for that! Food tracking apps are wonderful for this situation and time of year, they can breakdown your calories, your intake of carbs, protein, what types of fat are you eating and you can even log your exercise.
Here are my Top 3 FREE Apps for tracking those Tiny Holiday Bites:
Why I use it:
- Can use both on smartphone as an App or home/work computer
- Synced with my Fitbit account for free (and many other apps as well)
- Very detail and extensive reports that are Free to help me look at trends, many apps will charge for this
- Bar code scanner, if your food isn’t in their database you can scan the bar code
(2) Lose it
Why I use it:
- I prefer visually the entry page for food choices
- Great feature of “previous meal”, if you eat the same breakfast each day you just have to click one button
- Has a great and active community page, that have challenges you can participate in, which is very motivating
So we all know I love fitbit for it’s ability to track steps, but it does so much more!
Why I use it:
- Most comprehensive tracker: Steps, Activity, Food, Sleep, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar Heart rate, Weight/Body Measurements
- Great for clients with diabetes or high blood pressure, allows them to see side by side graph of food intake and health measurements like blood sugar or blood pressure
- It has a feature to add custom tracker, so other health behaviors it will allow you to track