Calorie Hide and Seek

If you have been honestly and sincerely watching what you eat but you are not making any progress in losing weight, there may be some calories in your diet that are playing hide-and-seek with you.

Unnecessary calories can lurk in many seemingly innocent foods. For example, you may think that soda crackers are low in calories. Think again. Some crackers in the market contain 40 calories a cracker. Ten crackers will set you back 400 calories.

Diet food
It is easy to eat more than you should if you believe that low-fat, low-carb, or low-sugar food is equivalent to zero calories. Overeating can also happen if the food is bland and tasteless.

Take reduced calorie syrup. “Light” syrup has 100 calories per one-fourth cup while regular syrup has 200 calories. The problem is many people don’t find the light syrup sweet enough and end up using double the amount. So you may think you are saving calories when actually you aren’t.

I once knew someone who never ate a full meal because she was convinced that feeling satisfied after a meal meant she ate too much and would get fat. So she nibbled her way through the day on “lightweight” things like dry cereal. She thought she was eating very little when actually all those nibbles were adding up to a lot of calories.

Another person I knew said she was very careful about what she ate at mealtimes but she didn’t take into account all the nibbles when she cooked or baked for her family. Once she became aware that her numerous “taste tests” were ruining her figure, she was able to lose weight.

Liquid calories.
Most people know better than to guzzle a liter or two of soft drinks if they are trying to lose weight. However, some people don’t realize that excessive amounts of packaged iced teas, sports drinks and juices will also pack in the calories.

Specialty coffee mixtures can also be calorie-traps because of whole milk, cream, or flavored syrups. Ordinary brewed coffee can also become full of excess calories if you load it up with creamers (non-dairy or the real thing).

A client once wondered what had made her gain a couple of pounds in a few weeks when “nothing much had changed” in her daily diet. What had changed was that she had gone a little crazy over a liquid flavored creamer that she would pour generously into her several cups of coffee daily. She went back to her normal weight when she put an end to her love affair with the creamer.

Salad greens and other vegetables are low in calories but the oil or mayonnaise used to make the salad dressing is not. Many people force themselves into eating “only” a salad for lunch thinking they are saving calories when, for the same amount of calories or even less, their stomachs and taste buds would be much happier with more substantial food.

Cooking oil
The first time someone said to me “But I thought food fried in XYZ cooking oil is not fattening”, I thought it was a fluke. But I have heard the same statement repeatedly. There is a misconception that oil that is heart-healthy like canola or olive oil is less fattening than oil that is not so healthy for your heart like hydrogenated cooking oil. It is wise to remember that all oils have basically the same amount of calories – about 120 calories per tablespoon.

“No cholesterol” does not mean no calories or very few calories. It simply means that the food contains no cholesterol. Whether the food is fattening or not depends on how many calories it has per serving and how many servings you intend to eat.

I don’t know if it is wishful thinking on their part, but some people have this idea that alcoholic drinks have no calories. I have seen the shocked look on their faces when they start calculating how many calories they are actually drinking on their weekly “night on the town”.

After doing some mental arithmetic about his favorite drink, one young man said in a hushed voice, “That’s 1,000 calories!” I did my own math and figured that he was either having ten-single shots of tequila or five-double shots (approximately 100 to 120 calories a shot). Either way, it was a lot of calories. And that did not include the calories from the pulutan or pica-pica that accompanied the drinks.

Many calories hide in the sauce of casserole dishes. If the sauce is cream or butter based, the sauce is permeated with hidden calories. If the sauce or gravy is made from the drippings of meat, pork or chicken, you can be sure there are unnecessary calories with every tablespoon you ladle onto your food.

Healthy but hefty
With the exception of vegetables, overly large portions of food will definitely hinder your weight loss progress because you are eating more calories than you need. I put on fifty pounds with my second baby and I can assure you that I was eating healthy food but I was eating enough food to feed triplets. There are people who know how to make good nutritional choices but they just go a little wide on the number and size of servings.

If you want to lose weight, remember that it isn’t just what you eat but also how much of it you eat that is important.

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