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You try to eat right, but the number on the scale keeps creeping up. Sound familiar? According to a new survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation, we eat a lot more than we should. Of 1,000 Americans polled -- about half of them women -- 43 percent couldn't even guess how many calories they should consume in a day.
"So many women are eating on the run," says Barbara J. Rolls, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University and author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. We're not paying attention to supersized portions in restaurants, and we have no idea of the calories when we don't make the food ourselves.
The happy news is that your diet doesn't require a complete overhaul. Our advice: Instead of counting foods out, just start counting -- first by calculating how many calories you need, then by indulging in the dishes mentioned in this story. And remember, the more you exercise, the more you can eat! Read on for more indispensable stay-slim solutions.100 calories
When we put them to the ultimate test -- guessing how many calories were in last night's dinner -- these women had no idea. Are you a better judge of what's on your plate?Nancy Jones, age 38, Fort Hood, Texas
Her dinner: Turkey burger with sliced Muenster cheese and barbecue sauce on a whole wheat bun, 1/2 cup cucumber salad with 2 tablespoons Italian vinaigrette, 1 individual-sized pecan pie, and a glass of water.
How many calories she thinks she ate: 450
How many calories she really ate: 1,085Michelle Henry, age 40, Danville, California
Her dinner: Grilled chicken breast (about 4 ounces) with 3 tablespoons reduced-calorie barbecue sauce, 3 slices grilled zucchini, 1/2 cup sliced grilled Yukon Gold potatoes with 1 tablespoon butter, one 4-ounce glass white wine, and four Trader Joe's Joe-Joe's cookies.
How many calories she thinks she ate: 800
How many calories she really ate: 767Jessica Monroy, age 36, Walnut Creek, California
Her dinner: Ten almonds, 4 crackers with sliced Manchego cheese and one 6-ounce glass white wine, followed by one slice of a baguette, 4 ounces broiled salmon, 1/2 cup rice pilaf, 8 stalks asparagus, 12 green beans, and 1 scoop coconut ice cream with 3 slices mango and 8 raspberries.
How many calories she thinks she ate: 400
How many calories she really ate: 1,115
1. Calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR), the amount of energy your body burns doing such basic functions as breathing and circulating blood.
2. Figure out your activity level.
3. Multiply your activity level by your BMR. The total is your daily calorie requirement. To maintain your weight, stick as closely as you can to that number.
Too much math?
Whether you love cocktails, sweets, or both, here are some perfect picks under 150 calories:
|Exercise||Calories Burned in 30 Minutes||Number of Oreos Burned|
|Running (6 mph)||405||
Note: Calorie counts are for a 135-pound woman.
These fiber-rich foods satisfy and fill you up:
Start with these, and you'll eat a smaller meal -- but feel just as full:
Sources: Keith-Thomas Ayoob, RD, assistant professor of nutrition at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and author of The Uncle Sam Diet; Joanne L. Slavin, PhD, a professor of nutrition at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis; Barbara J. Rolls, PhD; Lisa R. Young, PhD, RD, author of The Portion Teller
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, November 2006.