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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
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Thursday, February 06, 2014

IIFYM, Weight Loss and Kitchen Scales

A little over a year ago, the seeds were planted for a couple of major lifestyle changes.  I started slow but on March 19, 2013 when my blood pressure reached 181/104 I sprung into immediate action.  One of my lifestyle changes was to get fit and with that came a few dietary changes.  Now, I am one of those who a) doesn't believe in dieting and b) have never had a need to diet.  I've always hovered within the normal weight range simply cutting back on portion size and increasing activity if my jeans felt a bit tight.  That's it and by all accounts our diet that relies heavily on home cooked from scratch and avoiding a lot of food additives is healthier than some but there is always room for improvement.  I started with small changes, putting one step in front of the other, dealing with the little setbacks.  In October of 2013 while at our vacation home, I had a bad reaction to MSM, a dietary supplement I was having excellent results from.  The weight gain put me right at the upper limit of my normal!  I stopped the MSM and during the three weeks home before returning to Florida, I joined My Fitness Pal (November 2013) to aid me in my journey towards personal fitness for mind, body, soul.

I am using a flexible eating plan called IIFYM (if it fits your macros).  The macros are fat, proteins, and carbs.  I track fibre aiming for at least 25 g of fibre daily and sodium.  My daily calorie goal is 1,200 without exercise which creates a 330 cal deficit.   My daily macro goals are 30%  fat, 20%  proteins, and 50% carbohydrates.  Calories burned via exercise are added back in and are meant to be consumed.  IIFYM means absolutely no food is off limits.  I could eat 1,200 cal worth of jelly beans in a day and still lose weight BUT jelly beans would only give my carbs not fat or protein so in that quantity they do not fit my macros although a couple would fit.  If I burn enough calories to eat a bowl of ice cream and it fits my macros, then no problem.  Basically, if I burn 500 calories in exercise then my total daily goal becomes 1,700 cal with the macros adjusted to values that reflect that change.   IIFYM actually encourages you to make healthy food choices so it becomes a lifestyle change as opposed to simply going on a diet. 

two types of kitchen scales
When it comes to weight loss, regardless of which method you use, accurately tracking your caloric intake is a must.  The easiest way to do this is by relying on pre-messured individual serving sizes however, this can be expensive and limited in choice.  The second method is to measure using measuring cups and spoons but this method introduces a certain level of error.  The most accurate method is weighing your food using a kitchen scale.

I have two kitchen scales.  Both weigh in metric and Imperial.  The larger scale weights up to 3 kg.  It is suitable for weighing larger amounts of foods in 10 g increments.  I have used this scale for a number of years in home canning and soaping.  Home canning recipes are often given in pounds or kilograms of fruit or vegetable, weight or cups of prepared fruit or vegetable, or volume measurements (eg. cups, tablespoons).  Most of my specialty home canning recipes like salsa are in weight measures because it means I can accurately reproduce that recipe exactly the same each time I make it.  The smaller glass digital  scale is The Biggest Loser by Taylor.   It weighs up to 5 kg.  This scale is suitable for weighing larger weights as well as smaller amounts in 1 g increments.  I use it for weighing foods and ingredients for my homemade lotions and toiletries.

small granny smith apples
Why should you weigh food for weight loss?  Pictured are two small granny smith apples (2¾ inch diameter) at 77 calories in most databases.  By weight, a 100 g granny smith apple has 52 calories.  The apple on the left weighs 133 g (69.16 cal) while the one on the right weighs 143 g (74.36 cal).  Neither weigh the actually 77 cal that you would record if going by size alone.  In this case, you would have recorded 77 cal but consumed less than that.  This can be a problem over the course of a day by actually consuming less than you thought if it puts you slightly under the 1,200 cal per day for females.  It is very difficult to get your required micronutrients at less than 1,200 cal per day.  On the flip side, if you recorded the 77 cal because the apple measured in the small diameter range but the apple actually weighed 155 g (80.6 cal), you actually consume more calories than you thought you did.  Over the course of a day, this could easily add an extra 200 or more calories just on slight weight differences.  Inadvertently putting yourself under 1,200 cal or consuming enough extra so as to not give the desired calorie deficit will cause you to not lose the weight you want.  The bottom line is, during your weight loss period regardless of the dietary method, use a kitchen scale as often as possible. 

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