Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Weighing It Out

When I joined Weight Watchers two months ago, one of my concerns was how I was going to succeed on program without becoming a short order cook. I wanted to continue to make the same variety of meals that we had always eaten, only perhaps a little healthier. I also didn't want to be spending oodles of time in the kitchen portioning out my food; when it was dinner time, I wanted to be able to sit down with my family.

One of the tools that has been instrumental in my success on Weight Watchers this time around has been my kitchen scale. I find that it is a lot easier to simply place my plate on the scale and build my meal by weight. Sure, I could pull out a measuring cup and measure out 1 c of cereal or 1/4 c of cheese or 1/2 c of chicken, but as you can start to see, I would be constantly washing measuring cups and it would take a lot of time. Plus, one time, shortly after I purchased my scale, I contacted a cereal manufacturer to find out which measurement for portion was more accurate - the volume or the weight. They told me the weight was and that the volume could vary slightly based on how the cereal filled the cup. Since Points are calculated based on the calories, fat and fiber listed for that serving, I felt it was best to weigh things when I could.

So, as an example, when I am having burritos for dinner, I place a plate with my burrito shell on it on the scale. Then I add my 2 oz of chicken. Tare the scale and add 15g of light sour cream. Tare the scale and add 1 oz of cheese. The vegetables are all "free" (at least in the range of portion you would build on a burrito) so then I load it up with some lettuce, tomatoes and onions. It not only makes it quick and easy to assemble my plate, but makes it easier for me to calculate and record my points. With eTools, they let you enter in cups, ounces, grams, tablespoon, etc., so I have the flexibility to measure things the way that works for me.

Over time, I have started putting on my plate what feels like the right portion and then see how close I am to what I think it is. This helps me get a better feel for what food servings look like, making it easier for me to eyeball my food when I am away from home, because now I have a visual feel for what 1 oz of cheese or 2 oz of chicken looks like.

With the help of my scale, I have been able to continue to prepare the same family favorites and enjoy dinner with my family. The only difference is not the food is scaled to a healthier portion. That works for me.

For more that works, check out Works For Me Wednesday. (Of course, now I see that this was supposed to be Holiday Themed, so check out my post on saving money at the holidays here.)