This is a loaded question, but the answer is, “yes.”
Weight loss is easily one of the most frequent requests I get asked to help with as an RN care manager. The answer is to eat less, increase physical activity, or a little bit of both.
When I tell people one way to lose weight is to eat less, they look at me like I have two heads. It is a mix of confusion and anger on their face. How dare I suggest they eat less. After the initial shock fades they will concede eating less would, “probably” help them lose weight.
The easiest way to know how much we eat is to read labels and keep a daily food diary of the number of servings and calories consumed. We want to know the total number of calories consumed per day.
Before we start losing weight we need to accurately add up our calories. That is going to involve counting calories and measuring serving sizes. This may seem tedious at first, but once we read enough labels our awareness increases and we begin to understand the cost each food choice has towards our weight loss goal.
Raising our awareness may be an eye opener for some. This granola I frequently have for breakfast is 140 calories per serving. That doesn’t sound bad. However, once I started measuring out servings I realized I was eating 6-8 servings (840-1120 calories) because “it’s what fits in the bowl.”
Many of my patients find they are vastly exceeding the standard 2,000 calories per day recommendation. I personally found out that two servings of granola and eight ounces of unsweetened almond milk (280 + 40 = 320 calories) filled me up and didn’t make me feel bloated or lethargic afterward.
It is also important to note that if we regularly eat 5,000 calories per day, we will lose weight by simply reducing that number to 4,500. We just need a measuring stick so we don’t end up attempting to reduce our intake by 3,000 calories a day and end up starving ourselves!
This is not a difficult concept to learn. It is almost insulting to have this discussion with people. However, many of us are completely oblivious to how much we actually eat.
So, yes, if we want specific results it helps to accurately count our calories. However, increasing our level of awareness by reading food labels and understanding serving sizes can prevent us from overeating and excess caloric intake. This option provides more general results. Both will lead to weight loss.