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We’re not always aware of everything we eat, and those extra sneaky calories can really add up.
I’ll never forget a client I had years ago. He brought in a ‘perfect’ food diary. He followed his healthy foods plan to the letter, and every calorie (or so he thought) was accounted for. But his weight just wasn’t moving the way he’d hoped. As we talked, I noticed that he kept popping breath mints in his mouth. When he started unwrapping his second roll of mints, I just had to ask: Exactly how many mints was he eating every day? “These little things? I don’t know – maybe 5 or 6 rolls.” Who knew that ‘those little things’ added up to more than 300 extra calories a day?
Sometimes the extra calories are so obvious, you wonder how people don’t notice them. I had a roommate in college who was always dieting (and never losing), and I used to get really amused watching her weigh out the one ounce of cheese she allowed herself for a snack. She always cut too much. She’d weigh the block of cheese, then cut off a little bit—and eat it. She’d do this over and over, until she’d whittled a two-ounce piece of cheese down to one. Completely oblivious, she had no idea she’d eaten twice as much as she was supposed to.
Those who keep food records usually do a pretty good job—at least when it comes to noting what they eat at their meals and snacks. But when I instruct people on how to keep an accurate food record, I make it really clear. Other than water, anything that passes your lips gets written down, no matter how insignificant it may seem or how small. Because those little sneaky calories can really add up. Don’t believe me? Here are some real life examples—courtesy of my clients.
That dash of cream in your coffee, the candy you filched from a co-worker’s desk, a few handfuls of your date’s buttered popcorn—it all adds up. Take a look back over your last few days—have a few extra sneaky calories crept up on you?
Susan is the Sr. Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife, where she is responsible for the development of nutrition education and training materials, and is one of the primary authors of the Herbalife-sponsored blog, www.discovergoodnutrition.com. She is a Registered Dietitian and holds two Board Certifications from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, and a Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management. Susan is also a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Susan graduated with distinction in biology from the University of Colorado, and received her master’s degree in Food Science and Nutrition from Colorado State University. She then completed her dietetic internship at the University of Kansas. Susan has taught extensively and developed educational programs targeted to individuals, groups and industry in her areas of expertise, including health promotion, weight management and sports nutrition.
Prior to her role at Herbalife, she was the assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, and has held appointments as adjunct professor in nutrition at Pepperdine University and as lecturer in nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Susan was a consultant to the (then) Los Angeles Raiders for six seasons, and was a contributing columnist for the Los Angeles Times Health Section for two years. She is a co-author of 23 research papers, 14 book chapters, and was a co-author of two books for the public: “What Color is Your Diet?” and “The L.A. Shape Diet” by Dr. David Heber, published by Harper Collins in 2001 and 2004, respectively.