We have a giant weighing scale in our kitchen counter. It is part of the standard workflow in our kitchen. We measure most of the food we eat or prepare. We are not a family of body builders or athletes. We measure since it is the easiest way to know how much we eat. This is the simplest way to control how much energy you consume.
What weight is to food is what a clock is to time, scale is to distance and what a bank statement is to money. Or maybe the gold standard in the last case.
NUMBERS DON’T LIE
Your food intake as measured by your energy intake is the single most influential parameter that influences our body composition, weight, BMI and health.
Almost every single diet that promises to improve your quality of life needs your food intake to match how much energy you spend in a day. This is primarily how diets improve quality of life.
The exception is allergic/ indigestion where excluding food groups is a necessity to improve health.
NEGATIVE CONNOTATION OF THE WORD DIET
Call your effort what you want to. If you associate the word diet with an unsavoury or unsustainable intervention, chances are your probably did too much, too soon without preparation.
To demonise diets is like losing money while trying to start or run a business and then claim that all businesses are unsustainable, moronic and bad for your mental health. Clearly that is not true.
WE HAVE A TOO MUCH PROBLEM
There is too much food reaching our plates. It is far too affordable. We waste too much of it. We eat far too much of a few things.
The only way to gain perspective is to measure. If you feel anxiety or pressure, you need to address why the accountability bothers you. But you can’t blame the tools that hold you accountable. We need to understand why and what we are eating.
Food fills voids in our lives. They are entertainment, nourishment, communal experiences and cultural identities. How we eat says a lot about how we think, feel and live. Right now, there is more food on the average dinner plate and sneaking into us as snacks and beverages than ever before. This is making us fatter.
WE ARE AVERSE TO NUMBERS
A common cop-out is to say numbers are confusing or take too much time. If you serve yourself food, why not serve yourself the same food on a plate placed on a scale? That will not take much longer.
To request whoever is preparing food to limit their use of oil, butter or fat does not take more time. To keep a few ingredients in your fridge and eat it proactively takes a little more time and effort. But any new habit worth doing needs your energy.
Numbers and measures are the most objective way to understand your behaviour. By saying NO to using it, you are throwing away the most intricate writing tools you have in favour of scratching a wall with a rock held between your toes.
Measuring changes the way you shop and stock your pantry. That can save you money, keep you from packing on weight and create a more conducive environment for your family to make better food choices. This roots your choice in reason rather than feelings. You can do this without throwing away anything that you love eating.