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FREE Weight Watchers

Learning how to eat healthfully is not a one-size-fits-all. There are so many tools, resources, programs, books, and even blogs like this that help direct people in a better way to eat. I personally use the phone application MyFitnessPal to track my intake throughout the day to ensure that I am consuming the right amount of calories to nourish myself while promoting a healthy weight loss. Using this tool, I have now lost 7.4 pounds in 19 days. I used this same tool years ago to achieve a 40 pound weight loss.

Some people do not want to use an application every snack and meal, every day. Instead, they would rather know some general "rules" to follow. The old fashioned Food Guide Pyramid that was replaced in 2010 with MyPlate is intended for these purposes- to be a visual guide to healthy eating. For individuals interested specifically in weight loss, though, I like to show them what I call "Free Weight Watchers".

Weight Watchers famously assigns points to foods and allows the participant flexibility and independence of how they choose to spend their allotted points. This is actually a very healthy way to approach weight loss, in my opinion. It shows the participant that no food is bad- just some of them may have to be eaten less often and more as a treat. I wholeheartedly echo this sentiment... but I can show you how they came up with the point system without charging you one cent.

First off, let's establish (even if you already know this, humor me) that the only elements of food that have calories (energy) are Fat, Carbohydrate, and Protein. Therefore, if you can have a general knowledge of how much of these elements are in portion sizes of common foods... Then you've got it. But where is the free resource to do this? The answer is a Diabetic Exchange List, sometimes called a Food Exchange List. These lists were developed to help diabetics "count carbs", but they are much more versatile than that. After only a few minutes of review, you can see what items you would want to keep as treats and which items (like non-starchy vegetables and very lean proteins) you can load up on, guilt-free. This tool is so very good to not only use with diabetics! It is completely possible to use it just like the Weight Watchers program, assigning yourself a number of exchanges of all food groups, not just carbohydrate-containing foods. This tool can give you a jumpstart on being able to look at a plate of food and estimate the amount of carb, protein, fat, and calories in total with decent accuracy... and it is completely free and widely available on the internet.

You can use any Food Exchange List you like, but I did find this one that is worth a look:

Happy learning and eating!

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