by Ron Brown, author of The Body Fat Guide
"Ron Brown is a certified fitness trainer who doesn't have an inch of flab on his body. He'll tell you what you can do to become fit and trim too."
TALK TO AMERICA, Washington DC
YEARS AGO, say
about ten or so, if you wanted to know how many calories were in that sandwich
you grabbed at the local fast-food restaurant, you were out of luck. Once you
lost count of those calories, staying on your diet became much more difficult.
How things have changed since then!
In the old days, sticking to your diet while eating out used to mean denying yourself most of the food items offered on the menu. The usual advice on this type of restricted-food diet was to fill up on salad, skip the butter, etc. No more!
Thanks to the Internet, practically every major fast-food restaurant chain today offers online nutrient and calorie charts to help you stay on your weight-loss program while including any of their food items as part of a well-balanced diet. You can easily find this information online with a quick website search. Some restaurants even have sophisticated meal-planning programs that you can access. Just pre-assemble your meal within your calorie allowance, head out to enjoy your food, and lose weight.
Here are some popular chain-restaurants and fast-food outlets that provide nutrient and calorie charts on their websites. (Bodyfatguide.com has no endorsement contracts with any of these businesses):
More and more smaller local restaurants are promoting their businesses with their own websites, and these restaurants should seriously consider publishing their own nutrient and calorie charts. Since most of these restaurants already control the portion sizes of their food items, it wouldn't be a major project for them to calculate the calories and nutrients in those items, and it would be providing a tremendous service to customers in these days of rampant obesity rates and soaring health-care costs.
Taking advantage of online calorie and nutrient information in your favorite eating establishment means there is no need to pay for dieting services that dole out your food portions in calorie-controlled amounts for you. Now, it is so easy to do it yourself, and much more flexible. And of course, nearly every packaged food you buy in the grocery store today is also labeled with nutrient and calorie information.
None of this means, of course, that you should eat exclusively processed and fast food. It is nice to know, however, that you can remain in control of your diet on the occasions when you do eat out. You don't have to live the life of an anti-social ascetic to stay on your diet. You do, however, need to continue to make smart food choices when you eat out. Excessive salt, animal products and refined foods are just as harmful wherever you eat them. For calories in fresh unpackaged, unrefined, natural foods, the kind of food that should constitute the bulk of your diet, see: Food Calorie Tables.
There is just one thing missing from this plan. You first need a method to determine your calorie allowance according to your weight management goals. After all, what good is monitoring the amount of calories you eat unless you know how it compares with the amount of calories you burn. Modifying the balance between the calories you and eat burn, known as your energy balance, allows you to set and achieve your weight management goals, whether you are losing body fat, building muscle, or maintaining your weight.
For the easiest way to modify your energy balance and measure changes in your body fat and muscle levels, see: