- Some days I don't eat at all
B) Do you count calories?
- Yes (I know exactly how many calories I eat because I weigh or measure my food and read food labels.)
- Yes (but I estimate)
- No…. and what is a calorie exactly?
C) When you eat at a restaurant, how to you pay for food?
- Nearly always in cash
- Both cash and credit/debit card nearly equally
- Credit cards or debit card nearly always
D) Which best describes the way you eat a meal?
- I am painfully slow to the point that I annoy others.
- I have a leisurely pace to meals, because I enjoy the time at the table.
- I am a relatively fast eater.
- I eat with no wasted motion, and only put a utensil down to change to a different one.
- Very fast.
- Like I’m in a competition.
E) When you go to the movies, what describes your snack habit?
- I don’t ever snack at the movies.
- I buy something small, with a low calorie content.
- I buy the value bucket and drink, but only have a few bites and leave the rest to my companion(s).
- I buy the value bucket and drink, even if I don’t finish it all.
- Love the value bucket and may get a refill.
F) When you go to the grocery store do you?
- Nearly always pay with cash.
- Usually pay with a check.
- Usually use a debit or credit card.
- Nearly always pay with a debit or credit card.
G) When you go to the grocery store, which best describes your shopping habits?
- I have a list and I’m sticking to it.
- I mostly stick to my list but usually see some things I forgot to list.
- I wing it.
H) How much television do you watch?
- Less than 30 minutes a week
- 30 min to 1 hour a week
- 1-2 hours a week
- 2-3 hours a week
- More than 3 hours a week
I) Do you eat/snack in front of the TV?
- Usually. I fix a plate or bowl just for myself and don’t refill it.
- Usually. And I get seconds or refill when empty.
- Yes, and I bring the bag so I don’t have to make second trips to the kitchen.
J) When do you decide you are finished with a meal?
- When I am no longer hungry.
- When I am satisfied, but not full.
- When I’m full.
- When I’m worried I might pop.
K) How many minutes of aerobic activity do you get per week?
- More than 3 hours
- 2-3 hours
- 1-2 hours
- Less than 1 hour
- What’s aerobic activity, again?
L) How do you view a meal?
- Food is fuel.
- Every meal must have balanced nutrition.
- Food is something I eat when I get hungry.
- Every meal should be a celebration.
M) If you were on a restrictive diet and lost 25 pounds, which of the following describes how you would most likely reward yourself?
- I would sign up for a lesson with a personal trainer, yoga, or buy myself some exercise equipment.
- I would buy a new wardrobe.
- I would buy jewelry or an electronic gadget I’ve been wanting.
- I would go to my favorite restaurant and treat myself to my favorite meal.
N) Throughout the day, I drink mostly…
- Tap or spring water
- Sparkling water
- Unsweetened tea (sugar substitute) or black coffee
- Diet sodas or coffee with artificial sweetener
- Regular sodas, sweet tea
- Alcohol (if this was your answer, you’ve got bigger problems than weight)
At the end of this quiz, tally the numbers corresponding to your answers. The higher your number, the worse your habits. Best practices or habits are listed first in the answers. Below, we discuss these topics, one by one.
A ) For people trying to lose or maintain weight, it is generally considered better to eat small, frequent meals or snacks than one or two meals a day. Studies which look at body composition find that people who eat less frequently to diet, may lose the same amount of weight as people who eat more frequent meals, but the frequent eaters lost more fat and retained more muscle than those who eat infrequently. Also, if you go longer without food, your basal metabolism slows and you convert more of the calories you do eat into fat. Also, if you skip meals you may be hungrier by the time you do eat, and then you are more prone to over-eating.
B) Weight loss is simple. If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, then you will lose weight. The speed of your weight gain or loss depends on how many more or how many fewer calories you consume during the day. If your metabolism is 1500 calories and you eat 2000 calories per day. You will gain a pound of fat in 7 days. It takes an excess of 3500 calories to gain a pound of fat. It takes a deficit of 3500 calories to lose a pound of fat. If you count calories and see that you are averaging 1500 calories a day and your weight is not budging, then it’s likely that your metabolism is right around 1500 calories per day. Counting calories can help you gauge your metabolism.
C) There are data to show that people who pay with cash, are more likely to make healthy choices for their food. First, they are less likely to order the larger items (with more calories) on the menu. Instead, they are more likely to opt for smaller portions, and skip dessert, or a second glass of wine. People have a harder time parting with cash, and no one wants the embarrassment of running out of it. So, you generally eat smarter and/or less.
D) Fast eaters tend to consume 200 more calories per meal than slow eaters. 200 extra calories per day translates into nearly 21 pounds in a year. Not everyone who is a fast eater will gain 20 pounds in a year, but they tend to fluctuate up and then have to work their way back. If you are a fast eater, put your fork down between bites. Take a sip of water between bites. You’ll eat less. Since it takes 5-15 minutes to feel full, you give extra time to have that sensation catch up with you.
E) We don’t advise buying movie popcorn. In one study, people given small bags of popcorn vs large bags, estimated they at the same amount. However, the people who had the large bags actually ate significantly more without realizing it. In other words, the larger the bucket, the less accurately you are at judging how much you actually ate.
F) Just like going to a restaurant, people who shop for food with cash, tend to make healthier choices. They are also less likely to make impulse purchases. Impulse purchases are rarely things like broccoli and more likely bugle horns or other tasty / fatty treats.
G) This is the best way to eliminate impulse shopping. Impulse shopping tends to result in poor food choices. Make a healthy list and stick to it.
H) The development of diabetes correlates to how much TV a person watches during the average day. The number one cause of diabetes is weight gain. Unless you’re watching on a stationary bike or treadmill….. TV is not good for the waistline.
I) Data show that people who eat in front of the TV are more likely to consume more calories than if they at the same food at a table. Because you are distracted, if you eat from the bag, then you really have no idea of how much you actually ate. If you must eat before the TV, make a plate and don’t refill it. Count the calories.
J) In Japan, the average answer to this question was “When I’m no longer hungry.” Japan does not have an obesity epidemic like that in the United States. If you eat until you are full, that’s at least 200 more calories than if you ate until you were no longer hungry. Again, that’s about 21 pounds a year. Another reason to slow down and stop before you’re full.
K) Exercise is an effective weight loss tool, though not as good as diet alone. Exercise mainly helps people maintain their weight and maintain their weight loss. People who get more than 3 hours of aerobic activity such as running, brisk walking, swimming, have much lower rates of diabetes, hypertension and obesity. They also have less time for TV. They sleep better. They look better. (These are, of course, generalities, but they hold true for the average.)
L) “Live life to the fullest.” This seems to be the message from many food and drink commercials on TV or in print. We’ve come to expect that part of living life to the fullest is having a fabulous meal, with good company. Too often in our busy days, food is one of the only rewards we have time for. But if you are overweight and don’t feel good about your body, can you really say you’re living life to the fullest? Would you trade feeling better all day, for the small burst of fulfillment of a decadent meal? I think most of us would prefer to feel good all day, than to have a small burst of enjoyment followed by regret.
M) Rewards that promote healthy lifestyles are better than rewarding yourself with the things that got you in the shape you didn’t want to be in. Also, if you make exercise a reward, you are more likely to do it than if you regard it as a chore.
O) Drink 64 oz of water daily. Do it. You need it. It’s good for you. Carbonated beverages, even diet ones, can lead to weight gain because they cause your stomach to release a hormone that stimulates appetite. High sugar drinks are generally just empty calories.