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But is it really "free"?

I’m not talking about cost. "Free food" is a term used by many diet programs to identify foods that are allowable on a relatively unlimited basis.

Their purpose is simple: those of us with weight problems don’t eat because we are physically hungry. We eat for emotions, boredom and, well, because we enjoy eating. It brings us pleasure (for the moment).

Most of us have a hard time recognizing when we are full. Sometimes we just don't care. Offering a “free foods” list steers dieters away from high-fat, calorie-laden foods when we feel that need to eat.

Celery is usually on the list. Chocolate cake is never on the list. Depending on which program you follow, it could mean all non-starchy vegetables or it may mean a food item that has zero net carbs. For some, it even means fruit.

But is any food really free? Your body is the ultimate tracker (more accurate than anything you can purchase on Amazon), and it knows exactly how many calories you're putting in your body. And the truth is, ... nothing is really free! Other than water, everything has calories. So while you can eat a larger quantity of low-density foods for less -- and for health and fullness you should do so -- the quantity you consume still has to be considered.

How much "free food" do you actually eat? What does that mean in calories?

Your BMR is your line. That's how many calories your body needs to stay the same. (CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT YOURS). Simply put, eat less than that and you'll lose. Eat more than that and you'll gain. You generally want to eat 500 calories less a day than your BMR for a 1-2 pound per week weight loss.

I didn't make this up. It's just science and math (3500 unused calories equals one pound of fat). The fact is, if you eat 200 calories more than your body needs each day, you will GAIN 20 pounds in one year! And hear this ... two cups of broccoli, one cup of carrots and two pieces of fruit is MORE than 200 calories. One bag of baby carrots alone is 120 calories. A large banana is the same. 

Are you starting to re-think the "free food" thing? 

No matter what your weight loss program teaches, there is NO magic formula in dieting. The concept of filling up on lower-calorie, higher-nutrient foods is a good one, but still must be managed within your calorie range.

If you have been doing this weight loss thing forEVER and still haven't gotten to goal; if you have always considered your self a slow loser; the culprit is usually "free foods" and sloppy dieting. Something has to change. Either DO your program differently or find one that does it for you.

Remember, your body is the ultimate tracker. It knows exactly how many calories you're consuming. If you want to lose weight, you better know, too.

Kim Bensen, author and nutritionist

Itecblogger said:
Jul 20, 2018 12:00 AM
I'm really not a fan of WW's current program. I had always made their previous programs work but the current one is much too meat heavy- I like carbs and look forward to eating them (in a moderate, controlled way) with your program.

Loriterp said:
May 10, 2017 12:00 AM
Are the bagels kosher? Thank you

LYNNEDK1989 said:
Feb 15, 2017 12:00 AM
Three cheese pasta is amazing tastes great and is very filling.

LynnSull said:
Feb 07, 2017 12:00 AM
This is a really good article, thanks for writing it!

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