Diary of a Lazy Man - Measuring for Success

In the couple of weeks since I wrote last, I've been doing a lot of work to get to my goal weight of 160, but my weight hasn't changed much. I'm down from 226 a couple of weeks ago to 225 today. There's always that part of me that wants to re-check the scale when I step on to find out that I'm either the same or have dropped just a tiny amount over a longer period of time. If the scale is right, and it always is, I habitually check my pockets to make sure I didn't accidentally leave something heavy like a tire iron in there. It's never a tire iron. After all, why would I bring a tire iron to a gym, unless it's to beat that snotty little truth-telling scale to bits?

But 225 is OK, and I'll tell you why next time. Today, though, I have to talk about one of the big adjustments that I've had to make since I decided to get some of this weight off. Throughout most of my life, I've used subjective units of food measurement. Maybe this is because I'm an American, and I feel perfectly justified in using units of measurement that the rest of the world has long abandoned. But mostly it's because I'm lazy.

For example, I love breakfast cereal, and most of the ones that I like to eat aren't particularly bad for me. I have a weird thing for standalone numbers and letters, so my two favorite cereals as a kid were Product 19 and Special K, both of which are "healthy" cereals. I don't think they make Product 19 any more, which is too bad, because it was a nice toasted cereal with lots of vitamins and minerals (19, at least, which is where the name came from), and it tasted like aluminum.

Fortunately, they still make Special K, and it's relatively low in sugar, fat, and sausage. In fact, I don't actually think it contains any sausage. Unfortunately, my units of measurement for breakfast cereal is a "bowl". This makes perfect sense to me because I never eat a plate of cereal or cup of cereal. I, like most people, eat a damn bowl of cereal.

Based on my units of measurement, the image below depicts three identical serving sizes of cereal.

Whatever space isn't occupied by cereal is occupied by milk, and that's how you measure a bowl.

Unfortunately, because I now have to measure my calorie intake, I have to stick with more standard units of measurement like cups and ounces. Prior to making the effort to monitor my food intake, I thought an ounce was a fancy French word for "bite" that mostly got used in describing steaks. "Yeah, I'm pretty hungry, so I'll get the 16-bite top sirloin."

Kellogg's and the apps I use to record my food and exercise each day, MyFitnessPal and Lose It! measure cereal serving sizes in cups, so in the interest of having data about my food intake that's slightly more accurate than a roulette wheel ("C'mon 50 calories!"), I have to measure my cereal and milk with a measuring cup.

It's like looking at one of those science illustrations that shows you that it would take 1.3 million Earths to fill up the Sun.

I'm a little sad that I'll never again get to eat a bowl of cereal that's so large that many people would refer to it as a "breakfast abyss". But, in order to lose 70+ pounds, I actually have to know much food I eat, so...I'm down to 1 cup of Special K with 1 cup of milk. I switched to a smaller bowl so it appears less pitiful when I look at it.

On the upside, though, it turns out I don't need an oil drum of cereal to feel full in the morning. Or afternoon. Or evening. And I still get some cereal, so that's alright. It's not like I gave up cereal for kale or some nonsense like that.

So, now I measure, I weigh, and I record. I'm like an accountant of food. But that food accountancy has helped me figure out what I can and can't eat, and where I need to eat one burrito instead of two. Just a little less of what I like to start. Because I will poke you in the eye with my little spoon before I let you take my cereal.