Session 2

Finding Where Those Calories Come From

We will get started working towards your weight loss goal by learning to track what you eat and drink each day to help you make better choices.

Calorie tracker and healthy food

Session 2-1

Why track what you eat?


Becoming aware of what you eat is one the most important parts of changing your behavior.


Tracking has been shown to be a powerful predictor of long-term weight loss success For more information visit the National Weight Control Registry website link in the Learn More section.


Tracking helps because we tend to underestimate what we eat; for example:


“Sara is at risk for type 2 diabetes. She wants to lose 15 pounds. She has been trying to eat better each week. After a month, Sara tells her friend that she is frustrated. She still hasn’t lost any weight. Surprised by this, her friend asks her to describe what she ate the day before. Sara tells her what she thinks she had.”

The table below shows what Sally thinks she had versus what Sally really had at each meal and the extra calories she took in without being aware.


What Sara thinks she had

A bowl of cereal with milk
100 (cereal)
100 (milk)

Total calories: 200

What Sara really had

1 1⁄2 cups cereal with 8 ounces whole milk
150 (cereal)
150 (milk)

Coffee with 1 Tbsp whole milk and 2 tsp sugar
50 (milk and sugar)

Total calories: 350

Extra Calories: 150 Cal


What Sara thinks she had

Ham Sandwich
150 (bread)
200 (ham)
150 (mayo)


Total calories: 550

What Sara really had

Sandwich made with 2 slices bread, 6 ounces ham, and 1 1⁄2 tbsp mayo
150 (bread)
200 (ham)
150 (mayo)

Medium Apple

Ice Tea with Sugar
150 (sugar)

Total calories: 700

Extra Calories: 150 Cal


What Sara thinks she had

Total calories: 0

What Sara really had

Granola bar

Coffee with 1 tbsp whole milk and 2 tsp sugar
50 (milk and sugar)

Total calories: 250

Extra Calories: 250 Cal


What Sara thinks she had


Mashed potatoes

Piece of Fish

Total calories: 400

What Sara really had

Salad with 2 tbsp blue cheese dressing
50 (salad)
150 (dressing)

1 Cup Mashed Potatoes Made with Whole Milk and 3 tbsp Butter
100 (potatoes)
100 (butter)

3 ounces Fish
200 (sugar)

8 ounces Iced Tea with Sugar
75 (sugar)

Total calories: 675

Extra Calories: 275 Cal


What Sara thinks she had

Small Bowl of Ice Cream

Total calories: 175

What Sara really had

1 Cup Ice Cream

Total calories: 320

Extra Calories: 145 Cal

Daily Total:

Total calories Sara thinks she had daily:


Total calories Sara really had daily:


Extra Calories: 970 Cal

This example shows why Sara was unable to lose weight and why it’s so important to track what you’re eating and the actual amounts.
Accurately measuring everything you eat may take a couple of extra minutes, but will make a big impact towards your becoming more aware of how many calories you are really taking in.