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Hungry Girl Today: 8.05.09


Dear HG,

What are some of the biggest mistakes people consistently make while
dieting and calorie counting? I feel sure I am making some of them...

Miss Take

Dear Miss Take,

I answer questions like this a lot -- and it's a really important one, so I think
it's worth going over again. Here are the top three mistakes (in my opinion)
that people make while trying to lose weight...

1. Serving size flubs. Whether people misread or overlook labels (yes, there
could be THREE servings in that snack bag!) or are sloppy or lazy when it
comes to measuring (and accidentally eat two cups of cereal at once instead
of one!), ignoring portion sizes is a HUGE problem. So be sure to pay
attention to serving sizes.

2. Believing the hype. What this basically means is that people often
misunderstand the buzzwords that restaurants and food manufacturers throw
around. People assume that because something's labeled light, low-fat, or
healthy, it's therefore low in calories. That's DEFINITELY not always the case.
A low-fat muffin can have 400 calories, and "healthy" wraps often have 600 -
700 calories each (just unroll one of those ginormous tortillas, and prepare to
be shocked -- DO IT!). You need to be able to cut through the BS when it
comes to this stuff. (Oh, please don't be offended by my use of "BS" --
asking nicely!)

3. Assuming salads and salad dressings are always good options. All salads
are NOT created equally. Pay attention to what's in and on your salads.
Cheese, tortilla strips, crispy noodles, nuts, etc. -- those extras can add
hundreds of calories to your greens. The dressing can be even worse. It is
not uncommon for restaurants to pour 500 calories' worth of DRESSING on
your salad... a lot of those calories come from FAT. It's HORRENDOUS.
Eating salads that have 1,000 - 1,800 calories is definitely a cause of diet
sabotage for lots of people.

There are more mistakes people make, for sure -- but those three are
BIGGIES. Are you making any of them? If so, now you know, and you can
take steps toward fixing 'em. Good luck!

Hey, HG!

With all the new calorie-posting laws that are popping up in different cities
and states, more and more restaurant stats are becoming available. Can you
point me in the direction of some hard-to-find restaurant nutritionals that are
now available in certain areas? Thanks!

Dining Out Diva

Dear Dining Out Diva,

Excellent Q!!! And one that I am excited to answer. In the past, many
restaurants have been secretive about the calorie counts of their foods, and
with good reason -- so many of those stats are frightening! Here's a list of
some that are now public -- click but prepare to be scared!

1. The Cheesecake Factory - The cheesecakes aren't the only offenders.
Truly shocking stuff here!

2. Claim Jumper - Entrees with over 1,000 calories each = not uncommon.
Click and see.

3. Olive Garden - It isn't pretty, people. You can find several decent options
in the Garden Fare section, but even some of those are a little scary.

4. Red Lobster - Thankfully, the newly disclosed nutritional info reveals
plenty of guilt-free items. But, of course, there are fat-tastrophes too.

5. Friendly's - Click here for the not-so-friendly 411...

6. IHOP, T.G.I. Friday's, Outback Steakhouse, and Applebee's - These chains
haven't posted the stats online, but you can find nutritional brochures and/or
calorie counts on the menus at CA and NYC locations (as well as a few other
areas). Click HERE and HERE to see stats we found at all four chains; and
click HERE for salad shockers from Outback, Applebee's, Friday's, and
others. And, of course, we'll continue to disclose some of these hard-to-find
stats in HG emails.

Keep in mind, these chains aren't necessarily trying to spin themselves as
healthy -- they're merely following the law and making the info available. It's
a means of helping educate the public about the calories in foods they eat,
and it does explain, in part, WHY the obesity problem has been getting worse
and worse. Knowledge is power, people! So click around and make informed
decisions next time...

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