The Awareness Effect

A friend of mine came to me asking for help with her weight loss plan. She had been losing weight, but was now at a standstill.

She said, “Kim, I know I’m eating right, but I don’t know what’s going on. Why have I stopped losing weight?”

To help her find out what was happening, I asked her to keep a food journal for a week and then let me review it. She kept the journal and sent it to me a week later.

I looked at the journal and saw that my friend’s eating pattern was healthy overall. However, one thing did catch my attention.

For her snack, she almost always noted eating this: ‘Trail Mix: 1 bag’.

I asked her if she had an empty bag of the trail mix that I could see. When we next got together, she showed me the trail mix bag.

When I saw the label, my mouth dropped open. I said to her: “You’re eating this whole bag?”

She said, “Yes. See, it is only 140 calories.”

I had her take a closer look. While it was true that package read that one serving of the trail mix was 140 calories, the serving size was only 1/4 cup.

The label indicated that the entire bag contained 10 servings.

So my friend was really eating 140 x 10 calories…1,400 calories in trail mix alone!

To put this in perspective, a typical woman requires 1,800 calories for weight maintenance.

Since the trail mix alone was 1,400 calories in my friend’s case, then it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a steady diet of it would cause major weight gain over time.

After all, she wasn’t eating trail mix only; she was eating other meals on top of that.

My friend’s trail mix deception reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures about eating:

When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
Consider carefully what is before you;
And put a knife to your throat
If you are a man given to appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies,
For they are deceptive food (Proverbs 23:1-3).”

With her new awareness about the trail mix calories, my friend considered carefully whether she still wanted to keep eating it. Her answer was no.

She decided to trade the trail mix for an apple, orange, a turkey roll-up, or a few nuts on occasion for her snacks, which are all lower in calories and would keep her fuller, longer.

She started losing weight again.

That is the power of the awareness effect.

Like my friend, I too was vulnerable to food deceptions. To keep myself aware, I use the Lose app on my smartphone. Sometimes, you need to add new tools to your strategy when you enter different seasons in your life.

A few years ago, I got married and found my pants started getting tight. Like my friend, I knew I was eating healthy and doing all the right things so I didn’t know what was going on.

So I start using the LoseIt smartphone app to track my intake. In my case, I discovered the problem was my portion sizes.

Because I was preparing food for my husband, I was making my portions larger to match his! Now Mike is over 6 feet and a big guy and I am a petite woman. So I certainly did not need to eat as much food as he did.

However, without using the LoseIt app and gaining that awareness, I don’t think I would have made the connection.

But once I was aware of the problem, I made the adjustment in my portion sizes and the extra “marriage” pounds left.

Whether you use a written food journal or a phone app to track what you eat, there is no doubt that it works to help you lose weight better. In fact, according to the U.S. Weight Control Registry data, the one habit weight loss success stories have in common is tracking their food intake regularly.

So take advantage of the awareness effect today to avoid food deceptions that can stall your weight loss goals.

Be Blessed with Health, Healing, and Wholeness,

Kimberly Taylor

Author of the Take Back Your Temple program

P.S. Do you struggle with overeating sugar? If so, you are not alone!

Overcoming sugar addiction was a key factor on my weight loss journey; I lost 85 pounds and dropped from a size 22 to an 8.

In our 14-day Sugar Detox Challenge online course (inside the Take Back Your Temple program), you’ll get the same success strategies and support to gain peace in your eating habits and achieve lasting weight loss.

Click here to learn more about the Take Back Your Temple program.

“Prayer for Weight Loss”

About the author 

Kimberly Taylor

Kimberly Taylor is a certified Christian life coach and has a heart to help others struggling with emotional eating and weight loss. Once 240 pounds and a size 22, she can testify of God’s goodness and healing power to overcome. She lost 85 pounds as a result of implementing techniques to overcome emotional eating and binge eating disorder.

Kim is the author of "The Take Back Your Temple Program," which teaches Christians how to take control of their weight God's way and the books "The Weight Loss Scriptures" and "The Weight Loss Prayers."

Kim has been featured in Prevention Magazine, Charisma Magazine and on CBN’s 'The 700 Club' television program.

  • I am doing your online course and just got to the part where I am to track for four days. I groaned because I don’t like and never have tracked for more than a day or two. After I read this I felt more motivated to do it. I had a marvelous healthy week and am looking forward to another one. I have a party to go to on Saturday which will really test my resolve but I can also feel a slight shift away from trying to control things that don’t need my control.

    • Ha, ha – I am glad it helped, Sharon. And congratulations of your healthy week! I admit that tracking is not my favorite thing to do either. But often it is the simplest things that make the biggest difference. Many of my readers report “blanking out” when they binge. But recording what you eat is one way to stay aware so that you think twice. I’ve realized that it is my flesh that complains about tracking because it wants to eat out of control. However, my spirit man is with the program because tracking is a tool to help me exercise self control. So I do it.

      Keep up the great work. I’d love to hear how things go on Saturday 🙂

  • I use a free app called MyFitnessPal – yes, it is amazing the extra calories we consume when we aren’t recording everything we put into our mouths!

    This free app also allows you to track exercise

    Another free app I use is The Hacker’s Diet Online – it will chart your weight trends not just the daily ups and downs so you can see a trend over a week or month and make corrections before you are overwhelmed.

    I really appreciate your emails and postings – especially since you incorporate the spiritual side of weight loss with the practical and physical. Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks Lorraine – MyFitness Pal is a great one too. I preferred the LoseIt app for myself because it is free too and tracks exercise, but no ads like MyFitness Pal had at the time I tested it. Each of us is different and it is great that we have technology as a tool to help us see the truth about what we are eating. God bless you!

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