The Paper Clip Diet


Yes, I suppose you could lose quite a bit of weight if you tried to restrict yourself to consuming only paper clips. But that’s not what I mean.

I’ve done pretty much every weight loss plan there is, and the problem I always have is keeping track of what I’ve eaten. Yes, I know that Weight Watchers has points, but I’m still easily confused. So when I started Denise Austin’s “Eat Right” plan, I came up with an extremely low-tech way of keeping track of what I’ve eaten each day.

Denise’s plan allows you a certain amount of carbs, fats, proteins, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and water each day (the vegetable and water amounts are actually minimums, because they’re unlimited).  In addition to worrying if I’d actually remember whether I’d had two servings or three of dairy at any given moment, I also didn’t know how I’d ever remember that six almonds is one fat, while ten peanuts is also one fat.

The first thing I did was to write out the serving sizes for each food on index cards, one card for each food group.  So my protein card, for example, lists exactly how many ounces of tuna, cheese, chicken, pork, etc., constitutes one serving.  Then, I lined up paper clips along the top of each card, one paper clip for each allowed serving.  My protein card starts out each morning with five paper clips.  When I eat an egg for breakfast (or two egg whites!), I remove one paper clip and put it into the little mug that holds all the cards.  By dinner time, it’s a snap to see how many ounces of chicken I can have, how much pasta, and how many glasses of water I’ll have to drink to catch up!

I’m betting there’s some system out there already that does a much better job than my silly paper clips.  But I’ll bet mine’s cheaper!

For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, click over to Rocks in My Dryer.


4 thoughts on “The Paper Clip Diet

  1. Cute idea. I’ve struggled with weight loss (and gain) for a long time. I don’t seem to go anywhere no matter what I do, and the thought of doing some sort of points system is overwhelming. I’m lucky if I remember what my kid’s names are let alone how much of what I have eaten. I will have to remember this if I ever start one of those types of diets.

  2. Glad it’s working for you! 🙂

    I do something similar, using a post-it notepad in the kitchen. At the beginning of the day, I write the food group with the target number of servings for the day in parentheses. After I eat a meal (or snack), I put tally marks for each serving I’ve eaten. If I eat out, I mark it off when I get back home. Example:

    Starch (6) ||
    Protein (6) |||
    Milk/Yogurt (3)
    Fruit (3) ||
    Veggies (2+) |
    Fat (3) |

    As the day goes along, I can see how many servings of each food group I have eaten, and therefore, how many I have left. This works for me, but the advantage of your system is that on your cards, you have a great reminder of what constitutes a serving. (I just try to remember, which isn’t always effective!)

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