Calorie Awareness and Optimal Nutrition

I alluded previously to the fact that I prepare a lot of my food by weight so as to be more aware of what I’m eating. This is a practice borrowed from the practice of calorie restriction with optimal nutrition (CRON), which I do not practice. Well, I suppose I do eat less than I would when I don’t monitor, which might be considered “moderate CR,” but I’d rather call myself “calorie-aware.” Basically, my approach is to try to stick to a calorie level that is supposed to maintain my weight and activity level.  If my weight drifts one way or the other, I adjust calories accordingly.  Oh, and I try to get all my vitamins and minerals from my diet.

That’s where CRON-o-meter comes in.  I highly recommend this software (which also has an online version now, at  The best part is that everything is edit-able.  I can go in and set custom nutrient goals, using the pre-loaded government guidelines to start, and then tweaking those that I think need tweaking.  Vitamin D and magnesium got a tweak today when I read up on stuff.

Then, I just watch what I eat.  I use a digital scale to weigh a lot of the food I eat, as it adds consistency to my meals.  I mean, professional bakers have long used scales to ensure consistency in their recipes; I just steal that trick to make sure I’m eating the same amount of yogurt every day, for example.  My husband has started weighing out certain foods, too, since we find that it helps make sure things last the whole week.  Before I would eyeball my yogurt during the week and have maybe 3 tablespoons of yogurt left by the end of the week.  Drag.

Also, little tip:  If you pour wine in 4-oz. servings instead of 5-oz. servings, you get an even number of servings out of a bottle.  This is good when you have an even number of people in the house.  Also, 4 oz. of wine is 100 calories.  That’s my kind of 100-calorie snack.

So while I don’t really practice CRON, I use a lot of their tricks to keep my diet healthy without feeling deprived.  For example, today was my apartment complex’s free breakfast day.  They give out a donut and a juice (sugar high, right?).  I love, love, love donuts, but I rarely eat them, so of course I’m going to go for the free donut.  But I entered it in (I weighed it because the donuts they get are smaller than average and not really as caloric as the standard “doughnut” entry) and added protein, veggies, and healthy fat to make up a decent breakfast.  And you know what?  Even though I had a sugar-filled pastry as part of my breakfast, I still feel satisfied at 11:30am because I also got plenty of protein and good nutrition.


About Kyniska

In ancient Sparta, women were encouraged to train their bodies and minds as warriors did, in preparation for an adult life of strength and intellect. They strove to win a husband through strength as well as beauty. I try to live my life by this philosophy, that athletic ability and accented beauty can co-exist, yielding a richer whole. View all posts by Kyniska

2 responses to “Calorie Awareness and Optimal Nutrition

  • Judith Dutton

    I love this post because it almost precisely describes how I have used the CR principles and CRON-o-Meter to change my eating habits (slowly lost over 50 lbs & have kept them off), maintain consistency (which is really important) and keep on a healthy eating path. I am MR’s mother, BTW, but neither vegetarian nor a calorie restricter: just healthy! JD

    • Kyniska

      Wow, I’m honored to hear from such a CR celebrity. I’ve actually started to flirt with actual CR and I’m chronicling my efforts at, if you’re interested. I agree that consistency is key, and for me, eating enough of things and not getting in the mindset that I need to cut tons out of my diet all at once.

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