Tricks' and 'high payoff' items that may help you implement & maintain CRON

Eating better - fewer calories & more nutrients:

  • Make a point of studying nutritional labels on food - soon you'll get a feel for what the best and worst CRON foods are.
  • Learn to estimate weight and calories by portion size (e.g. 1.5 pounds of strawberries has fewer calories than a candy bar).
  • Crowd out bad foods with good foods. Find CRON-friendly foods & methods that you enjoy & that are practical.
  • Eat as many (enjoyable) veggies as you can - they'll fill you up, and tend to have the highest CRON merit (low cal, high nutrients).
  • Replace cookies, pastries and sweets (snacks) with fruit - especially strawberries.
  • Eliminate, or keep reducing any drinks that contain sugar.
  • Generally, focus on reducing fat & sugar intake.
  • Go for a great variety of foods - it helps ensure that you get all the nutrients you need, plus it add 'spice to your life'.
  • Always have CRON foods readily available at home and at the office (fruit on the counter, veggies in the fridge).
  • Focus on buying CRON foods when you go shopping - simply buy more of the good foods and less of the not-so-good ones.

Eating less:

  • Only eat when you're hungry - not out of habit or to keep company.
  • Don't eat on the run.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Try to savor each bite.
  • Stop eating when you start to feel full. Train yourself to leave food on the plate (put plate aside)
  • Stop eating /throw out food that you don't like (wasted calories).
  • Drink lots of (non-sugary) fluids before and during the meal.
  • Serve yourself using small dishes - you will eat less.
  • Generally, eat first meal later, and /or last meal early. No point in going to bed with a full stomach.
  • Eating many small meals/ snacks ('grazing'), can actually help to reduce overall consumption, and prevent insulin spikes.
  • Many people also find fasting for one day a week a good strategy.

Weight management:

Weigh yourself first thing every morning. If your weight increases by more than 1 or 2 pounds, make an extra effort to eat fewer calories and exercise more until you drop back down. The sooner the reverse the trend the easier it is to get back on track. If you have a 'heavy calorie day' (a party, or unusually rich meal) skip a meal or two the next day. You should find it relatively easy, and this often makes up for the previous day's calorie surplus.

Eating out:

  • Try to split a meal (& salad) or dessert with a friend.
  • Avoid starters (unless they replace the main course) & bread. Order sauces/ dressing 'on the side'.
  • Ask for your food to be prepared in a CRON-friendly way (e.g. grilled, not fried, etc.)
  • Avoid buffets, or if you can't, first 'fill up' on salads and veggies before sampling the 'heavier' stuff.


  • If you can't give up undesirable foods (or excess quantities), very slowly reduce quantity. You will adjust.
  • Remember, small habit changes can make a big difference - they are cumulative.
  • Remind yourself that any increase in food quality or reduction in calories will benefit you - you will be healthier and live longer. That's a good thing.
  • Keeping a food diary will greatly increase awareness of your (changing) habits. It generally helps to motivate, and will also help you make good decisions.
  • Try bringing additional exercise into your lifestyle; it often makes it easier to loose weight that way - plus you get additional longevity benefits

Calorie density of various common foods

Calories per ounce (28g, about 6 tsp, 2 tbs)

3 cucumber, 4 - lettuce, 5- peppers, 6 - cabbage, 7 - tomato, 8 - broccoli, mango, grapefruit

9 strawberries, 11 - skim milk/ yogurt, mushroom, applesauce, 13 - carrot, orange

17 fruit salad, other berries, apple, banana, grape

20 whole milk, ready whip (by vol), nonfat cottage cheese

30 teriyaki sauce, potato, pasta well cooked. creamed cottage cheese, raw fish

40 rice, beans, pasta, regular ice cream

55 sweet & sour/ BBQ sauce, hummus, guacamole, fatty fish, lean meat, head cheese

65 meat salad, medium fatty meat

75 bread, egg (one), premium ice cream, fatty meat, dried fruit

100 cheese, sausage, cake, fresh coconut, dry popcorn

150 glaze donuts, chocolate, 180 - nuts, peanut butter, 200 - butter, mayo, 250 - fat, oil

Calories per cup (2.5oz cabbage, 5oz nuts, 6oz fruit salad, 7oz rice, 8oz water)

10 cucumber, lettuce, 15 - cabbage, 20 - dry popcorn, 25 - broccoli

50 mango, grapefruit, strawberries, shredded carrot

100 skim milk, applesauce, fruit salad, other berries, apple, banana, grape, nonfat yogurt

150 whole milk, ready whip, nonfat cottage cheese

210 rice, beans, mashed potato, nonfat frozen yogurt, creamed cottage cheese

300 regular ice cream, 400 - whip cream, dried fruit, 550 - premium ice cream, 850 - nuts

Types of bodyfat measurements

  • Weight scale with built-in body fat reading: It seems useless as a measure of absolute body fat percentage.
  • The Zoneperfect site has a quick & simple measurement. It seems accurate, but that could be coincidence.
  • Skin-fold measurements. Their accuracy seems to depend to a large extent on the skill of the person doing it.
  • Water tank (displacement) measurement. One of the most accurate means, but a hassle.
  • Dexa scan: Simple and accurate. It even shows your fat distribution.

Peter Voss - updated April 09

Comments and suggestions always welcome: peter@optimal.org