So far, so good

Things didn’t go badly at all, yesterday.  I ate more than I probably should have (3,079 calories, partly because it turns out that corn bread has all the calories), but my FitBit calculates that I burned 4,331 calories through a combination of hitting all of my exercise goals and walking and living.  So, that’s promising.  Today’s goal is to keep my calorie intake to something more like 2,200 to 2,400 calories while still hitting all of my exercise goals.  Because yesterday, although it was fun to allow myself to eat excessively and still hit my goal, doesn’t need to be my regular daily routine.

This is making me feel more positive about things, though.  When I realized how much I’d eaten, there was a moment of despondency.  Then I looked at the calories I’d burned, and realized that I was still doing pretty good.  And then I finished my exercises, instead of deciding “hey, I’m just a fat and week-willed slob” and eating a pound of M&Ms.  Because – assuming the experiment works – I should still lose weight.  A pound of fat contains anywhere from 2,843 to 3,752 calories, depending on the calculation method used, so if I can manage to burn 1,000 or more calories than I consume each day I should lose anywhere from 1.8 to 2.5 pound a week.


Assuming my experiment holds up, that is.  We’ll see, won’t we?

Microwaving for Health!

I bought a bunch of microwave dinners last night, which I’ll admit is a random-sounding way of starting a post.  But bear with me, because there is method to my madness.

See, I’ve been overeating a whole lot recently.  Mostly because I’ve found myself crunched for time in the morning.  And yes, I know that means that I should try to get up a little earlier.  That said, I get up at 3:30 in the morning.  I’m not going to get up earlier.  But I digress.  I get crunched for time in the morning, and so I end up racing out the door to get to work.  And then I buy breakfast out, and I buy lunch out, and next thing you know it’s 10 am and I’ve eaten 1,400 calories and I am not in the mood to wait until dinner and the vending machines are right over there and…

Well, you can see where this is going.

So, I bought some microwave meals.  Breakfast sandwiches, pasta bowls, things like that.  Most of them in the 400 to 600 calorie range.  Perhaps not the most objectively healthy things I could be eating, but you know what?  It’s planned.  It gives me something to work with, as a way of reducing the impulse purchases that happen when I’m staring at a menu and feeling hungry (and which inevitably lead to purchasing with my stomach instead of my calorie budget).

Look Before You Eat

Things were going so well, yesterday.  I made my own breakfast and lunch and, by the time I got home yesterday I had about 1,100 calories left in my budget for the day.  So I had a fudgesicle with my son, taking me down to about 1,000 calories, and I figured that I’d be fine.

Then, it turned out that I was going to need to eat dinner out because we had a few errands to run.  No problem, I thought.  I’ve got a thousand calories left in my budget and we’re going to Panera.  That should be easy.  So I order their chicken tortellini alfredo, which clocks in at 750 calories, and I get a cookie as well.  One single cookie, not even all that big.  I’ll be fine, I thought.  It’ll be in the neighborhood of 200 calories, so I’ll make budget with no problem.

You can see where this is going, right?  It turns out that the cookie I got, one of the shortbread cookies decorated to look like a pumpkin, comes in at 450 calories.  Ouch.

Now, this isn’t a slam on Panera by any stretch of the imagination.  It’s not like they held me down and forced the cookie into my mouth or anything.  And heck, they even display the calorie content of the food right on the menu, next to the price.  I’m the one that ate it before checking.

The point?  Look first, eat second.

Why I Didn’t Weigh In This Week

If you glance over at the widgets on the left of this page, you’ll see one of them is titled “Where I’m At”.  That’s where I put up my current weight each week, how much I’ve lost (or gained), and so on.  And you’ll notice that, this week, I haven’t updated it.  There’s a reason for this.

See, last week was a bad week.  Despite starting out with the best of intentions, fatigue and poor decisions combined to get me to overeat.  And then my son’s birthday was this weekend, and that took us all to Entertrainment Junction for a party (and eating out for three meals), and there was cake and ice cream and the like.  Things did not go well, on the diet front.

This left me with two options.  One was to get on the scales, and then beat myself up for having done a miserable job with my goals.  Because, let’s be honest here, I didn’t do well and I probably gained some weight again.  Or I could go with plan B, which is cut myself a little slack and not get on the scales this week – with the understanding that I have a one-week break from weighing in so that I can get myself back on track and start moving in the right direction once more.

I took plan B.  And, to be honest, it’s actually been something of a struggle not to get on the scales this morning and check.  My weekly weigh-in has been such a part of my routine that it feels alien not to have done it.  But, as I said, this is a one week break.  Sunday, I’m back on the scales again.  Which means that this week, I need to be back on track.

What, HOW Many Calories Was That?

For a number of different reasons, I ended up taking my son out for dinner last night.  He’s five, so I should have been able to predict the answer he’d give when I asked him where he wanted to go.  McDonalds.  I wasn’t thrilled, but I let him choose (and I couldn’t talk him into going somewhere else), so off we went.

At that point, I had a little over 600 calories left in my budget.  Not bad at all for the stir fried chicken and rice I’d planned to make, but a little tight for fast food.  With that in mind, I decided to go small.  I ordered off the dollar menu, getting a McChicken sandwich and a double cheeseburger. “They’re small,” I said to myself.  “The calorie count can’t be that bad, right?”\

Folks, if you ever find yourself saying something like that, you should take the time to check the calorie count first.

So I eat my sandwiches, and I chat with my son (who was disappointed beyond words that the playground was closed for maintenance), and a good time was had.  After eating, I went to total up my calorie intake.  The McChicken clocked in at 357 calories, steeper than expected but not too bad.  I guessed the double cheeseburger would come in around the same and I’d hit my calorie budget and then… wait.  What?  Oh, the double cheeseburger comes in at 437 calories?  And so now I’m oer budget?


Yeah, it was kind of like that.

The lesson?  Well, pretty much what I said above.  Count the calories before eating.  Not after.

Really, Seriously, Lay Off The Soda!

I ended up taking the day off work yesterday to go spend time with my mother – it turns out that her condition in the aftermath of her heart attack isn’t quite as good as we’d first thought, and so I went to go talk to her about a few things. That isn’t the point of this post, though. That’s just the set up for the point. See, this involved quite a bit of driving – she’s about an hour away from me, one way. Not a terrible distance, but a noticible one.

As a result, I was in the car a lot yesterday. I didn’t hit my walking goals as a result (which I anticipated), and I also didn’t hit my calorie goal. I pretty much expected that as well, since my meals were pretty much fast food yesterday. But the actual reason for missing it surprised me.

I missed because of sodas.

See, it turns out that I’m actually not too bad at avoiding the highest-calorie menu offerings at a fast food restaurant. You can quibble about how healthy the meals are (pro tip: they aren’t), but at least I know how to avoid overeating. Sadly, there’s a reflex involved in ordering a meal in a drive through: “And let me have a medium coke with that.” As a result, I consumed a little over 800 calories in sugared sodas. Which means that, since I only went 142 calories over budget yesteday, I could have easily come in under budget if I’d had water instead.

Strong lesson, that. Avoid sodas. Really. They’re pretty much liquid candy, and they will max out your calorie budget in a hurry.