Good Faith Estimates

Sometimes, I wish calorie tracking was an exact science. It would make all of this a whole lot easier.

Case in point: my seven-year-old nephew is staying with us for a couple of days, and we took him and my son to Coney Island last night. Before we went, as a treat, we took them out for pizza. The place we went is one of those places where you pay eight bucks for an 8 inch pizza and then put whatever you want on it. (I go with green peppers, red onions, mushrooms, garlic, sausage, and Canadian bacon.)

You might see the problem here: how, exactly, do you calculate your calorie intake on something like that?

So I took my best shot. I found the calorie content of the crust on their web site. Then added an ounce of mozzarella (which might have been high), assumed the vegetables were negligible, and then put in the cost of the meat based on some figures I found in the FitBit app. In total, my estimate was about 900 calories. Then I checked out the estimates of the pre-built pizzas, and saw that the pizza with sausage and meatballs and bacon and ham and pepperoni was listed at 1022 calories, so I figured I’d gotten close enough.

I think I made my calorie goal yesterday. I can’t 100% price it, of course, but I did my best. I’ll take that. (I also hit my walking goal, so that’s good.)

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I Did Say It’d Take Some Time, Right?

That sounds more on boys than I intended, doesn’t it? Yesterday actually went all right. Not perfect, but all right. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Exercise: I didn’t do my weights (we misplaced the key to the workout room), but I did walk 5.12 miles (beating my current “get back in shape” goal 🥅 f 4.5 miles). So, that was an okay performance.
  • Calorie Budget: I missed my calorie goal, partly from a failure to plan causing me to eat out and partly because there were chocolate fudge brownies with walnuts at work. On the positive side, though, I was far more restrained with the brownies than their deliciousness warranted, so things could have been s lot worse.

I’m planning for today to go better, though. I managed to pack my breakfast today, and dinner is already planned. Also, it’s early in the morning and I’m nearly a mile into my walking goal (thanks to getting back to parking in the bad spots on purpose). So now I just need to be reasonable with lunch and follow through on my walking goal, and I should be fine.

2,495

I didn’t really think I was going to stay within my calorie budget yesterday. I made some fairly poor choices about what I ate during the day, so it really looked grim by dinner time. I only had about 500 calories left in my budget by that point.

Folks, I forgot about the power of cookie by your own meals. Two homemade chili dogs later (well, the chili was homemade anyway), my tally for the day was 2,495 calories out of a daily budget of 2,500.

It wasn’t planning, I promise you that. It was luck. But I’ll take it.

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.

Should.

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.