Days 30 & 31 -- Count Calories? Why, yes, thank you, I think I will...

Counting calories.  No one likes to do it.  I know I certainly don't.  But then again, it can be a great way to monitor your diet.  Let's face it, we all overeat throughout the day.  Five M&Ms here, a cheese stick there...  But no one realizes how quickly those little munchies can add up.  And before you know it, your on-track, 1,500-calorie day has exploded into a 2,000+ calories food extravaganza.  What's worse?  That those extra calories you did consume probably weren't even substantial, filling, or worth it.  And there's the key question you need to ask yourself before popping that bite-size Milky Way into your salivating mouth:  Is it worth it???  Most of the time, you'll find the answer is "no." 

That in mind, I decided to track my calories yesterday.  Very official-like, I kept track of all my snacks and meals on a large post-it, looking up the calorie intake as I went along (  The past few days, looking up the nutritional information of certain products has been a GREAT detterrent.  For example, the two Fig Newtons I've grown so fond of the past two weeks?  Yea... not so fond of them any  more.  Those babies are packing 200 calories!!!  A 100-calorie cookie!  You've got to be kidding me!  Have you seen the size of Fig Newtons???  Now, to put that in perspective....  When I run 3.25 miles, or an hour, I normally burn anywhere from 550-650 calories.  So those two cookies are roughly 20 minutes of my giggly ass sweating it out on the treadmill. 

Guess who didn't take the Fig Newtons to work today.  Yup... me!  I knew I wouldn't be going to the gym tonight, and in the long run, those two cookies just didn't seem like they'd be worth it at the end of the day. I've been trying to keep that mentality at the front of my mind -- only eat what's worth it.  However, I'm only human. 

Instead of eating my nutritious, 100-calorie, veggie-filled soup for lunch today, I decided to abandon my norm for lunch with the work crew at the local diner... where I proceeded to have my favorite dish: a small buffalo-chicken, wheat wrap with French Fries and a Dt. Mountain Dew.  Now, I know... French Fries are Foe.  I didn't forget my personal mantra.  But I weighed it out... to me, today, that meal was totally worth it.  Not because I was stressed and wanted to comfort eat or because it's simply what I'm used to.  Nor was it a reward for eating so healthily lately.  It was, simply, because I wanted it.  I was going to get the grilled chicken breast and green beans (a much healthier option in comparison).  But I also knew a part of me was really craving that crappy food.  So I gave in.  Hey, I never claimed to be perfect!  And I believe I explained in Day 1's post that this would be a journey -- with all my challenges, victories, and struggles put before you.  I asked myself if the meal was truly worth it, and today, it was. 

Now... here's the difference between old Nicole and New, Improved Nicole: Old Nicole would have eaten like that every day, and no, I'm not exaggerating.  I would have had that for lunch, followed by pizza for dinner, followed by a nice mug-full of my favorite -- ice cream -- for dessert.  Today's meal was the first "mishap" in a few weeks.  And I'm ok with it.  I feel no shame, no guilt.  None of the emotions normally associated with my eating habits.  It was one meal, and now I'm moving on.  I truly believe that it's important to indulge yourself once in a while, so long as it isn't an everyday occurence. 

I understand that my lunch today was way over my alloted calories for that meal.  But like I said, it was worth it.  So if you "cheat" (and I hate calling it that!), don't beat yourself up.  You can't expect to have a perfect meal, a perfect week, a perfect month.  It's unhealthy, if you ask me.  Enjoy your fave meals, but don't make them the norm. 

OK -- sorry for the digression.  Back to the calories.  I'm aiming for 1400-1600 calories per day, and trying to burn another 500 at the gym on the nights I do go.  So here's how yesterday measured up:

Multigrain Cheerios with 1% milk -- 150 calories
2 Fig Newtons - 200 calories!
Diced peaches -- 70 calories
Campbell's Select Harvest Minestrone Soup -- 100 calories
Chobani Strawberry Yogurt -- 140 calories (but 14 grams of protein!)
2 Rice Cakes & 1 wedge of Laughing Cow Spreadable French Onion Cheese -- 115 calories
1/2 cup pineapple -- 60 calories
1 Banana -- 110 calories (by the way, not a good idea to consume immediately before running)
1 Quesadilla with grilled chicken, salsa, light cheese, sour cream -- 350 calories (?)
1/2 cup of Edy's Mint Chip Ice Cream -- 120 calories
Total: 1,415 calories
Total burned at gym: 420 calories

Simple math, as my friend John likes to say....  Takes 2,500 calories for me to maintain my weight.  3,500 calories is a pound gone.  If I'm killing 1,500 a day, I should be losing 2 pounds per week! 

If you're interested in another great way of keeping track of your food intake, try this online journal of sorts.  It's a great visual representation of what you're taking in, and what you're getting too much of:

OK, that's it for today's lesson, kids!  Stay with me!  And keep fighting the good fight!

Oh, and I'm looking for ideas for this week's challenge.  Got a good one?  Shoot it over!  I'm up for anything :-)


Anonymous said...

NikNak - I agree on the fig newtons, while they are DELICIOUS ( I used to eat a whole sleeve at one sitting at night), they are empty calories. It doesn't mean that you can't have one or two one time a week. Substitute this instead of your snack or replace it with 200 cals of fruit.
Talking about the buffalo chicken wheat wrap with french fries - definitely not a wise move even if you "wanted it". If you must have it, here's what you need to do. Eat half of it and I mean only 1/2 of it (and at most about 1/3 of the FF's) take the other half of the wrap home (don't take the FF's home!!!) and have the second half of the wrap the next day. Eat it slowly and savor the taste. That way you get to "have it" but only keep 1/2 of the calories. I bet that meal was at least 1200 calories alone. Fried food = BAD!

Keep on truckin!!!!

Kali said...

I'm glad the calories stopped the fig newton's since I couldn't :) better yet, don't take the second half home if you make the choice again, you'll be eating crappy food twice! Be careful how you justify "wanting" the food, We can all talk ourselves into anything!

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