my food site is weber_cam

January 30, 2010

Counting calories

I would prefer to die than not eat what I want. However, I recently upped my visits to the gym and much to my dismay, started increasing in weight. I was working out pretty vigorously cardio and resistance, but continued to gradually increase in weight. Frustrated, I decided to do what I vowed never to - count calories. I decided to keep a calorie log. I'm using tools at SparkPeople.com to tablulate them. The site permits one to add food per day and its tools sort it into fat, carbs and protein and gives spiffy summaries of the whole affair.

Targeting a calorie value for maintenance of my desired weight (after wading through countless sites) of 1800 +/- 200 calories per day, I've been keeping a tally for about a couple weeks. Low and behold, my gradual weight gain accompanying my increased frequency of visiting the gym was from eating too much. Sounds obvious, but I didn't realize how significant seemingly harmless foods were. I'm now on track for a gradual change to the weight I'd like to be, but the exercise of counting the cals was great. Reducing calories wasn't nearly as painful as I thought, it just takes a bit of thought to make the calories you do eat, satisfying ones. Here's some of my observations:

• I have come to appreciate the sweet potato as one of the best foods on earth.
• Kroger brand saltines are only 10 cal / cracker. This is cool.
• I love tuna, sardines and any other helpless canned fish, but too much protein is not satisfying.
• Breakfast food is the most calorically dense food ever. Breakfast can give you 60% of your calories by 8 am. We're doing lots of grain cereals for breakfasts these days.
• Why are vending machine treats all TWO onces these days? A slip or two to the vending machine in the afternoon can push anyone into a few pounds per month. Vending machines are expensive and deadly.
• Bread is still a great food, just gotta budget for it.
• I have a care free meal once in a while. No counting.
• Knowing calorie counts hasn't ruined my enjoyment of eating at all.
• I actually make my own popcorn for the movies and smuggle it in because:
    a. the movie chains extort money,
    b. I'm cheap,
    c. my popcorn is good enough for the gods,
    d. I'm cheap, and
    e. see c.
• Beer and wine are calorie bargains at 150/12 oz and 100/5 oz respectively. Woohoo!
• Legumes are perfect proteins; ethnic markets have so many more to choose from than Bush's sells. La Preferida "small red beans" are my new favorite.
• I still make lots of bbq; I'm counting, I'm not ending my life.

6 comments:

Peggy said...

Great site, Dave. Thank you for finding it. I've been having the same trouble, compounded by sitting in front of the TV for five hours every night with the lady I take care of. She loves basketball.

Mike said...

My bad, but for some reason I hadn't subscribed to your posts here..and by the looks of it, I've missed a lot!

Funny you should talk about counting calories. I just started doing the same thing, albeit for just a few weeks. I found a cheap iPhone app to help me out. I'm not exactly overweight, but with the big "4-0" looming and my uber fast metabolism slowing, I decided to see just how bad I've been eating.

My biggest issue is portion control and like you, I love to eat. Well see what happens over time, but so far just cutting out some of the junk carbs has helped. Fortunately, my liquid intake consists solely of coffee, water, and beer...so that's not changing!

I was in Columbus the last 2 days at a conference and was hoping to a. have been there longer and b. set up a time to meet up with you and Andrew. Unfortunately time was scant. We do need to meet up sometime.

Dave said...

Hey Mike,
Welcome to the dark side of my publishing empire. Dave's Beer is some bizarre site I use as therapy. It has nothing to do with beer, I just liked the domain. It has no focus and very little traffic. Everyone who visits simply feels bad for me.

The calorie thing is really fascinating. I counted for about a month and learned tons. Cheese its and all the other 2 oz. bags in the machines are deadly. 1 or 2 a day alone will account for a few pounds a year. I eat well still, but, I save my calories for good food.

Reducing portions slow over time and just by a little is painless. I think I have things under control, but it was scary for a while. Your iPhone app will be perfect to keep an eye on things for a while and then you'll probably be able to skip it.

Too bad you weren't here longer! We'll catch up eventually.

Mike said...

Ha! The Dark Side...

I'm thankful at work that there is no vending machine. I'm less thankful that in place of a vending machine are several spouses who bake, very well I might add. There is nothing worse than not being able to eat all day and accidentally stumbling on a red velvet cake!

Zoe would like to think it's the beer, but in reality it's all of the stuff that goes with it...at least I tell myself that!

Dave said...

One last volley, fitbit.com

The device for the most OCD generation of all time. Seriously, this thing is amazing.

Mike said...

Oh my...OCD, I'm there!