So, like I said earlier, I am currently on a quest to release some weight to at least get into the running (ha! No pun intended) for the military internship. I seriously considered NutriSystem or something like it – fuck my food ethics and morals – I need that internship! But then as I considered the money I’d already spent on my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share and all the food I’d have because of it, I decided I’d be better off making up my own meal plans.
Also, I have a number of food “things” that make those kinds of plans not very useful. I’m a vegetarian working towards veganism. I don’t like to eat too much bread or gluten. I am opposed to processed foods. I believe in putting my dollar where my mouth is so I buy mostly organic, sustainable, local foods. I don’t like to eat in restaurants as these generally violate most of these principals. These food things are positive factors, however, if I want to design and follow a healthy meal plan, though, right?
More about me. I’m overweight. Not just by the military standards, in general, I am overweight. I have been for the last 10 years. While this is true, it is also true that I have eaten following many of those food things for more than the last 10 years. And I am a runner who has always liked to work with weights. I am not hanging around on the couch eating bonbons, is all I’m saying. And I have been to my doctor about my weight a number of times, too.
Of course there are exceptions. I had a number of injuries in the last year that cut my running way back. I was married for a while and my eating habits were definitely less healthy in those days. I often get crazy sugar cravings while having migraines. And I give in, too, sometimes. I’m no angel.
But I never really tried anything related to counting calories – in fact, I always scoffed a bit about it. “I work out!” I would say. “I run!” “I eat healthier than most Americans – what difference would counting calories make??” Yes, then about 3 or 4 years ago I met with a personal trainer who heard me say such things and said, “ok, lets look at what you ate today.”
I proudly told him about my meals – which included a sort of pasta salad. It was mostly fresh veggies, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms. There was some pasta, but more veggies than pasta. As I recall it had some kind of dressing I had made – something with fake sour cream. And almonds. The personal trainer was kind of naming out the average calories for what I was telling him and I was doing ok and then I mentioned the almonds. Which I had tossed in for crunch, and hardly considered part of the “salad.”
“How many almonds?” he asked.
“I don’t know. A handful?”
“So, like half a cup? Quarter cup?”
I went for the quarter cup, since I was sure that sounded better. I had also snacked in my car on almonds that day. I did a lot of driving for work and I always had sunflower seed and almonds to munch on. I considered them a healthy snack. I agreed that that day I had eaten probably a half cup. If I was fudging, I was fudging down.
So…anyone want to guess how many calories in a half cup of almonds? No?
Here it is. Half a cup of roasted almonds have 411 calories! 280 of those are from…FAT. Yeah, ok, so good fat, bad fat, healthier than a candy bar, better than a frappuccino, maybe. But if you are trying to cut calories, a “handful” of nuts can seriously screw with your day!
I started just checking my calories on fitday.com – a free service that is pretty easy to use. It was easy to see how my “healthy” food choices were not working well for me. As I recall, I dropped a few pounds right away, just by keeping track. I didn’t stick to it, though.
Now, like I said, I am back on the band wagon. I am working with a personal trainer again, am injury free so my runs are happening and I am keeping track again on fitday.