Saturday, July 26, 2008

Let's Hope Simple Diet Math Doesn't Backfire

Figuring out how many calories you need to eat is supposed to be relatively simple math. What I've come to realize, though, is that dieting is more an art than science. If it were just straight science, one wouldn't be constantly trying to figure out unexplained weight gains.

Yesterday afternoon, The Wife convinced me to agree to lunch from the local Mexican carniceria. I stupidly agreed, and ordered a bean and cheese burrito. After lunch, I entered each ingredient into my calorie counter, and realized that I'd gobbled up a greedy 612 calories.

Well damn. That gave me almost no room for dinner. We were planning on grilling something, but try as I might, I couldn't figure out how I could squeeze a tasty dinner into the number of calories I'd had left. Sure, I had enough calories to eat something, so I wasn't going to go hungry, but it wasn't going to be much in the yum factor.

Then, to make matters worse, The Kid started in on how she wanted to watch a movie after dinner, and how she really wanted some homemade popcorn with butter.

I was sunk.

Now don't tell me how great popcorn is when you hot air pop it without butter and put some of that fake butter flavor or Parmesan cheese on it instead. I don't care what people say, I can't stand popcorn that way. No amount of salesmanship is going to convince my taste buds that the concoction tastes good. The only way to eat it is fresh out of the hot air popper with loads of butter and salt. Any other way, and it's not worth eating. (Well, except for movie popcorn, which is an entirely different animal.)

So I was faced with a choice, either blow my diet, or tell The Kid no popcorn. There was no way I was going to be able to stay in the room and watch a movie while The Kid munched away.

But then I remembered there is a way to change the rules, if I viewed my diet as simply a matter of science. More energy expended = a higher need for calories. Since it was Friday, and housecleaning day anyway, I set about my afternoon chores with extra vigor. After an hour and a half of serious work, I had worked up quite a sweat. After the chores were done, The Kid and I went for a brisk walk.

Bingo. I plugged all my exercise into my calorie counter, which subtracts the value of your exercise from the calories you've already consumed, and voila! I had extra calories available for dinner.

After considerable discussion with The Wife and The Kid, we ended up having steak and broccoli for dinner. The Kid changed her request for popcorn to ice cream, and we went out to the local ice cream shop for cones. I ordered a single scoop of vanilla bean in a waffle cone, and damn it tasted good. It had to be one of the best darn cones I've ever eaten.

At the end of the day, I carefully entered everything I had eaten. To my delight, the calorie counter reported the following:
You've recorded 1000 cals on this day (subtracting 657 cals burned from 1657 cals eaten.) Your target was 1200 cals.

On an average person, these figures would lead to a loss of 9.9 lb over the next month.

Let's hope that simple diet math doesn't backfire.

1 comment:

john - from fat to fit said...

I wish I could really record everything I ate every day as it is very helpful in losing weight - just hard to do consistently.