Monday, May 5, 2014

My misperception of calories

Well...here I am...

...thinking about my perception...or lack thereof...of calories.

The scale was down this morning - no bathroom dance needed.  Of course, I'm always pleased with that

Anyway, I was talking with a friend of mine yesterday who is also trying to lose some weight.  Our conversation touched on calories and how they seem to really add up....once you start noticing and taking a real stock.

I've been thinking about our conversation since then and realized that I've had a caloric misperception for about as long as I can remember.  It seems to have expressed itself, at least in my head, in different ways.  That, along with "portion distortion", has contributed to DBA*.

In some of my half-assed efforts of the past, I would eat something, say a chicken breast and estimate a certain number of calories.  I had some idea in my head that since it was a "good food", it couldn't possibly have too many calories.  When I would look up the calorie content, I would be shocked at the listed calories.  So what would I do???  I would tell myself one of two things, either I must have over-estimated the amount I ate or the listed calories was wrong.  Where did THAT come from?  Delusional much??

In the mornings, I usually have a strawberry smoothie.  The smoothie has some strawberries, a cup of unsweetened almond milk, some protein powder, and a little bit of coconut oil, along with a bunch of ice.  I love it.  Anyway, in my head, this smoothie should be about 250 calories.  In reality, the smoothie has about 380 calories.  If someone had asked me how many calories I had for breakfast, I'd say about 400.  This morning, I had the estimated 400 calorie breakfast.  The actual count:  654!!!  That's 63% higher than I would have estimated if I hadn't written it down!

The same thing happens with lunch.  Today I had a salad with romaine lettuce, 5 oz grilled chicken, 1.6 oz goat cheese, Newman's Own Green Vinaigrette, and a serving of sundried tomatoes.  Again, I would have estimated about 350 calories.  The actual count:  459!!  That's 31% higher! 

I was thinking that it must be a failing of those of us who are of a great voluptuous form.  So tonight at dinner - yes, we ate out AGAIN! - I asked hubster about the calorie content of his meal.  Hubster said he thought his meal was about 500 calories.  I don't know if he was screwing with me or not,  but he was way off!  His meal consisted of two beers, a side salad, and 15 boneless wings with sauce.  When we got home, I checked - he had almost 2000 calories!  How is that man not the size of a barn???

As an aside, I got five traditional wings (no breading) and a salad.  I would have figured that I had about 500 calories.  The actual damage:  781!!!  That's after deconstructing the salad!!!

I've been tracking calories after the fact for a while now.  It seems to be working out for me.  I try to eat something reasonable and within my personal given parameters and then add it all up.  For the most part, I stay within a 200 calorie range with the average around 1700.  Today was a higher day, the last two days were on the lower end of the range.

The thing is that I was pretty satisfied and satiated with what I had for dinner.  Then I stopped and remembered what I used to eat at a wing place.  We'd usually split one or two appetizers, I'd have 20 wings with fries, and usually a beer - maybe two.  Even more than what hubster had at dinner tonight.  That's amazing.  And that was only dinner!!!!  I'm not sure I could eat all that at one sitting now if I tried.  I mean, I was pretty satisfied when we left tonight.

The other thing is that I thought that what I was eating before was okay and that I was probably eating about 800 calories.  Somehow the math always worked out in MY head that I wasn't eating too much.

And I wondered why I wasn't able to lose weight and, in fact, was gaining weight.  I'm starting to think it wasn't a thyroid problem.

Onward!

 *DBA - Donna's Big Ass

7 comments:

  1. Great point! This is why I have to look up calories on things before I eat them. Otherwise I get a huge surprise. THis last weekend was our son's birthday and he wanted a cookie cake. I was totally shocked to find out that a piece of the cookie cake was 645 calories (I would have thought it was more like 350....)

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    1. Isn't it crazy?? I'm usually pretty good at estimating most things, but I've found it difficult with calories. I am getting better though.

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  2. I've been using My Fitness Pal and weighing portions and all that pain in the butt stuff lately--and it really is interesting to see what I've been overestimating and underestimating MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE!

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    1. I get the underestimating - that's almost human nature. But what are you overestimating??

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  3. Yep, it's hard to find even a 'diet' meal at a restaurant for less than 700 calories.

    Good (new) awareness!

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  4. I'm trying Gwen, I'm trying!

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  5. Really good post! I have delusional caloric syndrome also!!! I purposefully try to not eat my exercise calories to account for my delusions. Maybe not the best answer.....but it gives me a bit of 'freedom' from being a nazi general about my food!

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