Monday, May 5, 2014

My misperception of calories 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.


 *DBA - Donna's Big Ass


  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....)

    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.

  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!

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

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

    Good (new) awareness!

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

  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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