What I’ve learnt from a few weeks of calorie-counting …

What I’ve learnt from a few weeks of calorie-counting …

I started counting calories (this time) on 26th July 2015. Since then, I’ve been fairly regular, except for brief times when I had no idea how to count the calories (or even guess).

Here’s a couple of things I’ve learnt:

After a bit, it gets really easy: Okay, maybe if I was counting every bite of food ever (down to the five calories in a bit of carrot) as I used to do, it would still be a tedious, annoying process. In the first couple of weeks, I used to spend a fair amount of time thinking and cataloguing the calories in various food. Planning out what to eat during the day became a chore, and I wasn’t sure if I could stick to it. However, after a bit it became really automatic and really only takes about 15-20 minutes that I can do between classes or just before bed. I can do this. I really hope so, anyway.

The blog helps a lot to stay on track: The thing about calorie counting is that it’s easy to make the excuses. “Oh, x day was a birthday/wedding/celebration/whatever.” It is, however, hard to see that number on that screen. Therefore, the urge is always to “stop” counting on days of binges (and I’ll admit that I feel that way too). However, seeing those gaps when I’m trying to write a weekly recap really reduce the number of days when I don’t track. I track all the bad stuff, like days of extra-drinking and restaurants and everything (to whatever extent possible).

I won’t stick to it everyday: This is something I’ve understood, and accepted. I won’t make it to 1550 everyday, not if I want to keep up with my social life and not be the girl who just eats salads or be perpetually hungry and feel restricted. I also know that if I keep up with my exercise goals (or even go for a swim 3-4 times in that week) then I’m burning an extra couple of hundred calories. (Conservative estimate puts swimming thrice a week at about 500 calories. I usually exercise more than that.) I use those to fuel going out and drinking and living it up – though I try to eat and drinking conservative, low-calorie food and alcohol when doing so. Also, I have learnt that 1-2 a week, depending on what is done, is probably for the best. Better for my wallet, too.

I want pizza: Okay look you guys. I make a big deal of pretending that one can eat out, even at fast food places and make healthy choices. I know exactly what I can order from, say, McDonalds or KFC. But pizza is SO DIFFICULT. The most I can fit into my day would be half a medium pizza, which would be well-over half of my allotted calories and still not enough to keep me full. But I’ve decided that if I can eat well for two weeks (by which I mean not going above 1550 calories on any given day) and I don’t eat back my exercise calories, I can probably order from dominos once. Is it going to be worth it? We’ll see.

Calorie counting doesn’t necessarily make you healthier: I mean, it has meant that I pick smaller portion sizes (I have realized, with a little horror, just HOW badly I was eating in the past). But it doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily shy away from the packet of chips or won’t eat a muffin for breakfast. Also it’s sometimes just easier to count them because they have a calorie count on them. While I don’t consider this an absolute sin, I will look into incorporating more fruits and vegetable into my diet pretty soon, I think. Also, looking at the numbers it has made me start exercising a whole lot more. Not necessarily always more strenuous exercise (somedays I’ll pick walking over zumba or swimming, for example) but any exercise.

Sometimes you have to say no: No to the extra slice of pizza, no to going out, no to one more shot. It’s tough, but so what?

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How to Make Good Choices at … Cafe Mezzuna

How to Make Good Choices at … Cafe Mezzuna

Cafe Mezzuna is really new and really hip. Just as a review … I super recommend it. Its very pretty, all the food is of great quality, and for the ambiance and the food the pricing is extremely reasonable. It can be compared to places like Smokehouse Deli but isn’t as expensive.

Cafe Mezzuna
Isn’t it beautiful?

Anyway, unlike at Smallys, I actually felt like I made some pretty good choices here, so let me tell you what I ate.

The Appetizer

AA, PP and I shared a Mezze Platter. The Mezze Platter is huge. It comes with hummus, green chutney, beetroot hummus, sour cream (?), baba ganoush, and one more red dip I couldn’t identify. It also came with a great deal of lavash bread. It was just the right size for three people to share and still be able to eat something else. Plus, it was reasonably healthy,

A rough estimate at MyFitnessPal put this at about 350 calories, though I tried to overestimate a bit because I wasn’t sure what a lot of the things were.

The Main Course

Because the appetizer was quite filling (and I’d been eating a fair bit all day), I opted for a salad: in particular, a goat cheese, slivered almonds and tomato salad with a mustard-orange vinaigrette. May I just say that the salad was beautiful, and so tasty that I didn’t covet my friends’ cheesy/meaty dishes, and quite filling as well. I really enjoyed it and it didn’t leave me stuffed.

A rough calorie estimate of 200 calories for this according to MFP.

The Dessert

Oh my god their Philadelphia Cheesecake is TO DIE FOR. However, predictably, it is a calorie bomb. We reduced this calorie bomb by splitting it three-ways. It was just enough cheesecake to enjoy and not enough to feel like we were bursting out of our pretty black dresses.

A rough calorie estimate of 200 calories (a large slice of blueberry cheesecake with blueberry compote and whipped cream is about 400 calories, so I’ve overestimated slightly).

The Drink

I was already eating a huge meal (and I had a cold) so I opted to not have alcohol or one of their decadent mocktails or milkshakes. I picked a chamomile tea that was refreshing, didn’t make me feel like I was the only one not having a drink, and soothed my throat. All at zero calories.

Total Calories from Meal: 750.

Total Calories that Day (given I’d eaten lightly otherwise): 1728. I know this is above 1550, but it isn’t drastically so, and it is the kind of deficit that can be covered up with some of my calories from exercise instead of being a thousand calorie excess that would be difficult to recover from.

Win!

How to Make Good Choices At … Smally’s Resto Cafe

How to Make Good Choices At … Smally’s Resto Cafe

Since most of our alumni have come down for Convocation, I was looking forward to meeting some of my old friends who have now graduated. So, in order to meet my favorite senior ever, we decided to plan an outing for Monday. We went to (what seems like) the place EVERYONE is talking about these days … Smally’s Resto Cafe.

smallys
And now I know why.

So how do you make good choices at Smally’s? 

You don’t. 😦

tried. Though we were all sharing, I decided I’d order a Russkamo Salad (their only vegetarian salad) and mostly eat that. The Russkamo Salad is described as russian salad with pasta with variety of lettuce & fresh orange dressing with cucumber & carrots. Which was … exactly what it was. However, it was kind of sad looking and wilted and I hated the pasta so I mostly nibbled on all the veggies (and given that it wasn’t a “heavy” dressing and the veggies were … veggies … I’m sure it was a very light salad).

Everything else on your menu? Can you say cheese, oversized burgers, decadent shakes, and gooey cheesecake? Add some more cheese on top of that.

I was mostly just taking bites and sips from the common food, though I’m sure that added up to a lot too.

I did, however, eat a reasonably light breakfast (at my uncle’s house) and a very moderate dinner. I’m sure I was still pretty far above the calorie limit for the day, but it was a great outing and all the food was very yummy (well worth the hype) so eh, c’est la vie. 

As long as I eat well for the rest of the week.

Making Good Choices At … Subway

Making Good Choices At … Subway

Hey everyone! Today I’m going out to meet a friend. However, I’ve learnt that if I want to eat out, having gone through the menu in advance and picked a “good” option really helps me to not make terrible decisions. (Of course, that doesn’t rule out spontaneous bad decisions, but those are more fun anyway). So I headed over to the “nutrition” section of the Subway website.

Yay Subway.

Pick First: The Bread

I always try to pick a whole-wheat bread at Subway. I don’t know how much it changes the nutrition because the Subway website in India doesn’t have that information, however, extrapolating a bit from the U.S. website, it seems that they’re all roughly the same. I could pick Hearty Italian if I really wanted to minimize calories, but 10-20 don’t really seem to make that much of a difference.

Pick Second: The Sub

I’m vegetarian, so all options are vegetarian. You can decide your own calculation. So, I thought the best option would be Veg. Shammi because Subway had very triumphantly called it “fat free”, and because it had a lot of protein (about 22 grams), but its also has a lot more calories (352) and a lot more carbs (53 grams) than a Veggie Delight sandwich. A veggie delight has about 230 calories and 15 grams of protein. A quick calculation revealed that its almost the same amount of protein per gram, so Veggie Delight it is!

Pick Third: The Condiments

So, the sauces can make or break your sandwich. I love my sandwich absolutely full of sauces, but I’ve realized that I can’t do that. Since Subway India doesn’t tell you how many calories are there in their sauces, I’ve looked at this website and this  website and decided that ideally my sub will have:

  • Honey Mustard Sauces – 30 cal
  • Sweet Chili Sauce – 40 cal
  • Fat Free Sweet Onion Sauce – 40 calories.

That’s a hundred calories. Also, I’d like to add about sixty calories of cheese because I like cheese and it adds a little protein (approximately 4 grams).

Total Calorie Count of Sandwich: 400 calories. 

Pick Last: Cookies, Soda, Etc. 

Anyone of their cookies (as much as I love them) is an extra 200 calories. I will decide whether to eat them depending on how much I want it at that point, and what else I have eaten and plan to eat that day. Since I’ve had almost no breakfast today (woke up late, didn’t feel like eating) I may pick a cookie to go with my meal (or eat another dessert, like ice cream, with my friend).

I won’t drink the coke under any circumstances. In my opinion coke (and other aerated drinks) are just empty calories. They also make me feel all burpy.

In Conclusion: Eat it All. Just Wisely. Also websites really need to do a better job of giving nutritional info for their stuff.