Sunday, May 24, 2009

Taking a Swing at Calorie Counting

A series of events has brought me to this point: I am counting calories. Let me explain.

First, I was tipped off to which tallies the nutritional data for that Burrito As Big as Your Head* that you love so much. I’m a fan of the burrito bowl (rice, chicken, pinto, pico, lettuce, no dairy) and was relieved my choice did not tip the 500 calorie barrier. (Tipping that barrier all on its own: bag of chips at 570.)

Next I followed another lead (thanks again to JP) to a Men’s Health piece on America’s worst foods. The Worst Food: something fried, smothered in cheese and served with ranch dressing. Go figure. If that’s not quality investigative journalism then I don’t know what is.

Finally, I surveyed my pudge and thought about my penchant for snacking and wondered how many calories I consume in a day and how many I should consume in a day. I’m fit (I exercise 4-5 times per week) and eat very healthy, lean food but I have grown pretty lax about watching how much I eat - a little too much like a old friend’s zero-sum calorie policy which mandates chocolate consumption post-workout.

SO…I’ve got my calorie number now (to figure out yours I recommend the LIVESTRONG site) and a counter on my desktop and iPhone. It’s really fun. And it’s a lot easier than the last time I tried to do this, two or three years ago. Livestrong's database of foods and restaurant meals is very well stocked, and they make it easy to enter nutritional data for foods not yet listed. They had the sliced turkey I picked up at Trader Joe’s and the granola bar I ate on the way to my volunteer gig this morning. It’s also equipped to measure the calories you burn during exercise. And I’m Lovin’ it.

Sticker Shock for the Weight Conscious (NY Times)
Counting Calories for Weight Loss (Fun &Food Blog)

* To be fair, Chipotle is not the chain that advertises Burritos As Big As Your Head. That chain is called La Bamba.

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