Monday, May 14, 2012

Doing the Math

Yesterday, I made an impromptu trip to the grocery after I discovered that I not only didn't have anything to make for dinner or breakfast but also nothing for a quickly approaching lunch since it was nearly 11AM when I had this epiphany. If I'd been the only one at home, I'd probably have managed to scrape up something but an unexpectedly rainy day during hay season, had Steve at home and hungry as well. So, off to the market I go with a list to fill my basket with only healthy vegetables and a few other staples. I did quite well at sticking to that plan although they were sold out of a few items I'd wanted...namely avocados and mangos for more of that wonderful salsa that is my new obsession and which I'm really wanting to try on top of fish. I made a fairly quick trip, too but not fast enough to hold off my hunger. As I rounded the last aisle to pick up Steve's favorite tortilla chip, I decided that I needed to grab a snack for the drive home. I wasn't going to be fooled by those high fat/high sugar granola bars again and as I turned around from Steve's chips, a gluten free sign caught my eye....Ruffles! Aaaah, an old favorite from childhood when I'd spend hours trying to bite off a chip even with the ridges.....what can I say, there wasn't a lot around to entertain a kid in 1960's East Tennessee. My growling stomach spoke up and said, "Come on, Sandy; what's the harm in a few little chips?" The "Loaded Chile and Cheese" written underneath "Ruffles Have Ridges" was enough to sell me on this harmless (so I thought) little snack.
Oh, that I'd read the label then instead of thirty minutes later when I brought my grocery filled truck to a stop in my own driveway. I'd started out savoring the delicious flavor of each chip because they really did taste like chile and cheese but by the time I reached home, I'd begun just to mindlessly munch on chip after chip after chip and I don't think I was tasting anything by that point. That is one advertising adage that is true, "NO one can eat just ONE!" So, I stop my truck and then reach for the bag, flipped it over to the Nutrition Facts, and I gasped. The first thing to catch my eye was the 10 grams of fat per serving and the second, the number of servings per bag....please note, half of the bag had disappeared into the caverns of my previously empty stomach by now......NINE. A serving size is one measly ounce, about eleven chips that contain 160 fat filled calories! Further examination of these "nutrition" facts show me that the second ingredient is vegetable oil. Aaah, at least I have the consolation of knowing that my harmless snack is cholesterol free and surprisingly high in nutrients. In that way, it has those so called "healthy" granola bars beat by a mile. The only problem, I only eat one of those deceptive granola bars at a time. I realized as I examined the contents of the horribly deflated bag that I'd just finished off at least four or more servings. Now, here's where it gets tricky because I miscalculated the total amount of calories in those servings at first because my math was off. The total for the entire bag was 1440 calories, 810 of those being fat calories from 90 grams of fat, 9 grams saturated fat. In my panicked mind, I came up with a much higher total as I sat there also calculating just how much effort I'd put into my small loss on the scale this week. I'd been so proud of myself because I'd pulled on a pair of jeans straight out of the dryer that had been cut off your breath tight just a few weeks ago and they were baggy on me. I'm sure that the baggy look in jeans was not an attractive one on my overweight and aging frame but I wore those jeans with my head high, a smile on my face and a bounce in my step. Now, sitting there watching the rain cascade down the windshield, I could almost feel my body expanding. After I calmed down and recalculated, I realized that the damage wasn't as severe as I'd first thought but it was probably still enough to erase any progress I made this past week. To lose a pound of fat, you must have a deficit of 3500 calories. I'd done such a great job all week long planning a nutritious and filling meal plan that stayed under 1300 calories each day. I'd also begun to fitness walk again and although I was only burning about 300 calories per walk, I was already beginning to feel the benefit in increased energy and looser pants along with a few happily aching muscles. I watched all of that effort and progress wash away with the rain as I contemplated my impulsive binge. Really, I doubt it could be called a binge since I wasn't about to burst at the seams; in fact, I was still hungry and anticipating the lunch I was about to share with Steve. Oh, well, live and learn. The food diary has taught me another valuable lesson, always read the nutrition labels before I buy and eat, not afterwards. 

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