I’m counting calories.
There. I said it.
I don’t want anyone to worry.
I haven’t counted calories since 1994/1995. I gained the freshman 15 in college. There’s very little mystery about how I did it. My
roommates and I had an apartment and I was a non-coffee-drinking
vegetarian who didn’t yet cook. I lived off Mac & Cheese, pizza, 2
liters of cherry coke (for all-nighters) and college drinking binges.
Sometime in my sophomore year I signed up at an aerobics club,
complete with getting time with a nutrionist and figuring out my body
fat and being taught how to count calories. That’s when I had to keep
a food log and I actually counted calories. Calorie counting was a
royal pain in the ass. Think about pre-widespread-internet calorie
counting. I had to rely on various books and the information on
packaged foods. This had to effect of making it easier, though not
healthier, to figure out one’s calories if one lived off packaged
foodstuff. It took more effort to calculate produce and things. I
could barely cook. Even if I could have, figuring out the calories of
a recipe, if not listed, was a royal pain in the ass.
I made some really disgusting low-calorie meals for myself. I assume I
got years worth of sodium from the canned soups, season-pack couscous
and other items I ate.
I lost weight, continued to work out, and eventually got a handle on
what was a reasonable food intake or middling quality foods. I weaned
myself to 2-3 colas a day (which I shudder to think of now) and
eventually embraced coffee. I started to cook for myself.
Between that weight loss and moving to Japan, my weight generally
fluctuated back and forth over a range of 10-15 pounds but nothing
drastic. My work-out schedule also fluctuated.
When I moved to Japan I put on those 15 and some pounds again, but
there was no way in hell I wanted to be counting calories. I couldn’t
get enough information for the foods I was encountering in
restaurants, I cooked often, and it was a pain in the ass. I
eventually started bellydancing and, since then, have slowly been
making changes in the quality of foods I eat and how I eat. My cooking
stills have increased tenfold. I still enjoy a variety of rich-quality
My body still shows fluctuations in the last 5 years but only within a
3-5 pound range. I know I eat well and am active. I am generally happy
with my body and impressed with what it can do…when I’m not in bed
with the flu or asthma.
So, why the fuck am I counting calories?
Well, it’s no secret that I got hooked on doing the Jillian Michaels
workouts after the earthquake. I did so to emotionally and physically
cope with the changes in my performance schedule and my life. I
overdid it at first but am, 10 months later, still making her workouts
part of my week. It stuck.
I find her to be a fascinating and polarizing figure.
I didn’t write about how, when I started to look into professional
help for my depression, I’d also downloaded her book, Unlimited, on
Audible. I don’t really recommend it, nor did I finish it, but when I
was taking the train to try out shrinks I found her shrill voice
telling me I could do anything if I tackled X,Y,and Z alarmingly
comforting. I also found it nice to think, sometimes, that she’s has
huge batshit-insane blindspots in her dogmatic way of thinking.
Since then I have become addicted to her podcast…which I also can’t
generally recommend but I find to be a guilty pleasure.
She spends a great deal of time yelling at people about calories in
and calories out. I realized I haven’t had any clue about my calories
in or out in a long time. I know my bad habits (mild stress-eating,
mindless snack and walks featuring convini foods that I forget about,
and the occasional one-night binge on a food I know I shouldn’t bring
home with me because I can’t be trusted alone with it) but I also know
that my physical lifestyle paired with my genetic lot in life are
compensating for these behaviors.
My mindless convini purchase and walks have increased since the last
time I tried to address them. I’ve recently been trying to cut
back…without much success…and that’s when Jillian got to me.
I looked at apps and got the free MyFitnessPal and figured I’d start
logging my calories and work-outs. It is worlds easier than last time
I did it.
I figure that I’ll get the following out of it:
An idea of what I eat…and the ability to compare that with what I think I eat.
A better idea on how I need to be changing my diet to help with my
Help planning snacks for teaching evenings and days (where I usually
teach 3 classes in a row) so I am not too full to teach dance but not
feeling like OMG FATS NOW THANX after.
I’m not intending to lose weight. I want to eat better and to have a
more solid idea on when I should be eating more quality enjoyable
foods to decrease the combination of low blood-sugar/hunger that
encourages me to eat crap or adds to stress eating. I’m looking for
lunches that help me avoid a few eat and walks of candy in exchange
for a few more evenings where I kickback and I have my convini -ize
Hagendaaz seasonal flavors of ice cream after a good meal. I want more
food enjoyment and less “why the fuck did I eat that?”
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