Lattes and …?

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Eating calories or eating food or both?

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Last night my family got together for a dinner together again. This time we decided to order in from Upper Crust. When I went online to view their menu I was surprised to find they had listed their nutritional facts.   I found myself checking the calories in the various pizzas I was interested in ordering. While it was great to know how many calories I would be consuming, when the food actually arrived, I found myself eating more than I would have if I hadn’t known the caloric content.  Normally I would have estimated two slices of their small pizza to be 600 calories and I would have felt like I was indulging with those two slices and filled myself up with a side of salad. However, this time- since I knew that half the small pizza would be ~600 calories, I indulged in three huge slices and had a side of salad. My thinking was “I’m still within my caloric budget, I can and perhaps even should eat that.”  The questions should have been “Do I really want that third slice? Do I really need it? Am I that hungry?”

European eating is about indulging a little, eating until satisfied, enjoying the food and not about calories, fat, budgets, etc. They manage to remain slim this way, and of course an active lifestyle. As I reflected upon how I chose to eat 3 large slices I understood how my obsession with calories could be counterproductive and in fact cause me to gain weight. 

Having dieted since I was a young girl (13 years old or so), I know the calories in most foods and it’s hard to shut off that part of my brain that will call out the caloric content of any foods I’m considering like a score keeper. Perhaps it’s even impossible to shut that off right away or at all. What I can do though is to juxtapose that voice with healthier questions such as “What do I want to eat – cravings & what’s good for my body considered?” “Do I really want to eat the rest of that ___? (pastry, plate of pasta, piece of bread, cookie)”

This morning was another example of how I am struggling to approach food more moderately. My brother & I went to a cafe that sells my favorite croissaints in all of Boston. I ordered a croissaint and an iced coffee- exactly what I wanted.  When I was eating the croissant though, it seemed greasier than usual and I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I thought I would be. I still finished it though, rationalizing in my head “You need about 300 calories for breakfast. Even if this croissant isn’t tasting as good as you thought, eat it because it’s about 300 calories.” I could have stopped halfway or even two-thirds of the way through because I simply wasn’t enjoying it, but I didn’t. The calorie voice won again.

I know it won’t be easy.  I want to lose weight, and I want to think healthily & non-obsessively.  Sometimes they are at odds with one another. Other times they are not.

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Written by crimsoncoffee

July 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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