Author photos taken by Robert Abrams in Paris, France.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013


How the hell do you watch your calories during the holidays?

I don't have a clue. I really don't.  If it hadn't been for all the chocolates that arrived in the hands of guests, the thickly frosted birthday cake I made for my two adult kids, and the giant blueberry cobbler I baked it would have been easier.  But no, I had to partake. The food devil twisted my arms once again, took control of my hands and shoved it all in my mouth over the duration of the week my family was here.  Damn! Damn! Damn!  I hope I'm not swearing too much for your taste, but that's how I feel about now.  The total setback.

Below was how I began my quest, however, before the holidays, and although I was serious as ever on Day One, I still wasn't there.  So let's step back a bit before Christmas . . .


BREAKFAST – Cereal and milk
230 Calories
  45 Carbs
    2 Fat
    7 Protein
  20 Sugar
293 Sodium

Okay, I began today with three-fourths cup of raisin nut bran cereal in a half cup of non-fat milk.
That was a couple hours ago and now I’m feeling hungry. Just have to control what I eat, I know.  So I’ll take a look at what I have on hand and decide after checking the caloric count what I’ll eat. Have also had coffee, no cream no sugar.  Coffee is fine on this regime, thank God!  I can’t give up everything.  Jeez!  And wine is okay. So at least I have those options to assuage my feelings.
Normally I’ll have the cereal and two slices of buttered toast by now. And a full glass of OJ. 
You aren’t going to believe this …
First of all, the full glass of OJ contains the full allotment of sugar for the whole damn day!  So that’s a big no no.  I can have 4 ounces which is half the allowance, but then no cereal if I have OJ due to the sugar content.
The cereal contains half the allotment of sugar as it is, natural sugar, not any I’ve added.  I don’t add sugar to my coffee or cereal.  So right there is an eye-opener. Half the day’s allotment of sugar without using any sugar. 
Now when I would have had cinnamon toast, I’d use sugar or honey. But honey is high too, so you have to watch that if you’re calorie counting . . . which is the only way to go as far as I’m concerned, calorie counting. 
If I would have had a full cup and a half of cereal as I would normally, or even two cups, it would have shot my sugar allotment way over the top.  Can you believe that? I’d be in the minus. No wonder I’m fat!
I would have already had my sugar allotment plus in the first meal of the day. And then I would have gone on to have cookies and candy and ice cream and fruit (fruit is high in sugar, doesn’t matter what kind of sugar, it’s still sugar and takes up the calorie allotment) and whatever else throughout the day.
Again, no wonder!
Just had a glass of cold water to subdue the thoughts of eating. It worked.

LUNCH –  Lettuce, Cheese, Caesar Dressing
550 Calories
    5 Carbs
  47  Fat
  30  Protein
    2  Sugar
836 Sodium

Had a cup and a half of iceberg lettuce, six ounces of cheddar cheese, chopped, and a tablespoon of Caesar Dressing. I opted for the lettuce instead of a grilled cheese sandwich which is what I really wanted.
Now I could have had only 2 ounces of cheddar cheese and I would have been better off, because what I had has upped the FAT content quite a bit for the day.   Live and learn. 
 So that was lunch.  Boring, but I feel good that I’m being frugal with the calories, or was I?  550?  That’s almost half of the day’s allotment of 1200.  

BUT . . . next is a big one . . .  I WILL NOT LIE!

SNACK (mid afternoon)  –  Sweets
870 Calories
123 Carbs
  39 Fat
  12 Protein
  92 Sugar
428 Sodium

Mid-afternoon I walked by the candy dishes all stacked up in a row on a brass and mirror étagère, and grabbed a handful of the mini-bite Reese’s P-nut Butter cups.  YES, I DID THAT! I ate a damn handful!
Then I grabbed a handful of the saltwater taffies and ate them. I KID YOU NOT! What is the matter with me?
What in the world possessed me to do that?  On the first day of my diet? 
I’ll tell you what possessed me, the food devil possessed me, that’s what it was! I can’t believe it.
So, that pushed my daily allowances into catastrophic abundance … everything flew over the top.  And the end of the day’s calculations said if I eat like that everyday, I would weigh 183 in five weeks.  That’s more poundage than I started with. Uh, surprise, surprise!
But this is a really big eye-opener. You see what happens?  That’s how weight is gained. That’s how it increases, by eating the no-no’s everyday. Just a handful here and a handful there.
So that is what has happened to me over the past few years. I’ve grabbed those handfuls of sweets and those six or seven cookies at a time, and big chunks of cheese (I mean BIG), and I’ve paid the price. Not to mention the half of giant pizzas, three and four slices of bread a day, half gallons of ice cream, etc. Plus all the other calorie/fat-chocked foods.

DINNER  –  Meatballs
390 Calories
    8 Carbs
  32 Fat
  18 Protein
    0 Sugar
915 Sodium

At first I wasn’t going to eat dinner because of all the crap I ate in the afternoon. But then I thought, I must eat something, if only protein to help combat the damn sweets I had and try to restore some sort of order in my body. So I had some Italian meatballs, bite size. Nine of them. And that was filling.. 
Needless to say, if I had not binged with the sweets, my day would have been very sane with the calorie intake.
By the way, based on my age, my starting weight, and my weight goal, the program calculates what my daily calorie allowance should be.  Mine is 1200.  And then again, the daily food values and percentages of vitamins and minerals are also calculated. 
All I have to do is try and meet the goal by choosing foods high in the requirements, low in the bad stuff.  


Okay, so here are the totals, my actual intake vs. goals:

                                    Actual            Goal
CALORIES                2040                1200
CARBS                         181                  165
FAT                              120                    40
PROTEIN                      67                    45
            SUGAR                       114                    24
            SODIUM                   2472                2500

You can see I was over in all categories except Sodium. Almost went over it too. Terrible, terrible, isn’t it? These are every day’s goals. My daily target.

And here are additional nutritional totals:

                                    Actual             Goal
CHOLESTEROL         168                 300
POTASSIUM                567               3500
VITAMIN A                 36%               100%
VITAMIN C                   5%               100%
CALCIUM                  110%               100%
IRON                            46%               100%

Obviously, the only one I met was the Calcium Goal.  Must have been the cheese that filled that quota.

So this is what MyFitnessPal figures each day. Makes it easier to see the overall picture of my progress and where I need to improve.


--to be continued--


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