Saturday, January 1, 2011

Seasonally Seattle...on a diet.

As I have mentioned in posts past, I've gained a little weight.

What really feels like 30 pounds is probably akin to 10 pounds, but nonetheless, I feel roly and poly and everything in between. So I've been focusing on cooking in balance, rather than doing a diet (despite how tempting those "Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days" diet claims are). Oh, and of course, exercising. Lots and lots of exercising.

Back to the food though.

I've been grappling with why it's been so darn hard to lose this extra weight even when I continually exercise. I have blamed it on my aging metabolism. I have blamed it on not lifting enough weight or not pushing hard enough on the elliptical. But the equation is a simple one, according to a slough of  health magazines and the folks on The Biggest Loser.

The equation is this: eat less than you burn and you'll lose weight. It's that simple. 

Hmmm. Eat less. What a concept. And so, with a trip to Mexico on the horizon, I've been obsessively counting my calories. I've done this in the past, with only so-so results. I would count the first few meals of the day, and when it came to dinner, I would eyeball calorie counts. You see, it's tough to calculate each and every ingredient when you make everything from scratch. Or maybe it's not just takes a certain level of dedication.

So this time around, I've been better, probably to a fault. Each and every morsel that enters my mouth is calculated and accounted for. And this dedication has been disturbingly eye-opening for me.

You see, I have a certain mentality when it comes to food. In essence, if they are "good" for you, they don't count.

For instance Olive Oil.

The recipe calls for two tablespoons? I'll just eyeball it, and glug-glug-glug it into the pan until it "looks right". Realistically, what I've dumped in is probably something closer to a half cup. It doesn't count, it's good for you! Meanwhile I've added an extra 600 calories or so into a dish. Hmmm. Or Red Wine. Not including the amount I *drink* on a nightly basis, I also just glug-glug-glug it into my sauces. Red Wine is good for you!  Same goes for the tons of veggies I dump into sauces, without a second thought. I mean, each veggie is low cal...probably around 34 calories each. But when you add 5 veggies to a sauce for added health benefits, before you know it you've added a ton more calories than needed.

And all of those little calories just keep tinning away into the muffin-top bank, spreading the wealth into my abs, triceps and thighs. Fun.

And so in my recent attempt to really count calories, I've been counting everything, including the veggies I put into a sauce, the onions I chop, even the garlic I pound mercilessly. And when I discovered what 2 teaspoons of Olive Oil REALLY looks like, I was shocked.

This is good though. Rather than simply not cooking my favorite foods, I'm actually finding ways to make all our moderation. Huh.

So tonight I'm making pasta again (320 calories) with tomato sauce (200 calories), and since I ate fairly light the rest of the day, I'll be under my calorie goal for the day. Not bad.


  1. This is a timely message for me too. I cook almost everything from scratch (not pasta, though)and so it is hard to note the calorie count. Now I will be more aware again.

  2. It takes a fair amount of due diligence. I really like the website My Fitness Pal ( for exercise and recipe tracking. You can create a recipe and just add ingredients and how many people it serves, and it automatically calculates the calories. Very helpful! Good luck! :)