Calorie Counting Woes

You may recall that on Monday I mentioned going back to My Fitness Pal for a bit to try and get a handle on my eating.  Boy, has that been educational.  And frustrating.

It’s amazing how much you can trick yourself into thinking that you generally eat “well.”  You can ignore super-sized portions because it’s brown rice instead of white, or think that grilled cheese is a valid choice when paired with salad, or believe that eating dessert after every meal is acceptable.  And then you wonder why the weight on the scale is creeping up.  Why pants are a bit more snug.  Why you feel uncomfortable in your own skin.

I had a wake-up call recently.  One of my favorite pairs of summer work pants no longer fits.  Granted, they were always a bit snug, but I could get them on, zip and button them, and wear them all day with no issues.  Now, I can’t even pull them up over my butt.  If it weren’t for the number on the scale, I could maybe believe that my butt is now just extra muscular because I’ve been running and working out so much.

But when your macros look like this:

So much fat.  So little protein.

So much fat. So little protein.


…It’s not hard to understand why these things are happening.  And when you only have 317 calories left in your daily allowance and it’s 3pm, it’s pretty plain that you’re not doing as well as you thought you were.  In fact, you’re doing pretty poorly.

Bad Diet

Click for Source

I (foolishly) assumed that as I started running more, I would automatically lose weight.  Instead, I have used my extra calorie expenditure as an excuse to eat more and worse foods.  I just ran 8 miles, give me that pasta!  I deserve fro-yo, I went to the gym today!  I am proving to myself the truth of the saying, “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.”

So now I feel the need to do a massive diet overhaul.  Make better choices.  Plan better.  Prepare better.  Actually, oh I don’t know, measure my servings instead of guessing.  More protein, more veggies, and less sugar.

Unfortunately, healthy eating doesn’t come naturally to me.  It’s not how I was raised.  Growing up, most of our meals consisted of meat and starch with a side of starch.  “Vegetable” was a four-letter word to my dad, and since he did all the cooking, I never tried or developed a taste for most vegetables–the only “vegetable” he ever made was corn.  As an adult, I have had to learn to prepare and like vegetables that are second-nature to most people.  Over time I’ve gotten better, but it’s still not my first instinct to order a side salad instead of fries, or prepare a vegetable with every meal.

I have started down this path so many times and only found frustration.  Undoing 28 years of eating habits is REALLY HARD.  Retraining your brain and your taste buds is REALLY HARD.  Right now, I’m approaching the heaviest I’ve ever been, and if I were truly being “healthy” and eating well, I honestly wouldn’t mind so much.  But I know that what I’m doing isn’t healthy, and with a family history like mine (type 2 diabetes, congestive heart failure, breast cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and on and on), I can’t keep doing what I’m doing and expect to live a long, healthy life.  Something’s got to give.

Logically, I know this doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  I know that making healthy choices more often than not will make a huge difference.  I know that small changes will add up.  But I have a hard time even committing myself that far.  Emotionally and irrationally, I’m afraid that I’ll “miss out on things” by adopting healthier eating habits.  No more muffins at the office?  No more maple creemees on a summer night?  Is that really worth it?  My little sister has an eating disorder, and I’m terrified of becoming like her.  I don’t want to be so consumed with fear of being overweight that I’m afraid of food.

I know, I know it’s possible to find balance, I just haven’t found it yet.  I need to keep struggling along and hope that as I keep trying, things keep falling into place.


9 thoughts on “Calorie Counting Woes

  1. SuzLyfe says:

    Hey girl, you’ll get there. And don’t expect to undo every at once! Feel free to drop me a line and we can chat (if you want) about simple ways to help clean things up without feeling overwhelmed. I had to clean up my act a long time ago (during/after my diagnosis) and it can be confusing, but I’ve no doubt that you will get there, and that you will notice a MASSIVE difference in your performance levels after! Eat to train my dear!

  2. runsaltrun says:

    I cleaned up my diet last year and cut out a lot of excess sugar that I was eating. It made a HUGE difference. When I say I cut out the excess though I don’t mean I cut out all. 🙂 I LOVE me some fro yo! I’m a big believer in everything in moderation. Do you need to be eating office muffins every day? No probably not, but one muffin every so often isn’t going to derail all your progress. I’m sorry you are feeling a little down about this, but you are going to do fine! It’s really not so much of a scary overhaul as you might think. 🙂

  3. Nora says:

    I can relate. The other day I put on a pair of work pants that were much snugger than I remember. They fit, but I remember them being loose on me at a different time. Then I weighed myself and was dismayed to see I’d crept into the 170s, about 10 pounds more than I’d like to be. I’ve been doing a lot of emotional eating lately and not nearly enough activity to compensate for that. When I am not active, I want to eat more. It’s a vicious cycle. I’m trying to make small improvements and remember to praise myself when i skip getting fast, unhealthy food or stop eating cookies after 3 instead of eating 8.

    • DarlinRae says:

      Those small victories are really important. I try to remember that for me, making the better choice is always a victory. I have a really hard time in social situations-I always cave to peer pressure and I always eat more/worse stuff when out with friends.

  4. txa1265 says:

    Ooh – thanks for bringing this to my attention … love this post!

    “undoing 28 years of eating habits is REALLY HARD. ”

    This is so true – and what I find as I look back through the years is that I have benefitted from my ‘running metabolism’ rather than real nutritional change. If I stop running, I gain weight. It is only the last two years that I have made fundamental dietary changes … which are now part of my life.

    Great post and thanks for sharing!

    • DarlinRae says:

      Thanks, Mike! I’ve definitely been lucky so far–I am not and never have been “overweight” (save for the end of freshman year of college), but I know that at some point I’ve got to make changes or I’ll risk really serious health issues that even running won’t totally mitigate.

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