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Poached eggs with smash avocado on toast drizzled with balsamic

Counting Calories Week 2: Danger Times


February 26, 2018

Working through the danger times for calorie intake during the week

Last week I started talking about controlling my weight by focusing on diet. And like standing on the scales shocked me about my weight, counting the calories I eat gave me a surprise about my food intake. This week wasn’t great either. But, it was better than last, and that’s all I can hope for. This is going to be a slow journey, but I’m in it for the long haul.This week I noticed a few more patterns with my eating. Namely, days and times. But as I’m at the beginning of this endeavour still, I consider it another place for improvement. All these “flaws” are really just opportunities at this point. And if I can set some better habits now, that will drastically help me down the track. So what are these danger times, and what can I do to combat them?

Weekends

Weekends are both my best and worst days, for a number of reasons. I’m out of the office, I’m doing things… But I don’t have a schedule. Not being tethered to my desk allows me the freedom to move. My step count for weekends is astronomical compared to days I have to work. There are lawns to mow, plants to pot, floors to clean, dates to go on. Everything I do on the weekend involves moving my body.

There’s a nasty downside to this though. Without the structure of the work day, all the good work I do controlling how much I eat does down the drain. There’s no dedicated break, so I snack at strange times, on things that are very high in calories. There are people to see, and this involves eating out. At least one (but often more) meal is eaten at a restaurant or cafe. And I love doing this. Someone else is making me delicious food, what’s not to like!? The problem is the quantity. Even entrée size servings can be double the size I would eat at home. So what to do?

Poached eggs with smash avocado on toast drizzled with balsamic

Breakfast at a little cafe in Melbourne’s CBD

The hardest part about making a change here is undoing the learning from when I was a kid. We were always taught to eat everything on our plates. I counteract this at home by only putting on my plate what I know I should eat, but how to deal with this guilt (and the food waste) when I’m out? I’m in a few weight loss communities now, and overwhelmingly, the most common suggestion is take it home. Yep. Before eating anything, divide the meal in half and ask for a to go container. For me, on days I can’t feasibly do this, just halving the meal will have to do. I need to learn that it’s okay to only eat what I need, not what is served.

Post Work Munchies

Last week I identified the time between getting home from work and dinner as the worst time for obsessive eating. And sadly, I didn’t fix it this week. Monday, I blew my total by 1000 calories due to post-work snacks. This is one of the worst danger times in my entire week. Fixing it is unfortunately not going to be easy. The snacking is worst while I’m not doing anything, so to reduce the intake of junk here, I’m going to have to make myself really busy before dinner.

I haven’t been an active person for a long time, which isn’t helping the weight situation at all. But this dead spot in my day might be a good place to start doing something. A little bit of physical activity will go a long way, both in terms of increasing my fitness and reducing the snacking. I can also use this time to focus more on my hobbies. If I edit blogs or tend to pot plants during this time, I hopefully will be less tempted to eat.

The Late Night Snacks

Who doesn’t love a snack after dinner? Before bed? Later in the night? I didn’t think of myself as a compulsive snacker, but paying attention to my intake has shown me otherwise. Like post-work snacks, after dinner snacks are also hurting my calorie count. I did find a really simple solution to this though.

Packaging of Coles' mini vanilla slices

Coles’ mini vanilla slices. Only 50 calories each!

In the freezer section of Coles, there are the teeny tiny mini vanilla slices. 2 of these are 100 calories. So, coupled with a cup of chamomile, vanilla, and honey tea, this makes a perfect snack for that sweet craving in the evening. Other nights, I have a small bowl of frozen mango or mixed berries. I don’t want to fight my body when it’s craving something sweet. I just want to make smarter choices to stop these cravings having a negative impact.

 

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