Discovery of the day: Be careful what you ask for
It might be because I have now gained back ALL THE WEIGHT I lost last year, but I've become fixated on how calorically expensive eating out can be. Lucky for me it's all over the news, with lots of blogs and books talking about our Great American Crisis. As most restaurant chains now post nutritional info on their websites, I have lots of ammo at my fingertips to fuel my self-loathing.
Just kidding. It's not outright loathing as much as severe disappointment and discouragement.
I get partial credit here, though. Over the decades I've learned not to eat to the point of pain. (Don't laugh. It happened fairly regularly in my twenties.) Sometimes I do let myself get to the point of feeling over-fed, but rarely anymore do I end up curled up in a ball fearing for my life. I thought I was doing pretty well, overall.
But on a recent visit to Red Robin (a chain like Applebee's, TGIF, etc.) I splurged on a crispy chicken strip salad. Hey, it's a salad, right? And I love me some mass-produces crispy chicken strips. Later, on a whim, I went to their website to look up nutritional information.
OMFG! 1400 calories. Without the dressing? Still a whopping 1014, and that doesn't count the fries I ate off my son's and SO's plates. Considering my caloric intake FOR THE DAY should be less than 1700 cals, it qualified as a disaster.
It's everywhere, too. Last time I traveled for work I made my usual morning trip to the shrine of Sbux. This one had the calorie counts conveniently posted by each of the little snacks in the pastry case. Now I have been known to get a slice of banana bread or lemon loaf on occasion, but JFC! At 480 cal and 390 cals respectively, that's a meal! Oatmeal cookie? 370 cals. Even a plain butter croissant is 310 cal. And you don't even want to know about the coffee drinks.
BTW, none of the Sbux in my area post the calorie counts.
This Washington Post article by Ezra Klein explains a lot. Yeah, we know all that food is a dietary disaster, but DAMN is tastes good, and that's what we react to. There's really no way around it, either, unless you can discipline yourself to leave half your food on your plate or piss off your SO by insisting you split an entree.
We are both trying to motivate ourselves for the slog back to the straight and narrow. But it's hard. We both struggle with comfort eating, reward eating, and depression, all of which combined can make it really tough sometimes to smack yourself on the hand with that wooden ruler.
What, you don't do that? Oh.
Problem is that as hard as one works, it never seems to get easier. As soon as the amount of available mental energy decreases, it gets too hard to do the right thing every single time. Even the healthy changes I made last year (some of which actually stuck) haven't been enough to keep me out of my fat pants.
At this point my goal is to minimize any further damage and not reach a new all-time high.