I ate WHAT in one sitting?

28 Apr

One of the positives of this whole new focus on how everyone is fat and going to die and Cookie Monster should probably become Apple Monster thing, is that more places post their nutritional information. With the giant portions that places serve, it’s hard to figure out how much you are really consuming in one trip. While this can be a very frightening information gathering experience, it does shed a giant beacon of blinding light on how I managed to stay this fat for this long.

Let’s take a little journey in to my dining out madness, shall we?

One of my regular places is Pei Wei. It’s quick and tasty Chinese food from the people who brought you PF Changs. I go to Pei Wei probably twice a month on average. They’ve helpfully added nutritional information to their Web site for those of us who want to pay attention to such things. I almost had a heart attack, figuratively and probably a little literally, when I saw how many calories and fat grams I would consume there in one sitting.

Dish Breakdown

Pei Wei Spicy – Stir fried chicken, veggies I never ate, brown rice. Each dish includes 2.5 servings. I usually only ate a little bit of the brown rice (see?? I was trying to be healthy!) and all of the chicken. Dish Total: 985 calories, 33 grams of fat.

Okay, that’s about 3/4 of my required daily calorie intake and about 1/2 of the recommended fat grams. That’s, uh, not good. But it gets worse, oh yes it does.

Blazing Noodles – Wok seared chicken, noodles, veggies I never ate. Again, each dish has 2.5 servings and I ate most of the noodles and all of the chicken. Dish Total: 2125 calories and 56 grams of fat. That’s more than I should eat in a whole day. A LOT more!

Not to mention the fact that I would usually order some Edamame and eat the whole appetizer, which comes to about 204 calories and 6 grams of fat. So there have been days that I have waddled walked out of Pei Wei having eating 2,300 calories in less than 45 minutes.

However painful and frightening this little experiment has been, it has shown me that I can go out to eat and eat things I like. As long as I don’t eat everything in front of me! Now, the Blazing Noodles I can never ever ever have again. First of all, they don’t taste that good for me to waste so much money on something I can only have about 5 bites of. But if I order the Pei Wei Spicy and only eat one serving of it, adding in actual vegetable consumption, and halve the brown rice, I am looking at about 400 calories and 14 grams of fat. Not the best choice of the day but not scale busting.

Another bonus is that I can view the menu ahead of time and make smarter choices. For about the same amount of calories and much less fat, I can having a serving of the Chicken Lettuce Wraps, edamame and a cup of hot & sour soup. All of those things I enjoy! I don’t have to suffer to eat well.

I know none of the concepts are new or revolutionary. In fact, I am sure you could pick up any health magazine or book and find the same sort of advice. But it doesn’t really sink in until you sit down and do the math yourself. Looking at 2,300 total calories is much more eye-opening than any book or advice-giver.

What I’ve got to work on now is actually eating enough calories. I know that sounds a little weird, but since I’ve cut bread, potatoes and pasta out of my diet (for now), I am having a very hard time eating at least 1,200 calories. While I enjoy the benefits of this problem, it could come back to haunt me when I start to incorporate whole grains back in to my diet.

I am experimenting with hunger, with mixed results. In the past, the only time I would feel hunger was when I woke up or if I went all day without eating. Most of the time, I cut my stomach off at the pass and had it filled before I could even think about feeling hunger. Now, I think I might feel it a lot more. It’s not bothering me, really. It doesn’t feel real. It’s odd and not really that uncomfortable.

Like last night, I was sitting at my computer and I thought to myself “I could eat right now!” I sat there and felt that and then didn’t eat. The weird thing? I did not die! It’s almost like a merit badge for me, hunger. If I feel it, I know that I am not stuffing myself at any time during the day and I am controlling myself in the evening. Right now, I am welcoming hunger.

Man, this got a lot longer than I intended. I guess I have a lot on my mind.


One Response to “I ate WHAT in one sitting?”

  1. Cat April 29, 2005 at 1:56 am #

    Learning to notice the “little hunger” (what I call that night hunger) is a huge deal. It will also get better. I know that when I first start closly watching what I eat, mornings are horridable as my body gets used to not being stuffed when I leave the house. But the longer I go, the more that goes away.

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