Numbers in my Head

Fried Veggie Plate

“It’s hard to look at the menu without thinking of the calories,” I say to my husband, as we prepare to order. When I tell him that I can also estimate the number of carbs and fat grams in most foods, he’s amazed, but I’m not, because those numbers come to mind every time I see food just as sure as the sun also rises. Forty years of dieting taught me well. Perhaps too well.

Although I might be off here and there, here’s what I remember, even after Not Dieting for almost two years. Note: The values in parentheses are ones that I corrected from a trusted source after I jotted down this list.

Deep-fried onion rings (4, in photo):
(200) 240 cals, (10) 16 carbs, (15) 8 fat gms
Cheese (1 oz): (100) 113 cals, 1 carb, (8) 9 fat gms
Baked potato (medium): (200) 168 cals, (30) 37 carbs, 0 fat gms

Slice of bread: about 100 cals, 20 carbs, 1 fat gm, if that
Rice (½ cup): 100 cals, (20) 22 carbs, 0 fat gms
Potatoes (½ cup): (100) 65 cals, (20) 13 carbs, 0 fat gms
Legumes—pinto, kidney, lima beans, etc, ½ cup:
(100) 120 cals, (20) 22 carbs, 0 fat gms

Serving of apple, banana, most other fruits:
100 cals, (20) 22 carbs, 0 fat gms
Serving of raw carrots: 35 cals, 8 carbs, 0 fat gms
Serving of cooked green vegetables:
(60) 45 cals, (15) 10 carbs, 0 fat gms
Lettuce salad with tomato, cucumber, bell pepper: <100 cals, 5 carbs total, 0 fat gms

Ranch Dressing per Tbsp: (100) 75 cals, (2) 1 carbs, 8 fat gms
Oil per Tbsp: (100) 124 cals, 0 carbs, (8) 14 fat gms
Butter per Tbsp: 100, 0 carbs, 12 fat gms

Light yoghurt (I automatically balk at buying any other kind!):
80 cals, (20) 16 carbs, 0-1 gm of fat
Milk (8 oz, 1% dairy fat): 100 cals, 12 carbs, 2 fat gms

Slice of bacon (center cut): (50) 35 cals, 0 carbs, (5) 3 fat gms
Serving of broiled cod: 100 cals, 0 carbs, 3 1 fat gms
Fried chicken leg: (150) 120 cals, (4) 5 carbs, 10 gms of fat
Steak or ground beef (3 oz): (240) 182 cals, 0 carbs, (15) 9 fat gms
Egg: 75 cals, 0 carbs, 4 gms of fat

Snickers: (240) 266 cals, (26) 28 carbs, (10) 11 fat gms
Licorice: 240 cals, 30 carbs, 0 fat gms

Okay, so the numbers in my head weren’t quite accurate. No matter. The point is that when I look at food, I’m still seeing it in terms of calories, carbs, and fat. Of course, I also think, “Yum—that looks good!”

But the first thing I’d like to pop into my head is the question, “How hungry am I?” Only when that happens can I eat according to my hunger.

What’s your first thought when you see food?

6 thoughts on “Numbers in my Head

  1. Good question, Norma. What is my first thought when I look at food? Hmmm…I haven’t given much conscious thought to my first thought prior to this moment. I think I contemplate how good it’s going to taste, but there’s also a distrust at the back of my mind that I can eat only according to what I need rather than according to appetite (which, judging by how full I usually feel after eating) far surpasses actual hunger.

    1. I think I know exactly what you mean by harboring distrust. That’s me, too. We have yet to convince ourselves that we’re not going to be deprived because of some diet. Thanks for the insight, Judy.

  2. Am NOT sure about my very first thoughts. It seems to me that when I have not eaten for 3 or more hours I have many thoughts: What are my choices; Will my spouse go with me; My father said many times in many situations “Live with no regrets”; back to mine: What are we scheduled to have at the next meal (that evening)?; So many thoughts can rush through my mind that many times I remember that I weighed 180 this morning, so, it is so easy at home at lunch time to just go to the kitchen get out the lettuce, some thin sliced turkey, some whole wheat bread, the dressing, get a few small carrots, some strawberries, then end with a small scoop of ice cream as we watch the noon news. Know we are in a rut. If we want to get out of the rut, we can and do just go to a sit-down-restaurant, browse through the menu, then order the senior’s special. For a good time and deep satisfaction it is most satisfying to invite friends to go with!!!

    1. Thanks for giving thought to my post, Dad! Didn’t realize your dad liked the saying, “Live with no regrets.” Great advice! I think you and Mom have a fun eating routine, and I’m looking forward to the next time I get to go out with you!

  3. I was a little stumped by the question of what my first thought is when I see food. But I’m realizing that it completely depends on how hungry I am. The first time I read this installement of your blog, I must have been full, because my first thought was ‘ugh, look at all that heavy fried food in the picture’. Today, with my stomach growling for lunch, I thought, ‘Mmmm, look at those delicious fried veggies!’. 🙂

    I also do figures in my head, but not on a calorie basis. I often try to follow the American Diabetic Association guidelines (or even the Zone diet which is a slightly different ratio) for carb to protein ratio. It’s hard to tell what all is on the veggie tray that you show above, but with two carby sources like the potato and rice I would want to make sure there is a proteinacious legume or something like the cheese on that tomato.

    Thanks for asking!

    1. I see what you mean about your level of hunger influencing your first thoughts at the sight of food, particularly the fried food in the photo, which, on the menu in South Africa, was labelled “The Veggie Plate.” Sure surprised us when we saw all that was included.

      The thing is, we who cook for others can’t wait until we’re hungry to decide on what to serve. Instead, we fix something “balanced”, as you described, around protein and carbs, or veggies, or whatever, and hope the meal satisfies everyone at the table, including ourselves. Thanks for your response, Laurie!

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