To count (calories) or not to count – that is the question

Hi bloggies,

How was everyone’s weekend?  Mine was so busy, I think I need another weekend just to recover 😀 I am definitely going to bed early tonight.  No excuses.  Today went ok, though, and all of my eats were healthy and delicious.  Love that! :)

I’ve received a request to include calories for each of my meals.  I know a lot of bloggers have received criticism when they started doing it, but I know that’s something that I liked when I first started reading blog (although most of those bloggers stopped counting calories by now).  I try to count calories for the most part (unless it’s a meal out) so I don’t mind including the counts.  Let me know if it’s helpful to any of you.  I’ll see if I can keep this up if you guys really want it :)

BREAKFAST

yogurt parfait + coffee

Oikos with FV granola, banana, strawberries & TJ's nutty trail mix

These strawberries were a little watery.  I was VERY happy with my bananas though.  I feel like it’s been ages since I’ve had one.  This yogurt medley was amazing… it included almost all of my favorite topping.  I <3 TJ’s nutty American trek mix 😀

[388 calories]

SNACKS

carrot sticks + 2T sabra hummus

[107 calories]

Insert here 1/2 Kashi TLC Pumpkin pie bar… I felt I needed a little more than just carrots + hummus before my 6 mile run.

[60 calories]

VeggieGirl’s banana fig pistachio muffin + tea:

banana pistachio fig muffin

These muffins are amazing!  I felt guilty having one of them all by myself at my desk today without anyone else enjoying this goodness.  Seriously, I love these!!

[189 calories]

LUNCH

Since I ate only 1/2 of my entree at the Mission Oak Grill yesterday, I took the rest home and made a lovely steak salad for lunch.  The steak was so tender – it really made the salad! Oh and I really love strawberries in salads.  I think it’s my new thing 😆

spinach, filet mignon leftovers, strawberries, carrots, laughing cow cheese, grape tomatoes + 1T Annie's woodstock dressing

[316 calories (I’m really not sure if that’s right because I weighed the steak cooked but maybe the calories in Sparkpeople are for raw meat which would be about 30% more.  Hmm)]

DINNER

I had my friend Katie for dinner tonight and she likes to eat vegetarian meals for the most part.  That narrowed down some of my saved recipes a bit (actually it was really good because I have hundreds otherwise) and we decided to go for something that we’d both enjoy but her boyfriend, who’s out of town, would hate.  This is Heidi’s Cashew Curry over 1/2 cup of brown rice.  We used asparagus in place of green beans (TJ’s was out of green beans today) and light coconut milk instead of the full fat version.  It tasted a little bland (despite a strong curry taste) but after adding a bit of salt, the flavors seemed to work better together.  The cashews also added a really great crunch and nutty flavor.  If I wasn’t counting calories, I’d dump a whole more of them in 😉 This was VERY filling!  I’m actually in a bit of a pain right now.  We really loaded it up on veggies 😀

cashew-curry

[356 calories for 1/4 of the curry recipe + 1/2 cup of brown rice]

I also grabbed a dried fig while cooking dinner (unpictured) ~25 calories + throughout the day I had 2 Adora calcium disks (60 calories)

Total calories consumed: 1502

Hmm, ok, so I feel a little strange writing calories for every single thing.  It seems very obsessive when it’s really not.  I do count calories but it’s really like second nature to me inputting everything into Sparkpeople.  I don’t want to give off the wrong impression.  Let me know what you guys think about this.  I know at least one reader that wants to see this kind of a breakdown.  Do the rest of you love it or hate it? Maybe instead of writing calorie counts for every single meal, you can just ask me for specific meals if they look particularly interesting?  Let me know! 😀

WORKOUTS

I’m back to regular exercising and shredding.  It felt good to be back!  During my lunch break I completed a 6 mile run and after work I did the level 2 of the Shred dvd.  Both workouts were intense and I loved how I felt after finishing them (not necessarily during the work out). 

For the run, I decided to break it down into 1/2 mile intervals… here is what my plan for the run was:

  • Warmup – 0.15 mile walk at 4.3 mph
  • 0.35 miles at 6.2 mph
  • at 6.3 mph, 5 intervals at 0 incline, 0.5 incline, 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 inclines for 1/2 miles each
  • repeat the above at 6.4 mph
  • 1/2 mile at 6.5 mph
  • 0.15 miles at 6.5 mph, 0.5 incline
  • Cooldown – 0.35 miles at 4.3 mph

Total distance 6.5 miles (6 mile run + 1/2 mile walk)

I really tried to stick to the above but about half way through I couldn’t stick to the plan completely.  I made sure to keep the inclines as planned and reduced the speeds slightly (to 6.3 or 6.2 mph) as needed and after getting up the strength, went back to the planned speed.  It was tough, but I finished it and felt VERY proud! 😛 Workoout stats:

  • Duration: 1:03
  • Calories burnt: 644 (15% fat – I think my strap wasn’t tight enough so it kept on moving around and showing lower HR)
  • Ave HR: 162 (84%); Max HR: 181 (93%)

After work I did the Shred dvd.  It was a little bit vomit-inducing today.  Jillian really kicked my butt! 😀

  • Duration: 0:25 (+ cooldown stretching)
  • Calories burnt: 181 (50% fat)
  • Ave HR: 138 (71%); Max HR: 167 (86%)

And that’s it for today!  I have a fun dinner date tomorrow so stay tuned for that :mrgreen:

Reminder: There is still time to enter the granola giveaway.  Don’t forget to link to the post on your blog for extra chances to win 😀

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18 comments to To count (calories) or not to count – that is the question

  • hey there! I would like to see the calorie counts on your meals and snacks… I think its really helpful because it shows how much great food a person can eat and still stay within a particular calorie range =)

  • K

    Oh that cashew curry sounds so good! As for the calorie thing, I don’t have a preference either way to be honest. I think since it’s your blog you should do what you want to do – if you want to take the time to post it, then go for it! If not then don’t worry about it :)

  • KellyB

    I think for me, I really like cal, Fat and Fiber. Because just because something it 100 c, it could be 10 g of Fat and have no Fiber to offset it, or it could have Fiber and bring it to healthier levels.

  • I love Heidi’s recipes, so I’ll have to try the cashew curry one you made – it looks great!

    In terms of calorie counting on the blog, I say do whatever is best for you. If you’re not comfortable with posting the calories for each meal, then don’t worry about it – but if it helps you, then go for it!

  • Well, I’m sure you know how I feel about this 😉 I’m interested in calorie counts and I think a LOT of people are (more than one might think). My calorie poll that I did overwhlemingly said that people would like to see calories. I know what you mean about the breakdown of each meal coming off as obsessive, but how else do you count calories if it’s not by tallying up each meal, right? The meal breakdown is the part that I find most interesting, anyway (how people spread out their allottment throughout the day).
    Good luck!

  • I am interested in seeing other people’s calorie counts. I do not have the time to figure out my own so it is interesting to compare what I eat you your food! Keep it coming!

  • it does seem obsessive…um but I totally count calories. :) still I don’t know how you keep your cals so low.. I just can’t do that

  • That breakfast looked delicious!

    I keep a running tally of calories on a post-it note at work. I aim for a certain number by 5:00 p.m., based on that, I plan my eats for the evening (ballpark), but I don’t count after 5:00 p.m. Based on my daily count though, I have a pretty good idea…does that make sense? (I think I just confused myself!)

  • I like seeing calorie counts if you don’t mind including them but if it’s a pain in the ass you know I’ll definitely read your blog anyway- I’m hooked :)

    Sue and I signed up for a vegetarian Indian cooking class next Saturday but i think it’s full now :( To make up for it though, you should come over for dinner sometime and Sue and I will try one of the recipes we learned out on you! Oh and I think we might sign up for more after this (not sure what yet) so I’ll definitely keep you in the loop about that!

  • Elina

    Haha, Amanda – I guess a little obsessive is not so bad, right? :) This was definitely a day with lower calorie content. I think my weekend indulgences caught up with me so I got full fast.

    Shannon, I *think* it makes sense 😉

    Inna, deal! :) Have fun at the Indian class. I love Indian food!!

  • Katie

    I love the calorie counts, but do what feels right to you. Love the blog!

  • Hooray for the muffin!! 😀

    Only count the cals if YOU truly want to – it’s your blog/life!!

  • I like the calorie counts! I used to count on my blog and got a lot of positive feedback about it, never negative. If it works for you, go for it. I think its really helpful to be able to read a blog and want to mimic a meal and already have the calories figured for you. And those who don’t need the info don’t need to use it, you’ve placed it discreetly enough in your posts that its not annoying for anybody. Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Hey there!

    First, I linked to your giveaway :)

    Personally I like the calorie count…I find its my best way to “get back on track” if I’m feeling blah about my eating at any given time. I’ll count for a few days, maybe weeks then I stop and its fine. I never feel like i get obsessed with it, plus its true you just do it like second nature sometimes in your head. I use spark people too!

  • delicious breakfast!

  • Katie

    I will leave the calorie counting up to you – you know I cant STAND doing so I say more power to anyone who has the patience! I think next time we do the curry we bland some other curry flavors in there to kind of get a sweet and hot blend?? Just a thought…

  • I go back and forth about the calorie counting issue. When I was in weight loss mode, and for awhile after in maintenance I counted weight watchers points. I loved the system but I got a little obsessed so I’ve been trying to figure out how to get back to counting without letting it run my life. Any tips?

  • Elina

    Kelly, I used to be (still am sometimes) scared of going out to places that don’t post nutritional information (most restaurants, really) but I’ve recently just started trying making the healthiest choices I can and not worry about knowing the exact calorie count of my meal (I can estimate, but usually I don’t even care). I think those are the only instances when calorie counting may “run my life”, otherwise I find that making my own food (and counting those calories) is relatively easy. I find it liberating knowing how much I eat. If I count, I usually see great results, so that’s another motivator for sure! Enjoy the time out with your friends, family and boyfried (without counting) and then eat a little cleaner (and count) and it will work itself out. Those are my tips of the day 😉

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