A few months after I had Louis (now nearly 2 years old) I realised I had no idea how much I was eating, or how much I was really meant to eat – though I suspected less would be a good start.
I was breastfeeding, and hungry a lot, including in the middle of the night. I was tired and not getting much exercise. I decided to do the math – how many calories was I supposed to be getting a day?
Rather than count every meal and snack, adding them up and subtracting the value of any exercise, I decided to give myself “options”, so that when I came to snack I would think first. I had little pieces of paper up on the kitchen cupboards reminding me that I could eat two squares of dark chocolate, a handful of nuts, and some dried apricots for the same “price” as a tim tam. I could have a carrot and a muesli bar, or a banana berry yogurt smoothie… Options.
Well, Elena is three months old and my diet is different to what it was when we lived in New Zealand. Better, in some ways, I suspect, but I’m not sure about mathematically. We have fresh bread every day, so fewer preservatives, but then we probably eat more bread, so that’s not so good.
I was about to rifle through the folders on our computer for the spreadsheet I put together last time, but then I realised, times have changed… or at least my cell phone has. I bet there’s an app for that.
And there is! Several in fact. I did no research at all and picked the first 4.5 star free app in “play store”: My Fitness Pal.
It does all the hard work – well, except the exercise – it adds up how much .7 of a banana is worth (after I chuck the bad bit out) and it had the particular brand of soft cheese I put on my salad at lunch in its database.
I won’t always be able to resist… if we’re being realistic. Which we should.
I realised, after lunch, that my meals were “worth” more than I thought -the pain au chocolat at breakfast was a bit naughty, but they don’t get better with age – so I was either going to blow out my goal number of calories on my very first day, or I needed to get some exercise.
I don’t know if it’ll always be so motivating, but I always think the first day of a new regime/goal is rather important. So I did some Pilates and went for a walk. All together that earned me another 200 calories – I can have dinner after all!
Tonight: risotto with mushrooms, courgettes, the last of the smoked salmon and a few shrimp. Yum. Turns out most of the calories of this meal come from the butter I’ll cook the mushrooms and onions in… a whopping 300 for just 3 tablespoons. Ouch. Ignorance was bliss.
Too late for ignorance now though.
I’m going to try and stick with this thing for a while. If it can change some of my bad habits, or at least make me more aware, and bit more active, then I won’t need to do the math for long. I did realise today that the long part of the afternoon, between when the kids wake from naps and when Luuk gets home from work, is a perfect time for a walk.
Good for my sanity too.
I have set myself a modest goal: to lose half a pound a week. I am breastfeeding and this app doesn’t take that into account, but I’ll keep it in mind and not starve myself or anything. I guess, if I can stick with it, I might lose more than half a pound a week. That’d be nice.