Thursday, April 1, 2010

I Ate This!

I took a brief foray into food logging. My bf told me about The Daily Plate, an activity, I guess you could call it, offered on the Livestrong site. It is your basic on-line food diary. You type in what you ate and a drop down menu appears. Type in banana and you get six pages of -banana medium, banana mashed, banana fritters, banana ruby, banana split and as you scroll you come to meet local hot girls. Then onto the next page -banana pie Sara Lee, banana large. There is room to cheat (that banana was small, and also unripe, and if you hunt around you can find a banana that only costs 50 calories) After you have chosen a banana that suits you, then you have to click a large yellow button that says I Ate This.
Apparently, it's all about taking responsibility, owning your behavior.
This is what happens when I food log.
I eat the whole banana even though I don't want it, because I am going to be "charged" the full 80 calories. The flip side of that, is that I eat only 3 squares of Toffee Interlude, instead of my usual four, bc three is a serving size and easy to calculate.
I make my poor old terrier, who, I later learn, has only one fully operational heart artery and lots of leaky valves, walk briskly so I qualify for the "Walk-brisk pace" activity category, which refunds a lot more calories than the "walk-moderate pace."
I start searching the foods for things I might eat and what they will cost me. Cold Stone Creamery, Love It, Cake Batter Catastrophe, only 687 calories? I should have one right now! (I imagine that if I were to type in Dunkin Donuts bavarian cream, 1 dozen, instead of an I Ate This button, a flashing red "Good Lord, tell me you didn't eat this?!" would appear, or maybe "are you trying to break my heart?"
I can't wait to fill in my log every day, discussing it with my bf until he edges away and turns the music up. I tell everyone about it, recommend it to friends, show off my extensive familiarity with the caloric content of just about every brand of granola, every variation of an orange.
The best part of the daily plate is the bar graph. This has a red line showing where your net calories should be. Then there are yellow bars for each day reaching up toward that line and some times extending past it. I became obsessed with keeping my yellow bar far below the line.
This is what I learned. If I could cut out cream from my coffee and honey from my tea, I could be well below that line without any effort. But who wants to live without cream and honey?
After a week I had to give it up. When you eschew activities with friends because you have to get home to log that meal, when you can't decide if a pat of butter on your spinach is worth the inching up of the yellow line, when you contemplate lying on your food log and regularly fudge the activity log, it's time to reassess.

A final word about cold stone creamery. Those of you who frequent this establishment know that instead of small, medium and large, they list their sizes as Like it, Love it, and Gotta Have it. The bf and I have renamed these, Deeply ambivalent, Codependent and Hand over the ice cream and no one gets hurt!

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