Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I was told there would be no math involved

Today at the gym, I actually caught myself ENJOYING my time on the elliptical at the Y. It only lasted a minute, so let's not get too excited. I still hate exercise, overall. But a minute of not hating it was kind of cool. Then I cranked up the resistance, thinking if I was enjoying it then it must be too easy, and then I hated it again. My trainer would be so pleased.

I'll tell you what I do NOT enjoy: calculating the percentages of fat and carbs in everything I eat. If this is Jackie's way of making me not enjoy eating, then she's an evil genius.

Simple math, you're thinking. How hard could it be?
Well, No. 1, I am a journalist. I like words. I hate numbers.
And No. 2, it's not as easy as you might think. Allow me to demonstrate ...

Every gram of fat in food is equal to 9 calories. Ever gram of carbs is equal to 4 calories, as is every gram of protein.
So, let's say you have a 100-calorie items, which contains 4 grams of fat and 14 carbs. You take the grams of fat (4) times 9 calories and you get: 36 calories of your 100 calorie-item comes from fat. Then you divide 36 by the total calories (100) and you get: .36.
That means, 36 percent of the calories in that item comes from fat. You use the same formula to determine your carbs and protein percentages.

My goal is to keep my fat content below 20 percent of what I eat. This is much harder than it sounds.

Yesterday, I had a cup of fruit, a lean cuisine pizza, a fruit and yogurt parfait, and a Subway salad with green peppers, onions, yellow peppers, fat free sweet onion sauce and tuna.

Seems like a harmless day, doesn't it? Roughly 1,160 calories. Good job, me! ...Not so fast. The tuna is where I went wrong. The fat in the tuna made up 45 percent or so of the calorie content of that meal. So my percentage for the day was 32 percent fat.

This is hard! And it's not fun! And it just makes me not want to eat at all because who wants to do math over a nice turkey sandwich? Not me.

Off to eat an apple ... I'm assuming that's OK, but I guess I won't know until I break out the damn calculator.

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