Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ben and Jerry's will always give me pause

Certain things get easier as one chugs along on her weight-loss journey. I used to look at the elliptical with the same disdain as the dentist's drill, for example. Now I look at it more like a piece of ugly furniture: not happy it's there, but it serves a purpose, so I'll keep it around.

Food is another animal entirely. I will never get used to opting for a Clementine over a bag of pretzels. When shopping at the grocery store, it will always give me pause to cruise down that loooooong aisle of ice cream flavors. And I will never not glance to the right at Cotton Candy Kemps as I'm reaching in the cooler for Edy's Whole Fruit Bars.

I have to admit, I really miss that instant reward that comes with sugar. The trouble with dieting is that the payoff comes so slowly and gradually. The choice to eat low-sugar oatmeal for breakfast instead of a heaping pile of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds doesn't provide instant gratification. And being a somewhat impulsive person, it's difficult to wait for the reward later on. Pop a Hershey's chocolate in your mouth, and two seconds later: Bliss, in more than one way.

Getting me through these decisions every day is something I never thought I would use beyond high school: Math. I force myself to read labels. (I used to purposefully hold a box of Wheat Thins or a bag of chips with the label facing away from me so I wouldn't know how many calories I was eating and, therefore, not feel guilty about it.) And I force myself to measure and calculate exactly the number of calories I'm eating.

This led me to wonder, during my label-avoidance days, how many calories was I eating in a single snack? The results are horrifying. Take a look ...

1. A pint of Ben and Jerry's Pistachio (about 2 cups): 1,040 calories, 68 grams of fat.

2. 1/3 bag of Crunchy Cheetos: 800 calories, 50 grams of fat.

3. 20 Hershey's Kisses w/ Almonds: 511 calories, 31 grams of fat.

4. Wheat Thins, 4 servings (otherwise known as one snack): 641 calories, 27.5 grams of fat.

5. Gummy bears, 1 bag: 609 calories, 0 fat.

Makes a 35-calorie Clementine look pretty good, doesn't it?

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