Confessions of a Fitness Junkie

Does Calorie Counting Mess with Your Mind?

Posted on: November 11, 2011

  • In: Deep Thoughts
  • Comments Off on Does Calorie Counting Mess with Your Mind?

I found myself feeling a bit shaky following a workout session a couple of weeks ago. On my way out of the gym, I stopped by the front desk and purchased a light protein shake. Per usual, I flipped over the bottle to peruse the nutrition info on the back. Only 170 calories for the entire bottle? Not bad, I thought.

Fast forward another week or so, and I again found myself in need of some sustenance following a workout. I stopped by the same front desk to purchase the same protein drink but alas, they were out. So, I purchased a similar drink. Again, I flipped over the bottle – 90 calories. Wow, really? I looked closer – oh, 90 calories per serving. The whole bottle was 200 calories.

My calorie-counting self immediately thought, Wow, that’s more calories than before. I should make sure not to drink the whole bottle. Then my rational mind said – it’s just an extra 30 calories. Not that big of a deal.

But, the whole thing got me thinking about calorie counting and how the food manufacturers can play with your mind by listing the nutritional details for the full package, or for only a serving, which could be as much as 1/3 or 1/4 of the package. Why do they do that? Seriously, who purchases a 16oz bottle of fruit juice with the intention of only drinking half the bottle? If you don’t look at the nutritional info closely, you may think, oh, there’s only 90 calories in this whole bottle of juice. That may not seem like a big deal to most people, but if you are seriously watching your weight and counting your calories, it can really throw off your calorie allowance for the day if it turns out that whole bottle was 200 calories.

Why can’t they just list the nutritional information for a full package, and let us determine how much of the item we want to consume?

And then there’s the whole issue of what calorie counting can do to your mind. I’m not saying that calorie counting is bad – it is the main way many people lose weight, and it’s one of the ways I’ve chosen to manage mine. But, if you’re not careful, calorie counting can really get into your head and mess with your thoughts. I was a bit embarrassed with myself at having thought I couldn’t consume 30 additional calories, especially since I had just finished a pretty tough workout session. Not to mention that I’m not trying to lose any weight – just trying to maintain the weight I am – 30 calories isn’t going to make or break all the hard work I’ve done over the past 18 months.

So – any calorie-counters out there – what do you think? Do you ever find yourself questioning small calorie increments?


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